Holy Texts

Text means a book or other writing. Not all Christians agree on what texts are important enough to be treated as holy. The Protestant Bible is shorter than the Bibles used in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. This is because the latter churches consider 14 more books (the Apocrypha) to be holy and so include them in their Bibles.

The Bible

The Bible is the holy book for Christians. It is the main source of Christian belief and practice. It is read in Church services and many Christians study it, alone or with others. Some Christians (Evangelicals) base their beliefs entirely on the Bible and refer to it a lot in their worship. They trust it completely. For them it is the authoritative, complete and infallible (error-less) word of God.

Most Christians however look on the Bible as inspired by the Holy Spirit (God) [link “Holy Spirit to same words in section on “god”] but essentially the work of man. They therefore do not regard it as infallible, but see it as open to interpretation. The Bible looks like one large book, but in fact is made up of a number of smaller books that are bound together. The Bible has two main parts:

The Old Testament

This tells the story of the Jewish people up to the time of the Roman occupation. It explains how they gradually learnt more about God. It is very like the Jewish Bible (the Tanach.) Jesus and his followers were Jews and so would have been brought up to respect the Tanach. The Old Testament prophesies the coming of the Messiah (the person that God was to send to free the Jews from their enemies.) Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Jews do not.

The New Testament

From early on some Christian groups thought that a number of their own texts were as important as those of the Jewish religion. These texts became the New Testament. They mostly describe Jesus’ life and the start of the Christian Church.

The New Testament is itself split into four parts:

  1. The Gospels
  2. The Acts of the Apostles & Revelation
  3. The Epistles

The Creeds

Creed is a Latin word meaning ‘belief.’ The Creeds are official summaries of Christian belief.