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The Bible for the Busy

A Two‐Hour Tour of the Old & New Testaments

Compiled and summarized by Kenneth Knapp



This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



Copyright 2015-16, Kenneth Knapp

The author encourages the reproduction and use of the material included herein.

Website: www.bible4busy.com

Edited by Ruth Zetek

Cover and layout by Dave Hebert

Additional layout by Athanatos Christian Ministries

www.athanatosministries.org

ISBN: 978-936830-87-9

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.



Table of Contents



Busy Bites

Welcome!

Acknowledgements

Memorial

Reader Feedback

Is This For You?

Here’s Your Menu!

Foreword

Section I: The Bible Condensed

Section II: A Personal Guide Toward God

Glossary

About The Author



Busy Bites



- For a really brief overview of the Bible’s plot go to pages 92-95.

- If you’re looking for a more in-depth overview use pages 12-61.

- A menu of people’s potential interests and concerns is on pages 3-5.

- Timelines for the Old and New Testament periods are on pages 10 and 30 respectively.

- Thoughts and aids for building a relationship with God are on pages 96 through 105.

- Supplemental information to the Bible’s theme appears on pages 66-78 for the Old Testament and pages 79-90 for the New Testament.

- Various content tables to help you locate items of interest can be found at the beginning and then on pages 9, 11, 29, 66, and 79.

- For easy access, the Bible’s internal “Books” are listed in sequence on pages 67-68 for the Old Testament and pages 80-81 for the New (NT).

- A Glossary starts on page 106.

- For potential uses of this book, see page 63.



WELCOME!



For the browser and the seeker ...

I’m glad you found this booklet, because many years ago I needed a brief Bible overview like this too. None existed then, but now there is one for you. I hope it will be a great benefit for you and your family.

This fourth edition of The Bible for the Busy incorporates several new supplemental sections for completeness, as well as hundreds of small changes for understandability. We all owe various editors, reviewers, and the Holy Spirit our thanks for these improvements.

If you are unclear about anything you find in these pages, please refer to a complete Bible.

Note: All references to God are capitalized to make it easier for you to know Him.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



This is dedicated to Ruth R. and Emily W. who wanted to read a regular Bible but found it difficult to understand. It was also intended for Art, who never got to see it before his death. Now it’s especially for the many others who do have a chance to check out God’s plan for them in a very short time.

The concept was inspired by ad hoc interviews and by the many who have found that the Bible is not very well understood in our culture.

Thanks to the many who have been supportive of this project, with my apologies for the time and attention it took away from them. I want to express my special thanks to Ruth Z., Dave, and Donna for their tireless contributions to this project. Dedicated reviewers include Kevin, Gene, Pat, Gaylen, and Don.



MEMORIAL



The production and distribution of The Bible for the Busy is being done as a memorial to Linda L. Knapp – who also wanted people to learn to trust their Lord.



READER FEEDBACK



“It is very easy to read and comprehend. I just want to keep on reading it. I can almost feel what God must have been feeling.” (Diane)

“I’ve read it a few times already. I have been searching for a book describing the Bible in easily understood language directed to adults and not to pre-school children. You have achieved this.” (Bishop Patrick)

“I can think of a million different uses for it and would probably hand it out to just about everyone I know.” (Jennifer)

“It seems you really have something going here, a succinct summary of the greatest story ever told. Just what the busy need.” (Reverend Don)

“It will have an impact upon those who read it and will draw them into a relationship with the Lord Jesus.” (Tom)

“This book removes the final excuse for not having time to read the Bible.” (Dave M.)



IS THIS FOR YOU?



You may be one of the gazillion or so people who wonders what the Bible is all about. Maybe you’re among the many millions who have even tried to read it and have become frustrated because it seemed so difficult to understand. That’s not surprising since ...

- It takes sooooo long to read.

- It’s hard to follow the plot.

- It’s not arranged chronologically.

- Some translations are in a peculiar English style.

- Most events occurred in cultures much different from ours.

There are many divergent sub‐stories that seem unrelated



INTRODUCING B4B…



Maybe the full‐fledged Bible isn’t for you – that is, not yet! In fact, starting to read a full Bible too early could actually hamper your long-term spiritual growth if you give up on it.



Maybe the full-fledged Bible isn’t for you – that is, not yet!



On the other hand, great care has been taken to tailor this little booklet for you and millions of others. Hopefully, The Bible for the Busy (B4B) will make it easier for you to grasp the Bible’s overall theme.

In particular, see if your thoughts relate closely to one of the categories in the following menu; then let The Bible for the Busy be your guide to improved understanding and wisdom.

Check out the menu on the following pages.



HERE’S YOUR MENU!



This booklet is for YOU if you ...

- Know almost nothing about the Bible;

- Are intrigued by others who seem to know God;

- Wonder where you came from;

- Never saw a Bible overview before;

- Wonder which religion is the right one;

- Think you could use a Bible refresher;

- Wonder if there even is a God;

- Thought you were a Christian but now wonder;

- Hate to admit how little you know about the Bible;

- Think you have done too much bad for God to care about you;

- Wonder whether creation or evolution is true;

- Tried to read the Bible but were confused or intimidated;

- Consider yourself on Satan’s side and opposed to God; OR

- Wonder how to tell right from wrong.



This booklet is for YOU if you are ...

- A new believer but don’t know much about the Bible;

- Familiar with Bible stories but not the Bible as a whole;

- Puzzled by life’s questions;

- Inclined just to follow your own feelings;

- A reluctant Bible reader;

- Not impressed by Christians you know of; or

- Looking for an easy way to know the Bible as God’s story.



This booklet is for YOU if you have ...

- Wondered about God and the Bible but never checked them out;

- Wanted to read the Bible but are too busy;

- Attended church but don’t understand the Bible;

- Tried going to church but were turned off;

- Invited Christ into your heart but didn’t follow up; or

- Never really thought much about life after death.



This booklet is for YOU if ...

- Your life is out of control;

- It’s not easy for you to tell others about God;

- No one ever offered to help you understand the Bible; or

- You want to know how to be content and happy.



And this booklet is for YOU if you ever wondered where the following sayings came from:

- A drop in the bucket;

- The blind leading the blind;

- A good Samaritan;

- The apple of my eye;

- Turn the other cheek;

- Separate the sheep from the goats; and

- Go the extra mile.

[Hint: They all originated in the Bible … and there are more for you to find.]

Wherever you find yourself on this menu, I hope you will find the answers you are looking for in this booklet and that they will make your life more complete.



One thing you can be sure of is that God wants you with Him in



In some cases, that may mean changing your whole perspective about the Bible or God. One thing you can be sure of is that God wants you with Him in Paradise forever. He does not want you to be suffering along with Satan, and far removed from God forever.



FOREWORD



After decades of exposure to various religious circles and denominations, it has become pretty obvious to me that even people in Christian churches don’t read the Bible very much. Multiple polls confirm this. Yet I know of many people who have conscientiously tried to study the Bible but found the task too daunting for a variety of reasons. They may have had trouble with tough wording, or with understanding strange customs, or in just trying to get the gist of a very long and complex book. Besides taking about 85 hours to read it through completely (without even understanding it), the Bible contains countless sub-stories over and above the main plot. Besides that, only a few of the Bible’s books are arranged chronologically. (I confess I was stymied by these same challenges many years ago.)

Various authors have made the Bible more meaningful by developing new translations, paraphrases, guides, aids, and extensive study notes. While these many supplements are helpful in grasping important details of Holy Scripture, they don’t necessarily resolve the problems of grasping God’s promise to mankind, or of greatly increasing readership of God’s critical message to humanity.

This booklet is intended to be different!

It is simply a very basic overview of the Bible’s theme – without much detail. That is, it dwells on God’s overall storyline as He laid it out for us in Scripture. Readers who digest this booklet will have an adequate background to understand God’s intent for us mortals, and they can do it all in just a few hours.



My goal is to help people grasp what God’s plan is for them and not alter the Bible’s meaning or purpose at all.



In what follows, my goal is to help people grasp what God’s plan is for them, whether they are associated with a church or not. I’ve also tried to keep it short and not alter the Bible’s meaning or purpose at all. After taking way too many years to know God fairly well myself (and realizing I still need to know Him better), I don’t want you to take the same wrong turns that I took in seeking to understand Him.

In particular, this condensed version of the Bible is geared for the millions of people who wonder about God and/or would like to know more about the Bible, but feel they don’t have the time to read it. They’re “too busy”; hence the title.

As you proceed through this short read, I trust you will feel more and more comfortable with the Bible’s message and with God Himself. I especially pray you will be led to pursue detailed studies with a more complete Bible than this one. Remember, The Bible for the Busy is only for introductory and quick-review purposes; it does not replace the full Bible.

In providing the Bible, God was not trying to create a history book. Consequently, you will find a number of gaps in His storyline in a full Bible, and in this condensed Bible as well.

Near the end of this head start to biblical study, I’ve included a brief section to provide you with additional insights and help in comprehending God more fully. It’s called “A Personal Guide Toward God,” and it reflects decades of experience with the Bible and with Christianity in our world.

Above all, I pray that this little booklet will aid your understanding of the living God, and thus will lead to blessings in the lives of you and your family.

More talented writers who may wish to carry on this concept are encouraged to produce their own version of The Bible for the Busy in ways they feel will help people understand God and the Bible more clearly.

Permission is hereby granted to reproduce all or parts of this document for ministry purposes and to sell them at cost, but not to sell for financial gain.

Ken



SECTION I

THE BIBLE, CONDENSED



Old Testament Timeline (B.C.)

The Old Testament

God’s First Pact with Humanity

The Silent Years

In between the Testaments

New Testament Timeline (A.D.)

The New Testament

God’s Final Pact with Humanity

An Afterword

Reflect back, move forward

Supplements to the Old Testament

Supplements to the New Testament





OLD TESTAMENT CONTENTS



Heaven on Earth (Genesis 2)

We’ll Do It Our Way! (Genesis 3)

The First Promise of God (Genesis 3)

Building the Family of Man (Genesis 4-5)

Ignoring God (Genesis 6)

Dry Land … Finally! (Genesis 8)

God Frustrates Their Plan (Genesis 11)

Back to Our Way (Genesis 11)

The Promise Renewed (Genesis 12)

Ups and Downs (Judges, various chapters)

Key Items



THE “OLD” TESTAMENT

GOD’S FIRST PACT WITH HUMANITY

Before the Lord God began His story, only He existed, and earth was just a formless mass. He had the power to do whatever He wanted, and He first chose to create angels to serve Him and to be His messengers.



BTW (“By The Way”) – The “Old” Testament (pact or agreement) isn’t named that way because it’s ancient or no longer relevant. Instead, we might think of it as the “former” testament, because it has since been supplemented by the “New” Testament.



Heaven on Earth

God then set aside a single week and used His word to speak into existence a perfect world, with unimaginable complexity and beauty for people of all times to admire and enjoy. This also gives us hints about who He is.

This new world included all the living things and creatures that God created. Then He made Adam from the dust of the ground, and took a rib from him to make a woman named Eve. The two of them were to rule over this world as stewards of His creation and to multiply into the human race. All these things that God made were suited to live forever in an intimate relationship with Him and with each other. At that point in our history, God would routinely talk with His two human creations in the garden of Eden where He had put them. (God now communicates with us through the Bible and we talk to Him in prayer.) For a short while, perhaps only days, it was a glorious existence in an ideal world. It would have been like heaven on earth – as we understand what heaven will be like for many humans in the future.

Although the Lord God created Adam and Eve as a display of His character, they were only a faint reflection of Him. He didn’t envision humans as mindless robots, so He gave this first couple a free will so they could make decisions on their own.

God gave man (and woman) only one command: not to eat the fruit from one particular tree in their luxurious garden home. They could eat anything they wanted except the fruit of that one special tree. God even warned them that to eat from that Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would mean the end of their heavenly life on earth. Then their physical bodies would eventually die. That’s where free will came in; whether to eat or not eat that fruit was their own choice.

We’ll Do It Our Way!

One of the angels that God created became proud and began to oppose God and these humans who had become the Creator’s pride and joy. This rebel, known as Lucifer or Satan, questioned God’s love for Adam and Eve and enticed them to disobey God’s sole restriction regarding that unique tree. When Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan and betray God, their consciences were immediately set in motion. Now, realizing that they were naked, they were ashamed in front of God and each other. They knew they had become alienated from God and, somehow, would have to be re‐united with Him. They realized there were consequences for their disobedience to God.



Although in this country, collectively, we are now referred to as a post-Christian society, sin is a common term in our culture. Very simply, to sin is to do something different from what God desires.



Although God’s punishment is often viewed as mean or vengeful, He always has something positive in mind for us. That is, He often provides appropriate consequences when we disobey Him, but His ultimate goal is our well-being and our long-term good. God especially desires all of us, as sinners, to admit we have been opposed to Him and to seek to change our ways. This two-step process is what’s known as repentance.

Although in this country, collectively, we are now referred to as a post-Christian society, sin is a common term in our culture. Very simply, to sin is to do something different from what God desires.

Sin is something that few people regard as deserving of God’s punishment. In our modern times, we have many choices to make and we still have the free will God has given us. Our decisions to follow God or not follow Him can lead us down various paths into totally different lives. This applies now, on earth, and affects us eternally after death.

In their new sinful (or ungodly) state, Adam and Eve made crude clothes of leaves and tried to hide themselves from God. However, when God sought out Adam, as the one responsible for their disobedience, He easily located the two of them. Even though He knew everything, God asked why they had disobeyed Him. Both of them blamed others, just as humans still tend to do today. It was as if they instinctively knew their sin had to be punished, so they tried to avoid God’s judgment. Out of His love for these two special creations, God postponed their ultimate punishment, but He did shorten their life on earth – as He had said would happen. Living immortal lives in a virtual paradise was over; life would now become harsh and often unfulfilling – and would end in physical death.

The First Promise of God

For the long term, the Lord God promised that someday a Redeemer (one who buys back) would take their punishment on their behalf as their substitute. That’s all they knew about this Savior. They didn’t know when He would come or where He would come from, and they certainly didn’t know this Savior would be God Himself, in the form of a man.

Along with this key promise that God would someday provide a substitute Savior for mankind’s disobedience, God also told Satan that the Savior for mankind would also defeat him and his other fallen angels. Finally, God told Adam and Eve that because of their sin, their lives and the lives of all their human descendants would become more painful and more miserable. Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, we – as their descendants – still experience those negative after‐effects. Yet we continue to enjoy God’s creation.

Next, God made clothing for Adam and Eve out of animal skins to replace the leaves they had used to cover themselves. This was the first indirect example of how the blood sacrifice of animals was necessary to “cover” the disobedience of human beings. In Old Testament times, before Jesus came, this practice of sacrificing animals became the routine way in which human disobedience was temporarily forgiven. Each sacrifice was a foreshadowing of Jesus someday being sacrificed to pay for all of our disobedience to God, once and for all. Even pagan cultures adopted the practice of sacrificing living things (sometimes humans) to their gods. Some still do so today.

In another often-misunderstood way of showing His love for Adam and Eve, God expelled them from the garden of Eden. This was for their good, because the Tree of Life was still there. If they had eaten from it, they would have lived forever in their state of disobedience and earthly misery. By promising a Savior, God revealed a much better plan for them, one that would offer all humans the option of being forgiven through His Son, Jesus. That’s how much God cherishes the thought of having all obedient Christians in union with Him on earth and living with Him forever after our earthly death.

Building the Family of Man

After Adam and Eve were out of Eden, they began having children to populate the earth as God had commanded. Unfortunately, their tendency to disobey God (to sin) was carried on from generation to generation. For starters, Adam and Eve’s very first son, Cain, also became the world’s very first murderer when he killed his brother, Abel.

This tendency to sin against God carries on to the present. We don’t like it and we don’t want to admit it, but we all have it. We routinely disobey God and, therefore, we deserve His punishment. That’s why as humans we need a Savior or Redeemer to re‐establish the same kind of relationship with God that Adam and Eve originally had. The Bible calls this promise of a Redeemer‐Savior our hope (meaning a sure thing, not just wishful thinking, as we commonly use the word today).


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