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The bible in brief - by James Archer 




This is an attempt to summarise the story of the bible in a few pages using only its own words in the order in which they appear and using something from every book of the bible.  Challenge yourself to improve on it!


In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

     Genesis 1:1

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you.  I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

     Genesis 12:1-3

God spoke all these words:  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me.”

     Exodus 20:1-3

“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them, ‘Be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy.’”

     Leviticus 19:2

“If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.  Only do not rebel against the Lord.  And do not be afraid of the people of the land.  Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us.  Do not be afraid of them.”

     Numbers 14:8-9

“Hear, o Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

     Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Be strong and courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the left or to the right, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this book of the law depart from you; meditate on it day and night.

     Joshua 1:7-8

In those days, Israel had no king – everyone did as he thought fit.

     Judges 21:25

“Where you go I will go, where you stay I will stay, Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”

     Ruth 1:16

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”  Then Samuel replied, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

     1 Samuel 3:10

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

     1 Samuel 16:7

I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you.  Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and will no longer be disturbed.

      2 Samuel 7:9-10

“Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised.  Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.  May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us.  May he turn our hearts to him, to keep all his commandments and to walk in all his ways.”

     1Kings 8:56-58

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered.  “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

     2 Kings 6:16-17

“Praise be to you, o Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Yours o Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.  Yours o Lord is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”

     1 Chronicles 29:10-11

The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and his dwelling place.  But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.

     2 Chronicles 36:15-16

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love to Israel endures for ever.”

     Ezra 3:11

“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.  I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you.”

     Nehemiah 1:5-6

“Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

     Esther 4:14

Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm.  He said, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?  Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.  Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?  Tell me if you understand.”

     Job 38:1-4

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

     Psalms 23:1-4

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

     Proverbs 3:5-6

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

     Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.  Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

     Song of Songs 8:6-7

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight.  I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.  He will not shout or cry out or raise his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.  In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.”

     Isaiah 42:1-3

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised and we esteemed him not.  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities.  The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

     Isaiah 53:3-6

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat.  Come buy wine and milk, without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”

     Isaiah 55:1-2

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

     Jeremiah 29:11

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

     Lamentations 3:23

He then said to me, “Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them.”

     Ezekiel 3:4

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace,, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, o king. But even if he does not,  we want you to know, o king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

     Daniel 3:17-18

I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

     Hosea 6:6

“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”

     Joel 2:2

Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.  But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like an ever-rolling stream.

     Amos 5:23-24

The day of the Lord is near for all nations.  As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.

     Obadiah 15

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.  From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.

     Jonah 2:2

What does the Lord require of you, o man, but to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly before your God?

     Micah 6:8

The Lord will restore the splendour of Jacob.

     Nahum 2:2

Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines; though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food; though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God my Saviour.

     Habbakuk 3:17-18

The Lord your God is with you; he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

     Zephaniah 3:17

Give careful thought to your ways.  You have planted much but have harvested little.  You eat but never have enough. You drink but never have your fill. You put on clothes but are not warm.  You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.

     Haggai 1:5-6

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord.

     Zechariah 4:6

See, I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me.  Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire will come.

Malachi 3:1

“Blessed are the poor in heart, for they shall see God.”

     Matthew 5:2

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he healed all their diseases.  And he said to his disciples, “Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers into his harvest-field.”

     Matthew 9:37

Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

     Mark 8

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

     Luke 4:18-19

There they crucified him, with two thieves on his left and his right.  One cursed him and said, “Save yourself and us”, but the other rebuked him and said, “We are being justly punished, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he turned to Jesus and said, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”  Then Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “It is finished!” and gave up his Spirit.

     Luke 23

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

     John 3:16

Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commands.  Remain in me, and I shall remain in you.”

     John 15:

Wait for the promised Holy Spirit, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judaea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

     Acts 1:8

Therefore, in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.  Then you will know what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

     Romans 12:1-2

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth, It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

     1 Corinthians 13:4-8

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I have preached to you.  Otherwise you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.

     1 Corinthians 15:2-4

He has given us this ministry of reconciliation: that God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself.

     2 Corinthians 5:21

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

     Galatians 5:6

Praise be to God who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

     Ephesians 1:3

Do not worry about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests before God. 

     Philippians 4:6

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the Head over every power and authority.

      Colossians 2:9-10

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

      1 Thessalonians 1:3

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

      2 Thessalonians 3:5

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.

      1 Timothy 6:11-12

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.  Endure hardship like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

      2 Timothy 2:1-3

But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done but because of his mercy.

      Titus 3:4

I always than my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.  I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of everything we have in Christ.  Your love has given me great joy and encouragement because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

      Philemon 4-6

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. 

      Hebrews 12:1-2

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

      James 2:18

For you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

     1 Peter 2:9

Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

     2 Peter1:5-7

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

     1 John 1:8-9

I am not writing a new command but one that we have had from the beginning.  I ask that we love one another.

      2 John 5

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

      3 John 4

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God and Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore.

       Jude 24-25

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears by voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.

      Revelation 3:20

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

      Revelation 21:1-4

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