It has been a very long time since I have written, and I have been convicted. Some repent when convicted, others make excuses about school work... JK. I am going to at least attempt to pick up the slack a little bit, I want to write often about the historical aspects of the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. Hopefully, I will be able to find time in my week and a vacant computer to borrow that is connected to the Internet, to write at least a short post of something!
Understanding the historicity of the Bible is important. It assists you in translation, gives more understanding to why a certain author said something, and it also affects your interpretation. Understanding that the Bible is an ancient Middle Eastern document, written by Middle Eastern men, to be understood clearly by those who were to read it, only encourages a literal and grammatical interpretation of what is actually being said. One thing you learn when studying the ancients and their language is how down to earth kind of people they were, the concept of types and mystical allegories, which butchers the Bible today, was alien to them. So I think that my first post on the history on the Old Testament will be a broad history of the Old Testament as a whole.
The OT takes up the majority of your Bible, which indicates it's importance. It took a little longer than 1000 years to write the whole OT, versus the 52years to write the New Testament, in the hands of roughly 30 authors. Most OT is written in Hebrew, though there are a few sections written in Aramaic, a common language in the Middle East, similar to what Arabic is to the Middle East today or what is English to the world.
The OT can be divided into 3 sections, the Law, the Prophets, and the Wisdom Literature. The last two sections are based on the first section, the Law, thus if you know well the Law the whole Bible will open its meaning up to you, for the NT is based on the OT, which, as I have said before, is based on the Law. By the way, that is a hint to the road to understanding the relationship between the OT and the NT.
The OT was written to the Israelites, God's chosen nation. The Israelites were an actual nation that was officially formed about 1445 BC, when they walked out of Egypt, then one of the most powerful nations at the time. From them, came the seed prophesied in Genesis 3:15 that would crush the seed of the serpent, it was them that were to bless the nations Genesis 12:1-3, they also had the job to wield God's wrath upon the nations Genesis 9:25-27 Deuteronomy 9:4-5 Deuteronomy 25:17-19. They incompletely conquered the Promise Land, which ended up being their doom for they apostatized ultimately because of the negative influence of the nations that they were to destroy (which is a good lesson for Christians today, stay away from evil people) and were brought to captivity by Assyria and Babylon and have only recently been an independent nation.
So there is much more I could write on but that will have to do. What I have written is VERY basic. The Bible is full of history and historical information that would take lifetimes to understand a little of it, not to mention the theology, wisdom, and doctrine. Lord willing, we will start looking at the history of the Promise Land, the Israelites, the nations surrounding them, and the OT itself in addition to its content soon but, until then...