Hi. Thanks for visiting the Nuts & Bolts section of Bible Toolshed. This part of the site is intended to provide key background information about the Bible (for instance, Is the Bible the Word of God? Is it historically accurate? What is its message?), and also to share some tips about how to read it for yourself to come to your own conclusions. You don't need to read any more of this page (unless you want to!); you can navigate right to the content you're interested in by using the accordian panel to the right.
But in case you do want more information...
Nuts & Bolts is organised into seven sections, each of which covers a key aspect of important background information about the Bible and how to read it. You can navigate through these sections by clicking on the accordian panel on the right hand side.
Each of the seven sections is divided into a number of individual pages which you can click on. For instance, there is a page on 'Who wrote the Bible?' in the 'What is it?' section, and a page on 'Modern Bible translations' in the 'From Scroll to e-book' section.
Each of these pages follows the basic format of this page: a short view on the left summarises in a paragraph what the page is all about and the big conclusion it will present. The Long View then presents some of the details. In some cases there is also some video content, and in others there may be extra downloadable information in pdf or audio form towards the bottom of the page.
Here's a quick summary of the topics dealt with in Nuts & Bolts (which you can also see by using the navigation panel).
The Bible: So What? Why should you care about the Bible? What's so special about it? Why do some people consider it to be the Word of God? What claims does it make for itself, and should they be taken seriously? What good can the Bible do in people's lives?
What is the Bible? What kind of book is the Bible? Is it one book or many? Is it true (and in what sense?), or is it full of myths and contradictions?Is there a neat way of summing up what the Bible is all about?
From Scroll to e-Book How old is the Bible, and, given its vast age, how can we be sure it's been handed down accurately over the centuries? How was the Bible originally written and compiled, and can we be sure it contains the right books within it? How did the Bible come to be translated into English and other languages, and why are there so many different English translations?
Bible Anatomy Does the Bible have any kind of shape or organisation - any overriding structure or pattern? Why is the Bible so big - does God really require that we know so much? What is the difference between the Old and New Testaments, and what are some of the connecting strands that bind all those different books and types of literature together?
Get the Message Is it possible to summarise the message of the Bible? What is it all about, in thematic terms, and how does its plot or storyline develop? What are some of the key themes of the Bible, and what is its over-arching message?
History Matters What time period does the Bible cover, and how do all the events it records fit together, chronologically speaking? Did the events recorded in the Bible really happen, and even if they did, why do they matter? Why does the Bible have so much information about the Jews? Doesn't that make it merely nationalistic literature, or is there some greater purpose behind this? How do the past events of the Bible link to the future of which it speaks?
How to Read it The Bible is a huge book - where do you start if you want to read it for yourself? What are some of the hints and tips that make for good Bible reading, and what are some of the traps to be avoided? Is it possible to take one's Bible reading further by using reference books and different translations - and if so, how? What is the point of reading and studying the Bible?
All these - and many others - are topics that are addressed in the various pages that make up Bible Toolshed: Nuts & Bolts.
Disclaimer and Acknowledgements
The aim of these pages is to give a taste of the key arguments and evidence for the points being discussed in an accessible form; it's not possible in this format to be exhaustive or to address every possible objection or counter-claim. Whole books have been written on many of the topics we're writing about, so please bear in mind the limitations of what we're trying to attempt here! The idea is to whet the appetite and present some of the key evidence.
There are assumptions lying behind virtually everything a person writes or says, and we are no different. We believe the Bible is the Word of God and is relevant for daily life even today, and many of the pages assume this (it's why we created the site!). However, we've tried not to take too many things for granted, and there are plenty of pages which try to present the evidence for those and other conclusions in as even-handed a way as possible: why someone might believe the Bible is God's Word, for instance, or why people consider it to be historically accurate, and so forth.
Finally, we're indebted to all those who have gone before. People have wrote and thought about God and the Bible for thousands of years, so there will be little here which is brand new (given that we're trying to present basics about the Bible it would be worrying if there was!). While we've chosen not to clutter the material with sources and footnotes, we appreciate the labours of the many writers, thinkers, friends and acquantances who've helped us to come to some of the conslusions presented here.