What is the Bible?

  • The word Bible is derived from the Greek word, “Biblia”, which means a book.
  • The Bible is accepted by Christians worldwide as the word of God.
  • Is also referred to as the Holy Bible, The Promise, or The Holy Scriptures.

Why the Bible is referred to as the word of God

 (Hebrews 1:1-2, 2 Timothy 3:16,        

Rev 22:18)

The Bible can be said to be the word of God because of the following reasons

  1. Through it God speaks to human beings through his son, Jesus Christ.(Heb 1:1-2)
  2. All scripture was inspired by God .(2 Timothy 3:16)
  3. The human authors/writes were under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
  4. The Bible deals with God’s revelations to human beings and their responses.
  5. The Bible contains the true message of God for our daily living.
  6. God himself wrote the Ten Commandments.
  7. All the scripture is quite useful in training/teaching, rebuking and correcting human beings so as t make them righteous.
  8. There is a striking consistency in thought and development/movement in the Biblical themes because all authors were inspired by one God.
  9. What is written actually happens.  It is fulfilled and never changed.
  10. It contains words spoken by God Himself like, “Thus, says the Lord…….”
  11. It clearly explains the nature/quality of God to us, for example,
  12. God is powerful – omnipotent.
  13. God is all-knowing – omniscient.
  14. God is everywhere – omnipresent.

       12. Attempts to destroy the Bible have failed.

14. It reveals Jesus Christ as the Word of God.

15. The information in the Bible was revealed to the authors through dreams, visions and natural phenomena.

The Bible as a library

The following are some of the reasons why the Bible is considered as a form of a library.

  1. The Bible is a collection of 66 books.
  2. The Bible was written using different literary styles e.g. poetic, prayers.
  3. The different books were written by different authors from different backgrounds.
  4. The books were written at different times in history over along span of time.
  5. The books in the Bible are arranged in order from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
  6. The books were written in different places.
  7. The books of the Bible cater for different audience e.g. priests, women, men etc.
  8. The books are arranged according to different subjects for example: books of law, books of   history, wisdom writings, among others.

Human Authors

(2 Peter 1:20-21)

  1. God used various human authors to write His message which is found in the different books of the Bible.
  2. Some of the authors were kings, scribes, apostles and disciples.
  3. The writers lived at different times in history from the time of Moses to the Gospels.
  4. The nature of the content written was influenced by the historical, political and religious factors of the time.
  5. All the writers of the Bible were Jews except Luke who was a Gentile.
  6. All books of the O.T. were written in Palestine except Ezekiel and Deutro- Isaiah which were written in exile.
  7. The N.T. books were written in many parts of the Roman Empire.

The literary forms used in the writing of the Bible

  1. Poetry-e.g. Job.
  2. Prayers-e.g. Psalms.
  3. Wise sayings-e.g Proverbs.
  4. Philosophical essays-e.g. Ecclesiastes.
  5. Prophetic Speeches-e.g. Jeremiah.
  6. Love Songs-e.g. Song of Solomon.
  7. Religious Epics-e.g.Kings.
  8. Legislative Texts-e.g. Leviticus.
  9. Epistles/ letters-e.g. Corinthians.
  10. Gospels-e.g. Luke’s Gospel.



The Bible is divided into two main sections i.e.      

(a)The Old Testament.                                              

(b)The New Testament.

  • The word ‘Testament’ means covenant, agreement or promise.
  • The Old Testament has 39 books while the New Testament has 27.
  • The Roman Catholic Church Bible contains other books known as apocrypha books.
  • Apocrypha is a Greek word which means hidden/secret writings.  They are also referred to as Deutro-canonical books. These include:
  • Tobit.
  • Judith.
  • Ecclesiasticus.
  • Baruch.
  • 1 Maccabees.
  • 2 Maccabees.
  • Book of Wisdom.
  • 1 Esdras.
  • 2 Esdras

The books of the Bible can be grouped into different disciplines, these are;

  • Law
  • History
  • Poetry
  • Prophecy
  • Biography


  • Canonical books are books accepted by all Christians as Holy Scriptures.
  • They make up the canon of the Old Testament and the New Testament.
  • The word ‘Canon’ in Greek means;
  • Rule
  • Standard
  • Guidance


The books of the Old Testament are divided into four main categories and these are:

(i) Law books

These are the first 5 books of the Bible that are believed to have been written by Moses.  These are:

  1. Genesis.
  2. Exodus.
  3. Leviticus.
  4. Numbers.
  5. Deuteronomy.

They are also referred to as the Torah or Pentateuch or Mosaic Law.

(ii)Historical Books

They are 12 Historical books and they record the history of the Israelites from the time they entered Canaan and settled until after the Babylonian exile. These are:-

  1. Joshua.
  2. Judges.
  3. Ruth.
  4. 1st and 2nd Samuel.                 
  5. 1st and 2nd Kings.
  6. 1st and 2nd Chronicles.
  7. Ezra.
  8. Nehemiah.
  9. Esther.


(iii)Poetic books

  • They are 5 and contain words of wisdom.
    • They are poetic in nature and these are:-
  1. Job.
  2. Psalms.
  3. Proverbs.
  4. Ecclesiastes.
  5. Songs of Songs.

(iv)Prophetic books

They contain the prophecies of the people of Israel.  They are further sub-divided into two i.e.

 (a)Major Prophets

They are referred to as Major Prophets because their messages cover a longer historical period and are 5 in number i.e.

  1. Isaiah.
  2. Jeremiah.
  3. Lamentations.
  4. Ezekiel.
  5. Daniel.

(b).Minor Prophets

The messages of this prophets cover a shorter historical period

They are twelve i.e.

  1. Hosea
  2. Nahum
  3. Joel
  4. Habakkuk
  5. Amos
  6. Zephaniah
  7. Obadiah
  8. Haggai
  9. Jonah
  10. Zechariah
  11. Micah 
  12. Malachi


Note: The following are the books of the Bible referred to as the writings;

  • Job
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • The Song of Solomon/ Song of Songs


It is divided into 5 major categories.  These are:-

(i)Biographical Books

  • They are referred to as Gospels.
  • These Gospels were written by the disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • They tell the life story and ministry of Jesus Christ.
  • They are 4 in number i.e.
  1. Mathew.
    1. Mark.
    1. Luke.
    1. John.
  • The first three books in the New Testament are also referred to as the synoptic Gospels.

(ii)Historical Books

  • It outlines the history and development of the church after Jesus’ ascension.
  • It is one book namely:
  • Acts
  • The author is Luke.
  • It deals with the history of the early church after the ascension of Christ.


(iii)Pauline Epistles

These are 13 letters written by Paul to the congregation and individuals to address certain problems that arose among them.

They are:

  1. Romans          
  2. Colossians
  3. 1st and 2nd Corinthians
  4. 1st and 2nd Thessalonians
  5. Galatians
  6. 1st and 2nd Timothy
  7. Ephesians
  8. Titus
  9. Philippians
  10. Philemon.

(iv)General Epistles

These letters are not addressed to specific churches or individuals but to all Christians to encourage them.

Are eight namely:-

  1. Hebrews.
  2. James.
  3. 1st and 2nd Peter.
  4. 1st, 2nd and 3rd John.
  5. Jude.

(v)Prophetic books

There is only one book i.e. Revelation.

It presents God’s will for the future.



The word translate means:

  • To change something written/spoken form from one language to another without changing the original meaning.
  • The following is the development of Bible Translation from its original language to the present:
  • The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and a few parts in Aramaic
  • The original(70)translators (Septuaginta) did the first translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew into Greek.
  • This translation was known as the Septuagint.
  • The second translation around the 4th Century was spearheaded by a Christian scholar called Jerome.
  • This translation was called vulgate.
  • The translation was used up until the 16th century
  • In the 16th Century; after the reformation (Religious changes in Europe by Protestants who wanted to break apart from catholic teachings), many countries translated the Bible into their own languages e.g.
  • Translation of the Bible into English (King James Version).
  • Translation of the Bible into German (by Martin Luther).
  • During the missionary era, the Bible had to be translated into the languages of people being evangelized.
  • The British and Foreign Bible Society was founded in 1804 to coordinate all the translation functions.
  • In East Africa, Johann Ludwig Krapf translated the New Testament into Kiswahili.
  • The first translation of the complete Bible into some African language in East Africa was into Luganda in 1896
  • In Kenya, the Bible has been translated into the following African languages;
  • Kikuyu – 1951.
  • Kamba – 1956.
  • Dholuo – 1963.
  • Kalenjin – 1968.
  • Luhya-957.

Versions of the Bible used in Kenya Today

Some of the versions used in Kenya today include;

  1. The Revised Standard Version.
  2. The Good News Bible.
  3. The Jerusalem Bible.
  4. The New International Version.
  5. The New King James Version.
  6. The Living Bible.
  7. The Gideon Bible.
  8. The Common Bible.
  9. The African Bible.
  10. The New American Bible.

The effects of the translation of the Bible into African languages

  1. Africans could now read the Bible in a language of their own and understood it better.
  2. Communication was improved and more Africans accepted the gospel message.
  3. Christianity became a more native religion and Africans began to participate actively in preaching the gospel.
  4. Africans became more critical on certain issues like equality and leadership and demanded for better treatment.
  5. Africans re-discovered their cultural identity, which the missionaries were trying to undermine e.g. Polygamy and use of African names.
  6. It led to increased demand for formal education by Africans and therefore more schools were constructed.
  7. Theenlightened Africans who would not accept the condemnation of their culture formed the independent churches and schools.
  8. It also promoted revival movements and Africans took up leadership positions in such revival movements.
  9. It led to the development of African languages as the Bible was used as a learning resource.
  10. Led to the establishment of Bible Translation Society, which employed Africans.
  11. It also led to the establishment of printing presses to assist in the high demand for and the distribution of the Bibles
  12. Led to the development of the spirit of ecumenism. E.g. many churches came together to translate the Bible.
  13. Contributed to the development of African theology; research and study were conducted in African Religions.
  14. African people became more aware/enlightened and confident of their own dignity and rights before God.  This contributed to the struggle for independence from colonial rule.

Areas/places where the bible is used in Kenya today

  1. In the courts of law.
  2. In schools and colleges.
  3. In the state house/ during state functions.
  4. In churches.
  5. During crusades.
  6. At home for personal use.
  7. In parliament.
  8. At home for personal use.
  9. In parliament and
  10. In hospitals.

Ways in which Christians use the bible to spread the gospel

  1. Used in instructing new converts.
  2. Used during preaching/teaching by priests/pastors.
  3. Used in the teaching of C.R.E in schools and colleges.
  4. Used as a reference book in disseminating information./in search of knowledge.
  5. Used in writing Christian songs and hymns.
  6. Used in administering oaths.
  7. Used in writing Christian literature.
  8. Reading it out to fellow Christians.

Reasons why Christians use the bible in worship

  1. It is the word of God.
  2. It makes them identify with God/Jesus as well as enhancing their unity.
  3. To recite prayers from it e.g. the Lord’s Prayer.
  4. It has guidelines and rituals e.g. the Lord’s Supper and marriage.
  5. It is a source of belief about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit and the church.
  6. It outlines church leadership, e.g. roles of pastors, evangelists and deacons.
  7. It is a source of Christian customs, e.g. giving of offerings, dedication of children and celebration of Eucharist.
  8. It is a source of miracles/ healing and other blessings.
  9. To strengthen their faith and hope in God.

Reasons why Christians find it difficult to read the Bible

  1. Lack of discipline and commitment to read the Bible.
  2. Being too busy with work.
  3. Availability of several entertainments e.g. movies or newspapers that take most of people’s time/ worldly pleasures.
  4. Most people don’t see the importance of reading the Bible frequently.
  5. People find it difficult to understand the Bible.
  6. Some churches don’t provide guidelines on how to read the Bible.
  7. Most people believe that pastors and church leaders are the only ones who are supposed to read the Bible.
  8. Some people are semi-illiterate.
  9. Some people don’t have the scriptures in the language they understand.

Revision questions

  1. 1994 Q 26

Give the consequences of sin according to Genesis 3-11

     2.   1996 Q 1

               Give five reasons why reading the Bible is important to Christians.        (5marks)

     3.   1996 Q 3c. (pp 2)

              a)       Explain the effects of the translation of the Bible into African languages                                 in Kenya.        (14marks)

              b) Give reasons why Christians use the bible in worship.           (6marks)

     4.   1998 Q 1

               What is meant by the expression “the bible is the word of God”?            (5 marks)

     5.  2001 Q 1

              State five versions of the Bible used by the churches in Kenya today        (5marks)

     6.  2003 Q 6a, b
a)       Explain the effects of the translation of the Bible into African languages in Kenya.                     (14marks)

 b) Give reasons why Christians use the bible in worship.               (6marks)

     7.   2005 Q 1

                Name the five books of the bible which are referred to as Pentateuch      (5marks)

     8.  2006 Q 1a

              (a)     Give reasons why Christians read the bible                                      (8 marks)

9.   2008 Q 1           

          a)  Give reasons why the Bible is referred to as a library.                                          (5 marks)

         b)  Outline five effects of the translation of the Bible into local languages.  (10 marks)

c) State five ways in which the church is spreading the word of God in Kenya today.           (5marks)                         

10.   2010 Q 1

          (a) Identify eight historical books in the Old Testament.                               (8 marks)

          (b) Give seven reasons why the Bible is referred to as a library.                   (7 marks)

          (c) State five different occasions when Christians use the Bible.                  (5 marks)

11.   2011 Q 1b, c

               b)  Outline the major divisions of both the Old and New Testament          (5 marks)

              c)   Identify seven ways in which the Bible is misused in Kenya today.                                                                                                                             (7 marks)

12.    2012 Q1 P1

(a) Identify six literally forms used in the writing of the bible.                   (6marks)

(b) State four reasons why the Bible ha to be complied into its present form by the early Christians.                  (8marks)

             (c)Outline six ways in which Christians in Kenya use the Bible                 (6marks)


1994 Q26

  • Alienation from God / separation from God / broken relationship between human beings and God
  • Pain/and suffering/hardships
  • Broken relationship among human beings/ quarrels/misunderstandings.
  • Shame/embarrassment.
  • Mistrust/enemity among people.
  • Death/destruction due to irresponsible behaviour e.g. time of Noah.
  • Irresponsible
  • Punishment from God
  • Pride and arrogance e.g. Tower of Babel
  • Leads to being cursed e.g. Cain

1996 Q1

  • It provides moral and spiritual guidance
  • Helps them discover the will of God/ God reveal himself through bible
  • Reading the bible is an aspect of Christians worship/ a way of worshipping
  • The bible is the basis of Christians doctrines and practices/ Helps in understanding Christians doctrines/eschatological times.
  • It gives  guidance on the relationship among human beings/ and between human beings  and God
  • It is the word of God
  • Christians come to discover who they are/ help a person discover his/ her worth dignity of the human person.
  • It is a source of consolation to xtians/ gives hope to xtians/ persona race hope.
  •  Source of inspiration
  • Source of knowledge/ enlightened/ improves their knowledge
  • Helps in spiritual development and maturity/ enlightens them/ improve  their faith
  • Helps them understand the universe/ environment/ their relationship to it.
  • Helps them understand the meaning  of their  lives and relationship to God/ and to one another.                                                                            (5 x 1 = 5 marks)

1998 Q1

  • The Bible was inspired by God
  • The authors of the Bible wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit
  • The bible deals with God’s revelation to human beings and their responses.
  • The Bible contains the true message of God for daily living
  • God wrote the Ten Commandments on the stone tablets.
  • The Bible is the revealed word of God/God reveals Himself to us through His activity in the Old Testament and in the Holy Spirit in the Church today.

2001 Q1

  • Revised standard version
  • Living Bible
  • Amplified Bible
  • New Bible
  • New International version
  • King James Version.
  • The Gideon International
  • New English Bible.
  • Common Bible
  • Good News Bible.                                                                              5×1=5marks

2003 Q6a, b

  • It enlightens the Africans
  • The Africans were able to follow the scripture better and the led to more churches
  • There was desire for education more Africans showed interest in education
  • Christianity spread faster as more Africans were able to read the Bible on their own.
  • Greater understanding was created between the missionaries and the African making life easier for both.
  • Africans took partnership positions from the missionaries.
  • It has contributed to the spirit of ecumenism, several denominations work together their own.
  • Christianity became a more active religion as the Africans participated more.
  • The elementary reading and writing taught to catechism that the modern education system developed in Kenya
  • The transmission increased African participate in Christianity rather religion missionaries, Africans were able to read and understand the inner meaning of bible doctrines for much more than when the bible was a foreign language.


  • It instruct new converts
  • They used it as a basic reference book in general dissemination/search for knowledge.
  • They use to derive Christian hymns e.g Psalms Benedicts.
  • The Christians use the bible to back their teachings/messages.
  • They used bible in order to make oath/promises.
  • They worship  with references from the bible in order to keep proper boundary not out of the word of God

2005 Q1

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy                                                                          (5 x 1= 5 marks)

2006 Q1a

  • It provides Christians with moral values
  • It is a source of spiritual Nourishment
  • It is used in Christian worship
  • It gives them inspirational/ hope
  • It helps them to  understand their relationship with God
  • It is a source  of Christian beliefs/ practices
  • It reveals God to them / makes them understand the  will  of God
  • It  is a source of knowledge
  • It is the word of God  as the authors’ were inspired by God (4 x 2 = 8 marks)

2008 Q1


  • It has many books.
  • It was written at different times.
  • It is written by authors/people.
  • It is written in different styles.
  • It is written for different purposes/message/levels.
  • It is written over a long period/span of time.
  • It is divided into two main parts/old testament and new testament.
  • It is composed of various sections/Divisions.
  • It is arranged in a chronological order.
  • It is a reference book.                                                              (5 x 1=5 marks)


  • Many people are able to read the word of God/improve literacy of the people.
  • It led to development of African/local languages.
  • It made evangelization easier/growth of church.
  • It led to the development of African Independent Churches.
  • Many Africans get converted into Christianity.
  • Missionaries were able to learn African languages thus making Christianity spread faster.
  • Development of printing press/church bookshops.
  • It created job opportunities.
  • Africans demanded leadership roles.
  • The well to do African Christian Community developed which contributed to expansion of the church/emergence of special groups – elite.
  • It created more room for further research into African religious heritage/belief/appreciation of the African culture.
  • It promoted ecumenical movement.                                       (5×2=10 marks)


  • By use of electronic media.
  • By providing Bibles.
  • Through publishing/printing Christian literature/magazines.
  • By carrying outreach campaigns/door to door witness.
  • Organizing youth camps/seminars/retreats/conferences.
  • Supporting the teaching of Christian Religious Education/pastoral programme.
  • By encouraging members to visit the sick/provision of medical care.
  • By preaching the word/holding crusades.
  • By sending out missionaries/financing them.
  • By organizing choirs/singing groups/drama.
  • Miracles/Healing.                                                                               (5×1=5 marks) 

2010 Q1

  • Joshua
    • Judges
    • Ruth
    • First Samuel
    • Second Samuel
    • First Kings
    • Second Kings
    • First Chronicles
    • Second Chronicles
    • Ezra
    • Nehemiah
    • Esther


  • It contains many books.
  • The books were written by different authors
  • It has different categories of books/division
  • The books are written in different styles/forms
  • The books in the bible were written at different times/situation/background
  • The books in the Bible address different issues/topics/purpose
  • The books were written for different audience/readers
  • The books are systematically arranged /ordered/chronological.
  • Ref. book 4 theology


  • When preaching the word of God (crusade/church sermons)
  • When in court
  • When instructing new converts/conducting Bible study
  • During different Christian religious ceremonies/festivals
  • When teaching Christian Religious Education
  • When composing songs/plays/Christian literature
  • During fellowships/prayers/guidance/counselling
  • During a swearing in ceremony

2011 Q1b,c


  • Law books
  • Historical books
  • Poetic books
  • Prophetic books
  • The Gospel/biographical books
  • Epistles/letters                                                                         5 x 1 = 5 marks


  • It is used to take oaths in courts/offices by people who may not be believers/not saying the truth
  • It is kept in places associated with evil
  • There is distortion of the biblical teaching/specific verses are picked to fulfill individual demands /misinterpretations
  • Some people use the Bible like an ordinary text book/reference
  • It is being used in witchcraft/cults to mislead people
  • Some people are using it to enrich themselves /it is a tool of trade
  • Some new versions translated have changed the original meaning of the bible
  • The bible is not read for spiritual growth but it is kept for display
  • Some people use the bible to threaten others/administer curses                        

                                                                                         7×1 = 7 marks

2012 Q1 P1


  • Poetry/poems/epics
  • Wise sayings
  • Prose narratives
  • Letters/Epistles
  • Legal/Law expressions
  • Songs
  • Prophetic/prophetic speeches
  • Gospels
  • Philosophical essays
  • Prayers
  • Sermons


  • The eye witnesses of Jesus Christ were being killed.                                               
  •  In order to present information from getting lost
  • Due to the expansion of the church/increased number of believers/who

needed material to refer to.

  •  To counteract false teachings/teachers who were contusing the believers.
  •  To ensure that same doctrines/beliefs were being taught to all Christians.
  •  To reach out to the Jews in the diaspora/Gentiles
  • To preserve an orderly account of biblical themes/avoid distortion

                           (4×2=8 marks)


  • Christians read the Bible for spiritual growth/meditation/Bible study.
  • They use it for instructing new converts.
  • It is used as a textbook when teaching Christian Religious Education

in schools/colleges.

  • It is used as resource material in search of general knowledge.
  • It is used to compose Christian hymn/songs/drama             
  • It is used in taking oaths/vows/swearing.
  • It is used as a prayer book.
  • It is used for preaching/evangelism.                                                                 ,
  • It is used to explain Christian ethics/rituals/doctrines/guidance and counseling
  • It is used to produce Christian literature

                                                                                                               (6×1= 6 marks)

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