This is basically a seven page summary of the Bible, in very simplistic terms, focusing on the most important facts.  Anyone that knows the Bible knows that it's over a thousands pages, depending on the print size, so how is it possible to summarize it in seven pages? Well, you could probably summarize it in one quote:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who ever believes in him will not die, but have eternal life.

Greater truth was probably never written.  But, these seven pages basically try bring a little more history and understanding to what that means.

Mistakes and Struggle

As a kid, did you ever think, if my parents tell me to do my homework or clean my room, one more time, I'm going to scream! You know you should do what parents tell you, because you don't want to live in a pig sty and you don't want to do badly in school, but there's lots of other thing you'd rather be doing!  Sometimes you think, what is wrong with my parents, or even what is wrong with me, and parents sometimes ask, what is the matter with that kid?

It's not just kids and parents. Disagreements happen all the time.  Lots of people get angry, have temper tantrums, argue, lie, get jealous of each other, start wars and even kill each other. Sometimes people realize they did a bad thing and then feel guilty about it, feel bad.  It seems that some people are worse than others, and of course the really bad one's usually end up in jail because they can't be trusted.  They have proven they can't control themselves.  They can't follows the laws and rules society runs on.  Can’t live a normal life without badly hurting others.

Why can't everyone just be nice and treat each other with respect? But even those of us who try to be nice and behave well, have this thing inside of us, that can make us behave badly. So, it's not bad people and good people, it seems that all people can do good or bad things.  Some just do bad things a lot. People choose how to behave, and some make really bad choices.  This is not a new problem.

Approximately 3500 years ago.  There was a Man, called Moses, to whom God spoke directly, just like we sit down and talk to our friends or family; face to face.  God saw that Moses tried to do the right thing, and so through Moses, God tried to explain to the people which were with Moses, how to live happy lives. God saw that people made bad decisions, they kept doing bad things and treating each other badly.  It made God very sad and angry that they behaved that way and hurt each other.  Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a family where everyone was always arguing and hurting each other.  It would be miserable.

There were a lot of people in the world at the time, But God chose this one group, that Moses lead, as the one's he would try to help. They were descendants of a man named Israel.  God loved Israel because Israel always tried to do the right thing, and God made a promise to him that he would take care of Israel's descendants.  So, God gave Moses what we call the Ten Commandants.  God said if the people followed these rules they would have good, happy, lives.  Here's the rules God gave them through Moses:

1. There's only one God, me.
2. Don't worship anything or anyone else. Don't worship pictures or statues of anything.
3. Be respectful when mentioning God.  Don't swear. Don't be mean. (actually God's name was so respected that people wouldn't even say it, YHWE, pronounced YAA-WAY; Hebrew language)
4. Take a break.  Six days of the week you work, go to school, do what needs to be done.  The seventh day should be treated as special and a time to rest and spent with family and friends.
5. Respect your parents.
6. No murdering.
7. No cheating on your wife or husband.
8. No stealing.
9. No lying.
10. Don't be jealous, and wish you could take something away that belongs to someone else.

Sounds simple, right? Ten rules, follow them, and life will be good. If only it were that easy.

After giving them the rules, God watched the people to see if they would follow the rules.  If they would do what's right, and treat each other nice he would reward them.  At that time, people were mostly farmers, so God made sure their weather was good, their crops grew well, their animals were healthy, that they were healthy, that they had lots of healthy children to help them work the farm, and he protected them from other people that did bad things. God also made it clear that these rules were self rewarding, which means even if God wasn't watching them and rewarding them, if they followed these rules, life would go good for them.  But, if they chose not to follow the rules, then God would stop helping them, and their lives would get miserable.

Most people agree these are good rules.  In fact, a lot of our laws today are based on some of these rules. For example, you can go to jail for murdering and stealing. But, like I said before, just because people know what they should do doesn't mean they do it.  There's a strange thing that happens.  Sometimes, we know the right thing to do, but we can't do it, and other times we know what not to do, but we still do what we shouldn't do!

3500 years ago it was not much different, in fact it was worse, because before God gave the rules, people had no rules they followed.  They just did what they wanted, including killing other people, and taking their houses and their stuff.  They would also forget about God, and make gold cow statues and say that was their God, and they would bow down to the statue, and dance for it, and even kill people for these "gods".  That made the real God really angry.  It's like saying to your parents that they are not your parents, and draw a picture of someone else, call that picture your parent, and you just forget about your actual parents. Your parents would think, look at everything I've done for my kids, and now they don't even talk to me or hug me and they pretend some picture they drew is their parent!"  Your parents would probably say, "Fine, you want to pretend someone picture is your parent, go ahead. But don’t ask me for help or to do anything for you.  We can talk when you’re ready to apologize!"

This is kind of what happened, over and over again. God was always being nice, but the people would disobey and forget about the rules, which made God feel sad and rejected.  People would forget how good God had been to them and how he watched out for them.  But, even God can't force people to do the right thing.  So, he would say, "Fine, you want to be like that, go away. I can't look at you and you can't live here if you're not going to follow the rules.  The rules are for your own good and the good of the entire family.  If you keep breaking the rules, you're just going to ruin it for everyone!  When you're ready to admit you were wrong, and you want to come back, you let me know, because I'll always be here.  Until then, you have to leave."  So, there were lots of times when God didn't talk to the people, because the people were just being mean to him.

And of course every time the people, or their King, didn't listen to God, things did not go well for them.  There was arguing, their crops didn't grow, they weren't healthy, they disrespected each other, and they stole things from each other.  But if things became bad enough, people would realize they made a mistake, would feel bad about how they were living, and remember that they lived much better while they obeyed God.  And maybe one or two people would realize how good God had been to them, and they would come back to God, apologize, and they would get all the people to apologize, and then they would start following the rules again.  Of course God was happy when they came back. If they were sorry he would forgive them, he would take care of them again, and life would be good for them again.  God also always promised he would take care of them.

This is the way it went on for about 1500 years. People struggling with doing the right thing and following God's rules.  When people were bad and didn't follow the rules and they forgot God, and didn't talk to him. Sometimes people were so bad that God would send armies from other countries to punish them and take them away as slaves, until they learned their lesson, and stopped treating each other badly. But if people apologized and came back to God and talked to him, God was happy to see them and would help them again. Generation after generation, that's how it went.  Sometimes things were really good and sometimes they were really bad. But God never stopped loving the people.  People never stopped struggling with doing the right thing, but many times they failed to do what was right.  Entire generations, hundreds of thousands of people, failed.

But, God was determine to show the people how much he loved them, and how much he wanted them to have happy lives, and he had a plan for how he was going to help them even more.  Most of all he looked forward to the day when all the people would be happy to be with him. When he could be with them, and talk to them just like he use to talk to Moses, and help them with everything.

God Sends His Son

About 2000 years ago, there came a time when God's people (the Israelites) again were not being good, and as punishment God let the Romans conquer the lands of Israel and rule over all of them.  The Roman empire ruled over most of the known world at the time.  It was a huge kingdom.

At that time, God told a woman, Mary, that she would became pregnant and that child would save her people. This was to be God's Son, and God was his father.  When Joseph found out, he though Mary had cheated on him, but an angel of God came and explained it to Joseph, that it was a miracle from God.  Joseph was a good man and he was glad God had trusted him and Mary to give birth to and raise God's Son.  They were told to name him Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew, which means "to rescue".  Jesus was going to teach God's people, and through him God would help everyone to live good lives, and make it so that people could live forever with God in peace, without wars and arguing.  Jesus was going to start a new kingdom for all the people who loved God and rescue them from everyone else who didn't care about God or doing the right thing.  Jesus was God's final attempt to show people how much he loved them.

Jesus had the Spirit of God in him as he grew.  When he was 12, Mary and Joseph and Jesus went to Jerusalem for a yearly feast.  Mary and Joseph lost Jesus for several days and when they found him, he was at the temple in Jerusalem, sitting with the temple teachers learning and asking questions about God.  Everyone was amazed at his level of understanding.  When Mary and Joseph found him they ask him why he did this, that they were searching for me for days. He told them why they searching, didn't they know he would be at his Fathers house (the Temple was seen as God's house).  So, even at twelve, Jesus knew he was God's Son.

When Jesus was 30 years old, a man by the name of John was in the desert of Judea.  He was specially chosen by God, and he taught that people had to turn away from their bad ways, and be baptized for the forgiveness of all the things they had done wrong (their sins).  He baptized people with water as a sign of having their sins forgiven and washed away.  Jesus also came to him to be baptized, and as he was praying, the Spirit of God came in the form of a dove and a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased."

After that, for the next three years Jesus went around the countryside, teaching people about God, healing people who were sick with all sorts of diseases and physical disabilities, including blindness and leprosy, and he even raised people from death, while telling everyone about the coming Kingdom of God. At this time some people were also possessed by evil spirits, demons, and Jesus would drive them out and save the people. All these things he did to prove to people that he was God's Son, the savior that God had promised them hundreds of years ago.

Many people started following Jesus.  From his followers he selected 12, that we call the Apostles.  He tough them and told them everything that must happen to bring the Kingdom of God.  He also gave them power to heal the sick and perform other miracles.  These were all signs, proof that he was the Son of God and that what he was saying was the truth.

Now, the Jewish people knew from things that God had told them hundreds of years ago, that a savior was coming, and many started to believe that Jesus was that savior that God had promised.  But there was a group of people who did not like Jesus or his followers.  These were the religious leaders of the Jews.  They pretended to love God and obey his rules, but actually they just wanted money and power, and they were misleading the Jewish people.  They weren't teaching what God wanted the people to know.  Also, since they wanted all the money and power, they didn't help the poor.  Jesus tried to make them see what they were doing was wrong, but they wouldn't listen to him.  They also didn't believe he was the promised savior, because they expected someone who was powerful, like a great King, who was going to free them from the Romans. And they kept asking for more signs and miracles to prove he was who he said he was.  All the miracles Jesus and his Apostles did were not enough to convince them.  In fact Jesus knew that they hated him so much that they were planning to kill him.  So, he told them they would get no other sign except that of Jonah.  Hundreds of years ago, God saved a man by the name of Jonah from the Ocean, by having a whale hold him in it's mouth for three days until they got to dry land.  Jesus was telling them that if they killed him, he would come to life again, three days later.  That would be the sign they would get, but they didn't understand him.  They asked him when the Kingdom of God would come, but he told them it's not something you can see coming, because it is in the hearts of people.

Jesus told his Apostles several times that he would be killed, and that one of them would betray him to the leaders who wanted to kill him.  But they also didn't understand much of what he was saying.  He also told them many things about what would happen after that.

And so it happened. One night, Judas, one of the 12, was bribed by the Jewish leaders to tell them where he would be without a lot of people around him. In the middle of the night, they went there and Jesus allowed himself to be captured, because he knew this was part of God's plan.

Now because Israel was being occupied by the Romans, the Jews had no authority to condemn anyone.  They had to go to the Romans for judgment or to convict any criminals.  So, they brought Jesus to the Romans, and tried to convince the Governor that Jesus was starting a rebellion against the Roman empire, claiming to be king of a new kingdom, and he had to be killed, because the Jews didn't want the Roman government to punish them for what this man was saying.  Jesus was question by the Romans to understand what was going on, but they found no reason to condemn him to death, so he was beaten and given back to the Jewish leaders.  But the Jewish leaders insisted that Jesus had to be put to death and they kept insisting.  Finally the Romans agreed to have him killed by crucifixion, which means nailing someone to a wooden cross and letting them hang there until they die.  A terrible was to be killed.  When the Romans crucified him, they put a sign on the cross that said "King of the Jews".  The Jewish leaders were furious, they didn't want that sign above him, but the Roman governor left it there.

As Jesus was on the cross dying, he talked to God, and asked him to forgive everyone, because Jesus understood people didn't really know what they were doing, and they didn't have the will power to stop themselves from doing bad things.  And after that he died.

Jesus' body was taken down from the cross and he was placed in tomb which was offered by a rich man who was a follower of Jesus.  His body wasn't completely prepared because it was a Sabbath, a time when the Jews could do no work. A large boulder was put in place to close off the tomb.

On the third day, when people went to prepare the body, they found the large boulder at the opening of the tomb rolled back and Jesus' body was gone.  One of the women ran to the Apostles who had gathered together, and told them.  A couple of the Apostles ran to the tomb to verify his body was gone.  No one knew what was going on, or who rolled the large stone away from the opening.  Then two angles came and asked them why are you here looking for the living among the dead, and they told the Apostles that Jesus had come back to life, just like he said he would. And now they understood what Jesus had been telling them.  Jesus later appeared to two of the Apostles as they were walking between two cities.  They then went back to Jerusalem where the other Apostles were and they told them what happened.  While they were all there, Jesus appeared, showed them the marks from the nails of the cross, and they touched him to convince themselves it was him in the flesh.  He also he opened their minds so that they understood the teachings of God that had been written in the Old Testament (the parts of the Bible written before Jesus came), and what was predicted about him.  They understood that through Jesus' sacrifice and forgiveness, anyone that was truly sorry for the sins they have committed (the bad things they had done), would be forgiven.  And that this forgiveness came freely from God, because of Jesus' asked that God forgive everyone, even when he knew these people were responsible for killing him.

This may sound strange to us in modern society, but this was was not strange to the Jews (the descendants of Israel).  Along with the rules that God gave Moses hundreds of years ago, there were procedures for how people could receive forgiveness for their sins, the things they did wrong.  To show God they were truly sorry, they had to bring a sacrifice, something of value.  So, for the forgiveness of sins, there was always a sacrifice involved.  Well, Jesus offered himself as a final sacrifice to God, to gain forgiveness of all sins, for anyone who accepts that Jesus is the Son of God.

For forty days Jesus appeared to many of his followers, ate with them, and tough them about the Kingdom of God. He also told them that they would need to wait in Jerusalem, because God would send them the Holy Spirit, but first Jesus needed to leave.  He also explained to them that he would return some day, in the same way he was leaving now, in the same body he had now.  And with that, he physically rose into the sky until they could no longer see him because of the clouds.

The Start of The Church

When we think of Church, we think of a building, but actually the correct meaning of Church is the group of people that gathers in the building, the Christians, those that have accepted God's forgiveness which comes through Jesus. The book of Acts, chapter 2 is the heart of the beginning of the Church.

Now, after Jesus left, all the Apostles and other followers of Jesus stayed together in Jerusalem praying and waiting.  On the day of Pentacost, a holiday, they were all together.  A violent wind came down on them and then a fire which separated and rested on each of them.  This was the giving of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised.  And they began speaking in different languages.   A crowd had gathered to see what was going on, and because of the Jewish holiday there were Jews from many countries there.  Jews from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and they couldn't figure out what was going on, because they heard they men from Israel, talking in all their different languages.

Peter one of the Apostles explained what was happening.  He explained everything that was prophesied (predicted) about Jesus by explaining what was written in the Old Testament about him.  And how Jesus had to die as a sacrifice for the sins of people.  The people understood, and asked what they should do, and Peter said repent (decide to do good and turn away from doing bad), and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.  In return, God will give you the Holy Spirit to guide you in your life, and as a guarantee that you will be raised from death and live forever, in a new body, when Jesus returns.  Peter pleaded with everyone, save yourselves from all the people who don't want to follow God.  That day, the people who accepted the message were baptized in the name of Jesus, and there were about 3000 people baptized.

That was the beginning of the Kingdom of God on Earth.  The Kingdom which consists of all the people who accepted the message of love and forgiveness from God, through Jesus.

Christianity Spreading and Jesus' Return

The Apostles went around and gave this news to everyone they could, and they also did miracles to prove they were sent by God.  And so Christianity spread through the know world, and the believers would get together and celebrate God and Jesus and share everything. And 2000 years later there are still Christians around the world.

Now at the time, the Romans were still in charge, and unfortunately the Roman government did not like the Christians.  Because they claimed to belong to the Kingdom of God, and loved God and Jesus, they didn't recognize Cesar as their God, and wouldn't worship him as God.  So, Christians were seen as a threat to the government, and many of them were tortured and killed, including most of the Apostles.

For many years they were alive, the Apostles wrote letters to some of the Christian Churches, explaining more about the Kingdom of God, how people should behave, how they should live, what God expected of them, and what would happen when Jesus returned again.  These letters are in what we now call the New Testament.  So, the Bible is actually the Old Testament (all the things that happened, and were predicted, with God's chosen people, before Jesus came) and then the New Testament which is all letters from the Apostels to the Churches, and also the four written Gospels (Gospel means good news).  The Gospels are from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There's debate about who really wrote those. They each wrote about Jesus' life and everything that happened.  We know Luke was a follower of Paul and he was a historian.  He also wrote the book of Acts.  And most people accept that the book of John does come from John the Apostle.

Finally, the last writings in the New Testament, called the book of Revelation, was also written by John, one of Jesus' closest Apostles, the one he loved the most.  Jesus came to him and told him and showed him even more of God's plan and what will happen in the future.  The simple explanation is this:

Before Jesus returns, things are going to get pretty bad in the world. Many people will not accept God's message, and they will continue to do bad things, especially many of the leaders. There will continue to be wars, and eventually it will cause a huge war in the Middle East where many countries will come to attack Israel.  But not only that, there will be all sorts of disasters, earthquakes, diseases, and people starving.  And all these things will happen more and more as the time of Jesus' return comes closer.  Governments will become very bad, and people will not even be able to buy food without a mark that the government will want to put on everyone.  This will make it very hard for Christians especially.

But when Jesus returns, an amazing thing will happen.  All the Christians who have died in the past will come back with him, in new perfect bodies just like his.  And then those that are still alive on the Earth will instantly be changed to also have new bodies, and will meet Jesus and the other Christians in the sky.  Everyone will see Jesus and the Christians coming.  The big war in the Middle East will happen, but Jesus will defeat all the armies that come against Israel, because God will not forget his promise of love to Israel, even though many people in Israel rejected Jesus.  When the people of Israel see Jesus coming in the sky they will understand, and many will believe that he was the promised savior from God.  Right now, the Jews are still waiting for God to send his promised savior.

Once the big war, called Armageddon, is ended by Jesus, God will create a new Earth, and God himself with Jesus, and all the Christians will live together on the Earth, with all the other people who are still alive, and God will make Jesus the absolute ruler, the King of everything.  The Christians with him, will run the new Earth for 1000 years.  There will be no other governments, and the Earth will have peace for 1000 years.  So, the spiritual Kingdom of God, which started when Jesus was here the first time, will also become a physical Kingdom here on Earth.

What we will be doing, how we will be living with God and Jesus is a mystery.  But God promises it will be amazing and better than we could ever imagine.