Bible stories, Judeo-Christian retellings of certain portions of the Bible, have long had a place in family religious worship, spiritual instruction, literature, and the cultural underpinnings of many Christian and Jewish societies. In many Christian churches, they are regular ingredients of Sunday School curricula. The underlying spiritual principles in many of these stories are also used in preaching and teaching for Judeo-Christian adults as well. The Tanakh, also known as the Old Testament, contains stories about the creation and fall of humanity, the covenant God established with Abraham, and the history of the 'Chosen People' of Israel. The New Testament in the Christian Bible contains stories about the life of Jesus, the parables he told, and about the first period of apostolic activities.
The reason that people read the Bible is because it is a way for them to communicate with God. Christians believe that the Holy Spirit was speaking through the authors of any given part of the Bible, therefore any stories are direct words from God. Stories in the Bible also help to show examples of how Christians should live their lives on a day to day manner. Any story that a person can learn a lesson from is called a parable, and the Bible is full of them.
Although some believe that it is God's direct word in the Bible, humans actually physically wrote the words. A lot of the Old Testament authors were prophets, including Abraham and Ezekiel, but there were also many other unknown authors. All of the stories in the Old Testament are from before the birth of Jesus. This includes the beginning of the earth story in Genesis and other stories about the Jews interacting with God through prophets. The New Testament is the story of Jesus, along with the earliest written Christian materials. A large portion of the New Testament is the Gospels written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, also known as the four Evangelists. The Evangelists were disciples of Jesus, and all told His story in a different way.
It is believed that the Old Testament started to be put together in the 8th century B.C. Deuteronomy and Judges were added in the 6th Century B.C., and within the years leading up to the birth of Jesus the rest of it was put together. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, but was later translated into Greek. The New Testament was gathered and put together after Jesus's death. St. Paul's letters were circulated until they were eventually gathered into books, and later the Gospels were written and added. At this time people started to tell the stories of Jesus and his miracles, starting an oral tradition that still continues today.
The Bible is the most published book ever with over 50 billion copies sold and distributed. It has been translated completely into 683 languages, but small parts of it have been translated into thousands of languages and dialects around the world. About one-third of the world's population is Christian, so most of these people have heard or read some of the stories within the Bible, making the stories widely popular.