The Bible is a collection of sacred writings that spans more than 16 centuries. Its writers used quite a variety of genres and styles--history, law, sermons, poetry, proverb, musical libretto, letters, and prophecy. The New Testament begins with five books of stories, and then come the epistles (letters) that explain what happened and apply those truths to people’s lives. Thus the epistles are a little more abstract; they are couched in the language of doctrine.
Want to grow your biblical vocabulary? Let’s start with the word "atonement." Example: “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). Here’s a word that for once doesn’t come from Hebrew, Greek, or Latin. In fact, its roots are from English itself.
It is the grave dilemma of the human race that our terminally sinful condition is inherited by our children. Their little bodies bear the curse even before they learn to speak. All humanity by birth is at odds with God. It is the great work of Christ to make us at one instead. (Get it? “At one”?) He allowed himself to be forsaken by his Father on the cross so that he might bring us back together.
This great atonement embraces the greatest of all paradoxes: Christ died to make us alive.