Primarily an account of the history of the human race as told by the ancient Hebrews in the oral tradition, later written down. It details not only the historical accounts of their people but the influence in their god, Yahweh. Yahweh is a god of history to these people and has a great influence in the course of human events. Also included in these texts are psalms or lyric writings concerning Yahweh, proverbs and prophesy concerning the fate of their people, and the coming of the Messiah who was foretold to bring the people of Yahweh out of bondage.
The portion of the bible commonly referred to as the New Testament pertains to an historical catalyst in the persona of Jesus of Nazareth, perceived by those who believed him to be the Messiah that was foretold. It is a collection of the memoirs of the apostles, known as the gospels and the acts of the apostles. also included are letters of the apostles to different Christian communities of their time admonishing them against behavior and belief that would lead them astray from the meaning of the gospels.
The bible is not necessarily a 'do this not that' affair. it is a collection of poetry, history, prophecy and legend. not all of it is necessarily historically acurate, but it is also not meant as a means of control. im not sure where everyone got that idea.