About the Bible

 

About the Bible

How We Got Our Bible

The Bible consists of 66 Books
39 Books in the Old Testament and 27 Books in the New Testament

 

How the Word of God Came To Be Written

OLD TESTAMENT
The authors of Hebrew Scriptures are not as identifiable as those of the New Testament. The books arose in the midst of the law given by Moses and the prophets sent by God to the children of Israel. The first five books (the Law) were  almost entirely written by Moses. The remainder of the Old Testament is composed of the prophets and writings in the Hebrew canon, whereas the English Bible includes the following categories: historical books, poetic books, and prophetic books.

The authors of the Old Testament include such authors as Samuel, David, Joshua, Solomon, and major prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and a number of lessor-known figures who wrote smaller books called the Minor Prophets. Each of these authors present his words as being the Word of God.

NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament was written by apostles of Jesus Christ and companions of the apostles. 
Letters were written to individuals, churches, or larger groups of persons either to confirm the truth of Christianity, engender belief in Christ, correct problems in local churches, or argue against error. The Book of Revelation also seeks to present God's plan for the end of age.


How the Inspired Writings Were Passed Down


OLD TESTAMENT

The Old Testament was written between 1440 B.C. and approximately 400 B.C. The Law of Moses was maintained in the Hebrew community by the priests of the temple. Later books continued to be deposited with these leaders until the destruction of the temple and then found their way into the teaching community begun by Ezra and continued in the 
synagogues. Trained scribes copied biblical texts by hand until the modern printing press came into use. The copies of the Masoretes of the ninth century A.D. are very close to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which originated a thousand years earlier.

NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament books were copied by local Christian communities and passed from one to the other for decades before an entire collection was made. Since the early letters were written on papyrus, they wore out rapidly and required regular copying. In the early forth century A.D., fifty copies of the entire Old and New Testament Greek Scriptures were made at the order of the first Christian emperor, Constantine. It is likely that the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus codexes. two of the longest early manuscripts to survive, originated from this order.

What Is the Canon of Scripture
The word canon is a word used to identify the writings of the prophets, the apostles, and their companions, which are inspired by God and authoritative for truth pertaining to doctrine and life. It means "rule" or "standard". A book is not inspired because it is declared to be canonical but is canonical because it is considered inspired. 
Therefore the church discovered the canonicity of the Old and New Testament book, it did not determine or cause their canonicity. 

How the Canon Was Decided
The books accepted by the Jewish community originated over a period of approximately one thousand years. The first question regarding a writing's acceptance was whether the book was by a prophet of God. Generally the book would have statements of "thus says the Lord", or "the word of the Lord came". Second, miraculous signs or accuracy of fulfillment served as confirmation of the prophet's message. Third, the book had to be internally consistent with the revelation of God found in the teaching of other canonical books, especially what God gave to Moses.
The first question for the church to answer about a book's inclusion in the canon accepted by Christians was wether it came through he apostles of the Lord or through persons under the guidance of an apostle, such as Luke. Second, the book had to come with the power of God and be effective for changing lives. Third, it must have been generally accepted by the people of God. This latter test refers first to the ones who received the book and next to the transmission in the church. Determination of the New Testament canon took place over a period of years, reaching its final form at Synod of Carthage in 397.

The Manuscripts of the Bible

OLD TESTAMENT
Fragments of the Hebrew Scriptures number in the tens of thousands, the majority dating between the third century B.C. and the fourteenth century A.D. The greatest attestation to the Hebrew Old Testament is the manuscripts found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which mostly date from the third century B.C. and the first century A.D.

NEW TESTAMENT
Manuscript evidence for the New Testament is abundant. There are more than five thousand existing copies, many New Testament books entirely or largely intact. 
Also there are several older translations of the New Testament into languages like Syriac, Coptic, and Latin that survive in thousand of manuscripts. No work of antiquity even approaches the New Testament for authenticity.

 

About the Bible

About the Bible Old Testament 

The Classification of the Hebrew Bible
English readers are familiar with the classifications and order of the Old Testament in the English Bible. The divisions are the Law of Moses, the Historical Books, the Poetical Books, and lastly the Prophets. The Jews of today and in the days of Christ, however had a different structure and order. The major divisions were the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms or Writings (see Luke 24:27, 44). 

The Law
The Law contains the Book of Moses, which present the beginnings of the world and the covenant people of Israel. God is presented as the Creator of the material universe, then more specifically as the Creator of the people that bear His name. Moses received the family histories (see Gen. 2:4; 5:1; 10;1) that has been passed down from the various faithful os mankind through the father of Israel, Abraham. Moses probably used these to write the Genesis account. plus the oral tradition which surely would have come through the children of God in bondage in Egypt concerning their heritage and the acts of their leaders. The majority of the remainder of the Pentateuch (the five books) would have been concurrent with Moses' own life and experience.

The Prophets
The Hebrew Scriptures list the Prophets as Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings ("the Former Prophets"), and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the twelve Minor Prophets "(the Latter Prophets"). The inclusion of so many books in this category comes about because the Hebrews correctly understood prophecy to be forth-telling from God as well as foretelling
Moreover, the term "prophets" stands over an entire portion of sacred text even if every part of the section might not be predictive in nature. The books of Samuel and Kings, for example, are called Prophets even though their content is largely historical. The Prophets set forth the words of God to the covenant people regarding His promises to them and their duty to obey His law given through Moses. 

In addition, the stories tell of men like Elijah and Elisha, as well as the rising star of Israel, David, whom Peter tells us was a prophet (Acts 2:30).

The Writings
The writings were sometimes broadly called "the Psalms," and consist of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Ester, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles. (Song of Solomon through ester are termed "The Five Scrolls.") These portions of the Hebrew Bible contain the devotional and wisdom literature of Israel, as well as some historical and prophetic material. Non-poetic books that are relatively late chronologically find their place among the Writings in the Hebrew canon.

About the Bible

What Exactly Is a Gospel?

Like the Old Testament, the New Testament has several noticeable divisions.
They are Gospels, History, Letters, and Apocalypse (Revelation).

The Gospels present a kind of literature that is very different from the other ancient and modern writings. They are not biographies of Christ, seeking to develop a full-orbed understanding of Jesus' life, His friendships, His family, or His mental or psychological dimensions. They are also not histories of heroic deeds or collections of His famous sayings, through some of these kinds of materials are found in the Gospel accounts.

The four Gospels appear to be a new genre for which other categories are inadequate. These accounts of the life, works, and words of Jesus are preaching material regarding the redemptive ministry, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.

The Nature of New Testament Letters 
The letters written by the apostles and their companions are different from the letters most people would write today. Writing tools and materials were not plentiful, so the authors sought to conserve space when writing. Moreover, the greetings and benedictions in the New Testament letters are unlike the sort of correspondence we would see now, but they are similar  to the introductions and conclusions found in other-century letters. The New Testament authors composed their letters in order to solve problems in the church or to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who needed to hear about it.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ
The Book of Revelation is unique among the New testament books, reflecting a genre of literature familiar to the Jews, called apocalyptic. It sets forth in vivid and emotional terms the triumph of Christ over His enemies, in agreement with the prophetic teachings about the conquering Messiah and the discourses of Jesus in Matthew 24  and Mark 13 concerning His second coming. 

 Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple

Matthew 24: 1-2

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age

Matthew 24:3-14
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

 

 The Great Tribulation

Matthew 24:15-28
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.

“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together

 
 

The Coming of the Son of Man

Matthew 24:29-31
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 
 

The Parable of the Fig Tree

Matthew 24:32-35
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

 
 

 No One Knows the Day or Hour

Matthew 24:36-44
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

 
 

The Faithful and Evil Servant

Matthew 24:45-51
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.
But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming, and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 
 
 

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