A Host Of Questions Can Surface When The Issue Of The Accuracy Of The Bible Is Raised:
Isnt the Bible full of contradictions and errors?
The Bible has been copied and translated so many times–hasnt this process led to errors?
How can you be sure that the Bible is the same now as when it was written?
Didnt the church arbitrarily decide which books should be included in the Bible and which books should be rejected?
So many people have different interpretations of the Bible–what makes you think that yours is correct?
How can you place your faith in a book that condones genocide and slavery?
Doesnt the Bible make a number of claims that are scientifically inaccurate?
In many cases, when someone says, I dont believe the Bible, it is helpful to ask, Do you understand the message of the Bible? Many will acknowledge that they do not, and those who think they do will almost invariably present a distorted picture. You can graciously point this out and say, I think that you owe it to yourself to have a correct picture of the basic message of the Bible before you decide to accept or reject it. This can open the door to a clear presentation of the Gospel, and the discussion can go from there. This approach is most appropriate when the objection to the Bible is vague or being used as a smokescreen. If a person has honest intellectual difficulties about the Bible, give direct answers whenever possible. The information in this section is designed to help you do this.
What About The Apocryphal Books
The Apocrypha was never accepted by the Jews as Scripture, but the early church was divided on whether those books should be part of Scripture or not. The earliest Christian evidence is decidedly against viewing the Apocrypha as Scripture, but the use of the Apocrypha gradually increased in parts of the church until the time of the Reformation.
The fact that these books were included by Jerome in his Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible gave support to their inclusion, even though Jerome himself said they were not books of the canon but merely books of the church that were helpful and useful for believers. The wide use of the Latin Vulgate in subsequent centuries guaranteed their continued accessibility, but many people rejected or were suspicious of these books for three reasons:
Joshua Adds To The Word
After the death of Moses, Joshua also added to the collection of written words of God: Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God . This is especially surprising in light of the command not to add to or take away from the words which God gave the people through Moses: You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it . . . .
In order to have disobeyed such a specific command, Joshua must have been convinced that he was not taking it upon himself to add to the written words of God, but that God himself had authorized such additional writing.
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The Trustworthiness Of The Translation
This new translation would be translated from the original Hebrew and Greek . The new translation was carried out following such strict guidelines that, the translation now being set before the public can be thought of as representing the best possible distillation of the wisdom, grace, and beauty of existing translations, corrected where necessary against the original biblical documents in their original languages .
The King James was published in 1611. The simple fact that it is still one of the most popular Bibles used today attests to the fact of its accuracy. Regardless of the political climate of the times, or the moral condition of the man after whom the Bible takes its name, the translators of the King James Bible were dedicated to their task. They were much more concerned with a faithful word-for-word translation than the translators of the Bible versions before them .
Even though there have been substantial advancements made in the field of language translation, and older biblical manuscripts in the original languages have been found that were not available to the translators of the King James Bible, the variations in the texts were minor. Not a single teaching of the Christian faith is affected by these variations, nor is any major historical aspect of the gospel narratives or early Christianity affected . In other words, the King James Version of the Bible remains a trustworthy rendering of Gods Word.
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Divisions Of The Bible
The Old Testament has 39 books. The Jews divided these books intothree divisions: the Law, the Prophets, the Writings. Our English Bible dividesthe OT into four main groups:
The 27 books of the New Testament are arranged into four divisions:
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The Problem Of Inspiration
A person may grant the reliability of the biblical documents but balk at the idea that they are divinely inspired. The Bibles repeated claim of verbal inspiration by God does not by itself prove such inspiration any more than similar claims made by the Koran or the Book of Mormon prove the inspiration of those books. But if all other lines of evidence point consistently to the reliability of the Bible, the Bibles selftestimony of divine inspiration must be taken seriously. Similarly, if Jesus Christ fulfilled hundreds of messianic prophecies and rose from the dead, His testimony concerning Himself and the Bible cannot be lightly dismissed.
1. Biblical Claims
Referring to The law and the prophets , Jesus made this unqualified statement: And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail . He said that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me , and that the Scripture cannot be broken . Paul also affirmed that the Scriptures are God-breathed : All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness . Peter referred to this divine-human nature of Scripture when he wrote, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit .
2. Fulfilled Prophecy
1. Born of a woman .
2. Born of a virgin .
The Apostles Claimed To Have Divine Authority
The apostles claimed to have an authority equal to the Old Testament prophetsan authority to speak and write words that came directly from God.
Peter encourages his readers to remember the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles . And to lie to the apostles was equivalent to lying to the Holy Spirit and lying to God .
Paul especially claimed to speak the words of God. He claimed not only that the Holy Spirit revealed to him what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived , but also that when he declared this revelation, he spoke it in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting Spiritual things in Spiritual words .
Similarly, Paul tells the Corinthians, If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord . The word translated what in this verse is a plural relative pronoun in Greek and more literally could be translated the things that I am writing to you. Thus, Paul claims that his directives to the church at Corinth are not merely his own but a command of the Lord.
Later, in defending his apostolic office, Paul says that he will give the Corinthians proof that Christ is speaking in me . He makes similar claims elsewhere .
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How We Got The 27 Books Of The New Testament
The selection of the New Testament books isnt as neat and tidy as the Old Testament. There was a lot of confusion and debate in the early church about what was considered inspired by God, what was completely made up, and what was simply something that was written by a Christian, but not directly inspired.
Yet despite all the debate from people who criticize the Bible today, the uncertainty of the New Testament gets cleared up when we understand why Christians debated certain books, and how we ultimately came to a conclusion on the 27 we have today.
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of ones own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
The greatest requirement for something to be considered inspired by God is the author. We know that all those who truly repent of their sins and ask Christ to save them are given the same Holy Spirit. We also know that we can only speak and understand truth about God because of His work in our lives. However, that doesnt mean that anything we say should be considered inspired by God in the same way, because we are capable of mixing our false understanding with the truth of God.
In addition to a book needing to claim some kind of authorship by an apostle, the 27 books in our New Testament are those that were clearly written in the first century.
Why does this matter?
How Did Christianity Spread Around The World
The Epistles, or letters, written by Paul the Apostle to churches dotted across the Mediterranean world which are our best source for the initial spread of Christianity confirm that Christianity started in Jerusalem, but spread rapidly to Syria and then to the rest of the Mediterranean world, and was mostly accepted by non-Jews, says John Barton, former professor of the interpretation of holy scriptures at the University of Oxford.
The epistles are our earliest evidence for Christianity, says Barton. The first date from the AD 50s, just two decades after the death of Jesus.
As Pauls letters to churches such as the one in the Greek city of Thessalonica reveal, the first Christian communities were often persecuted for their beliefs.
And its such persecution, particularly at the hands of the Romans, that may have inspired the last book of the New Testament, Revelations. With its dark descriptions of a seven-headed beast and allusions to an imminent apocalypse, Revelations is now widely believed to be a foretelling of the grisly fate that the author believed awaited the Roman oppressors of Christianity.
Versions of the Bible
Different editions of the Bible have appeared over the centuries, aiming to further popularise the stories and teachings within. Here are three of the most notable versions
King James Bible
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The Old Testament Was Finished In 435 Bc
If we date Haggai to 520 B.C., Zechariah to 520518 B.C. , and Malachi around 435 B.C., we have an idea of the approximate dates of the last Old Testament prophets.
Roughly coinciding with this period are the last books of Old Testament historyEzra, Nehemiah, and Esther. Ezra went to Jerusalem in 458 B.C., and Nehemiah was in Jerusalem from 445433 B.C. Esther was written sometime after the death of Xerxes-I in 465 B.C., probably during the reign of Artaxerxes I .
After approximately 435 B.C. there were no additions to the Old Testament canon. The subsequent history of the Jewish people was recorded in other writings, such as the books of the Maccabees, but these writings were not thought worthy to be included with the collections of Gods words from earlier years.
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Teaching The Actual How Did We Get The Bible Lesson
First, you need to set the framework for the Bible. The Bible is not just one giant book that is good for pressing flowers. Its actually 66 books put together, they range in size from 1 page all the way up to about 150 pages .
The other thing thats unique about the Bible is it was written over 4000 years of time. Thats part of what makes the Bible so amazing, despite being written over a large period of time there are no major contradictions .
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Is The Original Bible Still In Existence
Background of the Original BibleDan BrownâsThe Da Vinci CodeCompilation of the Original Old TestamentDead Sea Scrollsfrom the blood of Abel to the blood of ZechariahCompilation of the Original New TestamentSecrets of the CodeMuratorian CanonThe laborer is worthy of his wagesthe other ScripturesOriginal Bible Conclusiontextual criticism
The Biggest Selling And Most Popular Book In Human History
Besides the history that is recorded in Scripture itself, there is an historical basis for understanding why we believe the 66 books comprise the Bible we have today. Thats why we produced a brand new resource, in the form of a small booklet that is easy for Christians to digest, and one that is cheap enough for them to give away to others . Its called How did we get our Bible: And is it the Word of God? It includes topics like:
- How do we know the Bible was inspired?
- How was it communicated to human beings?
- What was Gods purpose in doing this?
- How did we arrive at the books we call the Bible?
- How were they preserved throughout history?
- How can we trust the copies we have?
- Are there corrupt translations?
- And much, much more.
In addition, on the inside back cover of the booklet we have produced a full colour chart that shows all the cross references in the books of the Bible . It is a staggering sight to see the interconnectedness between them, and it aptly demonstrates the incredible unity of Scripture in a visual way. You can view a larger version of it here.
Click on the picture above or on the top, right-hand side to order your copies.
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How We Got The 39 Books Of The Old Testament
This one is actually incredibly simple. Our books of the Old Testament are simply what the Jews used throughout history, called the Hebrew Bible. The holy words of God that theyd been protecting and preserving were clearly what God wanted Israel to have because they were His words to them. Because of that, we only use what Gods chosen people have been using before Christ came to Earth.
Although we have the same words as the Hebrew Bible, the two are arranged quite differently.
- The Hebrew Bible has only 24 books in it, compared to our 39 in the Old Testament
- Their Bible has books like Kings, Chronicles, and Samuel, while we break them up into 2 separate books
- Likewise, our 12 minor prophets like Jonah and Habakkuk are all combined into a single book called The Book of Twelve
- Although our first 5 books of the Bible are in the same order, the rest of their books are grouped together in the categories of Former Prophets, Latter Prophets, and Writings
- Ours is grouped into History, Poetry, and Prophecy
Why the difference? It all comes down to tradition and familiarity.
Before Christ, the Jews had been scattered about. Many wanted to read and understand their sacred book, but fewer and fewer could read it in Hebrew, the original language of the Old Testament. It would be like us wanting to read the New Testament in its original Greek we simply dont know the language, and back then few people had the time or resources to learn a new language.
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