God Preserved The Writings
The Bible was carefully preserved from Genesis to Revelation.
The Old Testament: This canon was started about 1400 BC and completed about 450 BC . According to Josephus, the Jewish people divided the Hebrew scriptures into the following sections:
- The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
- The 13 Prophets: Joshua, Judges, and Ruth Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations Ezekiel, the 12 Minor Prophets Daniel, Job, Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah and Chronicles.
- The Four Writings: Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. Sometimes Job, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and Chronicles were added to this third section of writings.
The New Testament: Soon after the church began, the need for a second canon of accepted Scripture writings developed.
The New Testament canon formed much more quickly than that of the Old Testament because of the loss of the apostles and other witnesses, the expansion of Christianity beyond Palestine, the need to protect the message from false teachings, the persecution of believers , and the missionary enterprise .
The early church went through several steps to finalize the New Testament canon. Most of the books were widely recognized as canonical in the second and third centuries. Some seriously questioned only a few of the later books in the New Testament. By AD 397, two official church councils had confirmed the canonical nature of the 27 books of the New Testament.
Who Wrote The Bible
Until the 17th century, received opinion had it that the first five books of the Bible Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy were the work of one author: Moses. That theory has since been seriously challenged.
Scholars now believe that the stories that would become the Bible were disseminated by word of mouth across the centuries, in the form of oral tales and poetry perhaps as a means of forging a collective identity among the tribes of Israel. Eventually, these stories were collated and written down. The question is by whom, and when?
A clue may lie in a limestone boulder discovered embedded in a stone wall in the town of Tel Zayit, 35 miles southwest of Jerusalem, in 2005. The boulder, now known as the Zayit Stone, contains what many historians believe to be the earliest full Hebrew alphabet ever discovered, dating to around 1000 BC. What was found was not a random scratching of two or three letters, it was the full alphabet, Kyle McCarter of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland has said of the stone. Everything about it says this is the ancestor of the Hebrew script.
Ask the expert: John Barton
John Barton is a former professor of holy scriptures at the University of Oxford and the author of A History of the Bible: The Books and Its Faiths.
Q:Just how reliable is the Old Testament as an historical document?
Q:How much does archaeology support the historicity of the Old Testament?
What Parts Of The Bible Were Written In Aramaic
Ancient Aramaic originated among the Arameans in northern Syria and became widely used under the Assyrians. A few passages in the Old Testament were written in Aramaic .
Some have compared the relationship between Hebrew and Aramaic to that between modern Spanish and Portuguese: theyre distinct languages, but sufficiently closely related that a reader of one can understand much of the other. Aramaic was very popular in the ancient world and was commonly spoken in Jesus time.
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Which Bible Version Is Best For You
We could have a very long conversation about the many different translations and all the technical reasons to read one or another version of the Bible.
And different people may have different reasons for selecting the version they read every day.
There are many good translations. And many people have theirpreferences.
Here are some things to think about and questions to askyourself when deciding which translation to get:
Will I enjoy the translation?
Will it be easy to read?
Will I understand it?
Will I be motivated to read it?
For many folks, just one translation will never do. If you are like me, you will have multiple translations around the house, on your computer and all your electronic devices.
Its a wonderful blessing that we have so many options for enjoying the Word of the Living God.
The Bible Today Is The Same As What Was Originally Written
Some people have the idea that the Bible has been translated “so many times” that it has become corrupted through stages of translating. That would probably be true if the translations were being made from other translations. But translations are actually made directly from original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic source texts based on thousands of ancient manuscripts.
The accuracy of todays Old Testament was confirmed in 1947 when archaeologists found The Dead Sea Scrolls along today’s West Bank in Israel. “The Dead Sea Scrolls” contained Old Testament scripture dating 1,000 years older than any manuscripts we had. When comparing the manuscripts at hand with these, from 1,000 years earlier, we find agreement 99.5% of the time. And the .5% differences are minor spelling variances and sentence structure that doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence.
Regarding the New Testament, it is humanity’s most reliable ancient document.
All ancient manuscripts were written on papyrus, which didnt have much of a shelf life. So people hand copied originals, to maintain the message and circulate it to others.
Few people doubt Platos writing of The Republic. Its a classic, written by Plato around 380 B.C. The earliest copies we have of it are dated 900 A.D., which is a 1,300 year time lag from when he wrote it. There are only seven copies in existence.
*McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict , p. 55.
Recommended Reading: The Bible Books In Chronological Order
God Himself Inspired The Writings
The prophet Jeremiah offers us seven important insights.
1. Inspiration begins the moment God reveals any portion of his truth to his prophets for his people . The prophet knew immediately that he had received a new revelation from God. He didnt have to think twice about it!
2. Inspiration often begins as an oral message that the prophet or apostle dictates or pens. Its inspired whether its written immediately or after an extended period of time .
3. Inspired messages communicate Gods words to humanity in an exact form. They become inspired scriptures the moment they are penned. Their value as Gods Word does not increase, but their effectiveness does. People can reconsider recorded messages and read them along with other messages from other times .
4. Inspiration is not dependent on the written scriptures. When we share portions of Scripture orally, we are transmitting Gods Word to others .
5. Inspiration does not depend on the actual existence of the originals today . Jeremiah dictated all the former words that were in the first scroll he had just written a scroll of newly inspired Scripture that a wicked king promptly destroyed .
6. Inspiration is always dependent on the Lord. Even though Jeremiah was a prophet of the Lord, he couldnt prophesy whenever he felt like it. Sometimes the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, compelling him to prophesy .
Geneva Bible V King James Version Sample Comparisons
To compare the Geneva Bible with the King James, here is Revelation 6:1217 in both versions . The differences have been italicized :
Here are both the Geneva and the King James versions of Genesis 3:7 with spellings as in their originals :
King James Bible
The two versions are very similar. Examination of the differences shows that the earlier Geneva version is often more direct and modern in style than the later King James, e.g.
“and the moon was like blood” versus “and the moon became as blood”
“as a fig tree casteth her green figs” versus “even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs”
By and large, the difference is that the KJV lacked footnotes that the Geneva Bible contained. The KJV does use the serial comma.
As can be seen by the text below, Daniel chapter 4 in the Geneva Bible appears to have removed two verses. In reality, the Geneva Bible places those two verses at the end of chapter 3, as the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin versions all did. It was not until the King James Version that those verses were placed with chapter 4 as opposed to chapter 3:
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How The Books Of The New Testament Were Determined
The early church accepted the New Testament books almost as soon as they were written. Its already been mentioned that the writers were friends of Jesus or his immediate followers, men to whom Jesus had entrusted the leadership of the early church. The Gospel writers Matthew and John were some of Jesus’ closest followers. Mark and Luke were companions of the apostles, having access to the apostles’ account of Jesus’ life.
The other New Testament writers had immediate access to Jesus as well: James and Jude were half-brothers of Jesus who initially did not believe in him. Peter was one of the 12 apostles. Paul started out as a violent opponent of Christianity and a member of the religious ruling class, but he became an ardent follower of Jesus, convinced that Jesus rose from the dead.
The reports in the New Testament books lined up with what thousands of eyewitnesses had seen for themselves.
When other books were written hundreds of years later, it wasn’t difficult for the church to spot them as forgeries. For example, the Gospel of Judas was written by the Gnostic sect, around 130-170 A.D., long after Judas’ death. The Gospel of Thomas, written around 140 A.D., is another example of a counterfeit writing erroneously bearing an apostles’ name. These and other Gnostic gospels conflicted with the known teachings of Jesus and the Old Testament, and often contained numerous historical and geographical errors.7
Historians Confirm What The Bible Says About Jesus
Not only do we have well-preserved copies of the original manuscripts, we also have testimony from both Jewish and Roman historians.
The gospels report that Jesus of Nazareth performed many miracles, was executed by the Romans, and rose from the dead. Numerous ancient historians back the Bible’s account of the life of Jesus and his followers:
Cornelius Tacitus , an historian of first-century Rome, is considered one of the most accurate historians of the ancient world.8 An excerpt from Tacitus tells us that the Roman emperor Nero “inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class…called Christians. …Christus , from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus….”9
Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian , wrote about Jesus in his Jewish Antiquities. From Josephus, “we learn that Jesus was a wise man who did surprising feats, taught many, won over followers from among Jews and Greeks, was believed to be the Messiah, was accused by the Jewish leaders, was condemned to be crucified by Pilate, and was considered to be resurrected.”10
Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, and Thallus also wrote about Christian worship and persecution that is consistent with New Testament accounts.
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Who Wrote The Bible: Prophets
Wikimedia CommonsThe prophet Isaiah
The next texts to examine when investigating who wrote the Bible are those of the biblical prophets, an eclectic group who mostly traveled around the various Jewish communities to admonish people and lay curses and sometimes preach sermons about everybodys shortcomings.
Some prophets lived way back before the Golden Age while others did their work during and after the Babylonian captivity. Later, many of books of the Bible attributed to these prophets were largely written by others and were fictionalized to the level of Aesops Fables by people living centuries after the events in the books were supposed to have happened, for example:
Wikimedia CommonsThe prophet Jeremiah
List Of The Best Translations Of The Bible
The best translations of the Bible are mostly well-known, but there are also a few that are not so well-known. Scholars regard Word-for-Word as most accurate translation method that leaves the least room for error.
Thought-by-Thought and Paraphrase are much more readable, but they have been criticized because these translations can begin to interpret the Bible rather than only translating it.
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What Is The Original Text Of The Bible
What we call the Original Text of the Bible is not one single book: around the world there are thousands of manuscripts containing the Biblical text, therefore we can define the Original Text of the Bible as the result of a complete survey and analysis of all these manuscripts and of all linguistic, epigraphic, historical and archaeological studies, in every moment, for the Old and the New Testament.For example, for the Old Testament, the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, which is the first printed edition of the Masoretic Text* put forward by the Code of Leningrad 1008 AD, is the Original Text of the Bibleof reference for the Catholic church, the Protestant Christian churches and the Jewish Torah and at the bottom of each page there is the critical apparatus that consists of many variants from other manuscripts.
For the New Testament we have numerous texts including the , which refers to the first edition of the Greek New Testament produced by Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1516 and is also equipped with critical apparatus footnotes, then we have the Textus receptus , which forms the basis for the version of the Bible by Martin Luther and most other New Testaments produced at the time of the Protestant Reformation in Europe . And so on.
SO, WHICH BIBLE VERSION OFFERS THE BEST TRANSLATION FROM THE ORIGINAL TEXT?
Did God Write Any Of The Bible
In my experience as a Catholic priest, one of the most commonly held accounts of biblical inspiration among Christians is that God dictated the Bible. According to this view, sometimes called the verbal dictation theory, God dictated each word of the sacred text to a human author who simply wrote it down.
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Set Aside What Religious Tradition Says And Discover Who Wrote The Bible According To The Scholars Who Have Examined The Actual Evidence
Wikimedia CommonsA depiction of Paul the Apostle writing his epistles.
HOLY BOOKS HAVE A REACH that goes far beyond what virtually all works of literature can ever accomplish. Unlike, say, The Great Gatsby, the Bible is a text upon which millions and millions of people have based their entire lives.
That fact can be good or bad, and its often been both over the many centuries throughout which Christians have been reading the Bible and Jews have been reading the Torah. But given its immense reach and cultural influence, its a bit surprising how little we really know about the Bibles origins. In other words, who wrote the Bible? Of all the mysteries surrounding the Bible, that one may be the most fascinating.
Were not completely ignorant, of course. Some books of the Bible were written in the clear light of history, and their authorship isnt terribly controversial. Other books can be reliably dated to a given period by either internal clues sort of the way no books written in the 1700s mention airplanes, for instance and by their literary style, which develops over time.
Religious doctrine, of course, holds that God himself is the author of or at least the inspiration for the entirety of the Bible, which was transcribed by a series of humble vessels. About the best that can be said for that notion is that if God really did write the Bible through a millennium-long sequence of various authors, he was certainly doing it the hard way.
King James I And The Geneva Bible
In 1604, the year after he claimed the throne of England in 1603, King James I hosted and presided over a conference pertaining to matters religious, the Hampton Court Conference. While the Geneva Bible was the preferred Bible of Anglican and Puritan Protestants during the Elizabethan Age, King James I disliked the Geneva Bible and made his views clearly known at the conference: “I think that of all , that of Geneva is the worst.” Apparently, his distaste for the Geneva Bible was not necessarily caused just by the translation of the text into English, but mostly the annotations in the margins. He felt strongly many of the annotations were “very partial, untrue, seditious, and savoring too much of dangerous and traitorous conceits…” In all likelihood, he saw the Geneva’s interpretations of biblical passages as anti-clerical “republicanism”, which could imply church hierarchy was unnecessary. Other passages appeared particularly seditious: notably references to monarchs as “tyrants”.It followed that the need for a king as head of church and state could be questioned also. James had been dealing with similar issues with the Presbyterian-Calvinist religious leaders back in Scotland, and he wanted none of the same controversies in England. Also, if annotations were in print, readers might believe these interpretations correct and fixed, making it more difficult to change his subjects’ minds about the meanings of particular passages.
Recommended Reading: Chronological Order Of Bible Books