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How the Bible came to us

By Lewis C. Lampley

It came from the Heart and Mind of our sovereign God.

In its origin the Bible has One author, 40 different writers who wrote over a period of 1500 years (B.C. 1405 to A.D.95), on three continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe.

1. 1400-400 B.C. Books of the Hebrew Old Testament written.

2. The Bible was written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

3. The Bible is complete (Deut.4:2,12:32; Prov.30:6).

4. @ 250-200 B.C. The Septuagint, a popular Gk translation of the O.T.

5. A.D.45-95, the Books of the N.T. were written.

6. A.D. 90-118, the Councils of Jamnia give final affirmation to the O.T. canon (39 books).

7. 140-150, Marcion’s heretical “N.T.” incites orthodox Christians to establish a NT canon.

8. 303-306, Diocletian’s persecution in-cludes confiscating and destroying N.T. Scriptures.

9. @305-310, Lucian of Antioch’s Gk NT text; becomes a foundation for later Bibles.

10.367, Athanasius’s Festal Letter lists complete NT canon (27 books) for the first time.

11.397, Council of Carthage established orthodox NT canon (27 books).

12.@ 400, Jerome translates the Bible into Latin; this “Vulgate” becomes standard of medieval church (Roman Catholic).

English Versions from Latin

1. @ 650, Caedmon, a monk, puts the Bible books into verse.

2. The Bible has 31,173 verses, and 774, 746 words!

3. The Bible has 66 books, and 1,189. Chapters

4. @ 735, Historian Bede translates the Gospels.

5. 871-899, King Alfred the Great translates the Psalms and 10 Commandments.

6. 950, the 7th-century Lindisfarne Gospels receive English translation.

7. 955-1020, Aelfric translates various Bible books.

8. @ 1325, Both Richard Rolle and William Shoreham translates psalms into metrical verse (e.g, Psa. 23).

9. @ 1300, the invention of eyeglasses aids copying.

10.1380-1382, John Wycliffe and associates make FIRST translation of the whole Bible into English!

11.1388, John Purvey revises Wycliffe Bible.

12.1455, Gutenburg’s Latin Bible-first from press! So much for the...

English versions from Latin - we turn now to the...

English Versions From Greek

1. 1516, Erasmus’s Greek NT, forerunner of to the Textus Receptus used by KJV translators.

2. 1525, William Tyndale makes the FIRST translation of the NT from Greek to English.

3. 1536, Tyndale strangled and burned.

4. 1537, Miles Coverdale’s Bible completes Tyndale’s work on the O.T.

5. 1538, Great Bible, assembled by John Rogers, the FIRST English Bible authorized for public use.

6. 1560, Geneva Bible-the work of William Whittingham, a Protestant English exile in Geneva.

7. 1568, Bishop’s Bible-a revision of the Great Bible.

8. 1582, Rheims New Testament published.

9. 1607-1611, King James Version, the “Authorized Version,” is made by a team of about 50 scholars.

What is Inspiration?

The phrase “inspired of God,” is the translation of the Greek word theopneustos and means “God-breathed.” “All Scripture is inspired” is Grammatically similar in the Greek Constructure of (Rom. 7:12; 2 Cor.10:10; 1 Tim. 1:15; 2:3; 4:4). We shall see how these passages argue persuasively that the translation “all Scripture is given by inspiration… is accurate. Let’s observe the content of these:

Key passages on Inspiration

Rom.7:12,So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.

2 Cor.10:10,For, His letters, they say, are weighty and strong; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.

1 Tim.1 :15Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

1 Tim.2:3, For this good and acceptable in th sight of God our Savior.

1 Tim.4:4, For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if

it be received with thanksgiving:

Both OT and NT Scripture are included in the phrase, “all Scripture.” 2 Pet.15-16

2 Pet.3:15,16,And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; 16as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

The statement “…given by inspiration of God.” Lit…“breathed out by God,” or “God-breathed.”

Sometimes God told the Bible writers the exact words to say (e.g., Jer.1:9), but more often He used their minds, vocabularies, and experiences to produce His own perfect infallible, inerrant Word. It is important to note that inspiration applies only to the original autographs of Scripture, not the Bible writers; there are no inspired Scripture writers, only inspired Scripture.

So identified is God with His Word that when Scripture speaks, God speaks. Follow this:

Rom.9:17For the scripture says unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth.

Gal. 3:8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed.

Scripture is called “the oracles of God” (Rom.3:2;1 Pet.4:11). Scripture cannot be altered/broken (John 10:35; Matt.5:17,18; Luke16:17; Rev. 22:18,19).

Inspiration may defined as the Holy Spirit’s superintending over the writers so that while writing according to their own styles and personalities, the results was God’s Word written-authoritative, trustworthy, and free from error in the original autographs.

Elements of a proper definition of Divine Inspiration

1. The divine element - God the Holy Spirit superintended the writers, ensuring the accuracy of the writing.

2. The human element - human authors wrote according to their individual style and per-sonalities.

3. The result of the divine-human authorship is the recording of God’s truth without error.

4. Inspiration extends to the selection of words by the writers -inspiration relates to the ori-ginal manuscripts.

Because the Bible is God-breathed, it contains the mind and will of God

A. It teaches doctrine.

B. It reproves us.

C. It corrects us.

D. It provides training in righteousness.

E. There are four compelling benefits derived from the Scripture - let’s notice the terms in the Process:

The Ministry of God’s Word

1. Doctrine - keeps us in the center of God’s will.

2. Reproof - gets us back on track when we jump course.

3. Correction - helps us recover.

4. Training in Righteousness - brings us to maturity.

What God Reveals Through the Bible

A. God reveals Himself through the Bible (Ex.3:13-15; 1 John 4:8; Heb.1:1,2; Rom. 5:8; Isa.6:1-3).

B. God reveals His will for man through the Bible (John 3:17; Eph.1:3,4; 1 Tim.2:3,4; 2 Pet.3:9).

God reveals the way of salvation (John 3:16; Rom.6:23; Rom.10:9,10;

Eph.2:8,9; Titus 3:3-7)

C. God reveals the kind of life He wants us to live (Ex.20:1-17; Matt.5:1-10; Matt.10:38, 39; Matt.22:35-40; 1 Cor.13).

D. God reveals how we can get help on personal problems (Psa.32:8;37:5;146:3; Prov.3:3,6; Isa.40:2031; Matt.7:12; 11:28-30; James 1:5,6; 1 John 1:9).

E. God reveals the final victory of His kingdom (1 Cor.15:24-28; Rev.11:15; 21:1-8; 22:1-5).

“The Criteria of Canonicity”

Definition:Canon (adj.:canonical) is a transliteration of the Greek word kanon meaning rule. In its general sense, Canon denotes a collection or list of books accepted as an authoritative rule of faith and practice.

The beginning of the idea of a sacred Canon is discernible in Scripture itself:

1. Deut.4:2;12:32;Jer.26:2; Prov.30:6; Eccl.3:14

2. Peter 3:15-16; Rev.22:6-8,18-19

To be Safe, the Fathers Utilized…Five tests of a book for inclusion in the Canon:

1. Is it authoritative? Did it come from the hand of God? In other words, does this book come with a divine “thus says the Lord?”

2. Is it prophetic? Was it written by a man of God?

3. Is it dynamic? Did it come with the life-changing or transforming power of God?

4. Is it authentic? [the fathers had a policy: “if in doubt throw it out.” this enhanced the validity of their discernment of canonical books”]

5. Was it received, collected, read and used - was it accepted by the people of God?

Listed below are some recommended study helps for Apologetics and Canonicity.

A Ready Defense - Josh McDowell, Here’s Life Publishers.

The Canon of Scriptures - F.F. Bruce, Intervarsity Press.

Guidelines for selecting a version

The Bible has been translated more often and into more languages than any other book in the world. It speaks today in over 1,200 languages. Between 1900 and 1982, more than 150 translations and Paraphrases of the Bible in En-glish Versions were in print.

You may be asking, “Which version is best?” we need to add the questions, “Best for whom?” and “Best for what?” A version suitable for a child just learning to read may not appeal to a college youth.

Adults accustomed to church language may not care for a version in which the familiar terms of biblical English are discarded. A Bible suited for committed Christians may not speak with the same force to non-Christians.

There are various purposes that dif-ferent versions are designed to serve.

Therefore, the objectives the translator or translators had in mind in producing the version can usually be found in the introduction to the specific version. There are at least three criterions...

Criteria for choosing a Version

THE TEXTUAL BASIS. The first criterion concerns the underlying text from which the translation is made. A good translation today should be based on the best Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts available. This means it should be based on the earliest and best MSS that have thus far been found.

ACCURACY OF TRANSLATION. The second criterion for evaluating a version is the accuracy in translation. It is not enough for a version to be based on the best avail-able Hebrew and Greek MSS; one must further ask. “How carefully and accurately have the original texts been translated?” This is, in reality, the most essential test of a satisfactory version.

QUALITY OF ENGLISH. The third criterion for a satisfactory version concerns the quality of its English. That is, clarity of expression.

A helpful tool: How to study the Bible for all its worth - Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Staurt, Zondervan Publishing House.

We will conclude this portion of the article on How the Bible came to us by asking and answering a critical question: What Is A Biblical Christian?

I. According to the Bible, a Christian is a person who has faced realistically the
problem of his or her personal sin (Matt.1:21; Rom,1:18-32; 3:10-20).

II. A biblical Christian is one who has seriously considered the one divine remedy for sin (Rom.5:6-8; 2 Cor.5:21).

III. A biblical Christian is one who has whole-heartedly complied with the terms for obtaining God’s provision for sin (Mk.1:14-15; Lk.24:47; Acts 20:21; LK.15:15-17).

IV. A biblical Christian is a person who manifests in his or her life that his or her claims to repentance and faith are real (Eph.2:-10; John 14:21-24; 1 John 2:4).