How We Got the Bible and why we can trust in it?
TranslationTree of the Holy Bible Notice that NO modern translation is taken directly from the originals.
The Canonization of Scripture • The Old Testament was standardized by Jesus’ time (confirmed by Josephus in the 1st century). • The New Testament was standardized by no later than 367 AD. • Canon comes from the Hebrew qaneh, meaning reed (used as a measuring rod). • A book/letters acceptance by early believers is what led to it becoming a part of the canon. • Could the author be trusted? Was the content consistent? Was it widely accepted by the believers? • No one person or council can be credited with our modern Bible. It was a product of God’s work over time.
How it came together… • OT was essentially set by Jesus’ time. • The Gospels were added as eyewitness accounts of Christ. (Mark wrote on Peter’s behalf, Luke Wrote from Paul’s perspective). • The “memoirs of the apostles” (Justin Martyr) were added by the middle second century at the latest. • A few other books like James, Hebrews, Revelation and a couple of epistles were debated a bit, but eventually found acceptance by the 3rd century. • Eusebius wrote in the 3rd century a list of all our modern NT, stating the Revelation was accepted by most, yet raised questions about its place in the canon.
Old Testament Confirmation The Caves at Qumran where the scrolls were found in 1947
Dead Sea Scrolls • In the winter of 1946–47, Muhammed edh-Dhib and his cousin discovered the caves, and soon afterwards the scrolls. • Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible were Masoretic texts dating to 9th century AD. • The biblical manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls push that date back to the 2nd century BC, a difference of about 1100 years!
Dead Sea Scrolls Books Ranked According to Number of Manuscripts found (top 16) • Psalms(39) • Deuteronomy(33) • 1Enoch(25) • Genesis(24) • Isaiah(22) • Jubilees(21) • Exodus(18) • Leviticus(17) • Numbers(11) • Minor Prophets(10) • Daniel(8) • Jeremiah(6) • Ezekiel(6) • Job(6) • 1 & 2 Samuel(4)
So What? • All the prophecy in Isaiah and the Psalms regarding Jesus, his lineage, his earthly origins, the nature of his attitude and the details of his death absolutely pre-date his life and can not be seen as a Christian interpolation placed in at a later time. They WERE prophetic or amazing coincidence. • The Old Testament we have in our Bibles now checks out magnificently with what is in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which answers questions about how reliable the translation process has been…VERY RELIABLE! • Of the 500,000 letters in the Torah, the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed just 169 variants, mostly spelling errors or repeat words. Over 99% identical to our modern translation! No events or doctrines were off at all!
“Missing” Books? • Gospel of Thomas? • Gospel of Mary? • Gospel of Philip • The Apocrypha? • Others… Just because they are not part of the canon does not mean that they hold no validity. They can give some historical insight as well as some spiritual insight. They were excluded because: -authorship was in question. -portions were inconsistent with the previously accepted books in the canon.
From the Gospel of Thomas • (114) Simon Peter said to him, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life." Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven."
No Originals? Should I be Worried? • In a word… “no”. • We have no original copies of, Plato, Aristotle, Homer or even Shakespeare*, yet we don’t question their validity. • FACT: the Bible stacks up FAR BETTER than any of these when it comes to the number of early copies and closeness in age to the originals.
Comparison of Ancient Writings • Title Origin Earliest Copy Interval Copies • History of Thucydides 450 BC 900 AD 1350 years 8 • Poetics of Aristotle 343 BC 1100 AD 1450 years 5 • Caesar’s Gallic Wars 50 BC 1000 AD 1050 years 9 • Works of Plato 400 BC 900 AD 1300 years 7 • Homer’s The Iliad 900 BC 400 BC 500 years 643 • New Testament 45-80 AD 110 AD 65 years 5686 Source: How We Got the Bible and Why We can Trust It, IPI Books 2009, pp. 37
Key Points 1.Compared to other widely accepted ancient writings the Bible has no peer. 2.Written shortly after the events. 3.Thousands of eye witness’ were still alive to confirm or dispute events as it circulated. 4.Copies from different regions are in agreement! 5.The entire NT could be recreated (save for 11 verses) by using letters and citations from works of the 1st to 3rd centuries?
Archeological Support • The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey. • It was once claimed there was no Assyrianking named Sargon as recorded in Isaiah 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon's palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Isaiah 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded on the palace walls. What is more, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself. • Assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons (2 Kings 19:37), as recorded in the annals of his son Esarhaddon. • Freeing of captives in Babylon by Cyrus the Great (Ezra 1:1-4; 6:3-4), as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder. • Dozens upon dozens of others! • The absence of flat contradiction in archeological findings.
The Basalt Stelae from Dan, found in 1993 and 1994 with the words "house of David," gave us the first external evidence to the Bible of the reality of King David's existence. Previous to this, it had been fashionable to dismiss the David narratives in the Bible as “priestly propaganda” that had tried to give Israel a respectable past history as they sat in the Babylonian captivity. AvrahamBiran, of the Hebrew Union College, excavating a site in northern Israel known as Dan, found in an exposed wall of stones one basalt fragment about 12 inches high. In the same wall a year later, two other smaller pieces were found to be part of the original inscription. When the Aramaic words were translated from the paleo-Hebrew script, here was the first extra-biblical reference to King David.
The Life Test! • No other book, philosophy, world religion or system of government can make such a difference when put into practice. • World Peace….got it! (Philippians 2:3 MT 5:38) • End to world hunger…got it! (Acts 4:32-35) • End to crime…got it! • End to pervasive troubles like divorce, unnecessary single parenthood, drug addiction…got it! • Cure for AIDS…got it!
Not “Rocket Science”, but Not Bad • The Bible is NOT a science book. • The Bible is free of outrageous claims that have been plainly refuted by science. • In fact there are good examples of the Bible being ahead of the curve… -Ecc. 1:6-7 explains the Water Cycle accurately -Jer. 31:35-36 The Order of Astronomy -Job 26:7The Earth is suspended inspace -Jer. 33:22 The countless # of stars -Job 38:16 Oceans contain springs
Conclusion • What serious reason do we have NOT TO believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible? • Given this verdict, why should we not take the time to read it, learn it, know it, share it with others confidently and live it personally?