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Religion 125 Introduction to Christianity. Dr. Donald N. Penny. Topic 1 Introduction to the Bible. What is the Bible? A collection of ancient writings produced by ancient Israelites and early Christians. Not a single, unified book but an “anthology” of 66 (or more) separate writings.

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topic 1 introduction to the bible
Topic 1 Introduction to the Bible
  • What is the Bible?
    • A collection of ancient writings produced by ancient Israelites and early Christians.
      • Not a single, unified book but an “anthology” of 66 (or more) separate writings.
      • Reflects many different authors, time periods, cultural backgrounds, literary forms, etc.
    • Scripture of the Christian church.
      • Sacred literature.
      • Authoritative for religious faith and practice
    • Story of God’s progressive self-revelation:
      • Beginning with the Creation of the world;
      • Continuing through the history of Israel;
      • Climaxing in the life, death, resurrection of Jesus Christ.
slide3
Major Divisions of the Bible
    • Old Testament – three versions (BPJM, p. xiii):
      • Protestant OT – 39 books
        • “Testament” = “covenant” = God’s relationship with nation Israel.
        • Inherited from Judaism; Jews and Christians share these books as Scripture.
      • Hebrew Bible – 24 books
        • Jewish Bible includes same books as Protestant OT.
        • Counted and arranged differently (Torah – Prophets – Writings).
      • Roman Catholic/Greek Orthodox OT – includes 12-15 “extra” books and parts of books
        • Based on Septuagint (LXX) – an early Greek translation of Jewish scriptures which included more books than Hebrew Bible.
        • Protestant reformers removed them because not in Hebrew Bible.
    • New Testament – 27uniquely Christian books
      • Same 27 for Protestants and Catholics; not in Jewish Bible.
      • God’s “covenant” with all who believe in Jesus Christ.
      • Protestant Bible: 39 (OT) + 27 (NT) = 66 books.
    • Apocrypha (“hidden things”)
      • About 12-15 books (and parts of books) found in Greek Orthodox and Catholic OT, but not in Hebrew Bible or Protestant OT.
      • Protestants either ignore them or consider “deuterocanonical.”
      • Apocrypha is found in middle section of Oxford Bible; important for history of period between OT and NT.
slide4
Origin of the Bible
    • Writing the books(accumulated over more than a millennium)
      • OT books – written in Hebrew by ancient Israelites (1000-150 B.C.).
      • NT books – written in Greek by early Christians (50-150 A. D.).
      • Often based on earlier oral traditions and written sources.
      • Many authors; influenced by times/culture of their day.
    • Canonization (gathering the books into recognized, authoritative collection)
      • Hebrew Bible
        • Torah (“Law”) – gathered by 400 BC
        • Prophets – gathered by 200 BC
        • Writings – not definitively gathered until about 90 AD
      • New Testament (see BPJM, pp. 139-40)
        • Paul’s letters – gathered about 100 AD
        • Gospels – gathered by 150-200 AD
        • Basic canon – looking much like ours by 200 AD
        • Final list of exactly 27 – first appeared in 367 AD
slide5
Inspiration
    • Plenary verbal theory
      • Exact wording virtually dictated by God.
      • Little room for human contribution.
      • Inerrant even in matters of history and science.
    • Dynamic theory
      • Message inspired by God.
      • Author writes out of own knowledge, style, etc.
      • May be inaccuracies of history and science.
      • Theological message is reliable.