— How we got the Bible — Andrew Fountain: June 19, 2015
1. Basic Facts:
- The Old Testament was originally written in two languages, Hebrew and Aramaic (portions of Ezra and Daniel), from the years 1500 to 400 B.C.
- The New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek from the years 40 to 100 B.C.
- We do not have any original writing (autographa).
- All transmissions of the Bible were handwritten until the invention of the printing press in 1450s by Johann Gutenberg.
- The most readily available writing materials were stone, papyri, and parchment/vellum. Later (second century B.C.) the codex was developed.
2. Old Testament
- Centuries before Christ, the Jews had determined what constituted the Scriptures
- Transmission by faithful copying
- Septuagint (LXX) translation into Greek, around 300 BC
- Principle: The books that Jesus accepted at O.T. Scripture, we should as well.
3. The Apocrypha
- Extra books that the Jews never accepted as part of Scripture and are never found in the Hebrew Old Testament
- There are at least 295 quotations of the O.T. in the new by Jesus and the other writers
- But there is not a single quotation from the Apocrypha.
- Some apocryphal books, like the books of Maccabees, have historical value, but others are just religious novels
- Some of the Apocryphal books specifically state that they are not inspired (e.g. Wisdom of Jesus; II Maccabees)
- Maccabees states in several places that there have been no prophets around for a long time, e.g.
- I Macc 9:27 “There was a great distress in Israel such as had not been since the time that the prophets ceased to appear”
- Some of them have definite error:
- In Tobit 12:8f. we read: “Good is prayer with fasting and alms and righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than much with unrighteousness. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold: alms doth deliver from death, and it shall purge away all sins.”
- Such passages clearly teach justification by works rather than by grace.
- the Roman Catholic church didn’t put these books in their Bibles until 1546 when the reformers challenged them about salvation by faith or by works and about paying money to have prayers said for the dead to get them out of purgatory.
- some teachings like “praying to the saints” are not found in the Scriptures but are found in the Apocrypha
- Very soon after the N.T. books were written, they were accepted by the church as Scripture
- 2Pet 3:15–16 “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”
- Paul’s 13 letters are always in the same order, no matter where they are found
- Almost certainly Paul himself organized the collection
Extra “Epistles” that are not part of Scripture
- Just try reading them and you will not be in any doubt.
- Quote from “Gospel according to Thomas” (114) This is not actually Thomas!!
- Simon Peter said to them: “Let Mary go away from us, for women are not worthy of life.”
- Jesus said: “Look, I will draw her in so as to make her male,
so that she too may become a living male spirit, similar to you.”
- (But I say to you): “Every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Updated on 2015-06-18 by Andrew Fountain