The Bible and its Origin
The Bible is one volume, consisting of sixty six books of the Old and New Testaments.
It was written by forty different writers over a period of about1500 years, living many years apart.
Whilst the words were written by men, they wrote by the inspiration of God. So it is believed that God is the author of the Bible.
Although it was written by different people living many years apart, the Bible fits together like a perfect jig saw puzzle.
The Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language. It was also later translated into Greek and was called “The Septuagint”
The New Testament was written in Greek.
The first five books of the Bible are known collectively as the Torah in the Hebrew and Pentateuch in the Greek and were written by Moses.
The Books of the Bible are:
The Old Testament:
The first five books are known as the Law. (also called Torah )
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
The books of Narrative: (History)
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, Second Kings. First Chronicles, Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.
The Books of Wisdom:
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel.
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
The New Testament:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
The Acts of the Apostles.
The Letters of the Apostle Paul to: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon.
The Letter to the Hebrews ( writer not known).
The Letter of James.
The Letter of 1 Peter
The Letter of 2 Peter
The Letter of 1 John
The Letter of 2 John
The Letter of 3 John
The Letter of Jude
Revelation of John the Apostle.
The New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament.
Both the Old and New Testaments are the revelation of the same person, Jesus Christ. You can find Jesus Christ on every page of the Bible, whether in prophecy, type, allegory, or analogy.
In the Old Testament Jesus is foretold. In the New Testament Jesus is revealed.
At the centre of both books is Jesus Christ and it is God’s revelation of salvation to mankind from beginning to end.
The Bible begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth and the creation of man. It goes on to reveal mans fall and separation from God. It reveals how God brings man back to Himself through Jesus Christ and ends with a New Heaven and New Earth.
The Bible begins with Jesus Christ.
Genesis Ch 1 v 1. The word Barashyt, (Hebrew, In beginning ) can be broken down as follows, Bar ( son of ) a ( aleph = God ) Bar – a (Son of God )
The Bible ends with Jesus Christ
Rev 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
He is the Beginning and the End, The Alpha and Omega, The First and the Last. The A to Z.
On the road to Emmaus Jesus began with Moses and taught the two men all things concerning Himself.
If you had believed Moses you would have believed Me, for Moses spoke of Me.
The Gospel is thought to be a New Testament teaching and yet the Gospel can also be found in the very first word of the Bible.
Bar – a – sh – y – t
Bar = Son of.
A = Aleph ( God )
SH = shin ( the meaning being will destroy )
Y = yod ( hand )
T = Tav ( means a cross )
Son of God shall be destroyed by His own hand on a Cross. The Gospel in the first word of the Bible.
See my other blog “The Amazing first verse of the Bible” Blog No 9.
It is amazing what truths are hidden in this first verse. That Christ is before all things, the Gospel is revealed, the deity of Christ, the Trinity, that Jesus is the Beginning and the End.
How did the Bible as we know it, originate?
The Bible is referred to as “the Canon”, The term “canon” is used to describe the books that are divinely inspired and therefore belong in the Bible.
Determining the canon was a process conducted first by Jewish rabbis and scholars and later by early Christians.
The 39 books of the Old Testament form the Bible of Judaism, while the Christian Bible includes those 39 books and also the 27 books of the New Testament, 66 books in all.
The canon refers to the books regarded as inspired by God and authoritative for faith and life. No one church created the canon, but the churches and councils gradually accepted the list of books recognized by believers everywhere as inspired.
It was actually not until 367 AD that the church father Athanasius first provided the complete listing of the 66 books belonging to the canon.
He distinguished those from other books that were widely circulated at the time and he recognised that those sixty six books were the ones, and the only ones, that were universally accepted.
The canon of scripture did not happen all at once but developed over hundreds of years.
The first five books (sometimes called the Torah or the Pentateuch) were the first to be accepted as canonical. It is not certain when this happened but it was probably around the fifth century BC.
Of course, the Hebrews had the “Law” for many centuries already, but they certainly did not pay very good attention to it. It was probably the work of the prophets Ezra and Nehemiah that restored it to general use and fixed it once and for all as authoritative.
We know that Jesus Himself accepted the Old Testament canon, as we read in (Luke 24:44)
These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.
Also we know that Jesus accepted the Torah to be written by Moses.
John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
Concerning the Old Testament.
The prophets’ writings were also not brought together in a single form until about 200 BC.
The rest of the Old Testament books were accepted as canonical even later.
The list of the Old Testament writings were probably not finalized until later, possibly nearer to the birth of Christ.
The Jewish people were widely scattered by this time and they really needed to know which books were the authoritative Word of God because so many other writings claiming divine authority were floating around.
With the fixing of the canon they became a people of one Book, and the belief in this Book kept them together.
There is no single date when we can say that the canon of the New Testament was decided.
In the first and second centuries after Christ, many writings and epistles were circulating among the Christians. Some of the churches were using books and letters in their services that were definitely questionable. Gradually the need to have a definite list of the inspired Scriptures became apparent.
Heretical movements were rising, each one choosing its own selected Scriptures, including such documents as the Gospel of Thomas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Epistle of Barnabas and many other books known as Apocryphal writings (of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true. Synonyms of apocryphal writing: fictitious, made up, untrue, false, spurious.).
Gradually it became clear by comparing scripture with scripture, which works were truly genuine and which mixed truth with myth or fantasy.
By the end of the fourth century the canon was definitively settled and accepted. In this process Christians recognize the providence of God in providing us with his written revelation of himself and his purpose with the universe.
People still ask questions now and then about the canon. Some wonder why just these 66 booklets were chosen. Why not 65 or 67?
To these questions we reply that these books are the ones that God himself has chosen to preserve for us, and He has not told us exactly why. Together they form an immeasurable treasure, and in them we find God’s matchless gift to his people.
This is where we are moved simply to trust in his providence as he led his people through the years and gave us the most honoured, powerful and comforting volume in the history of humanity, the book known as the Bible.
The King James Version.
One of the much loved version of the Bible is the KJV.
How did this version come about?
The King James Version, or Authorized Version, of the Bible remains a favourite Bible for many believers and non-believers alike. The believer reads it as God’s Word and the standard for life, and many non-believers read it for comfort or simply because it is a beautiful piece of literature.
So, what are the origins of this revered version of the Bible? What does it mean to be ‘authorized’ and ‘authorized’ by whom? Let us look into the past and see the history of this beautiful rendition of God’s Word.
In the 15th century the churches in England were using a Bible that was translated from the Latin and the predominant Church was Roman Catholic.
This was until there was a Reformation by those that did not agree with some of the Roman doctrine or Roman Catholic practices and traditions.
There were Christians that rebelled against these teachings, men such as John Wycliffe, (Lollards), Jan Huss (Hussites) and Peter Waldo (Waldensians) and the Moravian Brethren.
Later they were followed by Martin Luther who opposed such doctrines as purgatory, indulgencies, the worship of saints and the veneration of the virgin Mary and brought forth the teaching salvation by grace alone through faith alone.
This began a full blown reformation with names such as Theodore Beza, Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger, Johannes Hus, John Calvin, Andreas von Carlstadt, later a Radical Reformer, Wolfgang Fabricius Capito and Martin Chemnitz.
Bibles were very quickly translated into different languages. The citizens of England began to desire to have a Bible in English that they might read themselves. Up until then they were dependent on priests interpreting the scriptures for them.
Therefore, a sequence was set into motion to give the English people a Bible in the English language. In 1526, William Tyndale published the first New Testament in English. Tyndale translated the New Testament from its original language, Greek. Myles Coverdale published the first complete Bible in English in 1535. This publication was based mostly on existing translations in German, Latin, and English, not on the original languages.
One of the popular Bibles at this time was the Geneva Bible. However this Bible contained added notes and King James of England did not like some of the notes that seemed to discredit his authority and so he wanted to get rid of it.
King James authorized a new translation of the Bible. This is why the King James Version of the Bible is also known as The Authorized Version.
This new translation would be translated from the original languages. The Old Testament from Hebrew, (Tanakh) and (New Testament) from Greek .The new translation was carried out following such strict guidelines that, “…the translation now being set before the public can be thought of as representing the best possible distillation of the wisdom, grace, and beauty of existing translations, corrected where necessary against the original biblical documents in their original languages” (McGrath, p. 189).
So King James ordered work to be commenced on a new translation. It was to be accurate and true to the originals.
Fifty four of the nation's finest language scholars were involved and used strict rules for carefully checking the results.
James also wanted a popular translation that could be placed in every Church.
He insisted that the translation use old familiar terms and names and be readable in the idiom of the day.
James would accept no biased notes like that of the Geneva Bible.
Rule #6 stated: "No Marginal Notes at all to be affixed, but only for the explanation of the Hebrew or Greek Words."
Also, James was looking for a single translation that the whole nation could rely on "To be read in the whole Church," as he phrased it.
The finished Bible was to be reviewed by the Bishops, then presented to the Privy Council, lastly to be ratified by the Royal authority...."
This translation was released in 1611 and the fact that it is still one of the most popular translations used in the world today, attests to its accuracy.
The late Henry M. Morris, who was a staunch King James supporter, had this to say about his favourite Bible translation, “…the beautiful prose of the King James is a treasure which should not be lost. It has been acclaimed widely as the greatest example of English literature ever written…It is also noteworthy that the King James was produced during the period when the English language and literature had reached their zenith of power and expressiveness” (Morris, p. 33).
The Hebrew ( Tanakh ) is the textual source for the Old Testament.
The biblical Textus Receptus constituted the translation-base for the King James Version.
Textus Receptus (Latin: "received text") is the name given to the succession of printed Greek texts of the New Testament. The term Textus Receptus may also apply to other ancient texts in other languages, traditionally copied and passed down by scribes.
"Textus Receptus" or Received Text.
They are the majority of Greek manuscripts which agree with each other and have been accepted by Bible believing Christians down through the centuries. It is from these manuscripts that the King James Bible was translated in 1611.
This translation has stood the test of time and is still as popular as ever.
Here is a fact that may surprise you.
When Americans reach for their Bibles, more than half of them pick up a King James Version (KJV), according to a new study advised by respected historian Mark Noll.
The 55 percent who read the KJV easily outnumber the 19 percent who read the New International Version (NIV). And the percentages drop into the single digits for competitors such as the New Revised Standard Version, New America Bible, and the Living Bible.
So concludes "The Bible in American Life," a lengthy report by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University.
The numbers are surprising, given the strong sales of NIV translations in bookstores. The NIV has topped the CBA's bestselling Bible translation list for decades, and continued to sell robustly in 2013.
The high numbers of KJV readers confirm the findings of last year's American Bible Society (ABS) State of the Bible report.
On behalf of ABS, Barna Group found that 52 percent of Americans read the King James or the New King James Version, compared with 11 percent who read the NIV.
The KJV also received almost 45 percent of the Bible translation-related searches on Google, compared with almost 24 percent for the NIV, according to Bible Gateway's Stephen Smith.
In fact, searches for the KJV seem to be rising distinctly since 2005, whilst most other English translations are staying flat or declining, according to Smith’s Google research.