Research

Bible Translation Wars

bible wars

 

As we continue our Bible Origin series this post focuses on various bible translations. Please reserve judgment until you read the post all the way through, as it may surprise you. This being a blog post and not a text book, we’re barely scratching the surface of a plethora of historical facts concerning how we’ve received the bibles we have today. There will be more along this vein in later posts.

 

The original bible texts were penned in Hebrew, Greek and some Aramaic.

 

The King James Version (KJV) translation of the Bible used 7 texts from which to translate the New Testament scriptures. They were the 5 editions of Erasmus, the 1550 edition of Stephanus, and the 1598 edition of Beza. Those were the seven printed Greek texts that the King James translators used between 1604 and 1611 to produce the New Testament of the King James Version of the bible. Erasmus only had between six and twelve manuscripts from which to draw. Today we have over 5700 ancient manuscripts from which to translate the New Testament. The KJV translation became known as the textus receptus (received text). So from the 1600’s to the late 1800’s that was pretty much the text that was used, even though it had a very small early manuscript tradition behind it.

 

As better manuscripts from the early centuries were found, naturally there was a drive to create increasingly critical editions of the scriptures which rigidly scrutinize earlier, more accurate manuscripts. We now use much earlier manuscripts than what the King James translators used.

 

Erasmus wanted to use Vaticanus, one of the oldest manuscripts of the Greek Bible of both Old and New Testaments, which is one of the four great uncial codices and is largely extant today. It was written on 759 leaves of vellum in uncial script. Through paleographic dating it has been determined to be from the 4th century AD. But Erastus was unable to access it, because it was in Rome, housed at the Vatican, which is where it gets its name Vaticanus. Viewing it was reserved for a narrowly select group who were at the top of the religious hierarchy: the religious pontiffs of Roman Catholicism which acted as a ruling body wed to the government. The manuscripts used to translate into the King James Version were documents about 1200 years later than the ones available to us today. But just because we now have those many older manuscripts available to us, in no way guarantees the integrity of the translators of modern versions of the scriptures. Granted, some of them have unscrupulous agendas, whether those working on the new translations are aware of it or not.

 

Any translation you pick up whether King James, American Standard, Holman Christian Standard, English Standard Version, or a host of others, there are going to be a few words that you disagree with. When translating from Greek, Aramaic and especially Hebrew, some meanings are extremely difficult to convey in English. But there are many dozens of other translations in other languages around the world, of which we have no idea how accurate they are because we do not speak that language and must rely on linguistic scholars to compare them. There is an Arabic bible translated from the Van Dyke text, but how many of us speak Arabic and have the ability to judge its accuracy? One thing is certain: God superintended the writing of His words. The bible is God breathed. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16 KJV

By the way, in the above verse the NIV uses the more literal, more accurate translation of “God Breathed” in place of “by inspiration of God,” because they didn’t understand it, so they changed it. Today we know it means that God literally spoke the words of the bible through His Spirit. In other places it’s the other way around where the King James translation is more accurate than the NIV’s.

 

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. “ 2 Peter 1:21 KJV

 

So let’s take the above verse as an example to point out a fact. Do you see those three words in italics? In the King James as well as in most all other translations, the italics indicate that those particular words do not appear in the manuscripts that were used to translate into English. But reading the text we see that it helps convey the true meaning of the text, as it specifies that it was the “holy men of God” who were “moved”. In no way does it change the meaning, rather it expounds the meaning. But then, when other transitions do the same thing many of the “King James only” advocates yell “foul!”

 

There are several fine newer translations that take into consideration not only the earliest Greek texts, but also the texts of earlier codices penned in various languages, including the Arabic, which was the language of the business world in the Apostles’ day; much like English is the prominent language of business today.

 

There also exists what are called AMPLIFIED translations. They don’t claim to be word for word verbatim of the original manuscripts. They write it in words they hope will help today’s readers understand the original writer’s intent. But they don’t always get it right, and that’s why amplified versions can be very detrimental when read by those who are reading the bible for the very first time. A case in point which I strenuously warn against for first time studiers is the “Good News” or “New Living” bible translations.

 

I’d like to inject here the necessity of using more than one translation when studying the bible. Even more importantly, we are to study prayerfully, in communication with the Lord. God through His Spirit is the literal author of the book, and He dwells within believers. Jesus promises that His Spirit will lead us into all truth. The Spirit renders the true meaning of any translation of scripture to those who are seeking God with all of their heart (In a later post I will point out the specific books that people claim are God’s word but are not). If one is not a believer they need only ask God to reveal truth to them as they read, and the Spirit will help them understand too! Only for them, He will do so from without, rather than from within. The Holy Spirit even moves upon unbelievers to set up circumstances as God wills, as demonstrated in the Old Testament. In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar was used to testify of the one true living God and he was definitely an unbelieving pagan.

 

On the other hand, for example, the most popular translation of scripture in America today is the New International Version (NIV), which many leading biblical scholars do not like. But because it is so popular, many contemporary bible scholars and theologians of Reformed Evangelical Christianity have been compelled to help the NIV readers understand what the original texts actually say. A case in point is that Dr. John MacArthur created an NIV study bible, and yet he speaks as if he does not like the NIV. He came out with an NIV bible that includes notations on every page which straightens out the misleading wording used in many places within the NIV. This is wise. If people are determined to read the NIV, then we need to have NIV’s that have notations explaining the true meaning of the text, rather than allowing fallacious thinking which can be derived from the translation itself.

 

There are Satanic and nefarious attempts to poison God’s word. Again, for the sake of example, I say that one of the driving forces behind some modern bible publishing firms is the attempt to create a more egalitarian view of scripture concerning gender roles, such as Zondervan. This is infection from the world. It was motivated by the age in which we live, with the majority of the populous wanting to embrace certain aspects of the demonic feminist movement. And there are other nefarious agendas as well.

 

Our goal should never be to condemn those who are seeking truth, and yet who may be misled by bad translations. They are reading what they believe to be the bible—they are seeking truth. Why not expound the truth to them rather than condemn them? Unless, of course, hatred and pride has so embittered our hearts that we no longer care about evangelizing the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus went to where the sinners were. He met them at their level of understanding and lifted them with truth. We should do no less. Our motives come from the love of Christ, abhorring even the garment stained with sin, while holding aloft the truth as the Spirit has; revealed, superintended the writing of, and expounded through preaching and teaching.

 

Yes, we are angry at Satan and the twisted work he has perpetrated in our world. We hate falsehood and lies because of the souls it corrupts and deceives. We want to rescue those deluded souls, not see them condemned!  We always confront error head on with the truth, in the hopes that every soul will be saved, because we are driven by the Love of Christ (we don’t know who the chosen are). Let’s stop with the hate speech and bashing each other over the head because of what translation of scripture we like best. We need to come alongside, humbly, and take this case by case, verse by verse to teach sound doctrine, explaining the differences in wording through the leading of God’s Holy Spirit.

 

Trust me, I understand the fervor and the zeal of many, just like Jesus’ fervor when He cleared the temple of those with minds fixed on monetary gain. But love for His (and our) Father and His house of prayer, as well as Jesus’ love for the worshippers was His motivation in driving the vendors out with a whip (see Psalm 69:9).

 

Let’s not taint our witness and our testimony for Christ by acting in a worldly manner, while trying to proclaim our translation is the only correct one. God needs no help in preserving His word of truth. But He will use us to preach and teach accurate doctrine. His truth is shed abroad in our hearts along with His love, as the Spirit translates God’s word to us. Blessings!

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Medical Facts in the Bible

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It was in the late 1400’s that the famed Italian explorer Christopher Columbus read in his bible the 22nd Verse of Isaiah chapter 40.

 

“He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.”

 

Though the intellectual community of Columbus’ day believed the earth to be flat, he believed the bible. But this was not by any means new knowledge to the world. 2000 years ago a few Greek scholars knew the spherical shape of earth, along with other ancient astronomers from various cultures. But still, Columbus dared to challenge the status quo of his day as he set out to prove his belief, and we are all familiar with the story of how he did so.

 

Ignaz Semmelweis

Picture this doctor from the 1840’s, a prickly sort, adjuring fellow surgeons coming from doing autopsies, “Wash your hands!”

 

With quickly reddening faces the top notch physicians would respond, “Wash my hands? Good grief, I’m busy saving lives here man! Time means lives, and you want me to stop and perform some meaningless act by washing my hands? Get out of the way!”

 

The pleading physician, an obstetrician, was an intemperate sort and not the most pleasant of characters to work alongside, but that’s not why all of his colleagues snubbed him. Had they know he was correct, perhaps he would not have been so ostracized by the other leading physicians of his time. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian, had made an observation which eventually would end up saving a whole lot of lives.

 

The mortality rate of pregnant women was atrocious back in the 1840’s, and Semmelweis marveled that women who delivered at home, or using a midwife, stood a staggering less chance of dying than those who delivered in hospitals. The widespread ailment from which they were expiring is named puerperal, the word being derived from the Latin for ‘parent and child’. But it was more commonly called “childbed.”

 

As this astute doctor was observing the other physicians going straight from doing an autopsy to the delivery room, he cogitated correctly: there was an unseen culprit at work. Back then, they didn’t know anything about the hazards of microscopic germs and bacteria, but Semmelweis suspected something of the sort. That was less than 200 years ago. Today, we know that microscopic organisms are responsible for the spread of many and various diseases. Most everyone is familiar with the diligent sanitizing scrub every good surgeon must go through before operating on a person, much less before delivering a baby. One little microbe of decomposing flesh could mean a death sentence for the patient.

 

But it took several years for Semmelweis’ discovery to be confirmed by his detractors, accepted, and finally sanitizing practices were put into place. There’s much more to the story, but for our purposes this should suffice. (Cairney, .Prescience 2, 137-142 & some very old medical journals)

 

What does this medically historic event have to do with the origin of the bible? In previous posts we determined that if a book really was divine in origin that we would expect it to contain knowledge that nobody on earth knew at the time it was written.

Through Moses, God set down cleanliness laws 3500 years before micro-organisms were known to exist. The following is one example.

“For the unclean person (someone who has touched a dead person or animal), put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them…. The person being cleansed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and that evening he will be clean.” (Numbers 19:17,19).

 

Ash, water and time: all three are cleansing agents. The scriptures assume a knowledge about that which is unseen to the naked eye, namely that germs and bacteria are responsible for the spread of disease. But this was not discovered until the mid 1800’s. The Book of Numbers was written between the years 1440 and 1400 B.C.

 

As God was giving laws and guidelines for the nation of Israel to live by, He also instituted quarantines for contagious diseases such as leprosy. And there’s a myriad of other well documented medical facts that the bible has revealed long before mankind discovered them. Here’s another one concerning the human body.

 

When considering the history of the world it wasn’t all that long ago that “bloodletting” was still a common medical practice. It is thought to have originated first in Egypt thousands of years ago. As a first line treatment doctors would often open a blood vessel and drain some blood from the patient in an attempt to maintain proper balance of four humors. This fallacious thinking was derived from ancient Greek philosophy.

 

“The four bodily humors were part of Shakespearean cosmology, inherited from the ancient Greek philosophers Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen. Organized around the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire; the four qualities of cold, hot, moist, and dry; and the four humors, these physical qualities determined the behavior of all created things including the human body.” (The World of Shakespeare’s Humors)

 

leech

 

Often, leeches were employed to suck blood from the patient. I’ve had my own experiences with leeches down in the Florida swamps near Okeechobee, as well as in the Everglades. I don’t like leeches—not even a little bit. For one, I just don’t like slimy things, but my disdain for them is connected with a decidedly unpleasant experience. I was out hunting poisonous snakes for the purpose of milking their toxins that is used to make anti-venom. As I waded through the black mucky waters of Dead Maiden Swamp, one of those slimy blood suckers latched onto my manhood. And I don’t mind telling you, I screamed like a baby banshee when I ripped it off. There are different types of leeches and the ones in that swamp were humongous, unlike in the image above.

 

Anyway, there’s a very long and colorful medical history of bloodletting. Today, there actually are a very few extremely rare cases where it really can be beneficial…sometimes. But for the most part this practice has been done away with. Modern medicine now knows that when the human body is experiencing something detrimental, the blood is a good indicator of what’s happening inside the body. One of the first things that is done today in diagnosing health is to take a blood sample to be analyzed. And these days we give blood to a patient to heal them, rather than take it away. You’ve probably seen the signs in places that ask you to donate blood, which reads: “Give the gift of life.” (By donating a pint of healthy blood)

 

Kidney disease requires an artificial filtering of the blood, which is what the kidneys do, ferreting out toxins and other contaminates.

 

The bible tells us that “Life is in the blood.” It says it quite a few times in the book of Leviticus. Just one example is chapter 17. Several times in this one chapter the same truth is repeated. Verse 11 begins: “For the life of a creature is in the blood…”

 

How did Moses, the writer of Leviticus, know this unless God was guiding him in what to write?

 

There are plenteous more things we can and will show that the bible spoke of long before science and medicine discovered them.  It would take a full length book to discuss all of them, but we will be sharing many of them with you.

Please watch for the next installment, and may God Richly Bless You.

 

 

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Bible Origin #3

bible

Origin of the Bible Series Continues

 

If you’ve not yet read the introductory and succeeding posts on Bible Origin, I would urge you to do so that you may be up to speed on what we hope to accomplish. I believe this to be an important endeavor in the age we live. People need to know that they can trust the bible we have today.

 

Our next question to address focuses on the authors themselves.

 

 

  1. Were the authors of the bible trustworthy men?

 

 

This one should be quite easy. The biblical authors claimed they received their messages from God. Now, if the biblical writers were known perjurers, there would be no reason to accept their claim. But they were honest men of integrity, which lends support to the credibility of their claim of having been inspired by God. Their honesty and integrity is evident by the following things.

 

First, they taught the highest standard of ethics, including the obligation to always tell the truth: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor.” (Eph. 4:25; see also Ex. 20:16; Ps. 15:2; Rev. 22:15).

 

Second, the writers of the Bible paid a high price for their truthfulness. For example, Peter and the eleven apostles (Acts 5), as well as Paul (Acts 28), were all imprisoned. Most were eventually martyred for their witness for Christ (2 Timothy 4:6-8; 2 Peter 1:14). Indeed, being faithful, even to the point of death, was an earmark of early Christian conviction (Revelation 2:10).

People sometimes die for what they believe to be true, yet is not true. But how many would be willing to die for what they know to be false? Yet the biblical witnesses died for the truth they proclaimed, believing that their message had come from God. While not being proof, such evidence is an indication that the Bible is what the biblical writers claimed it to be: the Word of God.

 

 

  1. 3. The Amazing Unity of the Bible

 

The Bible is amazing in its unity amid vast diversity (see post #1 on Origin of the Bible). Even though the Bible was composed by many persons of vast diversity it displays mind boggling unity and has definitive continuity. The Bible, with even greater diversity in the topics it addresses, is the world’s perennial best seller and is sought by multiplied millions as the solution to humanity’s spiritual problems. It alone, of all books known to humankind, needs God, or Deity to account for its amazing unity in the face of such great diversity.

 

 

  1. We would have received accurate copies of the original manuscripts (God would preserve His book).

 scroll

The role of the Scribe in ancient times when transcribing scripture required perfection in their work. The lofty standard to which they were held demanded that a slight deviation, even such as accidentally misspelling a word, would require they discard the entire document no matter how far they’d gotten, and begin again from scratch.

It was in 1948 that, what are now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, were discovered by Bedouin shepherds in a cave near Qumran. That’s located 13 miles east Of Jerusalem and sits 1300 feet below sea level. Understandably, archaeologists and biblical treasure hunters swooped in, and further searches netted 10 more groups of scrolls hidden in ten other nearby caves. In all, they found between 825 to 870 separate scrolls, both biblical and non biblical records. These fragments of scripture, reassembled, contained huge portions of every single Old Testament book of the bible with the exception of the book of Esther. Now that more of the fragmented scrolls have been assembled there are 19 copies of the Book of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Psalms. The scrolls had been hidden and lost for 2000 years.

Meticulously, archaeologists, scientists, historians and theologians have studied these documents and took great care in comparing them to the bible we have today.  What did the scholars find when they compared the Qumran manuscripts with the present day copies? Millar Burrows, who wrote a book on the Dead Sea Scrolls, said, “It is a matter of wonder that through such a long period of time, the text underwent so little alteration.” (Geisler, 1986, 366-367).

Old Testament scholar Gleason Archer wrote concerning two copies of the book of Isaiah found in the caves, they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95% of the text. The 5% variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling. (Geisler, 1986, 367).

So we can say with assurance that those who copied the text of the books of the Old Testament did so with great care. As a bit of a theologian myself, I was keenly interested to learn that prophecies by Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel, which are not found in the Bible, are written in the Scrolls. I’m chomping at the bit to read them, though God chose to not preserve those prophesies in His book, deeming them unnecessary to complete His how-to of life for us.

 

There are a plethora of other evidences, all of which point to the fact that the bible has been carefully preserved, and I believe it was watched over by the same one who superintended its writing: God. But there is still much to discuss, and a ship load of other evidences that also show the bible as being the work of the Divine, and so for the sake of brevity we’ll leave off here. Until the next time, may you know the God of the bible, and experience His powerful presence in your life, through faith in His Son, Christ Jesus.

God bless You.

 

 

 

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Bible Origin

bible

The author of these posts made a mistake in attempting to open the topic from a neutral stance, and the Lord has pointed out that fact.  Then, God used a comment left on this post as confirmation. Firstly, the author cannot be unbiased on this issue, as his life has often been occupied with studying all of these things, and the evidence is overwhelming. Secondly, objections from unbelievers can be so multitudinous that opening a forum for debate through blog posts would be foolhardy. There are nearly 2000 years worth of that sort of thing already. It’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last that this writer had an idea that was less than wonderful. He has no problem with admitting, accepting and proclaiming his fallibilities. Thirdly, he believes the bible when it states: The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 1st Corinthians 2:14

The tremendous gift of life afforded through FAITH in the message of the bible, which is consummated in Christ Jesus of Nazareth, cannot be believed by those without faith, no matter how much evidence is heaped upon them. Salvation is by grace through FAITH, and so is a correct understanding of God and His works. The Lord also led this author to read again Romans 1:17-32, further confirming that enough evidence has already been presented to expound the truth of the God of the Bible. But that does not preclude a Christian from doing his job of sowing the seed of the Gospel of Christ. So we will continue, only now, with the understanding that this study is slanted towards truth as it has been superlatively proven to the author of this post.

 

Let’s get right to it and tackle the first question of the previous post. In way of refreshing our memories we are attempting to discover if the bible holds up under certain things that would logically be true if the bible really is God’s word.

  1. Is it historically accurate?

International Students Inc. queried leading archaeologists, both secular and believing ones. They write the following.

“The history given in the Bible has been confirmed by archaeology to a remarkable degree,” reports noted archaeologist Nelson Glueck.

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.” (Emphasis mine) Glueck, Nelson. Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev. (New York: Farrar, Strauss & Cudahy, 1959).

There have been hundreds of people over the years that have set out to disprove the historicity of the bible. A few times it looked as though they had something, but then…

  1. There has been a better than good reason why a reference appeared to critics as not fitting the findings.
  2. They misunderstood the people group, the geological location, or the context of what the bible recorded.
  3. Better research by secular historians and archaeologists, as well as by proponents of the bible, disproved their claims of biblical error every time.

The Bible Is Historically Accurate.

The Bible is not merely a book containing theological teachings that are unrelated to history, but the theological statements of Scripture are closely linked to historical events. For example, Paul maintained that if Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead was not an historical fact, then our faith is futile (1 Cor. 15:17). Scriptural characters, like Paul, were not a group of gullible religious people who were ready to believe anything that came along.

Admittedly, there is such a plethora of false information out there that it can become an arduous task to disseminate the truth of what actually happened in history. Thankfully, we have extra biblical records that meticulous, secular historians have kept. Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Israel, Greece and more, all had good historians. Much of the rich and interesting Egyptian history was destroyed by Amenhotep (I think it was Amenhotep the 1st but my memory is a bit hazy there.) His reign as Pharaoh ended the “Shepherd Kings” era. The Shepherd kings weren’t even Egyptian, but had, never-the-less, come to reign as Pharaohs over Egypt. Amenhotep wanted to destroy all records of them, even striking their names from off obelisks and monuments. Much more of Egyptian history is currently being discovered today, and all of it matches up perfectly with bible history!

Archaeologist Millar Burrows notes that more than one archaeologist has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine.

William Ramsay is one such example of an archaeologist who went from believing that the Bible contained fabricated myths to believing that the Bible was not only accurate historically but that it was the Word of God.

From a collaborative publication by International Students Inc, we have this report:

Earlier in his life Ramsay had been influenced by a liberal theology, which taught that the writers of the Bible were more interested in promoting a biased theological perspective than in accurately recording history. In the course of his studies, however, Ramsay was surprised to find extensive archaeological evidence for the accuracy of the biblical narratives.

One thing that impressed Ramsay about Luke, the writer of Acts, was his accuracy with respect to ostensibly insignificant details. For example, Luke accurately names the rulers of Thessalonica politrarchs, Gallio the Proconsul of Achaea, the official in Ephesus, a temple warden, the governor of Cyprus a proconsul and the chief official in Malta: The first man of the island.. Such titles have since been confirmed in numerous Greek and Latin inscriptions.

What Ramsay began to realize was that the Bible was not mythical, but that it was a document that recorded history with extreme accuracy. He wrote, “Luke is an historian of the first rank.” (Wilson, 114) And if the Bible was accurate in its historical details, then he considered there to be a good chance that the biblical authors could be trusted to accurately relate the spiritual significance of the historical events as well. (End citation)

The author of this post is not a noted historian, and yet his research has proven beyond any shadow of doubt that the bible is pristine in its recording of historical events, from cover to cover. He has a lifetime collection of records and reports from professionals in the fields of history and archaeology. Further, he tried his best to find ANYTHING that might prove that his belief in the Bible was wrong. He has not yet found any objections to the historicity of the Bible that have stood up under testing.

 

Have a Supremely Blessed Day!

 

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Origin of the Bible

bible

It’s a fair question: “Can I trust my life to what the bible says?” Wasn’t it written by men? And yet, it, and Christians say it is God breathed. Let’s test the claims made about the bible.

Okay, so the bible is the bestselling book of all time. There’s no denying it has stood the test of nearly 2000 years, but what about the things Christians claim to be true about the bible? They say it is the inspired and the inerrant word of God, and that it is God’s special revelation of Himself to mankind. In fact, the bible itself makes these same claims about itself, but that certainly proves nothing.

This preliminary post, introduces a topic of fiery debate that can bring human emotions to the brink, and is the first in a new series, Lord willing. Today we merely want to peel back the first of multitudinous layers of discovery. Throughout this series we shall attempt to either nullify or verify the claims made about the bible, and my hope is that we may set aside all bias on both sides of the table, and simply examine the facts.

A scholarly or scientific mind can either verify or nullify these claims simply by applying the principles of logic, research, testing and study in discovering whether or not the bible truly came from a personal, all-powerful, Creator God.

“That’s precisely what we intend to accomplish.”

 

Logically, there are definitive qualities and characteristics one would expect to find if God breathed out the message of the bible, and if inspired holy men of God really did record it at His command, as the bible indicates. We will be checking some historical documents and studying the bible’s history. The first order of business would be to delineate answers to the normal, simple queries of who, what, when, where and how.

 

  1. The bible, as we know is not a singular book, but a compilation of 66 books.
  2. It was written by 40 different authors.
  3. It was written over a period of 1500 years.
  4. Moses began recording the Torah (law) which is the Pentatuech (first five books) 3500 years ago. Most believe this was during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. The last book (Revelation) was written between 94 & 96 AD.

 

Some other easily verified facts are as follows.

 

  1. The bible was originally composed in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
  2. It addresses hundreds of various topics.
  3. It utilizes multiple genres, which include; historical, poetic, didactic, parabolic, allegorical, apocalyptic, and epic literary constructs.

 

It is interesting to note that the 40 men who did the physical writing were from a wide variety of backgrounds and stations in life, from royal monarchs to homeless vagabonds residing in the wilderness—from the formally educated, to those with only a rudimentary grasp of written language.

 

Sauer, in The Dawn of World & Redemption and The Triumph of the Crucified, writes: “In spite of all this vast diversity, the Bible reveals an amazing unity. First, it is one continuous unfolding drama of redemption from Genesis to Revelation; from paradise lost to paradise regained; from the creation of all things to the consummation of all things.”

 

Sauer was absolutely correct. Having read the bible through multiple times, I can attest to the accuracy of his statement. It is strange indeed that 40 different people who were vastly different from each other (most of them never met any of the other authors) that their writing would form a mosaic of one, single unfolding dramatic story. Most of them lived centuries apart. Some spoke different languages, and were of differing occupations. Not a single one of these 40 men ever received any form of monetary compensation for their contributions. Not one. It would be nigh onto impossible to perpetrate such an elaborate hoax spanning one and a half millenniums. The information they recorded was compartmentalized so as none of them had the complete story, and often did not have an inclination as to what significance the things they were writing would have in the overall storyline. That in itself is amazing.

 

Though it takes some correlating in our minds we will find that the bible has one centralized theme which centers around the person of Jesus Christ. He is referred to early on, yet this main character is not personally identified until we get to the New Testament. In the opening book of Genesis this redeemer of mankind: Savior, Messiah or Christ, though not directly identified, is spoken of as the seed (offspring) of the woman. Jesus of Nazareth is the only human person to be the offspring of a woman, and yet not the seed of a man. Speaking to the serpent the devil used to tempt Eve, God said:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15 This was God prophesying to Satan, alerting Him that a Champion would come from the woman’s womb and purchase people back to God.

 

Theologians confirm that this prophetic statement from God prefigures the virgin birth, or Immaculate Conception.  Further, it alludes to the defeat and overthrow of Satan (the serpent) and the redemption of mankind from the hand of death and sin through the Redeemer. He (the seed of woman) would inflict a head blow upon the devil, signifying complete victory over the enemy, who, at the time God spoke this, had just deceived mankind into rebellion against God’s rule over them. According to Christians and the bible, Christ’s work: His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, is the head shot that won the victory.

 

Approaching this study from a neutral perspective, however, let’s be fair. If God had a book written, there are certain things one would expect to be true of that book. Granted, some particular things could also be true of other books, but of a divinely ordained book, these things would be necessary.  Let’s look at the first ten items that would be true of a book from God.

 

  1. It would be historically accurate when it speaks on historical matters.
  2. Its authors would be trustworthy.
  3. It would be thematically unified and without contradictions.
  4. We would have received accurate copies of the original manuscripts (God would preserve His book).
  5. It would have unique characteristics which no other book has.
  6. The words of the book would have power to change people.
  7. It would predict future events with 100% accuracy.
  8. A book from God would reveal knowledge beyond that of the time it was written.
  9. Those whom God would use to record His word would be confirmed by miracles.
  10. Scholars agree that it definitely should claim to be God’s Word.

 

Now that we’ve identified the first layer of this research’s content, we’ll be putting the bible to the test with these and other essentials, as we seek the truth. For the sake of brevity, we’ll leave off here to ruminate until the next post, when we’ll see how many of these 10 things are true of the bible, and expose the second skin of study.

 

If all goes well, we will continue into increasingly deeper research with each post.

Have a productive and a peaceful day.

 

Categories: Bible, Books, People, Research, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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