As this is the beginning of a new year, I would first like to send greetings of peace to all my friends. May God continue to guide all of us in our walk of faith.

Today I would like to share with every one about how the bible came about and how did it came to existence. It is important for Christians to understand how the scriptures came about, because it is the source and the only authority that governs our faith. To many people in the world, some people viewed the scriptures as a mere historical documents, the history channel often have documentary saying that the holy bible was the record of numerous UFO encounters with mankind. There are some people who claimed that King James of England wrote the kings James version of the bible, and similarly there are other people who claimed that the scriptures were corrupted.

In this article I would like to share with everyone how the bible came about, for us to be convinced that it is indeed the word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the bible is very important in our lives, we can see how Jesus and the early apostles based their teachings from it. Lets take a look at what they say about the bible.

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” – Jesus (John 5:39)

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – Paul (2 Tim 3:16-17)

“knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” – Peter (2 Pet 1:20-21)

Therefore, it is important for Christians to know how the scriptures came about and be convince that it is preserved by God for the modern man so that man can continue to find eternal life and salvation in the Lord. And we must be ready to defend the scriptures and explain to skeptics.

In fact through out history there are voices of skeptics who claimed that the bible will remain in the museum and be viewed as obsolete. One of these person who left the most impression to me is a French philosopher Voltaire who claimed “Another century And there will not be a bible on earth”. There was a very big misunderstanding that Voltaire’s house was used by the Geneva Bible Society to print the bible, but one thing we can be sure, that alot of the works of Voltaire remained only to be read by academics while the bible continued to be the worlds best seller 223 years after his death.

But then, i am sure there will be a time where someone will ask you, how can you be sure that the scriptures are the authentic unadulterated word of God from the hands of Moses all the way till John. Hence I would like to share some of the facts that I have discovered while doing some research on the Internet. I would hope you would find these findings useful to be assured of the bibles authorship.

The Making Of The Bible

The writing period of the modern Christian bible spans across thousands of years. If one were to read my blog entry about the “Time line Of The Old Testament” one could safely say that the first books of the bible was penned down by Moses roughly about 1100-1000 BC. There was a short span of 400 years from the book Of Malachi (332 BC ) till 30 AD before the new testament is written. Along the way, the Apocrypha were written, and that is only found in the catholic bible. The new testaments were written approximate around 40-50 AD and finished before 70 AD roughly before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman General Titus in the Jewish Revolt. The reason for this assumption is because the destruction of Jerusalem is not mentioned by John in Revelation, which most likely means that the book of Revelation must have been completed prior to the Jewish revolt.

There are 66 books in the bible, 39 came from the Old Testament and 27 in the new testament.

The Old Testament

The old testaments is made up of many authors who are all inspired by the holy spirit. They are people from different backgrounds.
Some notable biblical pen men included kings and princes (Moses, David, Solomon), Generals (Joshua), Priests (Ezra), Devote Jews (Nehemiah) and Prophets. Other interesting writers of the bible included Foreign Kings (Like King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon) ,

The bible reports the history of the chosen people, and even mentions the good and bad of many characters in the bible. For example, it records the good deeds of king David, as well as his evil deeds (his adultery with Bathsheba). Therefore, it cannot be viewed as an ancient document created to glorify kings and prophets.

Note that the Old Testament Scriptures of the bible correspond exactly to the Jewish Scriptures, except that the arrangement of the books are slightly different, they can be seen in the table below. Jesus once mentioned about the Law, The Prophets And The Writings in Luke 24:44, this table will give you an understanding what he means

Generally, the old testament is written in classical Hebrew with exception of certain passages that are written in Aramaic they are Ezra 4:8-6:18, Ezra 7:12-26, Jer 10 :10 and Daniel 2:4-7:8. Note that Samuel, Kings And Chronicles are each one scroll and the minor prophets (Hosea – Malachi) are all in one scroll.

Books of the Old Testament (Lk 24:44)

Law (Torah)

Prophets (Nevi’im)

Writings (Ketuvim)

Genesis

Joshua

Psalms

Exodus

Judges

Proverbs

Leviticus

Samuel

Job

Numbers

Kings

Song of Songs

Deuteronomy

The Twelve
(Minor Prophets)

Ruth

Isaiah

Lamentations

Jeremiah

Ecclesiastes

Ezekiel

Esther

Daniel

Ezra-Nehemiah

Chronicles

The Canon Of The Old Testament

Canon means the rule or standard. Generally, the Jews had a fix canon of the books which they regard as authentic scriptures known as Tanakh. The Jewish canon happen around 200 BC – 200 AD. At the time of Jesus it has been already pretty standard.

There are also a group of other books known as the Apocrypha, they are mainly not included in the bible because the authorship of the books are unclear. They can be found in the catholic bible under the Apocrypha.

Important OT Versions : Masoretic Text

The Masoretic Text is current authoritative Hebrew Text Of The Old testament currently used by the Jews. It is regarded universally as the official version of the Hebrew Scriptures. They had been faithful copied by the scribes to preserve the textual accurately.

The copying of the scriptures is done under a strict quality controls rules, the rules of the scribes when copying the scriptures are
1. They decreed that when copying,if the original page has 268 words, the copy must have 268 for that page
2. Every line is check, if the first line has 9 words, the copy will be the same
3. when copy is finish, the numbers of letters are counted and compared to original
4. Comparison is not compared sentence by sentence or word by word, rather its letter by letter

5. A Second Scribe will check at the middle of the page, to count phases
6. Any mis-copied scrolled are cut up and destroyed on the spot.

The earliest fragments of the Old Testament Masoretic Texts are around 900 AD. While the first complete surviving version is known as the Aleppo Codex, which dated around the 10th Century AD

 

Important OT Versions : Dead Sea Scrolls

The Date Sea Scrolls are found by a Bedouin Shepherd boy, it is generally believed to be copied by a sect of Jews known as the Essences. They do not destroy the scriptures when they are old and worn out, rather they stored the scrolls in jars and kept them in the caves.

Although the dead sea scrolls does not contain the full old testaments, and it also includes many other writings of unknown origins, they had many copies of the old testaments scrolls that allowed the scholars to compare them against the Aleppo Codex, bringing the early manuscript much closer to the original writing period of the Scriptures close to a thousand years.

Important OT Versions : Septuagint

The Septuagint was commissioned by a Greek king Ptolemy Philidephus (285-247 BC) who made arrangement to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek, for the benefit of the Greek speaking Jews in Egypt. He put together 72 man and put them into separate caves to do translation, it continued for approximately 75 years. However, the Septuagint included the apocryphal books. This version is commonly used by the Greek speaking Jews in the time of Jesus.

They are often used to compare with the original Masoretic Texts due to to the fact that the translation is done very close to the completion of the complete old testament books.

The oldest 3 surviving copy of the Septuagint are known as
Codex Vaticanus (4th Century AD)
Codex Sinaiticus (4th Century AD)
Codex Alexandrinu (5th Century AD)

I have tabled up the different versions for everyone to have an idea the number of years difference between the surviving codex and the original creation of the text.

Old Testaments Manuscripts

How can we be sure that the text are preserved?

Between the present day Masoretic Texts and the first surviving copy, they are almost no discrepancy, because of the strict rules employed by the scribes when copying the scriptures. So we can safely say that for 1011 years , the Hebrew scriptures has not been changed at all.

Between the Aleppo Codex to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the scholars did a comparison between the scrolls and came up with the following conclusion

Using Isaiah Chapter 53 as the comparison
17 mistakes are found
1. 10 Characters are written incorrectly.
2. 4 Characters are completely different
3. 3 Characters are added by accident

These 17 Mistakes did not alter the textual meaning of the text. Although the book of Daniel is being disputed


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