How We Got The Bible ?
There is a lot of talk out there about how we got the Bible, who wrote it or whatever. Most of the information is either misunderstood or just erroneous. Someone said the other day that the Catholic church gave us the Bible. As you continue to honestly read you will learn that this is not true either.
One of the things we ask people to do is allow the Bible to defend itself. History also dismantle many untrue statements about the Bible as well.
Here we go...take notes:
When a person say that the Catholic Church declared the books of the Bible to be inspired. This is untrue! Why would the Catholic Church have to declare the books inspired writers themselves made this declaration? 2 Peter 1:21 the apostle says that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." Paul says that the scriptures was given by the inspiration of God. (2 Timothy 3:16) There would be no reason for the Catholic Church to declare books inspired because the books were already declared inspired by the inspired Bible writers themselves.
It is said that the Catholic Church collected the various books and gave us the complete Bible at the Council of Hippo in A.D. 390. This is also untrue! We had the complete Bible early in the second century. Keep reading and you will see why.
The 39 Old Testament books were translated from the Hebrew into the Greek in the year 277 B.C. This work was done by seventy scholars at Alexandria, Egypt. Thus we know that the Old Testament existed in its completed form by 277 B.C.
The original manuscripts were written on Papyrus (made from the pitch of an Egyptian water plant) for hundred of years. For this reason we do not have any of these original manuscripts but we may have copies of the originals. Some of these originals may be found in Palestine, Egypt or Syria. Papyrus was used as writing material until About A.D. 250 at which time it gave way to vellum which was made of animal skins. Had the Bible books been written on vellum it is likely that we should have the originals, but since they were initially written on papyrus we do not have them. Papyrus was a substance that became brittle after it was wet, and for this reason not much papyrus ever survived the test of time.
At the end of the 4th century, Constantine the emperor of Rome, ordered fifty copies of the Bible made - some of which scholars feel are still in existence. We have more than 200 manuscripts of the Bible books, but of this number there are three that rise above the others.
No doubt the greatest and best manuscript of the Bible in existence is the Codex Sinaiticus which was found at the foot of Mt. Sinai in 1844. This manuscript was written in Greek capital letters on one hundred antelope skins. It contains all the Bible except for small portions of the Old Testament. The New Testament is compete. Scholars are certain that this manuscript was one of the fifty ordered by Constantine the emperor in the fourth century. The Codex Sinaiticus was found by the German scholar Tischendorf, who was a Protestant, and this manuscript, which is the most complete of all, was never in Roman Catholic hands. It should be remembered that Roman Catholics claim they gave us the compete Bible near the dawn of the fifth century, but the Codex Sinaiticus was copied in the third century. Thus the Bible existed long before Roman Catholics claim they gave it to the world.
The second manuscript we mention is the Codex Vaticanus, which bears its name because of the fact it has rested in the Vatican since 1475. In this manuscript parts of Genesis, Psalms and Hebrews are missing. Small portions of many books are missing. Many scholars believe that this manuscript was one of the fifty ordered by Constantine. Again how can Catholics claim they collected the Bible books and placed them under one cover at the dawn of the fifth century when scholars say the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus were copied from the original language in the third century. It is in the British Museum.
Some people may be concerned about us not having the original manuscripts in which the Bible was written, but this alarm diminishes when we consider the care of the Jewish scribes in copying and preserving the manuscripts. One Rabbi warned a scribe in these words: "Take heed how thou doest why work - for it is the work of heaven - do not drop or add a letter lest thou become a destroyer of the world." The scribes would not trust their memory. They counted the words and even letters in every copy, and then they compared immediately the copy with the original. If one incorrect letter was discovered the whole page was destroyed. They pronounced aloud each word before writing it; and they wiped their pens before writing "God," and washed their bodies before writing "Jehovah." In A.D. 230, Origen, one of the world's scholars, marveled at the uncanny accuracy of the Hebrew manuscripts of his day.
Let's talk about "Versions" of the Bible. It should be noted that a manuscript is a copy from one language into the same language but a version is a translation into a different language. The Bible has been translated into almost every known language.
Homer's Iliad was translated into 20 languages; Shakespeare's dramas into 33, and Pilgrim's Progress into 111. The complete Bible has been translated into 179 languages; the New Testament into 391 dialects and at least some parts of the Bible into 1018.
The Syriac Version was translated from the original language into six dialects of Syria early in the second century. Some who read this version likely knew some of the New Testament writers. Catholics claim these books were collected in A.D. 390 which was at the dawn of the fifth century, but we know the Bible was complete in the early part of the second century.
The Old Latin Version was translated from the Greek into the Latin at the close of the second century.
The Coptic Version was translated from the Greek into the Egyptian about the close of the second century.
The Gothic Version was translated in A.D. 375 by Ulfilas for the Goths who had crossed the northern borders in the Roman Empire.
The Latin Vulgate was a revision of the Old Latin into which the New Testament had been translated in the second century. This work was done by Jerome in A.D. 385, and Jerome says he used a Greek Bible belonging to Origen who lived in the early part of the third century. Anyone who knows that the Bible existed in all these languages before A.D. 390 is amazed to read the Catholic claim that they collected the books and placed them in the Bible in A.D. 390. The claim is simply not true!
It is interesting to note that the bishops at the Council of Hippo in A.D. 390 declared that Jerome was inspired in his translation of the Bible into the Latin language, and that he could not make a mistake in his translation. Yet, Jerome rejected the additional books that Catholics now have in their Bible and he declared they were "Apocrypha" which means "hidden" obscure, and without authority." How could Jerome be inspired and then make the mistake of rejecting some canonical books? The truth of the matter is, the additional books in the Catholic Bible are spurious and without authority. Here are the objections to these additional books:
First, they possess no authority whatsoever either external or internal, to procure their admission into the canon of scripture.
Second , not one of them is extant in the Hebrew in which the other Old Testament books were written.
Third, not one of the authors of these books in direct terms , advanced any claim to inspiration. Some say they were not inspired.
Fourth, these books have never been acknowledged by Jews to be o divine origin and it must be remembered that Paul says that to them were committed the oracles of God. (Romans 3:2).
Fifth, these books were not admitted into the canon of Scripture by the church during the first four centuries.
Sixth, these apocryphal books are not mentioned by Christ or the apostles, and yet in the New Testament there are 263 direct quotations from and 370 allusions to passages in the Old Testament.
Seventh, these books contain many things that are contradictory to other Bible books in facts, doctrine, and practices.
When we study the history of our Bible we find that after Jerome's translation in A.D. 385 not much was done by way of translating the Bible for a thousand years. During the Dark Ages Bede and Alfred the Great in England translated or had translated some parts of the Bible into the Anglo-Saxon tongue.
In 1382 Wycliffe finished translating the New Testament into English. In that day it took ten months to write a copy of the Bible by hand and one copy sold for two hundred dollars. The Catholic Church excommunicated Wycliffe and forty years after his death the Catholics dug up his bones, burned them, and scattered the ashes on the river Swift.
In 1525, Tyndale finished translating the New Testament into English and he printed 15,000 copies which were shipped from the Continent to England. Most of these were burned at the cross of St. Paul. When Tyndale began his work he said, "I defy the pope, and if God spares me I will one day make the boy that drives the plow in England know more scriptures than the pope himself." Tyndale was finally lured back to England in 1535 and on October 16th of that year he was burned at the stake. As he died he cried "Lord, open the eyes of the king of England."
In 1535, the year of Tyndale's death, Coverdale finished translating the entire Bible into English.
By 1550 the demand for the Bible in the language of the people was so great that Catholics could not stem the tide, and when they say it was impossible to keep the Bible in the dead Latin Language they decided to give the world a translation. In 1582 the Old Testament was translated and in 1610 the New Testament was finished. This translation is called the Rheims-Douay Version.
Many over the years have asked why the Roman Catholics were so opposed to the Bible being translated into the language everyone could read. This oppositioin stemmed from the fact the Catholics wanted the Bible to remain in the dead Latin which only the priest could read. Thus the leaders could give to the people just what they wanted them to have and know.
In 1611 the King James Version of the Bible was given to the world. It was called the King James Version because James, King of England, authorized
48 of the world's best scholars to translate the Bible into the English language. When you hear people say that King James wrote this translation this is just another false rumor! Also him being gay or not has absolutely nothing to do with the best scholars translating this version.
Then in 1885 one hundred and one scholars of America and England gave to the world the Revised Version. This translation is without doubt the best one because it gives the Bible in the English of our day, and before its translation the three oldest and best manuscripts of the Bible in man's possession were found. The scholars had access to these in preparing the Revised Version.
This is a brief account of how we got the Bible and it was never in the hands of the Roman Catholics. The letters of the New Testament were written to congregations called, "churches of Christ," and not to the "Catholic Church." There has always been, and now is a vast difference between New Testament churches of Christ and the Roman Catholic church.
“ I over heard a conversation on campus with Mr. Weeks and another student about the Bible. I was Catholic and had a lot questions. I decided to study the Bible and now I am proud to say that I am a Christian.”
Brian Johnson , Student Florida A & M University
“God truly works in a mysterious way! I took a job at a Juvenile facility and while there I use to see this interesting dude that worked in my building. Long story short he and I became close and he ended up sharing the gospel of Jesus with everybody in my unit and about 20 of us (officers) are now Christians !!!”
Samantha Hopkins , SC Department of Juvenile Justice