Our Bible 

 The Origin of the Name "Bible"

"Bible" comes from the Greek work "biblia" which means "books." "Biblia" comes from the word "biblos" which means "papyrus". Papyrus was used in making the paper from which books were manufactured. Over time the word "Biblia" was given a singular meaning by the church fathers that included all the accepted books of scripture.

How Were Individual Books Chosen To Be Included In The Bible"

At the time of Jesus the Jews in the land of Palestine recognized 24 books divided into three groups: the Law, the Prophets, and the writings. These are the same books that make up the 39 books in the Protestant Bible. The difference is that in the Jewish arrangement several books were paired together and the 12 latter prophets are one book. Jesus honored this arrangement (See Luke 24:27, 44). Every one of these books is quoted in the New Testament except Esther. The Grecian Jews outside Palestine recognized seven other books plus so-called additions to Esther and Daniel. None of these books are quoted in the New Testament. The Roman Catholic church follows the arrangement of the Grecian Jews and includes these seven books and their additions in their Bible.

Both Hebrew scholars and Christian scholars followed stringent guidelines in choosing the books to include in their "scriptures". That is a major study that exceeds our present time and space to pursue.

Why Should We Believe The Bible Is True?

  1. The Bible claims to be the inspired word of God some 2500 times. If it did not make such a claim few people would consider it worthy of consideration. By claiming divine inspiration the authors knew that the most brilliant minds in every age would put it to the test. Some of those claims are:

    "So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments…and Moses wrote all the words of the LORD…" Exodus 24:3a, 4a. " I (God) have written or him (the Israelite tribe of Ephraim) the great things of My (God's) law, but they were considered a strange thing." Hosea 8:12.

    "All Scripture is given by inspiration (literally "God-breathed") of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" 2nd Timothy 3:16.

    "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."  2nd Peter 1:20, 21.

  2. Jesus Christ Affirmed The Bible To Be The Inspired And Authoritative Word of God Twenty-two Times.
    When tempted by Satan He answered three times, "It is written…" Matthew 4:4, 7, 10.
    When He referred to the Old Testament He used such terms as "the commandment of God" _ Mark 7:8; "the Word of God" - Mark 7:13, John 10:35 and "Scripture" - Luke 4:21.

    Jesus endorsed the persons and events of the Old Testament as historical revelation:
    Adam and Eve - Matthew 19:4, 5.
    Noah and the flood - Matthew 24:37-39
    Lot, Lot's wife and Sodom - Luke 17:28-32
    Jonah - Matthew 12:38 - 41

    Jesus Stated that people will be held accountable for knowing and practicing the teachings of scripture. Matthew 12:3-8.

  3. The Unity of the Bible Attests That It Was Inspired by God.

    In our Bible we have 66 books…written over 1500 year span by over 40 human authors from man walks of life who wrote in widely scattered places and few knew any other writers.

    They wrote on hundreds of controversial subjects and yet they all held one consistent position of every subject they wrote about in common with the others.

    They all agreed that the supreme theme of all their writing was God's redemption of fallen man.

  4. The Fulfilled Prophecies Confirm That The Bible Is The Inspired Word of God!

The Bible contains hundred of prophecies about scores of nations. When it came time for those prophecies to be fulfilled not one failed. Here are some examples:

  1. When Israel established their possession of Canaan Joshua reminded them, "Not a failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass." Joshua 21:45
  2. An unnamed prophet called King Josiah by name over 300 years before he was born and 360 years before Josiah fulfilled the prophet's prophecy. See 1st Kings 13:1-3 and 2nd Kings 23:15-16.
  3. Through Isaiah the prophet God called Cyrus of Medo-Persia by name 250 years before he appeared in history and told of his victory over Babylon and kindness to Israel. Isaiah 44:28- 45:4.
  4. The Old Testament made 198 direct prophecies of Jesus Christ and 333 indirect prophecies. All were fulfilled.

     These fulfilled prophecies alone raise the level of evidence that the Bible is the inspired word of God far above coincidence. Time and space fail to speak on its moral and spiritual effects on mankind.

How The Bible Was Preserved For Us

     Since the original manuscripts were written on papyrus it should not be a surprise that none of them are known to exist today.

     We do know that the responsibility for copying the Old Testament manuscripts was entrusted to a group of men called scribes. They were very meticulous even to the point of counting the letters vertically on each page. We also know that about 200 BC a group of Hebrew scholars translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek. In the Greek speaking world most synagogues used the Greek translation. Jesus often quoted from it. In 1947 the first of many copies of the Hebrew scriptures began to be found in caves down by the Dead Sea. Some of them dated back to over 200 years before Jesus was born, including a virtually complete copy of the book of Isaiah. These copies were remarkably alike to the copies used to translate the Old Testament into Greek. They were also the same as copies made 1000 years later.

    Our New Testament text has approximately 14,000 copies. Some of them go back to as early as 125 BC, ---only 50 or 60 years later than the original texts. In addition, there are about 12,000 translations into other languages. Many of these also date back to the 2nd century.

    To see how powerful the above evidence is, we put it into perspective by comparing it with secular texts:

     There are only 10 copies of Caesar's "Gallic Wars" and the earliest copy only goes back to 900 AD. There are only 20 copies of Livy's "History of Rome" and the earliest copy only goes back to 400 AD. There are only 8 copies of Thucydide's "History" and the earliest copy only goes back to 900 AD. There are only 8 copies of Herodoties' "History" and the earliest copy only goes back to 900 AD. No scholar has ever raised a doubt about the authenticity of these texts. Isn't it strange that anyone would raise a doubt about the authenticity of the New Testament text when there are some 14,000 copies and the earliest go back to 125 AD.

Why There Are So Many Translations

     In general, there are individuals and groups of people who believe they can do a better job of translating the Scriptures than others have done. Some have noble reasons and some not so noble.

     We must also be aware that any spoken language is in a state of constant change. Words that meant one thing 50 years ago take on a different meaning. In addition, as researchers reveal a more exact meaning of words and phrases in the original texts translators are motivated to revise translations and make new ones.

Why Is The Bible Difficult To Read and Understand?

   Our Bible records many things which the modern reader is unfamiliar…genealogies…biographies…cultural practices…religious observations and historical events. Until a person possess the key to what the Bible is all about it is very confusing. In brief, the Bible tells us about man's sin and separation from God, followed by God's provision for man's redemption by the sacrificial death on the cross. We can say that everything that happened before the cross was in preparation for it, and everything after the cross takes its meaning in light of the cross.

     The scripture also tells us that man's spirit must be made alive to God by the Holy Spirit and then taught by the Holy Spirit to understand spiritual things. "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1st Corinthians 2:14

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted


    Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.