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
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?
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
"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.
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" -
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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
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
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.