When was the
last time you opened and read your Bible? Was it last week, last
month, or last year? It may come as no surprise to learn that
interest in the Bible continues to decline among Americans. Very
few people can even name the books
of the Bible or remember the names of the twelve apostles (or
were there fourteen?). These days it seems more people can give
a stock quotation than a scripture quotation. More people can
give a detailed account of the adventures of Indiana Jones than
can tell you the circumstances surrounding Paul's preaching the
Gospel in Macedonia. But should we be alarmed? Should we worry
that we lack knowledge of the Bible and its teachings? Yes! We
should be alarmed and worried! Why? Well, notice what the Lord
says in Hosea 4:6 -
people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:
because thou hast rejected knowledge,
I will also reject thee...."
But is the
Bible really that important? Did it come from God or did mere
men write it and then claim it was from God? These questions
must be answered. If the Bible is myth then it needs to be exposed
as such, but if it is true, then it needs to be heeded and obeyed.
The following are some reasons to believe the Bible is God's
Unity of Its Writings
The oldest of the Bible books was written about 3,500 years ago.
The last book of the Bible was written about 1,900 years ago.
The 66 books that make up the Bible have descended to modern
times by means of handwritten copies.
There are more than 12,000 manuscripts that when combined produce
the Bible as we know it today. There were nearly 40 writers of
the Bible. These writers lived at different times and in different
locations, but they all wrote a unified account of God's people
and the salvation that comes through faith in God. How can the
Bible's amazing unity be explained except for the fact that it
came from the inspiration of God?
Isaiah prophecied the destruction of the Babylonian empire (Isa.
13:17-22) long before it happened. Ezekiel spoke of the decline
of the powerful nation of Egypt (Ezek. 29:13-15) before the decline
even began. Both prophecies came to pass. But, biblical prophecies
can be even more specific. In Joshua 6:26 a prophecy was made
that the man who rose up to build the city of Jericho would lose
his first born and his youngest son. Five hundred years later
the prophecy was fulfilled (See 1 Kings 16:34).
Proofs of the Bible's Inspiration
Did you know that the Bible spoke of the earth being round hundreds
of years before Columbus proved the fact (please see
Isaiah 40:21-22)? Did you know that the Bible tells us the "earth
hangs on nothing" long before man knew that to be true (see
Job 26:7)? Did you know that until 1885 man did not know about
ocean currents, until an oceanographer read of the "paths
of the seas" in Psalm 8:8? The obvious question is how could
these and other scientific facts be stated in the Bible long
before man learned of them unless the Bible were inspired of
You see, there
are many good reasons to believe in the Bible's inspiration.
Why not take a few minutes right now to read and contemplate
its truths? Or, how about joining us in our Bible study on Sunday
morning and again on Wednesday evening? We promise a warm welcome!
MORE ABOUT THE
WE GOT THE BIBLE
"Bible" means "book." Actually, it is a compilation
of 66 books written by about 40 different authors scattered across
many countries during a period of 1,600 years. The story of how
this remarkable book came into being with each part fitting perfectly
into the others and with no real contradictions is most interesting.
We must conclude it could have come only from God.
THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN
The Bible is divided into two great divisions known as the Old
Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is over three
times as long as the New Testament and its writing was completed
about 400 years before the birth of Christ. Originally the biblical
books were hand written on animal skins (parchment) or on paper
made from the papyrus plant. Printing was not yet invented,
so every copy of an original had to be made by hand. Therefore,
copies were rare and extremely valuable.
The 39 Old
Testament books were written in Hebrew, except for small portions
in the Aramaic language. The first five were written by Moses
about 1500 years B.C. (before Christ.) During the next thousand
years the remaining books were penned, and it appears that Ezra,
the scribe, brought them all together into a single book (Nehemiah
8:5) about 400 B.C.
In the third
century before Christ the first great translation of the Old
Testament from Hebrew to Greek was made at Alexandria, Egypt.
It was called the SEPTUAGINT (meaning seventy) because it was
supposedly translated by seventy scholars. Christ often quoted
this version or a Hebrew text similar to it.
The 27 New
Testament books were written in Greek by about eight men, several
of them apostles of Christ, in the first century A.D. (since
Christ.) The New Testament covers events occurring in that century,
including the life of Christ and the establishment of his church.
As is true of the Old Testament, all original copies have been
lost or destroyed, and yet we have the writings substantially
as they were penned. Many copies have been preserved and are
available for scholars to use in translating into other languages.
The three most important are the Vatican Manuscript at the Vatican
in Rome, written in the fourth century; the Alexandrian Manuscript
in the British Museum in London, written in the fifth century;
and the Sinaitic Manuscript, also in the British Museum, written
in the fourth century. In addition there are hundreds of other
copies of less importance which are of value to translators in
making sure that we have the original New Testament writings.
DEAD SEA SCROLLS
The Dead Sea Scrolls, the first of which were discovered in 1947
in a cave near the Dead Sea and which date from the first or
second century before Christ, have
helped in recent translations of the Old Testament. They have
also substantiated the accuracy of the manuscripts from which
earlier translations were made so that we may be even more confident
that we have the real message of the Old Testament writers. There
are two additional sources of information about the original
New Testament books. One is the translations made soon after
the New Testament was written. The most important, written in
Latin, is called VULGATE and was completed by Jerome in 405 A.D.
We also have numerous Bible quotations from the writings of the
early church fathers. By comparing the Greek manuscripts, the
early translations, and the quotations of the church fathers,
Bible scholars have been able to determine with great accuracy
what the New Testament authors wrote. In fact, so sure are we
that we have the Bible almost as it was given that we can positively
say that no major Bible doctrine is in any way affected by minor
errors of copying through the centuries.
BIBLE IN ENGLISH
The first major English translation of the New Testament was
completed by John Wyclif in 1382 after 22 years of hard work.
In 1456 printing was invented by Johanne Gutenberg, making it
possible to publish Bibles much faster and virtually eliminating
typographical errors so common in hand copies. In fact, the first
printed English Bible was the New Testament as translated by
WILLIAM TYNDALE in 1525. He was strongly opposed in this by the
Catholic Church and he found it necessary to have his Bibles
printed on the continent and smuggled into England. Most were
publicly burned in London. He was betrayed, and burned at the
stake for giving the Bible to the people. His final words were,
"Lord, open the King of England's eyes." The first
complete English Bible was the work of MILES COVERDALE. Other
versions soon followed and by 1604 the King of England's eyes
were opened. He authorized the translation of a new version,
the work of 54 scholars. It was completed in 1611 and is know
as the KING JAMES VERSION after the monarch who authorized it.
Although it was tranlated over 350 years ago, it is still one
of the most widely used English versions.
In 1982 the
NEW KING JAMES revision was published. It follows the same basic
text as the King James, but updates much of the archaic speech
to make it more readable. The discovery of additional Bible manuscripts
not available to King James translators and the inevitable change
of the English language prompted the publication of other versions
that would be more readable and accurate. An 1885 revision of
the King James by 84 British and American scholars was called
the ENGLISH REVISED VERSION, and was followed in 1901 by an American
edition called the AMERICAN STANDARD, a highly literal rendering
of the scriptures. Other revisions of the King James and American
Standard followed: the REVISED STANDARD VERSION in 1952 and the
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD in 1970. These translations were intended
to combine the finer characteristics of their predecessors with
improved readability and increased accuracy based on recent manuscript
The NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION (1978) is comparable in its approach to translation with
the Revised Standard and New American Standard, but unlike these
is a completely new translation rather than a revision of its
The NEW ENGLISH
BIBLE and the GOOD NEWS BIBLE (or TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSION) are
typical of recent free translations that are less literal and
concentrate on capturing the sense of the original. THE LIVING
BIBLE of Kenneth Taylor is a paraphrase rather than a translation
and reworks the original in an effort to capture the intent of
the original writers.
The Roman Catholic
Church has produced its own translations. The RHEIMS-DOUAI BIBLE
appeared in 1582. It has been replaced by the NEW AMERICAN BIBLE
of 1970. Catholic versions include the same books found in other
versions (sometimes under a different name) plus fourteen more
in the Old Testament usually call the Apocrypha. This word means
"hidden" and is applied to these books because of their
doubtful origin. They are found only in the Greek, not the Hebrew
canon of the Old Testament, and have been rejected by the Jews
and most non-Catholics as not belonging in the Old Testament.
However, their exclusion from the Old Testament does not materially
affect any Bible doctrine.
BIBLE IS GOD'S WORD
The Bible claims to be inspired. Peter said, "Holy men of God
spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:21.)
The Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) so guided the writers of the Bible
that they could not make mistakes. "Which things also we
speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which
the Holy Ghost teacheth." (1 Cor. 2:13.) Because of this there are no real
contradictions in the Bible. Those things which appear to be
contradictions disappear under close investigation. That the
Bible is true may be shown by several of its characteristics.
It's SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE,
even though it is not a book of science.
It's HISTORICALLY ACCURATE. attempts
to prove it wrong have failed.
It's PROPHETICALLY CORRECT its
prophecies have been fulfilled.
It's IMPARTIAL, presenting both
good and bad of all men.
It presents the world's HIGHEST
STANDARD of MORALITY.
IT HAS NEVER BEEN DESTROYED despite
attempts to eliminate it.