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Can You Trust the Bible? Digging Deeper into the Word Studying the Bible

Sense in the Serpent

I am quite interested in the work of those who investigate the details of the Genesis creation stories along scientific lines. I wholly support any honest study of the possibilities of things like a global flood, genetic analysis to see if man really does trace its origins back to a single pair, or even questioning whether or not there is some evidence that serpents used to have legs. I do not believe, however, that these studies hold the keys to understanding Genesis.

If you want to understand the theological messaging of Genesis, you have to read it like a pagan. That is to say that Genesis was written within the context of the global dominance of the pagan worldview and was intended as a help for those struggling to understand and embrace the biblical worldview under the great pressure of that pagan dominance. Stories of creation that sustained the pagan perception of god, man, and reality populated the imaginations of every society, and Genesis is constructed to preach the truth about God, man, and reality in intentional opposition to those stories. Genesis is about the true origin and nature of the Divine order. It reveals how the world was made to function so that man could learn how to function best within it.

Let me illustrate by talking about the context for reading about the serpent in Genesis 3.

Only a child imagines that Genesis 3 is some etiological tale about why women don’t like snakes or why snakes have no legs. Given the role of the serpent dragons in so many Ancient Near Eastern creation accounts one would be foolish not to believe that there is a connection between it and them. Indeed, many Scriptures show a keen awareness of these ancient serpent dragon stories. Authors cast enemies in their image, and link the serpent figure with Satan Himself.

My doctoral dissertation demanded extensive contrasts and comparisons between pagan and biblical creation stories and flood stories. We learn much about the pagan view of gods, man, and reality from reading their myths, and discover just how radical the biblical worldview was to them when they encountered it. So, if I were a pagan reading Genesis, let me tell you how it would strike me, and what I would intuit most from the story of the fall of man and the serpent.

In Genesis, the entire nature of Yahweh is radically different from pagan conceptions of God. Rather than being untrustworthy, powerful but highly limited, self-absorbed, fickle, super-being bound to the created order that was established by someone else wholly unknown and unknowable… i.e. a pagan deity… Yahweh is the One Holy Creator of all. He is omnipotent, omniscient, all-wise, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, transcendent but immanent.  Yahweh is positively disposed to his creation as a loving and good Creator, can be trusted and personally known, and is the very source of all morals and ethics. All creatures spiritual and material are heading for a trial before the judgment seat of Yahweh to answer for their actions in Yahweh’s world toward Yahweh and Yahweh’s creations.

In Genesis, the entire nature of man is radically different from pagan conceptions of man. Rather than being created as a barely tolerable slave of the gods, kept in check by suffering to keep him from proliferating and adding to his general annoyance of the pagan gods… rather than being on his own to work out his destiny for himself by manipulating pagan gods through ritual to achieve his own ends without any dependable moral or ethical guidance from the gods… in Genesis Man is Yahweh’s highest creation. Man was made to be filled with Yahweh’s Holy Spirit as His ruling and reigning image in the world. Man is given a mission and a blessing and declared with all the rest of Yahweh’s beloved creation, to be very good.

In Genesis, the entire nature of reality is different from pagan conceptions of it. Rather than being a random compilation of conflicting pagan gods who are the cosmic forces of the world cycling endlessly and purposely… the world of Yahweh had an intentional beginning and is driving toward an intentional end. In Genesis, nature is a body of material forces wholly subjected to the order of Yahweh and without personal volition. The wisdom of Yahweh is woven into the fabric of reality as a system of natural reward and punishment.

As the pagan’s mind reels in the face of such declarations, the role of the serpent appearing late in the creation tale blows his mind. The images of sea and serpent dragon are, in the pagan stories of creation, the very visage of chaos, the amoral destroyer of worlds, the enemy of an active and thriving cosmos. This ruinous force predates the populating cosmos, is at enmity with it, and must be conquered for it to progress. In defeat, the serpent dragon becomes instrumental in the natural world’s establishment as a necessary but ever-threatening part of its foundations.  If something could be said to be “wrong” with the world as the pagans conceived it, it would be the idea that chaos is part of the world’s primary wiring and only man is truly looking out for the interests of man in the cosmic battle against it.

Not so, in Genesis. There, the world is very good. Other portions of Scripture will work the poetic imagery of the sea as a barely controlled enemy, but in the Genesis creation, the sea is just one more purely material force among many. The waters of the deep divide at command, above from below, seas from land, just as the darkness flees the light, and the waters and land team when God demands that they do so.

World trouble is born in Genesis 3, not Genesis 1 or 2. The serpent comes as an enemy to entice the man and woman into rebellion against God. As regents over God’s world, the creation is cursed by their sin and not by the presence of the serpent, malicious as he is. The source of world evil, of world chaos, is found not in the sea, serpent, or Satan, but in the rebellious heart of man himself. Satan may tempt and lure, seduce and deceive, but it is man’s own selfish heart that spawns evil in the world. The fault of man is not his failure to create the right kinds of systems, cultures, laws, or institutions, but the fact that none of these are immune to the influence of his corrupt heart. Satan may seek our ruin, but man’s greatest enemy is himself.

You can debate the literalness of the snake and look for scientific evidence of his curse in his namesakes, but I want to understand his role in the creation story, the meaning and influence of his words, and the impact that he had on bringing human evil into God’s good world, and how we, the children of Adam and Eve can find stability, restoration, and redemption in the world that we, and not he, ruined.

 

1 A global flood is not necessary in the Hebrew reading of Genesis 6-8. In fact, evidence, as I’ve seen it, points more strongly toward a massive regional flood in the Black Sea area, though some have brought forth some interesting data in support of the other.
2 Some wonderful claims of this have come forth of late by those looking at DNA records, as well as genetic evidence for a spontaneous explosion of species around the same time mere tens of thousands of years ago.
3 These serpents are usually the visual double of the primordial sea, the great enemy of creation. Leviathan shows up in Job 41, Psalms 74 and 104, and Isaiah 27. Rahab shows up in Job 9, Psalm 87, and Isaiah 30. Labu appears without name in Ezekiel 29.  We have great adversaries rising as beasts from the sea in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13. There are more.
4 Revelation 12 and 20.
5 i.e. standing outside the created order, but wholly present in its operation, flow, and purpose, making Himself known to His creatures.

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All Can You Trust the Bible? Studying the Bible

Is God an Egomaniac?

Author: Patrick Krentz Th.M., Managing Editor for Foundations by ICM

 

There is a common objection to the existence of God that has become popular on the internet and across social media. It goes something like this: A perfect, all-powerful, self-sufficient God would not need to create worshippers and demand that people worship him. The kind of God who does this is an egomaniac, and not actually worthy of worship at all. This may seem like a powerful argument when you first hear it, but let’s take a moment to analyze the question. We will quickly find that it makes assumptions that are not justified. Most importantly, it critiques a God that the Bible does not describe.

So, let’s answer not by reacting to the question, but by cutting away the very foundations of the objection.

 

God Is…

Before the beginning, there was Father, Son, and Spirit. Three persons sharing one essence. This relationship of three persons is God – or put another, God is a relationship of three equal but distinct persons. When we say God in a general sense, this is what we mean. From eternity past, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit exists in a relationship of mutual, self-giving love. Each person loves and exalts the others.

In Scripture, we see that it is the Father’s role to send the Son and the Son’s role to reveal the Father. Similarly, the Son sends the Spirit and the Spirit exalts the Son. Each person points to the others. You don’t see Jesus exalting himself in the New Testament. In fact, you see the opposite – Jesus humbled himself to the greatest possible degree, and fully submitted himself to the Father.

 

Humble God

Consider Philippians 2:5-9:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.

Jesus began in the highest position of total equality with the Father but lowered himself to the lowest position humanity has to offer. He could have exalted himself at any time, restoring his equality, but he chose humility and submission instead. As a result, verse 9 says, “God has highly exalted him.”

Why does this matter for answering the objection? Because a relationship of three other-exalting persons is quite different from a single self-exalting deity. To illustrate, let’s move from talking about pre-creation to creation itself.

 

Why did God create anything?

If God is self-sufficient, why did he create people to worship him? What is creation in the first place? A key clue to answering this question lies in the sort of creational power God gave to his creatures – procreation. In both a physical and a philosophical sense, procreation (having babies) happens as a result of self-giving love. Each person involved gives of themself in a unifying act that results in the creation of something new.

If we relate this idea to the God who is three-in-one, we can also say that creation itself is the outpouring or overflow of trinitarian, self-giving love. God’s love is unlimited and unbound. Creation was meant to grow the family of God; to create a vast multitude of persons who could experience the joyful union of the Trinity. These creatures were made like their creator in that they could willingly give of themselves in love for others, though they did not share in the perfection or equality with God.

 

God of Relationship

In our present condition, humanity experiences only a minute fraction of the relationship for which we were made. In Eternity, we will enter into that relationship in an ever-expanding, always increasing capacity. Even though this relationship will be enjoyed in eternity with God, distinction remains between God and humanity, God is the Creator and we the creature. This distinction is essential to answering the initial objection of egoism.

A simple answer to the question, “why did God create anything,” would be: To enter into relationship with more people. But did God create us so that we would worship him? No.

God does not need our worship in any sense. He doesn’t need us to say nice things about him so that he can feel better about himself. This is not why he demands that we worship him. Instead, he demands that we worship him because he wants us to enter into the perfect, joyful relationship that he created us to experience.

 

What is Worship?

Let’s pause here and ask, what is worship anyway? If someone objects to a deity who demands worship, it might be good to know the meaning of the word before answering. Worship, by its non-theological, simple dictionary definition, means to express respect and reverence for a deity. So, God demands that we express respect and reverence for him.

Now, let’s think about this in reverse. The objection states that a deity should not require that creatures show respect or reverence for it. If you think about it, that’s absurd. If a perfect, holy, and loving God exists, the only correct response to him would be respect and reverence.

We even understand this from a human perspective. Imagine your boss, or even the leader of your country (assume for a moment that he is a great leader) shows up at your house for dinner. How should you react? Will you casually go about your business, perhaps go out of your way to microwave some leftovers for his dinner? Of course not, you will show respect according to what he deserves.

So, worshipping God is merely the natural reaction we should have toward him. If we are not acting respectfully and reverently toward him then there is something terribly wrong. God, for his part, does not desire worship for worship’ sake, but because he desires that we be in right-relation to him.

 

Conclusion

The God who demands worship gave everything to reunite us to himself. He no more needs our worship than he needs our company, but he desires (and requires) our worship because it is a prerequisite for entering into true relationship with an Almighty God. If we are to be with him for all eternity, then we will worship him for all eternity. That is merely the natural and right response to being in his presence. It is something that anyone who experiences his love will do without question.

Is God an egomaniac? Quite the opposite. He simply wants us to respond appropriately when he pours out his love on us.

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All Can You Trust the Bible? Church Development

Is Jesus Coming Back in 2022?

Author: Patrick Krentz Th.M., Managing Editor for Foundations by ICM

 

When you read the letters of the Apostle Paul, you may notice something surprising – he seemed to think the world would end in his lifetime. Was the Holy Spirit inspiring an error when he wrote about Jesus returning soon? It’s been two thousand years… was he crazy? What possible justification could there be for his “wrong” opinions to be codified in inspired texts? Well, I think both he and the Holy Spirit were justified in preserving these thoughts. Let’s take a few moments to consider Paul’s words, and to think about why, perhaps, we should think the same.

 

The End of the World As We Know It

First, let’s recognize that Paul did believe Jesus could return very quickly – possibly while he was alive. This would be the climax of history, the end of the world as we know it, and the beginning of the age of the Messiah. Consider his words to the church in Thessalonica who were distressed about believers who had died. These believers were confused because they did not know what would happen to believers who had ‘gone to sleep’ prior to the return of Christ. Paul reassured them, saying:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV)

Do you see his argument? He said, “we who are still alive will be caught up.” His grammar, at least, anticipated that even he would be included in this great event.

 

Who’s Crazy?

So the question remains, was Paul wrong? Did he misunderstand the words of Jesus or the teachings of the other Apostles? And more importantly, did the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to write in error? The simple answer to each of these questions is No. Here’s why: every believer should think exactly the same thing that Paul thought and taught – that Jesus could (and would) return in their lifetime. Consider more from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians:

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6)

In the first verse of this passage, Paul explains: “about times and dates we do not need to write to you…” Why? Because, first of all, times and dates don’t matter: we need to be ready all the time. But, second, because Paul and the Thessalonians don’t know when the return will happen.

So, while Paul expects Jesus to return soon, he understands that ‘soon’ could be quite literally any time. His emphasis is not about when Christ will return, but that we should be ready when he returns.

In several parables, Jesus tells stories of those who are waiting for their master to return (Luke 12:35-40, 42-49, Matthew 25:1-13, 14-30). He severely warns those who wait to watch at all times, expecting their master’s return at any moment. Jesus summarizes, saying: “You also must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.Don’t be caught sleeping, distracted, or unprepared just because he’s been gone longer than we expected.

 

 

What’s Our Response?

Be crazy, therefore, as Paul is crazy. Expect the return of Christ in your lifetime. Live as if Jesus will return tomorrow, next week, next month, three years from now… Live like you believe what Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament writers say about the end of the world. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul and others to write about the return as imminent, meaning that it could happen at literally any moment. They were not wrong, they simply did not know when it would happen (and neither do we). This imminence of the return hasn’t changed even though it has been two thousand years since the time of Paul.

Jesus says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32 NIV) He also says, “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Luke 12:40 NIV) If you believe in these words, they will radically change the way you live.

Peter encourages us toward this end, saying: “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:7-8 NIV)

The End

The Holy Spirit allowed Paul’s expectations to pepper his inspired writings because this is exactly how we should think, how we should live, how we should speak. Jesus is coming back soon… are you ready and watching?

Let’s close with the words of Jesus, the very last words in Scripture, which were repeated four times in the book of Revelation: “Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20 NIV).

 

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All Can You Trust the Bible? Studying the Bible

Is the Bible Anti-Science?

Author: Andrew Sargent Ph.D., Contributing Author for Foundations by ICM

 

One of the many things that I do that annoys the easily annoyed is that I complicate supposedly simple things. When people denounce the Bible as “anti-science,” I annoy them with questions about the definition and limits of science. Then I challenge their perception of Scripture as merely a collection of unsophisticated children’s stories. 

While doing my Ph.D., I worked as a security guard at a hoity-toity high school. Once, while reading my Bible, a student said, “Why are you reading the Bible when Science has proven that there is no God?” I retorted, “My goodness, Science sure has come a long way. Last I checked, Science was limited to the material world, and was incapable of proving the non-existence of anything.” He scoffed and went on his way. This assumption was not generated in a vacuum, sadly. The student learned this disposition towards “science” from his science teacher, who once boasted to me that ‘science’ has solved nearly every great mystery of the world and has disproven the existence of the immaterial world. 

Perhaps you yourself have wondered if the Bible is anti-science. It is, after all, filled with miracles, talk of angels and demons, odd creation stories, visions, prophetic dreams, and the like. So, is the Bible anti-science? 

Quick answer: NO. 

Annoying answer: Define Science. Articulate the limits of Science. Describe the “pre-scientific” understanding of reality. Then ask me that question again.

Let’s unpack… 

Define Science

In modern times, the word science has taken on mythic proportions. Thanks to Thomas Dolby, it even has its own theme music. Unfortunately, its legend has incorporated many elements that go well beyond its definition. “Oxford Languages” defines science as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” In other words, science is a methodology for studying our physical world where knowledge is gained through observation and experimentation.

The Limits of Science

So, science is an inductive method for studying the material world. That’s it. It is limited by the human capacity for observation, measurement, and the ability to conduct experiments with consistent outcomes. Scientists can be considered experts in many matters pertaining to the physical world, and their knowledge should be both welcomed and questioned. Unfortunately, this does not prevent some scientists or the “Scientific-minded” from venturing authoritatively into the realms of the unobservable and unobserved.

People like the teacher and student I mentioned above believe science can “inform” or “prove” many more things than it actually can. For instance, logical and mathematical truths are outside the realm of science and must be presupposed in order to do experiments. Math is rooted in deduction, not induction. Questions about morality or the observation of aesthetic qualities such as goodness or beauty are not determinable through the scientific method. Metaphysical truths, like believing that there are other minds than one’s own, cannot be proven in laboratory experiments. Even the scientific method itself cannot be validated by the scientific method!

The Pre-Scientific Understanding of Reality

Being raised in a science-minded civilization, we tend to divide history into two pieces… scientific and pre-scientific. When we say Pre-scientific, we typically mean “ignorant of reality” and “governed by silly religious superstitions.” This is quite misguided. 

Ancient documents, like pagan myths and even Scripture, were not pre-scientific attempts at science… far from it. Humans of every age and place have observed the cause-effect structures of the material world, continually adding to the compendium of human knowledge over the millennia. We are still learning, and still find ourselves having to unlearn many things that we were absolutely certain we already understood. No, what changed between the scientific and pre-scientific eras of man is, rather, the interest that our respective societies have in the world, our perceptions of the nature of reality itself, and our purpose in seeking to understand the world around us. 

Most scientific-minded people believe they live in a world of only physical things, governed by material laws alone. They accept only material causes as explanations for all phenomena. 

Pre-scientific people were functionally-minded, living in a world of human striving to survive and thrive. They were trying to discover and describe the behavioral patterns that lead to spreading human flourishing… at least for their group. While they were attentive to material cause-effect and implemented that knowledge practically, they were also concerned with the ultimate cause behind material causes. 

We might imagine a No-Smoking sign. Some will talk about the material that went into the sign, or about the script used to deliver the message, or even the dynamics of its support. These are material-minded thinkers. The functional-minded man reads the sign and puts out his cigarette. So… who really understands the sign?

Regarding creation, we modern folk want to know how old the earth is, where all the stuff came from, the processes by which it became what it is… and we imagine that by discovering this we have come to truly understand the world. 

Pre-modern folk, however, wanted to know how the world works, so they could work well within it. Biblical literature is, therefore, as is most of the literary arts of the ancients, wisdom centered… at least in intention… and should be read so. 

The Bible is Not Anti-Science

The answers that ancient people gave about the struggle for human thriving—often articulated creatively in their myths—vary slightly from society to society, but most systems fall naturally under the label “pagan.” In Scripture, we find a radical departure from the pagan struggle for human thriving, but not a departure from their functional orientation to the world. It is important, therefore, to understand what we are reading in Scripture—a wisdom approach to reality. 

Applying a supposed scientific model of interpretation to pre-scientific stories about creation is a grand mistake. This does not make Scripture anti-science. It simply recognizes a completely different orientation to reality, to human need, and to biblical content. We must not demand that Scripture satisfy our modern curiosity about the material world; it is not written to do so. Rather we need to discern what the Bible intended to communicate about living in God’s world as it uses terms, grammar, literary relationships and structure, as well as genre to preach truth to minds struggling with a pagan worldview. 

Properly-applied scientific method, if freed from its enslavement to philosophical materialism and from the agendas of world power players, may add much to our knowledge of the processes of God in His world. Faith has nothing to fear from facts. This does not suggest that “scientists” have figured it all out, nor that what they think they’ve figured out is true. It merely holds out the possibility that man could, if unfettered by hubris and agenda, discover much more about the material world, and more easily escape their enslavement to unprofitable philosophical commitments so as to use this collection of facts wisely… i.e. to promote spreading human flourishing. 

Properly-understood Scripture, if freed from modern attempts to force its ancient texts into a scientific mold, would in turn, more easily bequeath to the modern reader its message of wise action in God’s world. 

Armed with this understanding, we are better prepared to address each instance in which some have proposed a conflict between “science” and Scripture, and can do so without fear. Neither Scripture nor faith has anything to fear from the truth. The Bible is NOT anti-science, but its authors have a different orientation to life… one outside the purview of the scientific method. The Bible is NOT anti-science, for it is the book inspired by the Creator of all.

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All Can You Trust the Bible? Christian History Studying the Bible

Can You Trust the Bible?

Author: Andrew Sargent Ph.D., Contributing Author for Foundations by ICM

 

Is the Bible Reliable?

One of the questions I get asked the most about the Bible concerns some element of its trustworthiness. “Can you trust the Bible?” 

In fact, I was asked to speak at a philosophy conference many years ago, in which my question for the evening was, “Is the Bible Reliable?” In the weeks leading up to the event, I asked the moderator for a few more specifics on what he meant by reliable, qualifying “reliable for what?” He laughed and told me to take it where I felt inclined. 

He was less than pleased when I opened the lecture part of my discussion with a list of things that we could absolutely rely on the Bible to accomplish. For instance, your Bible will hold up one corner of your couch if its leg is broken. It may be a sacrilege, but it will work. I have a friend who once used a bible to defend us against a street gang intent on robbing us. It was efficient. Indeed, a good Bible will even stop most bullets… assuming it’s not a digital one on your smartphone. 

 

What Can’t You Rely on the Bible to Do?

I followed with a list of things that one could NOT rely on the Bible to do. You cannot rely on all of Scripture to be easy to understand or to give up all its secrets to the casual observer. You cannot rely on the Bible to reflect your own cultural or personal sensibilities back to you, or to use all your own categories for understanding the world. Scripture is neither a math text, nor an encyclopedia, nor dictionary, nor a comprehensive history of the world written with modern standards of what does and does not constitute history. It is not a manual on psychology, philosophy, economics, nor is it a textbook on biology, archaeology, linguistics, physics, chemistry, anthropology, or medicine. 

This does not make its literature primitive babble, nor insist that the Bible is utterly useless when discussing these matters, but it does mean that the authors’ orientation to the world, their vocabulary, and categories will not replicate our own. It does mean that the intention of the writers is not to satisfy inquiring minds, but is to impart a specific body of understanding and wisdom to the diligent student. 

 

The Cosmology of Scripture

While we categorize the animal world with mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and the like, it is perfectly acceptable for the inspired writers to present a world organized around different categories, like swims, crawls, or flies. In that case, a whale can be called a great fish, a bat can be classed with birds. My inability to trust Scripture to organize reality as my modern mind does is NOT a testament to its frailty, but to the important distinction between wisdom and knowledge. 

The cosmology of Scripture, for instance—the vision of the structure and nature of the world—has the disadvantage of being almost entirely presented in poetry, making their beliefs about material world forces difficult to discern with precision. For instance, it is plain from the historical texts written in prose—normal talk—that the ancients understood quite well that rain came from clouds and that clouds were made of water, but that does not keep their prophets from recording God’s poetic challenge to Job and his friends saying, “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail…?

Just so, sailors have known for ages that the earth is round, witnessing at sea as the hulls of ships disappeared from view before their sails, exposing the curvature to view. In fact, the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes discovered the circumference of the earth with a stick and a shadow almost three centuries before Jesus walked the shores of the Mediterranean. 

There is a big difference between what the arrogance of modern souls imagine about the ignorance of the past and what the ancients actually knew. We can trust the Scriptures to present to us the divine wisdom of the ages in an ancient husk if we are wise enough to wrestle our way to it. Hubris will sabotage us.

 

Is Scripture a Science Book?

Let’s finish with one more. You cannot rely on Scripture to be a science book. The scientific method was articulated millennia after the writing of even the newest Scriptures. Our particular way of thinking about and talking about the world as scientific-minded readers (however poorly we do at it) will not be reflected back at us. This does not make Scripture untrustworthy or wrong, rather it qualifies the kinds of discussions we can and cannot have with the Biblical text. 

For example: The Creation story of Scripture, which in truth stretches from Genesis 1 through Genesis 11 is not interested in our modern ontological curiosities about the origin of the material world. The Biblical Creation story is more interested in functional ontology than material ontology. Scripture tells us not about the origins of all the stuff, beginning its tale with the material world in place, unformed as it was, but does tell us about the nature of divine order in creation as God takes that material and turns it into a functional world. 

We want to know “when” and “how,” but the author of Genesis wants to talk about “Who,” and “Why,” and “What.” Who made the world? What did He make the world to be? Why did He make the world? How did He make it function? The ultimate question then becomes a wisdom question: How can I function best in the world that Yahweh made and that man has influenced? This is the Bible’s bailiwick. 

 

The Truth of the Bible and Our Holy Creator

The inspired descriptions of creation are made within the bounds of interest for the inspired writer, dealing with the realities of a world drowning in paganism. Therefore, I cannot rely on him to dazzle me with a scientifically definitive answer to questions of “when” and “how,” but I CAN rely on the prophetic writer to tell me the truth about life before the one Holy Creator of all. I can trust him to tell me the truth about the fundamental problem in the world’s systems. I can trust the Bible to speak the truth about the hope that we have for redemption and restoration in the salvation plan of that Holy Creator. 

This does not mean that the inspired writers are ignorant clods on all matters we would regard as scientific. They lived and prospered in their world far better than most of us would if magically transported there. True, we understand many things that they do not. We know how far the moon is from the earth. We know what the bottom of the ocean looks like. We even know the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow. But we don’t know many things that they understood intuitively and that they learned by lived experiences so different from our own. 

It reminds me of the punch line in the majestic poem in Job 28, which after detailing all the then-modern accomplishments of man, asks the more meaningful question. We find boasts like those in verses 3 & 4, saying, “Man puts an end to darkness, And to the farthest limit he searches out. The rock in gloom and deep shadow. He sinks a shaft far from habitation, forgotten by the foot” But, the poet turns to the important counter in verses 12 & 13, “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? “Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living.

 

Can You Trust the Bible?

We can put an astronaut on the moon, but living peaceably with our fellow man is often beyond us. We can map the human genome but do not know how to cultivate truth and integrity. We may rightfully boast the former, but it is Scripture that will guide us in the mastery of the latter. 

As we continue to unpack the question, “Can you trust the Bible?” let us escape the simple-minded approaches to Scripture common to modern readers who have not learned to think reasonably or wisely about their own questions and expectations. Instead, let us articulate exactly what we mean (and don’t mean) when we ask, “Can I trust the Bible?” and continue the investigation in coming posts. 

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All Can You Trust the Bible? Christian History Studying the Bible

When Was the Bible Written?

Author: Patrick Krentz Th.M., Managing Editor for Foundations by ICM

 

Bible Timeline

(all dates are approximate)
BC
1900-1600 – Job
1445-1405 – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
1405-550 – Psalms
1405-1375 – Joshua
1150-900 – Judges, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, 1-2 Samuel
900-800 – Obadiah, Joel
800-700 – Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Micah
700-600 – Isaiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk
600-500 – Ezekiel, Lamentations, Jeremiah, Daniel, Haggai
500-400 – 1-2 Chronicles, Zechariah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Malachi

AD
40-50 – James
50-60 – Matthew, Mark, Romans, Galatians, 1-2 Corinthians, 1-2 Thessalonians
60-70 – Luke, John, Acts, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, 1-2 Peter, Hebrews, Jude
90-96 – 1-3 John, Revelation

Most of the books you and I will ever read were written within the last century. Perhaps certain classics of literature date back two centuries. It is remarkable to realize, then, that the Bible is not just old, it is truly ancient. What is more, no other book in the history of the world can claim even a tenth of the span of years over which the individual documents in the Bible were written. Still, as long ago as that was, understanding these details is more than just an exercise in abstract history. Learning when, how, and why the Bible was written helps us to understand what God is doing. Looking back through the lens of history can teach us a great deal about what the Bible meant to its original audience, and, therefore, what it means for us today.  

The very simplest answer you can give to the question “When was the Bible written” is to say, “a very long time ago.” Even this seemingly useless answer can be helpful. You see, when we read the Bible as if it were written during our own time, we will read it wrongly. Knowing that it is an ancient text will help us to take a step back and think about details like, ‘to whom was this written?’ ‘What was happening at the time?’ ‘What did that mean in their culture, place and time?’ and so on. These are important questions to ask as you study the Scriptures. The Bible itself provides enough information to give context to the stories it tells. 

Now, if we stop with the simple answer, we will miss a great depth of truth. Therefore, we will spend some time among the details, answering the question specifically for each section of the Bible. 

The Old Testament

Let’s begin with the oldest book in the Bible. Perhaps you will be surprised to find out that it is not Genesis. No, the book of Job was written half a millennia before any other book in the Bible, making it the oldest by far. The events of Job take place somewhere around 2000 years before Christ. Unlike the rest of the Old Testament, we must use our best guess to come up with a date for Job, but it is likely that it was written between 20th and 17th century BC. 

With the details that God provides in His Word, we can reliably date the books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy, to around the middle of the 15th century BC. The last books to be written are known as the post-Exilic books, written around the middle of the 5th century BC. So, we can say that most of the Old Testament was produced over the course of 1000 years, between 1445-400 BC, with Job being the lone outlier. 

The book of Psalms is also an interesting exception in that it has many authors who lived at different times. The Psalm of Moses, Psalm 90, was written during Moses’ lifetime in the 15th century. Most of the Psalms were written by David in the 11th and/or 10th century. Some may have been written as late as the 6th century BC. So the writing of the Psalms spans nearly the same length as of the Old Testament itself. 

Now, there is considerable debate about these dates, with two significant views emerging. The main difference between these views is whether Scripture itself is historically reliable. The dates given above assume that the events of the Old Testament happened in the way that the Bible says they happened. The other view relies on something called the Historical-Critical Method. It assumes that the stories in the Bible were written long after they happened through a process of gathering and compiling ancient source materials. According to this view, the stories of the Bible did not necessarily happen the way they are told, but they are included in Scripture to teach important lessons. It dates the final compositions of the Old Testament books to a much later time, asserting that the majority of it was produced during the 5th century, and assigning Daniel to a mere century and a half before Jesus. 

This is an important debate, but it is one that will have to wait for another time. For the purpose of the Foundations course material, we believe that the Bible is historically reliable. The older dates we provided up front are trustworthy. We also believe that, when the Bible attributes a book to a certain author, and discusses the lives of particular characters it is giving accurate information. 

For most books in the Bible, this means we can know when they were written if we know when the author lived. Moses, for instance, wrote during the 15th century. David wrote during the 11th century BC, followed by Solomon in the 10th. Many of the Prophets’ lives can be dated by their proximity to the Exile, with most writing between the 8th and 6th centuries. The post-Exilic books (those written after the Exile of Israel), including Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi, among others, were written between the 6th and 5th centuries, BC. The Bible gives us clear historical markers by which we can date nearly every book in the Old Testament. Take a look at the chart at the end of the page for a complete listing.

The New Testament

While dating the books of the Old Testament is not difficult, dating the New Testament writings is remarkably simple. This is because every book of the New Testament was written within the first century AD. If you go on to study this in greater detail, you will find that there is considerable debate over the exact year that many of the books were written, but these are most often differences of 1 or 2, maybe up to 5 years. 

Furthermore, we know that almost every book of the New Testament was written after Christ ascended to heaven, but before the year AD 70. This latter date marks an extremely significant event in the history of the Church: this is when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. No book in the New Testament makes references to the destruction of the Temple or any of the events that followed, save for Revelation alone. So, we can date the writing of every book other than Revelation and John’s letters to between the years AD 35 and 70. In fact, the great majority were written in less than a 20-year time span, between the years 50 and 68. 

John is the one outlier. John, the Apostle wrote Revelation and his three letters when he was an old man. We also know from multiple early sources that John wrote Revelation while he was in exile near the end of the reign of emperor Domitian, who died in AD 96. With these bits of information, along with details from within the texts themselves, we can say that John wrote 1, 2, and 3 John, along with Revelation, between AD 90 to 95. 

As we conclude, let’s answer our original question; “When was the Bible written?” The Bible was written over the span of 2000 years, between the 20th century BC and the 1st century AD. As you read and study the Bible, take a moment to recall this information, and be amazed at the remarkable unity of a book that was written by around 40 different people through multiple millennia. Indeed, this book must be the Word of God.

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All Can You Trust the Bible? Christian History Studying the Bible

Who Wrote the Bible?

Author: Patrick Krentz Th.M., Managing Editor for Foundations by ICM

 

There is no question that the Bible is a literary masterpiece. It is the most sold, most translated, most influential book in the history of the human race. This raises an important question. Who wrote such an important book? 

Most books list their author on the cover, but the Bible doesn’t make it this easy for us. While attempting to answer the question, “Who wrote the Bible?”, we will need to keep several important considerations in mind. 

First, we call the Bible the Word of God. What does that mean, and how does that relate to its authorship? 

Second, the Bible claims that many different people wrote the Bible. If so, how can we call it the Word of God? 

Third, if many people wrote the Bible, who decided to put it all together into a single book that is accredited to God Himself? How can we trust that they got the right books? 

Of course, each of these considerations deserves far more attention than we can give here, but let’s think of this as an introduction to these issues.

The Word of God

When we say that the Bible is the Word of God, we mean that the words we see on the pages of Scripture actually come originally from God Himself. The Bible attests to this, saying in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God…” The word “Inspired” literally means “breathed-out.” The Greek word translated as ‘inspired’ is theopneustos. This combines two Greek words into one. We find theo meaning ‘God’, and pneustos meaning ‘to breathe.’ Thus, Paul, who penned 2 Timothy, believed that Scripture is the Word of God in a literal sense. 

So, we could answer the question, “Who wrote the Bible?” by saying, “God did!” 

If we stop there, however, we will run into some problems. How, exactly, did God write Scripture? Did a finger appear to write the words on a wall, as it did in Daniel 5? Or perhaps God carved it into tablets, as He did for Moses in Deuteronomy 10

Of course, He could have done those things, but God had a more specialized instrument in mind when He decided to write. Just as God uses people to accomplish His mission and build His Church, God used people to write His book. As an artist wields a paintbrush or an author a pen, God wields men as instruments to record His words. This process is known as “Inspiration.”

The Inspiration of Human Authors

As God inspired men to write the Scriptures, He empowered them by His Spirit to write the words that He wanted them to write. This task, however, was far more complex than simple dictation. God worked with His human instruments, allowing their experiences, personalities, and even attitudes to come across on the page. As we dig deeper to determine who wrote the Bible, we find that there are around 35 to 40 human authors. They came from almost every imaginable walk of life. There were kings, princes, priests, warriors, musicians, farmers, shepherds, fishermen, carpenters, housewives, tent makers, medical doctors, and even a once despised tax collector.

Indeed, it is not an insignificant fact that the greatest, most influential literature in the history of man did not come from the world’s great philosophers or even rise from its great civilizations. Rather, from the least likely of places and the least likely of people at the least likely of times, these people came forward from all walks of life claiming to have had a prophetic encounter with, and a divine message from, the creator of all.

Now, each of these backgrounds shaped the content of their writing. David’s interest in music greatly impacted his writing of the Psalms, whereas Luke’s career as a physician led him to include many details that other writers would leave out. God did not simply turn the authors of Scripture into puppets so that He could say He wrote it through human agents. So, the question is, if each of these authors wrote the words they wanted to write, how can we say that God was writing through them? Perhaps an analogy will help.

Have you ever seen an orchestra playing a piece of music? If not, just imagine any group of musicians coming together to play a song. Each member has an instrument which they have individually learned to play. Not only that, but they play it with a certain style or flair all their own. Yet, the composer dictates where and how each musician plays. Thus, the final composition is under the ultimate control of the composer; and yet, each individual musician contributes his own unique personality to it. In a similar way, God is the composer of Scripture. He is ultimately in control of everything that is written, yet each individual author contributes something unique and personal. Understanding this, we call Scripture a Divine-Human work. God brings free human agents into the process, but it is accomplished through His supervision and by His power. 

The Bible as We Know It

Now, it is one thing to believe that God wrote the Bible through men, but that happened a long time ago. How can we be sure that the Bible we have today is the actual Word of God? There are many other books written by some very holy people, but they are not considered Scripture. Who decided which books got in and which ones did not? 

While there is a great deal of depth to the discussion of how we got our Old Testament, the simple answer is that it was assembled by prophets, kings, and leaders over many centuries. The Pentateuch, which comprises the first five books of the Bible, were well established as Scripture from the very earliest days of the Hebrew nation. Through the centuries, other prophetic works of history, prophetic oracles, and poetry were added. The final collection of the books Christians label “the Old Testament,” came some 400 to 500 years before Christ. When Ezra the priest and prophet returned from exile to find that the Jewish people had forgotten the laws of God, he led a national revival. Part of this revival included the rediscovery of the Jewish scriptures and efforts to organize, expand, and preserve them. 

The New Testament, on the other hand, appeared suddenly. While the Old Testament recounts the entire history of the world from Creation through the Jewish return from exile, the New Testament is about the life and works of Jesus and His disciples. These events span years rather than centuries. The books that make up our New Testament are those written by men who were directly taught by Jesus or His inspired Apostles. These books were used as Scripture by the church almost immediately. We can see that, even while the New Testament was being written, the Church was recognizing the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In 2 Peter 3:15-16, we see Peter refer to Paul’s letters as “Scripture,” placing them on equal footing with the entire Old Testament. Thus, our New Testament came together organically as God directed men to write. 

In A.D. 325, Church leaders held a council where they recognized and canonized Scripture. The Council of Nicaea, as it was called, did not make editorial decisions about which books to include or exclude; rather, it made official and forever unalterable what the church had been practicing since its earliest days. They affirmed that these are divinely inspired works. 

As we conclude, remember: if we believe that the Bible is the Word of God, then it is ultimately God who we should trust to deliver His Word to us faithfully. God has gone to a lot of trouble to make sure that His Word has been written precisely the way that He wants it. Jesus says in Matthew 5:18 that “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the law until all is accomplished.” So, we should not look to men like Ezra or the council of Nicaea to know whether Scripture is reliable. God has seen to it that it was faithfully written, faithfully collected, and faithfully preserved. If we can trust the God of the Bible, then we can certainly trust the Bible that is from God.

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All Can You Trust the Bible? Digging Deeper into the Word Studying the Bible

The Purpose of the Bible

This is a study of the most important book in the world, the Word of God. It is important to apply its truths to our lives. The goal today is to understand the central theme of this Holy Book —God’s redemption of sinful man. In this lesson the aim is to learn, “The Purpose of the Bible.”

The Singular Object of Scripture

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24, Jesus has been raised from the dead and is walking on the road to Emmaus with two disciples who don’t recognize him. They are depressed because the one they had hoped to be the Messiah had just been crucified. In verses 25-26 Jesus rebukes them for their weak knowledge of Scripture. He says: “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” This next part in verse 27 is important, so listen carefully: “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Later, in verses 44-45, after revealing himself to them, He said, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” What was the truth about the Scriptures that Jesus shared? It was simply this: All Scripture is all about Me.

In the Gospel of John, 5:39-40 Jesus says the same things to the religious leaders of His day. They are arguing with Him about His claim to be Messiah. Indeed, they had plenty of evidence if they would only accept it. John the Baptist was supportive of Jesus, the word of the Father came from heaven at His baptism, and He performed many miracles, some exceeding even Moses, but they would not believe. He says to them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life” (John 5:39-40). “All the Scriptures point to Me” is the key verse to the whole Bible. The Bible is all about Jesus.

Four Purposes in Scripture

With Jesus as the central point of Scripture, there are four purposes to the Bible that need to be discussed. The first purpose of Scripture is to present Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of this world. Thus, The Old Testament says, “Jesus is coming” and The New Testament says, “Jesus came.”

The second purpose of the Bible is to present the history of the Redeemer and the salvation that came through Him. Thus, there is something to learn from the time and space given to specific parts of the story. For instance, there are 89 chapters in the four Gospels. Of these, four chapters cover the birth and the first thirty years of Jesus, leaving 85 chapters to cover the last three years of Jesus’ life. 27 chapters cover the last week of Jesus’s life. One might ask, “What aspect of Jesus’ life is more important to the Gospel writers? The first 30 or the last three? How important did they think Jesus’ last week was when He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead? The Bible makes much of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Indeed, half of the Gospel of John is dedicated to discussing Jesus’ last week of ministry. Two of the Gospels do not even mention the birth of Jesus or His first thirty years. The Gospels are not written as biographies, but are written to preach something. They preach that Jesus came for that last week when he died for our sins and rose again to prove He was who he said He was—Incarnate God.

Just so, there are 1,189 chapters in the entire Bible. Eleven of these cover the history of the universe, the history of the earth, the history of people, the history of language, the history of evil. In Genesis 12, you meet a man named Abraham. Genesis twelve all the way through to Revelation twenty-two, 1,178 chapters, the subject is Abraham and his descendants, especially that one descendant through whom all the nations of the earth are blessed, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Bible is primarily interested in one thing and it gets to that one thing before it gets to its twelfth chapter. The Bible is interested in salvation; it is interested in demonstrating how salvation came, how the Savior came; so it gets to Abraham quickly. From Abraham to Christ, that is what the Bible is all about.

The New Testament has 260 chapters; the Old Testament has 929 chapters. Yet there are many people who say, “I am not interested in the Old Testament; that is the old Bible; just give me the New Testament.” The Old Testament is the pure Word of God and in these 929 chapters God says a great deal to his children.

The third purpose of the Bible, according to the Apostle Paul, is so that the servant of God might be completely equipped for every good work that God wants him to do. So, in one sense, the Bible was not written to the unbeliever but to the believer. Whether you are a man or a woman, God has a work that He wants you to do that will glorify Him; to equip you to do this work, God has given you 66 inspired little books that are filled with the truth that He wants you to know and reflect in life.

The fourth purpose for Scripture can be found emphasized in the Gospel of John, which is addressed to the unbeliever. In 20:31, John says, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” In this way, the Gospel of John is the only book of the sixty-six books of the Bible that is addressed to the unbeliever.

The last purpose can be summarized this way: God only has one message to an unbeliever, according to the Bible, and that message is, “Repent and believe the Gospel.” After an unbeliever repents and believes the Gospel, God has sixty-six books filled with truth for that believer.

So, there are four purposes of the Bible: to present the person of Jesus Christ; to present the history of Jesus Christ and history leading to Him; that the unbeliever might believe in Jesus Christ; and that the believer might be completely equipped for every good work that God wants him or her to do.

The History of the Bible

Turning now to the history of the Bible, are you able to answer some of these questions:

  • Who were the people who wrote the books of the Bible?
  • When and where did they write them?
  • In what language did they write them?
  • Is there a record of the original documents?
  • Who preserved these books for us?
  • Who made the selection of these books and put them in this collection of holy books?
  • Who authorized men to make these selections and when were these selections made?
  • Who organized the Bible like it is today?

If you tell people that you surveyed the Bible and are a serious student of God’s Word, they will expect you to know how to answer these questions.

So, who did write the Bible? God wrote this book. What does that mean? The section on the word “inspiration” answers that. Through the miracle of inspiration, God moved men to write these books. So really, God wrote these books.

There are two terms that need established when learning about God writing these books. The first is the term “revelation.” Revelation is a general term that covers all the ways that God reveals truth to man. God reveals truth to man through nature. He also reveals truth personally through the Holy Spirit. The second term is “inspiration.” Inspiration refers to what theologians call “special revelation.” The Bible is the special revelation of God. Over a period of about sixteen hundred years God moved men to write these books. It has a beginning. It has an end. In about AD 90 when John wrote Revelation, and when he put a period to that revelation, he said that if anybody adds anything to this book, God will add to him the plagues in this book and he warned us not to take anything away from this book. (Rev. 22:18-19) Now, some have said that John was just referring to the content in Revelation itself when he wrote that but other have suggested that John’s warnings apply to the entire Bible. Either way, no one should remove or add anything to the Scriptures. It was a special miracle. That is why they call it a special revelation.

This raises the question, “Does God still reveal anything personally?” Yes, He does.

Personal vs. Special Revelation

This then raises another question, “Which is more important, personal revelation or special revelation?” Special revelation always has authority over personal revelation. If someone comes to a pastor and says, “I am going to leave my wife. She is impossible. I am going to leave her.” The Pastor can ask him, “Has she been unfaithful?” He says, “No, no, I just do not like her; I do not want to be married anymore God told me to leave her.” Then the pastor full of authority can say, “God did not tell you any such thing, because in the special revelation of Scripture, God does not permit you to leave her. God says cleave to her. Real personal revelation will never contradict special revelation.”

You have to be cautious about saying “God told me.” Many times when you say, “God told me,” He did not tell you. You do not want to credit God with personal opinions and desires.

The important thing about considering the words “revelation” and “inspiration” is that many in the world put exclusive emphasis on words like rationalism, reason, logic, humanism. They are saying, “I do not need a revelation. I have a mind.” When you become a Christian, you do not become irrational, illogical, unreasonable or inhuman, but according to the Scriptures, revelation is the main criteria by which right from wrong can be determined.

Who Wrote the Bible?

Now the question of “who?” Who were the people that wrote the Bible? God inspired men to write these books. These men were kings, fishermen, shepherds, generals, political leaders. One was a physician. One was a tax collector. All kinds of men were inspired by God to write His messages. The poet, Dryden, wisely asked, “Whence but from heaven could men unskilled in arts, in several ages born, in several parts, weave such agreeing truths, or how or why should all conspire to cheat us with a lie, unasked their pains, ungrateful their advice, starving their gain, and martyrdom their prize?”

Who Collected and Canonized these books?

It helps to research how this miracle took place. If you do, you will discover that the Old Testament books were selected by men like Ezra the Great Scribe. By about A.D. 100 at the Council of Jamnia the Old Testament books were completely settled, even though they had been officially

This is a poem that rhymes in English and may not rhyme in your language. However, the author is providing a very beautiful message concerning the powerful testimony of Scripture, considering all the different people that wrote, the different times and places, there is a united and coherent message throughout. It seems very unlikely that the Bible was manmade. There is too much that would have gone wrong along the way. Consider either including this in the lesson or adding something which sheds light on the meaning of this poem. recognized as sacred Scriptures and collected three or four hundred years before that. The New Testament books had been collected, selected and arranged by A.D. 692 at the Council of Trullan, though already settled at the Council of Rome in A.D. 382, and clearly enumerated almost a century before that. In the case of the Old Testament, selection focused on the author’s reputation as a prophet or a scribe. In the case of the New Testament, three questions were asked. Was this book written by an apostle or the close associate of an apostle? Did the book manifest spiritual content that equipped the believer for life and ministry? Finally, do all these books unanimously agree about this spiritual content? Many people ask about the Apocrypha which was placed in the canon of Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church in A.D. 1546 during the Reformation period. Those books were not chosen during the original selection of Scriptures.

Original Languages of the Bible

Another thing to consider is the language in which the Bible was written. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic and the New Testament was written in Greek. Because the Bible was not written in your mother tongue, Bible scholars often study these original languages so that all can understand the Scriptures more accurately.

Now think about how long ago these books were written. The New Testament is almost 2000 years old, and the oldest books of the Old Testament are 3,500 to 4,000 years old. These books had to be copied and preserved. Since paper just does not last that long, none of the original manuscripts exist but there are trust worthy copies available. In order to get the Bible in [your language], it had to be translated by those who were committed to sharing God’s Word.

Conclusion

Hopefully this lesson has opened up the Scripture to you so you will understand it better and it will transform your life. Remember to carefully study these questions and the answers are quite important. These sorts of questions will help one to better understand the origin of the Scriptures. Knowledge will give us a confidence that the Word of God is true and reliable and relevant for us today.

Thank you for being a faithful student in this introductory study of the Bible. Continue to invite your family and friends to join in as we study God’s Word. The value of this study of scripture is eternal as it will help you learn and apply the eternal and spiritual truths of God’s Word.