(1) What is the Bible? (2) Overview of the Old Testament
(3) Overview of the New Testament (4) Bible translations and scholars 
   

1. Can the Bible be Trusted? (1)

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

What Is the Bible?

If we believe God, our Creator, indeed exists, then it is only logical to expect Him to communicate with His creation. Therefore it would be reasonable to conclude that God, either in person or by revelation, or both, has revealed Himself to mankind. In this section we will examine whether the Bible is this revelation.

The word Bible is derived from the Greek βιβλίos or βιβλία, (“biblios” or “biblia”) meaning book or books. The Bible is not a single book, but rather a collection of smaller works, written over a long period of time, all considered part of God’s revelation to mankind.

The three main monotheistic religions are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Surprisingly, all three recognize parts of the Bible as a true revelation. However, Jews reject the New Testament, and Islam claims the Bible was corrupted over the years by both Christians and Jews. Therefore additional revelation – through the prophet Mohammed – in the Qur’an was given to correct these errors. Still Islam recognizes most of the Bible accounts (with some alterations) to be God’s Word.

The Bible is by far the most copied, published, and studied document ever known. According to Barna Research Group[1] more than 90% of American households own at least one Bible, however only 31% read theirs regularly. Worldwide, the Bible has been translated in more than 2,000 languages and estimates run as high as two billion for the number of copies of the Bible that have been distributed.

The Bible consists of two main sections: The Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT). All books in the OT were written well before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth and are recognized as genuine by both Judaism and Christianity. The NT, written after Christ, is only part of the Christian Bible and is not recognized by Judaism.

The Protestant Bible contains 66 individual books, 39 in the OT and 27 in the NT. These books were written by 40 (some suggest 44) authors over a period of 1,500 years working in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) from three continents.

Each Biblical book has been subdivided into chapters and verses. The current Protestant Bible counts a total of 1,189 chapters and 31,102 verses. The original texts had no such divisions; they were added much later to facilitate study.  Some appear a bit arbitrary and chapter endings do not always coincide with natural breaks in the Scriptures. Chapter divisions were made in the year 1228 by a British clergyman, Stephen Langton. The OT was divided into verses in 1448 and the NT in 1551. The entire Bible as we know it, divided into chapters and verses, first appeared in the Geneva Bible[2] of the year 1560.

Read on about: (2) Overview of the Old Testament


[1] Since 1984 Barna Research Group , located in Ventura , California , has been providing information and analysis regarding cultural trends and the Christian church. Website www.Barna.org.

[2] The Geneva Bible  was one of the earlier English language translations by a team of Protestant scholars who had fled to Geneva , Switzerland to avoid persecution during the Reformation.

 

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(1) What is the Bible? (2) Overview of the Old Testament
(3) Overview of the New Testament (4) Bible translations and scholars 
   

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