November 20, 2022
The bible is one of the oldest books in the world and was written over a period of 1500 years by over 40 authors from all backgrounds —kings, prophets, fishermen and more. Yet, when you read the 66 books in the bible from Genesis to Revelation, you will discover an incredible consistency of the love, compassion, justice and redemption plan of God for men.
Wordsrated Book statistics in 2022 showed the following:
- In the world today, there are more than 80,000 different versions of the Bible that generate at least 1 sale annually
- Bible sales revenue per year is approximately $430 million as of 2020
- 20 million bibles are sold each year (38 bibles are sold per minute)
An overview of the bible
The bible has two major sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament:
There are five basic categories of books in the Old Testament:
|Books in the bible||Quantity||Category|
|Genesis to Deuteronomy||5 books||Law|
|Joshua to Esther||12 books||History|
|Job to Song of Solomon||5 books||Poetry|
|Isaiah to Daniel||5 books||Major Prophets|
|Hosea to Malachi||12 books||Minor Prophets|
The Talmud holds that the Torah was written by Moses, with the exception of the last eight verses of Deuteronomy, describing his death and burial, being written by Joshua. Alternatively, Rashi quotes from the Talmud that, “God spoke them, and Moses wrote them with tears”. The Mishnah includes the divine origin of the Torah as an essential tenet of Judaism. According to Jewish tradition, the Torah was recompiled by Ezra during Second Temple period.
Canonizing the Old Testament
The word “canon” mean “measuring rod” and is the title given to those religious writings that have met the standards to be included in the Old Testament. Before a book caould be included in the Old Testament, the canonizers asked,
- Is it divinely inspired?
- Was is written by a prophet or spokesman for God?
- Is it genuine and can it be traced back to the time and place as well as the writer?
The work of canonizing the Old Testament was done during the days of Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Jesus quoted the Old Testament many times, indicating His approval of the Old Testament texts. Hence, we are confident that the Old Testament is God’s divinely inspired Word.
The first translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into another language was called the Septuagint. Seventy scholars were brought to Alexandra, Egypt, to create this Greek translation.
The first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE. The remaining translations are presumably from the 2nd century BCE.
Manuscripts of the Septuagint have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and were thought to have been in use among various Jewish sects at the time.
Dead Sea Scrolls
According to Wikipedia, the Dead Sea Scrolls were ancient manuscripts discovered in 1946/7:
The Dead Sea Scrolls (also the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are ancient Jewish and Hebrew religious manuscripts discovered in 1946/7 at the Qumran Caves in what was then Mandatory Palestine, near Ein Feshkha in the West Bank, on the northern shore of the Dead Sea. Dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered to be a keystone in the history of archaeology with great historical, religious, and linguistic significance because they include the oldest surviving manuscripts of entire books later included in the biblical canons, along with deuterocanonical and extra-biblical manuscripts which preserve evidence of the diversity of religious thought in late Second Temple Judaism. At the same time they cast new light on the emergence of Christianity and of Rabbinic Judaism.
The New Testament:
The New Testament is divided into five sections:
|Books in the bible||Quantity||Category|
|Matthew, Mark, Luke, John||4 books||The Gospels|
|Acts||1 book||History of Early Church|
|Romans to Hebrews||14 books||Paul’s Epistles|
|James to Jude7||7 books||General Epistles|
The New Testament Authority
The early church used the Old Testament in their services with the same authority as did the Jews in their synagogues. As the New Testament books were completed, they were given the same respect as the phrophets or Moses and were used right along with the Old Testament Scripture.
In 1 Timothy 5:18, apostle Paul quotes from Luke 10:7, citing it as “Scripture”. In 2 Peter 3:1-2, apostle Peter placed his and the other apostle’ writings on par with those of the Old Testament prophets.
Ancient Translation of the New Testament Authority
The New Testament was originally written in Greek and the work of translating it into other languages began early.
The Peshito or Syriac translation was written in Syrochaldaic or Aramaic and was translated before 150 A.D became the official Scriptures of the Eastern churches.
The Latin Vulgate, translted by Jerome in the fourth century, became the Bible of the Western churches.
Two important facts about the New Testament
First, the New Testament was completed by the second century.
Second, the authencity of our New Testament can be traced back to within 100 years or less of the apostles. Even the book of Revelation, written by John on Patmos was in A.D. 95.
Emperor Constantine authorized Eusebius
When Emperor Constantine professed Christianity in A.D. 312, he authorised Eusebius to prepare 50 copies of the Scriptures for the churches. The tests of canonicity were much the same as they were for the Old Testament:
- Was this written by an apostle or a close associate of an apostle?
- Does it agree with the doctrine of the Lord and His apostles?
- Is it genuine in regards to facts, the date of writing and the author?
- Was it accepted for use in the early church?
The 27 New Testament books we use today were formally ratified by the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397, which only recognized the books that had already been used by the church for over three centuries.
Before printing machinese were invented, the bible were handwritten. A biblical manuscript is any handwritten copy of a portion of the text of the bible. The orginal manuscript of the New Testament weree written on payprus, a material that come from an aquatic plant in Egypt. During the fourth century, vellum came into use, a much-improved writing material.
There are more than 13,000 manuscripts of the New Testament
The Bible was written by God through "holy men of old", preserved supernaturally.
Dear LORD Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I believe that you love me and chose to die for my sins so that I can live a victorious life. I receive you right now as my LORD and Saviour and from this time forth, I am a new creation, a child of God Most High. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.