Автор: Cody C. Lorance
Category: Истина и плюрализм, Писание в миссии
I was recently asked for these notes from an old Bible study that I taught on understanding what the Bible is. So, posting this here as a PDF for your use. The text is also included below. Blessings!
What is the Bible?
¬ Show Greek version of Philemon and ask students to turn to Philemon in their Bibles. Explain that they are looking at two copies of the same letter (Paul’s letter written from a Roman prison to his old friend Philemon in the middle of the first century A.D.)¾the one in your Bible and the one you are showing them which is very close to what it would have originally looked like.
Look carefully at these two copies (the one in your Bibles, and the one here). What differences do you see in the two?
¬ Write answers on board, should come up with: language, verses, subheadings, title, context (connection to other books), page numbers, notes at bottom, columns, paragraphs, cross-references, book information, commentaries. Explain that if we were comparing other parts of the Bible to the originals, we could add to the list things like: red lettering, charts and maps, and chapters.
Let’s talk about some of these differences.
A.) Language- The Bible was not originally written in English. Basically, the first half (Old Testament) was written in Hebrew, with some smatterings of Aramaic (Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Jer.10:11; Dan.2:46-7:28; and two words in Gen. 31:47), and the second half (New Testament) was written in Greek. Philemon, for example, was written in Greek.
So the question that comes down to us is, “How can we know that what we are reading in English (or another language) is faithful to what was originally written?” The answer is that the sciences of archaeology, linguistics, and textual criticism have had two thousand years to perfect their trade. Basically, there is no reason to doubt the faithfulness and accuracy of modern Bible translations. (For more information on this: The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel, 1998).
Question: Why are there so many versions of the English Bible? If the science of Bible translation is so precise, shouldn’t every English translation be identical?
Answer: There are many different versions of the English Bible for at least Five Reasons
1. The English language is always changing. (Show Ps. 119:129-132 in various translations). Much of the differences found from translation to translation show this evolution of language.
2. The science of translation has improved dramatically since, for example, 1611 when the KJV was published. Thousands of manuscripts have been discovered since then, many of them earlier than those the KJV was based on. Moreover, our understanding of ancient languages has greatly improved. In short, modern translations are just simply more accurate.
3. Different translating philosophies are implemented in developing translations of the Bible. The three major philosophies are “Word-for-Word,” “Dynamic Equivalence” (or concept for concept), and “The Paraphrase.”
4. Agenda-driven translations have been widely distributed. Instead of an objective effort to get at the meaning and content of the original text, these translators seek to make additions, adjustments, and omissions in order to buttress their personal or corporate agendas.
5. English is the official language of the “Consumer Culture.” One of the sad realities is that there are so many different kinds of Bibles (both versions and editions) because publishing houses know that people will buy them.
In the end, there are many very good English translations of the Bible available. My recommendations are for “Word-for-Word” are the English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, or New Revised Standard Version or New American Standard Bible (1963) and for “Concept-for-Concept” the Today’s New International Version or NIV (older). A good paraphrase like The Message or the New Living Translation can be great blessings to you, but don’t rely on them as your primary study Bible.
B.) All the Other Stuff- What about chapters, verses, headings, notes, maps, etc? Two things you should know:
1. Those are all tools that can be very helpful, but should not be considered part of the Bible. Unlike the Bible itself, these are all susceptible to human error.
2. A good Bible will explain, probably in a preface or introduction, why each of those things is there (with the exception of chapters and verses).
Question: Where did the chapters and verses come from?
Answer: The addition of chapters and verses occurred somewhat gradually. By the middle of the 13th century, the chapter divisions we use today were in place. The first appearance of verses in a New Testament was in Robert Stephens’ 1551 Greek Testament. It is said that Stephens did his versification work during a journey on horseback from Paris to Lyons. Subsequent translations of the Bible (for example, The 1558 Latin Vulgate, the 1599 Geneva Bible, and the 1611 King James Bible) implemented the chapter and verse divisions that we are familiar with today. Below is an excerpt from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia that explains this further.
“Already in pre-Talmudic times, for purposes of reading in the synagogues, the Jews had larger divisions of the law into sections called Pārā-shāhs, and of the prophets into similar sections called Haphṭārāhs. They had also smaller divisions into Peṣūḳīm, corresponding nearly with our verses. The division into chapters is much later (13th century). It is ascribed to Cardinal Hugo de St Caro (died 1248); by others to Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury (died 1227). It was adopted into the Vulgate, and from this was transferred by R. Nathan (circa 1440) to the Hebrew Bible (Bleek, Keil). Verses are marked in the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 ad) as early as 1558. They first appear in the New Testament in Robert Stephens’ edition of the Greek Testament in 1551. Henry Stephens, Robert’s son, reports that they were devised by his father during a journey on horseback from Paris to Lyons.”
Now, having said all of that, what is the Bible?
Technically: A collection of 66 individual books and letters, written over a period of about 1600 years by people from all walks of life. They use three languages, write on a variety of topics covering many different literary genres (from history to poetry to case law, prophecy and more). And yet, in spite of its rich variety, one theme runs throughout these books binding them together. That theme may be called “God’s mission to save humanity from sin.” Theologians have adopted a technical term for it-- Heilsgeschichte-- which is a German term meaning, “salvation history.”
Question: You said 66 books, what about the Apocrypha?
Answer: The 39 books that make up the Old Testament as it is found in most Protestant Bibles corresponds to the Hebrew Canon, that is, the Jewish Scriptures believed to be authoritative. The Hebrew Canon was essentially the Bible that Jesus used, read, studied, and taught from. The Apocrypha refers to 10-16 books or passages that were incorporated in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Canon known as the Septuagint (completed about the 3rd century B.C.). The apocryphal books were known about by the early Christians and first century Jews, but were not regarded as “God’s Word.” Their inclusion into Bibles used by many Christians (Catholics, Orthodox) today is due to Western Christians increasing influence on the church from the 3rd century A.D. Western Christians gradually seem to have relied more and more on the Greek Septuagint rather than the Hebrew Canon, perhaps because of ignorance of the latter language. At the turn of the 5th century A.D., St. Jerome completed his Latin version of the Bible known as the Vulgate. Under pressure, he finally agreed to include the apocryphal books in the Old Testament. It was the Vulgate that the Council of Trent ruled to be the official Bible of the Holy Roman Catholic Church (1543). When the Bible translators of the Protestant Reformation began publishing Bibles in vernacular languages, they began to distinguish the apocryphal books on the principle that those books were not a part of the Hebrew Canon.
For more info on the Apocrypha, check this out:
Question: How did the 27 books of the New Testament come together?
The early Christians didn’t feel an immediate need to officially designate which books and letters were “God’s Word” and which were simply helpful until heretical books and forgeries began to appear in the 2nd century. Nevertheless, Christian communities began collecting the writings that would later make up our New Testament. Basically, churches regarded the writings of the Apostles to be sacred and sought to obtain copies of letters by Paul, Peter and others, as well as copies of the Gospel books. A concentrated effort to separate the “God-inspired” books from the “spurious” eventually did begin. As early as 200 A.D. the major contents of the New Testament were generally agreed upon. Two church councils (Council of Laodicea- A.D. 363 & Carthage- A.D. 397) later gave official designation to the 27 books of our New Testament as the authoritative Word of God. It is important to point out, however, that the formation of the New Testament was not a mere “top-down” process. The twenty-seven books were those used weekly in churches and commonly regarded by the early Christians as “God’s Word.”
For more info, check this out:
Now, beyond the technical, what is the Bible really? The following was taken from 1Stone’s statement of faith:
THE TRUTH IS: The Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, are God’s written word. The Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of men to write it, and, therefore, the originals are without error. God has preserved His word through the centuries so that we may study it and live by it. The Bible can be fully trusted and thoroughly tested—its words are true and lasting, and are the supreme rule for living.