How The Bible Came Into Existence
Every Christian needs to understand and have knowledge of how the “Bible” actually came into existence. To explain a verse from a book (the Bible) that is vital to salvation, Christians need an understanding and the ability to explain how the book came into existence. GOD’S WORD, (the reason we use it, and its history), is crucial to correctly answering many questions.
This becomes paramount when it comes to translating words (especially those words having multiple meanings) in the Bible; where we have the Greek New Testament Letters combined with Hebrew Old Testament scriptures. Correct understanding and application of these scriptures come from an accurate understanding of words and the appropriate translation of those words as applied. Most of us are not Greek or Hebrew native-speaking people, therefore, we are relying on the leading of God to direct us to knowledgeable individuals and/or reference materials (Bibles, Lexicons, Dictionaries, etc.) for understanding and confirmation.
What does “the inspired word of God” mean? How do we determine the correct translation of what is called the word of God and more importantly how do we prove it is correct? To understand the correctness and quality of a copy (translation) one must study the original. This means going back to the original text, in the context and language in which it was written. It requires studying the roots of the words written, their various meanings and applications as they apply to the overall context of what was written. It is vital to validate the correct terminology and apply it when interpreting scripture from the original text.
G1992 – Letter, epistle: epistolē; From G1989; a written message
G1124 – Scripture: graphē; From G1125; a document, that is, holy Writ (or its contents or a statement in it)
In the example above it is clear these are two entirely different terms. Scripture is given by the inspiration of God (God is its origin), and an epistle is a letter written by a man (man is it origin). Although the men who wrote the epistles were anointed and godly men it is clear these letters were from the writer to the intended recipient. These were personal correspondences to individuals or particular churches and although they are valuable for guidance and these were the instructions of godly men, they were not necessarily written to all of mankind. The scriptures that were God inspired, (speaking God’s words) were recorded for the benefit of all men. In (2 Timothy 3:16) Paul is referring to the Old Testament. Paul was not claiming his letters were scriptures, although we currently use them in this manner today.
(2 Timothy 3:16) – All scripture G1124 is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Paul was writing a letter (G1992) to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:1-2) NOT a Scripture! (G1124). Jesus did not teach his followers/disciples from their own written letters. Jesus was their teacher. Jesus was a Jewish man inspired by God (anointed of God, Acts 10:38) who taught from the Scriptures (Torah or O.T. to Christians) (Matthew 5:17-18; John 5:39, 46; Deuteronomy 18:17-18) and taught what God taught him. (John 8:28-29; John 7:16-17)
(Matthew 5: 17-18) – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled
(John 5:39) – Search the scriptures (not my letters); for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
(John 5:46) – For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
This is what Moses wrote:
(Deuteronomy 18:17-18) (ASV) – And Jehovah (H3068) said unto me, They have well said that which they have spoken. 18I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
(Deuteronomy 18:18) (ERV) – The LORD (H3068) said to me, What they ask for is good. 18I will send them a prophet like you. This prophet will be one of their own people. I will tell him what he must say, and he will tell the people everything I command.
Probably the most harmonious and compelling scripture correlated to (John 1:14) which is pivotal to our apostolic teaching is (Deuteronomy 18:17-18). The word made flesh is clearly God’s word spoken through Jesus. God sent Jesus who, like Moses, was from among the Israelites. (Luke 24:18, 19, 25-27).
Nothing says God became a prophet; or God will put his words in his own mouth, which is nonsense.
Jesus confirms Deuteronomy 18:17-18 (written by Moses) in John 8:28-29
(John 8:28-29) – Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 29And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone.
(2 John 1:9) – Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
(John 7:16-17) – Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Why do Scriptures Differ?
The textual integrity of the Holy Scriptures and if they were perfectly preserved is also a matter that needs to be discussed and proven prior to explaining (Revelation 1:8 – Revelation 22:21).
Jewish scholars divide the Hebrew Bible into words of God and words about God. Only the Torah (or “first five books”) is viewed as the literal word of God, dictated to Moses on Mount Sinai. The prophets were inspired by God, but their words are not the direct words of God himself; rather their writings are words about God. We as Christians believe this also extends to the Greek writings (the New Testament letters). From the reading of these letters (scriptures) there is no doubt in my mind this is what Jesus (the Christ) intended. He said:
(John 17:20) – Neither pray I for these (the apostles) alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
As to the Bible being complete, based on the historical facts surrounding its creation, this is questionable but enough truth has been preserved that we can confirm its credibility that this Holy Ghost experience is real. From their personal experiences, the authors of these writings (what we call scriptures) were men who either directly or indirectly witnessed extraordinary events that dramatically changed their lives and the world. These eyewitnesses in the Bible passed on their story before they died (i.e., Moses, John, Peter). These various writings contain many stories. Such stories of God’s creation, God’s laws, various prophecies, etc., all of which were passed down from generation to generation, even though the stone tablets and the arc can no longer be located.
The first recorded instance of God’s Word being written down was in the form of ten commandments on stone tablets delivered to Moses at the top of Mount Sinai (Exodus 31:18). These stone tablets were no longer readily available but the information was transferred by word of mouth and written on what we call scrolls. Only a few of the authors were eyewitnesses, but their stories can always be traced back to the eyewitnesses.
Scribes (being human) were prone to unintentional slips of the pen and different views pending their vantage point because there are literally thousands of hand-copied New Testament manuscripts and no two of them are exactly alike.
The Bible does not identify any one particular manuscript, version, or translation as the one and only perfect copy. Anyone who chooses to call the King James Version of the Bible the one and only perfect Bible does so without any instructions from the Bible itself about how to make that decision. For God’s Word to be perfectly preserved, it must be preserved just as it was inspired, that is, in regard to every detail, (Matthew 5:18).
The apostles’ letters are not said to be revelations or visions from God (with the one exception recorded by John called Revelation) rather these were letters containing their “individual” recall of what transpired, which were not always in total agreement with each other. That is why Matthew, Mark and Luke’s accounting of the same events, although similar, are different and certainly not said to be what God told them to write down (again with the exception as recorded by John). Variances can be seen in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, we need to understand why and how these contrasts could possibly occur while yet maintaining the harmony and soundness of those facts known in the realm of God and the realm of man.
Explaining Bible Inconsistencies
Who was at Jesus’ Tomb?
Each account of Mary Magdalene and who she was with at the tomb of Jesus is slightly different. Were these angels or men (or possibly angels who appeared as men)? How many were present one or two?
(Matthew 28: 2-3) (KJV) – Reflects only one angel.
(John 20: 11-12) (KJV) – Reflects there were two angels.
(Mark 16:5) (KJV) – Reflects only one man.
(Luke 24: 3-4) (KJV) – Reflects there were two men.
Whose face did Jacob See?
When Moses beseeched God to see Him, God responded, other verses also record that no man hath seen God at any time; so whose face did Jacob see?
(Exodus 33:20) – And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
(John 1: 18) – No man hath seen God at any time…
(John 5:37) – And the Father himself, Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
What story should we believe?
(Genesis 32: 30) – Jacob said “for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
(Exodus 33:11) – And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.
See also: (Isaiah. 6:1), (Isaiah. 6:5), (Amos 7:7-8).
The dilemma we face, (especially if Jesus and God are the same), is inconsistencies exist as written. If God did not physically appear until he “incarnated” himself as baby Jesus then whose face did Jacob see? These are examples of valid issues that we need to be mindful of when addressing (Revelation 1:8- 22:21). How is our doctrinal belief consistent with EVERY scripture (i.e., God is invisible). We must hence examine the context.
Dead Sea Scrolls- 40,000
From around 1946 to 1947, a shepherd looking for a lost goat threw a stone into a cave and heard the unlikely sound of shattering pottery. Upon further investigation, he discovered what became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls – some forty thousand scrolls[<1>The information and data contained in this section is a summary compiled from various documents and reference manuals.] and fragments. It was the library of the Jewish community at Qumran and included fragments of all the Old Testament books except Esther. These copies were 1,000 years older than any yet discovered, dating to about 100 B.C. They demonstrated the amazing accuracy with which the Bible had been copied for centuries, the later copies having remarkably few changes.
From these fragments more than 500 books have been reconstructed, many of which tell us about life in the community of Qumran. Others give helpful commentaries on the Scriptures. The most important documents, however, are copies of the Old Testament text dating more than a century before the birth of Christ.
The earliest Old Testament manuscript before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was from A.D. 900 and later.
Among the fragments is a complete manuscript of the Hebrew text of Isaiah, dating to about 125 B.C.
The New Testament was preserved in Greek on Papyrus, a thin paper-like material made from crushed and flattened stalks of a reed-like plant. The word “Bible” comes from the same Greek root word as “papyrus”. The papyrus sheets were bound, or tied together in a configuration much more similar to modern books than to an elongated scroll.
These groupings of papyrus were called a “codex” (plural: “codices”). The oldest copies of the New Testament known to exist today are The Codex Alexandrius and the Codex Sinaiticus in the British Museum Library in London, and the Codex Vaticanus in the Vatican. They date back to approximately the 300’s AD. In 315 AD, Athenasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, identified the 27 Books, which we recognize today as the canon of New Testament scripture.
In 382 AD, the early church father Jerome translated the New Testament from its original Greek into Latin. This translation became known as the “Latin Vulgate”, (“Vulgate” meaning “vulgar” or “common”). He put a note next to the Apocrypha Books, stating that he did not know whether or not they were inspired scripture or just Jewish historical writings which accompanied the Old Testament.
The Apocrypha was kept as part of virtually every Bible scribed or printed from these early days until just 120 years ago, in the mid-1880s, when it was removed from Protestant Bibles. No real justification was ever given for the removal of these ancient Jewish writings from before the time of Christ, which had remained untouched and part of every Bible for nearly two thousand years.
By 500 AD the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages. Just one century later, by 600 AD, it has been restricted to only one language: the Latin Vulgate! The only organized and recognized church at that time in history was the Catholic Church of Rome, and they refused to allow the scripture to be available in any language other than Latin. Those in possession of non-Latin scriptures would be executed! This was because only the priests were educated to understand Latin, and this gave the church ultimate power… a power to rule without question… a power to deceive… a power to extort money from the masses. Nobody could question their “Biblical” teachings, because few people other than priests could read Latin. The church capitalized on this forced ignorance through the 1,000-year period from 400 AD to 1,400 AD known as the “Dark and Middle Ages”.
Early Bibles contained the Apocrypha:
1534 Luther’s German translation of the Bible
1534 The Coverdale Bible
1537 Thomas Matthew Bible
1539 The Taverner Bible
1541 The “Great” or “Cromwell’s” Bible
1551 The “Tyndale/ Matthews” Bible
1560 The Geneva Bible
1568 The Bishops’ Bible
1610 Catholic Old Testament
1611 King James Bible
1615 King James Version Robert Barker at London, England
1625 A King James Version
The Apocrypha are also contained in the following:
The Septuagint (LXX) – Except II Esdras
Codex Alexandrinus (A) – Also contains III & IV Maccabees
Codex Vaticanus – Except I & II Maccabees and The Defaulter of Manassah
Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph)
Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus – Includes Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus
Chester Beatty Papyri – Fragments of Ecclesiasticus
The Dead Sea Scrolls – Some apocryphal writing was found – interestingly written in Greek.
Bibles are still available with Apocrypha:
The Bible: Authorized King James Version with Apocrypha: Published by Oxford University Press; ISBN: 0192835254 (Pub. Date: July 1998)
KJV Standard Reference Edition With Apocrypha: Published by Cambridge Univ Pr (Bibles); ISBN: 0521509467; Slipcase edition (Pub. Date: August 1997)
1611 Edition: a reprint of the 1611 KJV With Apocrypha, Published by Nelson Bible; ISBN: 0840700415; Reissue edition (Pub. Date: June 1, 1982)
King James Version Lectern Edition: Published by Cambridge Univ Pr (Bibles); ISBN: 0521508169; (Pub. Date: March 1998)
The Dake Annotated Reference Bible, Standard Edition: King James Version With Apocrypha, Published by Dake Publishing ISBN: 1558290699 (Pub. Date: April 1996)
Teaching from the Bible
The book we use for our spiritual foundation (KJV- Holy Bible) has many known errors[<2>Remember, the information and data contained in this section is a summary compiled from various documents and reference manuals.] and changes in it. From what I have been able to ascertain, the reason we do not discuss these matters is that it would tend to open up an assortment of problems. Either we avoid addressing this matter or we take the time, as I am doing now, to explain how and why we determined what Bible publication to reference since what is printed is in reality determined by the Publishers (what particular archeological writings go in or stay out). This teaching process tends to be somewhat arduous so the tendency is to avoid it. If we were not taught ourselves how could we possibly explain it soundly to others? Although I primarily utilize the KJV, I am also fully aware that it is only one publisher’s translation. It was not the first or the only bible translation ever printed nor the last. I am also fully aware that any translation from one language to another language is never 100% accurate to the original. Often one word has many meanings, applying the wrong meaning will give you an incorrect translation of a scripture. Of course, this applies to any Bible publication.
KJV: Modification Facts
Probably the best-known book today is the King James Bible. The original translation, completed in 1611, contained 80 books. At that time there were 14 books known as the Apocrypha which were part of the King James translation and remained in the Bible until the end of the 19th Century. Although the 14 books of the Apocrypha were controversial, it cannot be denied that they were included in the original King James Bible. When we speak/teach about biblical content and translation a great degree of caution and study is required.
There is a reason why the book we call the (KJV) of the HOLY BIBLE has a Version associated with it. That means changes were made to it. It has been said “Beware of the half-truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.” Again, if only part of what we say is correct, the rest is incorrect, thus the answer is wrong.
Many Hebrew and Greek words have multiple meanings. Words can be spelled the same way in English yet have multiple meanings in their original Hebrew or Greek languages. (i.e., God, god, Lord, lord, etc….. can all mean something different). What might be written in one passage of the KJV Bible (as with any other Bible version) may or may not be the correct choice of wording for that particular scripture but the wording “chosen” is usually based on that Publishers beliefs and not necessarily that of the original author of that passage. In many cases, it is usually the wrong choice of wording that causes scriptures to contradict or conflict with each other.
- One RED Flag we should be mindful of is the fact that even with the advent of the Dead Sea scrolls select documents were forever destroyed. This destruction of evidence was not at the leading of God. Select intrinsically fallible men who determined what was deemed inspired by God for you. The problem is validating what belongs and what doesn’t belong in the Bible.
- Even added features that were not in existence prior to the printing presses, Capitalization of words, punctuations, and RED LETTERED editions create conflict and often contribute to the confusion we experience in the Book of Revelation. (i.e., God, god, Lord, lord, etc.)
RED LETTER Bible editions came about in approx. June 19, 1899, (by the now Dr. Louis Klopsch)
It gives us someone’s “speculation” (the publishers) of who is speaking (i.e., Jesus, in Red). This version, although sometimes convenient, should be read with caution for all of these factors must be taken into consideration. (Revelation 21: 4-7) contains several verses we traditionally have relied on as an example.
(Revelation 21:4-7) – And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he [God] that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said [God said] unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I WILL BE HIS GOD, and he shall be MY SON.
Ø In this phrase “I will be his God, and he shall be my son” is either an indication of Jesus or God speaking. ( Jesus never claimed anyone would be “his son” only God made that claim. The only other challenge lies in proving whether or not it was Jesus or God speaking).
If (KJV) is correct, which reflects Jesus’ words as ONLY those spoken in red, then we (“Oneness”) have a real problem explaining (Revelation 21:5-7) ( Thompson Chain-Reference Bible -1989 KJV)
(Revelation 21:5-7) reflects that Jesus was NOT speaking in this verse, but God himself speaking.
Jesus cannot be God speaking here in (Revelation 21:5-7) if it (1989 KJV) is not written in RED right? Or is this an oversight that has existed for these many years? If so, that leaves open the possibility of other oversights (ERRORS) existing. Therefore, a degree of caution is required when you read the Bible, for it contains evidence of human intervention. Either way, one fact remains clear here, the person indicated as speaking is called “God” he is not called Jesus. This fact can be mutually agreed upon for it is at least written as such.