Bible has been passed down for thousands of years and read by generation after generation. Some believe it to be an historical treasure. Others see it as a book of alegories and moral teachings, and still others regard it simply as a fantastic story woven over time.
There are those who believe it to be the "Word of God". They believe that God speaks to us through the book and thereby gives us wisdom, knowledge, and guidance in our daily lives.
Whatever your beliefs about the Bible, you deserve to know the truth about this most important book.
THE OLD TESTAMENTOld Testamentor Tanakh, collection of writings that was first compiled as the sacred books of the Jewish people. Except for a few passages in Aramaic, appearing mainly in theBook of Daniel, it was written originally inHebrew during the period from 1200 to 100 BC. The Hebrew Bible probably reached its current form about the 2nd century. The Masoretic text is the only existing representation of the Old Testament in Hebrew. It is the custom of the Jews to bury the Bible when it becomes worn out, so we have none of the original documents. The oldest complete texts come from the 10th and 11th centuries AD. Those texts are clearly not in the original Hebrew, nor even in the Hebrew that was in use in the 1st century AD. The Hebrew of the 1st century AD. was similar to the Greek Septuagint that we have today; this is clear because, in ancient Jewish writings or commentaries, the Hebrew was used in clearly in agreement with the Greek Septuagint rather than with the Masoretic text.
The Septuagint text is the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament. This is the translation is quoted a number of times in the New Testament and also by the Apostolic Fathers and later Greek Church Fathers. Legend says it was produced by seventy Jewish scholars who solely translated theFive Books of Moses into Koine Greek as early as the 3rd century BC Translations of the Torah into Koine Greek being the lingua franca of Alexandria, Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean at the time was shunned by early Jewish Rabbis and have survived as rare fragments only.
The Hebrew canon contains 24 books, organized into three main sections: the Torah, or “Teaching,” also called the Pentateuch or the “Five Books of Moses”; the Nevi'im, or Prophets; and the Ketuvim, or Writings. They are often referred to as the Tanakh, a word combining the first letter from the names of each of the three main divisions - TNK.
The Torah contains Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers. Tradition says they were written and compiled by Moses, but this is unlikely.
Genesis contains the source of all our Sunday School stories, except Moses. It is divided into three parts: Creation, the Two Dynasties and Abraham's Family.
Creation is divided into two parts. The first part Genesis 1:1-2:1 (the Elohim document) is an ancient oral account that was put into print sometime between 4000 BC and 1500 BC. It tells the story of the creation of the Earth as it would have appeared to someone floating in nearby space. The second part is the story of mankind leaving the astral world and becoming mortal.
The Two Dyasties tells the story of the two 'races' - the children of Seth and the children of Cain - what they did and their coming together again to produce the race of "giants".
The Apochrypha is a collection of Jewish writings which are found in the Catholic versions but omitted from the Protestant.
Moses (or whoever compiled the Torah) took ancient writings and added the story of the Exodus and a compilation of Jewish legal rulings. According to the hypothesis of the negative biblical critics, Moses (about 1250 B.C.) cannot be the author of the Pentateuch. He was not the Divinely appointed legislator, but simply the founder of Monolatry. Deuteronomy made its appearance in substance in 621 B.C., when the astute high-priest Helkias palmed off on the god-fearing King Josias the recently composed "Book of the Laws" as written by Moses.
When Esdras returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile about 450 B.C., he brought back the "Book of the Ritual" or the priest's codex, i.e., the middle portions between Genesis and Deuteronomy, compiled by himself and his school in Babylon. It was only in 444 B.C. that he made it public.
It is believed that a single author took the writing of Samuel and other authors and edited them into Joshua, Judges, I & II Samuel, and I & II Kings.
Another set of editors compiled the foregoing and a number of other writings into the present Old Testament.
The canon of the Jews as it stands was adopted A.D. c.100; the traditional order and the extant Hebrew texts all derive from one Hebrew source of the first centuries of the Piscean Age, the Masora. The origin of the Masoretic version is unknown. The Old Testament long used in the Christian church was derived not from the Masoretic but from an entirely different text. The Septuagint, a Hellenistic Jewish translation into Creek about the 3d cent. B.C., became the Old Testament of Christianity, and later translations were made from it or patterned after it. The Septuagint version was an attempt to bring the Jewish texts in line with the Pagan/Gnostic teachings of the Mediterranean world. The canon of the Septuagint was different from that of the Masora.
The New Testament is a set of 27 books which Christians are the historical record of the life of Jesus Christ and the writings of his disciples.
Most Christians envision some scribe travelling along with Jesus, recording what he said and did and then making copies for distribution. It is unknown when the various accounts were written, but it is generally accepted that they were written sometime between 70-125 AD. decades after the events occured.
It is believed that in the days of Jesus most Jews could read and write. But writing materials were scarce and expensive. Books and scrolls were rare and very valuable. Only the wealthy had access.
Even after anyone wrote down the story of Jesus, the only source of information and news for the average joe was word of mouth. He didn't know much about what was going on outside his neighborhood unless government officials made some kind of public announcement. When the average joe heard something, he had little way to determine whether or not it was true, so he accepted it.
All ancient texts were considered sacred no matter what their source.
The New Testament is composed of two parts: The Gospels and the Epistles.
The Gospels are: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Acts of the Apostles is the second half of the Gospel of Luke. There is a Gospel of Thomas which is not in the canon though it is accepted as genuine by the majority of authorities. Below, they are listed in the order in which they were written.
Gospel of Mark was written by Mark, a witness to and participant in most of the events in the book, which was most likely written about 70 AD. It is notable in that it has no miraculous birth or resurrection.
Gospel of Thomas (from Coptic sources) is not included in the canon of the New Testament, but is regarded by most scholars as a legitimate gospel.Thomas. It is a collection of logia, or sayings, of Jesus.
Gospel of Matthewcombines selections from The Gospel of the Hebrews, lost until 1870, a genealogy of Jesus, and the logia from The Gospel of Mark.
Gospel of Luke is the first part of a two-volume work which includes The Acts of the Apostles.Tradition says it was written by Paul's companion Luke. The most probable date for its composition is around 90 AD, and there is evidence that it was still being revised well into the 2nd century. It is believed that the gospel was meant to be read aloud to groups of followers of Jesus. The author says he bases his gospel on accounts already written (Mark, Thomas and Gospel to the Hebrews), what he understands to be the general beliefs of other followers and adding his own personal experiences with Paul.
Gospel of John tradition says it was written by the Apostle John "beloved disciple" mentioned in John 21:24> IN which case it was like written 90-125 AD. But this is rejected by the majority of modern scholars who believe that the text went through two to three "editions" before reaching its current form, and because of this complex and multi-layered history it is meaningless to speak of a single author. It is regarded separately from the other gospels because does not seem to be derived from their sources. In nature, it is Gnostic and anti-Jewish.
The Epistles are:(a)Paul's letters to: the Romans, the Corinthians (1 & 2), the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, the Thessalonians (1&2), Timothy (1&2). Titus, Philomon, the Hebrews,
(b) the general epistle of James, two epistles by Peter, three epistles by John, the general epistle of Jude, and the Revelation of John the Divine.
Paul probably never existed by is a fabrication to cover-up the true author and character, Apollonius.
Revelation was originally written by Judas Iscariot and added to by others over the decades.
For those unaware of the tradition of not actually printing GOD's name, please note that whenever you see "LORD" or "GOD", in capital letters (here and in most of the bible translations), those words have merely been substituted for the actual name of GOD. In the actual text of the Old Testament, GOD's name is there, spelled in Hebrew letters: Y, H, W, and H. This tradition started among the Jews a few hundred years before Christianity, and therefore was passed along naturally to the Christians. It is even common for some Jews to substitute for GOD's name when spoken with the phrase, "Ha Shem" (meaning, "The Name")
History of translations
Celebrated manuscripts of the Bible include Codex Vaticanus (Greek, 4th cent.) at the Vatican;
Codex Sinaiticus (Greek, 4th cent.) in the British Museum (discovered by Lobegott Friedrich Konstantin von Tischendore on Mt. Sinai),
Codcx Alexandrinus (Greek, 5th cent.), in the British Museum, given to King Charles I by Cyril Lucaris;
Codex Bezae (Greek and Latin, 6th cent.), at Cambridge, England, given by Theodore Beza.
The most ancient fragments of the Hebrew text are the 2nd cent. B.C. papyrus of Nash, discovered in 1902 in Al Vayyum, Egypt, and the Dead Sea Scrolls , containing several books and fragments of the Old Testament. The most ancient fragments of the Greek test are found in the 2nd cent. AD Nag Hammadi Library, discovered in 1945.
The first great translation of the whole Bible was the Vulgate of St. Jerome, the Latin version still used by the Roman Catholic Church. The Greek text generally received in the East is, for the Old Testament, that of the Septuagent; the first translation of the Old Testament was the Aramaic Targum. The New Testament has come down to us in Greek. In England there were current from early times vernacular versions of parts of the Bible, especially of the Gospels, since the Gospel was often read at Mass in the vernacular after its recitation in Latin. John Wyclif was one of the first to project the publication and distribution of the Bible in the vernacular among the English people, and two translated versions go by his name. In the 15th cent. the Lollards did much to extend the use of the Wyclifite translation. The next name in the history of the English Bible is that of William Tyndale, whose translation was not from Latin. like Wyclif’s. but from Hebrew and Greek. Its excellence is why it was made the basis of the Authorized Version. Tyndale’s New Testament (1525-26) was the first English translation to be printed. Contemporary with Tyndale was Miles Coverdale. The second version of Coverdale and the translation of Thomas Matthew closely followed Tyndale. In 1539 the crown issued its first Bible, in the name of Henry VIII. This, the Great Bible, was done principally by Coverdale. The Geneva Bible, or Breeches Bible (“. . . made themselves breeches,’ Gen. 3.7), was a revision of the Great Bible, financed and annotated by the Calvinists of Geneva. The Bishops’ Bible (1568) was a recasting of Tyndale. The greatest of all English translations was the Authorized Version (AV), or King lames Version (KIV), of 1611, made by a great committee of churchmen led by Lancelot Andrewes and cornposed of many of the finest scholars in England. The beautiful English of this version has had great influence and is generally ranked in English literature with the work of Shakespeare. This is because the final work was edited by the Poet Laureate, Frances Bacon, who, of course was Shakespear's ghost writer.
The Douay, or Rheims-Douay, Version was published by Roman Catholic scholars at Rheims (New Testament, 1582) and Douai, France (Old Testament, 1610); it was extensively revised by Richard Chalioner.
In the 19th cent, the project of revising the Authorized Version from the original tongues was undertaken by the Church of England with the cooperation of other Protestant churches. The results of this revision were the English Revised Version and the American Revised Version (pub. 1880-90). Many scholars, either cooperatively or independently, have translated the Bible into English. In other literatures also the translation of the Bible has had formative effect on the literary language, notably the case with Martin Luther’s standard German translation. Occasionally translation of the Bible has been the first or the only notable work in a language—as for instance, the translation by Ufilas into Gothic. In the 20th century. American biblical scholars combined to produce the notable Revised Standard Version (RSV), published in 1952 and immediately adopted by many churches. A completely new translation, the work of a joint committee of representatives of all Protestant denominations in Great Britain, aided by Roman Catholic consultants, was begun in 1946. The New Testament was first published in 1961, and the entire Bible, called The New English Bible, appeared in 1970. New Roman Catholic translations were also undertaken, the Westminster Version in England, and a complete revision of the Rheims-Douay edition sponsored by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in the United States. The latter, after undergoing several major revisions and retranslations, was finally published as the New American Bible (1970). In addition, an English translation of the French Catholic Bible de Jerusalem (1961) appeared as the Jerusalem Bible (1966 )
|Errors in the Bible|
predicts the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadrezzar and is wrong.
Ezekiel incorrectly predicts that the island of Tyre (Tyrus) will be utterly destroyed and "made a bare rock" which will "never be rebuilt". At the time of the prediction, it seemed like to be a sure thing, but 13 years of seige later Nebuchadrezzar gives up. The Island of Tyre is not destroyed or even conquered. It is not made "a bare rock" that will "never be rebuilt". Ezekiel admits his error in Ezek 29:17 In the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: (Ezek 26:1NRSV)
For thus says the Lord GOD: I will bring against Tyre from the north King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, king of kings, together with horses, chariots, cavalry, and a great and powerful army. (Ezek 26:7 NRSV)
I will make you a bare rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets. You shall never again be rebuilt, for I the LORD
have spoken, says the Lord GOD. (Ezek 26:14 NRSV)
In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you, and lament over you: "Who was ever destroyed like Tyre in the midst of the sea? (Ezek 27:32 NRSV) (After 13 years of futile effort by Nebuchadrezzar, Ezekiel realizes he has bet on the wrong horse....) In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: (Ezek 29:17 NRSV) Mortal, King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre; every head was made bald and every shoulder was rubbed bare; yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labor that he had expended against it. (Ezek 29:18 NRSV)
(So he then predicts that God decides to give Egypt to him instead, another Ezekiel prophecy that completely failed)
Length of time between Jesus' death and resurrection
Matt 12:40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The interesting thing to note here is that, if we assume Jesus was indeed found missing from the grave following his burial (and by this we do not mean to imply that we assume he was resurrected), then the time he spent in the grave/earth was less than three days and three nights, and this "prophecy", probably worded this way by St. Matthew rather than Jesus, fails. Each Jewish day began at sunset, and ended at sunset 24 hours later. It was the convention to divide a full 24-hour day into two parts, a "night" and a "day" (think of them as night-time and day-time, if you wish). The "night" ran from sunset to sunrise, and the "day" from unrise to the next sunset. That is why the Bible speaks of X days and Y nights so often. A full 24-hour sunset-to-sunset time span is referred to as a "day," but when days and nights are mentioned together, each 12-hour period is what is meant. This night-and-day convention was established in Genesis 1:4-13, and even Jesus himself acknowledged that there are 12 hours in a day, "Jesus answered, 'Are there not twelve hours in the day?'". (John 11:9 ) And the remaining 12 hours are in the night that precedes that day. The Jewish Saturday (sabbath) spans a full 24-hour day, or one night and one day, and begins at sunset on our modern Friday, and ends at sunset of our modern Saturday. According to Matthew and the others, Jesus died on the "ninth hour" of Paraskeuen (Preparation-Day), in the week in which Passover began. Specifically, they say this was on the First Day of the Feast of Unrising Bread (which is the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nisan) (Mark 14:12-16, 15:42-44, Matt 26:17-19, Luke 22:1,7-10). The word, Paraskeuen (Paraskeuhn) Greek for "Preparation"), was used in the first century and thereafter as a proper name for the day before the weekly sabbath, much like we use the word, "Friday". This is well established. Thus, that is why the Bibles translate "Preparation" as meaning "Preparation-Day". It does not mean the day on which preparations for the Passover festivities were made, although, by coincidence, there were certainly some preparations going on for Passover. Incidentally, the First Day of the Feast is a holy convocation, but it is not a sabbath (unless of course it happens to fall on the last day of the week, as it does here). The fact that Preparation-Day was the day before the weekly sabbath (modern Saturday), is acknowledged by Mark, Luke, and John.
And now when the evening had come, because it was Preparation Day, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea... went in boldly to Pilate, and desired the body of Jesus. But, Pilate wondered if he were even dead yet...
Why did Joseph crave the body of Jesus? It was important to the Jews to get the criminals' bodies buried before the weekly sabbath began
(at sundown of Preparation-Day), because Deut 21:22-23 stipulates that people who were executed must be buried before sundown. They rushed Jesus to the nearest suitable tomb because they did not have much time before sundown.
And he took it (Jesus's body) down, and wrapped it in cloth, and laid it in a tomb that was dug in stone...
And that day was Preparation Day, and the sabbath was dawning.
The Jews, because it was Preparation Day, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath Day, because, the day of that
sabbath was great. They laid Jesus there because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for, the tomb was nearby.
The Jews, incidentally, wanted the body down not simply because the Sabbath was about to dawn, but because Deu 21:22-23 says that
criminals who are executed on any day must be buried before sundown. The fact that the day to come was the weekly sabbath, and also that it was the sabbath that fell within the seven days of the Passover festival, gave it extra importance.
In modern terms, the 9th hour of Preparation Day is Friday afternoon, about 3 p.m. Jesus then was put into the grave sometime close to
sundown (which was when Preparation Day ended and Sabbath Day began). Then, Jesus was gone from the grave, "risen", sometime before dawn of the first day of the week (Sunday morning, the sunrise after the sabbath). The Bible does not say exactly when, but we note that if it had been before sundown on Saturday, that would have put Jesus's or his god in the position of breaking the sabbath. And, were it earlier than sundown Saturday, the public would have surely noticed the rolled stone and the "dead" guards. And, since Jesus gave himself a 3-day and 3-night interval, let us give him as much time as we possibly can just to help out. Let us say that Jesus rose just before sunrise Sunday (which is the time accepted by the Church, anyway).
What this means is that Jesus was in the grave from:
Late Friday afternoon before sundown = less than 1/4th of 1 day Friday sundown to Saturday sunrise = 1 night
Saturday sunrise to Saturday sundown = 1 day
Saturday sundown to sometime before Sunday sunrise = 1 night
Jesus was gone from the grave after less than 39 hours (1 day, 2 nights, and a few hours of a day). This is horribly short of the three
days and three nights that Jesus said he would be in the grave. More than 1 night and almost 2 days are missing. Some would note that when counting spans of days, that the "few hours of a day" when Jesus was buried should count as a full 12-hour day. It is true that this was the Jewish convention for counting time spans. So, we allow it here. It still only makes for 2 days and 2 nights.
Either Jesus or St. Matthew made the mistake. The other gospel writers simply have Jesus saying things like "and on the third day, he shall rise". They are referring to full 24-hour days, in those cases, and their counts work. The Friday Jesus was buried is the first day, then, Friday sundown to Saturday sundown would be the second, and then Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown wold be the third day, during which Jesus was allegedly risen (Sunday sunrise). But, St. Matthew -- all too eager to force artificial prophecy into Jonah -- chose to specify three days and three nights, thus contradicting the resurrection timeline.
As a side note, some Christian denominations have scrambled to formulate some kind of explanation for this. This has led to such
ill-thought notions that suggest the crucifixion occurred on Wednesday instead of the Friday that the rest of the Christian church accepts.
It has the ridiculous consequence of having Jesus rising 3 days and nights later on Saturday afternoon. Others attempt to squeeze an entire day out of the little time (probably less than an hour) before Friday sunset, before Jesus was put into the grave. One poor fellow I read on the net suggested that this provides a second day. Scrambling for a third night, he said that the third night would be the exhausting night before the crucifiction (trial before Pilate, etc). But, someone else pointed out that his re-definition of "the grave" has it changing from the plain and literal meaning of physically being in the earth, as Jesus said, to merely being dead (prior to burial), and finally to merely being TIRED. After this was brought to light, I don't think anybody even wanted to point out to the poor fellow that it still left one day missing. Attempts to put the crucifixion on a Thursday run into similar problems.
Ezekiel predicted Babylon would conquer Egypt and was wrong.
Ezekiel predicts that Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon will conquer Egypt utterly destroying it, slaying and scattering it's people, and that it will stay uninhabited for 40 years.
In 568 BCE Nebuchadrezzar tried to conquer Egypt and Egypt survived with no apparent damage.
Aahmes ruled for another generation over a prosperous Egypt and lived to see Nebuchadrezzar die. No Egyptians were scattered or dispersed.
(Ezek 29:10 NRSV) therefore, I am against you, and against your channels, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia.
(Ezek 29:11 NRSV) No human foot shall pass through it, and no animal foot shall pass through it; it shall be uninhabited forty years.
(Ezek 29:12 NRSV) I will make the land of Egypt a desolation among desolated countries; and her cities shall be a desolation forty years among cities that are laid waste. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries.
(Ezek 30:10 NRSV) Thus says the Lord GOD: I will put an end to the hordes of Egypt, by the hand of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon.
(Ezek 30:11 NRSV) He and his people with him, the most terrible of the nations, shall be brought in to destroy the land; and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------