The history of Christianity is not taught in many sanctuaries. Instead, churches focus on the principles of Scripture and how they apply to modern-day life. Additionally, they stress the authority of the Bible. They remind us it is God-breathed according to 2Timothy 3:16. Pastors may even mention the author or background of a particular book of the Bible before preaching from it. However, congregations in general typically do not seem that interested in hearing the history of Christianity or origins of the Bible on a Sunday morning.
Some of us are interested though, aren’t we? We may not want to buy thick non-fiction books to study every detail. Yet, we sort of want to know what happened in between the author writing God’s words on a scroll and this beautifully bound Bible we bought from our local Christian bookstore.
By learning some of the major events in Christianity that have lead up to the publication of the modern-day Bible, we can be better prepared to answer questions about our faith from non-Christians. More importantly, we understand God’s ways so we can know Him more.
The Old Testament originated with our Father in heaven. God breathed His words to Moses and the other prophets so they could write it down for future generations. It is believed that over 20 authors were inspired to write the Old Testament. Scholars believe these authors wrote mostly in ancient Hebrew on scrolls.
Jewish rabbis and scholars decided which books were regarded as Scripture. All of the books of the Old Testament were completed by 500 BC. They were translated into Greek (called the Septuagint or LXX) in 200 BC.
God closely guarded His Word through the process of being written by prophets, replicated by scribes, and translated into other languages. There are a couple of ways we sure of this. First, Jesus confirmed its authenticity when He quoted from the Old Testament. Second, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 confirms Old Testament accuracy. The ancient Old Testament scrolls found in caves and the modern-day Old Testament we study today are astoundingly similar! Thanks to God’s preservation of His Word, we can still say with confidence, Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105).
Can you imagine what it would be like to live during the time of Jesus? We can only imagine how filled with awe they were at the life of Jesus and all the miracles he performed. If I were one of those awe-struck disciples, I would probably have begun to write them down. In fact, that is what some of them did.
All 27 books of the New Testament were written within 100 years of Jesus’ lifetime. Several authors of the New Testament actually met Jesus in person. By 315 AD, Christians began to recognize the Scripture that makes up the New Testament as sacred writing. The New Testament was believed to have been written originally in Greek on papyrus. It was copied so many times that thousands of ancient manuscripts still exist today.
The first Bible was printed in 1455. The Bible was translated into the English language in 1526. In spite of the many versions available, the New International Version (NIV) is a topseller. It was developed using over 100 scholars working from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text.
Today we can be as sure as ever that the Bible we read is not from men, but is actually the word of God as is stated in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. –1 Thessalonians 2:13
If you are interested in the sources I reviewed to write this blog, you can check them out here
© 2015 Kim Bond
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