A Breakdown of The Bible
Do you know the history behind the bible? You spend time reading, studying, and for Christians, living according to what is written in the scriptures. But have you ever stopped to think where the bible came from, whether it’s genuine or not, the purpose that it serves, and what does it have to do with you?
I’m sure you have, but then again, you did not follow through to investigate and justify the reason for which you read the bible.
As a child, you saw your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and pretty much everyone in church reading the scriptures. And now, as a result, you go through the scriptures. So then, is society the reason for you embracing the scriptures, or is it God? Hold your answer for now.
In this post, I will delve into the bible, not on the surface level as you may be accustomed to, but in greater depth.
After reading this article, you will know why you read the bible, what it represents, and whether you should continue reading it.
The word Bible originates, through Latin, in the Greek expression ta bible ta haguia; ( the sacred books ), coined for the first time in 1st. Maccabees 12: 9. Biblion is the plural and means papyrus or roll, also used for books.
It is believed that this name was born as a diminutive of the name of the city of Biblos, an important papyrus market of antiquity. This phrase was used by Hellenized Hebrews (those who lived in Greek-speaking cities) for a long time before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth to refer to the Tanach or Old Testament.
Many years later it began to be used by Christians to refer to the set of books that make up the Old Testament, as well as the Gospels and apostolic letters, that is, the New Testament. Already as a title, it began to be used in Latin Bible sacra (the sacred books) without article, since it did not exist in Latin.
However, being a Latin cultist bible, it ended up being considered a neutral plural to a singular feminine (the sacred Bible), already understanding the Bible as the proper name of the whole set. Throughout Latin, the great majority of modern languages were derived.
History of the Bible
The Bible is the set of canonical books of Judaism and Christianity. The canonicity of each book varies depending on the tradition adopted. According to the Jewish and Christian religions, the Bible conveys the word of God. The Bible, or at least part of it, is translated into 2,303 languages.
The Bible is considered a sacred book by several of the religions of the West, but not all the material it contains is of a religious nature, (it includes genealogies, censuses, civil laws, administrative acts, etc.) but it has historical and literary value. It is a set of books whose number varies according to the canon.
The Bible is a compilation of texts that were initially separate documents, called books, written first in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek for a long period of time and then assembled to form the Tanach, which is the Old Testament for Christians, and Then the New Testament. Both testaments form the Christian Bible.
The Bible was written over approximately 1000 years (900 BC – 100 AD). The oldest texts are found in the Book of Judges ( Canto de Deborah ) and in the so-called “E” and “J” sources of the Tora or Pentateuch, which are dated at the time of the two kingdoms (10th to 8th centuries BC).
The oldest complete book, that of Hosea, is also from the same era. The Jewish people identify the Bible with the Tanakh, not agreeing under any circumstances the term Old Testament, and does not accept the validity of the so-called New Testament, recognizing as sacred text only the Tanakh.
The Roman Catholic canon of the Bible that we know today was definitively sanctioned in the Council of Hippo in the year 393 of our era, ratified in the Council of Carthage in the year 397 and then again confirmed by decree in the fourth session of the Council of Trent April 8, 1546.
None of these decisions was recognized or assumed among the Protestants, emerged from the 16th century, or by different Para protestant denominations, emerged from the
XIX century. The Canon of the Orthodox Christian Bibles is even wider than the Canon of the Roman Catholic Bibles and includes Psalm 151, the Manasseh Prayer, the Book III of Ezra and the Book III of the Maccabees.
The Catholic canon includes 73 books, of which 46 belong to the Old Testament and
27 to the New Testament. The so-called Deuterocanonic Books are included in the Old Testament, which are not accepted by Judaism or Protestantism. They are the Books of Tobias, Judith, 1st. Maccabees, 2nd. Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiastical and Baruch.
The Old Testament mainly tells the story of the Hebrews; the New Testament the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, his message and the history of the first Christians.
The New Testament was written in the Koine Greek language. In it the Old Testament is frequently quoted from the version of the Seventy (or Septuagint), translation to the Old Testament Greek made in Alexandria in the third century BC. C.
The Bible is for the believers the word of God because their divine inspiration is undoubted. It is an eminently spiritual book and talks about the history of humanity, its creation, its fall in the sin and its salvation, and exposes how the creator God has related, relates and will relate to the human being. Similarly, the Bible exposes the attributes and character of God.
For believers, the Bible is the main source of faith and doctrine in Christ. In the 16th century, the different movements of the Protestant Reformation began to experience high wear and tear in philosophical discussions and separate from each other. To diminish this problem, the principle called single writing was defined, which means that only the Bible can be considered a source of Christian doctrine.
For the church Roman Catholic, in addition to the Bible, tradition, the teachings of the Church Fathers (disciples of the Apostles), and decisions emanating from Councils are also doctrinal. This divergence among Christians intensified when the Roman Catholic Church assumed the idea that the Pope, as Peter’s only successor and, consequently, custodian and depositary of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, should be infallible in matters of faith, moral and Christian doctrine (Papal Infallibility Dogma).
Protestant Christians reject this assertion and consider Jesus of Nazareth as the sole head of the church. For both parties this great difference is no longer considered only in philosophical or religious terms, but as divine designs embodied in the Bible itself.
For Orthodox Jews, the New Testament, of course, is not valid. The rabbinic considers the Talmud as a source of doctrine, while the Karaites defend the Tanach as the only source of faith since the eighth century.
Structure of the Bible
A book of the Bible is an established group of scriptures. For example, the book of Psalms (in Hebrew Tehilim or Songs of Praise ) has 150 songs (151 in the Seventy version), while the Epistle of Judas is a half-page letter.
The Hebrew Bible or Tanach is divided into three sections: the five books of Moses (the Law or
Torah), the books written by the Hebrew prophets (the Prophets or Nevi’im) and some books that
they do not fall into any of the two previous categories (the Scriptures or Ketubim); These are known as hagiographs or simply the Scriptures.
The Jewish Bible was written predominantly in Hebrew, but it has some small parts that were written in Aramaic. In the Christian Bible, the Hebrew Bible is called the Old Testament, to distinguish it from the New Testament, which is the part that tells the life of Jesus and his preaching, among other things. The New Testament is divided into the four Gospels, History (Acts of the Apostles), the Letters to Christian churches by Paul and other apostles, and the Apocalypse.
The Christian Bibles contain the entire Tanach or Old Testament, along with a group of later Scriptures known as the New Testament. Within Christianity, there is no complete agreement on the exact number of books that the Old Testament must have (with equal recognition), that is, on its canon.
Until the 16th century, the Latin translation of Saint Jerome known as the Vulgate (from Vulgar Latin), which incorporated both the Jewish canon and writings of the Greek Septuagint, remained in the West. With the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther questioned the need to keep the apocryphal books alongside those of the Jewish canon and grouped them as an edifying appendix at the end of his German translation of the Bible.
The Roman Catholic Church confirmed, however, the canon of the Bible of the Seventy and the Vulgate in the Council of Trent (1545-1563), recognizing and confirming the canonicity of some writings questioned by Luther, who from that same century began to be called Deuterocanonical, a concept introduced by Sixto of Siena, which literally means second canon, to which the Eastern churches also recognize full canonicity, also adding other books found in ancient codices, such as III and IV Maccabees and the Manasseh Prayer.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church also accepts the Book of Enoch as canonical. As for the rest of the books, there is no dispute and all Christian groups have the same books in the New Testament of the Bible.
A canon is the set of books that make up the Bible according to a specific religious tradition, which considers them divinely inspired and distinguishes them from other texts that are not considered revealed. These differences between the different branches of Christianity occur only for the Old Testament since all Bibles have the same number of books in the New Testament.
The Orthodox Christian Bible consists of 1347 chapters, the Roman Catholic of 1329, and the
Protestant of 1189; 260 of which constitute the New Testament.
The first canon is the Pentateuch, which is composed of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and contains the Law of God, which is the set of
613 precepts of Judaism.
Within Judaism, there is a dispute over the correct canon. A religious group, the Sadducees, maintains that only the canon of the Scriptures is the Torah or Pentateuch (the Law), while other groups also consider the Scriptures of the Nevi’im ( Prophets ) and the Ketubim ( the Writings ). After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. C., the predominant Jewish group was that of the Pharisees, who does consider the canon as conformed by the Law, the Prophets and the Writings (Torah, Nevi “im and Ketubim).
Thus, at the end of the first century, Judaism established in Yamnia (Yavne) as a canon of its sacred books those that met three requirements: that there was a copy of the book in question that was known to have been written before the year 300 BC. C. (when the Hellenization arrived in Judea, with subsequent cultural and religious problems, and that can be read in books such as those of the Maccabees or that of Daniel), that said copy was written in Hebrew or at least Aramaic (not Greek, the invading language and culture ) and that it had a message considered as inspired or directed to the people of God (so that also some books that fulfilled the two previous characteristics had to leave the canon).
In the time of Jesus of Nazareth, the second opinion was dominant, which was held and transmitted by many Christians until the time of the Protestant Reformation with the controversy of the deuterocanonical books. This controversy probably originated precisely because of the fact that Judaism had established its canon at the end of the first century so that for them those texts that would only be found in Greek were no longer present (in the Jewish Bible version of the Seventy). These books were precisely those that would be considered, later, as deuterocanonical and that was accepted by both Christians and Orthodox.
The Jewish version of the Bible consists of 24 books, with certain differences regarding the
Christian Bibles Some of them are:
- The names of several books: Exodus for the original Shemot; Leviticus for Vaikra.
- The subdivision into three sections: Tora(the Law, the Pentateuch); Nevi’im, the Prophets
Previous (Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) and Later (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the
12 minor prophets); and Ketubím, the Writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Daniel, and the other books).
Currently, books that are not considered canonical by Catholics and Orthodox, are called apocryphal books. In turn, those same books are usually called pseudoepí graphs by the Protestants, who usually also respect the name of Deuterocanonical (literally, “of the second canon”) for those who have received canonical recognition of Catholics and Orthodox (in general, are books originally written in Greek, included in the translation into Greek from the Jewish Bible known as Septuagint or the LXX).
However, some fundamentalist Protestant currents insist on preserving the apocryphal name for deuterocanonical books. However, it should be noted that the early Christians did not use the Hebrew Bible, but used the Septuagint or the LXX because several of the new Christians were Jews of Greek culture, such as Pablo de Tarso, San Esteban, and the evangelists San Lucas and San Marcos.
Thus, the Catholic versions of the Bible consist of 73 writings, while the Protestant versions only contain 66, because they consider that seven books printed in the Catholic versions (the deuterocanonical) are only ” edifying reading “, but not canonical Orthodox versions, meanwhile, include 76 books in total. In addition, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church includes the Book of Enoch as canonical in the Old Testament, which does not include any of the other Christian currents or Judaism.
The Bible is a book used by all Christians, even if not all groups of Christians read it regularly. The Christian Bibles are constituted by writings
Hebrews, Arameans, and Greeks, who have been retaken from the Greek Bible, called Septuagint, and from the Hebrew-Aramaic Tanakh, and then regrouped under the name of the Old Testament. To these has been added a third series of Christian Greek writings grouped under the name of the New Testament. Different Christian groups have long debated the inclusion or exclusion of some of the books of both Testaments, emerging from the concepts of apocryphal and deuterocanonical to refer to some of these texts.
The current Jewish community reserves the expression “Christian Bible” to identify only the books that have been added to the Hebrew-Aramaic Tanakh by late Alexandrian Hellenizing Judaism, and then by Christianity, and avoid referring to its Tanach in terms of “Bible “, or” Old Testament. ” Several Christian denominations incorporate other books in the Canon of both Testaments.
Archeology and biblical coincidences
The archaeological investigations in the area where the events narrated in the Bible are developed have as an added result the verification of the facts, places, and characters that appear cited in the different books that make up the Bible. It has even come to create the term of biblical archeology to name a part of archeology that is responsible for studying the places indicated in the Bible.
There are several cases in which archaeological discoveries have confirmed the facts or biblical characters. Among those discoveries are the following:
- Destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70. In 1970 the team of archaeologists under Nahman Avigad discovered in Jerusalem the ruins of a burned house in which coins were found that placed the stage around the year 70. The arrangement of the Objects found as well as the discovery of the remains of a body in disposition to escape gave rise to the hypothesis that was due to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman troops in the year 70, destruction that appears as prophecy performed by Jesus in Luke
19: 43-44. Another possible interpretation, given by the supporters of the late dating of this gospel, argues that it was written after the destruction and therefore recounts events already happened.
- King Sargon II of Assyria. This character that appears in Isaiah 20: 1 could not be
confirmed until in 1843 the ruins of his palace were discovered. Writings were found in which the conquests of the cities of Samaria and Ashdod are recounted, which are also reported in the book of Isaiah.
- Joaquin, king of Judah. The discovery of the tablets of Babylon allowed confirmation of the existence of King Joaquin of Judah and his five sons who were named in the books of 2 Kings and 1 Chronicles.
- The seal of Yehujal. In 2005 the archaeologist Eilat Mazar discovered a clay seal in which Yehujal (Jehucal or Jucal) was named who was a Jewish official named in the book of Jeremiah.
- Findings in Nineveh. In the excavations carried out in the ancient city of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, several pieces have been found confirming biblical accounts. In the palace of Sennacherib, there is a bas-relief that shows the Assyrian troops taking the Israelites captive after the fall of Lakis, a fact reported in the Second Book of Kings. In the pieces known as Annals of Sennacherib, the facts realized during the reign of Hezekiah are recounted. It is also curious how Jerusalem does not appear in the list of cities conquered by the Assyrians, which agrees with the biblical account that they were
defeated at their doors, as is reported the murder of Sennacherib, which is included in the Book of Isaiah.
- The Cylinder of Cyrus. It was found in Sippar near Baghdad, Iraq. It narrates the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great. Some see in Isaiah’s stories the prophecy of the destruction of Babylon by Cyrus. Also in the cylinder is the policy of Cyrus of letting the deported peoples return to their homeland, as happened with the Israelites.
- Recently a stone was found in southern Syria with the Star of David engraved, in the area that the Bible indicates was the Hebrew city of Dan before the Assyrian conquest, which may indicate that it was Hebrew territory or had some contact with Israel.
Conservation and integrity of the Bible
Despite the objections of some critics, there is evidence to support the claim that much of the Bible has been preserved without major changes to this day. Those who disagree with these statements appeal to circumstances such as translations from one language to another, copied from manuscripts, divergent opinions on dogmas and/or deliberate destruction, the Bible has not come as a complete volume. Findings such as the Dead Sea manuscripts have shown that, in large part, this happened before the first century of our era, although the texts found there and those known until then, seem to present minor changes.
There have been other relevant texts related to the original Bible, the apocryphal writings found in Egypt (Nag Hammadi) and in the West Bank (Qumran, near the Dead Sea), and even in countries far away to the South and the East. These have raised a new question about whether the biblical canon would be complete or should be reviewed in detail.
Proponents of the idea that the biblical scriptures are faithful and complete are based on the number of identical copies that, since ancient times, have been made of them. The Hebrew copyists of the Scriptures were well instructed, the masorets, who copied the Hebrew Scriptures between the 6th and 10th centuries, used to count the letters to avoid mistakes. The scholar in the matter WH Green says about the comparisons between ancient and modern texts no other work of antiquity has been transmitted with such accuracy.
Theological source is the term used in theology to name the sources of the argument on which this type of knowledge is based.
For each religion, such sources are different so that in theology there is nothing similar to the scientific consensus that usually exists in the sciences that undergo the scientific method. In the most extreme case (not shared by all religions or within them by all believers), the Church’s authority argument would have preference over logic or experience. To consider the texts or documentary sources of his knowledge sacred makes the critical study of the same sources problematic, which in some religions are considered revealed truth.
Some religions, and of course all primitive religions, are fundamentally rites and beliefs supported by oral tradition and custom, and only myths would properly fulfill the role of theological source. The communication of men with the world
Supernatural imagined sometimes acquires forms of what is called prophecy, which sometimes gives rise to stories that guide human activity: it is the case of the oracles of the classical Greek world and the Sibyllian books that the Sibyl of Cumas sold to Romans Many religions (corresponding to the areas of the world where historical development linked to the invention of writing were achieved ) have sacred texts: the Book of the Dead of Ancient Egypt, the Epic of Gilgamesh in Sumeria (both precedents of different biblical accounts ), the Vedas of Hinduism, or the Popol Vuh of the Maya, for example.
However, there is an essential difference between the monotheistic religions and the others: they consider their texts as direct revelation of the only God and mechanism for the spiritual salvation of man (although in a different degree according to the interpretation of each variant). The Islamic expression people in the book to name Christians and Jews is eloquent enough: Torah, Bible, and Quran are literally Word of God for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Theological sources in Christianity
The Protestant principle is Luther’s Only Scriptura: The Bible is the only theological source; there is no other truth revealed outside of what is contained in the Bible. The Sola Fides that puts the salvation of the believer solely in his faith in Jesus Christ, forces him to approach the Bible without intermediaries, the only rule of faith, and solve only through it all the problems of faith. Nor is there an authority that compels him: there is a universal priesthood.
On the other extreme, Catholics argue that there are some truths revealed apart from those that appear in the Bible: Sacred Tradition. Jesus Christ established an institution to, through his Magisterium, interpret the revealed truth (Sacred Scripture and Tradition), make it available to everyone and everywhere, which is the Universal Church (Catholic, in Greek).
The access of the faithful not oriented to versions that are not the official and conveniently annotated of the Bible is discouraged, and at sometimes persecuted. The Council of Trent set the Vulgate (Latin translation of St. Jerome) as the canonical version, and translations into modern languages, such as Luther’s into German, were restricted. Fray Luis de León (who besides being religious was a professor) was prosecuted for translating and commenting on the Song of Songs. Until the twentieth century, these preventions were not relaxed.
Those are the two main points of controversy between Catholics and traditional Protestants (liberal Protestants can critically question theological sources, which for others is to question revelation). The other differences connect with these two points or follow them, differently in the different branches of Protestantism (Lutheranism, Calvinism, Anglicanism, etc.)
There are no such radical differences between Catholics and Eastern or Orthodox Christianity since both parties admit the institution of the Church through Jesus Christ, its Magisterium, its authority, its infallibility and indefectibility (to a greater or lesser degree).
The differences regarding the theological sources and their treatment are regarding the subjects of authority (the Pope is Vicar of Christ and infallible for Catholics, and only Bishop of Rome for Orthodox) and the organic unity of the teaching body, apart from dogmatic issues
Theological sources in Catholicism
In the constitution of theological knowledge its object, its sources and its place can be indicated. The object of theology is God – directly – and the world and man in the light of God. The sources of theological knowledge and its criteria of truth are human reason and divine revelation, in a privileged way. The place of theology in the Church as a community of faith.
From this, it follows that the Church must be able to establish in an authorized way criteria for theological reflection. According to the Catholic Church, research and theological work are inscribed within a rational knowledge (and that is why they claim for theology the status of science ), whose object is given by revelation, that is, the Word of God transmitted and interpreted for the Church under the authority of the Magisterium.
Theological sources in Anglicanism and Episcopalism
The Book of Common Prayer is the main theological source of the episcopalians, the most traditional of the Protestant churches in the United States. Derived from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer that had different editorials since the mid-16th century.
In the United States, there was a failed attempt to update it in 1786, and others in force successively were published in 1789, 1892 and 1928. It was last updated in 1979. Although it is in the public domain, however, the new revisions thereof are controlled. by the Custodian for the Standardization of the Book of Common Prayer. It contains the different services of worship or liturgical services used by the episcopalians