Lewis, Bonnie, et. al. "The Bible." Faithology.com. Faithology, 12 March 2013. Web. 22 May 2013.
Lewis, B., et. al. (2013, Mar 12). The Bible. Faithology.
Lewis, Bonnie, et. al. "The Bible" Faithology, LLC. Last modified March 12, 2013.
Faithology, LLC, 2012. (Accessed May 22, 2013).. The Bible.
- Stone, Michael E., "The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha," American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2011. Web. 22 Jun. 2011. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/apocrypha.html.
- "The Apocrypha," Internet Sacred Text Archive. John Bruno Hare, 2010. Web. 22 Jun. 2011. http://sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/index.htm.
- "Bible," Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopæædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 20 Jun. 2011. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/64396/Bible.
- "Biblical Literature," Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 20 Jun. 2011. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/64496/biblical-literature.
- "Bible Versions and Translations," BibleStudyTools.com. Bible Study Tools, 2011. Web. 22 Jun. 2011. http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-versions.
- "Hebrew Bible," New World Encyclopedia. New World Encyclopedia, 2008. Web. 20 Jun. 2011. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Hebrew_Bible?oldid=686225.
- Last Updated: March 12, 2013
- Originally Published: June 22, 2012
- The Faithology Editorial Staff
The Holy Bible is a compilation of ancient Jewish andtexts. This collection of texts contains scriptures accepted by Christians as . The word "Bible" is derived from Býblos, a port city in Phoenicia (modern-day Lebanon) where was prepared and exported.
The Bible is an account and explanation of God'swith his people, detailed in a collection of sermons, revelations and writings by prophets and . It also contains faith-promoting stories of men and women who lived either in accordance with God’s law or apart from them. One of the important themes of the Holy Bible is that faith in God and obedience to his law brings happiness in both this life and in the afterlife.
Some areas of biblical history lack verifiable scientific or archeological evidence, and thus, many dates are approximate or conjectural:
- c. 4000 BCE: Adam and Eve from the Garden of and the beginnings of human history occur. : The expulsion of
- c. 1500 BCE: The ministry of Moses occurs. Moses was believed to have composed the earliest books included in the Bible. His last book, Malachi, was believed to have been written during the 5th century BCE.
- 3rd to 1st Centuries BCE: The or Koine version of the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew to Greek. Many early Christians used this version of the scriptures.
- 30-33 CE: The ministry of Jesus occurs.
- 1st century CE: Books and letters comprising the New Testament were written. They were probably complied into the New Testament in the late 2nd century CE.
- 382 CE: The first Latin translation of the Bible was completed. This translation was later called the , and the Council of Trent made it the official Bible of the in 1546. Many later revisions and retranslations are based on this version.
- 6th to 10th Centuries CE: Hebrew scholars compose the text. Biblical translations of the Old Testament were later based on this version.
- 1534: Martin Luther and collaborators translate the Bible into German, leading to numerous translations used by the communion.
Parts of the Bible
The Old Testament
Originally written in Hebrew, the Old Testament claims to be a record of the history of the world and God's dealings with the Hebrew prophets. These records prophesy of and prepare the people to receive the coming, the savior or redeemer of humanity. The Old Testament is usually divided into four parts:
- The Law is comprised of the books , , Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Many Christian theologians give authorship to Moses, although there are other authorship suggestions as well. Others suggest that these texts are oral records from Moses's era, which were later scribed by various authors. Genesis describes the creation of the world and its history from to Moses. Exodus describes the life of Moses and the miraculous deliverance of from slavery in Egypt. Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy outline God's commandments to Israel: the Mosaic Law, the ordinances and performances of the divine covenant, and the coming of Israel to their "promised land,” Canaan.
- The Historical Books contain Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ruth, Ezra and Esther. These texts are the narratives of the Israelite tribes, including information about their leaders and other prominent characters. Accounts of the conquest of Canaan (renamed Israel), the union of the tribes into one nation, their division into competing kingdoms, the conquest of those kingdoms by neighboring empires, and the return of some Israelites to the land of Israel after their dispersal are all included in the Historical books. Overall, these books tell the story of Israel’s monarchy.
- The Wisdom Books contain Job, The Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. The Wisdom texts consist of a variety of literary styles giving spiritual and practical advice for life within God's covenant. They are known for their poetry and for their emotive messages. Because of these qualities, they are often used for prayers and matters of practice in the Christian community.
- The Prophets are divided into the Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel) and the Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi). These texts are the recordings of the sermons and prophecies of the prophets, who were believed to be the “mouthpiece” of God to his people. "Major" prophets are so called because their books are larger and some knowledge of their lives is available. "Minor" prophets are those whose records are shorter and whose lives are essentially unknown.
Summary of the Old Testament
The Book of Genesis describes how God created Adam and Satan, Eve disobeyed God, eating from the Tree of Life. According to the Bible, her eyes were then opened to both good and evil. Adam soon followed, also eating the forbidden fruit. This act is known in Christian circles as the "Fall of Mankind." As the eyes of Adam and Eve were metaphorically opened, they became sinful and thus unable to live in a perfect state of delight with God. God then placed a curse on the serpent, on Eve (symbolically on all women) and on Adam (symbolically on all men). Finally, God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Christian theologians point out that Adam and Eve were no longer fit to live in paradise with a sinless God after having disobeyed him., the first man and woman on the earth, and placed them in a paradise called the Garden of Eden. According to the Bible, God’s purpose in creating Eden was to dwell in a delightful state with his creation. He gave Adam and Eve free reign over all of his creation, but specified one to Adam: to not eat from the Tree of Life. Tempted by the serpent, whom Christians identify as
Adam and Eve then had children, following God's command to multiply and fill the earth. Because they brought Noah and his family. He survived after receiving direction from God to build an and fill it with two of every unclean animal and seven of every clean animal in the world. Noah and the animals aboard his ark are believed to have repopulated the world after the catastrophic flood.into the world, their descendants were likewise with sin. Because of the disobedience of these people, God sent a great flood to destroy the world and all of the sinful and wicked people upon it. The Bible explains that the only survivors of this flood were a man named
A covenant between God and his people was not firmly established until the time of Abram (an eleventh-generation descendant of Noah). Being of old age and having no heir, Abram offered to adopt a servant and had a child, who was named Ishmael, by his concubine. God later allowedto bear children, and gave her a son named , through whom God established the covenant of his people. Later, God called to Abram, and told him that with his obedience would come great blessings:
Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
God granted Abram a new name, Abraham, and promised vast posterity. God also promised that Abraham’s descendants would be given the land later called Canaan. Abraham's obedience was tested by God, who asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Not requiring the actual sacrifice, God determined that Abraham was willing to do as God asked. Praising Abraham’s devotion, God declared that Isaac, and then Isaac’s son, Jacob, would carry on the covenant with God. Jacob, later renamed Israel, had twelve sons who were eventually said to have fathered the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
The Bible demonstrates an exhibition of what Christian's believe to be God’s power over all creationthrough the Moses, who had been enslaved during a sojourn in Egypt. Fighting for the freedom of his people, Moses brought ten plagues upon the Egyptians. Moses also parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could leave Egypt and return to the land of Canaan, promised to them by God. Moses then led the Israelites into the wilderness, where they received God's law.
Early on their journey to Canaan, Moses climbed atop Mount Sinai and had an experience in which he met God. When he descended the mountain, he was in possession of ten laws written on stone slabs. These laws, called the Ten Commandments, formed the basic tenets of what later became Judaism. However, the whole Law of Moses actually comprised an extensive, strict and exacting series of ordinances and performances intended to draw the Israelites away from idolatry andof their day and to renew and reinforce their covenant with God. Because their faith was weak and their obedience was inconsistent, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years until God delivered them to the "Promised Land", or Caanan.
Under Moses and his successor, the prophet-general Joshua, Israel invaded Canaan. God gave Israel victory and they forced most of the locals out of the land, formally receiving from God the land he had promised to Abraham four centuries earlier.
The tribes formed a loose confederation, led, but not ruled by, a series of judges of varying righteousness and ability. The tribes experienced freedom or captivity, depending on God's judgment of their obedience to his law. After several centuries, the people demanded that God replace the judges with a king, so they could be like other nations. Monotheists often believe that God took this as a personal rejection of his law. He warned them of the consequences, but the people insisted, so God granted them what they wanted.
Three kings––Saul, David, and Solomon––ruled a mostly-united kingdom that became a political power in the East. At the time of the death of Solomon, the tribes divided into two nations, fighting each other and their neighbors. Numerous prophets consistently warned the Israelites they must obey God's law or be destroyed. As a group, the Israelites usually chose disobedience, despite the miracles performed by the prophets.Many Israelites converted to polytheistic religions of neighboring or foreign nations that occupied their land, such as the Canaanite religions and their prominent god, Baal. The northern nation, Israel, or Ephraim, was conquered and disappeared from history around 720 BCE. They became known as "the ten lost tribes." The southern kingdom, Judah, continued until approximately 590 BCE, when the Babylonian Empire conquered them and took them into captivity where they were not allowed to practice their own religion. Some Jews rose to positions of great authority in the Empire. After seventy years, the Jews were allowed to return to , but they were never again a wholly free nation.
The New Testament
Originally written in Hebrew and Greek, the New Testament is the record of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, God’s promised messiah, and the records of the early leaders of the church founded by Christ and led by his apostles. It consists of the following parts:
- The Gospels (named , , and ) are spiritual biographies of Jesus Christ written by his disciples; they purport to record his life, his preaching and his atoning sacrifice and . The details they include vary, as each author directs his writing to a different, yet specific audience.
- The Acts (written by Luke) records the early years of the Christian movement. It includes the expansion of the covenant between God and the Israelites to include all of mankind.
- The "Pauline" (largely written by ) are letters sent by the apostle Paul to correct heretical views that were creeping into the Christian community and to give general instruction on doctrine, church organization, and practices.
- The "General" Epistles (written by the apostles , John, James the Lesser and Jude) are so called because they give general instructions and were written to the general membership of the church.
- The /Revelation (thought to be written by John) is a vision of the period just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. This period is described in terms of the last days of the world, and is written in heavily symbolic language. It also includes a few references to a few earlier biblical events such as the "war in heaven," as well as events that have been interpreted in many ways. There are four main views are held regarding the book of Revelation, which are: Dispensational Premillenialism, Historical Premillenialism, Postmillenialism, and Amillenialism.
The Apocrypha specifically describes several groups of writings included in the Septuagint but no longer considered to be of divine origin by most Christians. Some Bibles included them alongside the Old and New Testaments as late as the 19th century. Other versions still attach them to biblicalas appendices today.
They include: Baruch, additions to Daniel (theof Azariah, the Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon), additions to Esther, Ecclesiasticus (or the Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach), the Letter of Jeremiah, Judith, the First and Second Books of Maccabees, Tobit and the Wisdom of Solomon are accepted as scripture by the Catholic communion.
Thecommunion also accepts Tobit, Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, and Ecclesiasticus as scripture.
As a general term, "Apocrypha" may also include numerous other books that have never been part of the Bible, but may date from the biblical era and are written in scriptural style: Theare ancient Jewish writings that were not written by the supposed authors. The Dead Sea Scrolls the Nag Hammadi Library and other collections containing such texts were discovered in the Middle East in the 20th century.
The Bible Today
While opinions on the Bible among Christians run a full spectrum, most Christians accept it as the perfect, revealed word of God. The most common scholarly terms used to discuss these views are "inerrant" and "infallible." Still, some believe that the Bible is only a collection of fables with no historical basis, used to teach useful lessons to society. Critics, and those who do not believe in the Bible’s divine authority, cite a lack of scientific evidence, the fact that no original manuscripts exist, and similarities between early Christianity and nearby religions as evidence of what they believe to be the Bible's less-than-divine origins. Christians that believe the Bible is inerrant believe that the Bible is without error in all literal and historical matters. Christians that believe the Bible is infallible believe that the Bible is without error in matters of faith and practice. Both groups believe that the Bible is a complete and trustworthy guide for and Christian faith.
|American Standard Version (ASV)||New English Bible (NEB)|
|Contemporary English Version (CEV)||New International Version (NIV)|
|English Standard Version (ESV)||New King James Version (NKJV)|
|International Standard Version (ISV)||New Life Version (NLV)|
|John Darby's New Translation||New Living Translation (NLT)|
|King James Version (KJV)||New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)|
|Literal Translation Version (LITV)||Revised Standard Version (RSV)|
|Living Bible (LB)||Revised Young's Literal Translation (RYLT)|
|Modern King James Version (MKJV)||Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR)|
|New American Standard Bible (NASB)||Today's English Version (TEV)|
|New Century Version (NC)||Young Literal Translation (YLT)|
The Bible is the most frequently translated book in the world. Some versions attempt to translate the original language as literally and exactly as possible; others strive to make scripture more readable, by updating the language into the modern vernacular.
Some translations are authored by specific churches for their membership. Others result from the collaborative efforts of clerics, scholars, linguists and other experts. It is likely the list will expand as other translations are made and gain popularity.