What Makes the Bible So Special?

This is affectionaely dedicated to Richard, Sis Frag, The Tofu, Jeffrey, JJ Ramsey, and of course Notreallyalice

We came by the Holy Scriptures through a process with four aspects:

Inspiration (It was the prophets and apostles or someone closely connected to them under the inspiration of the Spirit that wrote the Bible. In the New Testament, the apostles were those few people that Christ selected to be with him and to be commissioned by him to share the Good News, even after he was gone. The requirement for being an apostle was that you had to be a witness to the resurrection (Acts 1:21, 22; 1 Cor.9:1). New Testament authors were either apostles or sanctioned by an apostle.) →

Canonization (They had to distinguish between authentic writings and heretical texts. This is how creeds came about. “Four forces drove the effort to define which gospel documents bore unique authority for Christians. They were apostolic roots as a ground for truth, widespread use or circulation, the rise of competing views of faith, and persecution (Bock, Breaking, 110).” Not long after the resurrection, false apostles and teachers began to appear, saying things that no one could really verify, and writing things that no one could really document, and so it became necessary to develop a system to protect the body of Christian truth against these alternative expressions of Christianity. One of the main tests in the early church when they were recognizing which books were truly inspired by God and deserved a place in the canon, was that the book had to be written by an apostle or by someone closely associated with an apostle and thus have access to eyewitnesses and this had to be recognized by a wide circulation among Christians (not just a local recognition; these were books that God was obviously using on a broader scale. So the great Church Councils never randomly decided what books would be in the canon; they just simply recognized formally what God was already doing with these inspired books within the community.). →

Transmission (Copyists copied the Scriptures by hand until 1500 AD and the invention of the printing press. There are over 5,000 manuscripts or fragments that support the reliability of the New Testament. Other major ancient texts don’t have anywhere near this many. The Dead Sea scrolls, a 1947 discovery, are dated a thousand years earlier than the oldest Old Testament manuscripts we had. There were only slight variations in the text and word-spelling differences.) →

Translation (This is simply putting the words of Scripture from the ancient manuscripts into a language that people can understand. For a readable translation try the NIV. For really contemporary, try The Message)

Inspiration, canonization, transmission, and translation…And that’s why the Bible is so special…

Now, why do we have a Bible…see my post…




Filed under Bible

4 responses to “What Makes the Bible So Special?

  1. You’ve mentioned evidence that the books as they exists now match the books as originally written. I mostly agree. There’s the story of the woman caught in adultery and the long ending of Mark, both of which even conservative scholars agree was added later.

    Transmission and translation are all remarkably ordinary. Canonization just means people around 300-500 CE thought they were special. I’m not willing to take their word for it.

    Inspiration would be special, if you actually gave a reason to think the books of the Bible are inspired. What makes you think prophets and apostles wrote the Bible? Because it says that it was written by prophets and apostles?

    I, Jeffrey, am not writing my own thoughts, but rather I am telling you the commands and wisdom of the Lord.

  2. Inspiration is the key to all of this. The Bible is both human and divine. Human writers wrote, yes. And they were great writers. But, God was involved in the writing of Scripture, such that, we can say that what was written was what He wanted written. (Check 1 Tim. 3:16; and the 2 Peter passage). Tons has been written on this. But it’s critical to the entire process mentioned above.

  3. The Tofu

    So your proof that the Bible is inspired is found in… the Bible!

    Circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works because…”

  4. Proof that the Bible is inspired isn’t just found in the Bible; it’s rooted in a person in actual history. Jesus himself sanctioned the Old Testament, quoting from it authoritatively on numberless occasions. And then, the New Testament was written primarily because of the resurrection, an actual historical event that the writers had to have witnessed or were able to verify things by eyewitnesses.

    Extra-biblical sources verify the existence of Jesus. And the tomb is still empty. No body has been recovered. So the bible isn’t just circular in asserting its inspiration; its inspiration is affirmed by a historical person, by a historical event.

    Further, the Bible is an anthology of 66 books. the two books that affirm inspiration were written by authors who were looking at the other books and asserting inspiration. So technically, its not circular reasoning. These were authors that stood outside of the then known biblical canon and affirming the truth of the others (So at one time, even Paul and Peter’s writing were outside the canon – extra-biblical if you will). It was only later that all the books were bound into a single volume.

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