Facts about the Books of the Bible
Authors and Dates
Creation of the Old and New Testaments as Divinely-inspired Scripture
- “No church [or council] created the canon, but the churches and councils gradually accepted the list of books recognized by believers everywhere as inspired.” (biblica.com) In other words, “Early Christians recognized the authority contained in these writings already; they did not arbitrarily pick which ones would become authoritative for the Church.” (thinkChristianly.org) Bishop Athanasius in A.D. 367 provided our listing of 66 as divinely-inspired Scripture … “The point is that the formation of the canon did not come all at once like a thunderbolt, but was the product of centuries of reflection.” (biblica.com)
- Old Testament
- The first 5 books of the Old Testament, also known as the Torah or Pentateuch, were probably written around 500 B.C.
- The rest of the books were considered canonical around 200 B.C.
- New Testament
- 20/27 books were canonical by A.D. 200 (not including Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation).
- The Council of Carthage had all the New Testament books considered canonical in A.D. 397.
- Old Testament
Why Certain Books were Left Out
- In the first 200 years, books had 5 tests before they were allowed to become a part of Scripture.
- Was the book written by an apostle or someone under the direction of an apostle?
- Did the books have the authority to say their books were written as the words of God?
- Were the books used early as tradition?
- Were the books widely used by all the churches? Were the books not conflicting with past Scripture?
- Are the teachings in agreement to what already was being preached?
- The book of Revelation closed the canon of biblical Scripture in Revelation 22:18-19.
- Apocrypha (includes some Catholic Old Testament books)
- They were never considered a part of the Scripture. The Jews themselves claimed that there was no prophets during that time (1 Maccabees 9:27).
- Judaism never accepted the Apocrypha.
- The apostles and Jesus never quotes from a book from the Apocrypha; they were using the Septuagint.
- The Apocrypha isn’t mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Why do We Believe in It?
- No Contradictions
- The Bible has no contradictions, even though it is 66 books written on 3 continents over 1500 years by more than 40 authors.
- Fulfilled Prophecies
- There are over 300 extremely detailed prophecies about Jesus that were fulfilled.
- There are over 1800 predictions about 700 subjects.
- Archaeological Evidence
- Unchanged for about 2000 years
- The Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Old Testament scrolls found in 1947 near Wadi Quamran, contains all of the biblical Old Testaments books besides Esther. They are quoted frequently as Scripture, dated from 150 BC to 50 AD
- Uniqueness of Biblical Teachings
- inherent evil
- Teachings Promote Civilization
- The Bible answers every deep question that has been on the minds of humanity. It’s important to consider any teaching that attempts to answer them. The Bible also answers these questions positively with “soft characteristics,” such as love, joy, and peace, which have sustained nations throughout the world, no matter what religion is in order. The Bible also rejects “hard characteristics,” such as survival (of the fittest), accumulation of power and money, and selfishness, which have destroyed nations throughout the world.
- Integrity of Authors
- Because these men were willing to die excruciating deaths for their beliefs, it is likely that they were not lying.
- More than any other religion, the Israelites and the Bible have been vehemently attacked with greater ferocity than any other people or book. If the devil is real, it would make sense that he would try to attack the truth. It also survived all these attacks; if God is real, it would make sense that He would divinely intervene to protect the truth.
- Impacts of Teachings
- The teachings of the Bible are deeper than most, if not all, philosophical or psychological books; they have impacted positively more lives than any other book. These impacts are also made without deep understanding of how they happened; for most people, they “somehow” happened. If these books really were written by peasants, fishermen, tax collectors, and shepherds, Jesus must have been something greater than just a wise teacher.
- Faith in Forefathers
- We have faith that our Christian forefathers took seriously the matter of attributing our books of the Bible as Scripture.
- Omniscience of God
- If the Christian God is real, then the Bible is all we’ll ever need. God guided the early church councils to pick the divinely-inspired books as the words of God.
- Scribal Discipline
- A synagogue roll must be written on the skins of clean animals prepared for the particular use of the synagogue of a Jew These must be fastened together with strings taken from clean animals. Every skin must contain a certain number of columns, equal throughout the entire codex. The length of each column must not extend over less than 48 or more than 60 lines; and the breadth must consist of thirty letters. The whole copy must be first lined; and if three words be written without a line, it is worthless. The ink should be black, neither red, green, nor any other color, and be prepared according to a definite recipe. An authentic copy must be the exemplar, from which the transcriber ought not in the least deviate. No word or letter, not even even a yod, must be written from memory, the scribe not even having looked at the codex before him…Between every consonant the space of a hair or thread must intervene. Between every new parashah, or section, the breadth of nine consonants. Between every book three lines. The fifth book of Moses must terminate exactly with a line; but the rest need not do so. Besides this the copyist must sit in full Jewish dress, wash his whole body, not begin to write the name of God with a pen newly dipped in ink and should a king address him while writing that name, he must take no notice of him.
- Why aren’t the false doctrines that were not chosen to be included in the Bible also available, so that I can decide what is right?
- If a book was deemed not to be derived by the apostles of Christ and instead was a teaching taught by some random deceiver, why would it be taught alongside the Truth? That would be like giving equal credence to the geo-centric theory and alchemy in modern scientific textbooks. In addition, those who are not in a deep relationship with Christ would not be able to discern what Truth is and what is not. No good can come from putting heresy in the Bible.
- Persuading Grace An Introduction to Apologetics by Craig Parker
Problems about the Validity of the Bible
- The Apocrypha was in the earliest copies of the Septuagint (The Greek translation of the Old Testament).