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THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BIBLE. When studying the bible we must keep several things in mind. First of all it was never meant to be a science book, a geography.

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Presentation on theme: "THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BIBLE. When studying the bible we must keep several things in mind. First of all it was never meant to be a science book, a geography."— Presentation transcript:


2 When studying the bible we must keep several things in mind. First of all it was never meant to be a science book, a geography book or even a history book. It is a book whose main purpose is to reveal God’s relationship with his people through:  Symbolism  Stories  Lessons/parables  poems  Psalms, songs  Genealogies  Prophecies

3 In other words, the bible is a book about religious truth. The bible actually consists of 73 books. 46 books in the Hebrew scriptures 27 books in the Christian Scriptures The word bible literally means “little library.” The bible contains 4000 years of Judeo-Christian culture. In the beginning many stories were handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth otherwise known as oral tradition. As time passes the ancient Israelites began writing their stories down of scrolls made of papyrus. A type of paper mad from the reeds that grew by the Nile River. This process is otherwise known as written tradition. Believe it or not, the first bible stories ever written was not about Genesis but about……the early kings of Israel.

4 The oldest scrolls are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were discovered in 1947 in caves near the Dead Sea in stone jars. These scrolls were written between 180 BCE and 70 CE. The earliest versions of the Old testament were written in Hebrew. But many Jews spoke Greek and wanted to read the Scriptures in their own language. So a couple a centuries before Christ, the sacred scrolls had been translated into Greek. Legend has it that 70 Jewish scholars spent 70 months translating the texts. The resulting Greek version was called Septuagint which means 70. This translation added 7 books originally written in Greek. 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees Tobit Judith Baruch Sirach Wisdom

5 As a result of the translation two different versions of the Old Testament came into existence: 1. Hebrew Canon – containing 39 books (Jamnian) 2. Septuagint Canon – containing 46 books (Alexandrian)

6 The development of the New Testament Once people discovered how to collect the books of scripture they had to isolate those books which contained religious truth important to the life of the community. Numerous sacred books about the life of Jesus were circulating after he died, each telling the story of Jesus with a slightly different slant or purpose. Eventually the authorities had to decide which books would come to measure up to some standard. These books became known as canon – meaning rule or standard.

7 How did the authorities determine which books would be canon? They had to meet the following criteria: 1. Apostolic Authorship: The book had to be connected to some apostle in some way. 2. Traditional: The book had to be used by early Christians in the prayer lives. 3. Orthodox: The book had to conform to the emerging faith of the church. Ex. Jesus IS the Son of God. 4. Catholicity: Fits into the Christian tradition. Ex. Premarital sex is considered a sin.

8 The New Testament books of the bible had all been written in Greek and early Christians also tended to rely on the Septuagint when they wanted to read the sacred scriptures. But by the third century Latin replaced Greek as the common language of the Roman Empire. In the fourth century, the pope asked St. Jerome to translate the scriptures onto Latin and he spent the next 25 years creating what came to be known as the vulgate meaning “language of the people.” Throughout the middle ages, the Latin Vulgate was used but Christianity spread throughout Europe so scholars produced translations for the Vulgate into the language of the people around them.

9 Before the invention of the printing press in 1460, bibles would be copied by hand, usually by monks and scribes. Personal interpretation of the bible that deviated from Christian tradition was usually discouraged by the church but never forbidden. The church instructed people from the scripture through:  Songs  Artwork  Stained glass  Stories

10 Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer of the 16 th century had a translation of the bible made and he even did some of it himself. But it was a selective translation which left out books that he didn't agree with. He used the Hebrew version of the Old testament (39 books) so that he could deliberately exclude the second book of Maccabees on which the Catholic Church founded its doctrine on Purgatory – temporary stage after death in which the souls of those who have died are purified from sin.

11 One of Luther’s major criticisms of the Catholic Church was the practice of buying and selling indulgences (prayers or actions on the Roman |Catholic Church that are believed to free an individual from spending a specified period of time in Purgatory. This was clearly an abuse of the teaching on Purgatory. Luther also omitted form the New Testament 1. the Letter to the Hebrew 2The letter of James

12 While the Roman Catholic Church believed that one was justified by  having faith,  doing good works,  receiving the sacraments and  fulfilling a number of church demands, Luther felt that it was simpler than that. He claimed that salvation was gained by Faith alone Bible study led Luther to refine the idea of Justification, that which makes a person worthy to God.

13 In 1517, Martin Luther posted his famous 95 theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. These were points of debate about certain beliefs and practices. Martin Luther also denied the supremacy of the Pope and declared that the church councils could commit errors of faith.

14 The Protestant bible still excludes 7 books that are contained on the Catholic Old Testament because their translation of the bible came from the Hebrew canon. However many protestants still print them in a separate section called the apocrypha – a word that means “of dubious value.” May Catholics wanted to protect the bible from further depletion so the Council of Trent was established on 1545. They formally closed the canon and forbid the reading of translations not approved by the church. In 1902 the pope set up a biblical commission to develop the rules for biblical matters. In 1943 Catholic Scholars were encouraged to undertake biblical studies using modern critical techniques when Pope Pius XII issued the letter Divino Afflante Spiritu.

15 Interpreting the Bible Readers of the bible soon discover the problem of reading biblical text because it is linguistically and culturally strange to the modern reader and it contains scientific and historical errors. Sometimes morally confusing material is promoted. Sexism Patriarchy Slavery War Attitudes of domination

16 There are three broad perspectives which we can choose from in order to interpret the bible: 1. Fundamentalism: This position claims that the bible is the literal word of God, virtually dictated by God to authors and therefore free of any type of error. 2. Contextualism: This position claims that the bible has human authors which were inspired by God. The text and the context of the bible is taken into consideration. 3. Liberalism: This position overemphasizes the role of the human author and denies involvement of God.

17 When interpreting, we must approach the bible with a few practical techniques or methods to aid such a study: 1. When reading the bible make sure you use a supplementary book (like Cole’s notes) which explains the text you are studying in the bible. 2. We should remind ourselves to respect the enormous cultural, historical and linguistic differences which separate us as modern readers from the ancient world of the bible.

18 3. We should read the biblical text as holistically as possible. We should read the whole text in which a particular passage appears. Details have fuller meaning and are less likely to be misinterpreted if read in context. 4. It is helpful to share biblical study with others. Because the bible has many meanings and layers of significance, different dimensions of meaning will be discovered by different readers.

19 5. It is important to pay special attention to those texts that make us uncomfortable. Perhaps God is trying to tell you something about his relationship with you. 6. Finally you need to read the bible prayerfully. The ultimate purpose of reading scripture is not to find out the answers to our questions or to obtain theological information. It is to gradually discover the relationship you have with God and with others.

20 Who do you say that I am ? This is the question Jesus asked Peter when the disciples were all talking

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