Institute Of Biblical Studies Of The Old And New Testaments How Did We Get Our Bible?

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How Did We Get Our Bible?

Every year around Easter, nationally known magazines parade before an unsuspecting public articles about ancient books that these magazines claim should, could, or would have become books in the Bible.

Usually, they present books of the Gnostics, a general name used for groups of extremely heretical, even fanatical, Christian sects who tried and failed to influence the churches away from the Word of God. The book of Revelation refers to these people as Nicolataines and they lasted until the 4th century AD in the churches. Marcion taught his group that anything Jewish was unclean and should not be accepted as biblical. Imagine, a Christian sect that protects the very Christ of Scripture from being defiled and not included in Scripture.

But, these modern magazines mean, somewhere along the way something went wrong. All kinds of claims designed to make people question the integrity of Scripture have been presented. But with all the scholarship, the real reason Christians have a problem with articles like this is because of ONE ISSUE:

Churches and Christians in general do NOT know HOW they got their Bibles. Therefore, they have not responded to the challenges of its origin.

Despite the above magazines, the Church has a very serious problem. Unfortunately, churches have historically only given simple answers in return. When answering the question about its foundations “How did we find the Bible?” – The Church of Christ does one of two things:

1. Answers in unsatisfactory generalities or

2. Allows for irritating inventions and simple half-truths, such as

a. A certain Council of the Church determined what books to include in the Bible.

b. There are lost books of Scripture. So the recognition process is probably not finalized. Every Easter season, several national magazines delight us with stories of an ancient Gospel manuscript. Why, they ask, is it not in the Bible? This continues, in part, because the churches do not give any satisfactory answers as to why any of our books made it into the Scriptures.

c. The originals are lost, their history shrouded in the dim past. But we can be sure that we have the real Bible somewhere.

d. Israel and the early church somehow recognized the prophets and apostles by means that we do not clearly understand today (such as Urim and Thummim, God’s Burden, casting lots, etc.)

e. Prophets were known through prophecies that came to pass. If a prophecy did not come true, then the individual was not a prophet. (True, but what if a prophecy came true. Is that all that was necessary for a prophet to be recognized as such?)

p. Prophecies and miracles guaranteed who the true prophets and apostles really were. Of course, such awkward questions remain as “If this is the standard for identifying who was and was not a prophet, then where are the miracles or prophecies or even a reference to God in the Book of Esther, for example, that proves the status of inspired by that book?

So instead of trying now to present all the problems, let’s illustrate just one to help us see our way.

Here is a single “problem”, testing your understanding of the question

How did we get our Bible?

Before we raise this question, let us all agree that the Book of Esther is and should be Holy Scripture. There are no questions. But for the sake of clarity, we’re going to play devil’s advocate for a few moments here and use some features of the Book to help raise the right issues.

And here they are.

It is a fact that the Book of Esther…

a. never mentions God or God once, and Esther is put in a position to do what is forbidden elsewhere, ie marry an unbeliever (King Xerxes, the Ahasuerus of the book, the utterly despised Medo-Persian king) and this works. for the temporary salvation of the Jews from persecution and massacres and Does it make any difference?

b. never use the phrase “Thus says the Lord” or “the burden of the Lord” or anything similar to indicate the authority of a prophet and

c. adds the feast of Purim to the known list of Jewish feasts, which is nowhere recognized by Moses or the prophets in the Old Testament writings (before or after the life of Esther and is never referred to a “prophet” even by Moses and

d. it never refers to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, nor does it indicate a First Coming, let alone a Second Coming.

Then how did the people of Israel and the churches later – (correctly!) consider this to be Scripture and therefore the work of a prophet? Are there internal signs WITHIN the book itself that indicate this is the work of a prophet?

We believe that the Book of Esther is, of course, SCRIPTURE, on par with all the other books of the Bible. But do you know HOW the people of Israel knew that this was inspired Scripture? How did Israel know it was inspired? Did Israel need to know? If not, HOW did it get into the books of the Bible?

The Bible is very clear about what constitutes a legitimate prophet of God that anyone claiming to be such a prophet can be literally challenged, “Show me your signs.”

King Jehoshaphat of Judah did just that when he listened to the “prophets of God” supported by the corrupt King Ahab of Israel. When he heard these false prophets, the king of Judah could ask Ahab, saying: “Is there not here but one prophet of God that we can ask him?”.

Clearly, simply claiming to be a prophet of God was not enough, even if the king said so. There was something that distinguished a true prophet like Micaiah from false prophets like the 400 false “prophets of God.”

You will see, what distinguished the prophets was their signs. Without those signs, no one could be called a prophet of God. In other words, the prophets were credentialed by God so that Israel could recognize a prophet of God.

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