Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How we got the bible, The history often taken for granted.

The bible is the written word of God. It was written by fallible men under the inspiration of the holy spirit. It was written by the Church that Jesus founded on the rock of Peter (Matthew 16:18). The following are the approximate years that the new testament was written.

Matthew pre 70
Mark 55
Luke 59-63
John 85
Acts 63
Romans 57
1 Corinthians 55
2 Corinthians 55
Galatians 50
Ephesians 60
Philippians 61
Colossians 60
1 Thessalonians 48-49
2 Thessalonians 51-52
1 Timothy 64
2 Timothy 66
Titus 64
Philemon 60
Hebrews pre 70
James 48
1 Peter 64
2 Peter 66
1 John 90
2 John 90
3 John 90
Jude 65
Revelation 95

When I was a protestant it never crossed my mind on how the bible came into being. Back then I was in a religion of a book where the bible was the text book of Christian faith. Some protestants when asked how did the bible come into being there is not one answer that is the same. I have heard that the church in the different provinces came up with there own cannon of scripture and when they got together they found out that each province came up with the exact same cannon. Someone could say that the last apostle alive which was John could have made a collection of the writings for the Christians before he died. Someone could say there was just a consensus in the late first early second century that everyone agreed on what books were inspired. All of these are nice but none of them are historically accurate. If anyone read the writings of the early Christians they would read that they didn’t agree on what was inspired and what wasn’t.

The first church historian, Eusebius, circa 303-325ad, applied the term “Antilegomena” which is Greek that means disputed to the following books who some considered inspired and some did not: Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache, the Apocalypse of John, and the Gospel according to the Hebrews: He writes:
"Among the disputed writings, which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John, whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name. Among the rejected writings must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul, and the so-called Shepherd, and the Apocalypse of Peter, and in addition to these the extant epistle of Barnabas, and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles; and besides, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said, reject, but which others class with the accepted books. And among these some have placed also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, with which those of the Hebrews that have accepted Christ are especially delighted. And all these may be reckoned among the disputed books.”

So here we are in the early fourth century and there is not a definitive cannon of scripture. How could the early Christians have made it going by the bible alone when they didn’t even know what books belong in the bible? The answer is they didn’t. They were taught the faith by the Church and if you read the fathers of the Church in the early second century you will read that they were taught by a church with the authority of Jesus to speak in his name (Lk 10:16) and by common knowledge called it the Catholic Church. The reason the early church needed a cannon of scripture was so that they would not read anything but sacred scripture during mass. It was because of these disputes that Catholic Church Councils were called to decide what would be read in holy mass as inspired scripture. It took 4 Councils: The Council of Rome 382 ad, The Council of Hippo 392 ad, The Council of Carthage 397 ad, The Council of Carthage 419 ad. It was Catholic Church Councils because the Catholic Church was the only church around from the beginning and was the only church around until the 16th century when Protestantism was formed.

The "Damasine list", issued by Pope Damasus I at the Council of Rome 382 ad, is as follows:
[[[[[[It is likewise decreed: Now, indeed, we must treat of the divine Scriptures: what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she must shun. The list of the Old Testament begins: Genesis, one book; Exodus, one book: Leviticus, one book;Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Jesus Nave, one book; of Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; of Kings, four books [First and Second Books of Kings, Third and Fourth Books of Kings]; Paralipomenon, two books; One Hundred and Fifty Psalms, one book; of Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book; Ecclesiastes, one book; Canticle of Canticles, one book; likewise, Wisdom, one book; Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), one book;
Likewise, the list of the Prophets: Isaiah, one book; Jeremias, one book; along with Cinoth, that is, his Lamentations; Ezechiel, one book; Daniel, one book; Osee, one book; Amos, one book; Micheas, one book; Joel, one book; Abdias, one book; Jonas, one book; Nahum, one book; Habacuc, one book; Sophonias, one book; Aggeus, one book; Zacharias, one book; Malachias, one book.
Likewise, the list of histories: Job, one book; Tobias, one book; Esdras, two books; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; of Maccabees, two books.
Likewise, the list of the Scriptures of the New and Eternal Testament, which the holy and Catholic Church receives: of the Gospels, one book according to Matthew, one book according to Mark, one book according to Luke, one book according to John. The Epistles of the Apostle Paul, fourteen in number: one to the Romans, one to the Corinthians [2 Corinthians is not mentioned], one to the Ephesians, two to the Thessalonians [First Epistle to the Thessalonians and Second Epistle to the Thessalonians], one to the Galatians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy [First Epistle to Timothy and Second Epistle to Timothy], one to Titus, one to Philemon, one to the Hebrews.
Likewise, one book of the Apocalypse of John. And the Acts of the Apostles, one book.
Likewise, the canonical Epistles, seven in number: of the Apostle Peter, two Epistles [First Epistle of Peter and Second Epistle of Peter]; of the Apostle James, one Epistle; of the Apostle John, one Epistle; of the other John, a Presbyter, two Epistles [Second Epistle of John and Third Epistle of John]; of the Apostle Jude the Zealot, one Epistle. Thus concludes the canon of the New Testament.
Likewise it is decreed: After the announcement of all of these prophetic and evangelic or as well as apostolic writings which we have listed above as Scriptures, on which, by the grace of God, the Catholic Church is founded, we have considered that it ought to be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other Churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven.(Mt 16:18-19)"]]]]]]
Some of the old testament books are named as something different than what you are use to such as our 1 and 2 Kings are 3 and 4 Kings in their list and their 1 and 2 kings are our 1 and 2 Samuel. If you notice there are 7 books in the old testament that aren’t in the protestant bible. Those books include: Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch.

[[[[The Council of Carthage 419 ad had those seven books also.
Canon 24.
That nothing be read in church besides the Canonical Scripture
Item, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture.
But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows:
• Genesis.
• Exodus.
• Leviticus.
• Numbers.
• Deuteronomy.
• Joshua the Son of Nun.
• The Judges.
• Ruth.
• The Kings, iv. books.
• The Chronicles, ij. books.
• Job.
• The Psalter.
• The Five books of Solomon.
• The Twelve Books of the Prophets.
• Isaiah.
• Jeremiah.
• Ezechiel.
• Daniel.
• Tobit.
• Judith.
• Esther.
• Ezra, ij. books.
• Macchabees, ij. books.
o The New Testament.
 The Gospels, iv. books.
 The Acts of the Apostles, j. book.
 The Epistles of Paul, xiv.
 The Epistles of Peter, the Apostle, ij.
 The Epistles of John the Apostle, iij.
 The Epistles of James the Apostle, j.
 The Epistle of Jude the Apostle, j.
 The Revelation of John, j. book.
Let this be sent to our brother and fellow bishop, Boniface, and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church. (Boniface was the pope at the time.)]]]]]

These seven books were in the Greek Septuagint which was the closest thing to an old testament bible for the Jews. It was translated around 250bc and was used by Jesus and the apostles. This is what St Cyril of Jerusalem says about the Septuagint written in 347ad.

St Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lecture 4 paragraph 34
"And when they had fulfilled the task in seventy-two days, he brought together all their translations, which they had made in different chambers without sending them one to another, and found that they agreed not only in the sense but even in words. For the process was no word-craft, nor contrivance of human devices: but the translation of the Divine Scriptures, spoken by the Holy Ghost, was of the Holy Ghost accomplished. "
One argument for these books not being included in the bible is that these books aren't in the Jewish canon. The Jews didn't have a fixed canon of scripture until around 100ad when some of the Rabis tried to reestablish the Sanhedrin and met in Jamnia. This gathering wasn’t a big council like the Church has. The Church gathers bishops from around the world to decide on important matters. The Sanhedrin was similar to our modern day Majesterium but the Sanhedrin’s authority passed away and was given to the Church by Jesus.So this decision by the Jews was made by those who rejected the gospel of Jesus.Another argument as to why these 7 books are not in the protestant bible is that the new testament writers don’t quote from them and that every old testament book is quoted from in the new testament. That is a desperate claim for sola scriptura that has no backing. For one there are many old testament books that are not quoted in the new testament like Joshua and Judges. New testament writers do in fact quote from some of these books. For example
Sirach 5:11-13 Be quick to hear, and be deliberate in answering. If you have understanding, answer your neighbor; but if not, put your hand on your mouth. Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man's tongue is his downfall
Jas 1:19 Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,
If this quoting in the new testament was the criteria for being inspired then the following examples would be inspired also. These non inspired writings were quoted from in the new testament.
The Life of Adam and Eve is quoted in 2 Corinthians 11:14
A line from the Book of Enoch is quoted in the Epistle of Jude (Jude 14–15) almost verbatim. The work is believed by most scholars[who?] to be pseudepigraphal, but the author of Jude cites them as if they are Enoch's own words. The book of Enoch is in the Ethiopian Bible. Other references to the Book of Enoch are 1 Peter 3:19-20, Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4.[23]
The Book of Jubilees is quoted in Romans 2:29, 9:24, 4:13
The first Epistle to Corinth referenced at 1 Corinthians 5:9
The Earlier Epistle to the Ephesians referenced at Ephesians 3:3-4
The Earlier Epistle of John referenced at 3John 1:9
Missing Epistle of Jude referenced in Jude 1:3
One thing that can prove scripture is indeed inspired by God is accurate fulfillment of prophecy. This is a minor criterion because Esther for example doesn’t have any prophecy or some books have prophecy yet to be fulfilled. So one could ask is there any prophecy in these 7 books in the catholic cannon of the old testament that are not in the protestant cannon. The answer is yes.

Wisdom 2:12-20 is a prophecy about Jesus.
Wisdom 2:12-20 12: "Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. 13: He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. 14: He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; 15: the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange. 16: We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father. 17: Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; 18: for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. 19: Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. 20: Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."

Verse by verse of Wisdom 2
12 - Matthew 23:23,27-28,John 7:19-20
13 - John 8:55, John 3:18, John 5:25
14 - Matthew 9:4, Luke 6:7-11
15 - Matthew 15:1-6, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 5:21-26
16 - Lk 11:39-41, Luke 10:22
17-20 - Matthew 27:41-43

So there is with out a doubt this prophecy is about Jesus. These seven books excluded from the protestant cannon were once in the protestant bible. In the first edition of the King James version these books were included. The first time these books were excluded from a bible was in 1880s when the English Revised Version came out. So these books were considered inspired before the time of Christ and in all of Christian history but all of the sudden these books are considered by protestants to no longer be inspired 150 years ago. Now that doesn’t make sense to me.
The very first complete bible in Christian history was the Latin Vulgate. At the Council of Rome in 382 ad Pope Damasus I asked Jerome to translate the Hebrew, Greek, and to revise previous Latin translations into one Latin translation. Jerome was the best scholar at the time. Jerome completed this task in the year 405 ad. This first complete bible had those books.

So in conclusion it was the Catholic Church that wrote the New Testament, passed the faith on orally and in written form, with the authority of Jesus it declared what books would be in the bible, and kept the faith constant and unchanging for 2000 years.


Anonymous said...

i dont see the point

Brian said...

If you tell me your religious background (if any)and a little more information, maybe I can help you see the point.