The Bible is the sacred book of Christianity, a collection of ancient writings inspired by God which comprise the sixty-six books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Christians often refer to the Bible as "Scripture", "the Scriptures" or "Holy Scripture" indicating its authority.

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Revelation of God

"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" (Heb. 1:1-2a, ESV). While God revealed himself through prophets, apostles, and most fully in his Son, he has identified his Word with the words of Scripture. In them, God reveals himself. 

See main page: Revelation of God

Development of the canon

The development of the canon deals with how the Bible came to be. "God determined the canon of Scripture by co-authoring it. Man recognized what God had revealed and accepted the canon of Scripture for what it was, the very Word of God. A book is not the Word of God because it was accepted by the people, it was accepted by the people because it was the Word of God. This is an important distinction. The canon was not formed by a council of men. It did not evolve over the years. God led men to discover what He had authored." [1]

See main page: Development of the canon

Transmission

"After the original biblical text was penned by the authors (or by the secretary of the author, cf. Romans 16:22), it was copied for the purpose of circulating the writing to God's people. This process of copying is known as transmission." [2]

See main page: Transmission of the Bible

Historicity

The historicity of the Old Testament seeks to establish the historical trustworthiness of the Old Testament. This is based on two factors: the reliability of the Old Testament manuscripts, and the reliability of those who were involved with writing and putting the OT together.

See main page: Historicity of the Old Testament and Historicity of the New Testament

Biblical archaeology

See main page: Biblical archaeology

Authority

Throughout history, a major contention has been the authority of Scripture. In medieval times, the Roman Catholic Church made church tradition as authoritative as the Bible and greatly restricted access to the Bible. The Reformation brought a renewed emphasis on the fact that Scripture is the "only rule of faith and practice."

See main page: Authority of the Bible

Inspiration

Inspiration establishes that the Bible is not only a human but also a divine product. In other words, Scripture is divinely inspired in that God actively worked through the process and had his hand in the outcome of what Scripture would say. Inspired Scripture is simply written revelation. "Scripture is not only man's word, but also, and equally God's word, spoken through man's lips or written with man's pen" (J.I. Packer, The Origin of the Bible, p. 31).

See main page: Inspiration of the Bible

Inerrancy

"Inerrancy is the view that when all the facts become known, they will demonstrate that the Bible in its original autographs and correctly interpreted is entirely true and never false in all it affirms, whether that relates to doctrines or ethics or to the social, physical, or life sciences" (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 156). The conservative evangelical stance on inerrancy was most recently and thoroughly articulated in 1978 in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

See main page: Inerrancy of the Bible

Translation

See main page: Translation of the Bible

Interpretation

The interpretation of the bible, also called "hermeneutics", involves establishing the principles for our interpretation and understanding of any part of the Bible, and then interpreting it so its message is made clear to the reader or listener. It inevitably involves exegesis, which is the process of examining the actual biblical text as it came from each writer and to discover how they communicated God's truth.

See main page: Interpretation of the Bible

Clarity

The "meanings of the text can be clear to the ordinary reader, [and] God uses the text of the Bible to communicate His person and will." [3] Upon this foundation, Christians encourage the personal reading of the Bible, and extend a great deal of effort to make it available to those who do not yet have it in their possession.

See main page: Clarity of Scripture

Sufficiency

Sola Scriptura is the teaching that Scripture is the Church's only infallible and sufficient rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrines. While the Bible does not contain all knowledge, it does contain that which is necessary for salvation. Indeed, if something is not found in Scripture, it is not binding upon the believer. This is not to say, however, that there is a chapter and verse directly prohibiting every error in doctrine or conduct, since many applications to doctrine and conduct are applications of scriptural principles. For example, the New Testament gives little direct information about church government.

See main page: Scripture alone

Apocrypha

Some Protestant Bibles, e.g. some editions of the King James version, have a section between the Old and New Testaments labelled Apocrypha containing Jewish inter-testamental writings. In general, these books are not considered to be canonical by Protestant denominations, but are presented here for reference.

  • 1 Esdras
  • 2 Esdras
  • Tobit - Judith
  • Rest of Esther
  • Wisdom
  • Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach)
  • Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy
  • Song of the Three Children
  • Story of Susanna
  • The Idol Bel and the Dragon
  • Prayer of Manasses
  • 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees
  • 3 Maccabees
  • 4 Maccabees
  • Psalm 151

Resources

  • Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible Book by Book. Zondervan, 2002. ISBN 0310211182
  • Donald Bloesch, Holy Scripture: Revelation, Inspiration, and Interpretation. InterVarsity Press, 1994. ISBN 0830827528
  • Paul Helm and Carl Trueman, eds. The Trustworthiness of God: Perspectives on the Nature of Scripture. Eerdmans, 2002. ISBN 0802849512
  • Vincent Bacote, Laura C. Miguelez, and Dennis L. Okholm, eds., Evangelicals & Scripture: Tradition, Authority and Hermeneutics. InterVarsity Press, 2004. ISBN 0830827757
  • Justin S. Holcomb, ed., Christian Theologies of Scripture: A Comparative Approach. NYU Press, 2006. ISBN 0814736661
  • R. S. Sugirtharajah, The Bible and the Third World: Precolonial, Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters. Cambridge, 2001. ISBN 0521005248

See also

External links