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How Did We Get

Our Bible?

Your City or Church Name


2007
The New Testament
What actually happened in the
formation of the New Testament?
How did the NT become part of the
BIBLE?
• The facts we look at will
strengthen our faith in seeing the
leading of God in the writing of
His Word, in its transmission and
preservation. Clearly, God does
not desert us.
• Bottom Line: Our Bible IS A
MIRACLE
• True for ALL Bibles--in ALL
languages and ALL versions within
a language!
The First Christian
Century
Christians’ Bible is the Old

30 - 100 AD: Oral Tradition
Testament

51 AD : First NT book written -
1 Thessalonians


61 AD: First Gospel written -
Mark


51 - 95 AD: Period covering the
writing of all 27 NT
books
Oral Tradition
• In the days of Jesus, as well as
before and after, in Judaism, the
most important information was
committed to memory

• Therefore, all the teachings of


Jesus and all of his actions were
memorized

• Memory techniques were used that


show up in the written records.
From Oral Tradition to
Written Records
The Gentile mission called for
written documents because of the
rapid expansion of Christianity
• At least one gospel, Matthew, was
first written in Aramaic (Hebrew
dialect)
• All of the NT was written in Greek,
the language of the Greco-Roman world
• From Greek: Latin, Coptic, Syriac,
Armenian, etc.--the languages used in
various locations where Christianity
spread.
The Bible for the First
Christians

Some Hebrew Manuscripts of the


OT

Many Greek Manuscripts of the


OT

A few copies of the Apocrypha


Second Century - 1
New Testament books carry great
authority, but are not considered
“Bible”
• From a practical perspective,
Jesus’ teachings carried as much or
more authority as did their Bible
(the OT).
• They just did not consider it to be
BIBLE / Canon.
• Old Testament is still the
Christian’s Bible
Second Century - 2
Early in this century the
Gospels begin to be quoted in
the same way as the OT

By the later quarter of this


century (around 180 AD),
Paul’s letters begin to carry
the same authority as the OT

Oldest copy of the NT in


existence was written --
sometime between 175 - 210.
The Bodmer Papyrus
Third Century
More and more versions are
produced, translated from
the Greek.

Church faces severe


persecution but continues to
grow quickly.

Church deals with many


heretical movements.
Fourth Century
Edict of Milan - 313 AD
Christianity becomes the State
religion by Constantine’s
decree in 313

Consequences were immense


regarding the New Testament
manuscripts
Results of Edict -
1
Christianity is no longer
illegal

Christians no longer have to


copy their Scriptures in
secret

Free from persecution, more


money available for copying
the Bible
Two Famous Uncial
Manuscripts
Codex Sinaiticus – ca. 350 AD

Codex Vaticanus – ca. 350 AD

These manuscripts were unknown


at the time the KJV was
translated

[Received their names from


where they were discovered]
Codex Sinaiticus
Results of Edict - 2
(continued)

Increased missionary activity


calls for more copies of the Bible

• Scriptoriums sprang up

• What was a Scriptorium? It was


their ancient duplicating system

• How did it work?


Scriptoriums
• A Scriptorium was the method used to
produce many copies of the Bible as
quickly as possible.

• One scribe would read aloud from a


manuscript in front of him to many
scribes. The scribes would write what
the reader said.

• Some scribes knew Greek characters but


not the Greek language.
New Testament
Formation

In 367 AD, for the first time, a list


of NT books was written, which list
contains the 27 books now in our NT.
From
Greek400 to 1400 AD
manuscripts
continued to be written in
uncial script (all
capitals and no spaces
until 835 AD)

From 9th century, most


manuscripts were written
in cursive (our longhand
versus printing) -- this
was much faster

First complete English


Bible in 1382
Uncial Script
Cursive
Text
Wycliff’s Bible
This Bible, written in the
language of the people,
brought a great reformation to
England

This English Bible was based


on the Latin Vulgate (no Greek
Bible at the time)
Fifteenth Century

Printing Invented
Gutenberg Press, 1456

Revolutionized production of
Bibles

First published work was the


Bible
First Bible Printed
-1456
The Gutenburg Bible
Sixteenth Century
Erasmus publishes the first
Greek New Testament in 1516

This Greek Bible was based


on six manuscripts Erasmus
was able to locate

The oldest one dated from


the 10th century
Erasmus
(1466?--1536)
Dutch, Roman Catholic, intellectual.

Gave us the first printed Greek New Testament,


1516.

The Erasmus Greek Text (KJV basis)

No manuscript available that was complete.

Used, therefore, several 12th century


(“Byzantine”) manuscripts.

No complete copy of Revelation in Greek so he


used Latin Vulgate for the last six verses,
translating from Latin to Greek—and these verses
still remain the Greek text of the “Received
Text” (TR) and the basis for the KJV
Erasmus
(1466?--1536)
He added some passages from the Vulgate
not found in Greek manuscripts.

Reaction to his text was so negative


that universities in England, including
Cambridge and Oxford, prohibited the
reading of anything he wrote.

One severe criticism was that he had


left out 1 John 5:7-8 [“the Father, the
Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three
are one.”]

Erasmus said he had done so because it


was not in any Greek manuscript (it was
only in the Latin Vulgate).
Erasmus
(1466?--1536)

He said he would put the verses in if someone


could produce a Greek manuscript which
contained them.

Not too long afterwards, one was “made to


order!” (Ink was still wet.)
Erasmus’ Greek NT
The Textus
Receptus
Called the “Received Text”

• This Greek text was put together


from six late Greek manuscripts
(12th to 15th centuries), edited
by a Roman Catholic

• The foundation for all of the


English versions, including the
KJV, until 1881 when the English
Revised Version was published
Textus Receptus -
2The Greek text put together by
Erasmus in 1516 was used by
Stephanus who gave us our
verse divisions in 1551
The designation “Received
Text” did not appear until
1633
By the time the KJV was
translated, there were around
25 Greek manuscripts known
Textus Receptus -
3•printers
In 1624, the Dutch brothers and
(Elzevir) used the
Erasmus Greek text.

• They mentioned in the preface of


the 1633 edition that the reader
has “the text which is now
received by all, in which we give
nothing changed or corrupted.”

• Hence the “Received Text”—TR.


Later to be “authorized” by the
king.
William Tyndale
We owe more to this
man than any other
for the enduring
beauty of the
English translation
of the Bible

He used the Greek NT


text of Erasmus,
third edition from
1522
Tyndale’s Bible
- Romans -
Tyndale’s Letter - 1535
English Bibles
(all based on Erasmus’ Greek NT and Tyndale’s
English translation)
1535 -- Coverdale’s Bible -
(Tyndale)
1537 -- Matthew’s Bible -
(Tyndale)
1539 -- The Great Bible
1560 -- The Geneva Bible
1568 -- The Bishops’ Bible
1582 -- The Rheims Bible
The Great Bible -
1539
It came out three years
following Tyndale’s martyrdom--
It was essentially Tyndale’s
translation.
It was “authorized” by King
Henry
It was commended by the clergy,
including Bishop Tunstal--who
worked so hard to destroy
Tyndale’s work
The very copy of the Bible
Tunstal had tossed into the
bond fires, he was now
endorising--not knowing he was,
of course
The Geneva Bible -
1560 “Geneva” because it was
Called
produced in Geneva where
reformers fled under the five-
year reign of Queen Mary, a
Catholic.

Its anti-Catholic notes


prevented universal acceptance

It was the pilgrims’ Bible and


remained the most popular Bible
for nearly a 100 years after the
KJV was published
The Geneva Bible -
1560
The Bishop’s Bible -
1568

Supported by the clergy


Second bible to be
“authorized”
The King James
Version
1611 - The King James Version

Based on the Erasmus Greek NT


- a few years later to be
known as the Textus Receptus

Did not replace the Geneva


Bible in the church for 100
years
KJV Title Page
- 1611 -
King
James I
First Bible Printed in
America
Nineteenth Century
Discovery of Codex Sinaiticus
in 1844

Publication of the English


Revised Version in 1881

(This version was used


immediately and repeatedly
by Ellen White)
Modern Speech
Versions
In 1897, the Oxyrhnchus
papyrii were discovered

These papyrii showed that the


Greek of the NT was the
language of the man on the
street

Result: translations came out


that reflected this
characteristic
Modern Speech
Translations
Weymouth - 1903 (+ 4
revisions)
Moffatt - 1913
Goodspeed - 1923
Philips - 1958
This Afternoon
• The nature of scribal mistakes
and why they do not affect the
infallibility of God’s Word -
the inspiration question
• How do we choose between
variations in the manuscripts
• The King James Debate
• Which version should one use?
he Inspiration of the
From Selected Messages
Bible

• The writers of the Bible


had to express their ideas
in human language. It was
written by human men.” - 19

• “The Bible was given for


practical purposes.” - 20
he Inspiration of the
From Selected Messages
Bible
• The Bible is written by
inspired men, but it is not
God’s mode of thought and
expression. It is that of
humanity. God, as a writer, is
not represented. Men will often
say such an expression is not
like God. But God has not put
Himself in words, in logic, in
rhetoric, on trial in the Bible.
The writers of the Bible were
God’s penmen, not His pen. Look
at the different writers. – 21
he Inspiration
The Bible is not of
given tothe
us in
From Selected Messages
Bible
grand superhuman language. - 20

“Some look to us gravely and say,


‘Don’t you think there might have
been some mistake in the copyist or
in the translators?’ … All the
mistakes will not cause trouble to
one soul, or cause any feet to
stumble, that would not manufacture
difficulties from the plainest
he Inspiration of the
From Selected Messages
Bible
It is not the words of the Bible
that are inspired, but the men that
were inspired. Inspiration acts not
on the man’s words or his
expressions but on the man himself,
who under the influence of the Holy
Ghost is imbued with thoughts. But
the words receive the impress of the
individual mind. The divine mind is
diffused. The divine mind and will
is combined with the human mind and
will: thus the utterances of the
man are the word of God. - 21
Differences in the Temptation
Records
Temptation
#1
Matthew 4:3: “And the tempter came and
said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God,
command that these stones become
bread.’"

• Luke 4:3: “And the devil said to Him,


‘If You are the Son of God, tell this
stone to become bread.’"
Differences in the Temptation
Records
Temptation
• Matthew 4:6: “...and said to Him, ‘If
#2
You are the Son of God throw Yourself
down; for it is written, 'He will give
His angels charge concerning You'; and
'On their hands they will bear You up,
Lest You strike Your foot against a
stone.’”


Luke 4:6: “And he led Him up and showed
Him all the kingdoms of the world in a
moment of time. And the devil said to
Him, ‘I will give You all this domain
and its glory; for it has been handed
over to me, and I give it to whomever I
wish. Therefore if You worship before
me, it shall all be Yours.’"
Differences in the Temptation
Records
Temptation
• Matthew 4:8-9: “Again, the devil took
#3
Him to a very high mountain, and
showed Him all the kingdoms of the
world, and their glory; and he said
to Him, ‘All these things will I give
You, if You fall down and worship
me.’”

• Luke 4:9: “And he led Him to


Jerusalem and had Him stand on the
pinnacle of the temple, and said to
Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw
Yourself down from here.’”
Limited

Understanding
Phil. 2:8-11: “And being found
in fashion as a man, he humbled
himself, and became obedient unto
death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted
him, and given him a name which is
above every name: That at the name
of Jesus every knee should bow, of
things in heaven, and things on earth,
and things under the earth; And that
every tongue should confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
the Father.
Different Methods
Matt. 2:15: “And was there until the
death of Herod: that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord
by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt
have I called my son.

Hosea 11:1-2: “When Israel was a


child I loved him, out of Egypt I
called my son. The more I called
them, the farther they went from me,
Sacrificing to the Baals and burning
incense to idols.”
Baby Boys Killed
“Then Herod, when he saw that he
Matt. 2:16-18:
was mocked of the wise men,...and slew all the
children...from two years old and under,…Then was
fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the
prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard,
lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be
comforted, because they are not.”

Jer. 31:15-16: “Thus says the LORD: In Ramah is


heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping!
Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be
consoled because her children are no more. Thus
says the LORD: Cease your cries of mourning, wipe
the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown
shall have its reward, says the LORD, they shall
The Original
Manuscript
Today, there are over 5,700
copies of handwritten
manuscripts containing all or
parts of the New Testament.

None is the original (the one


actually written by Matthew,
Paul, James, etc.).

No two of these manuscripts


agree 100 percent.
HOLD ON: How Can This Be?

This being the case, how do we


know if we have the reading of
the original?

How do we choose which reading


within a manuscript is either
the original or closest to it?
This Afternoon...
How is the decision made for
selecting the best reading
when the manuscripts differ?
• We will also look at the
strengths and weaknesses of
various versions
(acknowledging that even the
poorest translation is still
God’s Word)
The Nature Of Variants In The Text
I. UNINTENTIONAL VARIANTS

Areas covered are the very human aspects of:

• Errors Due to Hearing

• Errors Due to Eyesight

• Errors Due to the Mind

Clearly, such recognized textual variations


in the Greek manuscripts have no impact on
the meaning of the biblical text, as
evidenced in the following examples.
Insignificant
Manuscript 22: Please pass me their copy
Readings
of the book.
Manuscript 32: Please pass me there copy
of the book.
Manuscript 42: Please pass me thier copy
of the book.
Manuscript 52: Please pass me their xyca
of the book.

Manuscript 32: The work is done in the


laboratory in the center of
town.
Manuscript 22: The work is done in the
labouratory in the centre of
town.

Manuscript 22: He turned on the light.


Manuscript 62: He turned on the lite.
A. Errors Due to Hearing:
(When scribe wrote from dictation)
1. Vowel Sounds [See English examples
on the words “there” and “their;”
“to,” “too,” and “two”]

2. Typos. Thousands of the so-called


“errors” in the NT manuscripts are
from this category—and have no
significance whatsoever]

Example: thier for their


B. Errors due to
Eyesight:
1. Confusion of Letters

D/ L
LL / M

O / Q

S / E ( X)

2. Confusion of Words

effect / affect
C. Errors Due to the Mind

1. Substitution:

• concerning / on behalf of
• out / from

2. Synonyms:

• working / laboring
• immediately / quickly
II. INTENTIONAL CHANGES

[When a thinking scribe could be dangerous—


alterations made in good faith, noble motivation]

Areas covered:

Marginal Notations
Explanatory Additions
Elimination of Obscurities
Doctrinal
Conflations/Harmonizations
I. Clearing up Historical Difficulties

Matt. 27:9:
“Then was fulfilled what was
written in Jeremiah the
prophet…”

OTHER MSS have Matthew saying:


“Then was fulfilled what was
written in Zachariah the
prophet…”

[or they omit Jeremiah]


Criteria For Selection Of A Reading

A. The date of the manuscript - the oldest is


preferred.

B. The geographical distribution of the witnesses


that agree in supporting a variant.

C. The genealogical relationship of texts and


families of witnesses. The number of
manuscripts is not a factor.
D. Usually, the more difficult reading
is to be preferred (more difficult
from the point of view of the scribe).

E. Usually, the shorter reading is to


be preferred (except for obvious
reasons such as losing ones place).
Unintentional
Some Manuscripts Read: Other Manuscripts Read:

Mt. 5:44. But I say Mt. 5:44. But I say


to you, Love your to you, Love your
enemies and pray for enemies, bless them
those who persecute that curse you, do
you. good to them that hate
you, and pray for them
who despitefully use
you.
[Lk. 6:27-28. But
I say to you that
[The words in
hear, Love your Luke are
enemies, do good
to those who hate carried over
you, bless those to Matthew]
who curse you,
pray for those who
abuse you.]
Unintentional 2-3
Other Manuscripts
Some Manuscripts Read:
Read:

Mt. 9:13. For I Mt. 9:13. For I came


came not to call not to call the
the righteous, but righteous, but
sinners unto sinners.
repentance

Gal. 6:17. I bear Gal. 6:17. I bear


on my body the on my body the marks
marks of Jesus. of the:
…Lord Jesus.
…Lord Jesus Christ.
…Our Lord Jesus
CHRIST
Intentional 1
Some Manuscripts Read: Other Manuscripts Read:
Mk. 1:2. As it is Mk 1:2. As it is
written in the written in Isaiah
prophets. the prophet...
[followed by
quotations from
Mal. 3:1 and Isa.
Acts. Disciples were
40:3].
in the temple praising Acts. Disciples
God. were in the temple
praising and
Acts Disciples were in blessing God.
the temple blessing
Lk.
God. 1:3. It seemed Lk. 1:3. It seemed
good to me and the good to me to write
Holy Spirit to write an orderly account.
and orderly account.
Unintentional 4-5
Some Manuscripts
Other Manuscripts Read:
Read:

John 7:8. Jesus John 7:8. Jesus tells


tells his disciples: his disciples: I am not
I am not going up to yet going up to the
the feast. feast.

[Two verses later,


Jesus goes to the
feast.]
Mt. 24:36. No one Mt. 24:36. No one
knows the hour, knows the hour, not
not even the even the angels in
angels in heaven, heaven, nor the Son,
but the Father but the Father only.
only.
Next: Versions
Examples of poor
Translations
• RSV 1 Corinthians 5:1: “It is actually reported
that there is immorality among you, and of a kind
that is not found even among pagans; for a man is
living with his father's wife.”

• KJV is better with “fornication” (a word that


covers all sexual immorality).

• NRSV made it correct: sexual immorality


Ephesians 2:14
•RSV Ephesians 2:14-16: “For he is our peace,
who has made us both one, and has broken down
the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing
in his flesh the law of commandments and
ordinances, that he might create in himself one
new man in place of the two, so making peace,
and might reconcile us both to God in one body
through the cross, thereby bringing the
hostility to an end.”

•NRSV still has it wrong and so does NIV

•KJV is correct by “commandments contained in


ordinances (also the reading of the NAS)
NIV Mistranslation


NIV 1 Corinthians 7:1: “Now for the
matters you wrote about: It is good
for a man not to marry.”
Conclusion
• Regardless of the differences
we find:
• In the original Greek
manuscripts or
• In the various English
translations
• ALL contain the Word of God,
and
• ALL are infallible in matters
of faith and doctrine
Summary Statement
Regarding the Value of God’s
Word
(from Preface to the RSV)
•The Bible is more than a historical
document to be preserved.

•And it is more than a classic of English


literature to be cherished and admired.

•It is a record of God’s dealing with men,


of God’s revelation of Himself and His will.
It records the life and work of Him in
whom the Word of God became flesh and dwelt
among men.

The Bible carries its full message, not to


those who regard it simply as a heritage of
the past or praise its literary style, but to
those who read it that they may discern and
understand God’s Word to men.

That Word must not be disguised in phrases


that are no longer clear, or hidden under
words that have changed or lost their
meaning.

It must stand forth in language that is


direct and plain and meaningful to people
“It is our hope and our earnest prayer

that this Revised Standard Version of the

Bible may be used by God to speak to men in

these momentous times, and to help them to

understand and believe and obey His Word.”

Our prayers are for the same response to

any Bible, in any language of any age!