Bible is the foundation for our faith. As Christians, we
believe it is the inspired and infallible Word of God. Necessarily,
many other arguments for our faith come from and/or refer
necessitates a thorough knowledge of Scripture for any serious
student. It is assumed that students in this class have a working
knowledge of the Bible, including the history it contains and
its moral and ethical teachings. It is like any other literary
debate-it's hard to discuss the topic if you haven't read the
book. In many cases, those arguing against the authority of
Scripture know the subject well, thus a thorough knowledge
is imperative in order for the defense of Scripture to even
be accepted into the arena for debate.
Scripture is introduced in defense of any idea or ethic, the
question inevitably arises: "Why should the word of the
Bible be accepted as authoritative?"
answer this question effectively, we must not only know what
the Bible contains, but who wrote it, and where, and when,
and why. Was it accurate when it was written? Who translated
it? Are the translations accurate? Is it, as it claims, inspired?
What proof do we have?
articles in the site investigate
the origins of Scripture and provide a ready defense for the
as the accurate, inspired Word of God.
Bible is not such a book a man would write if he could, or
could write if he would."
S. Chafer, founder and former president of
soon realized that a student of English literature who does
not know the Bible does not understand a good deal of what
is going on in what he reads: The most conscientious student
will be continually misconstruing the implications, even the
Frye, literary critic
thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college
for no other reason, any intelligent person would surely read
the one book that has drawn more attention than any other in
the world. It has been banned time and again throughout history,
and is still banned in many places today. Always, there have
been those willing to give their lives to put the Bible in
the hands of people who have no access to God's word. Martyrs
have been burned at the stake, thrown to wild beasts, and suffered
many other gruesome deaths simply for possessing, reading,
or translating the Scriptures. What makes this book so special?
otherwise noted, all Biblical quotations in this website are taken from the New International Version.)
in the Bible?
Bible consists of 66 books written over a period of about 1,500
years. It includes true stories, parables, songs, poetry, laws,
rules, sermons, letters, history, and predictions about the
future. The Bible is unique among books both ancient and modern
in its continuity, circulation, translation, survival, teachings,
influence on literature, and influence on civilization.
Pentateuch, or what the Jews call the Torah (book of the Law),
consists of the first five books of the Bible, written almost
entirely by Moses. They contain the history of the Jewish people
from creation to Abraham and through the death of Moses. They
include all the laws God's people are to observe.
· 1, 2 Samuel
· 1, 2 Kings
· 1, 2 Chronicles
books contain the history of the Jewish people from Joshua
through the period of the judges and into the reign of kings, then follow
the Jews into exile under the Babylonian Empire.
· Song of Solomon
books contain wisdom literature and poetry. Much of the text
is credited to King David and his son, King Solomon. It includes
poetry, songs, and wise sayings.
books contain the messages presented by God's prophets. They
include warnings, encouragement, and predictions. Though they
appear at the end of the Old Testament, chronologically, the
prophets overlap the period covered by the histories.
five books are the histories of the New Testament. The four
gospels record eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life, death, and
resurrection. Acts tells the story of how the church grew after
· 1, 2 Corinthians
· 1, 2 Thessalonians
· 1, 2 Timothy
· 1, 2 Peter
· 1, 2, 3 John
books are all letters of Christian leaders (thirteen are by
Paul) containing teaching, encouragement, and criticism for
early Christians and the early church.
contains prophesy and visions of the future.
of the Bible
Hebrew - Most of Old Testament was originally written
in Hebrew, which was the language of Abraham and the Israelites.
Aramaic - Parts of Daniel and Ezra, as well as some
lines from New Testament, were written in Aramaic, which is
closely related to Hebrew. Aramaic was the common language
of Near East before Greek influence and the official language
of Persian Empire. By New Testament times, it was the ordinary
language of Palestine. Jesus would have spoken primarily Aramaic.
Greek - Most of the New Testament was written in
common Greek, which was widely used in the Eastern part of
the Roman empire. It was the international
language spoken at the time of Christ, much as English has
become the international language of modern times.
many cases, authorship of particular books is unknown or questionable,
especially in the case of Old Testament books. However, a list
of known and traditional authors appears below. In cases where
authorship is questioned, that fact is noted. Authors whose
authorship is purely speculative are not included in this list.
Moses - Moses is credited with authorship of the
first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The end of Deuteronomy, which records
Moses death, would have been added by a later editor (some
traditions say by Moses' successor, Joshua). The books were
most likely completed during the Israelites' wonderings in
the desert, around 1446-1406 BC.
Joshua - Many traditions say that Joshua wrote his
own book. Others say that Samuel wrote it. in the
early period of the kings. Joshua succeeded Moses as leader
of the Israelites, taking command as they entered and conquered
the promised land around 1400 BC.
Samuel - Samuel's authorship of Judges is not certain,
but it is probable that he helped gather information both on
the period of the judges and of Israel's early kings. Samuel was born at the end
of Israel's rule under the judges (circa 1050 BC) and anointed
Israel's first king (Saul), as well as the second (David).
Ezra - According to Jewish tradition, Ezra wrote
Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Ezra was a Jewish priest and
teacher of the Law who led a return of exiles to Israel to reestablish the temple and worship sometime
around 450 BC.
David - David, King of Judah and Israel, authored many of the Psalms.
Solomon - Solomon, a son of David, appointed king
of Judah by his father, is the traditional author
of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, as well as the Song of Songs,
or Song of Solomon.
Isaiah - Isaiah began his ministry in 740 BC. He
was a writer and prophet and was most influential under King
Hezekiah. He wrote the book that bears his name.
Jeremiah - Jeremiah, with the assistance of his secretary
Baruch, recorded the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a priest
and prophet in Judah during the reign of Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah (640-586 BC). Jewish and Christian tradition
also ascribe the book of Lamentations to Jeremiah.
Ezekiel - Author of the book that bears his name,
Ezekiel was among the Jews exiled to Babylon in 597 BC. He
was a priest and prophet during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel - Daniel was a prophet during the Babylonian
exile and wrote his book around 530 BC.
Hosea - Hosea was a prophet to Israel during the mid-eighth century BC. It is not
known for certain whether or not he wrote the book that bears
Joel - Joel was a prophet who called on Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem to repent or face punishment
from the Lord.
Amos - Amos, though from Judah, was sent to the northern kingdom of Israel to announce God's judgment. His prophesies
are recorded in the book bearing his name.
Obadiah - Obadiah prophesied that Edom would be destroyed and Israel would be delivered through the Lord's hand.
Jonah - Tradition ascribes authorship of the book
of Jonah to Jonah himself. Jonah was God's prophet sent to
preach repentance to the city of Nineveh.
Micah - Micah prophesied between 750 and 686 BC
during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz,
and Hezekiah in Judah.
Nahum - Nahum prophesied the fall of Nineveh, which
was fulfilled in 612 BC.
Habakkuk - Habakkuk lived in Judah circa 640-600 BC and prophesied the attack
of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The attack occurred in 597
Zephaniah - Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of
Josiah (640-609 BC). He announced to Judah God's approaching
Haggai - Haggai was a prophet who encouraged the
returned exiles to rebuild the temple. Cyrus of Persia had
let the Jews return to Jerusalem in 538 BC and they began the
temple, but were forced to stop building until Darius became
king in 522. Haggai encouraged the Jews to rebuild, and the
temple was completed in 516.
Zechariah - Like Haggai, Zechariah encouraged rebuilding
of the temple. A prophet and a priest, he continued his ministry
long after Haggai.
Malachi - Most likely a contemporary of Nehemiah
(mid 400s BC), Malachi warns his people to observe the laws
of Moses and return to the Godly ways of their forefathers.
Matthew - Formerly a tax collector, Matthew was one
of the twelve apostles. He wrote his gospel around the middle
of the first century.
Mark - John Mark, a close associate of the apostle
Peter, recorded Peter's account of the gospel.
Luke - Luke, a physician by profession and a frequent
companion of Paul, wrote both Luke and Acts (originally as
John - The apostle John outlived all the other apostles, and his gospel is said to have been penned the latest,
sometime between AD 70 and 100. He also wrote the letters of
John (1, 2, and 3) and Revelation. He was a first cousin of
Jesus, a fisherman, and "the disciple whom Jesus loved."
Paul - Paul, a Jew who persecuted Christians until
he encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, wrote
letters to the developing churches. The books he authored are
those letters, and are named for the church to which they were
sent: Romans, Corinthians (1 and 2), Galatians, Ephesians,
Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians (1
and 2). Also included are letters to individuals - Timothy
(1 and 2), Titus, and Philemon. Many scholars and traditions
also hold that Paul authored the letter to the Hebrews.
James - The brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem
council, James did not believe in Jesus at first, but later
became very prominent in the church. He is credited with the
book of James. He was martyred in AD 62.
Peter - The apostle Peter wrote both 1 and 2 Peter.
Peter was martyred during Emperor Nero's reign, circa AD 68.
Jude - Jude, an abbreviated form of Judas, could
either be Judas the apostle (not Judas Iscariot) or Judas the
brother of Jesus. He describes himself as the "brother
of James," so the latter may be more likely.
Jewish and Christian Canon
Bible is more than a single book. It is a library, a collection
of literature written by different authors in different contexts
over a span of centuries. Some books originated orally and
were later written down; others, such as the letters of Paul,
were written first.
the time of Jesus, many scrolls of ancient writings were circulating.
Some of these were accepted as Scripture. Most important was
the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
most authoritative writings became part of the Jewish canon.
A canon is a list of books considered authoritative as Scripture
by a particular religious community. The word "canon" comes
from the Greek word kanon (a rod used to measure). A biblical canon is a list
of books considered authoritative as Scripture by a particular
religious community. It is the standard against which all else
Jewish canon is called the TaNaKh,
an acronym for the three parts of the their Bible:
(tor-AH) - The Law, also called the
Pentateuch (Greek for "five books")
· Nebiim ( neh-veh-EEM)
- The Prophets
· Ketubim (keh-tu-VEEM) - The Writings
official canonization of of the Jewish
Bible (Christian Old Testament) happened after the crucifixion
of Jesus and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by
Rome in AD 70. Before AD 70, Judaism was centered on the temple
and its rituals; after the temple was gone, a new central focus
had to be found - the TaNaKh. The
Jewish Council of Jamnia in AD 90
confirmed what most Jews already recognized as Scripture -
the books Christians call the Old Testament.
Jewish Bible and the Protestant Old Testament contain the same
books but they are arranged in a different order. Additionally,
books that Protestant Christians divide into two parts (Kings,
Chronicles, Samuel, and Ezra-Nehemiah) are only one book in
the Hebrew Bible.
not in the Bible
canons are smaller than the Protestant Bible; others are larger.
The smallest Bible is claimed by the Samaritans, who recognize
only the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch). The
largest Bible is that of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, which
has 81 books.
Roman Catholics, and Greek Orthodox Christians agree on the
same 27 books for the New Testament; however some smaller groups
of Christians do not. The Nestorian, or Syrian church, recognizes
only 22 books, excluding 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude and Revelation.
the other hand, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church includes the
same 27 books in its "narrower" canon but adds eight
books to its "broader" canon: four sections of church
order from a compilation called Sinodos, two sections from the Ethiopic Books of Covenant,
Ethiopic Clement, and Ethiopic Didascalia.
terms of the Old Testament, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox,
Ethiopian Orthodox, and other Eastern Christians claim more "inside
books of the "second canon" are considered "inside" by
Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Ethiopic Christians; the
latter group adds even more books beyond the deuterocanonicals (deutero = second).
consider the same books "outside" however they give
the Apocrypha high status, considering them valuable for instruction.
books" are typically sacred writings that are non considered
part of the canon, or official Bible. "Inside books" are
part of the canon. Please note: Roman Catholics use the term "Apocrypha" differently
Catholics consider all of the ancient Jewish and Christian "outside books" the
Apocrypha. Outside books are typically non-canonical sacred
writings. The Protestant Apocrypha is referred to by Catholics
as the "second canon," or "deuterocanonical books."
Protestants call the Jewish "outside books," except
the Old Testament Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha (or "false writings"); they call
the Christian "outside books" the New Testament Apocrypha.
In the Latin Vulgate, Ezra-Nehemiah are called 1 and 2 Esdras;
thus books known as 1 and 2 Esdras in
other writings become 3 and 4 Esdras in
the Vulgate. Some books were combined in other canons, making
the number of canonical books vary slightly. For example, I
and 2 Kings and I and 2 Chronicles are combined in some manuscripts,
including the Hebrew Bible.
word "Apocrypha" means "hidden" and is
generally used by Protestants to describe the fourteen to fifteen
books of doubtful authenticity and authority not found in Hebrew
Bible, but which were included with other Old Testament books
in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint
and completed around 250 BC. The Roman Catholic Church did
not officially declare these books Holy Scripture until 1545-1563
at the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation.
to Merrill Unger (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary), the books
of the Apocrypha were ruled out of the canon because:
1) They abound in historical and geographical
inaccuracies and anachronisms
2) They teach doctrines that are false and foster
practices that are at variance with inspired Scripture.
3) They resort to literary types and display
an artificiality of subject matter and styling out of keeping
with inspired Scripture.
4) They lack the distinctive elements that give
genuine Scripture its divine character, such as prophetic power
and poetic and religions feeling.
AD 90, the Jewish Synod of Jamnia demonstrated
a reliance on the Old Testament scriptures which did not include
the Apocrypha. They were and still are considered worthwhile
reading, but not infallible scripture.
of the Apocrypha (Protestant)
Books and additions to Esther in the Roman Catholic, Greek
Orthodox, and Slavonic Bibles
· Additions to the Book of Esther
· Wisdom of Solomon
· Ecclesiasticus (or the Wisdom of Jesus, Son or Sirach)
· The Letter of Jeremiah (Baruch ch. 6)
· The Additions to the Greek Book of Daniel:
· The Prayer of Azariah and
Song of the Three Jews
· Bel and the Dragon
· 1 Maccabees
· 2 Maccabees
Catholics call these extra books Deuterocanonical (Second
Canon) and consider them "inside books." Protestants
call these books the Old Testament Apocrypha and consider them "outside
Books and additions to Esther in the Greek Orthodox, and Slavonic
Bibles, not Roman Catholic
· 1 Esdras (called
2 Esdras in Slavonic, 3 Esdras in
Appendix to Vulgate)
· Prayer of Manasseh (in Appendix to Vulgate)
· Psalm 151, following Psalm 150 in the Greek
· 3 Maccabees
Books in the Slavonic Bible and Appendix to Vulgate
· 2 Esdras (called
3 Esdras in Slavonic and 4 Esdras in
the Appendix to Vulgate)
Books in Appendix to Greek Orthodox Bible
· 4 Maccabees
based on The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha, New
Revised Version, (1994)
all ancient Judeo-Christian texts are included in the Christian
Bible. These ancient texts are called "outside books," "extrabiblical books," or "non-canonical
Christian canon emerged through a complex process. A tradition
of use, authority within the communities, antiquity or apostolicity,
and orthodoxy were factors in deciding which books were "in" and
which were "out."
are many ancient texts that our outside the biblical canon.
Many of these books are valuable for learning about early Christianity
and the early church. As in our own day, some have excellent
insights into the Scriptures; others may be heretical. Their
contents must be carefully considered in the light of scripture,
not regarded as infallible.
are many of these books considered outside books? Texts became "outside" because:
ancient texts were considered authoritative but were dropped
before the canon was closed.
well-regarded books were written too late and/or not believed
to be apostolic, so they were not included. Nevertheless some
outside books, such as the Didache, are as old or even older
than some of the books in the New Testament.
· Other books were accepted by some Christian
communities but not others. All the books in the canon were
generally agreed upon by all the churches
· Many books were labeled "heretical" by
Christian groups due to content contrary to acknowledged Scripture
or to their circulation by heretical sects.
· Some books were not popular or known well
enough by Greek-speaking Christians.
· Still other books never came close to making
it "inside." In addition to heretical books that
were excluded, other books were considered to be too outrageous,
even though they were very popular. (These books also tended
to be written much later than canonical books, and were therefore
· A number of books were lost or destroyed.
· Some old writings were never considered as
scripture but have historical value; they may be letters, or
histories, or stories, or other kinds of records.
examples below were selected to illustrate reasons why different
ancient texts were excluded from the canon.
for the canon:
Letter of Clement I was written about AD 95-96 in the
name of the church of Rome and was included in some early canonical lists.
Clement I is the oldest Christian
manuscript that is not in the canon. The letter is now categorized
as part of a group of manuscripts called the "Apostolic
Fathers," a group of manuscripts written while the apostles
and other eye-witnesses to Jesus Christ's life were still
The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.
The Didache is a manual of moral
instruction and church practice known for its eucharist service which does not use sacrificial language.
The Didache was "lost" for
several centuries until it was re-discovered in 1875 in the
Jerusalem Monastery of the Holy Sepulchre at
Constantinople. Like Clement 1, the Didache is
now part of a group of manuscripts called the "Apostolic
Fathers," the oldest writings of a larger grouping called "Church
Apology by Justin Martyr: Justin Martyr is one of the most
famous Christian apologists (defenders of the faith). He was
born about AD 100 in Shechem, Samaria. He was converted to Christianity about
130. Justin's works are now part of a group of manuscripts
called "Church Fathers." His first apology seeks
to disprove Christians from various charges that had been made
against them and to justify Christian religion
Gospel of Thomas is an example of a book which originated from
a group that was labeled heretical. It is a Gnostic document.
Of all of the Christian Gnostic manuscripts that were among
those discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945, the Gospel of Thomas has the most
similarities with the canonical books. It is a collection of
114 sayings (logia) of Jesus, many similar to those in the
Bible and others considered by scholars to be genuine sayings
of Christ. Thomas was probably written in Syria about AD 140.
Gospel of the Hebrews was a Jewish-Christian Gospel that still
existed as late as the fourth century. Written originally in
Aramaic instead of Greek like the canonical gospels, it was
almost as long as Matthew. Jerome, who found a copy of the
book in the library at Casearea,
Palestine was very interested in the book and translated it
into Greek and Latin. All of the versions of this gospel have
been lost. We have only a few quotations from it in Clement
of Alexandria, Origen, Jerome, and Cyril of Jerusalem. Biblical scholar
Bruce Metzger believes that one of the reasons the gospel did
not make the canon was because it was written in a Semitic
language rather than the culturally dominant Greek language
and because it was mostly used by Jewish Christians, some of
whom became regarded as "Ebionite" heretics.
Infancy Gospel of Thomas opens with a story about five-year-old
Jesus making twelve sparrows out of mud. He claps his hands;
they come to life and fly away. A nice story but in the next
story, child Jesus curses a boy and makes him wither up. Later
Jesus is angered when another child bumps into his shoulder
and strikes him dead! This gospel, which may be as old as the
second century, is a different book from the Gnostic Gospel
ancient manuscripts have been lost, including some books that
are quoted in the Bible, such as the Book of Jasher.
Other manuscripts, including the Didache mentioned
above, were lost but found again.
Church History of Eusebius: Except from the New Testament,
this history is probably the single most essential document
for the study of Church history before Constantine.