Speaking the Truth in Love
How We Got The Bible: How Did The Bible Come Together? (lesson 2)
I. Introduction: It is our aim in the study for all of us to have a better understanding of the Bible, where it came from and how it is presented to us today.
II. Who wrote the Bible?
A. Last time we looked at the Bible being the word of God (1 Thess. 2:13)
1. God used men to pen His words (1 Cor. 11:23)
2. Zech 7:12 shows how the process of God’s words to man worked
B. The Bible consists of 66 books.
1. The Old Testament contains 39
2. The New Testament contains 27
B. About 40 men penned the word of God over the course of about 1600 years
1. Some books of the Bible do not claim authorship (e.g., Hebrews)
III. Who decided what books would be included in the Bible?
A. Why these 66 books and not others?
1. What about the additional books in Catholic versions of the Old Testament?
B. Such questions pertain to the canonicity of the Bible...
1. The word "canon" means a rule or standard for anything
2. For early Christians, it meant the rule of faith, what is accepted as authoritative Scripture
C. The inclusion of any book into the canon follows two basic steps...
1. Inspiration by God - God determined the canon by co-authoring it
2. Recognition by men - Man recognized what God revealed and accepted it as the canon
3. "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." (1 Thess. 2:13)
IV. Jesus referred to the Hebrew cannon often
A. Anyone who accepts the authority of Jesus will accept what He acknowledged as Scripture
1. He pointed people to the Scriptures (Jn 5:39)
2. He spoke of the faithfulness of Scripture (Jn 10:35)
B. Jesus recognized three major divisions of the OT, which included 39 books (Lk 24:44)
1. The Law (Torah) - the five books of Moses (Genesis - Deuteronomy)
2. The Prophets (Nebhiim) - "the former prophets" (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) and "the latter prophets" (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and a book containing the 12 minor prophets).
3. The Writings (Kethubhim) - three poetical books (Psalms, Proverbs, and Job), five rolls (the Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, and Ecclesiastes), and several historical books (Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles)
C. Jesus followed the arrangement of the OT books that was customary among the Jews
1. We see this from His comments in Lk 11:49-51
2. There he speaks of the persecution of the prophets from the murder of Abel (Gen 4:8) to the slaying of Zechariah (2 Chr. 24:20-21)
3. This arrangement is the one that is followed in the Hebrew OT today also
V. New Testament writings acknowledged as truth
A. These writings were "Scripture" before the ink had dried.
1. The word "Scripture" is used about 50 times in the New Testament and always refers to the written record of the will of God.
C. Peter mentions Paul's writings and calls them Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).
D. We know that the inspired writings of the first century were widely circulated among Christians of that time (Col. 4:16 and 1 Thess. 5:27).
1. The early Christians held to the sacred writings and honored them as their religious authority.
Conclusion: Faith plays a large role in believing the books contained in the Bible include no more and no less than God intended for us to have (2 Tim. 3:16). While at various times men have developed councils to decide what should or should not be included in the Bible, we can have confidence that God will keep his scriptures in tact so that we can know what we need to do to spend eternal life with Him!
Next Time: How has the Bible survived in tact all these years? We will be looking at scientific evidence of the accuracy of the scriptures that we have today and we hope to see you then.