Speaking the Truth in Love

Speaking the Truth in Love

How We Got the Bible: How Has the Bible Stayed in Tact? (lesson 3)

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.  Tonight we want to look at how the Bible has been preserved and passed down through time.


II. Following is a chronology of how the Bible has been translated and mass produced, with an emphasis on English translations[1]. This represents a summary of major milestones and is not intended to be a complete list of all translations of the Bible.

 500 BC: Completion of all original Hebrew manuscripts which make up the 39 books of the Old Testament (OT)

 200 BC: Completion of the Septuagint Greek manuscripts which contain the 39 OT books and 14 Apocrypha books

 1st Century AD: Completion of all original Greek manuscripts which make up the 27 books of the New Testament (NT)

 390 AD: Jerome's Latin Vulgate manuscripts contain all 80 books (39 OT + 14 Apocrypha + 27 NT)

 500 AD: Scriptures have been translated into over 500 languages

 600 AD: Latin was the only language allowed for scripture

 995 AD: Anglo-Saxon (early roots of the English language) translations of the NT produced

 1384 AD: Wycliffe is the first person to produce a (hand-written) manuscript copy of the complete Bible; All 80 books

 1455 AD: Gutenberg invents the Printing Press; Books may now be mass-produced instead of individually hand-written. The first book ever printed is Gutenberg's Bible in Latin.

  1526 AD: William Tyndale’s NT is published.

  1535 AD: Myles Coverdale's Bible; The first complete Bible to be printed in the English language (80 books: OT & NT & Apocrypha)

 1537 AD: Matthews Bible; The second complete Bible to be printed in English. Done by John "Thomas Matthew" Rogers (80 books).

 1539 AD: The "Great Bible" Printed; The first English language Bible to be authorized for public use (80 books).

 1560 AD: The Geneva Bible Printed; The first English language Bible to add numbered verses to each chapter (80 books).

 1568 AD: The Bishop’s Bible Printed; The Bible of which the King James was a Revision (80 books).

 1609 AD: The Douay OT is added to the Rheimes NT (of 1582) making it the first complete English Catholic Bible; Translated from the Latin Vulgate (80 books).

 1611 AD: The King James Bible printed; Originally with all 80 books which included the Apocrypha. The 14 books of the Apocraypha were removed in a later version.

 1782 AD: Robert Aitken's Bible; The first English language Bible (a King James Version without Apocrypha) to be printed in America

 1791 AD: Isaac Collins and Isaiah Thomas respectively produce the first family Bible and first illustrated Bible printed in America. Both were King James Versions, with all 80 books.

 1833 AD: Noah Webster's Bible; After producing his famous dictionary, Webster printed his own revision of the King James Bible.

 1841 AD: English Hexapla NT; an early textual comparison showing the Greek and 6 famous English translations in parallel columns.

 1846 AD: The Illuminated Bible; the most lavishly illustrated Bible printed in America; a King James Version, with all 80 books.

 1885 AD: The "Revised Version" Bible; the first major English revision of the King James Bible

 1901 AD: The "American Standard Version"; the first major American revision of the King James Bible

 1971 AD: The "New American Standard Bible" (NASB) is published as a "Modern and Accurate Word for Word English Translation" of the Bible.

 1973 AD: The "New International Version" (NIV) is published as a "Modern and Accurate Phrase for Phrase English Translation" of the Bible.

 1982 AD: The "New King James Version" (NKJV) is published as a "Modern English Version Maintaining the Original Style of the King James".

 2001 AD: The "English Standard Version" (ESV) is published as a version from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of 1971 with “archaic language brought to current usage".

*The Bible is easily the most purchased, printed and read book in the world.  Consider that in the last 50 years alone the 3.9 billion copies of the Bible has been printed and sold. The next closest book has 820 million copies.[2]

*Before the printing press (1454) the Bible had to be copied by hand.  Many question how the Bible stayed in tact through all the coping and if it is accurate today.  To provide evidence of the accuracy of the scriptures we will be looking at various evidences.


III. Dead Sea Scrolls

A. Perhaps the most famous of all known evidence for the accuracy and overall truth of the Bible


B. Called the “Dead Sea Scrolls” because they were found in 1947 in a cave west of theDead Sea by shepherds.  This led to many more finds in the area and a total of 800 manuscripts were found in eleven caves.


C.  Much of the documents found contained scripture.  These have been translated and found to have less than 2% variation with the Bible we have today.  While the Dead Seascrolls do not contain all portions of the Bible, they help prove the accuracy of the scriptures we have today.


D. Today the scrolls travel from city to city in museums and can be seen by all (e.g., Ink and Blood exhibit).


IV. Archaeological Evidences of the Bible’s Accuracy

A. Jeremiah 43:9-11: Excavations in 1881-1891 by Flinders Petrie uncovered the actual pavement mentioned in this Scripture.

B. Daniel 4:30: Bricks discovered at Babylon (1880) bearing the name Nebuchadnezzar.

C. Luke 21:5: The huge platform upon which the temple was built in the time of Herod is there for all to see in Jerusalem today. Archaeologists have also uncovered amazing evidence of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, fulfilling the prophecy of Jesus in this chapter.



D. Matthew 26:3: The tomb of the Caiaphas family was discovered in Jerusalem in 1990. Scholars believe that the tomb of Caiaphas himself is among them.[3]



E. Daniel 5:29-31: The Persians takeover of the Babylonian King Belshazzer. Daniel is clothed in purple and a necklace is placed around his neck. A declaration is made that Daniel was now in authority as the third ruler in Babylon. That same night Belshazzar the Babylonian (or Chaldean) King was killed. In one night he lost his life and his Kingdom was overthrown. Archaeologic finds in recent years “state that the Persian army, under Gobryas, took Babylon without a battle, that he killed the son of a King.” The foundation of the very wall that God put His inscription on has also been found (Haley’s Bible Handbook, page 344). The city had been under assault by the Persian army, in anticipation of a long siege the city had stored supplies to last for 20 years. The EuphratesRiver ran through the city from north to south, so the residents had an ample water supply. The Persians captured the city by building a canal to divert the River Euphrates into a nearby lake. With the water diverted, its level receded and the Persian soldiers were able to enter the city under the sluice gate. Since the walls were unguarded, the Persians, once inside the city, were able to conquer it without a fight. The overthrow ofBabylon took place October 12th, 539 B.C.



F. Genesis 7:17-24: The worldwide flood of Noah: Since the entire human race is descended from the three sons of Noah and their wives, it is only logical that cultures have a flood story. Various stories of a great worldwide flood have been found through archeology in ancient cultures from Hawaii, Greece, North American Indian, Babylon,China, etc.


V. Scientific Evidence of the Bible’s Accuracy



A. Paths of the sea - Matthew Maury (1806-1873) is considered the father of oceanography. His daughter was reading a portion of the Bible to him. While listening, he noticed the expression "paths of the sea" in Psalms 8:8. Upon his recovery, Maury took God at his word and went looking for these paths. We are indebted to his discovery of the warm and cold continental currents. His book on oceanography is still considered a basic text on the subject and is still used in universities.


B. Medical Evidence: Cannot determine one’s nationality from their blood (Acts 17:26).


C. DNA Evidence: Evidence of a late migration to North America (USA Today article, February 15, 2010).


D. Taxonomical classifications of matter were developed in 1735 (Genesis chapter 1).


E. The earth is round was documented in the 15th Century (Job 26:10Prov. 8:27,Isaiah 40:22).


F. A seaworthy ship design is 30:5:3 ratio realized in 1860 but was also the design of the ark (Genesis 6).


G. Plants use sunlight to manufacture food was discovered in 1920 (Hebrews 11:3Job 8:16).


H.  Water cycle was realized in the 17th Century (Ecclesiastes 1:7).


I.  The Hittite Nation was documented to have existed in the 20th Century (Genesis 152 Kings 7:6).


J. Proconsuls on Cyprus was discovered in the 20th Century (Acts 13).


K. Elevation changes are literally correct (e.g., John 2:12Acts 15:1-2).


VI. Conclusion

A. We Can Have Confidence in the Accuracy of the Scriptures: as man learns more about history and science the Bible is proved to be correct time and time again.   

                        1. We can believe all of it (and should!):

a. Luke 24:25, 27 - Believe all the prophets…in all the scriptures concerning Himself.

                                    b. Luke 24:44 - Echoes Matthew 5:18!

                        2. Have confidence in its words - Matthew 22:31-32.

3. “It is written” ended all controversy with Jesus - cf. Luke 10:25-26.