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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beginning to understand the historical value of the Bible. Basics of online Bible study and comprehension

The Bible is truly a remarkable book.    Written by about 40 authors over some 1500 years and yet together it comprises one body of work, The Bible is far more remarkable than most people can conceive.   There is good evidence that will be presented for seeing the Bible as accurate concerning history and content.  It is important for you to realize that there are many online resources to help people study the Bible, understand that context and culture of the various books, their authors, their first intended audience and so on, in addition to being able to begin to understand the original languages and nuances in word usage and meaning.   It takes years to really begin to get the heart of the Bible well-planted and growing within you...and Bible study really doesn't help much if you are not a Christian.   Studying the Bible when not a reborn believer, a saved person who has trusted Jesus for the remission of sins and accepted Christ as Lord and Messiah?   It is like planting seeds on concrete.   Not much there to grow on.



 Christian Answers has a great deal of basic Bible information in case you just do not know much about it:

 About the Bible…

The Bible The Bible is unique among “Holy Books;” it is rooted in and intertwined with actual human history.

The Bible claims to be “the word of God.” It records the interaction of God with historical people and nations. It reveals the meaning of life and the responsibility of human beings to their Creator.

Explorer hat (photo copyrighted)
KIDS - learn more about the World’s Most Amazing Book in our Kid Explorers section - Go
66 books—The Bible is actually a collection of books, some long, some short. This book of books is the world’s all-time best seller and the world’s most translated book.
Two major sections

The Bible’s two major sections are the Old Testament and the New Testament. (What’s so new about the New Testament?) (Answer also available in Hungarian, Spanish)
The Old Testament has…
  • 39 books
  • 929 chapters
  • 23,214 verses
  • 593,493 words
  • Longest book: Psalms
  • Shortest book: Obadiah (3rd shortest book in the Bible)
The New Testament has…
The nine sub-sections of the Bible

The Bible’s books are arranged by TYPE, rather than chronologically.
1.
Books of Moses and the Law
2.
History books
3.
Wisdom books
4.
Prophets' books
5.
Gospels
Jesus Life and the way of salvation

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John

Also see: About the Gospels
6.
History of the early church
7.
Paul’s letters
8.
Other letters
9.
Apocalypse

~~~~~~~~~~
Bible Gateway  For the Christian, reading the Bible is good but studying and learning and acting upon it is crucial.  Non-Christians will not understand, but Christianity is about being in a relationship with God in which you continually take in the Word and seek to live it while the Spirit of God grows in influence within you.   The Creator God is the Father of all, the Son of God who died to save us and the Spirit of God living within us.   This is not sensible to Darwinists, who cannot comprehend the concept of non-material causation.

The Gateway not only has the Bible in dozens of versions and languages it has many reference resources as well.   You want to see the Amplified version of a text?  Okay.   Want to get a good look at the Greek or Hebrew, if available?   There are ways to look this up through the Gateway although having your own Strong's Concordance (or grabbing it online) and Vine's Complete is even better.

The Bible Gateway Blog is interesting...like yesterday:

Plastic Meaning: How changes in language over time affect Bible translations

Posted in Bible Study by Chris on January 25th, 2011
 
How will your favorite Bible version read in 50 years? 100 years? 400? Language changes over time, a fact that has long frustrated Bible translators and spawned many new Bible translations.

For a vivid example of this, we need look no further than the popular King James Version, which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year. The Grateful to the Dead blog has assembled a list of words from the KJV that have very different meanings today than they did when the KJV was first published. For example (KJV words are in bold, followed by the modern equivalent):
amazement terror, 1 Pet 3:6. A much stronger and more negative meaning. We’ve sort of domesticated this word, haven’t we?

bowels (1) heart(s) (metaphorically, as the seat of emotion), Gen 43:30; 1 Kgs 3:26; Ps 109:18; Isa 16:11; 63:15; Jer 31:20; Lam 1:20; 2:11; Phlm 7, 12, 20. (2) compassion, Isa 63:15; Phil 1:8; 2:1; Col 3:12. (3) affections, 2 Cor 6:12. (4) anguish, Jer 4:19. (5) innermost self, Song 5:4. A difficult image for us to appreciate today; seems to derive from an ancient Hebrew understanding of the “guts” as the seat of compassionate emotion. The closest we have now is in phrases like “go with your gut” and “gut check,” which refers more to intuition than love.

by and by immediately, Matt 13:21; Mark 6:25; Luke 17:7; 21:9. Today, “by and by” seems to have the opposite meaning—something that will happen eventually.

careful anxious, Luke 10:41; Phil 4:6. So, in the Sermon on the Mount, “Be careful for nothing” means, “don’t let anything make you full of care,” that is, “make you anxious.”

conversation (1) way of life, 2 Cor 1:12; Gal 1:13; Eph 2:3; 4:22; Phil 1:27; 1 Tim 4:12; Heb 13:5, 7; Jas 3:13; 1 Pet 1:8; 2:12; 3:1, 2, 16; 2 Pet 2:7; 3:11. (2) life, 1 Pet 1:15. (3) in the way, Ps 37:14; 50:23. (4) citizenship, Phil 3:20. This is another 17th-century word whose modern meaning has taken, in the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, a significant “left turn at Albuquerque.”
It can be confusing to come across a word that has simply fallen out of use (like “flagon,” Song 2:5); but it can create theological uncertainty when we encounter words whose meanings have changed drastically over time (like “by and by,” Mark 6:25). This doesn’t mean that the KJV is wrong or inferior; but just as we should be mindful of the culture in which the Bible was originally written, we should be mindful of the culture in which a Bible translation was completed.

Every translation will experience this phenomenon over time; give the original NIV 400 years and we’ll have a list just as long. While translators do their best to mitigate this problem, it’s largely out of their hands. Try as they might, no one can predict how language will shift, and this is doubly true today given how rapidly the internet disseminates linguistic fads and memes.

All one needs to do is look at the overuse (and neutering) of the word “awesome” over the past few decades to see how quickly our language changes. “Awesome” has been used in my presence to describe everything from a sandwich to football. Somehow calling God awesome these days doesn’t carry the weight that it once did.

Credit goes to our colleague Rich Tatum for posting the link to Grateful to the Dead on his twitter feed.

I can beat that...How about Mark 16:25 in the newer King James Version which was redone in 1611 to reflect the fast change of word usage in the English Language.

"And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist."

Versus the New King James Version,  an update to the KJV first done in 1982:

Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
 
So she wasn't going to hang around for a few days until Herod rounded up a Dodge Charger to carrty John's
head! 

The King James Version was the most common translation in use in the 1970's, when I became a Christian and I was taught a story that I passed around for years that I have recently discovered is controversial if not plain wrong.   I will cover the Textus Receptus later on.  I am still doing some research on that subject before going further.   But the NKJV and the HCSB and the NASB and even the NIV (I think the 2010 version is a step backwards) are good translations with very few controversial portions.  Stay away from dumbed-down versions like The Message or TLB.   You can paraphrase the meaning right out of scripture!

Non-Christians have compiled a long list of so-called inaccuracies in the Bible and I recommend The Bible Answer Man as one source of information if confronted by one.  CARM is a great source.   I usually ignore the common examples used by Darwinists because I know they do not care what the Bible actually teaches.   If there was even one good example of a Bible "mistake" it would have been put on banners and flown from flagstaffs by now.   So commenters, unless you have an unusual and actually interesting question I will allow the reader to find answers by providing resources during this course of study.   True Bible Students will look for Tekton if you are willing to pay a pittance to get access to fresh content and A Christian Thinktank for a few million words on various Christian issues, focusing on Bible and philosophy.   I've not accesssed the Tank much recently but we will in future posts.  It is a great source to falsify the typical Darwinist Bible claims. 

The New Testament is the best-sourced and supported first century AD manusript by a long shot:

  • In over 90 percent of the New Testament, readings are identical word-for-word, regardless of the family. Of the remaining ten percent, MOST of the differences between the texts are fairly irrelevant, such as calling the Lord "Christ Jesus" instead of "Jesus Christ," or putting the word "the" before a noun. Less than two percent would significantly alter the meaning of a passage, and NONE of them would contradict or alter any of the basic points of Christian doctrine. What we have, then, is a dispute concerning less than one-half of one percent of the Bible. The other 99.5% we all agree on!


  • Because there are over 14,000 manuscript copies of the New Testament we can absolutely be confident of its accuracy. With this large number of manuscripts, comparing manuscripts easily reveals any place where a scribe has made an error or where there is a variation. There are approximately 150,000 variations in the manuscripts we have today. However, these variations represent only 10,000 places in the New Testament (if the same word was misspelled in 3,000 manuscripts, that is counted as 3,000 variations.) Of these 10,000 places, all but 400 are questions of spelling in accord with accepted usage, grammatical construction, or order of words. Of the remaining variations, only 50 are of significance (such as two manuscripts leaving out Acts 2:37). But of these 50, not one alters even one article of faith which cannot be abundantly sustained by other undoubted passages. There are some manuscripts that date as early as 130 AD, very close to the completion of the New Testament. These manuscripts are nearly identical to those dating 900 years later, thus verifying the accuracy of the scribes.(from Bible.ca)



  • "...1A. THE BIBLIOGRAPHICAL TEST FOR THE RELIABILITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
     

    The bibliographical test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. In other words, since we do not have the original documents, how reliable are the copies we have in regard to the number of manuscripts (MSS) and the time interval between the origi­nal and extant (currently existing) copies (Montgomery, HC, 26)?

    1B. The Number of Manuscripts and Their Closeness to the Original

    F. E. Peters states that “on the basis of manuscript tradition alone, the works that made up the Christians’ New Testament were the most fre­quently copied and widely circulated books of antiquity” (Peters, HH, 50). As a result, the fidelity of the New Testament text rests on a mul­titude of manuscript evidence. Counting Greek copies alone, the New Testament is preserved in some 5,656 partial and complete manu­script portions that were copied by hand from the second through the fifteenth centuries (Geisler, GIB, 385).

    There are now more than 5,686 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions (MSS), and we have close to, if not more than, 25,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today. No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In comparison, Homer’s Iliad is second, with only 643 manuscripts that still survive. The first complete preserved text of Homer dates from the thirteenth century (Leach, Oh, 145).The following is a breakdown of the number of surviving manu­scripts for the New Testament:

     Extant greek ama



    Man in other languages



    Information for the preceding charts was gathered from the fol­lowing sources: Michael 1Velte of the Institute for New Testament Studies in Munster, Germany; Kurt Aland’s Journal of Biblical Litera­ture 87 (1968); Kurt Aland’s Kurzgefassle Lisle Der Griechischeri Hand­sclrriften Des Neven Testaments, W. De Gruyter, 1963; Kurt Aland’s “Neve Nevtestamentliche Papyri Ill,” New “1eslament Studies (July 1976); Bruce Metzger’s The Early Versions of the New Testament, Clarendon, 1977; New Testament Manuscript Studies, eds. Merrill M. Parvis and Allen Wikgren, University of Chicago Press, 1950; Eroll F. Rhodes’s An Annotated List of Armenian New Testament Manuscripts, Tokyo, Ikeburo, 1959; The Bible and Modern Scholarship, ed. J. Phillip Hyatt, Abingdon, 1965.

    John Warwick Montgomery says that to be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Tes­tament books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity, for no documents of the ancient period are as well attested bibliographically as the New Testament” (Mont­gomery, HC. 29)."


    There are actually perhaps 43 or so copies of Plato's Tetralogies.   Seven Aristotle manuscripts.  But there are at most 90 years between the writing of the New Testament and some of the actual manuscripts we have, versus 500 years for Homer's Iliad and 1300 years for Plato and 1400 for Aristotle. 


    In contrast with the Bible, other ancient historical documents are largely lost or have apparently undergone great changes over time.   I highly recommend the Forgotten History of the Western People (USA) Britain by Mike Gascoigne to not only access the results of his scholarship but have some appreciation for what the Bible is in comparison to other ancient manuscripts.   Here is an excerpt from some of his online content, an example of the problem of accessing and authenticating history from non-Biblical sources.

    Lost Works of Berosus

    Berosus (also spelled Berossus) was a 3rd century BC Chaldean priest who wrote three books in Greek about the creation and the early history of the world. His books are now lost, but fragments have been preserved in citations by other authors. However, it is necessary to distinguish between the authenticated fragments and the so-called "pseudo-Berosus" fragments that are attributed to his name but thought to be fraudulent.


    Berosus, the Bablylonian Priest

    Berosus was a Chaldean priest of Bel at Babylon who was aquainted with both astronomy and the history of the ancient world. He left Babylon when it was conquered by Alexander the Great and established himself in Asia Minor, on the island of Cos near Rhodes, where he set up an observatory and a school of astronomy. He also spent some time in Athens where he was held in such high esteem that they erected a copper statue in his honour.
    As the Greek language spread through Asia, during the Macedonian conquests, there was public interest in the histories that had been preserved by the Babylonians. Berosus, as a Babylonian priest who could speak Greek, was surrounded by an enquiring public who no doubt encouraged him to write his histories.

    He wrote his three books, about 290BC, and although they are lost, their contents are known, from the authentic fragments, to have been as follows:
    • Book 1: The description of Babylonia, the story of creation and the appearance of a "fish-man" called Oannes, who taught arts and sciences.
    • Books 2 and 3: The ten kings before the flood, the story of the flood itself, the list of Chaldean and Arabian kings, and finally the later history of Assyria, Babylon and the Persians.

    Authentic Citations of Berosus

    Berosus is quoted by a number of sources, including the following:
    • Abydenus, a disciple of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and scientist of the 4th century BC. In that case, being younger that Aristotle, he must have been a contemporary of Berosus. His original writings have not survived, but he is quoted by Eusebius and Syncellus.
    • Apollodorus, 2nd century BC. He was a student of Aristarchus of Alexandria, but he left that city about 146 BC, perhaps for Pergamon, and then he went to Athens. His original writings have not survived, but he is quoted by Eusebius and Syncellus.
    • Alexander Polyhistor (c.105 - 35 BC), Greek philosopher, geographer and historian. He was imprisoned by the Romans in the war of Sulla against Mithridates of Pontus and brought as a slave to Rome for employment as a tutor. Then he was released and lived in Italy as a Roman citizen. His original writings have not survived, but he is quoted by Eusebius, Syncellus, Josephus, Atheneus and Clement of Alexandria.
    • Flavius Josephus, the Jewish priest and historian (37/38 - 100 AD). Quotes from Alexander Polyhistor.
    • Athenaeus (fl. 200 AD). Greek grammarian and author. Quotes from Alexander Polyhistor.
    • Clement (c.150 - c.215 AD). Bishop of Alexandria. Quotes from Alexander Polyhistor.
    • Eusebius Pamphilius (264 - c.338 AD). Bishop of Caesarea. Quotes from Abydenus, Apollodorus and Alexander Polyhistor.
    • Syncellus (early 9th century AD). Byzantine monk and chronographer, otherwise known as "George the Syncellus". Quotes from Abydenus, Apollodorus and Alexander Polyhistor.
    Note: It's possible that Syncellus might have been quoting from Eusebius on some occasions, rather than directly from Abydenus and Polyhistor, but generally there are three generations of documents. The first generation is the work of Berosus himself, the second is Abydenus and Polyhistor, and the third is Josephus, Athenaeus, Clement, Eusebius and Syncellus.

    For the authentic citations, see the original 1828 version of Cory's Ancient Fragments (1), and the 1876 update by Richmond Hodges (2).

    Where Have all the Documents Gone?

    The three books of Berosus, together with the early citations, have disappeared through the ravages of time. The precise circumstances of their loss is not known, but historians are well aware of the processes by which books can become lost. These include war, fire, flood, failure to make copies, failure to preserve the existing copies, and worst of all, lending them out and never getting them back.

    The political circumstances surrounding the loss of these books are as follows:
    In 290 BC, when Berosus wrote his books, the province of Attica, with Athens as its capital, was a city state according to the Macedonian model. This type of political system had been imposed in 338 BC by King Fillipe II of Macedonia, the father of Alexander the Great. Athens had lost some of its former glory, but was nevertheless an important centre of learning and trade, and was a good place for Berosus to write his books (if indeed he wrote them while he was there).

    Athens was invaded by the Romans, in 146 BC, together with the rest of Greece. However, this was unlikely to have involved the destruction of books and libraries, because the Romans, although they were conquerors, showed respect for the Greek culture.

    In 88 BC, Mithradates VI, king of Pontus, was at war against the Roman territory in the east. The Greeks also rebelled against Rome, with Athens taking the lead. Sulla, the Roman consul, laid siege to Athens, and the city fell in 86 BC. These were the circumstances in which Alexander Polyhistor was taken to Rome as a prisoner. Presumably, he was in Rome when he wrote his citations of Berosus. He may have been allowed to take copies of the books of Berosus with him, or they may have been there already.

    In 293 AD, the emperor Diocletian divided the empire into two parts, East and West. Each part was governed by a senior emperor called an "Augustus" and a junior emperor called a "Caesar", making four emperors altogether and the arrangement was called the "Tetrarchy". When an Augustus died or otherwise vacated his office, he would be succeeded by his Caesar, who would become the new Augustus and would appoint another Caesar.

    When Constantine was the Augustus of the Western Empire, his Caesar Bassianus rebelled against him. Constantine discovered that the rebellion had been instigated by Licinius, the Augustus of the Eastern Empire and went to war against him. After some indecisive battles and a truce, Constantine finally defeated Licinus in 324 and became the sole ruler of the Empire, hence he was called "Constantine the Great". After a while, he became dissatisfied with Rome as his seat of government and sought another capital city elsewhere. After going to a number of different places, he finally settled on the ancient city of Byzantium and called it Constantinople. This turned out to be a good move, because in 476 the Western Empire collapsed, but the Eastern Empire continued for almost another thousand years and became known as the Byzantine Empire.
    The city of Constantinople became very prosperous. It was an important centre of trade, capable of supporting a large population, and there were many churches and places of learning. If there were Greek copies of the works of Berosus in the Eastern Empire at the time of Constantine, they must certainly have been preserved in Constantinople, and they would have been used by Syncellus.

    In 1453, Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Muslims and they called it "Istanbul". Unlike the Romans, they had no regard for the preservation of the literature and the history of other cultures, and many books were burnt. Presumably, some copies of Berosus might have been destroyed at this time. The fall of Constantinople is still a sore point with the Greek people today, and they continue to call it "Constantinopolis".

    After the fall of Constantinople, many Greek-speaking intellectuals went to Italy and contributed to the Renaissance, although it is not certain whether they brought with them any useful knowledge of Berosus.

    Annius of Viterbo

    In addition to the authenticated fragments of Berosus, there is another collection of fragments that are less certain and are sometimes called "pseudo-Berosus". They were published in 1498 by a Dominican Friar called Giovanni Nanni, who lived in the town of Viterbo, sometimes called "Viterbe", about 65 miles north of Rome. He is more commonly known as Annius of Viterbo. He also published some fragments of Manetho, an Egyptian historian who was a contemporary of Berosus, but these are equally uncertain and are called "pseudo-Manetho". The two sets of fragments were published together with a commentary and the complete work was called the Antiquities.

    The fragments of pseudo-Berosus describe a history of the ancient world, from the Flood to the time of Dardanus, the founder of Troy. These were received with enthusiasm in Italy, because they knew the story of Aeneas who had fled the burning city of Troy and re-established his kingdom in Italy, and they knew the Trojan royal line back to Dardanus, but they could not get back any further. The appearance of these missing fragments of Berosus filled an important gap in their history, and also the history of other nations of Europe who believed that their royal line was somehow descended from Troy.

    In 1502, only four years after publishing his antiquities, Annius died, and then in 1504 he was criticised by Petrus Crinitus, who claimed that his work was fraudulent, that it never came from either Berosus or Manetho, and he made it all up. This was followed by similar claims from other people, but Annius was unable to answer any of them because he was already dead. The problem was that the source documents that he was supposed to have used could never be found. For a discussion of the entire affair, together with some fragments of pseudo-Berosus, see Asher (3).

    The surprising thing about this story is, not so much the absence of the manuscripts, but the failure on the part of his critics to even ask for them until six years later. If somebody today published a book, claiming that he was in possession of some very ancient manuscripts, the press pack would immediately assemble outside his front door asking to see them. The curators of local and national museums would appear, demanding that the manuscripts should be put on display for everybody to see. Perhaps, in medieval Italy, instead of making the documents available, something different might have happened. The Pope sent a delegation from Rome to Viterbo, which is not very far away, asking to see the manuscripts. Then they bundled them all together and took them to Rome, so they would never see the light of day again. After all, the Vatican prevented people from seeing the Bible for centuries, so why should they not do the same with other important books?
    Putting aside the conspiracy theory, the most likely probability is that Annius was indeed a fraudster, and he got away with it because the people around him were far too careless. Having said that, it's not fair to put a dead man on trial, so it has to be an open verdict. His work is called "pseudo-Berosus" because it's attributed to Berosus but nobody knows where it came from.

    The next question is, if it's fraudulent, is it worth reading? For the answer to that question, we have to ask the police. They talk to people who are fraudulent all the time, in the hope that they might discover some small but important details that might lead them to the truth. There is one such detail in the "pseudo-Berosus" that needs to be noted. It says that one of the names of Noah was Arsa, and cities were named after him. Now it just happens that there is a city called Urfa, in south-east Turkey, where the inhabitants claim that the ark landed on a nearby hill known as the Cudi Dagh. There is another mountain, further east near Cizre, also called Cudi Dagh, which is more likely to be the ark site, but that doesn't matter. The important thing is that Annius knew something that wasn't in the authenticated fragments of Berosus, so where did he get it from?

    Perhaps, after the fall of Constantinople, some of the migrant Greek intellectuals might have told Annius something that they knew from the lost works of Berosus. Perhaps they might have added to it something from the local traditions of the fallen Byzantine Empire. There might have been all sorts of fragments that fell into the hands of Annius, but instead of just telling what he knew, he added to it an elaborate set of fables, giving a complete history from Noah to the foundation of Troy.

    Conclusions

    The fragmentary citations of Berosus give us much valuable information about the beginning of the world, from the Babylonian point of view, although it is important to distinguish between the authentic citations and the questionable fragments known as "pseudo-Berosus". It is also important to recognise that history is not a science. There is a distinction between truth and falsehood, in the sense that either an event happened or else it didn't happen, but unlike science, we do not have the opportunity to perform repeat experiments. History happens only once, and we have to accept it as it is. We have truth and error, but they both come packaged in varying degrees of mischief.

    Some of the material I have discussed here is difficult to obtain through public libraries and bookshops in the UK, and the same is probably true of most other countries. Anyone coming across it by chance would have difficulty finding any other related material, and would require the assistance of academic departments with their specialised libraries. A small amount of knowledge can be a bad thing, especially in a subject like this where half the books are genuine and the other half are fraudulent. The solution is to bring them all up front, out of the dusty old place called "archive", so that we can more easily distinguish between truth and error.

    References

    1. Cory, I.P., The Ancient Fragments; containing what remains of the writings of Sanchoniatho, Berossus, Abydenus, Megasthenes, and Manetho; William Pickering, London, 1828. Facsimile reprints from Ballantrae, Ontario, Canada.
    2. Hodges, E.R., Cory's Ancient Fragments, A New and Enlarged Edition, Reeves & Turner, London, 1876. Facsimile reprints from Ballantrae, Ontario, Canada.
    3. Asher, R.E., National Myths in Renaissance France; Francus, Samothes and the Druids, Edinburgh University Press, 22 George Square, Edinburgh, 1993, ISBN 0-7486-0407-3. Note: It might sound as if this is easy to get in the UK, but it isn't available in the high-street bookshops, even by special order, and it doesn't appear in the public library catalogues (the ones where they order things from other libraries).

    Copyright 2000 Updated March 2002

    ~~~~~~~~

    SO you may wish to take an online course on the Bible.   Here is one page from such a site. 

    Lesson 3 of 50 - Apologetics (part three) - Section A, Chapter 4 - Authenticity of the Old Testament Section A, Chapter 5 - Philosophical Proof for the Existence of God Section A, Chapter 6 - Scientific Proof
    Written Online Audio or Video TAKE THE TESTS -
    Written Notes

    Review Points


    Questions

    Supplementary Material
    Source Books
    Quick Time Audio
    2004 mp3 Audio
    2009 mp3 Audio (ch. 4), Authenticity of the OT
    Real Player Video (ch. 4), Authenticity of the OT
    Chapter Tests:
    Sect A, Ch 4 -
    Authenticity of the Old Testament

    Sect A, Ch 5 -
    Philosophical Proof for Existence of God

    Sect A, Ch 6 - Scientific Proof
    Authenticity of the Old Testament
    Our Old Testament is the same 39 books accepted by Jews in Jesus’ day and by the early church. 
    The Old Testament is divided into three parts:
    1. Law of Moses (The Pentateuch or first five books of the OT)
    2. Prophets (including the historical books)
    3. Poetic writings
    Jesus spoke of the Old Testament in this way when he said:
    “Everything must be fulfilled about me in the Law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms.”  (Luke 24:44)
    There was no meeting or council in the Old Testament times that met to accept these books.
    It appears that each book was accepted as its writer presented it.

    The books then were self-authenticating.

    The Old Testament comes down to us in six forms:
    1. Masoretic text (see below)
    2. Septuagint (translated from Hebrew to Greek around 280 BC)
    3. Latin Vulgate (Hebrew translated into to Latin by Jerome in 400 AD)
    4. Samaritan Pentateuch (handed down from 400 BC by Samaritans)
    5. Syriac Version (translated 200 AD)
    6. The Dead Sea Scrolls

    Masoretic Text 

    The Masoretic Text comes from Jewish scribes from 500 AD.  The scribes systematically sorted and compared the various manuscripts.  They wrote the variant readings in the margins.  There are about 1,200 variant readings, or one per page. We have about 1,000 Masoretic manuscripts.  The oldest is fro 916 AD.  The variation in these texts is basically non existent.

    These books contained copied portions of the Old Testament.  These books show us that our OT is essentially the same today as when these books were written:
    1. Book of Jubilees
      1. Information
      2. Text (click here and scroll to bottom of the page that opens to see sections including "The Book of Giants", "The Generations of Adam", "The Martrydom of Isaiah", and more.
      3. Written 135-105 BC
    2. The Talmud
      1. Talmud and Mishna
      2. Copy of the Talmud here
      3. Written 200 AD
    3. Josephus
      1. Josephus home page
      2. Written 70-100 BC
    4. Philo
      1. Text of Philo
      2. Philo lived 20 BC-50 AD
    5. Zadokite Fragments
      1. These are documents from Qumran where a group of pious Jews fled to preserve the way of righteousness and to avoid Antiochus Ephipanes around 165 BC.  There are two sections of these documents: one calls the people to obey God’s covenant and introduces the “Teacher of Righteousness”; The second records the statutes concerning vows, assemblies, and other instructions for members and for new members.
      2. Text of Zadokite Document
      3. Image
      4. Description and Information
      5. The Pierced Messiah 
    6. Targums
      1. Targums are Aramaic Translations of the Hebrew Scritptures
      2. Discussion of the Targums
    7. New Testament
      1. The New Testament often quotes the Old Testament which helps authenticate the contents of the Old Testament document in the first century AD
      2. There are 320 Old Testament quotes in the New Testament
    No other ancient writings have been so accurately handed down with such an abundance of textual evidence.
     Refuting Higher Criticism
    * Writing was Common in Abraham's Day . . . . . . * Library with 1,000s of Cunneform Tablets 

    JEPD
    Higher criticism says there were four different writers of the book of Genesis.  They call them J, E, P and D .  The writers are believed by the critics to have written at different times during the years of 900-600 BC.  This false theory was developed between 1806-1878.


    These four fictional writers are called by the critics:

    1. Jehovist (J) since in his writing he referred to God by the name “Jehovah”
    2. Elohist (E) since in his writing he referred to God by the Hebrew word “Elohim”
    3. Priestly (P) since in his writing he seems to support the priestly concepts and traditions
    4. Deuteronomist (D) since in his writing he seems to be aware of the laws and traditions of Deuteronomy.
    The information in the book of Genesis was collected by eyewitnesses to the events and edited by Moses.  Several places Genesis uses the formula “these are the generations of _______ (Adam, Seth, Noah, or someone) or “this is the account of _________”.  These men were the eyewitnesses of these events
    In the 1800’s the critics denied the accuracy and authenticity of the Old Testament because other ancient writings did not record people like the Hittites, the Horites or Edomites.  These people were only referred to in the book of Genesis and were unheard of in other historical documents into the 1800’s.  What archaeology found in the years since is:
    1. All these peoples, nations and their cities existed and have been excavated.
    2. The Davidic-Solmonic empire existed
    3. The Babylonian captivity and return are now considered historical
    4. The names of over 40 different kins of various countries mentioned in the OT have been found in documents and inscriptions.
    These findings prove:
    1. The OT was written by the contemporaries of these events
    2. The OT was written carefully and accurately
    3. The OT has been copied and preserved methodically until our time.
    Jesus and the Old Testament
    1. Jesus accepted the OT as authentic
    2. Jesus said, “The Scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)
    3. Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” (Luke 16:17)
    4. Jesus accepted Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. (Luke 24:27; John 5:46-47)
    5. Jesus accepted Isaiah as the author of both the first and second halves of the Book of Isaiah (Matt. 13:14 Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9-10; John 12:38 Jesus quotes Isaiah 53:1)
    6. Jesus accepted Daniel as the author of the book of Daniel. (Matt. 24:15)
    7. Jesus accepted these people as historical people and not figurative or mythical:
      1. Adam and Eve in Matt. 19:4,5
      2. Abel Matt. 23:35
      3. Noah in Luke 17:26
      4. Abraham in John 8:56-58
      5. Lot in Luke 17:28
    8. Jesus accepted the creation in Genesis as historical. (Mark 10:6-9)
    9. Jesus accepted the Flood as historical. (Matt. 24:37-39)
    10. Jesus accepted the following as miracles:
      1. Sodom
      2. Lot’s wife
      3. Manna
      4. Serpents
      5. Elijah
      6. Elisha
      7. Jonah
    It is a serious thing to challenge the authority of the Old Testament when Jesus accepted the authority of the OT

    Why the Late Date is Wrong

    Some critics of the authenticity of the Old Testament reject the idea that Moses wrote Genesis-Deuteronomy in 1400 BC.  Instead they say the first five books of the OT were forged around 700 BC or even after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity in 500 BC.  This is wrong for several reasons but it is ridiculous for this reason:  Imagine the scribes and priest presenting the Law of Moses to the Jews for the first time in 700 BC or in 535 BC.  Imagine the Jews being told that some ancient documents had been found by the priest after they had been misplaced for hundreds of years.  Imagine the Jews hearing for the first time with no historical setting or background that:
    1. There was a man named Moses who led them out of slavery in Egypt some 600-900 years before.
    2. This “Moses” wrote some books and created an entire system to live by and be governed by.  They would have heard for the first time about their:
      1. Priesthood
      2. System of worship
      3. Temple
      4. Priests and the power the priest had including receiving 10% of the lands produce.  (Remember: this is the same priesthood that found these “lost” books, but also, the same priesthood that then would have had lost them hundreds of years ago.)
      5. National History
      6. Legendary Heroes: Abraham, Isaac, Samson, David, Solomon
      7. Tithes, offerings and sacrifices to support the priests
      8. Holy Writings
      9. Practice of circumcision that would have then had to begin with all the adult men
      10. Annual Passover which was for the purpose of remembering an event that they had never heard of (and, according to the critics had never happened.)
    Would the kings, leaders, rulers, aristocracy and other religious leaders have accepted the priests’ new find?
    Would the majority of the people have welcomed an unheard of history recorded by an unheard of man that told them to give 10% to the newly introduced priests and circumcise all the adult males?

    It is unbelievable to think that an entire generation would have accepted and practiced all the institutions in the law of Moses unless it was a generation of people who actually:
    1. Experience release from Egyptian slavery
    2. Heard Moses speak and saw him strike the land of Egypt with plagues
    3. Followed Moses to the mountain where they saw God descend on the mountain and give the law.
    4. Lived in the wilderness and saw the promised land.
    It is easier to believe these were historical events that made a real impact on a generation of people than to think it was a forgery that blindly convinced an entire generation to foolishly follow undocumented writings.

    Philosophical Proof for the Existence of God

    The more a true witness is challenged or questioned the more perfect his testimony will be.  Court room drama is based on this principle.  The more a witness is questioned the more obvious it will be if they are lying or telling the truth.  This is why the concept of the existence of God, the authenticity of the Bible and the Christian faith should not be afraid of being challenged, questioned or examined.  An attack on Christianity will only prove it to be true.

    When there are not many facts known about an event or a suspect then negative evidence of small account.  For example, there is little physical evidence easily accessible to prove or disprove Noah’s flood, so the fact that we do not physically have Noah’s ark does not prove that it did not happen.  But, when ignorance on a subject is great then the smallest amount of supporting evidence will have great weight.  If we did find Noah’s ark and the measurements fit the description in Genesis then we would tend to believe the whole story.
    Skeptics will make the following statements concerning the Bible based on their assumptions:


    Here are five links that show Archaeological findings that support the biblical account: A    B   C   D    E
    Here is a link that philosophically supports the existence of God:   F
    It is irrational (unreasonable to the human mind) that the universe came from nothing.  This is an illogical thought to:
    1. The ancient mind
    2. The modern Eastern and Western mind
    3. Scientific thought
    4. Philosophy
    5. Any method of reasoning or system of Logic
    The existence of God is reasonable.  It is one of the truths about God that does not take spiritual insight.  Many truths about God come only through revelation or spiritual insight (Word of God, Spirit of God).  God’s existence is perceived with mere human reason and observation:

    “What may be known about God is plain . . .understood from what has         
    been made . . . they knew God. . .”
      Romans 1:19-21

    After six thousand years of thought and research nothing is easier to verify and harder to disprove than: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

    POINT OF DOCTRINE NUMBER ONE:
    A being greater than the universe has to exist.
    1. Reasons logically dependent on sense experience
      1. Cause (cosmological) – There cannot be an infinite regress of finite causes.  There must be an uncaused causer.
      2. Design (Teleological) – Observable order and design demand a designer.
      3. Moral (Anthropological) - all people posses moral impulse.  Behavioral science cannot explain this since many moral behaviors go unrewareded for long periods of time. The development of moral behavior cannot come out of nature.
      4. Motion - motion cannot start itself. Infinite regress of motion is meaningless. This is the Greeks concept of the unmovable mover.
      5. Perfection - There is a universal pyramid of beings seen from insects to men. Man is at the top of the existence pyramid, but the universe is too grand for man to be the ultimate expressionof existence.
      6. Dependency - All things exist in a network of relationships and dependency. Infinite regress of dependency is contradictory. Everything must begin with an independent being.
    2. Reasons logically independent of sense experience
      1. Perfect Being (Ontological) - concept of perfection exists but is never attained. We did not develop the thought of perfection because we saw it.
      2. Innate Idea - People in all cultures through out time have been born with the concept of the idea of God.
      3. Mysticism - Man can and has experienced God directly in his life. This union is so real it is self-validating.
      4. Truth - The concept of truth exists. People seek truth so the ultimate truth exists.
      5. Man is Finite - The fact that we are finite proves their is the infinite.
      6. Blessedness - Man is basically restless, searching, striving. This drive is only fulfilled when man finds God.
    C.S. Lewis made this point:
    If there is hunger, there is food.
    If there is thirst, there is drink.
    If there is curiosity, there is knowledge.
    If there is loneliness, there is society.

    But, starvation does not prove that food does not exist.
    Loneliness does not prove that other people don't exist.
    So also, failure to achieve immortality, to reach paradise,
    or to find God does not prove any of these don't exist.

    If God Does Exist, Who is He?

    God would be greater than his creation in every way.
    God's creation would reflect his nature and his qualities just as Romans 1:20 says:
    "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made."

    The Universe Appears As:
    First Cause (God) Must Be:
    Limitless Space
    Infinite
    Unending Time
    Eternal
    Perpetual Motion
    Omnipotent
    Unbordered Variety
    Omnipresent
    Infinitely Complex
    Omniscience
    People Have:
    First Cause (God) Must Be:
    Personality
    Personal
    Feelings
    Emotional
    Will
    Volitional
    Ethics
    Moral
    System of right and wrong
    Holy
    System of Justice
    Just
    Love
    Loving
    Life
    Living
    The above description of the creation and the human creatures reflect a First Cause, or a God, that matches exactly the God described in the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

    Whoever God is, his character and his qualities must be seen in creation itself.

    If what a person describes as "god" is not compatible with the created world then that "god" is not the True God.

    To Create this universe God must be transcendent (outside the boundaries of the universe). This means God can not be described as one with the universe like the force in "Star Wars". The First Cause cannot be the mindlessness, less-than conscious unity known as the Supreme Soul of Eastern religions because that state itself lacks purpose and design. The Creator must be personable since he created people with personalities. These people long to interact with others. Likewise, the Creator must be imminent (involved in our world, close at hand) and desirous of relationship with people in an even more intense way than humans experience. His love, holiness, wrath, etc. all go far past human ability or understanding. God's character and abode is like our's but without limits. 

    Scientific Proof for the Existence of God
    There are no conflicts with Scripture and Nature. Both are the work of God.
    There are conflicts with theology and science because:

    1. Theology is man's study of God's inspired scriptures
    2. Science is man's study of God's created natural world
    Remember:
    1. Both groups, theologians and scientist) are subject to error -
      1. Galileo (1564-1642) was kept under house arrest by the church for eight years for supporting the Copernican theory that stated that the earth revolved around the sun.
      2. Science once believed in the eternal cosmos. They taught that the universe had always existed up until the days of Einstein and Hubble.
    2. Either group is subject to correction by the other
      1. Science has refuted the flat earth theory so theologians can no longer use the scriptural referring to the "four corners of the earth" as literal.
      2. Science held to spontaneous generation into the mid-1800's even though scripture taught God made animal life to reproduce "according to their kind."
    3. The Bible is not a science textbook, but it is scientifically accurate.
    4. Science is constantly in the process of developing
    Bertrand Russell wrote in 1935 that science had successively refuted all the main tenets of religion.
    He explained that the modern understanding of the universe was the product of two major scientific revolutions:
    1. The Copernican, that showed that humanity was not the center of the universe as the Bible taught.
    2. The Darwinian, that demonstrated that it was no longer necessary to posit an act of divine creation to explain the origins of human life.
    3. Sigmund Freud then nominated his own discovery of the "unconscious" as a third revolution
    Upon these discoveries, Russell then described humanity as a "curious accident in a backwater."

    The above numbers 1 and 2 gave Friedrich Nietzsche the confidence in 1885 to say what many people in the Western world were thinking: "God is dead."

    In 1917 Einstein published his theory of relativity and tried to conform it to the cosmology of the day which was the Static Universe Theory. (This theory taught that the universe was infinite in age and had always existed. Stars drifted randomly. The Milky Way was all there was.) But, Einstein's general relativity equations demanded that the universe had a beginning. In 1927, Edwin Hubble's telescope showed there were galaxies far outside our own. This was exactly what Einstein's theory had predicted. Science then took a 180 degree turn and needed to develop what became known as the Big Bang Theory. Einstein wrote after looking through Hubble's telescope that it was his desire "to know how God created the world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know his thought, the rest are details.

    A periodical from July 2000 called Science lists these recently established facts that are demanding a response:
    1. If the physical forces within stars were only slightly different, our universe would be almost devoid of carbon and oxygen, and life would not exist.
    2. If gravity was slightly stronger, all stars would be red dwarfs, too cold to support life.
    3. If gravity was slightly weaker, all stars would be blue giants, burning too briefly for life to develop.
    4. The mass of the neutron in an atom is delicately balanced with the mass of the proton; if it were not protons would decay into neutrons and make life impossible.
    This same article had these quotes from scientist in it:
    1. "I am not a religious person, but I could say this universe is designed very well for the existence of life."
    2. "The basic forces in the universe are tailor-made for the production of . . . carbon-based life."
    3. "Imagine a univers-creating machine, with thousands of dials representing the gravitational constant, the charge on the electron, the mass of the proton, and so on. Each dial has many possible settings, and even the slightest change would make a universe where life was impossible."
    4. "The laws of the universe are cunningly contrived to coax life into being." They "somehow know in advance about life and its vast complexity."
    The Templeton prize-winner for 2000 says, "the universe in some sense must have known we were coming."
    If the nineteenth century's understanding of the universe had been at today's level we would have avoided the entire "death of God" phase of Western history.

    Here are somemore facts concerning the perfect balance of our universe for life to exist:
    1. 21% of gases are oxygen. If it was 25% fires would break out spontaneously around the globe. If it were 15% higher life would suffocate.
    2. If protons were not almost exactly 1,836 times heavier than electrons molecules would not be able to form and there would be no chemistry, no life and no one to wonder why.
    3. The position and angle of the earth is set. A few degrees closer we disintegrate. A few degrees away we become a frozen rock.
    4. The 23 degree axis of the earth provides equal distribution of sun and makes possible the food chain.
    5. The atomic clock is the most accurate time instrument we have invented. They are accurate up to within 3 seconds a millennium. We use the rotation of the stars to set and chech these clocks.
    6. After 150 years of study, fossil records are beginning to agree with scripture's account that life forms appeared abruptlly with no transitional forms.
    Scientist today who reject the concept of God scramble to craft alternative explanations for the obvious existence of God. They have come up with a variety of ways to explain how life and the universe came into existence without God. Each of their reasons agrees with Romans 1:21,22: "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools." Here is what the fools in science are saying:
    1. There are "many worlds" and infinite universes. The odds are one would produce life eventually. We were the lucky universe. (Now, if that is good science then the lottery is a logical thing to invest in.)
    2. The zillions of universes are like bubbles in foam. Each one contains more and more little bubbles. (To believe this takes more faith (more blind faith) than any religious explanation. Thus, we see that this phase of science has entered the realm of religion. )
    3. All possible states of a quantum interaction have to be actualized, so that slightly different versions of our universe are constantly splitting off - creating a near-infinitude of new universes every moment. (One scientists points out that this statement is not science when he says, "Invoking an infinitude of unobservable universes to explain the one observable univers is a grotesque violation." Remember science is based in observation.)
    4. Life must have been sent here in a spaceship from a dying civilization and perhaps just the astronauts bacteria survived the journey. Two physicists conclude that just the genetic material was sent here in the first place. Both of these last two ideas come from scientists who have earned Nobel prizes and discovered natural laws. (With this kind of science we are clearly headed back into the dark ages. Bring your flashlights!)
    "The Evolution of Man Mathematically Disproved" by William A. Williams in 1925
    • The Old Testament has been recorded and preserved accurately.
    • Higher Criticism has technical sounding arguments against the Old Testament but they can be refuted with logic and evidence.
    • Understand JEPD and its false assumptions.
    • Jesus embraced a literal and historical understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures.
    • It is reasonable to conclude there is a God.
    • The Christian God revealed in Scripture has the same characteristics as the Creator of our universe has.
    • Nature and Scripture always agree. Science and theology may disagree.
    OTHER SITES with more information concerning OT authenticity: (back to the top)
     
    BOOKS from Galyn's Shelf: (back to the top)
    "Early Manuscripts and Modern Translations of the New Testament" by Philip Wesley Comfort
    "How We Got the Bible" by Neil R. Lightfoot
    "Books and Their Makers in the Middle Ages" by Geo. Haven Putnam
    "Light from the Ancient East" by Adolf Deissmann

    QUESTIONS (back to the top)
    Does archeology confirm the Old Testament's accuracy?
    What is the Masoretic Text?
    What are some of names of the text forms or translations that preserve the ancient Old Testament?
    Give examples of how Jesus used the Old Testament as historical.
    What do these theories of the origin of the universe all have in common: Big Bang, Oscillation Theory and Static Universe?
    How does cause (cosmological) and design (teleological) reasoning prove the existence of a God?
    Give an example of science being proved wrong by the Scriptures.
    Give an example of theology or scriptural interpretation being proved wrong by a scientific discovery.
    TAKE THE TESTS
    Chapter Tests:
    Sect A, Ch 4 -
    Authenticity of the Old Testament

    Sect A, Ch 5 -
    Philosophical Proof for Existence of God

    Sect A, Ch 6 - Scientific Proof

    Pretty nice bite of information here!

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