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It always amazes me how many Christians I meet who don’t know what the Bible teaches. The Bible is the manual for the Christian life and is the revelation of God Himself, who we must love more than anything in order to be saved in the end. Matthew 10:37 Do we read the instructions for a new electronic device, which will wear out in three years or less and need replaced? How much more crucial it is to read and understand the information that will determine our eternal salvation or damnation and that of those we love.

It is dangerous to simply believe everything you hear from another person, even a preacher. We are all imperfect humans and make mistakes. God tells us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. Philippians 2:12 We alone are accountable to God for what we believe and how we live. We need to know what He has told us, so we can obey Him and will know when we are hearing lies.

Many people think the Bible is difficult to understand, so they don't try. Actually, it was written on a 6th grade level. Sure there are topics that are open to differing opinions, but the majority is easily understood, especially when you ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you as you study. The Rabbis of old said that scripture has 70 layers of meanings, so after we learn the obvious meaning of a passage, there is still a wealth of knowledge to be gained from further study, with His help.

I am going to "demystify" how to study the Bible in a few short, easy lessons in the hopes of encouraging you to explore the riches it holds for you. Look in the label cloud under "Christianity 101" for lessons you have missed and God bless your efforts! I'm always available to you in e-mail and I pray for everyone who visits here.

CHRISTIANITY 101 - Using Your Bible Lesson 12

How Did We Get The Bible?

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17

“Inspired” means “God breathed. Scripture is that which comes from God and is God's own Word. Scripture is the Word of God (not merely contains), as Jesus affirms in John 10:35.

The Bible is a compilation of works by more than 40 authors, written during a period of about 1,600 years, yet it is unified in spirit, outlook and inspiration. The authors had many different backgrounds. Some had exclusive education, others were farmers or fishermen who had never had any formal education. Some were soldiers, others were court officials. They didn't come from the same country, either. And each one had his own way of expressing himself, his own personality.

Because of all these differences, and especially the time difference, they couldn't possibly get together to discuss what they were writing down. Yet THEY ALL AGREE in everything they wrote. The 40 different Bible writers are in complete agreement. They agree on:
-their record of history
-heir idea of what God is like
-their rules for living
-their view of man's sinfulness
-their prophecies of the future.

The earliest parts of the Bible were written in approximately 1500 B.C.; the most recent around A.D.100

The original languages of the Bible were Hebrew (Old Testament), Aramaic (a few scattered parts of the Old Testament), and Koine Greek (New Testament).

The word Bible is derived from a Greek word (biblos) referring to papyrus (in later Latin, biblia), and the word Testament from a Latin word (testari) meaning to witness.

At key points in early church history, church leaders met and tested the writings to determine which should be considered truly authoritative.

These books came to be called canonical, from the Greek word for a measuring stick (kanon); they later became what we today know as the Bible. The Bible is composed of 66 books (39 Old Testament, 27 New Testament).

The early Christian church did not "decide" what books were authoritative, but they did recognize the unique nature of the works that we know as the New Testament. In his Easter letter to his congregations in A.D. 367. Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria, Egypt, listed the 27 New Testament books as "divine" and called them "springs of salvation." In A.D. 397, at Carthage in North Africa, a church council met (with Augustine in attendance) and confirmed the canon of the New Testament. After that, very little significant discussion about which books belonged in the Bible took place until Reformation times. The Holy Spirit, who inspired the writers of Scripture, also guided the Christian church to identify which books are, in fact, part of the canon.

The canon of the New Testament (the list of books considered to be Holy Scripture) was shaped by several factors: the desire to know about Jesus and His teachings, the need to fight heresy and persecution, and for use in worship services. Ultimately, as with the Old Testament, the books that became the New Testament impressed their readers as being different, special, and having the "ring of truth" about them. Most of the New Testament books are connected to an apostle as well (Mark is associated with Peter, Luke with Paul).

Although no original copy of any of the writings that comprise the New Testament has survived, there exist more than 4,500 Greek manuscripts of all or part of the text, plus some 8,000 Latin manuscripts and at least 1,000 other versions into which the original books were translated. Careful study and comparison of these many copies has given us an accurate and trustworthy New Testament. The oldest fragment of the New Testament is 125 AD. (From www.bible.org)

The Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) canonized around 300 B.C.

The entire New Testament as we know it today was canonized around 375 A.D.

The first translation of the Bible made into English was in 1382 A.D., by John Wycliffe.

The Bible was first printed in 1454 A.D. by Johannes Gutenberg who invented the "type mold" for the printing press. It was the first book ever printed and still today is the top selling book in history.

There is a list of the books of the Bible near the front of most Bible. It shows the abbreviations for each book’s name.

The Dead Sea Scrolls:
A number of leather, papyrus and copper scrolls dating from 100 B.C to 135 A.D. containing partial texts of some of the books of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and some non-Biblical scrolls, in Hebrew and Aramaic and including apocryphal writings, commentaries, hymns and psalms; found in caves near the Dead Sea beginning in 1947. They are believed to be part of a library of strict Jewish sect, the Essenes. The scrolls shed light on a type of Judaism that existed when Jesus lived and include the oldest known manuscripts of books of the Bible which have proven that we have accurate translations today.

(This lesson includes material from http://www.mtio.com, http://www.biblesociety.ca and http://www.beyondthisplanet.org)

Yesterday some people had difficulty downloading the PaperDolls. I've re-uploaded and here is a new link. It works fine for me - let me know if you have trouble. 4shared has messed up download counts for days and now this...pray for them so our freebies keep flowing! Go back to yesterday's post to download the PaperDolls.

Today I'm giving you this great Badge Frame. It's the style where you slide your photo in the clear front pocket. The woman in the sample is a random pic I got off the web.

If you download, leave me some love at the bottom of the post and God bless your use of it!
Link expired. Available in my PayPal store. E-mail me if you don't find it. Check out my TERMS OF USE here.
The password is jesuschristislord.

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