The bible has proven to be a reliable and inspired book for hundreds of years, for billions of people everywhere . It has given the only accurate information about God himself and how he views his creation and the human race in particular.
After Jesus ascended to heaven the bible records that the gospel message was preached everywhere as he had directed. As the number of Christians grew and they gathered to worship, there was a need for leaders to teach about the new faith. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection a new covenant was established to replace the old. This New Covenant needed to be taught to new converts and the written manuscripts played an important role.
The initial leaders were the early apostles and those they had mentored. Some of them wrote letters which were circulated among the churches. As time progressed the doctrines of the church were established. Christian history seems to suggest that these writings began to form the New Testament by the year 200 A.D.. These letters were given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. No one particular person decided what should be included in the bible, but rather various church leaders and those who attended church councils.
When Constantine became Emperor he wanted better control of his Empire. There was friction and disagreements from some Christian leaders, so to solve this problem he called what is known as the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. The Church called another council in 397 A.D.,the Council of Carthage, and it was at this council that determined what books would be included in the bible and is the bible we have today.
Once the Canon was closed in 397 A.D. no new writings, or thoughts could become part of the New Testament. Since then there have been many translations of the New Testament, slightly different from one another because of language, culture, country and ruler preference, but what is important is that the doctrines in all the different translations, right to our present day, have remained the same. This is witness to the care that was taken by scribes and modern-day scholars to maintain the integrity of the Christian scriptures.
The Old Testament was originally written on leather or papyrus beginning with the time of Moses and through to the time of Malachi. The oldest copy of the Old Testament was about 900 AD until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Qumran area, some seven miles south of Jericho and fairly near the Dead Sea. In 1947 a Bedouin shepherd was in search of his animal. While doing so he threw a little rock into a cave and heard a tinkling sound, so investigated. Inside he found a number of containers with scrolls in them.
Archaeologically this was a notable discovery because part of it was a complete manuscript of the book of Isaiah. It was dated back to about 300 B.C. to 70 A.D. When the newly found Isaiah manuscript was compared to the oldest Isaiah, in the 900 A.D. Old Testament, there were no differences or errors. This is important because it shows how carefully the scribes had copied one manuscript from another. This, one can conclude would also be true for the entire Old Testament and the New Testament. Further, this refutes the claims of critics that the bible has errors in it, is not inspired, and is not God’s word. Christian scriptures alone explain that Jesus’ death and resurrection can lead to eternal life if we ask for forgiveness of our sins.
You can see the caves where manuscripts were discovered by entering, “Qumran Caves”.
In the same area where the caves are located there was a settlement of religious people called the Essenes. Historians say that in 70 A.D. a Roman army was about to invade their territory, so in order to protect their many religious manuscripts, they hid them in the caves where they were preserved for hundreds of years, and now have become very important for bible scholars and historians. See, ‘Essenes Settlement Image’ in your computer.
The Israeli government has built a museum in Jerusalem where the recently discovered Isaiah manuscripts are on display. The humidity in the museum is carefully controlled because the manuscripts are fragile. Water is sprayed on the roof to maintain the humidity inside at a certain level. The manuscript, as stated above, is not different from any other Isaiah manuscript. Obviously the scribes took great care as they copied manuscripts. This manuscript is viewable if you enter in your computer, ‘Isaiah Manuscript Museum Images’.
The manuscripts from the past and those most recent are in agreement. However some bible scholars suggest that Mark 16:9-20 may have been added to the original. If it was added later it is of little consequence because it does not change any doctrines.
Critics of the bible say you can’t trust the bible because in it are contradictions. Evidence, however, does not support this accusation. An author, John W. Haley, authored a book “Alleged discrepancies of the Bible,” many years ago. Another more recent book is by Archer Gleason, in “Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties”. Currently there are writers on the internet who have addressed this issue and show that these ‘contradictions’ are not a problem as suggested by critics. On the web see the following sites. “101 ‘Cleared- up’ Contradictions in the Bible,” by Jay Smith, Alex Chowdhry, Toby Jepsen, James Schaeffer and edited by Craig Winn. “101 ‘Contradictions’ in the Bible,” by Mathew Elton. “What Do the Scriptures Say?,” by Mike Scott. Of course there are other books and websites that also address this question.
Information from the past, and present, tells about the significance of the bible. In some countries where Christianity is forbidden and ridiculed, people have no hope for the present or the future. They wonder why they are here and what will happen to them when they die. No hope is found in the Communist Manifesto, the Human Manifestos, the Atheist Bible or the Satanic Bible. The only bible that offers hope is the Christian bible because it tells of Jesus birth, death and resurrection.
Wherever you are in the world, God knows where you are. You can ask God to forgive your sins and ask Jesus to be your Lord and friend. The bible says, “…. there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we can be saved.” (Acts 4 :12). The bible also says, “Most assuredly, I say to you he who believes in Me has everlasting life”. (John 6: 47). That person, of course, Is Jesus.
The bible is reliable. It was inspired when it was first written and it is still inspired today when you read it.
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