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Thread: How was the Bible formed?

  1. #1
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    How was the Bible formed?

    Last night at work my manager was telling me that the books of the bible have been translated so many times that they aren't even close to the original anymore. He said the book of Luke has a whole chapter that was added by the catholic church. I guess he is reading a book about how the bible was made...but he was basically saying that a lot of books got left out and the words in the bible have changed all due to power struggles and disagreements in the catholic church. He also was telling me how someone went searching for the first manuscripts and found hundreds of them all written in different languages and most of the books were written in Greek.

    All of this really upset me and I didn't even know how to respond because I had never heard any of this before. Can someone debunk some of these "facts" for me? I guess I need to do my own research of how the bible was formed but I want to hear it from christians..

  2. #2
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    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    We have manuscripts thousands of years old.

    http://www.codex-sinaiticus.net/en/

    Here is a link to one.

    We also have the dead sea scrolls...(written in Hebrew)

    Both of these as well as all of the other ancient texts and recieved texts (from the catholic church) show one thing together.

    That the bible we read is indeed very accurate and very much reflects what was originally written thousands of years ago.

    The "changes" that your associate is discussing are so minor it is laughable. The meanings of the passages have never been changed. Not in anyone's accredited bible.

    The few groups that have gone on to change the bible drastically into meaning something other than it's original intent are very much fringe groups that are denounced by all reputable scholars worldwide.
    (Jehovah witnesses and etc)

    The link I have provided you has a copy of the Septuagent or LXX. It was the Hebrew Bible that was translated by seventy scholars in seventy days into greek for a population of Jews that lived outside of Israel who couldn't read their own bible. Those that lived in Israel proper could read Hebrew and spoke aramaic.

    But...also to address another of your original questions...

    The Bible was originally written in four languages.

    Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Ancient Latin.
    Many confuse the Ancient Latin with Greek (they share the same alphabet) but Latin (as does any language) went through many changes before it died. It is similar in nature as Hebrew and Aramaic are similar to each other.

    We have less evidence as to Plato's Republic being written out and translated accurately than the Bible but yet no one seems to want to argue about it's original intent now do they?
    Maybe it is because if the bible is really the book it claims to be...then you really need to really know what it really says. And since it was written thousands of years ago based upon ancient civilizations as a backdrop...some real anthropology studies and lessons need to occur simultaneously while reading the bible to really understand the action in the scriptures.

  3. #3

    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by 36grit View Post
    Along with the books in the Bible, my church has cannonized the books: Enoch, The Gospel of Thomas, The unknown Gospel, The United States and Great Britan in Prophecy, Drum, and ofcourse the most powerful book of all, the one written by the believer within.
    Um. What? What church is that? Those books have not been recoginized as Canon as far as I know. Never even heard of them except for Enoch and Thomas.

  4. #4

    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by riotgrrrl582 View Post
    Last night at work my manager was telling me that the books of the bible have been translated so many times that they aren't even close to the original anymore.
    We translate from the original languages...
    Ignorant people that like to slam the Bible assume we go from Hebrew-Greek-Latin-German-Spanish-English or something... It's not true.
    For the OT we go from the original Hebrew (or bits of Aramaic) to English. For the NT we go from the original Greek to English.

    So his argument is flawed from the start.

    Secondly, we have thousands of manuscripts thousands of years old, and they all match nearly perfectly. Most all errors between manuscripts are grammar and duplicated letters or words (expected when hand-copying something), nothing of which changes the original meaning.

    The Bible is *the* oldest and most accurate book we've got. We have only four copies of some of Plato's works, with errors, and we take them as 100% accurate, but the Bible has thousands of manuscripts and extremely high accuracy level and yet some people will question THAT and not Plato.


    I'm betting he won't question the OT authenticity. So dealing with the NT and how we assembled the Bible... Ask yourself this: Are the words we have inspired?
    Look at the original church, everyone at the time of Christ sure thought that what we've got is inspired. So in my opinion, if what we've got is inspired, no need to question what's in there, right?
    You *could* question what *could* have been inspired but didn't get included... But honestly that's a large discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by riotgrrrl582 View Post
    He said the book of Luke has a whole chapter that was added by the catholic church.
    I've never heard that before, but the Catholic church was a burden to Christianity, not a help. Luther's 99 Thesis helps prove this... The Catholic church WAS (and IMO still is) a corrupt organization. No argument there.

    Quote Originally Posted by riotgrrrl582 View Post
    I guess he is reading a book about how the bible was made...but he was basically saying that a lot of books got left out and the words in the bible have changed all due to power struggles and disagreements in the catholic church. He also was telling me how someone went searching for the first manuscripts and found hundreds of them all written in different languages and most of the books were written in Greek.
    Sounds like he's reading a Dan Brown book, LOL... Literally make up "facts" because controversy sells copies, right?

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    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by -SEEKING- View Post
    Um. What? What church is that? Those books have not been recoginized as Canon as far as I know. Never even heard of them except for Enoch and Thomas.
    I have read these books he is referring to...they are interesting reads but are absolutely not scripture.

    Jesus never kissed Mary. He didn't have sex with Mary...
    The Book of Enoch fails every test of cannonicity by it's own confession with anyone who knows any of the basic laws of Cannon.

    No one ever has thought to ever include the other two books this guy mentions...I expect we will be reading about his cult in a time life article eventually.

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    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDB View Post
    I have read these books he is referring to...they are interesting reads but are absolutely not scripture.

    Jesus never kissed Mary. He didn't have sex with Mary...
    The Book of Enoch fails every test of cannonicity by it's own confession with anyone who knows any of the basic laws of Cannon.

    No one ever has thought to ever include the other two books this guy mentions...I expect we will be reading about his cult in a time life article eventually.
    What?! No Apocrypha or Pseudepigrapha? Epistle of Barnabus? What about the Matrix Trilogy and Silence of the Lambs?

  7. #7

    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by PneumaPsucheSoma View Post
    What?! No Apocrypha or Pseudepigrapha? Epistle of Barnabus? What about the Matrix Trilogy and Silence of the Lambs?
    As funny and clever as this is, let's help out the OP. She has a legitimate question.

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    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by PneumaPsucheSoma View Post
    What?! No Apocrypha or Pseudepigrapha? Epistle of Barnabus? What about the Matrix Trilogy and Silence of the Lambs?
    Not unless "Dude, Where's My Car" Gets an Oscar.
    And I am going to be adamant about that too.

  9. #9

    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by riotgrrrl582 View Post
    How was the Bible formed?
    I'd like to recommend a really good book that address this issue. It's called "Evidence That Demands A Verdict". It's a book by Josh McDowell. He was once an atheist who sought out to disprove the bible, only to find the evidence overwhelming. It's not an easy book to read, but it's loaded with great info.

  10. #10

    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by riotgrrrl582 View Post
    Last night at work my manager was telling me that the books of the bible have been translated so many times that they aren't even close to the original anymore. He said the book of Luke has a whole chapter that was added by the catholic church....
    Here's an expanded version of a timeline I posted elsewhere:

    Around 200 BC (give or take) -- Hebrew OT translated into Greek (this translation is called the Septuagint, and was widely used in NT times -- it's usually what's being quoted by NT writers)

    150 BC to 50 AD -- Dead Sea Scrolls, including versions of the OT in the original Hebrew (a few parts of the OT are in Hebrew letters, but in the Aramaic language)

    40-90 AD -- NT written (in Greek). About 85% of what we now call the NT was widely agreed on from the beginning: the 4 Gospels, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles. Some of the other books are not distributed across the whole Roman empire, though.

    90 AD onwards -- letters by early Christians which have been preserved (we can tell from what they quote what they thought the Bible was -- see, for example, Clement to the Corinthians).

    130 AD -- oldest manuscript fragment of the NT (part of one page of John: see here).

    144 AD -- Marcion the Gnostic is excommunicated. The so-called "other gospels" mentioned by Dan Brown are written after this time. Around 180 AD Saint Irenaeus writes his book Against Heresies criticising Gnostic ideas, defending Christianity, and saying that the traditional 4 Gospels are the only ones.

    180 AD -- the Muratorian Canon (in Rome): the oldest explicit list of NT books. Missing are Hebrews, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 3 John, and James. Hebrews and 1 Peter were accepted by Christians in Egypt, though.

    about 200 AD onwards -- many, many manuscripts of NT books (see partial list here). The Greek NT used today has been put together by comparing ancient manuscripts like these, and modern English translations of the NT use that Greek NT.

    324 AD -- the Christian emperor Constantine takes control of the whole Roman empire. There is now no persecution of Christians anywhere in the Empire.

    325 AD -- Constantine calls the Council of Nicaea. Three hundred or so bishops from around the Empire (travelling safely at last!) mainly address the question "Is Jesus God?" and produce the Nicene Creed. Some aspects of church services are standardised: prayer should be done standing, not kneeling (we have the list of decisions taken). Contrary to what some people say, the Council doesn't "decide on the Bible", although some Christians still have doubts about some books, like Hebrews (nobody seems to know who wrote it).

    350 AD -- Codex Sinaiticus (oldest complete Bible, including Septuagint and NT and two additional Greek books written after 100 AD: "The Shepherd" by Hermas and the "Epistle of Barnabas") -- see online photographs and translation at http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/

    367 AD -- first list of NT books agreeing exactly with our NT (in a letter by Saint Athanasius). By this stage doubts about certain books have been resolved, and "The Shepherd" and the "Epistle of Barnabas" are seen not to be Scripture.

    400 AD -- The Vulgate Latin translation by Jerome, which replaced older Latin translations. The Vulgate was the official Bible during the Middle Ages, but modern Protestant translations are not based on it.

    900 AD -- Masoretic Text: oldest Hebrew manuscripts (not counting the Dead Sea Scrolls). Comparison with the Dead Sea Scrolls indicates that this was preserved accurately by the Jewish community. This is the Hebrew OT used today, and modern English translations translate from the Masoretic Text (with footnotes if the Septuagint differs).

    In summary:

    Original Hebrew OT -> Masoretic Text -> modern OT translations

    Original Greek NT -> many, many ancient manuscripts -> modern NT translations
    Last edited by Radagast; Aug 15th 2010 at 09:55 AM.

  11. #11

    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by riotgrrrl582 View Post
    He said the book of Luke has a whole chapter that was added by the catholic church.
    I'm not aware of any major disputed section in Luke. The largest disputed section I'm aware of is Mark 16:9-20, which is present in some ancient manuscripts but missing in others. Sounds to me like he's gotten his facts confused.

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    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by riotgrrrl582 View Post
    Last night at work my manager was telling me that the books of the bible have been translated so many times that they aren't even close to the original anymore. He said the book of Luke has a whole chapter that was added by the catholic church. I guess he is reading a book about how the bible was made...but he was basically saying that a lot of books got left out and the words in the bible have changed all due to power struggles and disagreements in the catholic church. He also was telling me how someone went searching for the first manuscripts and found hundreds of them all written in different languages and most of the books were written in Greek.

    All of this really upset me and I didn't even know how to respond because I had never heard any of this before. Can someone debunk some of these "facts" for me? I guess I need to do my own research of how the bible was formed but I want to hear it from christians..
    First of all, anyone that doesn't believe God can preserve His word has no authority to comment on it. But then, it's not like your manager is a believer, so....

    Also, anyone that has exhausted Scripture knows it is perfect and does not contradict, and that man could not achieve such perfection. This excludes your manager as well.

    Concerning the post after yours (codex-sinaiticus), an important factor is "thousands of years old". That's completely irrelevant because the accusation is 'not close to the original', and we do not have any original. A manuscript from 300 ad is not at all necessarily any closer to the original as a manuscript from 900 ad, because we do not know the source/s of either. Cold hard fact modern trans lovers have to face is that older is not automatically better. To anyone that is considering the validity of a manuscript, age alone is not a factor.

    Another thing, we consider NT quotes in Greek of OT Hebrew, Scripture, do we not? Yes we do. So we have a translation from one language to another, and we call it Scripture. Timothy learned Scripture from a child, not from originals, but copies. What language/s? It is strongly argued that Jesus quoted from a translation of the Hebrew. There is nothing wrong with copies and translations in other languages. The question is, is integrity of the source and the context and meaning maintained, and how do we know if we don't have the source?

    The question is not what did the Catholics do? The proclamation is, look what God has done!

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    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    The books of the bible we have today are almost exactly the same as they were the day they were written. I believe the Holy Spirit preserves God's word.

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    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by nzyr View Post
    The books of the bible we have today are almost exactly the same as they were the day they were written. I believe the Holy Spirit preserves God's word.
    Do you mean in their original form or in their translated form as well? I’m not sure if it’s what the OP was asking but it’s certainly the question which this thread has raised in my mind; As Christians, we believe the Holy Scripture, in its original form, to be the inerrant, God Breathed , word of God. That God himself guided its writers’ pens, but do you also believe that he guided the pens of its translators? Might there be errors contained in my NIV resultant of the men who translated it. YHWY vs. Jehovah comes to mind.

    In additon to the excellent references alread offered, I wanted to reccoment this little program: ISA

    ISA is short for Interlinear Scripture Analyzer and is a program which allows you to view side by side (actually one over the other) versions of scripture in English, Ancient Greek/Hebrew, Modern Greek/Hebrew, Strongs, etc. I used it mostly to refute translations such as the Jehovah Witnesses' NWT which I believe to be intentionally mis-translated. It's a great resource.



    Riotgrrrl582, the Catholic bible is different from the ones used by evangelical Christians mainly do the inclusion of a group of texts know as the Apocrypha, which was included in their bible by the Council of Trent in 1546. It includes 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon), Baruch, Tobit, Judith, and additions to Daniel and Esther, but not Luke to my knowledge. There are numerous reasons for their rejection including; they are never referred to by Jesus, they have no valid prophecy, they were rejected by the Jewish community – the very community that God had entrusted (Rom. 3:2) to maintain the Canonical law, they contained historical errors (such as in the book of Judith (Judith 1:5) where Nebuchadnezzar was incorrectly identified as the king of the Assyrians when he was actually the king of the Babylonians) and finally because they contain numerous false teaching such as:
    Might this be what your manager is talking about? If so, then in my view he is somewhat correct. It is a very large distortion of the original Cannon. But that is the Catholic bible and not the one, I hope, you are reading. Scholars may disagree on the translation of specific words when translating a bible into English for instance, or any other language. When I have a quetion about the distinction between two versions, I use a resource like ISA and decide for myself. The original texts remain intact and unchanged and are the very words of our Heavenly Father.
    "The greatest single cause of atheism in the
    world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus
    with their lips then walk out the door and deny
    Him by their lifestyles. That is what
    an unbelieving world simply
    finds unbelievable."

    ~ Brennan Manning

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    Re: How was the Bible formed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gypsy View Post
    Do you mean in their original form or in their translated form as well? Iím not sure if itís what the OP was asking but itís certainly the question which this thread has raised in my mind; As Christians, we believe the Holy Scripture, in its original form, to be the inerrant, God Breathed , word of God. That God himself guided its writersí pens, but do you also believe that he guided the pens of its translators?
    Sirus wrote: "Another thing, we consider NT quotes in Greek of OT Hebrew, Scripture, do we not? Yes we do. So we have a translation from one language to another, and we call it Scripture."

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