What is the history of the Holy Bible?
Unlike any other book ever written, the Holy Bible is compiled of writings that cover a span of about 1400 years and include some 40 writers. Within its pages are 66 books, yet it is considered one book, The Book, The Holy Scriptures, The Word of God. The time period recorded during those 1400 years covers nearly 4000 years of human history and God's revelation of Himself to and through man. The history of the Holy Bible is the history of God's involvement with mankind.
This 1400-year-period begins with the writings of Moses, the first five books of the Holy Bible. These writings include a time recorded prior to Moses' lifespan. It started out at the actual creation of the cosmos. By the time Moses completes the teachings found in Deuteronomy, we learn about the very beginning of mankind. The final writer was probably John when he was on the Isle of Patmos and wrote the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Between the days of Moses and John, a time period of about 14 centuries transpired, but the Holy Bible covers over 4000 years of history. It has been nearly 2000 years since the last of the writers lived. How could Moses have written about things that occurred before Adam? The same way the prophets could write about things that would occur hundreds and thousands of years later. The writers were penning God's Word under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God revealed things to them that would have been otherwise unknowable.
The Holy Bible is divided into two sections. All that was recorded prior to the birth of Jesus Christ is referred to as the Old Testament. A testament is a written account, proof, evidence, a record of events that took place. The Old Testament covers 39 books (in the Protestant Bible). About four hundred years passed from the writing of the last book in the Old Testament and the birth of Christ. These are referred to as the silent years. Four hundred years in which God did not speak through prophets. Some of the historical events that occurred during that period are recording in the Catholic Douay version of the Bible. These books are referred to as the Apocrypha. They fill in some of the 400 year period between the official canon of the Old Testament and the New Testament. It was the time of the Maccabees.
The silence was broken by a sudden appearance in the sky of the heavenly host announcing the birth of the promised one. The New Testament begins with the coming of Christ into the world as the prophesied Emmanuel (God with us) in the form of the baby of Mary, Jesus. God took on a body of human flesh. The New Testament is composed of 27 books and ushers in the church age. From the writings of Moses through the prophets and other Old Testament books, God worked exclusively through the children of Israel. Today they are referred to as the Jewish people. But the church opened up God's grace to whosoever would come. This includes non-Jews. It includes Gentiles of all nations and races.
The Old Testament points to the coming of the Promised Messiah. Woven through the Old Testament are prophesies concerning Him. The tenth chapter of Hebrews gives a good explanation for how the Old Testament and New Testament are woven from the same cloth. Both are about Christ. One testament looks toward His coming and the other records the fact of His coming into this world, fulfilling every Old Testament prophecy concerning His earthly ministry.
The Old Testament remained in Hebrew until c.280-150 B.C. when it was translated into Greek at Alexandria, Egypt. This was known as the Septuagint. The next language change occurred when Jerome (c. 383-405 A.D) translated the Holy Bible into the Latin Vulgate. This was used by the clergy for nearly 1000 years.
The first English translation was completed by John Wycliffe and soon after, King James authorized the English version that has come to be known as the King James Version. This was in 1611.
God has preserved the Bible from the first book of Genesis to the final book of Revelation. There are many translations but God has maintained His word faithfully through all the generations of scribes and translators. Jesus made this clear as recorded in Matthew 5:18: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (KJV). When He spoke this, the New Testament had not begun to be written and the Old Testament was all that existed. He declared that not so much as a stroke of the pen will be altered until all is fulfilled, referring to all prophecies recorded in the Old Testament.
The Bible is the only complete history book. All other history books record only the past. The history of the Holy Bible records the history of mankind from the beginning until the day this earth will pass away and a new heaven and a new earth will appear. It covers humanity from beginning to end. No other history book records future events. Only God possesses such knowledge. He is the Alpha and Omega. The I AM of eternity. The Bible is written in "time" from an eternal perspective. Only the Divine could have created this masterpiece.
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