Where the Early Church Got the Bible

by | Sep 24, 2018 | Bible Study

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of the Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. For no prophecy at any time was produced by the will of man, but holy men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet. 1:20-21).

How did we get the Bible? Can we be sure that our Bible today is the same as what God inspired to be written? Here’s the fascinating story of how the Bible got from God to us

As New Testament scholar Daniel B. Wallace has said, “Before the year 1881, you had three choices for an English Bible translation: the KJV, the KJV or the KJV.” In our day, we are tremendously blessed to have a variety of English Bible translations that we can access easily. With so many to choose from, however, it’s helpful to understand why multiple translations exists, what’s the difference between them and how we came to have any Scripture in our language at all.

Many volumes have been written to explain the miraculous and fascinating process necessary for the Bible’s existence. To summarize, I’ll explain the five-step process that has occurred for you to read the Bible:

  1. Revelation
  2. Transmission
  3. Translation
  4. Interpretation
  5. Application

The story of how the Bible got to us from God is a captivating one, and it begins with revelation.

1. Revelation

Revelation is the miraculous event whereby God revealed himself and his truth to someone and inspired them, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to write down what he had to say—perfectly (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:19–21). This original copy is called the autograph.

By comparing the ancient manuscripts, we find that the vast majority of the variations between them are minor elements of spelling, grammar and style, or accidental omissions or duplications of words or phrases. Overall, 97 to 99 percent of the New Testament can be reconstructed beyond any reasonable doubt, and not one Christian doctrine is founded solely or even primarily on disputed passages.

Remarkably, the Scripture quoted in the works of the early Christian writers (mostly A.D. 95–150) are so extensive that virtually the entire New Testament can be reconstructed from quotations alone, except for 11 verses (mostly from 2 and 3 John).

Not one Christian doctrine is founded solely or even primarily on disputed passages.

Critics of the accuracy of the Bible routinely claim that it is in fact a series of fables and legends that have developed over hundreds of years, because there are not enough copies of ancient manuscripts to alleviate their skepticism. But a simple shepherd boy dealt a serious blow to their criticisms in 1947.

This boy wandered into a cave in the Middle East and discovered large pottery jars filled with leather scrolls that had been wrapped in linen cloth. Amazingly, the ancient copies of the books of the Bible were in good condition because they had been well sealed. What are now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls are made up of some 40,000 inscribed ancient fragments. From these fragments, more than 500 books have been reconstructed, including some Old Testament books, such as a complete copy of Isaiah.

2. Transmission

The next aspect of how we got our Bible is transmission. Transmission occurred when trained scribes carefully copied the manuscript so that other copies could be made available for people to read.

While these handwritten copies have the occasional minor error in punctuation or spelling, called variants, they were accepted as accurate and authoritative by God’s people (for example, Deut. 17:18; see also 1 Kings 2:3, Ezra 7:1, Neh. 8:8).

For example, the apostles, who were the senior leaders in the early church, taught from copies of the books of the Bible (Acts 17:2, 18:8), and the early church tested all teachings against the existing scrolls (Acts 17:11). Furthermore, Jesus himself taught from copies of the books, not the autographs, and treated them as authoritative (e.g., Matt. 12:3–5; 21:16, 42; Luke 4:16–21, 10:26). God’s people have always relied on manuscripts, and these writings have proven to be accurate and trustworthy.

Tragically, opponents of Scripture have attacked its trustworthiness by falsely stating that our current English translations are built upon poorly transmitted copies. However, the bibliographical test of Scripture flatly refutes this false argument. This test determines the historicity of an ancient text by analyzing the quantity and quality of copied manuscripts, as well as how far removed they are from the time of the originals. In the next devotional, we will examine this fact in greater detail.

Have you ever read ancient literature such as Aristotle, Plato or Homer? Have you ever considered that you are reading from translations of the copies of the original manuscripts and that we have to trust such work anytime we read ancient literature? {eoa}

Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor and the author of many books, including Spirit-Filled Jesus, which you can preorder here. He currently pastors The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his family. For all of pastor Mark Driscoll’s Bible teaching, please visit markdriscoll.org or download the app.

Click here to get a free devotional e-book from Pastor Mark Driscoll.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Why America Must Adopt the Battle Cry of Isaiah

Why America Must Adopt the Battle Cry of Isaiah

A battle cry is used to summon armies to war. A loud, unified shout could intimidate the strongest of enemies. Confidence in battle often tilts the scale toward victory, whereas timidity, fear and cowardliness will surely lead to defeat. In these dreadful times, don’t...

Intentionally Raising a Godly Generation

Intentionally Raising a Godly Generation

Debbie put her faith in Christ at age 11. In fact, her whole family met Jesus at just about the same time. As her parents began growing in their faith, they nurtured growth in their children as well. Family Bible reading, prayer and talking about God’s leading in...

Dream Big: How to Cultivate Divine Revelation While You Sleep

Dream Big: How to Cultivate Divine Revelation While You Sleep

Do you have any dreams from God that you have allowed to fall by the wayside? For some of you, it’s time to dream again. For some of you, it’s time to dust off your previous dreams. For some of you, it’s important to realize God is not late; He’s always on time. For...

Prophecy: God Is Bringing About Swift Turnarounds

Prophecy: God Is Bringing About Swift Turnarounds

In the month of August, God is bringing swift turnarounds so that your hard places will become a wide-open field. God is bringing about divine connections in order to strengthen the body of Christ. He is releasing faith for radical generosity, divine strategy to...

End-Times Truth: The Rapture Reveals a Split Church

End-Times Truth: The Rapture Reveals a Split Church

There are several resurrections and raptures in the Bible. I cannot understand those who argue that because there is no mention of the word "rapture" in the Bible they do not believe in it. They only believe in the Second Coming of the Lord. Some arguments are no...

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era The Lord first began speaking to me about the release of seven abilities...

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

Many years ago, Jesus went up on a mountain, sat down, and spoke to the group he was with: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all...

RECENT ARTICLES

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

In the past few years, the global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of many local churches. Friends from around the world have told me that many churches have closed their doors for good. Although...
The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

What does an authentic world-igniting revival look like? And, how are the seeds of revival planted? This we can learn from the life and work of William Joseph Seymour—God’s chosen vessel and apostle of the Azusa Street Revival.  Bishop William Joseph Seymour, was a...

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Once a year, I go to the doctor and get a check-up. And every time, one of the things they do is check my heart. A good thorough exam will reveal if there are any problems that need to be addressed before a heart condition arises. I believe we need to do the same...

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

The best way to grow in the prophetic is to look at the past. As backwards as that sounds, Revelation 19:10 tells us, “For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.” In other translations, this is said, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness...

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

As a professional counselor, I have consoled hundreds of Christians through some of the most horrific life circumstances. Along with experiencing my own trials in life, it has caused me to deeply ponder the words of Scripture that refer to how we must learn to live in...

Kingdom Economics: Who Do You Trust?

Kingdom Economics: Who Do You Trust?

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first of three estimates for second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Second-quarter inflation-adjusted (real) GDP fell at an annual rate of 0.9%, compared to a drop of 1.6% in the first quarter, and pre-report...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]