The formation of the Bible began with the 10 Commandments
In ancient times, the stories of God were passed down through generations by word of mouth. The recording of all the books in the Old Testament took hundreds of years.
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Once they were all written down, the process of collecting them all together probably began around BC. Different Christian communities have, through history, come to different decisions about which books belong in the Old Testament.
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They have all accepted the 39 books in the Old Testament that form the Hebrew Bible of the Jewish people. Catholic Christians also use an additional seven books, plus some extra material in the books of Daniel and Esther. Orthodox Christians accept ten or more additional books as well as the additional material in Daniel and Esther.
The printing press eventually made the Bible more accessible to all. This is a copy of the Guttenberg Bible, one of the first books ever printed. What about the Gospel of Thomas? Keep in mind that there are dozens of writings claiming to be Christian gospels along the lines of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
But very few copies of these rival "gospels" exist. The Gospel of Thomas, of which there are references to more than one version, has distinctly Gnostic influences. In short, the Gnostics believed that the flesh is bad, but the spirit is good. As a result, they denied that Jesus truly came in the flesh, a position the early church countered by writings such as 1 John.
Thomas also presents Jesus doing some things very much out of character.
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In one passage, for example, Jesus causes a boy to wither die. It's also important to keep in mind that these additional "gospels" appear in the historical record long after the New Testament manuscripts, making these "lost" gospels highly suspect not only in reference to their content, but their reliability.
Stories and claims about other "gospels" raise important questions about the transmission and translation of the Bible or any historical record. If the record of transmission is poor, then the record we have is highly suspect.
But if the record of transmission is rich, having a variety of manuscript copies for instance, then we have cause for trusting the reliability of the record. InterVarsity Press, Not only do we have thousands of manuscript copies, as well as thousands more fragments or portions of the New Testament, but in comparing the New Testament copies we have today in various languages with those available centuries ago we can see the message remains intact. Errors or changes are slight, known as variants, and do not change any central belief of Christianity.
When it comes to transmission and translation, then, we can indeed trust the documents.
But isn't it possible to have an accurately transmitted record that is still just a human invention? That's where inspiration comes in. The word "inspire" comes from the Latin, meaning to breathe on or into. As Geisler and Nix write, "… inspiration is the process by which Spirit-moved writers recorded God-breathed writings.
How did we get the Old Testament?
This book provides an excellent overview of how we got the Bible, covering many topics in great detail. Inspiration means that human writers were inspired by God and moved by the Holy Spirit to record accurately what God wanted them to preserve. It does not mean God took control of people in the sense of some occult practices known as automatic writing, where the writer is in a trance-like state. It also doesn't mean the writers of the Bible were simply taking dictation. But it does mean that their words were divinely inspired and recorded.
Where Did The Bible Come From?
The Bible was written by real people, living in real places, recording real historical events, and also communicating God's real truths. Now the question remains about how the Christian church ultimately put the parts of the Bible together. This really relates to the New Testament, as the Old Testament was already accepted and codified in the books accepted by the Jewish people as divinely inspired. But following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ around 33 A.