Tag Archives: Bible

Does 2 Peter 3:8 Mean the Earth is Old?

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8

Some use this verse to explain that the days in Genesis were long periods of time, not literal 24-hour days.  This verse, however, is not at all talking about the length of time during the Creation week.  It is in reference to Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”   The context in this verse is that of Jesus’ followers asking Peter when Jesus would return.  Scoffers at the time were mocking Christians because they were awaiting Jesus’ return, yet he had not returned.  Peter explained to the followers that God is outside of time as we understand it.  A day to God is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  In other words, the verse cancels itself out in regards to explaining and understanding time.

Imagine you watching a parade.  You may be at the beginning, middle, end, or somewhere in between.  You are in one place seeing only part of the parade.  Imagine God in a helicopter above you, getting a bird’s eye view of the entire parade at one time.  God is outside of time and space as we understand it.  

What was the significance of the printing press?

With the invention of the printing press, the Bible no longer had to be copied by hand.  That itself was a timely process and the final product was expensive due to low supply and high demand.  The printing press was first was created in Asia during the 5th century B.C.  In 1450, Johannes Gutenberg made improvements to increase the printing speed.  Mechanical printing allowed for better accuracy during the printing process, and copies could be made faster, thus allowing more people to obtain the Bible at a lower price.

 

Gutenberg’s printing press

 

Has the Bible been copied so many times that it has lost its true meaning?

Please refer to the article about prominent Bible translators.  When the English translators did their work, they used the best manuscripts available.  They always went back to the original source language, as opposed to just translating from one language to another and to another.  Now with technology, we can look at actual manuscripts on the Internet to see the original languages and translate from them.  Several Bible programs display the original text and languages, not to mention countless books and concordances. 

While there are many versions of the Bible today (NASB, HCSB, NIV, KJV, NKJV, etc.), they all teach basically the same thing.  There are very minor discrepancies between them.  For example, one sentence may say “The Lord Christ Jesus” while another says “Jesus Christ the Lord.”  It’s a matter of language syntax and the translator’s understanding of the text.  The translations are based on interpreting words with multiple meanings.  It is the reccomendation of RTG to purchase a parallel bible that shows four translations of the text. This will give you not only a better understanding and clarification of the text but also show you that different words can be used to portray the same meaning.  For more information about this topic, please see the following link: http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-translations.html

The below picture and link shows how words could become missing in later copies. 

Soucre: www.carm.org

 

How can we defend the Bible from secular attacks?

Skeptics enjoy attacking the Bible.  In fact, one skeptic has gone through the entire Bible and annotated his remarks about how the text is incorrect or he simply disagrees with it.  However, a Christian apologist has created an extensive rebuttal to each of these claims.  Follow the links to the Skeptics Annotated Bible and the Skeptics Annotated Bible: Corrected and Explained (Refutation).  Oftentimes, skeptics attack the Bible based on misunderstanding the text, not reading the passage in context, or they simply disagree with what is written.  The media, such as the Discovery Channel and History Channel, do nothing to help promote the infallibility of the Bible.  So called “scholars” are interviewed, but it is obvious that they are misinformed, under-educated, or purposely deceptive on Biblical topics.  Through the use of propaganda and poor historical research, the masses have been deceived into doubting the Bible and its credibility.

We as Christians should welcome questions that are asked about the Bible and use that opportunity to witness to others and defend our faith.  But we have to be equipped in order to do so.  There are many resources available to help answer the skeptic.  RTG suggests the book: The Big Book of Bible Difficulties  and a helpful apologetics website:  http://carm.org/bible-difficulties

How many copies of the New Testament are in existence today?

Compared to other ancient writings, there are many, many more copies of the New Testament than the others, thus giving us more reason to rely on the Bible’s accuracy.  Consider the following: There are 643 copies in existence of Homer’s Illiad, and there were 500 years in between the original writing and the first copy.  There are 49 copies of Plato’s Tetralogies, and 1300 hundred years in-between the original writings and the first copy.  Of Aristotle’s works, there are only 7 copies, and 1400 years in-between the first writing and the first copy.

Now consider the New Testament.  There are 5, 686 copies in the Greek language (remember that the NT was originally written in Greek), and there are 19,284 copies of the NT written in other languages.  There is a maximum of only 50 years in-between the original writings and the first copy!

Due to the larger amount of Scripture copies in existence, it would be more reasonable to question the philosophers than the Bible, but instead we see the opposite.

 

Comparison of ancient texts with New Testament texts

 

What is the Apocrypha?

The Apocrypha is a collection of 13 books written after Malachi but before the New Testament.  It consists of many errors and contradictions, and it was never recognized by the Jewish people as God-breathed or inspired and therefore not included in their canon of scripture.  The Apocrypha can be used as a historical reference, but it cannot be used to add to Christian doctrine because of its errors and inaccuracies.

Who were some of the Bible translators?

Before delving into the history of the Bible, let’s first clarify some definitions.  Translation is the process of writing from one language into another (ex.: translator Hebrew into English).  In translation, words can change due to the nature of the language.  For example, in English, we say “I am hungry.”  In Spanish, one would say “Yo tengo hambre” which literally means “I I have hunger.”  We would expect to find such changes in the Bible as it pertains to each language, but the true meaning is not lost.  Transmission, on the other hand, is the process of copying the texts and preserving them so as to keep them for future generations.  This article pertains to both the process of transmission and translation.

The Masoretic Scribes were known for their meticulous method of carefully copying the scriptures by hand, and it was from these copies that we get today’s Bible translations.  The following is a brief history of how we got the Bible from the Masoretes into today’s languages.

In the year of 382 A.D., Pope Damasus requested to have the Bible written in Latin.  At this time in history, Latin was the common language and before it that, the common language was Greek.  Pope Damasus enlisted a man named Jerome to translate the Septuagint Old Testament and Greek New Testament into Latin.  After his work was completed, the Latin Vulgate was used as the Bible from the 4th century until the 15th century.  It was called Vulgate because it was written in the common language of the people, or, the “vulgar” language.  The Catholic Church at that time was in great opposition to the Bible being translated for the common man to read.  This opposition proved to be a snare to future translators.

The Vulgate became corrupted over time, and English was becoming the common language while Latin was fading away, so John Wycliffe, a Catholic priest, translated the Latin Vulgate into English.  Wycliffe wanted everyone to have access to God’s Word despite what the ruling Catholic Church wanted.  The Wycliffe Bible was used for the next century.  A side note: Thirty years after Wycliffe’s death, his body was exhumed and his bones were burned and thrown into a river.

John Wycliffe

William Tyndale, another Catholic priest, translated the New Testament from Greek into English in 1525.  He finished his work of translating the Pentateuch in 1530 but was not able to finish the entire Old Testament because he was hanged in 1536.  Other translators who were contemporaries of Tyndale continued the translation work, but because of persecution at the hands of Queen “Bloody” Mary, they fled to Geneva, Switzerland and created the Geneva Bible in 1560, which was used by the Pilgrims and Puritans when they migrated to America.

 

William Tyndale

 

In 1604, King James appointed 54 scholars of Biblical languages to work in groups and translate the Bible into English.  They used the best manuscripts and commentaries available.  After each translation was finished, they consulted among the other groups to determine how to answer any questions they had with the translations.  In 1611, the first copy of the KJV was created.  It went through many changes to fix errors, some caused by careless printing companies while others were from spelling errors.  By 1769, the KJV had been through many revisions and finally provided an accurate translation.  For more information about the history of the Bible, RTG recommends the following book: Visual History of the English Bible.

 

King James

 

For an online article about the origin of the English translations, here is a link: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/05/03/bible-in-english

Who were the Masoretic Scribes?

 

Scribes at work

Until the printing press was invented, the Bible, and all writings for that matter, had to be hand copied.  The Bible was written on different types of materials, and over time they showed signs of wear and needed to be replaced.  The Masoretes were a group of Jewish scribes who produced new handmade copies of the Bible.  They held the Bible in high regard and understood it to be God’s Word; therefore they were compelled to carefully copy the Scriptures. 

The Masoretes used an intricate counting system to verify that they correctly copied the text.  The Hebrew and Greek languages have letters that also equal numbers.  When the scribe copied one line of text, the words actually had a numerical value.  The scribe could then add the sums on the older copy and compare it with that of the newer copy to verify that they had correctly written down the text.  The different translations of the Bible we have today are from the Masoretic copies.

What was the Bible originally written on?

 

Clay Tablet

Prior to the formation of books, the Bible and other writings were written on an assortment of materials. 

  •          Papyrus (papyrus plant)
  •          Parchment (animal skin)
  •          Vellum (calf skin)
  •          Ostraca (unglazed pottery)
  •          Stones
  •          Clay tablets
  •          Wax tablets

 

Papyrus Plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later in history, the Bible was written on papers and inserted into a Codex, which looks similar to a book.

Codex

What types of people were used to write the Bible?

The Bible was written by ordinary men called by God.  God spoke through them, and each person wrote according to the culture and style at the time, along with their own personal styles of writing.  Some writings are basic and to the point while others are more difficult to understand.  Below are some of the professions of the Bible’s authors:

  •          Physician (Luke)
  •          Herdsmen (Amos)
  •          Poet (David)
  •          Political Leader (Moses)
  •          Rabbi (Paul)
  •          Tax Collector (Matthew)
  •          Musician (Daniel)
  •          Kings (David & Solomon)
  •          Military leaders (Joshua)
  •          Cupbearer (Nehemiah)
  •          Prime minister (Daniel)
  •          Philosopher (Solomon)
  •          Fishermen (Peter)
  •          Prisoners (John)

 

For more information about the specific authors and when each of the books were written, please see the following link: http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-authors.html