Bible Written by The Holy Who? Was The Bible Assembled By Vote?
Bible Written by The Holy Who? Was The Bible Assembled By Vote?
Educative post for Muslims & Non-Muslims by Sheikh Yusuf Estes
▇ 40 AUTHORS & THE HOLY SPIRIT
Most modern day Christians claim the assembly of the Holy Bible is in fact, a Perfect Book, written by forty (40) authors, all being inspired by the Holy Spirit, and it has remained unchanged for thousands of years. I know, because when I was still a Christian, I used to believe the same thing.
However, this claim is not really from the Biblical scholars themselves, but rather by various laymen, being uneducated in the actual work of working with ancient documents and it promotes ignorance of the subject. When this is offered as some type of religious authority, it provides a deceptive and misleading presentation that is easily exposed as nonsense and could actually turn the believers of Christianity away from religion altogether.
▇ SERIOUS CHANGES OVER CENTURIES
The scholars of Canon of the Bible are quick to concede that the books we know in today’s Bible, both in the Old and in the New Testaments, have undergone very serious changes throughout the centuries. First year students of Biblical manuscripts will immediately acknowledge this is the undeniable case. The Dead Sea scrolls (actually know as Wadi Qumran scrolls) for example, are clear evidence to this fact without doubt. Although hidden from the public for over forty years after discovery, the facts have now come to light. These scrolls were not something recorded before the advent of Christ (peace be upon him). But rather, these are now accurately placed at the very time of the first century of the Christian Era (C.E.). These ancient manuscripts demonstrate a number of very different variations of scripture all being distributed all at the very same time. Some of these scrolls are noted by present day scholars to be even more accurate, more extensive and of much better quality than what we find in our Bibles today.
What is the Real History of this Book? – The Holy Bible?
Has the Bible always been, as claimed by some, the unchangeable, uncompromised – Word for word – Letter for letter – Dot for dot – Word of God, that we know today?
▇ REAL HISTORY
Let’s first consider the real history. For centuries there have been translations in and out of many different languages, too many to even number. My own library contains more than a dozen very different translations and I know of many more in the local Christian book store.
While many Christians would like to think the Bible they have on the coffee table, in their bookcase, hall closet (or in the bathroom) is the very same Bible used by the church for two thousand years, this is simply not true.
▇ ENGLISH BIBLE NOT EVEN 1,000 YEARS OLD
First and foremost, English must be ruled out as an authentic language for the Bible, as the English language did not even exist until after the Normans invaded the Saxxons in the Christian Era 1066 (C.E.) and that is not even one thousand years ago.
▇ PROTESTANT BIBLE EXISTED AFTER PROTESTANT REFORMATION
The Protestant Bible with its sixty six (66) books, did not exist until after there were Protestants. That may sound a bit humorus, yet many Christians today rely on the Protestant Bible as though it had come to them directly from the time of Jesus himself (peace be upon him).
▇ MANY MISTAKES OF 4TH CENTURY LATIN VULGATE
Actually, the Catholic Latin Vulgate is the Bible translated by Jerome in the Latin language. It dates back to the fourth century (C.E.) and is currently located in the Vatican in Rome. Irregardless of its value in antiquity, the evident mistakes and deviations from the older manuscripts make it more of a museum spectacle than a serious reference.
▇ CATHOLIC BIBLE HAS 73 BOOKS
The Catholic Bible has been comprised of seventy three (73) books for many centuries, athough from time to time, the Book of Revelations has come under question and been removed by one council or another and then replace by other councils at later dates.
▇ PROTESTANT BIBLE HAS 66 BOOKS
Most Protestant Christians seem to think their Bible of sixty six (66) existed for thousands of years. This is incorrect. This particular version cannot exit prior to the advent of Bishop Martin Luther and his followers, all within the last five hundred (500) years or so.
▇ DEBATES ABOUT BOOKS UNTIL 1647
The word ‘canon’ refers to specific writings that are accepted by the Church as being from the ‘Devine’ source (God). However, as to which books or writings are acceptable as canonical and which are not acceptable has been the subject of debates amongst the Judeo-Christian leaders for the last two millenium. As already mentioned, the Catholic Church has maintained over seventy (73) books in their version, while the Protestant verison limits the number to sixty six (66) and even then the Protestants did not agree on which books should be part and parcel o the Bible up until 1647, at the Assembly of Westminster.
▇ NEWLY ACCEPTED BOOKS
A few of the New Testament Books now accepted (but earlier rejected) include: Hewbrews, James, 1st Peter, 2nd Peter, 2 John, 3rd John, Jude and the book of Revelations.
▇ ORIGINALLY ACCEPTED BOOKS (BUT NO MORE)
At one time in earlier manuscripts we find as part of the New Testament canon (at that time) the inclusion of: Shepher of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, 1st Clement, 2nd Clement, Epistle to Laodiceans (by Paul) and the Apostolic Constitions.
▇ JEWS & CATHOLICS ACCEPT PROTESTANTS DO NOT
There are more than a dozen Books of the Old Testament accepted by some Jews and for the most part by Greek and Roman Catholic Churches, yet rejected by the Protestants. These include: Baruch, Tobit, Judith, Book of Wisdom, Song of Three Children, History of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasseh, Ecclesiasticus, 1st Esdras, 2nd Esdras, 1st Maccabees, 2nd Maccabees, 3rd Maccabees, 4th Maccabees, 5th Maccabees.
▇ ALL AGREE ON ONLY 5 BOOKS
Only the first five (5) books, called the Pentateuch, were accepted by all Jewish and all Christians as being canonical or Devine. These are the famous first books of the Old Testament: Genesis; Exodus, Leviticus; Numbers and Deuteronomy.
▇ LOST BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
While in my father’s study, I came across a reference book for the ancient manuscripts of the Bible. In it I found listed the “Lost Books of the Bible”. I was fascinated with this and through close examination, I found there were many other Books or manuscripts I had never heard of. The authors or writers of the Bible actually had referred to these works: Book of the Wars of the Lord; Book of Jasher; Book of the Covenant; Book of Nathan (the prophet, son of David); Book of Gad; Book of Samuel; Prophecy of Ahijah; Visions of Iddo; Acts of Uzziah; Acts of Solomon (son of David); Three Thousand (3,000) Proverbs of Solomon; A Thousand and Five (1,005) Songs of Solomon; Chronicles of Kings of Judah; Chronicles of Kings of Israel; Book of Jehu and the book of Enoch (the first person to write scripture of God, according to Islamic traditions).
▇ CANONIZED BIBLE BOOKS CHOSEN BY POPULAR VOTE
The ‘Canonized’ Version of the Bible did not exist until after the Council of Bishops and even then is was still being debated for many centuries afterward. The books to be contained in the Holy Word of God, were actually just chosen by the popular vote, much the same way we would vote on any public law today. Which brings to mind a number of complications as to these really having any real Divine authority. Which bishop was against or for certain books that did not make it into the final edition (and why?). What was the reason some endorsed while others declined on various books?
▇ GOSPELS LEFT OUT
We now come to another very important issue concerning books, actually ‘Gospels’ (Greek: ‘Good News’) of the New Testament. Why are we now deprived of the ‘Good News’ of Thomas? Or Jade? Or Peter? Those were the names of actual Gospels that were left out of the final version of the council choices. Along with others such as: The Gospel of Hebrews; Gospel of the Egyptians; Gospel of Perfection; Gospel of Judas; Gospel of Thaddeus; Gospel of the Infancy; Gospel of the Preaching of Peter; Gospel of the Shepherd of Hermas; The Epislte of Baranabas; Gospel of the Pastor of Hermas; the Revelation of Peter; the Revelation of Paul; the Epistle of Clement; the Epistle of Ignatius; the Gospel of Mary; the Gospel of Nicodemus and the Gospel of Marcion.
▇ MORE GOSPELS & ACTS LEFT OUT
Did we somehow miss out on all of this “Good News” (Gospels) by one or two votes? How much did we miss these by? And then, what about: The Acts of Pilate, Acts of Andrew; Acts of Mary; Acts of Paul; Acts of Thecia and even more. Consider what would have happened in the year 365 (C.E.) at the Council of Laodicea, if even one of those Bishops had voted differently, or maybe not even shown up on that particular day. A vote or two cast differently would have produced a very different belief for millions upon millions of Christians in the last 1600 years.
As a matter of fact, why would we be forced to accept the voting of some men back 16 centuries ago?
▇ BIBLE NOT REALLY A ‘BOOK’ UNTIL 15TH CENTURY
The Gutenberg priniting press brought about a revolutionary change in reading material that changed the way people read, learned and understood informaiton as never before. It was this invention that produced for the first time, a Bible that could be said to be exactly the same as other Bibles coming from the same printings on this press.
At the same time, we become seriously aware of the fact that prior to this marvelous invention, the Bible was not in one solid form. Rather it was in pieces in manuscript form on scrolls and parchments and could not have been reliabily copied, translated, recopied and transferred from one parchment to the next without at least some mistakes, omissions, alterations or errors.
▇ WHAT ABOUT CHANGES? ALTERATIONS? OMISSIONS? DELETIONS?
This begs the question, how easy would it have been to intentionally change, alter, add or omit certain words, verses or even whole chapters by church leaders or scroll keepers in an effort to appease rulers or enforce certain objectives on the believers?
How could we ever know just how much of the Biblical text has been altered, changed, deleted or rewritten by the hand of well meaning (or not-so-well-meaning) monks and scroll keepers over the centuries?
We are all in a serious condition these days. Atheism is on the rise amongst many of our youth. And dependency on drugs, alcoholism, sex, family abuse, adultry, rape, murder, terrorism, wars and suicides are happening everywhere. All the while we have people insisting on reliance to a book, that in all fairness is much more from mankind than it is from Above.
All the faithful would agree, there must be reliance on the the Word of the One God Above for solutions to these problems. But how many will really take a step back to consider what the correct source for God’s Word to mankind might really be?