I thought somebody had to say something/
if not the populous would continue to walk in silly assumptions/
so I wrote this in the hopes of provokin’/
kids to study the scripts before the word is spoken//
DnA; Stephen the Levite

Where did the Bible come from?
aight, let's explore the background a little bit. This morning as I went to the Bible I brought myself to explore a question that has bugged me for a while but that I have never looked into and that is: what is the Bible? Where did it come from? Who put it together? How was it decided what gets included and what doesn't? How can I trust the words of the book that I hold here in my hands (ok, so that is a whole bunch of questions). So let's unpack this a little bit...

ok, first off; the early Christians did not have the book The Bible that we read today, there was no ESV, no NLT and no NIV (perhaps that was for the better...ooooooh no Chris, don't go there). The final contents of the Bible as a complete package was agreed on around 400AD.

"...in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians." (Acts 11:26).

So when the early Christians would talk about the scriptures they were talking about the Hebrew scriptures which we know today as The Old Testement. In talking about the Old Testement they most likely sung Psalms, studied the prophets to see how they pointed to the Jesus and told stories and shared memories of Jesus, His life and His teachings, passing on these memories from group to group.
After time had passed the church had grown but the original eyewitnesses started to die so people began to write down their own personal accounts of events, drawing on their own memories and observations of. These then became the Gospels.

So these are just memories? How can we trust that they are accurate accounts and not subject to the writers own interpretation of events?
[A] There are a couple of verses that help us along with this one. The first is in John; Jesus is talking to the disciples, He promises them that the Holy Spirit would help them remember the words that He had spoken "These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:25-26).
The second verse (which I refer to a lot) is more one that requires faith for the scriptures: "All scripture is breathed out by God..." (2 Timothy 3:16). If the question is "how can I trust the accounts of these men when when they are human and imperfect and liable to make mistakes?" then the answer in light of this verse is: if all scripture is breathed out by God then you can trust that he guided those whom he elected to write the scriptures to write them without error. Also, if we are approaching scripture under the presumption that our God is a promise keeping God then when He promises in John 14 that He will send the Holy Spirit to help the disciples in their remembrance of Jesus' words then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit guided them as they wrote their accounts.

So, at the same time that the Gospels were being written, leaders such as Paul, Peter and John were writing letters to churches offering spiritual advice and helping to solve problems. These letters were collected, copied and passed around the early church. Eventually the gospels and the letters were brought together to form the New Testament.
The early church decided what should be in the Bible. This is how they did it; they would look for writings that were attributed to the apostles or people who were closely associated with Jesus. Church leaders drew up their own lists of recommended reading. It is important that a group of church leaders were doing this and it is also important that they were in fact church leaders because at that time some people had started circulating fake gospels and acts that were full of weird teachings and false doctrines.
Finally in 376AD, Bishop Athanasius wrote to the churches in his region listing what he considered to be "Holy Scripture". His list was eventually confirmed by two councils; one in Rome in 382AD and one in Carthage in 397AD and this is the New Testament that we read today.

Oh and just so you know; the word "Testament" means promise. So, paraphrased; the Old Testament tells the story of God's promise to the Israelites and the New Testament tells of His promise to all people.

This has been a real learning curve for me today. It seemed like a good idea to get some background knowledge on the origins of the book by which I live my life. A couple of books that I found helpful in researching this topic are: Nick Page's Explorer's Notes and Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology (read the section on The Word of God). Because I'm no genius, everything I know comes from reading someone's book; I'm just so thankful to God that there are some people who have studied the scriptures so much and written books that help us to understand His word with such ease and accessibility.

Anyways, rinsed I am.

Peace and Love.

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