The Creation Wiki is made available by the NW Creation Network
Watch monthly live webcast - Like us on Facebook - Subscribe on YouTube


From CreationWiki, the encyclopedia of creation science
(Redirected from The Bible)
Jump to: navigation, search
A Latin Bible handwritten in 1407 AD.

Historically speaking, bible is a general term which refers to the books (Greek: ta biblia) used by a particular Hebrew or Christian group. As the term bible was originally used descriptively (to describe the books used by a particular group), it varied from one group to the next and did not necessarily denote any special authority within each group. However, as time went on, the term Canonical (essentially meaning standard of comparison [1]) came to be applied to those scriptures (writings) that had special authority. When the Protestant Reformation occurred in the 16th century, a debate over which books were authoritative and which books were merely to be read arose within Christianity, with the Protestants advocating a return to the distinctions found in the church fathers which differentiated between the various classifications of scripture (e.g., Rufinus' distinctions between the different classifications of scripture [2]). Traditional Christians reacted by claiming that all of the traditional books were authoritative (at least in some sense). As a result of the Protestant-Traditional schism, the term bible came to be used specifically by the Protestants to refer to Canonical Scripture (especially when capitalized as Bible).

Now, the Bible (Canonical Scripture) is a collection of relatively short records which include the history of the world, of ancient Israel, of the life of Jesus Christ, and of the early Christians. It normally contains 66 books, though 2 of those books are sometimes given a semi-Canonical status (Esther & Revelation) [3]. The standard Protestant Old Testament contains 39 distinct books and their standard New Testament contains 27 distinct books (though the Severe Letter of II Corinthians 10:1-13:10 is sometimes treated as a distinct book [4]) [5]. Canonical Scripture was written by at least 43 different authors over a period of roughly 1500 years (from Moses to John the Apostle). [6] No other set of books in history has been as popular, as revered, or as diverse in authorship as the Bible.

Due to being prized as the Word of God, the Bible has been better preserved and translated into more languages than any other book of the ancient Western world. Originating-language manuscripts can be found in the oldest written languages on Earth (primarily Hebrew & Greek), and it also contains one of the longest running genealogical sequence known to exist, spanning thousands of years. There is simply no other book in existence that offers a better chronological record of the early history of the Earth.

Creationists hold a number of views regarding the reliability of the Bible, ranging from strict inerrancy[7] to substantive accuracy. However, all Biblical-Historical Christians agree that the Bible is primarily historical, not mythological nor allegorical, since the text itself is so obviously historical in style and content unless otherwise implied within the text as determined through a historical-grammatical exegesis.


The word "bible" had its origins in an ancient Phoenician seaport called Byblos, which was so-named as a result of the trade and manufacture of writing material based on the papyrus or byblos reed, used extensively in antiquity for making scrolls and books. The Greek word biblos was based upon this, and it came to be the word for book (a small book was termed biblion), and, by the 2nd century AD, Greek Christians had called their books τα βιβλία, ta Biblia ("the books"), which was transferred to Latin by dropping the articular pronoun (ta); the word made its way to Old French where the plural was dropped in favor of the singular, hence becoming the English word bible.[8][9][10]


Main Article: Biblical canon

A book is considered Canonical (authoritative), and therefore Biblical (in the Protestant sense), if it is derived from a Prophet (a Spokesman of God). Prophets were chosen as the means of revelation NOT by God but by the Israelites. That is, the Israelites, having come to the mountain of God and having witnessed His awesome, terrifying power, asked Moses for Prophets:

The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among you—from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him. This accords with what happened at Horeb in the day of the assembly. You asked the LORD your God: “Please do not make us hear the voice of the LORD our God anymore or see this great fire anymore lest we die." (Deu. 18:15-16, NET; cr Acts 3:22-23 & 7:37; & Heb. 12:18-29)

Embedded in the discussion found in Deuteronomy 18 (and in Deuteronomy 13) is a description and set of criteria by which the Israelites would be able to determine true Prophets from false Prophets. It was also implied in Deuteronomy, by the use of the singular Prophet, that someone would eventually come who would fulfill the original purpose of the Prophets. That is, the Prophets were requested in order to act as a bridge between a broken, faulted humanity and the perfect, holy God. Therefore, when one came who made peace between God and Mankind (cr Rom. 5:1), there would no longer be a need for Prophets. Christians believe that this Final Prophet is Jesus Christ (Luke 24:19 (Acts 2:22); John 1:21 & 7:40), the Incarnate God who died as a propitiation in place of the retribution due us (John 3:36; Rom. 3:21-26&5:6-9; I Cor. 1:18; Heb. 2:17; I Peter 2:24; I John 2:2 & 4:10) and for our restoration (Rom. 5:11; II Cor. 5:16-21; I Pet. 5:10), and hence the Canon ends with the record of Christ. The portion of the Canon which points toward Christ is called the Old Testament and the portion which reveals Christ is called the New Testament.

The English word testament is one possible translation of the Greek word diathākā, which refers to a legal document that declares one’s desires (as in a last will and testament) or which formalizes the terms of a relationship between two parties (as in a contract or covenant). The term diathākā is therefore an apropos description of these two sets of books in that they each have declarations of God’s will and terms of relationship between God and Mankind. In the Old Testament, it is revealed that there is need of a mediator between God and Mankind (Exo. 20:18-19; cr Job 9:32-35) and thus implies God’s desire to reconcile Mankind back to Himself. Further, the Old Covenant delineates the standards of righteousness required of Mankind to come into the presence of the God who is pure, and thus it establishes the terms whereby Mankind and God may be reconciled (Lev. 18:5). The New Testament, however, fulfills the Old in that the New reveals the one who provided reconciliation—Jesus Christ—and who fulfilled the Old Covenant by living a sinless life, a substitute for our insufficiency (II Cor. 5:18-21; cr Ecc. 7:20).

It is important to note that the Canon is NOT necessarily the direct product of the Prophets. Instead, the ancient standard of admissible testimony included both direct and indirect testimony (cr Lev. 5:1). However, the ancient standard did not allow the testimony to be extended too far. Typically, works compiled and consolidated from primary sources were admissible as were works based on eye- (the person saw it themselves, as with II Peter (1:16)) or ear- (the person heard from someone else who saw it, as with the Gospel of Luke (1:1-4)) testimony. However, further removal from the sources was not accepted (as evidenced by Eusebius' admission that Papias was not an authoritative author despite being an early author[11] and the Muratorian Canon's admission that the Shepherd of Hermas was too far removed from the Apostles, the Legal Representatives of Christ (Luke 6:13; John 15:27; Acts 1:15-26)[12]). As a result of this direct/indirect allowance, Canonical Scripture includes both works made by the Prophets themselves and works made by those who were suitably close to the Prophets.

The Old Testament

Main Article: Old Testament
11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum.

The Protestant Old Testament, which is very similar to the Hebrew Bible (Hebrew: כִּתְבֵי הַקּדֶשׁ, Kitvei HaKodesh, The Holy Scriptures) or Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ״ך, Tanakh , acronym for Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim)[13], typically consists of thirty-nine books (thirty-eight if Esther is omitted). The books themselves were originally written in Hebrew or, later on, in Aramaic. The Greek language Old Testament was begun as early as the third century BC and is known as the Septuagint.[14] Generally speaking, the early Hebrews did not accept the books written after roughly 450-424 BC as being authoritative.[15]

The New Testament

Main Article: New Testament

The New Testament is a collection of twenty-seven books and letters, written by eyewitnesses and by people who attained testimony from eyewitnesses.[16] Being that the oldest extant manuscripts are in Greek and the context of hellenization that helped develop the culture of first century Palestine, scholars have determined that the New Testament was originally mostly written in Greek (with the possible exceptions of Matthew, Hebrews, and II Peter[17]). Probably completed before 100 AD, the emphasis of the New Testament is the life, teachings, crucifixion, death, resurrection and gift of Salvation of Jesus of Nazareth.

Ecclesiastical Scripture

In addition to the authoritative (Canonical) writings, there was also a set of instructive writings used by Christians. These writings were used by the churches (and hence were ecclesiastical, meaning of the church), but they were "not appealed to for the confirmation of doctrine"[18]. The practice of using additional writings for instructive purposes was a trait derived from the early Hebrew faith (cr Sirach, Prologue). These writings included works often grouped with both the Old Testament and with the New Testament. The ecclesiastical works associated with the Old Testament were the Wisdom of Solomon, the 151st Psalm (which describes itself as "outside the number"), I-IV Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, possibly Esther (as per Melito, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Amphilocius of Iconium), Sirach, the Prayer of Manasseh, Baruch, the Epistle of Jeremiah, the additions to Esther and Daniel, II/IV Esdras, and the Psalms of Solomon.[19] The ecclesiastical works associated with the New Testament included I&II Clement, The Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Canons/Constitutions of the Apostles.[20]

Apocryphal Scripture

Another class of scripture worthwhile noting is the class of untrue or unreliable writings. These writings were frequently described by the pejorative term apocryphal, which seems to have first been applied to Gnostic writings. (The Gnostics often claimed to have works that were secretly passed down to them alone. Early Christians, who believed that Christ's message was for all, were distrustful of these hidden works (apokryphos means hidden) and viewed them as being unreliable or outright untrue.) The apocryphal writings could include the ecclesiasticals (as per Cyril of Jerusalem[21]) insomuch as the ecclesiasticals were not to be used for the confirmation of doctrine (see Ecclesiastical Scripture) and were therefore unreliable. The apocryphal writings also included works associated with the Old Testament and New Testament that were either heretical, extrapolative, inauthentic, or otherwise rendered unreliable or untrue.[22]


Some English translations of the Bible are strictly renderings from the original languages (mostly Hebrew and Greek), word for word or as close as possible. This is called a formal rendering of Scripture. Other English Bibles maintain a popular tone which allows paraphrasing to account for modern vernacular/idiom/etc. Such loose translation is called dynamic translation. For instance, the New International Version (NIV) is more dynamic while the New American Standard Bible (NASB) is more formal. Translations which strive to be impactful to modern audiences (and which usually strive for a very low reading level) are called paraphrastic translations. While paraphrastic translations are often very readable and easy to understand, they often greatly over-simplify the Scriptural base texts and thus are not appropriate for the serious study of Scripture. [23]

The Vulgate

Main Article: Latin Vulgate

Jerome, a Latin scholar deeply interested in the study of the Scriptures, completed the second edition of the Bible in the Latin language. The Vulgate was meant to replace the inaccuracies of the earlier Vetus Latina, the standard Bible of the early Catholic Church. Jerome had moved to Jerusalem in 382, and set to work on what eventually became a fresh translation of the Bible from the Greek of the Septuagint to translating the New Testament into Latin; from 390-405 he decided to re-translate his Old Testament directly from the Hebrew then in use by the Jewish community. The Vulgate had a marked influence in church history, and remained the standard Latin Bible in the Roman Catholic Church for centuries; such was the length of time in use that it was finally replaced by the Nova Vulgata in 1979.

A Latin Bible handwritten in 1407 AD.

Gutenberg's Bible

Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany invented the first mechanical printing press in 1448. His machine consisted of a large press which when cranked down, pressed a sheet of paper upon a platform in which were set thousands of inked metal letter typefaces (called "movable type"), set in place to read for a particular page. The first book in history printed by this method was the Gutenberg Bible, in the Vulgate version, of which 180 were printed, and approximately 50 survive today in varying conditions around the world. The Gutenberg Bible marked another first: Bibles could be mass produced to get into the hands of many more people at a lower cost than if they were printed by hand.

Wyclif's Bible

The first translation of the Bible into English was made under the supervision of the English cleric John Wyclif in the 1380's, with the assistance of Nicholas Hereford and John Purvey. Wyclif held that the Bible should be placed directly in the hands of the people, but was this was opposed by the English Church hierarchy of his day; indeed, one of Wyclif's opponents, Henry Knighton, compared giving the Bible to the people in English to "casting pearls before swine". Archbishop Arundel of Canterbury promulgated a ban on all English Bibles in 1407, and possession of one was considered evidence of heresy.

Wyclif's was a scholarly translation, based on the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew texts, but was found to be unweildy due to its adherence to Latin grammar (in which, for instance, verbs tend to be at the end of sentences). A second Wycliffite translation was prepared late in this period, which avoided this problem, but due to the fact that it could only be distributed in manuscript form, it was an expensive volume. Outside of the nobility and gentry, it was more common to see only a single Gospel, or a copy of the Psalms, than an entire Bible, which cost more than the average working person could earn in a year.

Over the next century, its form of English gradually became antiquated, leading English Protestants such as William Tyndale to feel that an entirely new translation was needed.


During the middle of the 16th century there was a renewed sense of the need to get the Bible directly into the hands of the common man; prior to that the Bible was restricted to readings in the Church alone. The Reformers were a group of people who were shocked at the differences between what the Roman Catholic Church was practicing as opposed to what the Bible stated can or cannot be done (this was one of the causes of the Reformation). At great cost to themselves, the Reformers began the work of translating the Bible in the various languages of Europe; the printing press would ensure the newly-translated Bibles would be mass-produced.

William Tyndale was committed to getting the Bible in the hands of his English countrymen. Expressing open defiance of the Pope, Tyndale declared that if God would spare his life he would make it possible for even an ordinary farmer to know more about the Scriptures than the Pope. [24] Tyndale's translation of the New Testament was completed by 1525, by April, 1526, 6,000 copies were printed and delivered to England. Official opposition led to the destruction of most of them. Nevertheless, the printing press rendered it impossible to completely suppress such a book, and new copies were printed and smuggled into England Tyndale was arrested and charged with heresy for his efforts on May 21, 1536, and was executed the following year.[25][26]

Tyndale's New Testament definitely influenced England's clergy and probably was the main impetus behind the Reformation in England.[26] Even in the year that Tyndale was executed, King Henry VIII began suppressing the Catholic monasteries in his realm.

Geneva Bible

In 1553, Queen Mary I, or "Bloody Mary," had 300 Reformers executed. Eight hundred more Reformers fled to Europe, and gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, then known as John Calvin's "Protestant Rome."[27] There they set about creating an English-language version of the entire Bible, and one that would have no ties to any monarch, whether in England or elsewhere in Europe. Among the men involved in this project were William Whittingham, Miles Coverdale, Christopher Goodman, Anthony Gilby, John Knox, and Thomas Sampson.[26]

The Geneva translators avoided the Latin Bible version, or Vulgate, and sought access to the oldest and most authentic Hebrew and Greek manuscripts they could find. Their research benefited, ironically, from the Fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, an event that had forced many Christian clerics to flee the fallen city of Constantinople with their manuscripts in hand.

First Edition

In 1557, Whittingham produced a revised edition of Tyndale's original New Testament. Then in 1560 the reformers produced the first edition of the Geneva Bible. This they dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I, who by then had succeeded to the throne after the death of her sister, "Bloody Mary." Under Elizabeth's patronage, the Geneva Bible became the Bible of choice not merely for clergy but also for laity.[26]

Later Editions

From the beginning, the Geneva Bible was a study Bible, richly annotated and illustrated. The 1599 edition had the most extensive annotations of any of the Geneva Bibles, and a table of interpretations of (mainly Old Testament) proper names.

The Geneva Bible was highly popular in England, and indeed the Jamestown expeditionaries carried it to America in 1607. Likewise, the Pilgrims carried it with them to the Netherlands, where they had fled, and then to what later became their Plymouth colony (in modern Massachusetts) in 1620.

In 1604, shortly after his own accession to the throne, King James I commissioned his own version of the Bible, that would later come to be known as "The Bishop's Bible" or, more commonly, the Authorized Version. James' motive for promulgating his own version was simple: he did not want the people to have in hand a Bible with all the marginal notes that the Geneva Bible had. Nevertheless, ninety percent of the KJV text is in full accord with that of the Geneva Bible, as a side-by-side comparison will readily show. The Geneva Bible eventually fell out-of-print and has not been available until recently.[25]

King James Version

Main Article: King James Version

In 1604 King James I selected forty-seven of the ablest scholars in England to undertake the creation of a standard Bible in English, based upon careful translations of the Masoretic Text used by the Jewish community, and the best Greek translations (especially the Textus Receptus) then available. The scholars were divided into six committees in Oxford, Westminster, and Cambridge, with each scholar had dedicating himself to doing a portion of the Bible, often consulting each other to check the flow and harmony of the work in progress. The result was the 1611 King James, or Authorized, Version.

The effects of the King James Version were profound. Using less than 2,500 different words in it's vocabulary, this Bible was written in a poetic style matched by few. The work influenced the writings of Shakespeare. John Milton has numerous images taken from this Bible in his Paradise Lost. The direct style of writing caused it to be easily available to the common man. Poets and writers, such as Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and many others were deeply inspired by it. It had altered the course of English history, with England growing to a world power since the book's publication; when asked by a visiting dignitary what made England great, Queen Victoria pulled out her copy of the Bible and declared "This is the secret of England's greatness."

Today, the Bible is available in many versions across the English-speaking world, and has been translated into nearly every language on Earth, including the current translation into a recently-created language from the fictional world of Star Trek, Klingon.[28] The past two decades saw the emergence of internet use; the creation of the Bible as a software program was inevitable, and several, such as E-Sword and Theophilos, are available at no cost with a wealth of Bible-study material as well.

Other Translations

Division into Chapters and Verses

The division of the Bible in chapters is attributed to Hugo de Sancto Caro, a Roman Catholic Cardinal about A.D. 1240. The division of the chapters of the Old Testament in verses is attributed to Rabbi Mordecai Nathan, a famous Jewish teacher, about A.D. 1445. Robert Stephens made the verse division of the New Testament in the 16th century.[29]

Books of the Bible

The following table lists the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are linked to the searchable index at

Old Testament

New Testament


See Also


  1. Johnson, John (2015, 2nd Revised Edition), SWORD, p. 3.
  2. Rufinus (4th/5th Cen.), Commentary on the Apostles' Creed, 36-38
  3. Johnson, John (2015, 2nd Revised Edition), SWORD, p. CL26.
  4. Johnson, John (2015, 2nd Revised Edition), SWORD, p. 25.
  5. Unger, Merrill F (1988). Harrison, R. K.. ed. The New Unger´s Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press. pp. 169-171. ISBN 0-8024-9037-9. 
  6. Slick, Matthew J. "The Bible." Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, 1995. Accessed January 8, 2008.
  7. Archer, Gleason L (1982). Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publisher House. pp. 7. ISBN 0-310-43570-6. 
  8. Unger, Merril F. Unger's Bible Handbook, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1967, p. 143. See also Unger's Bible Dictionary, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1966.
  9. Moulton, James H., and others. A Grammar of New Testament Greek (two volumes), edited by Wilbert Francis Howard, T&T Clark Publishers, Harrisburg, PA (1985); originally published 1920, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  10. Blass, Frederich, and others. A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature, translated by Robert W. Funk; University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL (1961); German edition Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch Friedrich Rehkopf, editor, 14th edition. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1976.
  11. Eusebius (4th Cen.), Hist. Eccl., 3.39.
  12. Muratori, V.C. Antiq. Ital. Med. aev., vol. iii. col. 854
  13. Unterman, Alan (1997). Dictionary of Jewish Lore & Legend. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0500279847. 
  14. Johnson, John (2015, 2nd Revised Edition), SWORD, p.26-28; Rahlfs-Hanhart, Septuaginta, p. XXXV
  15. Bava Batra, 14b-15a; Rashi to Megillah, 3a, 14a; Josephus (1st Cen.), quoted in Eusebius, Church History, Book III, X.1-5
  16. Lecture with Dr. Peter Williams on the evidence that builds a case for eyewitness accounts in the New Testament By Lanier Theological Library. Mar 23, 2011
  17. Johnson, John (2015, 2nd Revised Edition), SWORD, p. 178
  18. Rufinus (4th/5th Cen.), Commentary on the Apostles' Creed, 36-38
  19. Johnson, John (2015, 2nd Revised Edition), SWORD, pp. 63-64
  20. quoted in Johnson, John (2015, 2nd Revised Edition), SWORD, pp. CL1-26
  21. Cyril (4th Cen.), Catechetical Lectures, Lecture IV, 33-37
  22. Johnson, John (2015, 2nd Revised Edition), SWORD, pp. 4-6
  23. Johnson, John (2015, 2nd Revised Edition), SWORD, pp. 153-7
  24. Bynum, E. L. "The Story of William Tyndale." Lubbock, Texas: Tabernacle Baptist Church, n.d. Accessed January 8, 2008.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Lillback, Peter A., DeMar, Gary D., Federer, William J., et al. 1599 Geneva Bible: The Holy Scriptures Contained in the Old and New Testaments. White Hall, WV, USA: Tolle Lege Press, 2006. 1400 pp., cloth. ISBN 0975484699. Also available in black (ISBN 0975484613) and calfskin (ISBN 0975484621) leather-bound editions.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Foster, Marshall. "The History and Impact of the Geneva Bible." 1599 Geneva Bible, op. cit., pp. xxiii to xxvi.
  27. Authors unknown. "John Calvin (1509-1564)" Switzerland Is Yours, Micheloud and Cie, 2006. Retrieved November 2, 2007.
  28. Wilson, Kevin, co-ordinator. "Klingon Bible Translation Project." January 31, 2004. Accessed January 8, 2008.
  29. Smith, William (1979). Smith´s Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers. p. 438. ISBN 0-87981-033-5. 

External Links

Bible Societies

Online Bible Texts






Commentaries and analysis