Where did the Bible come from?

by Mark Driscoll

As New Testament scholar Daniel B. Wallace has said, “Before the year 1881, you had three choices for an English Bible translation: the KJV, the KJV, or the KJV.” In our day, we are tremendously blessed to have a variety of English Bible translations that we can access easily. With so many to choose from, however, it’s helpful to understand why multiple translations exists, what’s the difference between them, and how we came to have any Scripture in our language at all.

Many volumes have been written to explain the miraculous and fascinating process necessary for the Bible’s existence. To summarize, I’ll explain the five-step process that has occurred for you to read the Bible:

  1. Revelation
  2. Transmission
  3. Translation
  4. Interpretation
  5. Application

The story of how the Bible got to us from God is a captivating one, and it begins with revelation.

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1. Revelation

Revelation is the miraculous event whereby God revealed himself and his truth to someone and inspired them, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to write down what he had to say—perfectly (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20–21). This original copy is called the autograph.

By comparing the ancient manuscripts, we find that the vast majority of the variations between them are minor elements of spelling, grammar, and style, or accidental omissions or duplications of words or phrases. Overall, 97 to 99 percent of the New Testament can be reconstructed beyond any reasonable doubt, and not one Christian doctrine is founded solely or even primarily on disputed passages.

Remarkably, the Scripture quoted in the works of the early Christian writers (mostly AD 95–150) are so extensive that virtually the entire New Testament can be reconstructed from quotations alone, except for eleven verses (mostly from 2 and 3 John).

Not one Christian doctrine is founded solely or even primarily on disputed passages.

Critics of the accuracy of the Bible routinely claim that it is in fact a series of fables and legends that have developed over hundreds of years, because there are not enough copies of ancient manuscripts to alleviate their skepticism. But a simple shepherd boy dealt a serious blow to their criticisms in 1947…

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Where did the Bible come from? | The Resurgence


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