The Bible – Part I
by Jonathan Sherwin
For Christians the Bible is the central text of our faith. It is the book. As meticulously studied by scholars as it is treasured by Christ’s followers, it has comforted, challenged, provoked, and outraged countless people over thousands of years. Oft quoted and ever paraphrased, and yet faithfully transmitted, translated, printed and distributed – and hugely accessible in large parts of the world.
Presidents are sworn in with one hand on a copy of the Bible. University entrances are emblazoned with verses taken from it. It has instigated political reform, challenged Kings and Emperors, outlived entire civilisations and transcended cultures.
The Bible has been the chosen foundation for living well – both for individuals and for nations. Through its pages we learn of a history of God’s interaction with humanity. We learn of the promise of redemption and read how it happened through the person of Jesus Christ.
Today we’re starting a new series on the Demolition Squad blog. The purpose of this series is to look at some of the basic facts of the Bible, to examine the text, the composition, and the history of transmission. We will evaluate the trustworthiness of what is says within the pages of this bestseller. Christianity doesn’t teach that we ought to simply believe for belief’s sake, without reasons, without evidence. We don’t believe in a vacuum. Christianity isn’t a blind leap of faith, but a commitment to following the evidence where it leads.
The sacred texts of the Christian faith are there to read, to examine, and to prod around in. They are holy not because they forbid examination, but demonstrate their holiness through the repeated tests that have been devised for it.
As the central text of the Christian faith the Bible is hugely important. So it’s important that we understand it. There are many opinions of what the Bible is and how it got to us today. For example, here’s one of them:
“To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and ‘improved’ by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries.”
If Richard Dawkins is right, then Christians have some serious problems. For if we cannot trust the history of the Bible, how can we trust what it claims? And if we cannot trust the claims of the Bible, then our basis for faith has been dealt a major blow. The Bible is an evidence of the Christian faith and one that many of its truths hang upon. If this evidence is dismissed, many things will be lost.
It would be not possible to have the Christianity we know without the Bible as the Bible. When we lose the Bible, we lose Christianity.
Core Bible Facts
To start us of we’ll take a look at the basic facts of this great book…
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