While the Bible is the inspired Word of God; it didn't simply fall from the sky at the feet of King James in 1611, already written in flowery English script. God, in His wisdom, chose men suitable for their place and time to record His message to mankind. It has been said that while the Bible wasn’t written TO us, it was written FOR us. Written over a span of approximately 1600 years, and divided into 66 different books, its authors are as varied as a shepherd boy who became a King, to simple Galilean fishermen, to government officials in one of the most powerful empires in history. The various books contain historical narrative, prophetic warnings, wise sayings, beautiful poetry, and letters of exhortation. The Bible is divided into two large sections: The Old Testament is written in Hebrew, with some sections in Aramaic, and contains the laws, history and literature of the Ancient Jewish people, beginning with the Creation of the Universe to the Return of the Jews from Babylonian Captivity in around 400 BC. The New Testament, written in Greek, covers the birth of Jesus Christ in approximately 30 BC, and the beginnings of the early Church. While none of the original copies (called autographs) still exist, we do have thousands of hand made copies: you couldn't just run down to Kinko’s in those days! In addition to these various manuscripts in the ancient languages, there are thousands of copies of translations into other languages, and quotes of sections of the Bible by pastors and teachers from the early church. Scholars of ancient literature are constantly researching these and other ancient manuscripts to find better and more accurate translations of the original texts. This work is undertaken with the utmost seriousness and we can be assured that the text we have today is as close to the original text as is possible. There’s a tendency to question why it is that we have to rely on copies of the manuscripts to discover the original texts. Why didn’t God preserve the originals for us? A more awful situation can scarcely be imagined. Who would own them? Where would they be kept? They would become an OBJECT of worship. We would end up worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.
By Ben Franklin