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How did we get our Bible?

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By Wayne Sedlak

Every year around Easter, prominently displayed, nationally known magazines parade before an unsuspecting public, articles about ancient books which these magazines allege should, could or would have become books in the Bible.

Usually, they are presenting books of the Gnostics, a general name used concerning extremely heretical and even fanatical, groups of Christian sects who tried and failed to influence the churches away from the Word of God. The Book of Revelation references these people as Nicolataines and they lasted through the 4th century AD in the churches. Marcion taught his group that anything Jewish was tainted and should not be accepted as Scriptural. Imagine, a Christian sect advocating the very Christ of Scripture to be tainted and not to be included in the Scripture.

But, these modern magazines insinuate, somewhere along the way something went wrong. All sorts of allegations designed to make people question the integrity of Scripture, are adduced. But, for all the scholarship, the real reason Christians have problems with such articles is due to ONE ISSUE:

The Churches and Christians in general do NOT know HOW they got their Bible. Hence, they haven’t answered the challenges to its origins.

Irrespective of the-above-referenced magazines, the Church has a very serious problem. Unfortunately, the churches have historically given only simple answers in return. When answering the question concerning its foundations “How did we get the Bible?”- The Church of Christ does one of two things:

1. Answers in unsatisfying generalities or

2. Allows exasperating inventions and simple half-truths, such as:

a. A certain Council of the Church determined what books to include in the Bible.

b. There are lost books of the Scriptures. So, the process of knowing for sure is not finalized. Every Easter season, some national magazine regales us with tales of an ancient gospel manuscript. Why, they ask, is it not in the Bible? This continues, in part, because the churches don’t give any satisfying answers as to why any of our books made it in the Scriptures.

c. The originals are lost, their history shrouded in the dimly lit past. But, we can be confident that we have the true Bible somewhere.

d. Israel and the early church somehow recognized the prophets and apostles by means not understood clearly to us today (such as Urim and Thummimî, the Burden of the Lord, the casting of lots, etc.)

e. Prophets were recognized through prophecies that came to pass. If a prophecy did not come to pass, then the individual was not a prophet. (True, but what if a prophecy DID come to pass. Is that all that was necessary for a prophet to be recognized as one?)

f. Prophecy and miracles guaranteed who the true prophets and apostles really were. Of course, there remain such embarrassing questions as “If that’s the standard for identifying who was and was not a prophet, then where are the miracles or prophecies or even one reference to God in the Book of Esther for example, authenticating that book’s inspired status?

So instead of attempting now to bring up all the problems, Let’s just illustrate one to help us see our way.

Here is a single “problem”, testing YOUR understanding of the Question

How did we get our Bible?

Before we raise this question, let’s all agree that the Book of Esther both is, and should be, Scripture. No question. But for the sake of clarity, we will play the devil’s advocate for a brief few moments here and we will use some characteristics of the Book to help use raise the proper issues.

And here they are.

It’s a fact that the Book of Esther…

a. never mentions God or the Lord once and Esther is placed in a position to do what is elsewhere forbidden, i.e., marry a non-believer (King Xerxes, the Ahasuerus of the book, the utterly contemptible Medo-Persian King) and this works out for the temporal salvation of the Jews from persecution and slaughter and Does that make a difference?

b. never uses the phrase “Thus saith the Lord” or “the burden of the Lord” or anything like it to denote the authority of a prophet and
c. adds the Feast of Purim to the recognized holiday list of the Jews, which is nowhere recognized by Moses or the prophets in the Old Testament writings (before or after Esther’s lifetime and never refers to a “prophet” not even Moses and

d. never refers to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, nor shows a First, let alone, a Second Advent.

How then did the people of Israel and the churches later – (correctly!) deem this to be Scripture and thus, the work of a prophet? Are there internal signs WITHIN the book itself that show this to be the work of a prophet?

We believe the Book of Esther is, of course, SCRIPTURE, on a par with all the other books of the Bible. But, do YOU know HOW the people of Israel KNEW this was inspired Scripture? How did Israel KNOW it was Inspired? Did Israel have to know it? If not, HOW did it get into the books of the Bible?

The Bible is very clear as to what constitutes a legitimate prophet of the Lord that anyone claiming to be such a prophet could quite literally be challenged, “Show me your signs.”

King Jehoshaphat of Judah did just that when he heard the “prophets of the Lord” supported by the corrupt King Ahab of Israel. When he heard these false prophets, the King of Judah could question Ahab, saying “Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him?”

It is obvious that the mere claim to be a prophet of the Lord was not enough, even if the king said so. There was something which distinguished a real prophet like Micaiah from false prophets like the 400 false “prophets of the Lord.”

Soon you will see on our new site http://www.SolomonsToolbox.com, that what distinguished the prophets were their signs. Without those signs, no one could be called a prophet of the Lord. In other words, the prophets were credentialed by the Lord so that Israel could recognize a prophet of the Lord.

The purpose of SolomonsToolbox.com is to raise questions we need to ask, but then to go on to answer them in a biblically upright and scholarly manner.

We are daily adding materials to all the issues there. It will have full courses no obligation – for Christian people, their children, their Churches, Bible Studies for anyone to use for their families.

You can go to our surveys at solomonstoolbox.com and give us your input so as to help us address exactly the kinds of issues are important to you. Those surveys will be replaced (or moved to a less conspicuous position) as the content of the site is filled in, with the immense amount of research done through A and D Net Enterprises and volunteer Christian professionals who research tough issues for the sake of the Church, ICHR, The Institute for Christian Heritage Research.

Wayne is an historian, educator, Internet Marketing Specialist. For a quarter of a century Wayne Sedlak has debated issues in history and the Christian faith. He is often ahead of the news in his research on political and cultural developments. Go to: SolomonsToolbox.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERSMAKE A WEBSITE

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