Proving the Bible

So this is essentially a case for the Bible to prove (or at least give some hardy evidence) that the Bible is truly what it says it is. Feel free to comment with questions or otherwise! Thanks.

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3. III. Canonization

                Previously it was already discussed that the prophecies of Isaiah were written before the birth of Christ thus proving its own validity and that histories of other civilizations are complementary to the Bible’s recorded history. However, how did they keep the text virtually the same since the time of the first autographs and how was the history not lost for more than two thousand years? Through the process of canonization this is made possible for both the Old Testament and the New Testament. In a brief summary, the Old Testament was handled much more seriously than the New Testament. For example, when copying the Old Testament if three characters (letters, spaces, etc.) did not match exactly with the original page from which they copied, they had to wipe the slate clean and begin anew.  Even if the Old Testament had reached the maximum of two changes each year per page, the majority would be punctuation and spelling mistakes. However, these texts were not copied every year from the date they were written and a vast majority of the books would have only been around for a maximum of less than a thousand years until they could be written and copied. In contrast to the Old Testament, the New Testament was not noted for strict policies as churches were there to copy the book for their people. Through this, it was more likely for mistakes to arrive.

                So, how did the Old Testament come to be? At first, Moses wrote the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) and copies of these were placed into the Ark of the Covenant. Over a series of years, they came to collect more books as they came to be. Once David became king of Israel, he would then come to place the books into the treasury where they could be taken care of by priests. After a time of adding more books, the Israelites were then taken captive into Babylon in the 6th century B.C. which scattered the books abroad. However, in an essence of patience the books were then brought together by the prophet known as Ezra who then adds the last books and stores them in the Ark of the Covenant constructed for the second temple. It is here that the books then were copied very meticulously through paid professionals: most famously among these were the Talmudists and the Masoretes who were committed to no errors.

                Following the Old Testament would later come the New Testament for which apostles and gospels were written to churches around the known world. As these copies were dispersed to the various churches, unofficial collections began to form. Interestingly enough from these unofficial collections, heretics began to make their own canons to which the Church was forced to respond (most famously with the Muratorian Canon). Through a fight with heretics, Church councils finally settle this issue as to what books belong in the New Testament.

                In retrospect, it is now seen that the books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament had so called ‘requirements’ before they were actually added to the canon. For the Old Testament, they had to be written to all generations, written in accord with their already known beliefs and written by a prophet. Before jumping to any conclusions, these prophets had their own requirements too before being accepted. First, the prophet had to be right with his prophecies, and secondly, the prophet had to preach in accordance with Scripture. Those were the primary issues, but the prophet could have also been confirmed by his miracles in which he displayed. For the canon of the New Testament, it had to be written by an apostle or a companion of an apostle. In other words, the first requirement for the New Testament was that the writer had to be an eyewitness of Jesus. Secondly, there could be no contradictions with core beliefs, and it had to be accepted by the majority of churches. Once again in the New Testament, the writer had to be confirmed by act of God and the book itself actually had to influence people’s lives. Together with these criteria, the Church could finally compile the books that were meant to be in the Bible.

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