All about the Bible – The First Christians: the Series

On November 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm, Bro. Eric Jan Ching Bartolome of Olongapo City sent a text message about a question on the Bible here is his text message:

Ptr. magandang gabi po.  Nakita ko po yung site niyo sa net at nabuksan ang isip ko sa mga kasulatan sa Biblia. Gusto ko lang po itanong kung saan, kailan at kung sino po ang naka discover ng new testament?  Salamat po…”

English translation:

“Pastor Good evening, I have seen your website on the internet and my mind was opened about the scriptures in the Bible.  I would like to ask where, when and who discovered the new testament.  Thank you very much…”

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE BIBLE

Thank you very much brother Eric for your question.  During the time of our Lord Jesus Christ the Bible that they used was the Old Testament or the Holy Scriptures of the Jewish Religion because our Lord Jesus Christ and the first Christians were Jewish. (Matthew 5:17, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 8:17, Matthew 12:17, Matthew 21:4, Matthew 27:9, Luke 4:17)

During the time of the First Christians they also quoted the Books of the Old Testament and they believe that these books are from God. (Acts 2:16, Acts 3:18, Acts 8:30, Hebrews 1:1, Hebrew 11:32, James 5:10, I Peter 1:10, 2 Peter 3:2)

When the Apostles were alive they sent personal and general letters to the churches in different places in Israel and other parts of the world.  The first Christians read these letters and also believed that these are Holy Scriptures.  (Romans 16:22, I Corinthians 5:9, I Corinthians 16:3, 2 Corinthians 7:8, 2 Corinthians 10:9-11, Colosians 4:16, I Thessalonians 5:27, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 3:14, 3:17, 2 Peter 3:1, 3:16)

During those times the first Christians wanted to know all about the life of our Lord Jesus Christ so there were “many” Christians who attempted to write the Gospels among them was Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. (Matthew 1-28, Mark 1-16, Luke 1-24, John 1-21)

They also wanted to know the history of the church and how it came to be so there were many who wrote books about the history of the first church among them was St. Luke who wrote the Book entitled Acts of the Apostles. (Acts 1- 28)

The first Christians also believed in Bible prophecy and they wanted to know the future of the church and the world so they also wrote books called Apocalypse among these books only the Apocalypse according to John was accepted in our Bibles today but there where many Apocalyptic books that were written during their time. (Apocalypse/ Revelations 1-22)

These books: namely the Gospels, the Apostolic letters, the Apocalypses and other books were circulated among the first Christians during 90 to 300 AD.  There were many books aside from our current Bibles today but we will deal with this in detail on our next website update.  We must understand that during these times the Bible was not collected or even printed in book form like we have today but they were in manuscript form or hand written form and was written on papyrus.

THE CONTROVERSIES REGARDING WHICH BOOKS ARE INSPIRED

In ca 85-160 AD a bishop named Marcion of Sinope founded a new Church and started to collect books that he thinks is of God and others where largely ignored.  He believed that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament so he ignored the books of the Old Testament and accepted the Gospel of Luke and St. Paul’s letters.  During this time the first Church doesn’t have an official Bible like we have today, and because of Marcion’s beliefs the church began to collect the books that they believe was of God.

THE APOSTOLIC & EARLY CHURCH FATHERS AND THE BIBLE

In 160 AD the Apostolic Father Irenaeus asserted that Christians should accept the four Gospels.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  In 200 AD, Origen of Alexandria used the 27 books of the New Testament like we have today.  In 367 AD, Athanasius Bishop of Alexandria gave the list of the 27 books of the New Testament.

MAKING THE BOOKS OF THE HOLY BIBLE OFFICIAL

The African Synod of Hippo in 393, approved the Books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament and this decision was repeated at the council of Carthage in 397 and 419. And in this Councils St. Augustine regarded that the Bible canon is already closed.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon

OTHER BOOKS ASIDE FROM THE BOOKS WE HAVE TODAY

Ethiopian and Syriac Churches

Some Christian groups do not accept the theory that the Christian Bible was not known until various local and Ecumenical Councils, which they deem to be “Roman-dominated”,[citation needed] made their official declarations. For example, the Ethiopian and Syriac Christian churches which did not participate in these councils developed their own Biblical traditions. These groups believe that, in spite of the disagreements about certain books in early Christianity and, indeed, still today, the New Testament supports the view that Paul (2 Timothy 4:11–13), Peter (2 Peter 3:15–16, although it seems that not all the Syriac Church Fathers accepted this book itself as canonical,[28] and indeed it appears the Syriac Bible initially lacked all of the Catholic epistles as well as John’s Revelation), and ultimately John (Revelation 22:18–19, but see the previous note) finalized the canon of the New Testament. Some note that Peter, John, and Paul wrote 20 (or 21) of the 27 books of the NT and personally knew all the other NT writers. (The books which are attributed to authors other than these three are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, James, and Jude. The authorship of Hebrews has long been disputed.)

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon

So as we can see now, the Bible that we have today and being used in all of the churches existing today is a product of centuries of pain staking work by the Catholic Church.  There are other Churches who has or accepted other books aside from the books that was collected by the Catholic Church.  The Syrian Christians accepted the Gospel according to Thomas and the Ethiopian Christians also accepted other books aside from what we have today.

I hope brother Eric you will be enlightened about the history of how our Bible came to be.  May Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd bless you and your family and friends.  Amen.

If you have any questions about the Christian faith you may send it to our email at cucphilippines@gmail.com or text us at 0929.588.05.88

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