Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                         May 31, 2015                                                                                                                            NO. 12




What proof do we have that we can trust the Bible for everything it says. The Bible has been handed down so many times. The translation has been changed and everybody knows when you're passing on information the meaning never comes back the way it originated. One word changed can change the whole meaning of the passage. The Bible was written so long ago how do we know it's meaning is still the same and how do we know it's not just another man-made project.


As to the fact that the Bible has been handed down to us in the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament through many hands and many centuries, let it be noted that the Bible is the best attested ancient book in the entire world. There are literally thousands of copies of both the OT and the NT in their original languages which have come down to us--some of them extremely ancient. For example, many copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Hebrew manuscripts of OT books) go back to the first century before the time of Jesus, others perhaps even a century earlier than that. If we may trust that we have the works of Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, and the host of other ancient writers whose materials are not nearly so well attested, why would we not also be able to believe that we have the precise words of Christ and his apostles, as well as those of Moses and the old prophets?

As to whether the words were changed in the process of time and transmission to our day, you must remember that the transmitters (scribes) of ancient times were extraordinarily careful, believing that a curse from heaven was upon the one who would change even a single word of Holy Scripture (see Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Matt. 5:18; Rev. 22:18, 19). But since mistakes did occasionally occur because of oversights and writing errors, it was the hundreds of other copies of the scripture that acted as a countermeasure to assure the mistakes could be corrected. This process of establishing the original text has come to be called "the science of textual criticism.” The translation process itself is really the most convincing part. Think of all the translations there are out there! Literally hundreds of different ones in the English language alone. Take a few translations and compare them side by side. You know what happens? You come up with very little difference between them. Most only differ in the different ways of saying the exact same things!

—Dan King




Skeptics of Christianity have long argued that the New Testament Scriptures are not divinely inspired literature, but simply the human product of the early church. Even some religious folks who were anti-supernaturalists have affirmed that the "deity" of Jesus was a myth created by HIs disciples to promote a messianic movement. For this reason, the writing of the gospel of John, dedicated to the proposition that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 20:30,31), was often assigned to the late second and even third centuries by some to provide enough time for the "myth" of His deity to gradually develop. The discovery of the John Rylands manuscript, a fragment of a manuscript of the Johanine gospel dated at the beginning of the second century, laid this speculative theory to rest!

Some skeptics have argued that the Catholic Church deter-mined the specific doctrines of the New Testament by excluding any religious writings that didn't agree with its views. There are a number of gnostic gospels that are sometimes "hawked" by the uninformed as "the lost books of the Bible." The impression created by such skeptics is that the contents of the Bible (particularly the New Testament) were determined by the vagaries of religious politics.

It's not just the skeptics who give the Catholic Church credit for the New Testament documents. The Roman Catholic Church has recently been running television commercials in which the claim is made that the Catholic Church gave mankind the Bible. It is not a new claim, but is there any truth in this claim?

There are two things to consider in answering this question. First, we must understand that the Roman Catholic Church developed over time. The difficult question is to determine how to mark the clear beginning of the Roman Catholic Church. Although there were organizational and doctrinal departures from apostolic doctrine that began relatively quickly, the identity of the Catholic Church (if measured by the introduction of such doctrines as mortal and venial sins, purgatory, celibacy of the clergy, seven sacraments, auricular confession and Mariolatry) is clearly not present in the first or even second centuries.

Although the Catholic Church claims the apostle Peter as the first pope (universal bishop), there is no Scriptural support for the claim. If we mark the beginning of the Catholic Church by the clear acceptance of a universal Roman bishop, then we can confidently place its beginning at the conclusion of the 6th century during the time of Gregory I (590-604).

Related to this first point is the fact that the New Testament canon (the 27 books) was recognized by the church fathers who alluded to or quoted extensively from the various books that make up the canon. In their general introduction to the Bible, Geisler and Nix comment:  “As a result, the first hundred years of the existence of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament reveal that virtually every one of them was quoted as authoritative and recognized as canonical by men who were themselves the younger contemporaries of the Apostolic Age.” (p. 291).

In addition, there were "canon lists" (e.g., The Muratorian  Canon {A.D. 170}; The Old Latin {before A.D. 200}; The Old Syriac {A.D. 400}, that preceded the existence of the Roman Catholic Church, although these lists were not identical to the present New Testament canon (omitting some disputed books). However, they represent the efforts of early Christians to determine which books, of all the religious literature of the period, were actually divinely inspired.

Conclusion: -- Jessie Corrigan Pegis, in his work A Practical Catholic Dictionary, defines "The Canon of Holy Scripture (as) the list, made by the Church, of the inspired books which makeup the Old and New Testament." Of course, Mr. Pegis used the word "church" to refer to the Roman Catholic Church. As we have shown, the New Testament canon was recognized prior to the existence of the Roman Catholic Church with its distinctive characteristics. Church historian Cairns comments: “People often err by thinking that the canon was set by church councils. Such was not the case, for the various church councils that pronounced upon the subject of the canon of  the New Testament were merely stating publicly what had been widely accepted by the consciousness of the church for some time." In short, there doesn't seem to be any historical evidence that the canon was determined by any universal (church) organization or any sub-group of the Lord's church. The Roman Catholic Church didn't give mankind the Bible, nor did the Bible give us the Roman Catholic Church, regardless of her claim!  

—Allen Dvorak

taken from The Sower, Vol. 4, Number 50, Dec. 25, 2011




The quality of the product depends on the quality of the materials used.


If you look ahead you won’t fall behind. 


Alcohol will kill the living and preserve the dead.



Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

--- E.R. Hall, Jr.





Bible Classes ……….....….…............ 10:00 AM

Morning Worship ……..…….….…...... 11:00 AM

Evening Worship …………...……........ 6:00 PM


Bible Classes …………..………........... 7:30 PM



Radio Program

Monday - Friday

WDXC 102.3 FM .....................…........ 10:20 AM



Television Program


Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 6:00 AM & 2:00 PM


Comcast Cable - Heritage TV - Digital Channel 266 ............ 2:00 PM



World Wide Web:


UNSUBSCRIBE: Reply to and put UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

SUBSCRIBE FRIENDS: Reply to and put SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.