I encourage any agnostics or atheists with questions about the Bible or Christianity to post a comment here.
I accept and allow to post any comment that pertains to the subject matter of my post.
I would encourage any who post to consider writing their own comments rather than copying information from other sources, although brief, or relatively brief, quotations for discussion are appropriate.
That keeps the discussions directly on target, and keeps post length to something everyone can comfortably read.
Currently on another site a most interesting discussion has raised the question about whether or not God is a personal God. Questions also arise concerning the Bible–can we believe it? Is it literally true? Is the Bible inerrant?
A very thorny issue raises the question about does God communicate personally with man, or any individual person, now?
When we need God’s guidance, it would really be nice if He would condescend to writing a personal letter to us, sending it by what used to be called “Registered Mail.” I know the Post Office could use the extra first-class mail business!
But it seems God has kept a strange and virtually absolute silence for nearly 2000 years. Now, the “Silence of God” is a very deep subject of study when it comes to Real Bible Study, so I don’t recommend starting there. Sir Robert Anderson wrote a book on the subject titled The Silence of God which I recently downloaded onto my “nook” electronic book reader and I’ve now read it twice. Robert Anderson has written more on the subject than I’ve seen elsewhere, but even after reading his book twice through late last year I see a need for even more direct study of what the Bible itself actually teaches about it.
I am developing a new and much expanded cross reference Bible study tool for eventual publication in electronic/computer software format. I just finished my basic work on the book of Psalms earlier this evening. I’ve spent the past six months going through the 150 chapters of the book of Psalms twice. I spent one whole month just on Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, adding more cross references tied to more keywords in the Bible. My file grew from ten pages to just over 26 pages in length.
I am convinced that the Bible really is true. One thing the Bible has going for it that the religious books of other faiths do not is historicity. This FACT is why I believe the Bible is much more worthy of belief than any other religious text.
For example, the New Testament records are proven historically accurate down to very minute details. The New Testament contains written eye-witness testimony to the facts of which it speaks. The New Testament bears testimony to the bodily resurrection of Christ with greater detail and the record of more eyewitnesses than any other important incident of ancient history.
New Testament manuscripts are numerous, and the earliest manuscript fragments go back to a time only 40 or so years after the death of the last New Testament writer, John. No other ancient literature of Greece or Rome has anywhere near the amount of manuscript evidence, or manuscripts dating so close to the time of writing as the New Testament does.
So don’t be misled by those who would argue against the New Testament on the basis that all we have is “copies of copies of copies.” The FACT is that the oldest copies we have agree extremely closely with the later manuscript copies we have, testifying to the care and accuracy with which copies were made.
I have studied this subject carefully since the mid to late 1950s, probably longer than anyone who might happen upon this blog and read this post. Scholar friends of mine gave me much assistance by providing copies of rare works on this subject, such that I have a good number of feet of shelf space in my own library devoted to these matters.
As for how do we know which books belong in the New Testament, the answer is the books that belong are all included there now. These 27 books are each written by either an apostle of Jesus Christ or by a person very closely associated with those who were. Older writers, such as Townsend in his Analysis, believed that the canon of the New Testament was established by the Apostle John, the last living apostle, before he died. I like that idea. But whether precisely true or not, the historical evidence is that copies of each book were made and shared widely among the Christian congregations or churches, and copies were made and shared with individuals as well. The Christian community, under the providential guidance of the Holy Spirit no doubt, carefully copied, distributed, and providentially preserved the books of the New Testament.
No church or denomination or council decided which books belonged in the New Testament. They only affirmed what was already accepted by Christians at large.
Some have argued that certain books were purposely “left out.” After hearing a program on the radio affirming such foolishness, I said to my wife and her mother who lives with us, let me show you once and for all how such claims are utter nonsense.
I then retrieved a book of these “Lost Books of the Bible” and the “Apocryphal New Testament” and began reading their content aloud.
My point was instantly clear.
If you are familiar with the books that are in the New Testament, and were you to read any of these other books supposedly left out, you too would immediately sense the difference. They are worlds apart.
Well, I’ve rambled on at some length.
Any one is invited to respond with a comment, pro or con or indifferent, on these or related themes.
Lets have a discussion and shed some light, not generate heat, on these very important issues.