Bible; Biblia

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(the book). The term applied, not further back than the fifth century, to that collection of biblia, or holy books, which comprises the Old and New Testaments.

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This name is from the Greek through the Latin, and signifies “The Books.” The whole is also called “The Scriptures,” and once “The Holy Scriptures,” that is, “the Sacred Writings,” distinguishing them from all others. The advent of the Lord Jesus, who was the great subject of the scriptures (John 5:3939Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39)), and in whom as “SonGod spoke, after a silence of 400 years, naturally led to a division of the sacred writings into two parts, called the Old and New Testaments. The “Old Testament” is mentioned as being read in 2 Corinthians 3:1414But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:14); but the term “New Testament,” as applied to the collection of books that commonly bear that title, does not occur in scripture. There was also a change in the language in which the various books of the two Testaments were written. The Old was written in Hebrew, except Ezra 4:88Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort: (Ezra 4:8) to Ezra 6:1818And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses. (Ezra 6:18); Ezra 7:12-2612Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. 13I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee. 14Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand; 15And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem, 16And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem: 17That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem. 18And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God. 19The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem. 20And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king's treasure house. 21And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily, 22Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? 24Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them. 25And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. 26And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment. (Ezra 7:12‑26); Jeremiah 10:1111Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. (Jeremiah 10:11); Daniel 2:44Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation. (Daniel 2:4) to Daniel 7:2828Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart. (Daniel 7:28): these portions being written in Chaldee or Aramaic. The books of the New Testament were written in Greek (without now taking into consideration whether the Gospel by Matthew was originally written in Aramaic). The glad tidings of salvation was for the whole world, and the language most extensively known at that time was chosen for its promulgation.
The Old Testament may be considered as dividing itself into
1. The Pentateuch, or five books of Moses.
2. The Historical Books, including Joshua to the end of Esther.
3. The Poetical Books, Job to the end of Song of Solomon.
4. The Prophetical Books, from Isaiah to Malachi.
The Jews divided the Old Testament into three parts.
1. The Law (Torah), the five books of Moses.
2. The Prophets (Nebiim), including Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets.
3. The Writings (Kethubim, or Hagiographa, “holy writings”), including
a) the Psalms, Proverbs, Job;
b) Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther;
c) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles.
The books are in this order in the Hebrew Bible. The above triple division is doubtless alluded to by the Lord, in Luke 24:4444And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44), “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me” (compare Luke 24:2727And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)). “The Psalms” being the first book in the third part, may have been used as a title to express the whole of the division.
The Talmud and later Jewish writers reckon twenty-four books in the Old Testament To make out this number they count the two books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles as one book each; Ezra and Nehemiah as one; and the twelve Minor Prophets as one. The earlier Jews reckoned the books as 22, according to the letters in the alphabet: they united Ruth with Judges, and Lamentations with Jeremiah. But all such arrangements are arbitrary and fanciful.
The “oracles of God” were committed to Israel (Rom. 3:22Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. (Romans 3:2)), and they have been zealous defenders of the letter of the Old Testament For a long time it was thought that their great care and exactitude in copying had preserved the manuscripts from error; but it has been abundantly proved that those copyists erred, as all others have erred in this respect, and numerous errors have been discovered in the MSS, though many of them are seen at once to be mistakes of the pen, some doubtless caused through the similarity of the Hebrew letters, and are easily corrected. Other differences can be set right by the preponderance of evidence in the MSS themselves now that many of these have been collated.
Besides such variations there are other deviations from the common Hebrew text that profess to have some amount of authority. They are commonly called Keri and Chethib, (which see).
As to the text of the NEW TESTAMENT there is no particular copy that claims any authority, though the Received Text (Elzevir, 1624) was for a long time treated “as if an angel had compiled it,” as one expressed it. But the undue respect for that text has passed away, and every translator has to examine the evidence for and against every variation, in order to know what he shall translate.
He has before him:
1. many GREEK MANUSCRIPTS: some 40 being called Uncials because of being written all in capital letters (though some of this number are only portions or mere fragments), and are represented by capital letters, A, B, C, &c. They date from the fourth to the tenth century. There are also hundreds of Cursives (those written in a more running hand), for the most part of later date than the uncials, a few of which are of special value. They date from the tenth century to the fourteenth, and are represented by numerals.
2. ANCIENT VERSIONS, which show what was apparently in the Greek copies used for the versions: the Old Latin, often called Italic; the Vulgate; Syriac; Egyptian, called the Memphitic and the Thebaic; the Gothic; Armenian; and Æthiopic. These Versions date from the second to the sixth century.
3. THE FATHERS, which are useful as showing what was in the Greek copies from which they quoted: they date from the second century.
The variations in the Greek Manuscripts are very numerous, yet the Editors (men who have attempted to discover what God originally caused to be written)—though each formed his own plan as to which of the above witnesses he would examine—have come to the same judgment in the great majority of the variations. In such cases we are doubtless safe in leaving the commonly received text. In other places their conclusions differ, and in a few cases nearly all the Editors have been obliged to declare the reading as doubtful. Though this is to be deplored, for we should desire to ascertain in every instance the actual words which God caused to be written, yet it is a matter of deep thankfulness that the variations do not in the least affect any one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. These all stand forth in sublime and lucid grandeur as parts of the will of God Himself, notwithstanding all that men have done to obscure or nullify them.
The above must suffice as to the text of the Old and New Testaments. Under the name of each book will be found what are considered the leading thoughts therein, but a few words are now added as to the whole Bible.
It is “the word of God,” an unfolding of unseen things—a revelation of the nature of God morally, and the history, divinely penned, of man His creature, first as innocent, and then as fallen, with its consequences. It shows man’s responsibility and how man has been tested in various ways, each test resulting, alas, in his failure. It manifests that if man is to be saved and eternally blessed, it must be by a work done for him by another. This was graciously accomplished by the Son of God becoming a man and dying a sacrificial death on the cross, which glorified God and met the question of man’s responsibility.
The word reveals that there was a counsel respecting the second Man in eternity, it also reveals that when the mediatorial kingdom of the Lord Jesus as Son of Man has been finished, God will again in eternity become all in all. In the mean time, according to the eternal purpose of God, many are being brought to Himself through faith in the atoning death of the Lord Jesus, being quickened by the Spirit, and made new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus is awaiting the time when He will come to fetch His saints, to carry out all God’s purposes, and to punish those that know not God, and who obey not the gospel.
The Bible also reveals the character of Satan since his fall, as being a liar and murderer; he is the great enemy of the Lord Jesus and of man, and he deceived our mother Eve. It also details the future eternal punishment of that wicked one with those who are obedient to him
The choice of Israel and the wonders wrought for their deliverance from Egypt, together with their history in the land of promise, their expulsion and captivity, and their future tribulation and blessing in the same land, occupy a large part of the Bible.
Christ in type, antitype, and prophecy, is the center of the whole Book: “All things were made by Him and for Him.” He is pointedly referred to in Genesis 3, and gives His parting word to His saints in the last chapter of the Revelation.
The New Testament brings out not only the history of redemption by the death of Christ, but gives the doctrine of the Church in its various aspects, showing that Christianity is an entirely new order of things—indeed a new creation. Those who form the church are instructed as to their true position in Christ, and their true position in the world, with details to guide them in every station of life. The Revelation gives the various phases of the church at that time (though prophetic of its condition to the end) with warnings of the evils that had already crept in. This is followed by the many and varied judgments that will fall upon Christendom and the world, reaching to the eternal state of the new heavens and the new earth.
This is but a brief and incomplete sketch of the contents of the Bible, for who can in few, or indeed, in many words describe that wonderful God-made Book? It is an inexhaustible mine: the more it is explored, the more is the finger of God manifest everywhere, and new treasures are revealed to the devout, calling forth their praise and adoration. See INSPIRATION.

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