Sabbath School Lesson Review 2017 Quarter 2 Lesson 10
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 2 Lesson 10 Friday
When the question is asked, How much of the Bible can be trusted? The confident answer is often heard—with special emphasis on the first word—”All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” 2 Timothy 3:16.
But how much is to be included in the “all”?
When a Protestant offers this reply, he is thinking of the sixty-six books in his favorite version of the English Bible.
When a Roman Catholic uses the same text, he is thinking of the sixty-six plus a number of additional books commonly known as the Apocrypha.
The Old Testament accepted by Protestants and Jews ends with the book of Malachi. The Catholic Old Testament ends with Second Maccabees.
In the Jewish and Protestant Old Testament, Daniel has only twelve chapters. In the Catholic Old Testament there are fourteen.
Which is correct? After so many centuries, is there perhaps a serious question as to the authenticity of the Biblical documents?
Jesus always seemed to express confidence in the Bible that He used.
One day after His resurrection He told His disciples that “everything written about Me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Luke 24:44, R.S.V.
In these words Jesus endorsed the books of the Old Testament as they were customarily arranged in those days.
Through the years, as the books of the Old Testament were written, they were gradually arranged into three groups or divisions.
The first five books of the Bible made up the division of “the Law” or “the Law of Moses.”
Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets made up the division of “the Prophets.”
The remaining books of the Old Testament formed the third division, “the Writings.”
The thirty-nine books in these three divisions made up the Old Testament canon. “Canon” means “measure” or “rule.” A “canonical” book is one that measures up to a certain standard.
In the early years of the Christian church, twenty-seven more documents came to be regarded as measuring up to the standard and were eventually arranged into the canon of the New Testament.
But the canonical sixty-six were not by any means the only religious books in circulation that had an appearance of being Biblical. In fact, there were far more books that were judged uncanonical than were accepted as authoritative.
Many of these were written during the period between the Testaments and bore considerable resemblance to books already in the canon. They carried such titles as The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, The Letter of Jeremiah, Judith, Tobit, Bel and the Dragon, First and Second Maccabees, the Books of Adam and Eve, the Martyrdom of Isaiah, First and Second Enoch.
About a dozen of these came to be regarded by Jews living outside Palestine as of sufficient importance to merit inclusion with the other books of the Old Testament. Eventually they became an integral part of the Greek translation of the Old Testament that had been prepared during the third and second centuries before Christ for the Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt. This version of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint, became the widely used Bible of the early Christian church.
Some who still have special regard for these extra books are happy to point out that Timothy was a Greek (Acts 16:1). Naturally, then, he used the Septuagint, and the Septuagint contained the extra books. Consequently, when Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” he was including the extra Old Testament books as equally canonical!
It is significant, therefore, to notice that the Greek of 2 Timothy 3:16 may be interpreted, as in the New English Bible and others, “Every inspired Scripture has its use.”
This suggests rather that the apostle was reminding Timothy that, though there were many scriptures in circulation, only that scripture which is inspired of God is profitable.
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