U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-22-2008, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
486 posts, read 26,789 times
Reputation: 153
Post The Bible, the Truth

What is "the Bible?" Depending on the belief of the person who replies, you may receive answers from "the literal Word of God" to "a miscellaneous collection of stories about ancient times."

What many people today do not realize, is that the "Bible" is not one book and is not a static entity that has existed as it is for all time. Of course, people realize there is an Old Testament and a New Testament, but ask Protestants about the books, "Bel and the Dragon" or "Tobit" and they will probably think you are talking about J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings and not the Bible. But those stories are in the Roman Catholic Bible along with several others that were removed by Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation a few hundred years ago.

The Book of Jude, which is in all New Testaments, references the scriptural book of Enoch. This is a book that very likely was known and studied by Jesus as scripture, yet is not in the Bible as we know it today.

Then we have literally dozens of other books that did not make it into the Bible, including some written earlier than the Gospel of John (a late addition from the second century a.d.). The Gospel of the Nazarenes, for example, pre-dates John's Gospel. It was written in Aramaic (the language of Jesus) but since few people could read Aramaic, it was eventually lost to history except for a few excerpts. We have some bits and pieces of it today, however, and they are enlightening.

Another book, the Gospel of the Ebionites, was written about the same time as John's. It, however, promotes vegetarianism! The Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Gospel of the Egyptians, the Coptic Gospel of Thomas, the Unknown Gospel, The Gospel of Peter, The Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of the Savior, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the Proto-Gospel of James, and then numerous epistles and other works are all known (at least partially) today and most were known to people of the first two centuries. So why are these not part of the Bible? Who made the decision to exclude some books and include others?

Like many things today, a lot of "politics" comes into play. A power struggle among factions of Christians, scammers seeking to make money off followers of Jesus, and cultural and philosophical differences all contributed to weeding out some books and including others. The Jesus we know today would be seen very, very differently had other factions won out in the first two centuries!

Many books have been written on the subject. I particularly like Bart D. Ehrman's books: Lost Scriptures and Lost Christianities.

At the risk of making this blog too long, let me say that there were big struggles in the first century between those who wanted to keep the new church of Christ Jewish in nature and those who wanted to take it to "the nations" or the Gentiles (as Saul aka Paul). Then there were completely different battles over traditional Hebrew views (not necessarily confined by Jewish law) and a prevailing philosophy of the day, Greek Gnosticism. Gnosis means knowledge and the philosophy had many different branches of thought. But as applied to Jesus, perhaps the most common view was that Jesus' teaching revealed the knowledge of God within us that existed from creation and without his teaching, we were doomed. That is way too simple, but it touches on the difference between knowledge (Gnostics) and salvation (the teaching of Paul). Finally, you can add the cultural differences of diverse populations throughout the Middle East and southern Europe where the teachings reached.

Clashes in ideals, local gods, local holidays and festivals, and so on between Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Jerusalem, Egypt, and other cities contributed to even more varying interpretations of the teachings of Jesus and the writings that followed.

And so while the Bible as we know contains extremely valuable information about Jesus and the early church, it isn't everything. It is the version chosen by those in power, the final selection before Martin Luther's changes being in 364 a.d. The earliest canon found to date, the Muratorian Canon, lists 22 of the 27 books of our New Testament (leaving out Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and 3 John) and includes the Apocalypse of Peter and the Wisdom of Solomon not found in the Bible today. It also lists as valuable for reading (but not sacred scripture), the Shepherd of Hermas. This canon of sacred books dates to the late 2nd century and probably to Rome.

For me, the study of all these books is helpful in understanding how Christianity evolved; who decided what we would follow today and what would be rejected; and, to whatever limited extent we can know, what Jesus actually said and did and believed.

Peace be with you
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-22-2008, 03:53 PM
 
3,086 posts, read 3,928,221 times
Reputation: 956
Just a thot..

We can tell what is true by what lead us to the Truth. There have been people that have found the Truth, and have found God, and have not even read the Bible. They maybe just read a tract or a single scripture.. and this led them to Christ.

So I'm not concerned about what books should or shouldn't be in the Bible. I know that it taught me where to go when I needed a Savior, and tells me enough (with the Holy Spirit's direction and interpretation) that I can make the journey.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2008, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
486 posts, read 26,789 times
Reputation: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by cg81 View Post
Just a thot..

We can tell what is true by what lead us to the Truth. There have been people that have found the Truth, and have found God, and have not even read the Bible. They maybe just read a tract or a single scripture.. and this led them to Christ.

So I'm not concerned about what books should or shouldn't be in the Bible. I know that it taught me where to go when I needed a Savior, and tells me enough (with the Holy Spirit's direction and interpretation) that I can make the journey.
By that argument, then, the Q'ran has led many people to God (Allah), the same God of Abraham, and therefore Islam is valid as well.

And extrapolate that to Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Toltec wisdom, the Book of Mormon, and perhaps even Star Wars...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2008, 04:03 PM
 
3,086 posts, read 3,928,221 times
Reputation: 956
Quote:
Originally Posted by Father John View Post
By that argument, then, the Q'ran has led many people to God (Allah), the same God of Abraham, and therefore Islam is valid as well.

And extrapolate that to Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Toltec wisdom, the Book of Mormon, and perhaps even Star Wars...
There are many things, people, and events that have led people to God. God is very versatile in His calling methods... He may have spoken to someone thru Star Wars, who knows? Anyone who is a sincere seeker will find Him. We don't need to completely validate and find proof with no question every passage and word of the Bible for Him to reach us.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2008, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Maryland
3,540 posts, read 4,126,327 times
Reputation: 941
Quote:
Originally Posted by Father John View Post
What is "the Bible?" Depending on the belief of the person who replies, you may receive answers from "the literal Word of God" to "a miscellaneous collection of stories about ancient times."

What many people today do not realize, is that the "Bible" is not one book and is not a static entity that has existed as it is for all time. Of course, people realize there is an Old Testament and a New Testament, but ask Protestants about the books, "Bel and the Dragon" or "Tobit" and they will probably think you are talking about J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings and not the Bible. But those stories are in the Roman Catholic Bible along with several others that were removed by Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation a few hundred years ago.

The Book of Jude, which is in all New Testaments, references the scriptural book of Enoch. This is a book that very likely was known and studied by Jesus as scripture, yet is not in the Bible as we know it today.

Then we have literally dozens of other books that did not make it into the Bible, including some written earlier than the Gospel of John (a late addition from the second century a.d.). The Gospel of the Nazarenes, for example, pre-dates John's Gospel. It was written in Aramaic (the language of Jesus) but since few people could read Aramaic, it was eventually lost to history except for a few excerpts. We have some bits and pieces of it today, however, and they are enlightening.

Another book, the Gospel of the Ebionites, was written about the same time as John's. It, however, promotes vegetarianism! The Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Gospel of the Egyptians, the Coptic Gospel of Thomas, the Unknown Gospel, The Gospel of Peter, The Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of the Savior, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the Proto-Gospel of James, and then numerous epistles and other works are all known (at least partially) today and most were known to people of the first two centuries. So why are these not part of the Bible? Who made the decision to exclude some books and include others?

Like many things today, a lot of "politics" comes into play. A power struggle among factions of Christians, scammers seeking to make money off followers of Jesus, and cultural and philosophical differences all contributed to weeding out some books and including others. The Jesus we know today would be seen very, very differently had other factions won out in the first two centuries!

Many books have been written on the subject. I particularly like Bart D. Ehrman's books: Lost Scriptures and Lost Christianities.

At the risk of making this blog too long, let me say that there were big struggles in the first century between those who wanted to keep the new church of Christ Jewish in nature and those who wanted to take it to "the nations" or the Gentiles (as Saul aka Paul). Then there were completely different battles over traditional Hebrew views (not necessarily confined by Jewish law) and a prevailing philosophy of the day, Greek Gnosticism. Gnosis means knowledge and the philosophy had many different branches of thought. But as applied to Jesus, perhaps the most common view was that Jesus' teaching revealed the knowledge of God within us that existed from creation and without his teaching, we were doomed. That is way too simple, but it touches on the difference between knowledge (Gnostics) and salvation (the teaching of Paul). Finally, you can add the cultural differences of diverse populations throughout the Middle East and southern Europe where the teachings reached.

Clashes in ideals, local gods, local holidays and festivals, and so on between Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Jerusalem, Egypt, and other cities contributed to even more varying interpretations of the teachings of Jesus and the writings that followed.

And so while the Bible as we know contains extremely valuable information about Jesus and the early church, it isn't everything. It is the version chosen by those in power, the final selection before Martin Luther's changes being in 364 a.d. The earliest canon found to date, the Muratorian Canon, lists 22 of the 27 books of our New Testament (leaving out Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and 3 John) and includes the Apocalypse of Peter and the Wisdom of Solomon not found in the Bible today. It also lists as valuable for reading (but not sacred scripture), the Shepherd of Hermas. This canon of sacred books dates to the late 2nd century and probably to Rome.

For me, the study of all these books is helpful in understanding how Christianity evolved; who decided what we would follow today and what would be rejected; and, to whatever limited extent we can know, what Jesus actually said and did and believed.

Peace be with you

You sound like you could have been one of the handful of Catholics that attended the Bangor Seminary.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2008, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
486 posts, read 26,789 times
Reputation: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakback View Post
You sound like you could have been one of the handful of Catholics that attended the Bangor Seminary.
hmmmmm.... I did attend BTS (MDiv 1977) and my wife is Catholic (but I am Congregational). I took Catholic Theology there, though (one semester).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2008, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Maryland
3,540 posts, read 4,126,327 times
Reputation: 941
Quote:
Originally Posted by Father John View Post
hmmmmm.... I did attend BTS (MDiv 1977) and my wife is Catholic (but I am Congregational). I took Catholic Theology there, though (one semester).

I was born in new england. Attended a congregational church as a kid. Still have my first bible I received from that church. Was baptized as a methodist, and submitted myself to rome ( became a papist ) about 15 years ago.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2008, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Hot-Houston Texas
20,003 posts, read 20,289,999 times
Reputation: 28022
2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make realize what is wrong in our lives. It straights up out and teaches us to do what is right".

I believe the Bible is completely trustworthy because God was in control of its writing. It is my instruction book for living here on Earth.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2008, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Mesa, AZ
486 posts, read 26,789 times
Reputation: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by I LOVE NORTH CAROLINA View Post
2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make realize what is wrong in our lives. It straights up out and teaches us to do what is right".

I believe the Bible is completely trustworthy because God was in control of its writing. It is my instruction book for living here on Earth.
Translation: "The Bible is right because it says it is right."

Hmmmmm. I disagree and I am right because I say I am right.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2008, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Hot-Houston Texas
20,003 posts, read 20,289,999 times
Reputation: 28022
Quote:
Originally Posted by Father John View Post
Translation: "The Bible is right because it says it is right."

Hmmmmm. I disagree and I am right because I say I am right.
A person who does not have the Holy Spirit cannot understand spiritual things. An unbeliever is incapable of understanding the things of God.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top