Bible

Bible

Bible, also called the Holy Bible, sacred book or Scriptures of Judaism and of Christianity. The Jewish Bible is the Hebrew Scriptures, 39 books, whereas the Christian Bible is in two parts, the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. The version of the Old Testament used by Roman Catholics is the Bible of Judaism plus seven other books and additions to books. The version of the Old Testament used by Protestants is limited to the 39 books of the Jewish Bible. The other books and additions to books are called the Apocrypha by Protestants.
Order of the Books
The Bible of Judaism consists of three distinct parts: the Torah, or Law; the Nebiim, or Phophets; and the Ketubim, or Writings. The Christian Old Testament organizes the books according to type of literature: the Pentateuch, corresponding to the Torah; historical books; poetical or wisdom books; and prophetical books. The New Testament includes the four Gospels; the Acts of the Apostles; Epistles; and the Apocalypse, or Book of Revelation.
Importance and Influence
The most widely distributed book in human history, the Bible has been enormously influential as the foundational document of Judaism and Christianity as well as in secular contexts. The literature, art, and music of Western culture in particular are deeply indebted to biblical themes and images.
The Old Testament
The term Old Testament came to be applied to the Hebrew Scriptures on the basis of the writings of Paul and other early Christians who distinguished between the Old Covenant that God made with Israel and the New Covenant established through Jesus Christ. The books of the Old Testament include narratives, poetic works, prophetic works, law, and apocalypses.
Many Old Testament books, including Ruth, Jonah, and Esther, are narratives; some are stories with plot, characterization, and setting description; and some are histories in that they are guided by facts, insofar as the writer can determine and interpret them. They are popular rather than critical works, based on oral traditions that are sometimes unreliable.
The poetic books of the Old Testament include Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (Songs), and in the deuterocanonical books and the Apocrypha, Sirach and the Prayer of Manasseh. Characterized by parallelism or restatement of lines, as well as by rhythm, the poetic books include many diverse genres, including songs of worship, wisdom poetry, and love poetry.
Most Hebrew prophetic books contain three kinds of literature: narratives, prayers, and prophetic speeches. Speeches predominate, as the essence of prophetic activity was to announce the word of God concerning the immediate future, often by forecasting punishment or salvation (see Prophecy).
Legal materials are sufficiently prominent in the Hebrew Scriptures that the term Torah (Law) came to be applied in Judaism to the first five books, and in early Christianity to the entire Old Testament. Most of the laws are found in Exodus 20 through Numbers 10.
The apocalypse as a distinctive genre arose in Israel after the Babylonian captivity of the Jews (586 to 538 BC). Apocalyptic writings generally reflect the author’s historical view of his own era as a time when the powers of evil are gathering to make their final struggle against God, after which a new age will be established. Daniel is the only apocalyptic book as such in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The Development of the Old Testament
The literary history of the Old Testament is long and complicated, and many of the facts are not known. Behind many of the present literary works stand oral traditions, which in some cases existed for centuries alongside written materials. For more detailed information on literary history, see entries on individual Old Testament books.
According to Jewish and Christian tradition, Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Modern scholars believe that the writers of the Pentateuch drew upon several different sources, each from a different writer and period. The oldest source is commonly dated in the 10th or 9th century BC, and the latest source is dated in the 6th or 5th century BC. The writers of these documents worked as editors who collected, organized, and interpreted older traditions, both oral and written. In recent years the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings have been recognized as a unified account, called the Deuteronomistic History, of the history of Israel from the time of Moses (13th century BC) to the Babylonian captivity. Based on the last events it reports among other evidence, the Deuteronomistic History seems to have been written about 560 BC. Both the cultic and wisdom poetry of the Old Testament are difficult to date or attribute to particular authors. Few if any of the prophetic books were written entirely by the person whose name serves as the title.
The Canon
The Hebrew Bible and the Christian versions of the Old Testament were canonized in different times and places. The Hebrew Bible became Holy Scripture in three stages: evidence indicates that the Torah became Scripture between the end of the Babylonian captivity and the separation of the Samaritans from Judaism, probably by 300 BC. The canonization of the Nebiim occurred by the end of the 3rd century BC. The contents of the Ketubim remained somewhat fluid until after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in AD 70.
The second canon- what is now the Roman Catholic version of the Old Testament- arose first as a translation of the earlier Hebrew books into Greek. The process began in the 3rd century BC outside of Palestine. By the end of the 1st century AD, the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) was in existence. The last major step in the history of the Christian canon took place during the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther removed from his version of the Old Testament the books that were not in the Bible of Judaism and established them as the Apocrypha.
Texts and Ancient Versions
All contemporary translators of the Bible attempt to recover and use the oldest text. No original copies exist. With regard to the Old Testament, the chief distinction is between texts in Hebrew and the translations into other ancient languages. The most important, and generally most reliable, witnesses to the Hebrew are the Masoretic texts, those produced by Jewish scholars (called the Masoretes) who assumed the task of faithfully copying and transmitting the Bible. The standard printed Hebrew Bible in use today is a reproduction of a Masoretic text written in AD 1088. Still existing, however, are older Hebrew manuscripts, of individual books. For instance numerous manuscripts and fragments, many from the pre-Christian era, have been recovered from the Dead Sea region since 1947 (see Dead Sea Scrolls).
The major Greek version of the Hebrew Bible is called the Septuagint. The first Greek translation included only the Torah and was done in Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. Other versions include the Peshitta, or Syriac; the Old Latin; the Vulgate; and the Aramaic Targums, which were not literal translations but rather paraphrases or interpretations of the original.
The Old Testament and History
As the history of Israel was told in the Old Testament, it came to be organized in a series of pivotal events or periods: the exodus, the monarchy, the exile in Babylon, and the return to Palestine with the restoration of religious institutions. Although a considerable body of information concerning the history of the ancient Near East is available from the 3rd millennium BC on, a detailed history of Israel can begin only about the time of King David. The monarchy arose during the 11th century BC in the midst of internal strife and external threat. When David became king in 1000 BC, he ended the Philistine threat and established an empire from Syria to the border of Egypt. The northern tribes rebelled under his grandson Rehoboam, and the two nations, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, separated. Both Judah and Israel fell to foreign armies. The Israelites were sent into exile in Babylon; they were set free in 538 BC, when the Persian king Cyrus the Great established the Persian Empire. At some point during the postexilic period, the history of Israel became the history of Judaism.
Theological Themes of the Old Testament
The most pervasive theological theme of the Old Testament is that Yahweh (the name of God in the Old Testament; see God; Jehovah) is the God of Israel, of the whole earth, and of history. Two other themes include the covenant, which refers mainly to the pact between Yahweh and Israel sealed at Mount Sinai; and law, which was given as a part of the covenant and concerns relations between human beings and rules for religious practice.
The New Testament: Text, Canon, and Early Versions
The New Testament consists of 27 documents written between AD 50 and 150 concerning matters of belief and practice in Christian communities. It is likely that many or all of the documents were written in Greek; however, translations into other languages existed as early as the 2nd century. Critical editions of the Greek New Testament have appeared with some regularity since the work of the Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus in the 16th century.
The 27 books of the New Testament are only a fraction of the literary production of early Christian communities. Many noncanonical Christian writings have been collected and published as New Testament Apocrypha (see Apocryphal New Testament). Knowledge of the literature of the period was increased by the 1945 discovery of the library of a heretical Christian group, the Gnostics (see Gnosticism).
It appears that the earliest attempt to establish a New Testament canon was made about 150 by a heretical Christian named Marcion. By 200, 20 of the 27 books of the New Testament were likely regarded as authoritative. In 367 the 27 books that now constitute the New Testament were determined.
The Literature of the New Testament
As literature, the documents of the New Testament comprise four major types, or genres: gospel, history, epistle, and apocalypse. Within these four categories of literature, many and varied forms appear; these include poems, hymns, confessional formulas, proverbs, miracle stories, beatitudes, diatribes, lists of duties, parables, and others.
History in the New Testament
The New Testament focuses on a historical figure, Jesus of Nazareth (see Jesus Christ), and addresses the problems faced by his followers in a variety of specific contexts within the Roman Empire. A number of difficulties are encountered in a historical reconstruction of the period as revealed in New Testament sources. Nevertheless, scholars generally agree as to the broad chronological outline. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus began his ministry in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius (Luke 3:1), which would be 28-29. All four Gospels agree that Jesus was crucified when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea (25-36).
Little is known of Jesus before his public life. He was from Nazareth in Galilee, although both Luke and Matthew place his birth in Bethlehem, the ancestral home of King David. Only the books of Luke and Matthew contain birth and infancy stories, and these differ in several details. Many of the books of the New Testament seem to have been written for a later generation; in these books, Jesus’ early followers are dead; high expectation of his final return has waned; and the need for preservation, entrenchment, and institutionalization is evident (see Eschatology; Second Coming).
Major Themes in the New Testament
Consistent with the Old Testament, the God of the New Testament is the creator of all life and sustainer of the universe. However, the New Testament claims in Jesus of Nazareth a unique revelation of God. His person, words, and activities are understood as bringing followers into the presence of God.
Besides Jesus, the Spirit of God, an expression representing the active presence of God, is also used throughout the New Testament. This entity is variously referred to as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of truth. Other themes include the kingdom of God, salvation, and the inseparable connection between religious belief and moral and ethical behavior.
The Bible in English
The history of the English Bible is the story of its movement from possession and use by clergy alone to possession and use by the laity. Although Christianity reached England in the 3rd century, the Bible remained in Latin and almost exclusively in the hands of the clergy for a thousand years. Between the 7th and 14th centuries, portions of the Bible were translated into English, and some rough paraphrases appeared for instructing parishioners. In 1382 the first complete English Bible appeared in a manuscript by the English reformer John Wycliffe, whose goal was to give the Bible to the people. In 1525 the English reformer William Tyndale translated the New Testament from the Greek text. Other versions followed, including the Douay or Douay-Rheims (also spelled Douai-Reims) Bible, completed between 1582 and 1609, which was commonly used by Roman Catholics in English-speaking countries. In 1604 King James I commissioned a new revision of the English Bible; it was completed in 1611. The King James version underwent several revisions, and between 1946 and 1952 the Revised Standard Version (RSV) appeared. Widely accepted by Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic Christians, it provided the basis for the first ecumenical English Bible. Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible into English have been appearing for two centuries.

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Bible Cities

Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History Online

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Bible Cities
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Bible Cities

 

Abanah RiverAceldama

Achaia

Achor

Acropolis

Adriatic Sea

Adullam

Aenon

Ai

Aijalon

Alexandria

Ammon

Amphipolis

Anathoth

Antioch of Pisidia

Antioch of Syria

Aphek

Appian Way

Appii Forum

Arabah

Arabia

Areopagus

Ariel

Arimathea

Armageddon

Ashdod

Ashkelon

Asia

Asia Minor

Athens

Babylonia

Beersheba

Berea

Beth Peor

Beth Shan

Beth Shemesh

Bethany

Bethel

Bethesda

Bethlehem

Bethphage

Bethsaida

Caesarea

Caesarea Philippi

Calvary

Cana

Canaan

Capernaum

Carmel

Cenchrea

Chebar

Cilicia

Cities of Refuge

City of David

Colosse

Corinth

Crete

Cyprus

Cyrene

Damascus

Dan

Dead Sea

Decapolis

Derbe

Dothan

Ebal

Eden

Edom

Egypt

Ekron

Elath

Elim

Emmaus

En Dor

En Gedi

Ephesus

Eshcol

Ethiopia

Fair Havens

Gadara

Galatia

Galilee

Gath

Gaza

Gebal

Gehenna

Gennesaret

Gethsemane

Gilboa

Gilead

Gilgal

Golgotha

Gomorrah

Goshen

Greece

Hades

Haran

Hebron

Hell

Hermon

Hinnom

Iconium

Idumea

Italy

Jabbok River

Jabesh Gilead

Jacob’s Well

Jebus

Jericho

Jerusalem

Joppa

Jordan River

Judah

Judea

Kadesh Barnea

Kidron Valley

Kirjath Arba

Lachish

Lake of Gennesaret

Land of Moriah

Laodicea

Lebanon Mountains

Levitical Cities

Lycaonia

Lydda

Lystra

Macedonia

Machpelah

Magdala

Mahanaim

Malta

Marah

Media

Mediterranean Sea

Megiddo

Memphis

Michmash

Miletus

Millo

Mizpah

Moab

Mount Hor

Mount Horeb

Mount Moriah

Mount Nebo

Mount of Beatitudes

Mount of Olives

Mount of Olives

Mount Sinai

Mount Zion

Nain

Nazareth

Negev

Nile River

Nineveh

Nod

Noph

Ophir

Padan Aram

Pamphylia

Paphos

Paran

Patmos

Penuel

Pergamos

Persia

Petra

Pharpar River

Philadelphia

Philippi

Philistia

Phoenicia

Phrygia

Pisgah

Pisidia

Pithom

Plain of Esdraelon

Pontus

Rabbah

Rahab Hem Shebeth

Ramah

Rameses

Ramoth Gilead

Red Sea

Rehoboth

Rephidim

Rome

Rosetta

Salamis

Salt Sea

Samaria

Sardia or Sardis

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Tiberias

Seir

Seleucia

Sharon

Sheba

Shechem

Shiloh

Shinar

Shushan

Sidon

Siloam

Smyrna

Sodom

Spain

Succoth

Sychar

Syria

Tahapanes

Tarshish

Tarsus

Tekoa

Tel Abib

Thessalonica

Thyatira

Tigris River

Tophet

Transjordan

Troas

Tyre

Ur

Valley of Jehoshaphat

Valley of Salt

Wilderness of Zin

Zaraphath

Ziklag

Zoar

 

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Jesus’ 46 Parables in Chronological Order

PARABLES that I have used comes from the very excellent NIV Narrated Bible in Chronological Order (hardcover) and Daily Bible in Chronological Order (paperback) by Dr. F. LaGard Smith of Pepperdine University, published by Harvest House. There is another list of the parables in chronological order floating around on the web, but it lists only 35 parables and does not cite a source for the chronology.
collage of Jesus' parables      The chronology is quite a lesson by itself. You can see that the first group of parables focuses on the fact that there’s a new story being told, that it’s not to be hidden, and it serves as a foundation for what’s coming next. We then have the very important Parables #12 (sower and four types of soil) and #13 (weeds among good plants). This is followed by a group of “Kingdom of Heaven” parables (growing seed, yeast, valuable pearl, etc.). Now that the foundation has been built, Jesus gets into the behavior parables—how he would have you act as a Christian in different situations as a disciple, worker, or tenant. He then moves into using your talents well, remaining watchful, and finally into judgement. Basically it’s the progression of a Christian life. Unfortunately, it’s a progression we miss out on when we read the parables in the order they appear in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
If you plan to lead a group in studying Jesus’ parables, I strongly recommend you look over and allow yourself some time to delve into the leader’s notes from the first lesson (Parables Introduction) before you get going. Also, print out the entire list of parables and give everyone in your group a copy that they can refer to as your study progresses.
I’ve found with my groups that each lesson or discussion takes about 45 minutes to go through. I’ve also found that people can get passionately involved in these lessons and they can easily run much longer if the leader doesn’t keep things moving along.
The discussion questions are slightly different from traditional Bible studies in that they emphasize the application of the scripture to your life today. Unlike some of my other studies, there are Leader’s Guides for only about one-half of the lessons. Many of the questions are designed to be a springboard to further discussion and there is often no truly right or wrong answer. If you have questions or comments, please use the “Contact Me” button on the menu below. I guarantee that I will read your comments, however, as this web site gets more than 3,000 visitors per day, I can’t possibly answer every one.
In response to your requests, these studies are in Adobe PDF format, so they can easily be printed out. The first page provides the NIV scripture verses, the second is the discussion questions. Pages 3 and higher are notes for leaders. For the Bible studies that I lead, I print the scripture verses on one side of a sheet and the discussion questions on the other side. However, if saving paper is not a consideration, print them on two sheets so people can refer to both the verses and the questions without excessive flipping over. If you cannot read PDF files, click to download Adobe Reader.

Dave Ahl — March 2018


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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series II

Volume I.   Eusebius: Church History from A.D. 1-324, Life of Constantine the Great, Oration in Praise of Constantine

Volume II.   Socrates: Church History from A.D. 305-438; Sozomenus: Church History from A.D. 323-425

Volume III.   Theodoret, Jerome and Gennadius, Rufinus and Jerome

Volume IV.   Athanasius: Select Writings and Letters

Volume V.   Gregory of Nyssa: Dogmatic Treatises; Select Writings and Letters

Volume VI.   Jerome: Letters and Select Works

Volume VII.   Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nazianzen

Volume VIII.   Basil: Letters and Select Works

Volume IX.   Hilary of Poitiers, John of Damascus

Volume X.   Ambrose: Select Works and Letters

Volume XI.   Sulpitius Severus, Vincent of Lerins, John Cassian

Volume XII.   Leo the Great, Gregory the Great

Volume XIII.   Gregory the Great II, Ephriam Syrus, Aphrahat

Volume XIV.   The Seven Ecumenical Councils

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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers

Series I

St. Augustine Volumes

Volume I.   Prolegomena: St. Augustine’s Life and Work, Confessions, Letters

Volume II.   The City of God, Christian Doctrine

Volume III.   On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises

Volume IV.   The Anti-Manichaean Writings, The Anti-Donatist Writings

Volume V.   Anti-Pelagian Writings

Volume VI.   Sermon on the Mount, Harmony of the Gospels, Homilies on the Gospels

Volume VII.   Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Soliloquies

Volume VIII.   Expositions on the Psalms

St. Chrysostom Volumes

Volume IX.   On the Priesthood, Ascetic Treatises, Select Homilies and Letters, Homilies on the Statutes

Volume X.   Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew

Volume XI.   Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Romans

Volume XII.   Homilies on First and Second Corinthians

Volume XIII.   Homilies on the Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon

Volume XIV.   Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistle to the Hebrews

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John Wycliffe Reformer

 

John Wycliffe (1320-1384)        http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/john-wycliffe.html

 

John Wycliffe The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in 1380’s AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe, (also spelled “Wycliff” & “Wyclif”), was well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!

John Wycliffe (1320-1384) was a theologian and early proponent of reform in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. He initiated the first translation of the Bible into the English language and is considered the main precursor of the Protestant Reformation. Wycliffe was born at Ipreswell (modern Hipswell), Yorkshire, England, between 1320 and 1330; and he died at Lutterworth (near Leicester) December 31, 1384.

His family was of early Saxon origin, long settled in Yorkshire. In his day the family was a large one, covering a considerable territory, and its principal seat was Wycliffe-on-Tees, of which Ipreswell was an outlying hamlet. 1324 is the year usually given for Wycliffe’s birth. Wycliffe probably received his early education close to home. It is not known when he first went to Oxford, with which he was so closely connected till the end of his life. He was at Oxford in about 1345, when a series of illustrious names was adding glory to the fame of the university–such as those of Roger Bacon, Robert Grosseteste, Thomas Bradwardine, William of Occam, and Richard Fitzralph.

Wycliffe owed much to Occam; he showed an interest in natural science and mathematics, but applied himself to the study of theology, ecclesiastical law, and philosophy. Even his opponents acknowledged the keenness of his dialectic. His writings prove that he was well grounded in Roman and English law, as well as in native history. A family whose seat was in the neighborhood of Wycliffe’s home– Bernard Castle– had founded Balliol College, Oxford to which Wycliffe belonged, first as scholar, then as master. He attained the headship no later than 1360.

 

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The Start of the Reformation

 

1516-17, Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar and papal commissioner for indulgences, was sent to Germany by the Roman Catholic Church to sell indulgences to raise money to rebuild St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.[32] Roman Catholic theology stated that faith alone, whether fiduciary or dogmatic, cannot justify man;[33] and that only such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man.[34] These good works could be obtained by donating money to the church.

On 31 October, 1517, Luther wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which came to be known as The 95 Theses. Hans Hillerbrand writes that Luther had no intention of confronting the church, but saw his disputation as a scholarly objection to church practices, and the tone of the writing is accordingly “searching, rather than doctrinaire.”[35] Hillerbrand writes that there is nevertheless an undercurrent of challenge in several of the theses, particularly in Thesis 86, which asks: “Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?”[35]

Luther objected to a saying attributed to Johann Tetzel that “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs,”[36] insisting that, since forgiveness was God’s alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.

According to Philipp Melanchthon, writing in 1546, Luther nailed a copy of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg that same day — church doors acting as the bulletin boards of his time — an event now seen as sparking the Protestant Reformation,[37] and celebrated each year on 31 October as Reformation Day. Some scholars have questioned the accuracy of Melanchthon’s account, noting that no contemporaneous evidence exists for it.[38] Others have countered that no such evidence is necessary, because this was the customary way of advertising an event on a university campus in Luther’s day.[39]

The 95 Theses were quickly translated from Latin into German, printed, and widely copied, making the controversy one of the first in history to be aided by the printing press.[40] Within two weeks, the theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe.

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