Regular, Normal Christianity ~ The Bible

I started this series of "Regular, Normal Christianity" articles by setting forth my intent, and disclaimers (that I am sharing my own understanding and not asserting that I am THE arbiter of what ought to be counted as authentic Christianity), in the initial and hub "Regular, Normal Christianity ~ The Premise And Definitions".

Please see the bottom of this page for a list and links to the previous and subsequent articles.

Are Our English Translations Reliable Versions Of What Was Originally Written?

In my initial entry here, "The Premise And Definitions", I asserted that how we understand, define, and practice authentic Christianity must be informed by the Bible - otherwise we simply make yet another man-concocted religion and call it 'Christianity'. However, in order for that to be a reasonable and sound assertion, the Bible itself cannot be yet another religious text, it cannot merely be a record of man's notions about God and truth - if we are going to base our ideas and understanding about God and truth on the Bible, then the Bible must be God's own revelation of truth . . . otherwise we are only pushing our reliance on man-made religions back one step to a man-made religious text.

Now, if we count the Bible to be of divine origin, if we believe that indeed God inspired men to write what they wrote, that is an acknowledgment that comes from our own personal apprehension of it as we examine and consider it while we ourselves read it . . . that is a truth that is spiritually discerned, it cannot be clinically, objectively proven that the Bible is the inspired word of God, any more than it can be clinically, objectively proven that there is a God. However, whether the Bible is God's own word or merely a collection of religious thought gathered through the ages is not the real question that many pose when questioning the reliability of the Bible.

How can we trust the Bible, certainly over the many centuries and the many revisions it has been altered again and again, and some men surely must have deliberately inserted or removed portions to support their own doctrines so as to control the people?

What most folks seem to stumble over regarding basing our apprehension of the truth on what we find presented in the Bible is, basically, the old telephone game. The oft repeated argument of so many is, 'how can we trust the Bible, certainly over the many centuries and the many revisions it has been altered again and again, and some men surely must have deliberately inserted or removed portions to support their own doctrines so as to control the people?', etc, etc. If you find the message of the Bible speaking to your heart as you read it, if you personally come to believe that it is God's own inspired word, that is a private acknowledgment of spiritual evidence - however, it can generally and publicly be demonstrated archaeologically, historically, and textually that the Bible we have today is virtually the same Bible that Christians originally had.

Just briefly, to suggest the kind of documentation that exists:

  • The earliest copies we have of any writings attributed to Aristotle are from over 1,400 years after Aristotle died - and we have 5 copies of copies of copies of texts.

  • The earliest copies we have of any writings attributed to Pliny (a Roman historian) are from over 750 years after he died - and we have 7 copies of copies of copies of texts.

  • The earliest copies we have of any writings attributed to Caesar are from over 1,000 years after he died - and we have 10 copies of copies of copies of texts.

. . . and this theme continues all the way to Shakespeare, etc. Much of what we accept and teach as fact, based on historic evidence, is not nearly so overwhelmingly supported by the historic evidence as the textual reliability of the Bible. We have extant over 5,300 ancient Greek manuscripts and over 10,000 Latin Vulgates of the Bible, many within a mere 40 years after the originals were authored. In addition, we have extant letters, sermons, commentaries, etc, from 1st century men, men who were intimate students and companions of Peter and John, etc, and these various letters, sermons, commentaries, etc, contain enough quoted passages of Scripture to construct the entire New testament and nearly all of the Old Testament - and it is the same Bible text we have today. There is more solid evidence that the shepherd David became king of Israel, that Jesus rose from His grave alive, and that Paul wrote to the church at Rome exactly what our modern English translations say he wrote to the church at Rome, more solid evidence of these Biblical accounts than there is evidence that there even was an English playwright named 'Shakespeare'.

The men who copied and later translated the ancient texts of Scripture believed they were handling the very word of God, every page was numbered, every line was numbered, every word was numbered and every letter was numbered, and portions were exchanged from copyist to copyist to check the '234th page, 17th line, 5th word, 3rd letter' to make sure it was the same letter as the original . . . these men would write 'God' breaking the pen after the 'G', then a new pen after the 'o' and another after the 'd', they held the text to be so holy and of divine origin that they did not want a pen used to write 'God' to then be used for any other word. The point being, these men were keen to guarantee that the text of the Bible remain unchanged from generation to generation. There are, of course, poor translations, there were men and groups who produced 'Bibles' to advance their own teaching . . . the Jehovah's Witnesses have their own translation, so we must recognize that not every Bible out there is an authentic translation of the original text - but there is an unbroken line of reliable English translations, translations that the most recent archaeological finds, again, demonstrate is the same Bible the earliest Christians had.

If, as you read it, you count the Bible to be God's revealed eternal truth or not, that is up to you and God - but this whole modern notion that the Bible we have today can't really be the Bible as it originally was, is simply demonstrably erroneous, there is abundant evidence that we can trust the Bible as the same Bible it was originally written to be. In upcoming entries here, I will talk about which translations are superior (most accurate to the originals) and what study aids are most useful, as well as my own thought s on, how best to study the Bible.


please share your comments below ~

Preface. "Regular, Normal Christianity ~ The Premise And Definitions"

1. Regular, Normal Christianity ~ "The Bible"

2. Regular, Normal Christianity ~ "God"

3. Regular, Normal Christianity ~"Jesus of Nazareth"

4. Regular, Normal Christianity ~ "The Trinity"

5. Regular, Normal Christianity ~ "Man, Sin, And Spiritual Death"

6. Regular, Normal Christianity ~ "The Covenant, The Promise, The Covenants, And The Gospel"

7. Regular, Normal Christianity ~ "The Atonement - Law & Grace"


The Christian & Private Study - A 'How To' Guide


"Is Believing In God A Ridiculous Thing?"

"The Most Married Man In America"


please share your comments below ~

Next ~ we will continue, in an orderly manner, examining how Jesus of Nazareth is perceived, the concept of the Trinity, the atonement, the gospel message, the church, etc, etc . . . once we cover these essential Christian teachings from an orthodox historic and Biblical perspective, we will examine some of the specific ideas popular contemporary American Christendom advances.

"Warm affections, without knowledge, can rise no higher than superstition; and that knowledge which does not influence the heart and affection, will only make a hypocrite"

~ John Newton

Please do visit my other hubs ~

More by this Author


8 comments

ahpoetic 5 years ago

You need to take a course in English composition. You wrote that you wanted to show what "Regular Normal Christianity" is, but you haven't done that at all and you haven't given a concise definition or explanation of what "the bible" is. Take an English class on writing to learn how to get to the point. Your audience will lose interest quickly, especially people who know what Christianity and the bible are.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 5 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

ahpoetic,

You're concerned, disturbed even, that I have not shown what "Regular Normal Christianity" is - I acknowledge that, you are right, I have not in this particular hub shown what "Regular Normal Christianity" is. However, that was not my intention. My intention was to present a series of hubs that, together, would set forth what regular normal Christianity is so as to then examine some of today's most rampant and consequential false notions of Christianity in light of regular normal Christianity.

This particular hub in the series considers the reliability of the Bible - it's not intended to be a thorough presentation of exactly what the Bible is, it's not intended to be a systematic declaration of what the Bible is . . . in this article I stated ~

"If, as you read it, you count the Bible to be God revealed eternal truth or not, that is up to you and God - but this whole modern notion that the Bible we have today can't really be the Bible as it originally was, is simply demonstrably erroneous"

. . . that is the idea I wanted to address with this hub in the "Regular, Normal Christianity" series - not what the Bible is, but if what we have today can be reliably demonstrated to be what was originally written. However, I did in fact say in this hub ~

"the Bible itself cannot be yet another religious text, it cannot merely be a record of man's notions about God and truth - if we are going to base our ideas and understanding about God and truth on the Bible, then the Bible must be God's own revelation of truth"

. . . which does in fact seem to me a fairly "concise definition or explanation of what the Bible is". But if not, in my initial article in the series I said it this way ~

"I believe the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of the one true God, it is His authoritative revelation of eternal truth"

. . . for never asserting that my intention was to give a concise definition or explanation of what the Bible is, I actually count myself to have done, again, fairly well.

I have no doubt I would benefit greatly from an English Composition class, I am in fact a high school dropout, but I would encourage you to start at the beginning of the "Regular, Normal Christianity" series with "The Premise And Definitions" and then wait until I'm finished with the series and you've read through it before you conclude that the fault rests with my writing rather than with your reading.

I am sorry if my hub didn't address something you were looking for it to address, but please don't fret that I may lose my audience - my "Regular, Normal Christianity" hub actually just won a reader poll award, so some folks are seeing something worth their attention in it.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

So far, I think you are doing a fine job. I have a B.A. in Journalism/English and obviously ahpoetic may know something of grammar, but he seems to be lacking in reading skills.

I will continue on with the series before I start making my inappropriate comments. Thank you.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 5 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Thank you Austinstar, I appreciate the reasonable approach and fair warning.


Howard S. profile image

Howard S. 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas, and Asia

I'll raise you one, Austinstar (kidding). I have an M.A. in linguistics and have translated the Bible into a foreign language that did not have any previous written literature. And I agree with you.

MickeySr, this hub, and the HubNugget one as well, is articulate, structured and as orthodox as it gets. The only quibble ahpoetic has, if he or she could articulate it, is with the title. You have written it as if for a print publication rather than the internet. When someone sees this in a Google search, or any other list, the title does not accurately describe the content. More descriptive titles might be "The Authority/Authenticity/Historicity of the Bible." The first part of the existing title is excellent for the series, but more appropriately belongs in the Table of Contents and in the introductory article (I'm not sure if that's the HubNugget or another one, but I'm sure it's here somewhere).

Your HubNugget award surprised me because I tend to think our view is not well represented on HubPages. Perhaps there are a lot of lamps hiding under bushel baskets.


MickeySr profile image

MickeySr 5 years ago from Hershey, Pa. Author

Howard - so, I take you to be saying 'not too shabby for a high school dropout', right? I do recognize the trickiness of the title, but my intention is to provide the doctrinal foundation of historic biblical Christianity and then continue on with a review of some of today's meanderings away from orthodoxy . . . my hope is that some will recognize that much of what they are repulsed by from the many tv preachers and goofy teachings is not Christianity at - that it is not regular, normal Christianity (historic biblical Christianity). It may be an ill prepared plan and/or poorly conceived title, but I'm in the middle of it now.

At any rate, thanks so much for your generous and favorable review - it's very encouraging.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 4 years ago from The East Coast

I am enjoying the beginning of the series. Your writing sounds fine to me. Your hub helped me to understand how the Bible was passed down through the centuries and the efforts to keep it faithful to the original. Thank you.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

Mickey I believe with all my heart that the Bible is the true inspired WORD OF GOD.. You did a wonderful job at this.. I am sharing on Facebook on the prayer request page. God Bless you my friend

Debbie

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