Holy Spirit Interactive
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Inside Holy Spirit Interactive

How we got the Bible

See Also

A Few Facts

  1. The Bible did not drop down from heaven ready-made, as some people seem to imagine. It did not suddenly appear on earth, carried down from God by an angel. It was written by people like ourselves, who held in their hand the reed, ink, and parchment, and laboriously traced every letter in the original languages of the East. They were divinely inspired, certainly, looking at their own lives and the history of their people and learning the lessons God wanted us to learn, but nevertheless, they were human beings, people chosen by God for the work, and making use of their experience.

  2. In the second place we shall do well to remember that the Bible was not written all at once, or by one man, like most other boks. There were 1500 years between the writings of Genesis and the Apocalypse or Revelation of John.

    It is made up of a collection of different books by different authors, forming a sort of library instead of a single work. The Greek for books is "biblia", and that is obviously where the word "Bible" comes from. It used to be thought that the first 5 books were written by Moses, but we know now that is not true. The people of the Old Testament - like Joseph, for example - and the things that happened to them, all existed before a line of the Old Testament was written.

  3. Remember, too, that the Bible was not written in our languages. Broadly speaking, the original language of the Old Testament was Hebrew; that of the New Testament was Greek. What we read today are translations, and that is why priests and scholars, for example, will study the Scriptures in the original languages, in case the text has been deformed in any way by its translation.

  4. The last point is that the Bible was not printed in any language until about 1500 years after the birth of Christ, for the simple reason that there was no printing before that date. Before that, the Testaments had to be read from the handwriting of some monk or friar on parchment or vellum or paper. They had to be copied slowly and laboriously. We must not apply the standards of our own day. Jesus Christ must have wanted the unnumbered millions of human beings born before the year 1500 to believe what he had taught and be saved, even if they had no Bibles, or were too poor to buy one, or could not read it even if they bought it, or could not understand it even if they could read it. Through the teaching of the Christian people (i.e. of the Church) souls could be saved, people could become saints, and believe and do all that Jesus Christ meant them to believe and do, without either the written or printed Bible.

    I am not saying that we should not have a Bible now. I am just saying that millions and millions of people lived before it was realistically possible to have one.

Fr. Francis Jamieson (March 18, 2004)

E-mail this article to a friend