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Even the canonizing—setting the standards for what is Scripture—was inspired. When we speak of Scripture as being inspired, we are recognizing that the Scriptures were written by particular persons in particular circumstances. We are saying that the Scriptures are connected to God and because of that connection, the Scriptures have power to bring about an encounter between God and the one who reads Scripture.
The authority of Scripture, then, lies in its ability to cause encounter.
Canon means rule or standard. Canon here means the list of religious writings considered authoritative. Torah was not only the central document of Jewish faith but also the fundamental law of the Jewish people. Established finally between the sixth and fourth centuries B.
By the first century A. Other books are known as the Writings. The Hebrew Scriptures, known later to Christians as the Old Testament, were originally written in Hebrew, but as early as the third century B. That translation was called the Septuagint. Early Christians inherited it and other Greek-language translations. The Septuagint differs from the Hebrew Bible in its language, in its order of the books, and in its inclusion of those books known as the Apocrypha.
Not until the second century A. A New Testament canon developed gradually.
The earliest listing of books identical to our present New Testament canon was prepared by Athanasius of Alexandria in A. None of the books of the Apocrypha was ever included in the Hebrew Bible. At the Council of Trent , the Roman Catholic Church affirmed the canon of the Septuagint, including the Apocrypha, with the exception of 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh.
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Our goal is not to learn the Bible as we learn algebra. Nor do we read a book of Scripture as we would read a detective story or novel. Rather, as we read, we listen for the Holy Spirit to help us understand eternal, universal truths. We watch for unexpected insights that are personal, just for us. We savor a promise, thrill to a story that rings true in our experience, or agonize over a law or principle that could change our lives.
As our spiritual understanding grows, we see new truth. Also, as we live through experiences of sickness, sin, trial, and tragedy, we come to comprehend teachings we could never fathom before. Often you may feel like the Ethiopian eunuch in the Book of Acts who was riding in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah aloud. The apostle Philip asked him, Do you understand what you are reading? The Ethiopian man replied, How can I understand unless someone explains it to me? Acts , TEV. You are embarking on a fascinating journey of biblical discovery.
Help along the way will come from many sources: the study plan in this manual; your teacher and fellow students; and the preachers, teachers, and scholars who will instruct you through videotape. But most important of all, the Holy Spirit will lead and guide you as you study. Jesus said, The Advocate, the Holy Spirit Scripture simply means writing.
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But the writing is of every conceivable variety: poetry, laws, historical narratives, liturgies, songs, prophetic utterances, wise sayings, short stories, parables, Gospels, letters, sermons, apocalypses. Therefore, your reading style must vary. Some poems, such as the Psalms, ought to be read aloud.
Notice in Hebrew poetry, a thought is often repeated as a form of poetic parallelism. Stories and historical narratives can be read rapidly. Law must be read with attention to detail. Reading the prophets requires listening for the message under the words. Proverbs or pithy texts might be memorized. Gospels are such powerful presentations of faith in Christ that they command acceptance of him or rejection. What do you bring to the Bible? Your humanity. Everything you have ever thought, done, experienced, or agonized over can be dealt with by the Bible.
Every human emotion is expressed there.
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What does the Bible bring to you? The Bible has to express humanity in order to reach us; it has to express divinity in order to save us. What starts out as hard work turns into satisfaction and joy. The psalmist declared that study of the ordinances of God is. Perhaps the Scriptures best define themselves. Read again 2 Timothy , the verses at the beginning of this lesson. Disciples place themselves under the power and authority of Scripture.
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Under Marks of Discipleship, we will be asking ourselves how the Word of God is shaping our Christian discipleship. Why am I planning to study the Bible with intensity, faithfulness, and serious inquiry? The division of the Bible into our present chapters was probably done by British churchman Stephen Langton ? The division of the New Testament into its present verses was done by Robert Stephanus in the Greek New Testament he published in Memorize the titles of the Old Testament books so you can locate biblical passages easily and quickly. Spend additional time browsing in the Bible or discovering where in the church or public library you can find reference books that you need.
I wonder who made me and my world. If there is a Creator, what is this Creator like? Why was I made? Geologists point to rocks that are billions of years old. Astronomers speak of stars that are millions of light years away. In a universe so big, surely I am only a speck of dust. Especially read Genesis and the psalms aloud. Find a hymnal for reading or singing the suggested hymns. Hymn: When Morning Gilds the Skies. The Hebrew verb for create refers to the activity of God, not to human activity Genesis Two ideas are contained in the verb create.
First, God freely, purposefully creates order out of chaos. Second, God arranges and designs that creation. The heavens and the earth means the immeasurable universe, all that was or is or ever will be. The earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep refers to a cosmic emptiness, a formless darkness, sometimes referred to as a sea of chaos.
The ancients believed that all creation originated from a dark, watery chaos, the deep. Look up Psalm A wind from God swept over the face of the waters Genesis Other translations for swept over could be hovered, soared, or trembled. The Hebrews did not believe that the Creator was simply one of a group of gods. They did not believe that two gods, one good and one evil, battled to bring creation into existence. Rather, they believed that the one and only Lord of the universe, the One who had created them to be a covenant people and who had delivered them from slavery, was Author and Designer of all that is.
Then God spoke. The universe was created by a word Genesis Jews and Christians are not pantheists. We do not believe that God and the universe are one. We are not a part of the great universal Spirit, the way a drop of water is a part of an ocean. No, a separateness exists between God and the created order. God spoke, and order came into being. God stands apart yet involved.
God stays close, in contact with that creation. Later when Jesus Christ came, Christians understood that in him the Word had become a human being. Word became a synonym for Jesus Christ. All things came into being through him And the Word became flesh and lived among us John Later that Word walked among us. The apostle Paul also wanted people to know that the Word God spoke in Creation was the same Word God spoke on the cross.
For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, Thus Christians have come to perceive the Creation story. From the beginning, people have pondered the mystery of Creation. Why am I here? Where did the universe come from? Little children ask, Who made God? Giraffes and elephants amuse us; the Rocky Mountains and the Milky Way amaze us; a newborn baby fills us with wonder. With the psalmist we ask,.
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