The printing press was invented in 1440, allowing written works — like the Bible — to be widely produced and distributed.
Desiderius Erasmus’ Greek New Testament of the Bible, the first of its kind to be made, was published in 1516, facilitating the movement “ad fontes,” and a close examination of scripture in its original language.
The Protestant Reformation kicked off contemporaneously, circa 1517.
Coincidence? I think not.
When the Word of God is unleashed, expect theological reform.
At the heart of the Reformers’ agenda was to put the scriptures into the hands and ears of the people. Contrast that with the Roman Catholic Church, who, at the time, forbid preaching or translating the Bible into the common language. (Of what were they afraid?)
The Reformation was a movement of the scriptures.
The following is an abridged Bible reading plan I developed in ministry at South City Church.
This plan is not intended to replace reading through the entire Bible; but, rather, is to serve as a more accessible starting point for those who are unacquainted with scripture. The hope is that those who use this plan would gain a basic understanding of scripture’s central message along with its key themes, structure, and movements, and, after having done so, would be better equipped to read through the scriptures in their entirety.
Download PDF of Abridged Bible Reading Plan.
This post is a re-blog of my post at Rolfing Unshelved.
This post is part of a series entitled Key Bible and Theological Reference Tools. This series seeks to provide one with an introduction to some key Biblical and theological reference tools. In this series one will find basic explanations, significant examples, and other information about these reference tools.
English Bible translations are publications that seek to faithfully render the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text of the Bible in the English language.
I originally wrote this post last spring, but, for whatever reason, never got around to publishing it. So, long over do, here it is.
Prominent among Muslims is the belief that the Christian and Jewish (implied) scriptures have been falsified, the text having been changed and corrupted. They seek support for this in the Qur’an and the Hadith (their two authoritative texts). This is how Muslims explain that, although Muhammad was predicted in the Christian and Jewish scriptures, he was rejected by both groups.
But is this a legitimate claim? The evidence argues to the contrary.
1. The word of God reflecting the character of God.
The falsification of scripture is incompatible with the character of God as recognized by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. God is truthful, trustworthy, and faithful. Therefore, His word cannot be corrupted or become unreliable. God is sovereignly powerful. But a God who intends to communicate yet fails to preserve His message from falsification is not a sovereignly powerful God.
The Qur’an itself says,
We [referring to God with a “royal we”] have sent down the Qur’an Ourself, and We Ourself will guard it. – Sura 15:9.
[Prophet], follow what has been revealed to you of your Lord’s Scripture: there is no changing His words…. – Sura 18:27.
And the witness of the Christian scriptures correspond to this.
So, I ask, how does a falsification of scripture fit with this theology?
2. The manuscript evidence.
There are more manuscripts for the Biblical text than any other ancient document. And when we examine these manuscripts, we can confidently determine that the Biblical text has been transmitted with incredible accuracy.
In The Prophet and the Messiah: An Arab Christian’s Perspective on Islam & Christianity Chawkat Moucarry seeks to present a comparative examination of Christianity and Islam’s major claims and differences. He organizes his presentation according to four topics, which focus on both religions’ major truth-claims and illuminate the fundamental differences between Christianity and Islam. These topics are (1) the sacred scriptures, (2) key doctrines, (3) Jesus, his person and his work, and (4) Muhammad’s prophethood. Moucarry begins his work by presenting some introductory remarks about engaging in mutual dialogue. And finally, he closes by addressing some contemporary concerns.
As Moucarry begins his comparative presentation, he begins where both religions do—their sacred scriptures. Both religions claim to have received special revelation from God. However, regarding the nature, content, and method of that revelation, Islam and Christianity differ.