6    Intro To Bible
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6    Intro To Bible 6 Intro To Bible Presentation Transcript

  • INTRODUCTION TO THE BIBLE
  • WHAT IS THE BIBLE ?
    • “ B ible” from Gk “biblia” meaning books.
    • It is a collection of 73 books, written by numerous authors who were inspired by God to write.
    • The books were written over a period between 1000 BC & 100 AD.
    • Bible is called the Word of God because through it God communicates, expresses Himself to us.
    • Bible also referred to as Sacred Scripture.
    • It is used by Christians as the main source of Christian knowledge, but not the only source.
    • The bible is a religious book; it tells about
    • God & His plan for humanity: It
    • tells of what great deeds God did for us out of love.
    • traces the history of the Jewish people, to whom God first revealed Himself.
    • Is a guide to our daily life, living as children of God.
    • Is the living Word of God, living because the word of God is as relevant today as it was hundreds of years ago.
  • OLD TESTAMENT & NEW TESTAMENT
    • The 73 books are divided into 2 parts:
    • Old Testament
    • New Testament
    • Old Testament is the first & longer part with 46 books in Catholic edition, 39 in Protestant edition.
    • It is called Old Testament by Christians & Hebrew Scripture by Jews who profess Judaism.
    • New Testament forms the second part of bible, consisting of 27 books.
    • Both Catholic & Protestant bibles contain the same 27 books.
  • Old Testament
    • Tells story of how God revealed Himself & His plan for humanity, up to just before the coming of Jesus Christ.
    • Shows how man came to know the One True God.
    • Traces the history of the Jewish people / Hebrews /Israelites, the people God chose to reveal Himself.
    • Some books of OT foretold the coming of a Messiah /Saviour of the Jewish people.
  • New Testament
    • Gives an outline of Jesus Christ’s life & teachings.
    • Centres on his life, suffering, death & resurrection, and
    • on the early community of His followers called Christians, whose mission was to preach & spread Jesus’ good news of salvation, first to the Jews & then to all humanity, the people of God on earth.
  • Meaning & Significance of “Testament”
    • Testament means covenant; agreement.
    • A covenant is a sacred agreement or relationship between God & humans.
    • In ancient times, such covenants were finalized & confirmed through sacred rituals & ceremonies.
    • Hebrew Scripture revealed that ancient Hebrews agreed to a spiritual covenant friendship with God, which was to last forever.
    • It was an agreement offered by Yahweh (Hebrew name for God) that would be rooted deeply in a mutual sense of relationship, of love & respect ( I will be your God & you will be my people ).
    • OT books showed there were a series of loving & sacred covenants established between Yahweh & Hebrew people. Some great figures assoc. with these agreements are Abraham, Noah & Moses
    • Read about:
    • Abraham – Gen 15, 17, 18 & 21.
    • Noah & the Great Flood – Gen 9:8-17.
    • Moses, escape from Egypt & crossing of Red Sea – Ex 14 – 20.
  • New covenant
    • Jesus came & established a new covenant between God & all humanity.
    • Jesus fulfilled & extended the original covenantal relationship between God & the human race, through His work of salvation.
    • This new covenantal relationship promises life forever with God in heaven, if humans accept Jesus’ teachings, follow Him & live according to the values that He taught & lived by.
    • The books of the New Testament talk about Jesus, His life, teachings, sufferings, death & His resurrection, & about the growth & spread of His Church, which continues to this day, to carry on His work & mission to spread the Good news to the whole world.
  • Who wrote the Bible?
    • OLD TESTAMENT - authorship
    • Books of the Old Testament were not planned.
    • They just evolved over the centuries.
  • Old Testament authorship cont’d
    • In its first stage, the divine messages / word of God existed in the mind & heart of men & women chosen /inspired by God.
    • They delivered the messages to the people orally, & finally these were put into writing – oral tradition became written word / Tradition .
  • Old Testament authorship cont’d
    • As time passed, this collection of books in the Hebrew language emerged as the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament).
    • The main author is God , being the unique source of its message.
    • The holy writers were the instruments /channels, used to convey divine messages in human terms.
    • Old Testament – 46 books classified into 4 categories:
    • Approx. date of
    • compilation
    • 1. Pentateuch or Torah 5 books c 1000 BC
    • 2. Historical books 16 c 650 – 350 BC
    • 3. Wisdom & Poetry books 7 c 450 – 100 BC
    • 4. Prophecy books 18 c 750 – 450 BC
    • -----
    • 46
  • Old Testament - language
    • Originally written in Hebrew, language of the Israelites.
    • Later translated into Aramaic, then Greek.
  • Old Testament – language cont'
    • Greek translation done by the Jewish community living in Alexandria, Egypt, around 250 BC. There were 72 translators.
    • In the process, 7 more books, considered to be inspired too, were added to the original 39 books of the Hebrew text.
    • This Gk translation of the Hebrew Scripture with the added 7 books is called the Septuagint (Gk septuaginta = 70)
    • Jesus & His disciples spoke Aramaic & Gk. They would be familiar with both the Hebrew Text (39) & the Septuagint (46)
  • New Testament –authorship & language
    • All the NT books were written in Greek, the universal language of the time.
    • The 27 books are classified into 4 groups:
    • Approx. date of
    • compilation
    • 1 Gospels 4 books 60 – 80/95 AD
    • 2 Acts of the Apostles 1 70
    • 3 Letters (13 by Paul,
    • 8 by others) 21 50 – 60
    • 4 Apocalypse/Revelation 1 100
    • -----
    • 27
    • The 4 gospels were written between
    • 60 – 95 AD.
    • Jesus died around 33 AD.
    • So for about 30 years at the beginning of Christianity, the gospels & books of the NT as we know them did not exist!
    • Why ?
    • REASONS:
    • The Apostles were the “living books” on which the Christian message was given.
    • They had lived with Jesus, & knew Him intimately. They were the special eye-witnesses to what Jesus did & to his message of salvation.
    • So long as the early Christians had the Apostles with them, there was no need of a book about Jesus.
  • Reason cont’d
    • In those early days there was not much literature available. Everything had to be laboriously handwritten on papyrus paper.
    • Most early Christians were poor, uncultured, common people – they could not read.
    • Jewish people preferred to commit knowledge to memory as they had done for centuries – oral tradition.
  • How New Testament got to be written
    • When Jesus’ second coming did not happen, & the Apostles were getting old & would die one day, they realized that the “living books” would be closed forever with their demise.
    • False teachings began to appear – Jesus’ true teaching had to be preserved.
    • The gospel was also spreading to new lands.
    • The time had come for a clear, definitive statement of the life & teachings of Jesus.
    • The gospel writers put into writing that which was at first passed on by oral preaching & teaching of the Apostles – oral tradition became written tradition ( like the Old Testament).
  • CANON OF THE BIBLE – official list of books.
    • A book is canonical ( accepted into official list) because it is considered to be inspired by God.
    • An inspired book is a book written by God through the instrument of a human author.
    • So a canonical book is a book recognized by the Church as inspired & proposed to the faithful believers as the word of God & a source of revealed doctrine.
    • In the Catholic Church the authority to decide whether a book is canonical rests with the Church, as the custodian of divine revelation.
    • With guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is empowered to determine the sacred books – a discernment of the Church
  • CANON cont’d
    • The Catholic Church accepted the Jewish OT books that was accepted by the Apostles at the beginning of the Church i.e. Hebrew Scripture (39) and Greek Septuagint (46), which had existed in pre-Christian era.
    • In fact, Septuagint was popular among Jews living outside of Palestine who were more at home with Gk language.
    • It was their Gk bible & for this reason it was adopted by the Christians when they began to evangelize in Gk speaking world around the Mediterranean region.
  • Canon cont’d
    • The Septuagint became the bible of the first generation of Christians ( NT was still non-existent).
    • The collection of books of NT as sacred/ canonical, began with the preservation of the writings of the Apostles who were eye-witnesses of the life & teaching of Jesus, and upon whom the Holy Spirit had descended on Pentecost day, the day the Church was born.
    • By about year 150 the NT had been quoted as Scripture.
    • Last book Revelation, was written around 100.
  • Catholic & Protestant Bible
    • In year 66 – 70 there was a power struggle among Jewish religious leaders – Priests & Pharisees.
    • Pharisees won & became leaders.
    • They decided to reject the Gk Septuagint, recognizing only the Hebrew Scripture, which has 39 books.
    • In 1520, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, broke away from the Church, to form the Lutheran Church in Germany – the first Protestant Church.
  • Catholic & Protestant Bible cont’d
    • Martin Luther decided that since the Jews rejected the Gk Septuagint in year 70 to go back to Hebrew Scripture, he too rejected the Septuagint.
    • He translated the Bible into German & placed the 7 additional books separately at the end of the OT under “Apocrypha” (hidden writing).
    • He did not regard them as scripture but as “useful & good reading”
    • Other Protestant Churches that came into being later, all adopted Luther’s decision.
    • Thus Protestant bibles have only 39 books in the OT
    • The Roman Catholic Church, responding to Martin Luther , at the Council O Trent 1546, reaffirmed & confirmed the Septuagint as the canon of the Church. It was a critical decision.
    • The Bible in its present form has been since 1546.
    • Modern bibles in many different languages are all translated from the original Hebrew Scripture & the Gk Septuagint
    • The 7 additional books are:
    • Tobit, Judith, 1Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Soloman, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) & Baruch.
    • They are called “apocrypha” (hidden writing) by Protestants.
    • Catholics call them “deutero-canonical” (second list)
  • Sacred Tradition
    • The Bible is not the only source of Christian knowledge.
    • There are also beliefs which had been preserved & handed down by the Church, but not recorded in the gospels.
    • Sacred Tradition cont’d
    • The Evangelists who wrote the Gospels were aware that they could not present the whole of Jesus’ teaching in their writings,
    • e g John 21:25 “But there were also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written”.
  • Sacred Tradition cont’d
    • The first Christian communities & Elders of the Church who had been in contact with the Apostles, were eager to preserve the totality of Jesus’ teaching .
    • These preserved beliefs form the Oral Christian Tradition, which was passed on by the preaching of the Apostles & early missionaries like St Paul & St Barnabas.
    • It became the official Apostolic Tradition of the Church.
  • Transmission of Divine Revelation
    • CCC 76. In keeping with the Lord’s command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
    • - orally ‘by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received – whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, ‘
  • … the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
    • - in writing ‘ by those apostles & other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing’
    • So the Catholic Church believes that there is only one divine source of revelation – God alone – from which flow two streams of insight – Sacred Scripture & Sacred Tradition, composing one living “deposit of Christian faith”.
  • Why read the Bible?
    • Inspired scriptures speak to us with the power & authority of God.
    • Our faith should be nourished & guided by the sacred texts.
    • Therefore we read the Bible:
    • - to know more about God
    • - to get closer to God when He speaks to us through His Word
    • - to grow in our faith
    • - to know God’s will for us, how He wants us to live as Christians.