18 October, 2007

Transmission of the New Testament Scriptures to Us


I. HOW WERE OUR PRESENT 27 BOOKS CHOSEN?

By the end of the second century the collection of canonical books was agreed upon...excluding all others. No official act of a church body decreed it...it was simply a universal recognition of genuine and superior over spurious.

II. RULES FOR DETERMINING CANONICAL BOOKS:

Canon defined: Its basic meaning is reed. Since a reed was sometimes used as a measuring rod, the word canon came to mean a standard or rule. It is also used to refer to a list or index, and when thus applied to the Bible, denotes the list of books received as Scripture. (From How We Got The Bible by Lightfoot).
  • Rule 1. Apostolicity.  Was it written by an apostle or did the author sustain an intimate relation with the apostles that would raise it to apostolic level?
  • Rule 2. Contents. Were the contents of such a spiritual character to entitle it to this rank? On the basis of this test, most of the apocryphal and pseudepigraphal books were eliminated, and ours verified.
  • Rule 3. Universality. Was the book universally received by the church?
  • Rule 4. Inspiration.  Did the book give evidence of inspiration?
  • Rule 5. Inspiration of selection. God in His providence guided the selection of the proper books.
III. TRANSMISSION OF THE TEXT

Our knowledge of the original autographs has arrived through four channels. These will be noticed below. The original copies of the inspired books are called autographs. None of the autographs remain today. In 303 A.D., Diocletion, emperor of Rome, ordered all sacred books destroyed by fire. Most likely the autographs perished then. Copies of them remain for us.

Our present Greek text of the New Testament is reconstructed from the following sources:
  1. 1. Hand written copies of the Greek Text. Some ten years ago there were 232 copies described as uncials. The text of these is in all capitals. Thus far 2,440 minuscules or cursives have been found. Of these, forty are 1,000 years old or more. The Chief Greek Manuscripts are:
    1. a. Vaticanus from 350 A.D. contained in Vatican Library.
    2. b. Sinaiticus, dated 375 A.D. It was  found by Count Tischendorf in the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai in 1844. It is dated 375 A.D.  It was sold to the British museum in 1933 for one half million dollars.
    3. c. Alexandrinus, dated 425 A.D. It was once in the Library at Alexandria in Egypt.  It was  presented by Cyril Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople to King Charles I of England in 1627.
    4. d. Ephraemi Rescriptus. The sermons of Ephraemi of Syria were written over the Scripture text.  It dates from 450 A.D. It is now located in the National Library of Paris.
    5. e. Codex Beza, dated 5th century This was found in the monastery of St. Irenaeus at Lyons, France in 1562.  It is now in University of Cambridge.
    6. f.  Codex Washingtonius , written in late 4th century.  It was-purchased by C.L. Freer of Detroit in Cairo, Egypt in 1906.  It is now in the Smithsonian Institute.
    7. g. Codex Clermontanus, dated from the  6th century. It was found in Clermont, France. Now kept in Paris. Codex means book.
  2. 2. Translations or Versions in ancient languages. Fifteen different ancient translations are extant.
    1. a. Syraic, Sinatic, Curetonian and Peshitta from about 150 A. D.
    2. b. Egyptian, Thebian and Memphitic, from the 3rd century.
    3. c. Latin, African Latin, 150 a.d. and Jerome's Vulgate, 384 a.d.
    4. d. Armenian, from the 3rd or 4th century.
    5. e. Gothic, from the 4th century.
    6. f. Ethiopic, from  600 a.d.
  3. 3. Lectionaries. Of these, 1,700 have survived. (An arrangement of Bible passages for weekly reading).
  4. 4. Papyri. A large collection of papyri documents have been collected.  These contain writings and correspondence from the early Christian centuries that add much supporting evidence to our text.
  5. 5. Quotations from the ancient Christian writers. We have 38 large volumes of these writings.  The chief ones are:
    1. a. Ignatius of Antioch who died 116 a.d.
    2. b. Marcion   of Pontus and Rome, who died in 165 a.d.
    3. c. Justin Martyr who lived from , 100-165 a.d.
    4. d. Tation of Syria and Rome, 120 a.d.
    5. e. Irenaeus of Asia Minor and Gaul, lived  140-203 a.d.
    6. f. Polycarp of Smyrna, He live from 69 -155 a.d.  He was a disciple of John the Apostle.
    7. g. Clement of Alexandria who lived  155-215 a.d.
Scholars, working from these sources have been able to provide us with a highly accurate copy of the New Testament as it existed in the earliest days of the second century.  Your Bible is entirely dependable and trustworthy.

Sincerely,



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