Transmission of the New Testament Scriptures to Us
I. HOW WERE OUR PRESENT 27 BOOKS
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
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).
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?
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
3. Universality. Was the book universally received by the
4. Inspiration. Did the book give evidence of
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
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.
- 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:
- a. Vaticanus
from 350 A.D. contained in Vatican Library.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- g. Codex
Clermontanus, dated from the 6th century. It was found in
Clermont, France. Now kept in Paris. Codex means book.
- 2. Translations
or Versions in ancient languages. Fifteen different ancient
translations are extant.
- a. Syraic,
Sinatic, Curetonian and Peshitta from about 150 A. D.
- b. Egyptian,
Thebian and Memphitic, from the 3rd century.
- c. Latin,
African Latin, 150 a.d. and Jerome's Vulgate, 384 a.d.
- d. Armenian,
from the 3rd or 4th century.
- e. Gothic,
from the 4th century.
- f. Ethiopic,
from 600 a.d.
Lectionaries. Of these, 1,700 have survived. (An arrangement of Bible
passages for weekly reading).
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.
Quotations from the ancient Christian writers. We have 38 large volumes
of these writings. The chief ones are:
Ignatius of Antioch who died 116 a.d.
- b. Marcion
of Pontus and Rome, who died in 165 a.d.
- c. Justin
Martyr who lived from , 100-165 a.d.
- d. Tation
of Syria and Rome, 120 a.d.
- e. Irenaeus
of Asia Minor and Gaul, lived 140-203 a.d.
- f. Polycarp
of Smyrna, He live from 69 -155 a.d. He was a disciple of
John the Apostle.
- g. Clement
of Alexandria who lived 155-215 a.d.
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