How We Got The Bible
By: Mike Stokes
This past year 2011, marked the 400 year anniversary of the KJV of the Bible. This anniversary provides an opportunity for us to pause, reflect, and appreciate the most precious treasure we have, God’s Word. The Bible has been translated into well over 1000 languages. The Bible was written over a period of 1600 years by about 40 authors on three continents in two major languages. The writers include an Egyptian-trained scholar (Moses), a military general (Joshua), a King (David, Solomon), a farmer (Amos), a fisherman (Peter), a tax-collector (Matthew), a Rabbi (Paul), and yet amazingly from Genesis to Revelations there is no contradiction, which makes a strong argument for Divine Inspiration. I will list only a few translations which gave us the KJV we use today.
The Geneva Bible (1560): The first English Bible in the United States, it was a “study Bible” because it contained study notes in the margins. This was the Bible used by John Bunyan and William Shakespeare. This was the Bible the pilgrims carried with them in 1620 to America.
The Bishops’ Bible (1568): The second authorized English Bible and was intended to supersede the Geneva Bible. The translation work was done mainly by scholarly bishops.
The Douay Version (1609-1610): This was the first Roman Catholic Bible in English.
The King James Version (1611): This was the culmination of these preceding early translations and revisions, and became the third authorized English Bible, sponsored by King James 1 of England. It used the chapter divisions of Stephan Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury in the 13th Century, and the verse divisions of Robert Estienne (1551).
The Revised Version (1881-1885): A revised version of the KJV based on a literal translation of the Greek and Hebrew text by 65 English scholars. This is the version we have today.
How was it determined which books should be included in the canon of scriptures? Following is the criterion used: 1) Apostleship: The question was is the writer a bona-fide apostle? If not, did the writer have a close association with an apostle, as was true of the Gospel of Mark, Luke, Acts, and Hebrews? 2) Content: The question was, is the subject matter and the treatment of it of the highest order and Spiritual stamp demanded by the test of the Holy Scriptures? By this criterion many books (Apocrypha) were rejected. 3) Universality: Did the church as a whole receive the book? Did it have a universal appeal? 4) Divine Inspiration: Did the book give unmistakable evidence of being “God Breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16)? And, did the Holy Spirit give the conviction to men of God that this was true? Without providential guidance the NT canon would never have been accurately assembled.