Bible ClinicJ One

A journey into the life, times, and teachings of the Bible

by Gary D. Strunk


Lesson 7 - How We Got The Bible


The object of this lesson is to examine what the Bible says about its origin and its purpose.  Everyone approaches a topic with what are called Aa priori assumptions@ which affect the logic and the outcome of their study.  In this study you are asked to make only one assumption.  It is the same assumption we make about any reputable history text.  We assume that the writers are honest in reporting what they heard, saw, and researched; as honest as any secular eye-witness or historian.  Therefore, until proven otherwise, the Bible presents an honest historical record of its own origin.



1. Who told Moses to write? Ex. 17:14a __________________________


2. For what purpose was Moses to write? Ex. 17:14a _____________________________________________



3. God gave Moses many ordinances, judgments, and instructions.  What did Moses do with all these laws?

 Ex. 24:4a __________________________________________________________


4. What is this writing called? v.7 _________________________________________________

Note: In reading Exodus as translated from Hebrew into your own language, you are reading the very history and instruction recorded in the original scroll 3500 years ago.  You are not reading a book about Exodus.  You are reading the actual book of Exodus.  Seldom does a person have an opportunity to read ancient literature.  But in holding the Bible, you are holding a copy of the most extensive document of ancient literature ever committed to humankind.  AThe Hebrew Scriptures constitute the oldest and most complete historical record of the human race....@ Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 1, p. 586.


5. The books of Exodus and Leviticus are filled with instructions regarding the covenant (agreement) made between God and Israel.  Who told Moses to write these words?  Ex. 34:27




Read 2 Peter 1:20,21 from the following versions and notice how they emphasize that Scripture originated not from an individual=s initiative or understanding, but from God Himself.


ABut you must understand this at the outset, that no prophecy of Scripture arose from an individual=s interpretation of the truth.  No prophecy came because a man wanted it to: men of God spoke because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.@ -- 2 Peter 1:20,21 The New Testament in Modern English by Phillips


AFor no prophecy recorded in Scripture was ever thought up by the prophet himself.  It was the Holy Spirit within these godly men who gave them true messages from God.@ -- 2 Peter 1:20,22 The Living Bible Paraphrased


AAbove all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet=s own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.@ -- 2 Peter 1:20,21   New International Version


ABut know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one=s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.@ -- 2 Peter 1:20, 21 New American Standard


AKnowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.@--2 Peter 1:20,21 New King James Version


Just how inspiration works, i.e. how God communicated His messages to His prophets, is a complete study in itself which will be taken up in a later lesson.


The first five books of the Bible were written by Moses and are referred to as the Law, or Torah, or the Pentateuch.  While at Mt. Sinai God told Moses to write.  Those writings became the books of Exodus and Leviticus.  Israel was supposed to enter into the APromised Land@ immediately as promised. Ex. 34:10,11ff.  But due to their lack of faith in God=s promises to drive out the Canaanites, they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness.  During this time the book of Numbers was written. Nu. 33:1,2.  Then near the end of their forty years= wanderings the book of Deuteronomy was written.  The word Deuteronomy means second  law.  Deuteronomy is an adaptation and expansion of what was written earlier.  Moses was 120 years old as Deuteronomy was finished.  Dt. 31:14; 34:7.  It is not clear when Moses wrote Genesis, probably earlier.

6. Scribes who made copies of the Law and other Scriptures were under Divine injunction not to emend the manuscripts in any way.  What will happen to a person who adds to the words of the book of Revelation?

Rev. 22:18_______________________________________________________________________________


7. What will happen to anyone who takes away from the words of the book of Revelation?

 Rev. 22:19 _________________________________________________________________


__________________________________________ cf. Dt. 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:5,6


AIn making copies of Hebrew manuscripts which are the precious heritage of the Church today, the Jewish scribes exercised the greatest possible care, even to the point of superstition -- counting, not only the words, but every letter, noting how many times each particular letter occurred, and destroying at once the sheet on which a mistake was detected, in their anxiety to avoid introducing the least error into the sacred Scriptures, which they prized so highly and held in such reverent awe.  Moreover, each new copy had to be made from an approved manuscript, written with a special kind of ink, upon sheets made from the skin of a Aclean@ animal.  The writers also had to pronounce aloud each word before writing it, and on no account was a single word to be written from memory.  They were to reverently wipe their pen before writing the name of God in any form, and to wash their whole body before writing AJehovah,@ lest that holy name should be tainted even in the writing.  The new copy was then carefully examined with the original almost immediately: and it is said that if only one incorrect letter were discovered the whole copy was rejected!@ -- Collett, Sidney, ALL ABOUT THE BIBLE, Pages 14-15

8. Who were the custodians of the Law, and those responsible for executing its requirements?

 Dt. 31:9 Athe ___________________ , the sons of  _______________ , . . . and to all the  _____________________________________.@

9. How often was this law to be read to all Israel? vs. 10,11 _____________________________


10. For what reason was this written record prepared and read? vs. 12,13 ___________________




11. What do you think is meant by the phrase Awho have not known it@ in verse 13? ______________________


No one challenged the discourse of Dt. 4:32-40 or any other recitation of their stubbornness and faithlessness, and mighty wonders God had done.  Moses didn=t have to prove the existence of God. These people had ?been there and done that.@

Following the writing of the Law came records of the settlement of Israel in Canaan, and the up-and-down obedience and disobedience and corresponding prosperity and defeats and captivities recorded in the books of Joshua, Judges, Kings and Chronicles.  God sent prophets to warn, reprove, instruct and encourage His people.  Some only spoke.  Others wrote, but their writings we do not now have.   Still others wrote and preserved their writings.  These were gradually assembled into The Bible.


The word canon, meaning list or index, refers to the books making up the Bible.  Canonicity, i.e., which books should be a part of the canon was determined for the Old Testament by the general recognition and acceptance of the authority of the author by the Jewish community of believers, and for the New Testament by the Christian believers.  This was not usually a difficult task.  The faithful knew who was a true prophet and who was not.  The Old Testament canon was completely set by the time of Christ, and the New Testament canon was well recognized by the third century A.D.


The Roman Catholic Bible contains fifteen extra books called the apocrypha (hidden) which are excluded from the Protestant Bible for the following reasons from Lightfoot, Neil R., How We Got The Bible, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI 1965, p. 94.


1. They were never included in the Hebrew Old Testament.

2. They were never accepted as canonical by Jesus and His Apostles.

3. They were not accepted by early Jewish and Christian writers.

4. They do not evidence intrinsic qualities of inspiration.

5. They have been shrouded with continual uncertainty.


There is a difference between the canonicity of a book and the authority of that book.  A book=s canonicity depends upon its authority.  When Paul, for example, writes to the Corinthians, his letter is to be acknowledged as possessing divine authority (1 Cor. 14:37).  This letter had authority from the moment he wrote it, yet it could not be referred to as canonical until it was received in a list of accepted writings formed sometime later.   At a later time it was accepted as canonical because of its inherent authority.  A book first has divine authority based on its inspiration, and then attains canonicity due to its general acceptance as a divine product.  No church council by its decrees can make the books of the Bible authoritative.  The books of the Bible possess their own authority and indeed had this authority long before there were any councils of the church. Ibid. p.81,82

12. How much was Jeremiah told to write?  Jer. 36:1,2 ____________________________________________


13. Did Jeremiah write on the scroll all the words God told him to write? v. 4 ___________

14. Who did? ___________________

Note: Apparently, it is acceptable for a prophet to use a secretary.

15. Who read the prophecies of Jeremiah to the people? vs. 5-8 __________________________

These sacred writings or oracles which have thus come down to us through the Jews we call the Bible, the Scriptures, the Word of God, etc.

The word ABible@ is derived from the Greek biblia, and means Athe books,@ and is therefore not an unsuitable title, although ?the Book@ -- for it is one complete whole -- is a far more correct term.  We read of Athe scroll of the book@ in Psa. 40:7 and Heb. 10: 7 quoting from Psa. 40 as Athe volume of the book.@

The word AScriptures@ is derived from the Latin, and means Athe writings.@ This is a simple and accurate term.  In Dan. 10:21 we read of Athe Scripture of Truth.@  In Hos. 8:12 God says AI have written unto him the great things of My law;@ and in a very real sense it may be said of the whole, as it was of the Ten Commandments, AThe writing was the writing of God@ (Exo. 32:16).  Indeed, in 2 Kings 17: 37 we read of Athe statutes and the ordinances and the law, and the commandments which He  [God] wrote.@

But the AWord of God@ is an equally suitable and reverent title, as it marks out the Book as being something quite distinct from all the writings or words of man.  AThe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God@ (Eph. 6:17); the ?word of God,@ which is quick and powerful (Heb.4:12), etc.  Both this and Athe Scriptures@ were favourite titles with our Lord. -- Collett, Sidney, ALL ABOUT THE BIBLE, Page 12



16. What benefits would Joshua experience from obeying the Law? Josh. 1:7,8 ________________________


17. How carefully was Joshua to follow the law? vs. 7,8 __________________________________________


18. What would it take on Joshua=s part to keep (not depart from) the Law of God? vs. 7,8 _______________


19. List three specific benefits from keeping God=s law from the heart. Proverbs 3:1,2 ___________________


20.  Besides things to do, what else was written in the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets?

Luke 24:44 _________________________________________________________________


21. What indicates that the four gospels of Jesus, i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are not

exhaustive biographies of Jesus? Jo. 21:25 _____________________________________________________


22. For what purpose were certain items included in the gospel of John? Jo. 20:30,31 ____________________




23. List four benefits of Scripture according to 2 Timothy 3:16.

a. _____________________________

b. _____________________________

c. _____________________________

d. ________________________________________________


24. What is the purpose of the Bible according to v. 17? ___________________________________________




1. The Lord

2. For a memorial

3. Moses wrote

4. Book of the Covenant

5. The Lord

6. God will add to him the plagues written in this book (scroll)

7. God will take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things (promises) written in this Book (scroll)

8. Priests, Levi, elders of Israel

9. Every seven years

10. That all may hear and learn to fear the Lord, and carefully observe all the words of this law as long as they live in the land.

11. Those born since the last reading

12. All the words that God spoke to him against Israel, Judah, and all the nations from the days of Josiah

13. No

14. Baruch

15. Baruch

16. Prosper wherever he would go, have good success

17. Do no turn from it to the right hand or to the left

18. Be strong and very courageous, meditate in it day and night

19. Length of days, long life, peace

20. Things concerning Christ

21. World could not contain the books if everything written

22. That we may believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we might have life in His name

23. a. profitable for doctrine, b. for reproof, c. for correction, d. instruction in righteousness

24. That the man of God may be complete, and thoroughly furnished for every good work


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