We believe that
God revealed his will to the Hebrews through prophets, who
received divine utterances, sometimes directly from His mouth and
other times through visions, dreams, angelic appearances, and other
miraculous means. These pronouncements were recorded, first by
Moses, and afterwards by others, but were not necessarily the first
given mankind. They have come to us from the Jews through the
Savior's apostles who were commissioned to declare the gospel
throughout the world. The Christian writings are attached as a
separate testament that magnifies and explains the revelations
contained in the first and older testament.
We accept the Bible as the inerrant
word of God at the time each part was written. It has been
transcribed and translated over the years, processes that introduced
errors into the sacred text. In addition, changes in cultural
expressions and terminology made some words and phrases difficult to
understand. In these ways, some plain and precious truths once
contained in the scriptures became obscure and others were lost.
Nevertheless, the Bible remains the inerrant word of God as far as
it is translated correctly. Its words should be regarded as
God's instruction specifically preserved for us today.
The last two
centuries have witnessed a rise in criticism about the Bible's
divinity. Scholars have minimized its heavenly source and
supernatural accounts, often using their scholarship to advocate the
book’s human origin. While their assertions are generally witty and
scholarly, their reasoning is more rationalization and sophistry
than enlightenment and edification. Too often, their analysis is
focused on details that obscure or miss the deeper revelations
that the Bible contains. Understanding of the Bible does not come
through scrutiny, but from belief and obedience to its precepts.
The Bible clearly states and the
historical record confirms that the first five books of the Bible
were written by Moses. He made several copies that were given
to each of the tribes receiving inheritances in the Promised Land.
One was kept with the Ark and became known as the Torah Scroll.
It served as a reference against which new copies could be compared
The Torah Scroll was lost when
Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and razed the Temple. After
the Babylonian Captivity, Ezra restored the Old Testament with the
prophetic help of the Temple Priests, among whom were some of the
minor prophets, whose books were appended to the text. They
also added the historical books, the psalms and sayings of David and
Solomon and the four major prophets. The Ezra Scroll, as his
restored text became known, was God's word as the Creator wanted it
among the post-Babylonian Jews and remained in the Temple as a
reference until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans.
About two centuries after Ezra, the
Bible was translated into Greek.
According to an ancient
document called the Letter of Aristeas, Ptolemy Philadelphus,
King of Egypt, was constructing an extensive library in Alexandria.
When he heard about the Jewish Bible, he asked the high priest to
send a copy. Seventy translators accompanied the text and
translated it into Greek. It was widely revered by Greek
speaking Jews and, after Christ, by Christians. It was their
preferred Biblical text, especially after the Jews changed their
Hebrew copies about 100 AD to hide some prophetic references to
There were a number
of differences between the Greek and Hebrew texts that could not be
explained by Jewish attempts to hide Jesus' divine identity.
Christians concluded that the Greek text represented the word of God
as God wanted it among the Gentile Church, while the Hebrew text
before it was altered by the Jews embodied how God wanted it among
the Hebrews. Augustine wrote. "Anything in the Hebrew
text that is not found in that of the seventy translators is
something that the Spirit of God decided not to say through the
translators, but through the prophets. Conversely, anything in
the Septuagint that is not in the Hebrew texts is something which
the same Spirit preferred to say through the translators, instead of
through the prophets, thus showing that the former and the latter
alike were prophets" (City of God, Bk 8, Ch 43).
As the fifth century
closed, Christians wanted an authorized Latin Text. Older
versions existed, but were not uniform. Jerome secluded
himself and produced the Vulgate. He preferred the Hebrew
translation, thinking that it was closer to the original. For
that reason, many Jewish changes became part of our modern Bibles.
The Christians also
added the New Testament. They chose four gospels because the
Old Testament contained four major prophetical books and because
those four originated in the apostles. Mark wrote Peter's gospel and
Luke recorded Paul's. Several apostolic epistles were also
added, along with John's Apocrypha. While the Gnostic heretics
produced their own spurious copies of the gospel and epistles, only
a few made it into the authorized text.
evolution of our modern text, the Bible remains the word of God and
sacred instruction for people today.