In this issue . . .
Q: Why 66?
A: How can we be sure that we have the correct 66 books in our Bible? The Bible is a unique volume. It is composed of 66 books by 40 different writers over 1,500 years. But what makes it unique is that it has one consistent storyline running all the way through, and it has just one ultimate author—God. The story is about God’s plan to rescue men and women from the devastating results of the Fall, a plan that was conceived in eternity, revealed through the prophets, and carried out by the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Each writer of the Bible books wrote in his own language and style, using his own mind, and in some cases research, yet each was so overruled by the Holy Spirit that error was not allowed to creep into his work. For this reason, the Bible is understood by Christians to be a book without error.
In the earliest centuries, there was little debate among Christians over which books belonged in the Bible; certainly by the time of the church leader Athanasius in the fourth century, the number of books had long been fixed. He set out the books of the New Testament just as we know them today.
Today, however, there are attempts to undermine the clear witness of history; a host of publications, from the novel to the (supposedly) academic challenge the long-held convictions of Christians and the clear evidence of the past. Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code claimed, “More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only relatively few were chosen for inclusion—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John among them.” Richard Dawkins, professor of popular science at Oxford, England, has made similar comments.
So, how certain can we be that these are the correct books to make up our Bible—no more and no less? Continue reading to find out.
News to Note Quick Look
Science vs. religion: fact vs. fiction?: An extensive new study of scientists reveals some surprising attitudes toward religion among scientists. Read more.
Are the Jews really Jewish?: The history of the Jews—and, more broadly, the Hebrews—is wrapped up in the history of the Bible. For that reason alone, modern studies of those identifying as Jews often have interesting implications for biblical history. Read more.
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