Questions & Answers: The Bible

Here are a few questions in regards to the Bible, but with a different spin. I've combined some coursework I did in college. Just wanted to share it. It's good info!

Do you agree that the Bible is a divine-human book? Why?

Yes, I agree that the Bible is a divine-human book. Obviously humans wrote the different “books” of the Bible. And in their respected books they claim that this holy book is by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. Thus you have a divine-human book, though it’s the divine that gives it true value and importance.

What explanation can be given for the fact that God’s name does not appear in the Book of Esther?

In light of the story of Esther being during a time where the people were in another land, it is understandable why there was a “fear of using God’s name in a document written in a foreign country—the name might be profaned or the story changed by the simple substitution of a pagan god’s name” (Geisler). Another reason is the author of Esther is not obviously clear, so it is possible that “the book was compiled from the Persian royal records (9:20; 10:2)” (Geisler) and they would not have transcribed the name of the Jewish God in their records. However, even though the “name” of God may not appear the presence of God is apparent.

Distinguish between the meaning of inspiration and canonization.

Inspiration is saying the nature of the Scriptures are the divinely authoritative truth of the one and only God (Geisler, pp 13-15). Canonization is saying which of the scriptural writings are actually inspired (Geisler, pp 16-17).

Why ought one conclude that there are thirty-nine (no more and no less) books in the Old Testament canon?

Because Jesus Himself affirmed that the thirty-nine books in the Old Testament was the Law and the Prophets (Geisler, pp 16). Also, the Jewish Talmud attest to the same Old Testament books as Jesus (Geisler, pp 16).

How do the numerical discrepancies show that our copies of Scripture were very faithfully copied?

The Jewish scribes who copied the errors down “through the centuries were undoubtedly aware it was wrong”, yet “out of reverence for the text before them and in faithfulness to their task to copy accurately what was in the manuscript they did not tamper with the text.” (Geisler, pp 139)

What is textual criticism?

Textual criticism is a discipline that focuses on bringing about “the most accurate text possible based upon available manuscript evidence.” (Tools of Inductive Bible Study)

How is it possible to have a high view of the authority of Scripture and a positive view of textual criticism at the same time?

God’s sovereignty! I trust my God, who brought His Word to us through the first human authors, to keep His Word faithful for us through the succeeding scribes and translators.

What is translation?

The reproducing “of a text that is in one language (the source language), as fully as possible, in another (the receptor language).” (Strauss, Distorting Scripture? 1998, p. 77)

Why is translation not a simple exercise?

Because translating one language into another language is not as easy as copying one language word-for-word into another language, especially from copies and without the original authors present for assistance.

Describe the two main approaches to translation. Which approach do you feel most comfortable with? Why?

The “more formal” approach (word-for-word) and the “more functional” approach (thought-for-thought). The “more formal” approach tries to stay as close as possible to the original in structure and words. The “more functional” tries to stay as close as possible in expressing the meaning of the original text though in today’s language. I feel most comfortable with both. I think both are needed in trying to get a more holistic understanding and picture.

Now what other belief/religion can put their "holy book" through this type of scrutiny? None of them. Christianity, not its false offshoots (i.e. Jehovah Witness, Christian Science, Mormons, Black Israelites, etc), is the most solid and vetted belief. This gives Jesus Christ and His claims more and more credence. Thus, the remarks that the Christian Faith is foolish, is foolish.

Geisler, N. (1977). A Popular Survey of the Old Testament. Baker Academic, Grands Rapids:MI.