How we got the Bible: The story of Scripture

Posted on July 17, 2023 
Filed under Resources, Theology

“Countless lives have been changed by the preaching of the word of God. Since human beings tend to look at the outside and not at the inside, we often attribute the power of this transformative teaching to the preacher. We all know on reflection, though, that the real power does not rest in humans but in God’s word itself.

Reading Scripture is the most immediate exposure to the word of God. In practice, this means picking up a physical book and opening it to a specific page, or opening up an app on our phones and scrolling to a specific location. In either case, we trust that the word has not been corrupted and that the message of the Bible we hold in our hands was not changed or lost altogether. We believe that we are reading the actual words that God spoke.

In what follows, we will think about what has gone before that moment when we open Scripture and read it. What happened to the Bible between the earliest times and the twenty-first century? How did God bring his word to us? The reverse of this question—how he brought us to his word—is part of our individual testimony. But the way in which God brought about the Bible is the story of his providence in history, played out over thousands of years. And by understanding what God had done over the ages, we will see that it is reasonable and justified to trust that the Bible in our hands is a translation of the trustworthy words of Scripture. We could talk about ten reasons why to trust the Bible. But it may be more effective if we understand the larger narrative of the history of the Bible. …”

– Dirk Jongkind, Vice Principal at Tyndale House in Cambridge, takes a long look at the story of how the Bible came to us. Very helpful and worth sharing.

Image: A 3rd Century fragment from Egypt, of Revelation chapter 1, in the Chester Beatty collection, Dublin. Photo with thanks to Kevin Murray.