17/11/2021 Wednesday
Review the Canonicity of the Bible
Canonization has to do with determining which books deserve the designation of “Scripture” and ought to be included in the Bible.
Every God-inspired Book was part of the biblical canon the moment God had it written down. God knew what He Inspired!
The main criteria for identifying a canonical book were:
Written by a prophet, apostle, or associate
Claimed to be God’s Word
Accepted and used by believers
The apocrypha is not God’s Word.
The N.T. canon was identified by AD 363.
God is not revealing new truth to men today. The Bible is complete!
How has the Bible been preserved?
The Original Manuscripts
▰ Original Bible manuscripts are called “autographs”.
▻ Moses began writing the Old Testament (OT) about 1400 BC and Malachi completed it in about 400 BC. The OT is nearly all in Hebrew with parts of Daniel and
Ezra are in Chaldee (i.e., Aramaic).
▻ The New Testament (NT) was written in the 1st Century entirely in Greek.
▻ Early writing “paper” was papyrus (plant based) and later “paper” was parchment (skins).
Copies of the Original Manuscripts
▰ Copying the Bible began early in history (Deuteronomy 17:18). Joshua also made copies of the Bible (Joshua 8:32).
▻ In about 200 BC, men translated the OT Hebrew/Aramaic text into Greek and called it the Septuagint or LXX.
▻ Massorete scribes used extreme care in copying the Hebrew OT beginning about the 1st Century AD.
▰ New Testament manuscripts were shared by churches (Colossians 4:16).
▰ Jerome translated the Bible into Latin in 382 AD and called it the Vulgate.
No copy or translation of the Bible is inspired.
Only the originals were inspired.
Surviving Manuscripts
▰ All original manuscripts are gone. Only copies exist.
▰ The total number of manuscripts of the whole or part of the NT found so far is 5,488. www.tbsbibles.org Article: The Lord Gave the Word
▰ These manuscripts are divided into four categories.
▻ Papyri – 96 copies, made from papyrus plant, nearly all fragments
▻ Uncials – 299 copies, all in upper case, 4th Century and later.
▻ Minuscules – 2812 copies, all in lower case, 9th Century and later.
▻ Lectionaries – 2,281 copies, Bible portions used in public church reading, 6th Century and later.
Parts of the New Testament have been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work.
There are over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300
manuscripts in various other ancient languages, such as Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and
Armenian. https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_manuscript
Two Types of Surviving Manuscripts (pt.1)
▰ Byzantine Text-Type
▻ The name comes from the Byzantine area (mainly Syria, Turkey, and Greece). It is also known as the Majority Text.
▻ About 90% of all surviving manuscripts support the Byzantine type (about 5000 of the 5488).
▻ Christianity had its strongest roots in the Byzantine area. It was the centre of Christianity after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Constantinople was the centre
of Greek-speaking world.
▻ For 1800 years, the Byzantine Text-type was the standard Bible Greek text.
Two Types of Surviving Manuscripts (pt.2a)
▰ Alexandrian Text-Type
▻ Its name comes from Alexandria in Egypt. It is also called the Critical Text or Westcott and Hort Text.
▻ This minority text is based on less than 10% of the surviving manuscripts.
▻ Its two chief Alexandrian manuscripts are the Sinaiticus (Aleph) [found in a rubbish bin in St. Catherine’s monastery on Mount Sinai in 1844] and Vaticanus (B)
[found in the Vatican library in Rome and studied in 1867].
Two Types of Surviving Manuscripts (pt.2b)
 The Sinaiticus and Vaticanus disagree with each other more than 3000 times in the Gospels alone. They differ from the Byzantine in over 6000 places.
 They leave out portions of over 200 verses in the NT, 17 are completely missing. (Cf. Mr 11:26, Lu 17:36, Ac 8:37, 24:7)
 In 1881 two Greek scholars, B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, popularized Sinaiticus and Vaticanus claiming that they are the oldest surviving manuscripts and therefore the
 Their survival age is most likely because they were not used and were kept in the dry climate of Egypt.
Translating Manuscripts
▰ The Byzantine Greek Text was the standard before 1881
▻ The Catholic Church prevented translation work for many years.
▻ Wycliffe translated the Vulgate into English in 1384.
▻ A standard Byzantine Greek text was compiled by Erasmus in 1516. It was called the Textus Receptus (TR).
▻ Other TR texts were complied by Stephens 1550, Beza 1565, Elzevir 1633, and Scrivener 1894.
▻ Other TR texts were complied by Stephens 1550, Beza 1565, Elzevir 1633, and Scrivener 1894.
Translating Manuscripts
▻ Tyndale translated the English NT from the Byzantine Greek text in 1526. The Coverdale Bible in 1535 was the first entire Bible in English from the Greek. The
Great Bible in 1539. The Bishop’s Bible in 1568. The King James Bible in 1611.
▻ The KJV is the most accurate popular English translation from the TR text.
▻ For study, some Bible software contains KJV2000, MKJV, and Young’s Literal translations that are helpful.
▻ For comparison, you could use the NKJV, but beware of the footnotes as they sometimes favour the Critical Text.
Translating Manuscripts
▰ The Alexandrian test has been falsely called the “best text” since 1881.
▻ The English Revised Version 1885, American Standard 1901, NASV 1971, NIV 1973 and nearly all other popular Bibles come from this Critical text. The NKJV
1982 is an exception. It comes from the TR text, but contains footnotes and choice of words that promote the WH text also called the NU (Nelson-Aland Greek NT
and the United Bible Societies Greek NT).
▻ Many verses and words are left out of modern translations because they are based on the Critical text. Deletions often undermine Christ’s deity (cf. 1Ti 3:16).
Summary of the Bible’s Preservation
Original Bible manuscripts are called autographs.
Making copies of the original manuscripts began during Moses’ day.
We have about 5,500 surviving manuscripts or portions of manuscripts of the NT.
The Byzantine or Majority text has the support of about 90% of the surviving manuscripts.
It was the standard text for over 1800 years.
The Alexandrian or Critical Text has only 10% of manuscript support including two old manuscripts the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.
Stephens’ 1550 Textus Receptus is the Byzantine Greek text behind the KJV and the NKJV.
All other popular translations are based on the Critical Text.
Many words are left out of the Critical Text.