What is the Bible?
The Bible is a collection or compilation of sacred books, containing the stories, doctrines, codes and traditions that guide Christians, based on Jewish tradition (Old Testament) and the spread of the Gospel (New Testament).
Bible is a term derived from the Greek word βιβλίον ( biblíon ), meaning parchment, papyrus, or book, and from the Greek expression τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια ( ta bible ta hágia ), meaning holy books.
It was written by about 40 men over a period of approximately 1600 years. The first book of the Bible is Genesis and was written around 1445 BC The last book is Revelation, written around 90-96 AD It was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
The Holy Bible ( biblia sacra in Latin) is the best-selling book of all time. It has been translated into over 2,500 languages and is available in different versions, according to traditions and their translations. It is currently also available in digital format.
In a figurative sense, the term bible is also used to refer to an important book, a kind of “guide” that contains all the information relevant to specific areas. For example, the Java Script Bible, the Business Administration Bible, the Musician’s Bible, the Football Bible, etc.
The Structure of the Bible
The Christian Bible is divided into two main parts: the Old and New Testaments. Testament (berith in Hebrew) means covenant, covenant or contract. Each of them brings together a collection of sacred texts. Let’s get to know some essential details
The Old Testament (Tanach for the Jews and Septuagint for the Greeks) is regarded by Christians as the story of creation. This is because it has the stories related to the creation of the world and the events of the Hebrew people until approximately 445 BC.
There are two versions of the Old Testament, which circulated alternately in the times of Jesus and the apostles:
- Hebrew Canonor Palestinian Canon, written in Hebrew, consisting of 39 books. This version excludes so-called deuterocanonical books;
- Alexandrian Canon, Version of the Septuagint (LXX) or Septuagint Bible. This version was written in Greek and contains the Hebrew canon. In addition, it also has the deuterocanonical books, called apocryphal by the Protestant tradition, such as Tobias, Judith, 1st and 2nd book of Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus and Baruch.
Both canons have a different order, distribution and titles. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches recognize the Alexandrian Canon or Version of the Seventy. Protestant or Lutheran-inspired churches use the Hebrew or Palestinian canon. For its part, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria admits other books, such as the book of Enoch and the book of Jubilees.
The New Testament contains 27 books and is considered by Christians to be the history of salvation. It includes the Gospels, which represent the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. They cover events during his life, his message, his death, and his resurrection.
In addition, the New Testament contains the narration of the acts of the apostles (which tells of the birth of the early Church), the pastoral letters of the first Christian leaders, and the prophetic book of Revelation.
Copies and translations of the bible
In the case of the Jewish holy book, which corresponds to the Christian Old Testament, copies were made by Hebrew copiers called masorets. They were in charge of copying the Hebrew Scriptures between the 6th and 10th centuries, and they used to check each letter to avoid mistakes.
In the Christian world, translations and copies of the Bible were carried out by monks in monasteries, many of them were also responsible for incorporating illuminations or illustrations of great artistic value.
Monks could copy alone or in groups under the dictation of a brother, which accelerated the production of copies. So it was not surprising that there were some errors in the process.
There are differing opinions about the reliability, preservation, and integrity of the Bible. This is because many years have passed since the first manuscripts and there have also been possible errors in the translations into different languages and differing opinions in the dogmas.
The first vernacular translation of the Bible, and also the first printed version, was the Bible translated by Luther into German in the 16th century.
Archeology has also provided interesting insights into the formation of historical biblical texts themselves.
List of Acronyms Related to Bible