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Religion 125 Introduction to Christianity

Religion 125 Introduction to Christianity

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Religion 125 Introduction to Christianity

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  1. Religion 125 Introduction to Christianity Dr. Donald N. Penny

  2. Topic 1 Introduction to the Bible • What is the Bible? • A collection of ancient writings produced by ancient Israelites and early Christians. • Not a single, unified book but an “anthology” of 66 (or more) separate writings. • Reflects many different authors, time periods, cultural backgrounds, literary forms, etc. • Scripture of the Christian church. • Sacred literature. • Authoritative for religious faith and practice • Story of God’s progressive self-revelation: • Beginning with the Creation of the world; • Continuing through the history of Israel; • Climaxing in the life, death, resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  3. Major Divisions of the Bible • Old Testament – three versions (BPJM, p. xiii): • Protestant OT – 39 books • “Testament” = “covenant” = God’s relationship with nation Israel. • Inherited from Judaism; Jews and Christians share these books as Scripture. • Hebrew Bible – 24 books • Jewish Bible includes same books as Protestant OT. • Counted and arranged differently (Torah – Prophets – Writings). • Roman Catholic/Greek Orthodox OT – includes 12-15 “extra” books and parts of books • Based on Septuagint (LXX) – an early Greek translation of Jewish scriptures which included more books than Hebrew Bible. • Protestant reformers removed them because not in Hebrew Bible. • New Testament – 27uniquely Christian books • Same 27 for Protestants and Catholics; not in Jewish Bible. • God’s “covenant” with all who believe in Jesus Christ. • Protestant Bible: 39 (OT) + 27 (NT) = 66 books. • Apocrypha (“hidden things”) • About 12-15 books (and parts of books) found in Greek Orthodox and Catholic OT, but not in Hebrew Bible or Protestant OT. • Protestants either ignore them or consider “deuterocanonical.” • Apocrypha is found in middle section of Oxford Bible; important for history of period between OT and NT.

  4. Origin of the Bible • Writing the books(accumulated over more than a millennium) • OT books – written in Hebrew by ancient Israelites (1000-150 B.C.). • NT books – written in Greek by early Christians (50-150 A. D.). • Often based on earlier oral traditions and written sources. • Many authors; influenced by times/culture of their day. • Canonization (gathering the books into recognized, authoritative collection) • Hebrew Bible • Torah (“Law”) – gathered by 400 BC • Prophets – gathered by 200 BC • Writings – not definitively gathered until about 90 AD • New Testament (see BPJM, pp. 139-40) • Paul’s letters – gathered about 100 AD • Gospels – gathered by 150-200 AD • Basic canon – looking much like ours by 200 AD • Final list of exactly 27 – first appeared in 367 AD

  5. Inspiration • Plenary verbal theory • Exact wording virtually dictated by God. • Little room for human contribution. • Inerrant even in matters of history and science. • Dynamic theory • Message inspired by God. • Author writes out of own knowledge, style, etc. • May be inaccuracies of history and science. • Theological message is reliable.