Beginning with the definition and explanation of inspiration, this book takes us through a readable, comprehensive explanation of how we got the Bibles that we hold in our hands today. At first, what it means that the Bible is inspired is explained. Not only what inspiration is, but also what it isn’t (dictation for example). The authors then take us through how the canon of the Bible (the Bible that we currently use) was developed, beginning with the Old Testament. The Old Testament came about because of how the Jews determined whether or not a book was considered canonical, that is, inspired of God and authoritative. The current 39 books of the Old Testament that we currently have were all determined as canonical before the time of Christ. The books of the New Testament, however, took longer but were determined by the 4th century. It was interesting to read of some of the controversies over what books should be included and how the final 27 became part of our current Bibles. The Apocrypha was also discussed.
Next the actual transmission of the Bible was covered, regarding the development of language and writing and what type of materials would have been available during the different time periods that the Bible was written. All the different manuscripts were discussed, and what is currently available to us today, including the fact that none of the original manuscripts of the Bible have survived. The Old Testament has fewer copies of manuscripts but they are more reliable, while the New Testament manuscripts are many and have more variants. The whole field of textual criticism was discussed, part of which is a little over my head. 🙂 While I don’t completely understand textual criticism, it was a needful part of the book in describing how we have our current Bibles.
Getting the Bible from its original languages translated into other languages was the final section of the book. Eventually the topic of the Bible being translated into English is discussed. At least one of the early translators of the Bible into English was actually killed for his efforts. How much we take having our Bible for granted in this modern world! The plethora of current modern translations was also discussed and why they came about.
Overall, this was a very thorough look at how the Bible came to be. It is amazing to see how God has preserved His Word down through the centuries so that we can have the Bible today to help us know Him and to grow in our Christian walk. While parts of the book got bogged down a bit in technical details, it was quite readable and provided a wealth of information for the reader to learn what all is involved in getting our current Bible.
*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review.