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Where and How Did We Get the Bible? – Part 2: Design and Layout of the New Testament

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Where and How Did We Get the Bible?

Part 2: Design and Layout of the New Testament

Some claim that the Bible is not complete without the Apocrypha or other obscure writings. Is there sufficient evidence to prove whether these documents belong in God’s Word? In Part Two of this series, we conclude the amazing story of how God preserved His Word!

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The apostles and other disciples of Christ wrote the New Testament. Certain apostles canonized it. Notice the prophecy in Isaiah 8:13-17:

“Sanctify the LORD of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples. And I will wait upon the LORD, that hides His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him.”

Isaiah 7:14, 8:8 and 9:6 all show the general context of the above-quoted verses. They speak clearly and undeniably of the time of Christ. His disciples were to bind up the testimony and seal the Law. This they did. Christ delivered the New Testament, yet He required His servants to record—and to bind up and seal—that written record.

The New Testament was written to those “called out” ones (John 6:44, 65), who were to grow in character and qualify for rulership in the coming kingdom of God. It was not a commission to a nation, or for preservation in the same sense as the Old Testament had been.

The real identity and mission of Christ and the concept of called out ones becoming part of the God Family and ruling with Christ “threw” the Jews “for a loop,” as seen in Isaiah 8:13-17. Such a concept was so foreign to them that they considered it blasphemy (John 10:31-38). They had been molded into a certain pattern of thought and outlook in relation to the meaning of the Scriptures and the fulfillment of prophecy.

Only the Jews who were part of those called out and whose minds God had opened were able to understand. Of course, all of the very first called out ones—of God’s Church—were Jews, as those from other tribes of Israel and gentiles began to be called shortly thereafter.

At first, the apostles believed that Christ would return in their lifetime and that canonization of the gospels, Acts, and a number of letters would not be needed. After all, the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 gave no indication that the final half of the week would be delayed nearly 2,000 years.

Besides, the servants of that time might not have understood the seven times delay upon Israel, Judah or upon Babylon. (Yet, there was no need to understand this at that early stage of time.)

Also, the Olivet Prophecy, described in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, sounded as if it applied to the Jews of that time. Jerusalem had been surrounded by armies. Terrible warfare and suffering had occurred, and it appeared that the first four seals had been (and were being) fulfilled.

The apostle Paul thought that Christ would return in his lifetime (I Thes. 4:15-16; II Thes. 2:1-2; I Cor. 15:51-52). Eventually, those surviving apostles (whether in the Greek and Roman world or dispatched among distant tribes of Israel) realized that Christ would return much later.

Notice the apostle John’s answer to the Roman Emperor Domitian when he questioned him about the reign of Christ: “You [Domitian] shall also reign for many years given you by God, and after you very many others; and when the times of things upon the earth have been fulfilled, out of heaven shall come a King, eternal, true, Judge of the living and the dead…” (Ante-Nicean Fathers, Roberts and Donaldson, pp. 560-2).

More About Canonization and Paul’s Letters

Now we turn to particular writings in the New Testament that indicated the apostles were very aware of their responsibility to bind and seal the New Testament. Recognize that in a general sense of the term, all the writers of the Scriptures, both Old Testament (O.T.) and New Testament (N.T.), were called prophets.

Notice the words of the resurrected Christ to those who were slow to understand the significance of events leading up to His miraculous Resurrection: “Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

Again, in a general sense, Christ referred to all the writers of the Scriptures as prophets.

When the apostle Peter stated, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed…” (II Pet. 1:19), he was not exalting himself and the other apostles above the writers of the O.T.

He was well aware that he and the other apostles had been personally tutored by the One who inspired all the other prophets. The “more sure word of prophecy” was a direct reference to Christ, as opposed to His human instruments of that time. Christ had opened up new understanding to His Church—He was the Source of that “more sure word of prophecy.”

Now notice the words of Paul at the conclusion of Romans: “Now to Him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (16:25-26).

The “scriptures of the prophets” mentioned here refers to the Old Testament prophets, but also to others, because the revelation to which Paul refers might have been additional knowledge only available when Christ made them “manifest.”

Paul also acknowledged the abundance of the revelations given to him (II Cor. 12:7). He knew that he was to disseminate this understanding to the Church: “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints” (Col. 1:25-26).

With full humility, but with a strong sense of reality, Paul could state to the Church, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe” (I Thes. 2:13).

Now note what Peter said regarding Paul’s writings: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:15-16).

Paul’s letters were referred in context to “the other scriptures.” Since Peter had canonized many of Paul’s letters, he knew firsthand that they were now scripture. Note that Paul, shortly before his martyrdom, instructed Timothy to bring Mark with him (II Tim. 4:9-11). It was for a specific mission in which he also instructed Timothy to bring “especially the parchments” (vs. 13).

There are strong indications that Mark was dispatched to Babylon with those parchments to present to Peter (I Pet. 5:13), the chief apostle who canonized those very writings of Paul. By that time, Paul had been martyred, but the parchments were already sent to their destination.

Shortly after Peter canonized those parchments—Paul’s letters—he too was martyred at the behest of the Roman Emperor Nero. The writings that Peter had canonized up to that time comprised all the writings of the New Testament except what John would later add and canonize.

The Gospels, Acts and Writings of John

The four gospels, as they appear in the King James Version and other versions, are arranged in the correct order. Matthew was written first. Matthew was a Levite, and primarily addressed his gospel to the Jews. Mark was written next. Mark was a companion and an interpreter for Peter. He wrote the account as Peter had proclaimed it—Peter being the eyewitness in this account.

Luke’s gospel was written for Greek readers. He was a companion of Paul. Luke also wrote the book of Acts in the Greek language. Since Luke was not an eyewitness, he based his writing upon much diligent research, compiling what a number of apostles and disciples had earlier documented (Luke 1:2). Luke strived to write the things “in order” (vs. 3) and thus establish a chronological order of events.

Why Is The Bible Divided Into Chapters and Verses?

The chapter-and-verse divisions of the Bible were added for the sake of convenience in referencing certain locations or points in Scripture. The original manuscripts for both the Old and New Testaments contained no such divisions.

An English scholar by the name of Stephen Langton was credited for dividing the Bible into chapters about the year A.D. 1205 and thereafter. Langton was a professor at the University of Paris and later became the Archbishop of Cantebury.

This is confirmed by the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, under the article “Stephen Langton”: “Stephen, however, migrated to Paris, and having graduated in that university became one of its most celebrated theologians. This was probably the time when he composed his voluminous commentaries (many of which still exist in manuscript) and divided the Bible into chapters” (Vol. 16, p. 178).

This same source shows that Langton also was instrumental in the formulation of the Magna Carta in England after about 1213 while serving as Archbishop of Cantebury.

Another individual sometimes credited with dividing the Bible into chapters was a Cardinal by the name of Hugo of St. Cher, who died in 1263.

Concerning this claim, the Encyclopedia Britannica gives us more insight. From an article entitled, “Hugh [Hugo] of St. Cher,” we read: “With the aid of many of his order he edited the first concordance of the Bible…but the assertion that we owe the present division of the chapters of the Vulgate to him is false” (Vol. 13, p. 859).

The work of dividing the Scriptures into chapters, by Langton and his assistants, was not inspired by God (as far as we know). However, this work was foundational for the following project in which a French printer by the name of Robert Estienne (usually known by the Latin form of his name, Stephanus) accomplished in 1551. In this year, Robert Stephanus divided the Greek New Testament into verses (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edit., Vol. 9, p. 799).

Then, in 1555, Stephanus divided the entire Latin Vulgate Bible into verses. He took Langton’s chapters as they existed and further divided them into verses. In 1560, the year following the death of Stephanus, the Geneva Bible became the first English translation divided into chapters and verses. Even Jewish scholars came to accept these divisions and followed suit by dividing the Hebrew Scriptures accordingly. However, the order of the Hebrew Scriptures was preserved, as always.

Even though these divisions into chapters and verses provide much convenience for those who study and reference the Scriptures, they are still of human devising. As a rule of thumb, one should ignore these divisions when studying the Bible. These artificial divisions sometimes interfere with the sense of continuity in understanding certain scriptural accounts.

One example of an erroneous chapter break is at the end of Matthew 16. Verse 28 actually belongs with chapter 17. This verse quotes the words of Jesus:

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.”

Now notice the next verse, which begins chapter 17: “And after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an high mountain apart.”

The following verses show that they saw the glorified Christ in vision, fulfilling Matthew 16:28.

The separation of these verses by a chapter break actually interferes with understanding of the continuity of the event being described. Closer examination will show that the ideal chapter break would better fit where verse 24 begins, in order not to break the context.

Dividing the Bible into verses can also communicate the wrong message, since so many are inclined to quote verses as “stand alone” when they are not meant to be removed out of context. Notice a verse that appears in Colossians:

“Touch not; taste not; handle not” (2:21).

This verse by itself, which is only part of a parenthetical expression, gives the impression that it encourages some type of physical self-denial. But in the proper context, we find the opposite to be the case. To understand the meaning of this verse, we need to read the verse that precedes it to establish the context.

“Wherefore if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances” (Col. 2:20).

Here, we see demonstrated one of the problems with the dividing of verses. By taking isolated phrases out of context, many have invented numerous false doctrines.

The verses of some books are clearly delineated by punctuation, such as the book of Proverbs.

The verses of the poetic book of Psalms and various other locations are more established due to the writings being already written in segments that fit easily into the verses as established by Robert Stephanus. These verses fit into meters and are set to music in the original Hebrew. Most always, they are correct.

Two exceptions are the final verses of Psalms 111 and 112, in which case the last verse should have been split into two verses. Together, the two chapters form a complete acrostic of 22 verses, not just 20 verses.

The original authors of the Scriptures did not intend that their writings be broken up and divided as has been done.

A number of the smaller books of the Bible can be read in one sitting. This is the best way to read it. To cover a larger segment at a given time helps to get the overview of the writer, rather than concentrating on phrases and segments of sentences as the verse divisions lead many to do.

Remember, while the chapter and verse divisions are convenient and helpful in a number of ways, they are of human devising. These divisions lead many to think of scriptural instruction in a “bits and pieces” approach rather than seeing the bigger picture. Be on guard to not let these artificial divisions cause you to forget the writers’ intended overview!

The fourth gospel (John’s) was written after the other three gospels. The others were left in the same order since Peter’s canonization. John’s gospel was unique from the others, just as Luke’s was unique from those that preceded his. John had been away from the area of Judea and the Mediterranean region for about 50 years. He and the other surviving original apostles had been dispatched to the areas of the 12 tribes of Israel where God had called many into His Church.

By the time of A.D. 90, John was the only surviving apostle of the original 12. God had preserved his life for a special mission. Neither Peter nor John himself, nor the others, originally understood why John would live longer or what his mission would be (see John 21:21-23).

John’s final mission was multifaceted. First of all, he wrote his gospel. In spite of the observations of Eusebius and other historians, John most likely wrote his gospel when he was in the region of France for about 50 years, well before the 90s A.D. (Read our book Where Is the True Church? – and Its Incredible History!.)

The tone of John’s gospel reflects careful forethought and peaceful introspection. It was carefully written over a period of time, most likely well before returning to the turbulent region of Judea.

John went to the area of Ephesus, in Asia Minor, after he returned to Judea and found the Temple and Jerusalem long since destroyed. Certainly, John must have been well aware of the Jewish war that had occurred about 20 years before his return to the area.

The Church of Ephesus was the headquarters during the era that bore the very same name. From here, John wrote his general letters to the churches. The tone of these letters reflected a great amount of turbulence mixed with urgency, due to the apostasy, as well as persecution.

Shortly after John arrived and settled at Ephesus, Emperor Domitian began the second imperial persecution (the first was carried out by Nero). John was imprisoned on the isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, where he received the Revelation and the command to write it down. Christ probably allowed John to be imprisoned to give him the solitude and precious time necessary to carefully document the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This was to be the final book of the New Testament and the entire Bible.

When John was released from prison, he went back to Ephesus. Here he worked closely with an apostle named Philip (one of the original deacons) and Polycarp. With the help of Philip, he trained and advised Polycarp and others who would oversee the initial stage of the Smyrna era.

After completing his own writings, John may have revised some of them with editorial comments. But his final important mission was the final canonization of the New Testament. His canonization, like Ezra’s, was extremely vital for the preservation of the true Scriptures. Just as Ezra had to canonize the true Scriptures in order to set them apart from Samaritan counterfeits, John had to take measures to protect the true Scriptures from counterfeit writings by the followers of Simon Magus and others of similar persuasion.

Upon his binding and sealing of the New Testament Scriptures, Christ commissioned them to be preserved by an unexpected group. The Church of God, systematically persecuted and hunted down over the centuries, was in no position to preserve these Scriptures.

God used the Greeks to preserve these Scriptures. Unlike the Church of God, the Greeks were not persecuted, but were free to remain in their homeland. Their mission would be to treasure, preserve and copy the New Testament word for word and letter by letter—through the long, dark night of the Middle Ages.

It was not essential for these people to believe or even understand the central message in order to preserve them. God did indeed preserve these Scriptures through the Greek people.

The Proper Arrangement of the New Testament

We have already mentioned that the order of the gospels is the same as presented in modern Bibles. The book of Acts follows next. Then we come to a section that has been dislocated from its original position—the seven general epistles: James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John, III John and Jude.

The counterfeit church in the east, in Greece, insisted that the General Epistles appear before Paul’s letters. The universal church in the west, headed by Rome, insisted that Paul’s letters come first, especially the book of Romans. They opposed anything that was labeled as Jewish or “Judaizing practices.” Thus, the objection of the Greek eastern church was overruled in favor of the west, and the general epistles were moved.

Here are some other reasons the general epistles belong before Paul’s letters:

• They were intended for the general Church of God and were not addressed to any specific congregations as were Paul’s.

• They mainly contain general information.

• God always sent his servants to the Jews first (Rom. 1:16; 2:9-10). This included Paul.

• All the authors of the general epistles preceded Paul in the order of time.

• General epistles do give some necessary background to better understand Paul’s letters.

Then Paul’s letters are supposed to follow the general letters as established in the original canonization and confirmed by the Greeks, who were to preserve the N.T. Scriptures. Paul’s letters generally contain stronger meat and more specific instructions. The pastoral epistles of Timothy, Titus and Philemon are even stronger. Hebrews, written by Paul, was originally rejected by the Catholics because it sounded “too Jewish.”

Now we summarize the order of the New Testament, containing 27 books in 4 major sections:

Gospels and Acts: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts.

General Epistles: James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John, III John and Jude.

Letters to Specific Churches from Paul: Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians and II Thessalonians.

General Letter of Paul: Hebrews.

Pastoral Letters of Paul: I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus and Philemon.

Other Writings of John: Revelation.

(Paul wrote the following books while in prison: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.)

As stated before, when one adds the 22 books of the O.T. to the 27 books of the N.T., a total of 49 books results—representing absolute completion. Out of envy, the Jews of the second century altered the number of their books to 24 (as explained earlier) in order to erase this significance.

But the true Scriptures remain intact even though the order of the O.T. has been rearranged primarily by the Roman Catholic Church, following the order of the corrupt Septuagint version. Then they simply rearranged the N.T., as well.

The Church of God can maintain purity of doctrine since God has guaranteed that all the Scripture has been preserved. This is most foundational and vital for those who seek God’s truth!

The Apocrypha and Other Illegitimate Documents

The Roman Catholics contend that they are the exclusive preservers of the Bible with the authority to determine which books should be in the O.T. or N.T., and the order in which they are to be placed. They also acknowledge that they have exercised due authority by adding the seven books of the Apocrypha and portions of three others to the O.T.

Some Catholic translations contain the following books, called the Apocrypha: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, and I and II Maccabees.

Besides these books, one portion is inserted in the middle of Daniel 3 entitled, “Song of the Three Holy Children.” At the end of Daniel is an added chapter (13) called “Susana and the Elders.” Then is chapter 14, called “Bel and the Dragon.”

The word Apocrypha comes from the Greek and means “hidden” or “secret in origin.” In English, synonyms for apocryphal include words such as “unauthentic” and “ungenuine.” The very name of these books verifies their lack of authenticity!

The Apocryphal writings come from a mysterious beginning with a secret origin. With this in mind, notice the following comments in regard to the sharp contrast between the canonized Scriptures and apocryphal writings:

“Christianity as it springs from its Founder had no secret or esoteric teaching. It was essentially the revelation or manifestation of the truth of God.” The Apocryphal writings are further defined as “inconsistent elements existing side by side with the essential truths of Christianity” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edit., Vol. 2, p. 176).

Actually, there are hundreds of other apocryphal writings, such as the “Gospel According to the Egyptians,” “Gospel of the Birth of Mary,” “The Apocalypse of the Virgin,” and on and on.

Most all the oldest known versions of apocryphal writing differ from each other. It is very rare to find any two that are identical.

Between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100, many apocryphal writings appeared among the Essene Jews. One of the most notorious of these spurious documents was the book of Enoch.

It should be noted that Jude 14 does not mention this book, but rather is quoting an oral prophecy by Enoch handed down by God’s servants from before the time of Noah.

The document called the book of Enoch made an attempt to discredit God’s Sacred Calendar in the first century. It was summarily rejected by Jude and all the other apostles.

Another interesting fact pertaining to the book of Enoch is that even the Catholics reject it! In spite of such a questionable track record, some continue to wonder whether such apocryphal works might be inspired, as were the canonized Scriptures. The best solution to this issue is to ask: Did Christ and the apostles ever recognize them or quote from any books of the Apocrypha? Did they ever show any approval of them?

To answer this, there are 263 direct quotations of the O.T. found in the N.T. Beside this, there are 370 statements found in the N.T. which are references to passages in the O.T. In both the O.T. and N.T., there are no quotes and no allusions to any of the writings of the Apocrypha!

It is well documented that Essene Jews originated many apocryphal writings. It would be beneficial to learn more about the nature of the beliefs of these Jews.

The Encyclopedia Britannica informs us: “The Essenes were an exclusive society, distinguished from the rest of the Jewish nation in Palestine by an organization peculiar to themselves…They had fixed rules…and regulations for the conduct of their daily life even in its minutest details.

“Their membership could only be recruited from the outside world, as marriage and…[all association] with women were absolutely renounced…the tenets of the society were kept a profound secret, it is perfectly clear from the concurrent testimony of Philo and Josephus that they cultivated a kind of speculation, which not only accounts for their spiritual asceticism, but indicates a great deviation from the normal development of Judaism, and a profound sympathy with Greek philosophy, and probably also with Oriental ideas [emphasis ours]” (11th edit., Vol. 9, p. 779).

It is also interesting that this same article continues on the subject of the Essenes: “Their office-bearers were elected” (Ibid, p. 780).

Remember that I Timothy 4:1-3 categorizes forbidding to marry with doctrines of demons. The Essenes resorted to the fabrication of fictitious documents to justify the many doctrines of demons they adopted.

The Record of History

The Apocrypha is traced from the Vulgate of the Roman Catholic Church after the fifth century. From there, it was traced back to the Septuagint and on to Alexandrian influences—originating from a mixture of hybrid sources such as Samaritan and Essene writings.

The more devout Jews of the Dispersion accepted no other canon than the very Scriptures accepted by the Jews of Jerusalem and Judea. The following quote illustrates the exalted position of the canonized Scriptures even outside the area of Judea.

Philo, the Jewish philosopher of Alexandria (Egypt) explained why he “makes no quotations from the Apocrypha, and he gives not the slightest ground for the supposition that the Jews of Alexandria of his time were disposed to accept any of the books of the Apocrypha in their Canon of ‘Holy Scripture’” (Philo in Holy Scripture, Ryle, p. 33).

The law portion of the Greek Septuagint version of Alexandria (Egypt) was translated from the Samaritan Pentateuch rather than the official Jewish Version. This can be categorically proven by the existence of 2,000 places where the Septuagint disagrees with the official Jewish Version, but agrees perfectly with the Samaritan Pentateuch.

The Jews used in translating the Septuagint were “Samaritan Jews.” As late as the early A.D. 300s, the Apocrypha was not yet added to the Septuagint. These apocryphal writings were later added to Septuagint version, which was already corrupted before these unwarranted additions.

In the fourth century (300s A.D.), at the Council of Laodicea, the Apocrypha was still excluded from the Scriptures (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edit., Vol. 16, p. 189).

In the year A.D. 384, renowned Roman Catholic scholar, Jerome, began translating the Latin Vulgate. He made his translation directly from the Hebrew (Ibid, Vol. 3, p. 881). This translation from the Hebrew excluded the Apocrypha, as Jerome had rejected it as being false.

Shortly afterward, at the Council of Carthage, Augustine, the Canaanite Bishop from Hippo, North Africa, led the way for the approval of the seven Apocryphal books. This was the first official “acceptance” of these questionable writings still rejected by many Roman Catholic scholars.

It was not until the Council of Trent (1563) that the Roman Catholics declared the Apocrypha to be “equal” with any of the books of the Bible. The Catholics intended to alienate the Protestants with this ruling and did so by declaring anyone who rejected the Apocrypha to be “anathema of Christ.”

Lost Books of the Bible?

There are a few other books that some have questioned as being “lost books of the Bible” simply because they are quoted once or twice. Remember that, in Acts 17:28, Paul quoted heathen poets.

Certainly, no one claims that heathen poets were a missing part of the scriptures, but the logic that some employ is equally without basis. Paul quoted certain religionists who condemned Cretians as always being liars in Titus 1:12-13. This does not mean he sanctioned that statement along with anything else they may have said as worthy of being canonized.

The following are some of the so-called “lost books” of the Old Testament: Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14), the Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13; II Sam. 1:18), the Book of the Acts of Solomon (I Kgs. 11:41), the Book of Nathan the Prophet (I Chron. 29:29), the Book of Gad the Seer (I Chron. 29:29), the Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (II Chron. 9:29), and the Visions of Iddo the Seer (II Chron. 9:29).

Note that the last 4 books listed were quoted in the books that Ezra canonized. Why did he not add these books to the canon? The answer is that God did not authorize him to do so.

When writers compile information in order to complete part of a bigger picture, every source that contributes any given part of the big picture may not be relevant in its entirety. Even though the sources may be completely reliable and accurate, they may not be a part of the bigger picture that God is guiding the writer or prophet to communicate.

During the time that Samuel conducted his “company of the prophets,” part of their duties would have had to include the recording of events and compiling of accounts from sources written previously.

Many isolated accounts were combined into a unified bigger picture in documenting the flow of historical events. This would have applied to Elijah as he conducted the schools of the prophets at a later point in time. God allowed such servants not only to document the history in general, but many accounts in which God dealt with individuals, kings and entire nations.

When servants such as Isaiah or Ezra later canonized the accounts into larger works, they mainly compiled other existing works into a larger unified flow of history. So these servants and prophets actually built upon the labor of previous servants.

Some of the books listed above could have been drafts that God inspired for later servants to contribute to the bigger picture. This being the case, God would only cause the final product to be canonized, not every draft in the stages of development.

Those who question the ability of God to preserve the Hebrew Scriptures or the Greek New Testament fail to realize that this is something that He has carefully engineered and brought to pass.

Only those who stand in awe of God’s power to preserve His Word will avoid being washed away in a sea of doubt.

After having proven all things (I Thes. 5:21), including God’s ability to preserve the complete Bible, we are able to confidently trust God when He makes an unequivocal promise.

Almighty God plainly states, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Mankind must—and someday will—learn to take God at His word, and believe Him!

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