THE BIBLE STORY
CONTENTS Introduction The Creation of the Bible: The Old Testament The New Testament Bible Translation The Exhibition Old Testament New Testament Bible Translation The Story the Bible Tells, and the Story of the Bible 6 The Bible Library 7 The Curious Bible Reader Postscript 1 2 2.1 2.2 3 4 4.1 4.2 4.3 5 page 2 3 3 5 7 8 8 11 12 14 20 21 22

1 Introduction
The Bible was written over a period of over 2000 years and by many people spread over many lands. It contains history but is more than a history book. It includes poetry, prayers, official documents, family histories, the chronicles of ancient nations and the weeping of the broken-hearted. However, it is much more than an outstanding collection of ancient literature – The Bible is the source of our knowledge of God. It is God speaking to us and to all ages. The human authors wrote in the everyday circumstances of their lives, which often involved severe trials and difficulties not unlike our own. In their own day they learned to recognise and listen to the voice of God. They learned to approach God and His Word in an attitude of worship, adoration and submission. In writing down what they learned and heard they shared it with the ages to follow them, down to our own time and beyond. In our day, as we approach the Word of God in that same attitude of worship, adoration and submission, shall not we find that the God Who inspired the writing of the Scripture will speak to us as well?
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These and other manuscripts show that the Hebrew text we know today is virtually identical to that in use at the time of Christ. It tells this story through the history of the human race from the beginning of time until it concentrates on the Jewish nation. the Word of God has come down to us through the past 2000 years. traces in brief outline the story of how the Bible was written and how. even down to the introductions printed in small type before many of the Psalms. Hebrew. when Hezekiah was king and Isaiah was a prophet. The exhibition. Page 3 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . It dates from 702 BC.These notes and the small exhibition they accompany seek to bridge the gap of two to three thousand years between the human authors of the Scriptures and us. first put together for Bible Sunday 1988 at Mitcham Baptist Church. destroyed by the Romans in 73 AD. Primarily. We trust and pray that. we will have a deeper desire to get to know the Bible for ourselves and to use it well in our own day. The Dead Sea scrolls were hidden in caves before the destruction in 68 AD of the community which wrote and collected them. The latter is of particular interest as being one of the earliest known examples of Hebrew writing. Similar manuscripts have been found at Masada. illustrated in the display by The Assyrian Prism and the Siloam Inscription. 2 2. The extract from the Dead Sea scrolls comes from a scroll of Psalms. It aims to help us to understand more clearly what a great treasure the Bible is and how it has come down to us. probably copied at or soon after the time of the Lord Jesus. The narrative of the Old Testament frequently links into contemporary history. which it traces from its beginnings as the family of Abraham through over 1000 years of history in and through which God acts.1 THE CREATION OF THE BIBLE The Old Testament The Old Testament is the Bible of the Jews and was mainly written in their ancient language. as a result. through preservation and translation. the Old Testament is the record of God’s dealings with His People and His revelation of Himself to them and through them to the world.

the synagogue became and remains the centre of Jewish life and religion. The decorated scroll illustrated is from a copy of the book of Esther. but because of the great care with which the scriptures were copied the text is virtually identical to that used in the time of Christ. The Hebrew Old Testament displayed is modern. they retained their distinctive religion and culture which attracted considerable attention.2 The New Testament The language of the early church was Greek and the Bible of the early church was largely the Greek translations of the Old Testament.After the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Page 4 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . Greek became the dominant language throughout the Mediterranean world. and the reading and study of the Scriptures continue to be an important part of traditional Jewish life. the book of Esther never mentions the name of God and therefore could be decorated. The copy is open at Isaiah 61. Following the rise of the Greek Empire in the 4th century BC. On display is a modern edition of the Septuagint Greek Old Testament. though absorbed into their host communities economically and politically. It was this process. The Greek translations of the Old Testament are of particular interest in New Testament studies because Old Testament quotations in the New Testament are often from one of the Greek translations rather than from the original Hebrew. 2. The Jewish people were widely scattered throughout this region and. the passage the Lord Jesus read in the Synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4). During the next 200 years the Old Testament scriptures were translated into Greek at least four times. The Scriptures were copied out with meticulous care and mistakes were very rare. translated by Egyptian Jews in the 3rd century BC. largely established by Masorite scholars in the 6th to 9th centuries AD. Decoration of Jewish sacred texts is rare because works containing the name of God were considered to have no need of embellishment. which preserved the Hebrew text of the Old Testament on which modern translations of the Old Testament are based.

In more general use were the cursive (miniscule) manuscripts and in time study aids were added to the main text. providing the basis for what became known as the “Textus Receptus” or “Received Text” of the Greek New Testament printed by Robert Stephens in 1550 on which most of the early English translations were based.However. as the scriptures began to be translated into the everyday languages of Europe. were written in capital (uncial) letters and are difficult to read. new copies having to be made. These official Bibles. The oldest known piece of a New Testament book is the fragment from the Gospel of John illustrated. It takes us back to within about 70 years of the Apostles. The early church made heavy use of their scriptures and they quickly wore out. Christians often made their own copies. The end of the Gospel of John from the latter is illustrated. Erasmus and others worked hard to produce an accurate Greek text of the New Testament and his first edition was published in 1516. Perhaps the most famous are Codex Vaticanus and Codex Siniaticus. In the 19th century. Persecution led to the destruction of many copies of the Scriptures but in the 4th century Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire and official copies of the Scriptures in Greek were made. it was not long before the New Testament books we know were written and collected. re-discovery of the uncial Codices prompted a substantial review of the Greek text of the New Testament. They were written on papyrus. By the end of the 15th century. House groups met where the Scriptures were read to those who could not themselves read or were too poor to have their own copies. of which at least three others from the 5th century are extant. scholars were concerned to have an accurate Greek text on which these could be based. a paper-like material made from part of a special reed. found in the Vatican Library and on Mount Sinai respectively. Family scripture reading and memorisation were common. Westcott and Hort prepared a Greek text substantially based on the 3rd and 5th Page 5 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . This was the first edition of the Greek New Testament to draw attention to variations between the different Greek manuscripts. A third edition followed in 1522. The example shown is a copy of Matthew 9 vs 25 – 34 from the 10th century.

Byzantine documents are: o many (2000+) though few are complete. o relatively “new” (most dating from about 900 AD or later) and o show signs of much wear.000). o Also of significance is the heritage of the churches which preserved and used them in what is now Turkey and Macedonia. over 7. They were preserved but not used in the mainstream mediaeval Roman church. suggesting that they were used much and therefore valued. This suggests that they were little used and considered of little practical value. the text of the uncial codices belongs to the Alexandrian text type. In broad terms. They remained outside the Roman church and it is from them that the Waldenses and other mediaeval “evangelical” churches derived. Page 6 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . o but with few differences between them. of greater significance than whether the manuscript was written in capital or cursive script is what text said.century codices rather than the later miniscule manuscripts and published a tentative first edition in 1870. o well preserved and o largely ignored by most scholars until the 19th century (Vaticanus was found forgotten in a theological library and Siniaticus was found in a monastery rubbish bin and about to be burnt to keep the monks warm). The text of most cursive manuscripts is of the Byzantine text type. o old (c 300 – 500 AD). so called because it has come to us in documents which were brought to the West when the Byzantine Empire (based in the area we now know as Turkey) collapsed in the 15th century. so called because it seems to have originated in the area around Alexandria in Egypt. o with many variations between them (in the Gospels alone. However. affecting less than 2% of the text. The backgrounds of the two text types can be compared as follows: Alexandrian documents are: o few (less than ten).

Tyndale’s English version was published in 1525 with notes. There were many attempts to translate parts of the Scriptures into everyday language. Wycliffe was able to use the chapter divisions established in 1205 by Stephen Langdon. Missionaries travelled far into Asia reaching China and Siberia. William Tyndale and Martin Luther began to translate it into English and German respectively. Matthew and Acts from the Latin Vulgate into English (c900). God’s written Word to the human race. From the earliest times as soon as missionaries moved outside the Greek speaking areas of the Roman Empire the need for translation into other languages became urgent. The display illustrates that copies were often beautifully made and illustrated. The first complete translation of the Bible into English was undertaken by John Wycliffe and his followers in the 14th century. As the Greek New Testament became available. the verse divisions with which we are familiar were not introduced until 1551. later to be Archbishop of Canterbury. when Robert Stephens brought out his final Greek New Testament. The Venerable Bede. He was persecuted for his work and eventually executed in Page 7 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . Syria and South Russia and is still a part of pioneer missionary activity today. 3 Bible Translation The Christian message and way of life are revealed in the Bible. but they were not in the language the ordinary people could understand. again translated from the Latin. Ethiopia. Meanwhile. an English monk and historian translated the Gospel of John into English (c735) and King Alfred translated parts of Exodus. in Europe the language of the official Bible and church was Latin. This happened 1500 years ago in North Africa. Often this meant creating an alphabet for a language so that it could be written down. translating and preaching as they went. In some cases the translation produced then is still the local translation in use today.It should be noted that most modern Greek texts of the New Testament (including the United Bible Societies editions on which most modern translations are based) derive from the Alexandrian text on the basis of Westcott and Hort’s general principle that the older the manuscript the more accurate it is likely to be.

It describes the moment when the diggers from the two ends of the tunnel met. It was found just inside the Pool of Siloam end of Hezekiah’s water tunnel (see 2 Kings 20 v 20) and is now in the Museum of the Ancient Orient. The first complete Welsh translation of the Bible was published in 1588. The whole Bible is available in about 200 of them. .1536: in 1538 the law changed and required an English Bible to be provided in every parish church! Many English translations and editions followed. Two of the Scripture portions displayed are copies of the ONLY parts of the Bible in their languages. It reads: Page 8 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 2 . Today. 4 The Exhibition NB: Unless marked *. a completely new translation was published in 1988. all exhibits are illustrations of the items listed. The Siloam Inscription 702 BC. the New Testament in a further 420. What a heritage! What a responsibility! 1988 was of particular significance for the Bible in Wales. In Esther 6 we read that King Ahasuarus called for the state archives to be read to him one night when he could not sleep. A copy of the 1988 Welsh translation is on display. Panel 1 1 Old Testament Assyrian Prism 686 BC. It records the attack of Sennacherib on Jerusalem reported in 2 Kings 18 and Isaiah 36 – 37. Istanbul. This ancient Hebrew inscription illustrates the kind of writing used by Isaiah and the writing prophets of the Old Testament. building on the work of Tyndale and his successors and culminating in the King James Authorised Version of 1611. together with several English translations and editions and Bibles in other languages. Work is in progress on translations into a further 850 languages. There are over 5. Turkey. A baked clay prism from Nineveh. the English language has the greatest treasury of Bible translations and Biblical literature in the world.000 languages in the world.

. discovered in 1956. copied out on parchment in Hebrew c 30 – 50 AD....” 3 The Psalms Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls (11 Qpsa ). and there were still 3 cubits (4½ feet / 1. Paris.35m) to exca vate. A Psalms Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls Parts of Psalm 33 and 35 from a fragment from Cave 4 dated to c50 AD and now in the Musée Bible et Terre Sainte. This scroll comes from cave 11 at Khirbet Qumran on the NW shore of the Dead Sea. and waters flowed from the spring to the pool. a distance of 1. the stone-cutters struck pick against pick. 3a Page 9 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . And on the day they completed the boring through. It contains 38 Psalms from the latter part of the Book of Psalms. together with some others. Psalm 119 vs 82 – 96. while the excavators were still lifting up their picks .000 cubits (500yds / 457m)... And 100 cubits (50yds / 46m) was the height of the rock over the heads of the stone-cutters.. there was heard the voice of one calling to another.“.

This. is at the John Rylands Library.* New Testament 4 5 6 7 Panel 2 8 A papyrus fragment showing John 18 vs 31 – 33 and 37 – 38 (c 125 AD). A Synagogue.3b Exodus Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q22) Scroll fragment of Exodus: 6:25-7:19. Codex Sinaiticus. The exception was the book of Esther – because it does not contain the name of God. And I’d discuss the Holy Books with the learned men. the oldest known copy of part of the New Testament.. An illuminated (decorated) copy on parchment from Bohemia – Moravia 1700 AD. seven hours every day – And that would be the sweetest thing of all. written in palaeo-Hebrew script and recently redated to c100BC.. which contains the scrolls. the curtained case on the back wall behind the pulpit. Decoration of copies of the Hebrew Scriptures was forbidden. in which Tevye sings: “If I were a rich man .” Note the Ark. first published in 1851. BFBS 1980* The Septuagint. Manchester and probably came from Upper (Southern) Egypt. Hebrew Old Testament . making it one of the oldest Old Testament fragments known. The Esther Scroll. John 21 from this 4th century AD Greek Bible written on vellum (parchment) in Uncial (Capital) letters with no Page 10 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 9 . with a parallel English translation by Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Benton. And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall. I’d have the time I’d like to sit in the Synagogue and pray. A reconstruction of a traditional Ukrainian Synagogue made for the film “Fiddler on the Roof”.

10 Greek New Testament text with study aids. Baker 1982. Stephen’s 1550 edition of Erasmus’ Greek New Testament edited by FH Scrivener 1862* Greek New Testament – the Received Text underlying the King James bible of 1611 published by the Trinitarian Bible Society* Greek New Testament – the Received Text in an inter-linear edition. 1930 edition.* Greek New Testament edited by Westcott and Hort (1885)*. In the British Library. Found at St Catherine’s Monastery on Mt Sinai. Page 11 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 11 12 13 14 . now in the British Library. A 10th century AD miniscule (cursive) manuscript copy of Matthew 9 vs 25 – 34 with section headings. This is the text which underlies most modern translations and is used by the Bible Societies associated with the British and Foreign Bible Society.spaces between the words and no punctuation. such as No15.

and the book decorated and bound by Athelwald and Billforth. Northumberland (698 – 720 AD). made at Lindisfarne. The Wycliffe New Testament. English. written at Canterbury c1030 Rutland Psalter. An illustration of Jacob’s Ladder. The Gospels are in the Latin Vulgate version and one of the finest examples of Saxon art. Among our greatest and most beautiful national treasures. The text was written by Eadfrith. a monk named Aldred added a translation into the Northumbrian dialect (the small writing underneath the main text). The beginning of St Luke’s Gospel.15 Greek New Testament – United Bible Societies 2nd edition 1957. The New Testament was completed either by 17 18 19 20 21 The Wycliffe Bible (1382) Page 12 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . Harley Psalter. they are now in the British Library. English c1250 From a “Book of Hours”. * Bible Translation Panel 3 16 Lindisfarne Gospels. 250 years later. The beginning of Psalm 91. Bishop of Lindisfarne. a layman’s book of prayers. richly decorated with scenes of everyday country life. Dutch c1300 The Lutterell Psalter c1340. A layman’s Latin Book of Psalms.

London. Several editions from the past 100 years are on display.* Page 13 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . the original exhibition included a copy of Matthew’s Bible. The greater part of the Old Testament was certainly translated by Nicholas Hereford. This is a modern printing of the 1388 revision with the spelling modernised …The British Library 2002. The British Library 2000.* Y Beibl Cysegr-Lan.20. Matthew chapters 1 and 6. William Tyndale’s New Testament 1526.* 22 . It is from the Apocrypha and breaks off abruptly at Baruch iii. This is a reproduction of a page of the very manuscript written under Hereford's direction. The old Welsh Bible BFBS 1976 printing The Welsh Bible 1988 Postage Stamp Special Issue presentation pack. now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The original is in the British Library. including the Lord’s Prayer.] 25 The King James (Authorised) Version 1611. 1549. William Tyndale’s New Testament 1525. A modern reprint with original spelling.* 23 24 [24a At this point. loaned by the Evangelical Library. one of Wycliffe's most ardent supporters at Oxford.John Wycliffe or at least under his direction in 1380.* Y Beibl yn Gymraeg (The Bible in Welsh) BFBS 1988 26 27 28 29 30 BINLIQ (The Bible in Russian)* La Sainte Bible (The Bible in French) la Societe Biblique 1972. Note the cross references to related passages in the left margin and the brief commentary in the right margin. in the middle of a sentence.

set in the context of contemporary history and indicating the parts of the Bible covering each period historically. The tables in Old Testament Chronology and New Testament Chronology and Harmony identify key dates in the story covered by the Old and New Testaments. Illustrated before us in human history. including the Super-Powers of their day. because the lands where they lived were at the centre of the ancient world. which is used in historical studies to mean “about”. NB: c is an abbreviation for “circa”. spoke to and acted in the lives of human beings. AD 30 c44 c52 c57 c58 c63 68 70 c70 73 Crucifixion. at specific times and precise locations. we see God’s progressive revelation of Himself and His Ways. It tells how God. As the nation grows and develops as a distinct people yet living in relationship with its neighbours. resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ Letter of James written Letters to the Thessalonians written Letter to the Romans written Gospel of Luke written Gospel of Mark written Destruction of the Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) Community Fall of Jerusalem Gospel of Matthew written Fall of Masada Page 14 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . It also identifies key events in the transmission of the text of the Bible and its translation. we see the impact both of obedience to the ways of God and of rebellion against Him. It tells how in ancient times He chose one family from which He drew the people He chose as His Own Nation.5 THE STORY THE BIBLE TELLS & The Story of the Bible The Bible is set in history. We see how their history interlocks closely with that of their neighbours. The following are some key dates in the history of the Bible during and since New Testament times. together with His response both in judgement and grace.

000 AD) in the preservation of the OT Hebrew Text. Codex Siniaticus & Codex Vaticanus) Byzantine text type dominance began Masorite scholars active (to c1.g. Matthew and Acts from the Latin Vulgate into English John Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible from Latin into English Fall of Byzantine Empire. Lindisfarne Gospels written and illuminated Venerable Bede translated Gospel of John into English King Alfred translated parts of Exodus. Latin Vulgate Bible Alexandrian text type fell into disuse. Many Greek manuscripts brought to West by refugees.c80 c110 122 321 331 350 c400 c400 c450 C720 c735 c900 1382 1453 1516 1517 1521 1525 1532 1534 1535 1536 1537 1539 1550 1559 Gospel and letters of John written Death of the Apostle John c125 Date of earliest surviving manuscript fragments of the Greek NT Christianity becomes official Roman religion Constantine ordered official Greek edition of the Bible (e. Taverner’s Bible Stephen’s Greek New Testament published Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion” final edition (1st ed 1536) Page 15 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . 1st edition of Erasmus Greek NT Luther’s 95 Theses at Wittenberg Diet of Worms (Luther’s trial) William Tyndale’s New Testament: 1st translation from Greek into English Creation of the Church of England (the political turning point of the English Reformation) Luther’s German Bible published Coverdale’s English Bible William Tyndale burned for heresy Matthew’s Bible The Great Bible – to be placed in every parish church.

Weymouth’s translation James Moffat’s translation (NT 1913) Revised Standard Version (NT 1946) JB Phillips’ “New Testament in Modern English” The New American Standard Version of the Bible The Amplified Bible The Jerusalem Bible New English Bible Living Bible: Good News Bible New International Version (NT 1973) New King James Version (Revised Authorised) New International Version (rev ed) New Jerusalem Bible Revised English Bible (rev of NEB) Jewish New Testament translation published New Revised Standard Version English Standard Version Page 16 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . actually a new translation.1560 c1563 1568 1582 1611 1643 1658 1689 1844 1851 1853 1859 1870 1885 1903 1935 1952 1958 1960 1965 1966 1970 1971 1977 1982 1984 1985 1989 1989 1990 2001 Geneva Bible (NT 1557) emergence of Puritan distinctives The Bishops’ Bible Roman Catholic English Bible published King James Bible published Westminster Confession of Faith (Presbyterian) Savoy Declaration of Faith (Congregational) Baptist Confession of Faith (1646 & 1677) Codex Siniaticus in rubbish bin in St Catherine’s monastery on Mt Sinai Septuagint Greek OT published Westcott and Hort start work on their Greek New Testament Codex Siniaticus found Establishment of committee to revise the King James Bible. Westcott and Hort’s tentative Greek New Testament Revised Version Bible published (NT1881). in the NT from a different Greek text.

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life.THE BIBLE LIBRARY The Bible consists of 66 separate books. Jesus Christ. Mainly poems reflecting on life and the relationship between God and His people. Largely concerned with applying and explaining the Law of God. the Saviour. “All human life is there”. The Law. paying particular attention to the Nation’s attitude to God and His ways. As a result of their disobedience the land is conquered and the people go into exile. particularly the Missionary expansion into Europe. In the New Testament we learn of the coming of the Saviour. The early history of the Church. Part 8 The Revelation … of Jesus Christ to John of the place of the Church in history. 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New. Part 2 The Histories The story of the Jewish People from their arrival in the Land of Canaan. ministry. anticipated in the Old Testament. PART 5 Pt 6 PART 7 Pt 8 I & II CORINTHIANS GALATIANS EPHESIANS PHILIPPIANS COLOSSIANS I & II THESSALONIANS I & II TIMOTHY & TITUS PHILEMON HEBREWS JAMES I & II PETER I. what He did to secure our salvation from sin and the practical implications of salvation in both personal and church life. Part 3 Poetry The “Wisdom Literature”. the start of the Kingdom under Saul and subsequent history. rebuke and warning to the People of God and the surrounding nations. NEW TESTAMENT Part 5 The Gospels The coming of the Messiah. the second coming of Christ. exhortation. which apply the Gospel to the world in which we live. They include many types of literature. Page 20 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 ROMANS . Part 7 The Letters 13 letters of Paul and 8 others. teaching. Part 6 The Acts … of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles. Between them they tell of God’s progressive revelation of Himself and His ways and His dealings with people at both the personal and national levels. The Torah. II & III JOHN JUDE MATTHEW MARK LUKE JOHN REVELATION OBADIAH JONAH MICAH NAHAM HABAKKUK ZEPHANIAH HAGGAI ZECHARIAH MALACHI ACTS OLD TESTAMENT Part 1 The Pentateuch The five Books of Moses. the start of the Jewish nation and of the revelation of God’s ways for His People. dealing with problems of the Christian life both individual and in the life of the Churches. They explore the privileges and responsibilities of being a Christian. the origin of sin and God’s plan to deal with it. His birth. sacrificial death resurrection and ascension. Who is to be the Saviour of the World. Often very personal. In the Old PART 1 PART 2 PART 3 PART 4 JOB PSALMS PROVERBS ECCLESIASTIES SONG OF SOLOMON JOSHUA JUDGES RUTH I & II SAMUEL I & II KINGS I & II CHRONICLES EZRA NEHEMIAH ESTHER ISAIAH JEREMIAH LAMENTATIONS EZEKIEL DANIEL HOSEA JOEL AMOS GENESIS EXODUS LEVITICUS NUMBERS DEUTERONOMY Testament we learn through the experience of the Jewish nation of our need of salvation from sin and God’s promise of a Saviour from sin. and in our English Bible the books are effectively organised into groups by literature types. focussing on the purpose of God for the nation in preparing for the coming of the Messiah. A repentant nation returns and is restored. telling of the beginning of the universe. with particular reference to the conflicts of the Church and “The Last Things”. Part 4 The Prophets 3 “major” and 13 “minor” prophets recording their ministry of encouragement.

Page 21 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . But questions that open up the horizons of our experience of God and move us on into obedience – they are to be asked freely. conveniently located on the same page as the text” have impressed Thomas a Kempis? He warned his fifteenth century readers that “curiosity often hinders us in the reading of the Scriptures. is to be sought for in the Holy Scriptures. Pauline Hoggarth © Scripture Union from “Daily Notes” July – Sept 1988 …. It is comforting that Thomas a Kempis. Jesus never pooh-poohed honest enquiry.000 study notes. Information for its own sake. in the same chapter of the “Imitation of Christ” urges us to “ask questions freely”! (Bk 1 ch 5). not eloquence. Curiosity is a sign of life. All Holy Scripture ought to be read in the spirit in which it was written. in a trans-Atlantic Christian magazine. It is an approach to the Scriptures which would have puzzled those who practised the spirituality of a different age. Thoughtful parents welcome the “Whys” and “Whats” of their children. Twentieth century instant information or fifteenth century mystery: what are we expecting as we set out to read John’s Gospel. that’s what Thomas a Kempis is worried about.7 “The Curious Bible Reader” “Open it … and understand!” exclaims an advertisement for yet another luxuriously bound study Bible. David and Mary. Would “20. about the trends in Micah’s society on which God passed sentence. for we try to examine and dispute over matters that we should pass over and accept in simplicity”. we should rather seek for profit in the Scriptures than for subtlety of speech. God listened to the questions of Job and Jeremiah. and about the relationship between Jesus’ teaching and his humanity. On the reading of the Holy Scriptures Truth. to be stored in the marginal references of our lives. Micah and Proverbs or the story of the fall of the Kingdom of Israel? I’ve certainly found myself asking questions about the violence which marked the closing years of the kingdoms and the extraordinary episode of the lions in Samaria.

undiminished. may my heart be stirred to worship. let the pure love of God’s truth encourage you to read. That drives us to our knees. and do not be offended by the teaching of great saints of God. If you would benefit in your reading. who rejoice to know Thee. and do not at any time seek a reputation for knowing a great deal. for it has its place in the plans of God. for we often seek to understand and discuss things that we should simply pass over. simplicity and faith. The Imitation of Christ Book 1 Chapter 5 POSTSCRIPT As I consider my Bible and think of all that has been done and suffered to make it freely available to me. whether he be well or poorly educated. Frank Houghton 1931 Page 22 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 . A need that. Eagerly ask about and listen in silence to the words of Godly men. Renew before Thy throne The solemn pledge we owe Thee To go and make Thee known.Let not the authority of the writer offend you. He inspired the Holy Scriptures and has preserved them and entrusted them to us. read with humility. Our curiosity often hinders us in reading the Scriptures. from Thomas a Kempis. Rebukes our slothful ease.” I Corinthians 15 v 34 Facing a task unfinished. “There are some who are ignorant of God – I say this to your shame. May we realise afresh not only the greatness of the treasure and heritage which are ours in our Bibles. adoration and submission before God. but also the responsibility that falls to us to tell others of the Word of God in our day. We.

The original Exhibition at Mitcham Baptist Church Page 23 of 23 Bible Ex Guide 2010 15-Jan-10 .

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