New Testament history
There are elements out there that call the Bible a lie, a myth. Most of those in your age group have listened to these inaccuracies. What you are about to read is to help you see facts very few know or even care to know, which I find very unfortunate, but I have come to expect it in the way people are raised and taught in this time.
From the moment the four gospels and the letters of the apostles were written they have been studied, debated, analyzed and questioned. Commentaries have been written and studied and again debated from early in the second century to today. Men like Chrysostom, Clement of Alexandria, Epiphanius, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeous, Jerome and Justin Martyr to name the most notable of these early scholars.
All twenty seven books of the New Testament have been copied into different languages not only by professional scribes but by average and devoted followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Many have been lost, many others have not. In fact out of all historical documents the Bible has the most surviving copies that date back all the way to the first century when they were originally written, even though an original version has not been found that I am aware of.
The gospels and the letters can be dated to a range of twenty to twenty five years after the resurrection of Jesus. If you do not like the word “resurrection” please see last week’s outreach. (Millennial outreach #4) Now as I have stated before those that say that an item can be called a “myth” is when it is written 150 years after the original event. This as I have just shown does not apply to the New Testament. The first I have just shown, which is the date the gospels and letters were written. Well within the range for survivors of the actual events to have questioned any inaccuracy within them. The second is something the Jewish people have prided themselves for centuries. That being the oral tradition. The earliest oral tradition that is known within the letters of the apostles is within 1 Corinthians. (1 Corinthians 15:3-9), which is dated to have been taught within eight years after the resurrection (38-41 A.D.).
Now as I mentioned above what we call the books of the New Testament were copied into different languages. Two languages become the dominant ones, Latin and Greek. There are many factors for this, which is an entire history lesson in itself, but the basics is due to the split in the Rome Empire itself when it broke in two. The western empire based in Rome, the eastern empire based in Constantinople, which is now known as Istanbul, Turkey.
As Islam spread violently throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East it finally threatened to overrun Constantinople, which in fact fell into their hands in 1453. As a result the Biblical scholars, priest and monks fled this area as the threat become more and more obvious. They carried with them their copies of the New Testament books to the west. Here they fell into the hands of the western scholars, like Martin Luther (1483-1546).
It is due in fact to the Islamic conquest that caused what we now call the Reformation to take place, in addition to the creation of the printing press (1440). For men like Luther saw the difference between the Latin versions from the Greek of the gospels and apostolic letters that led him to question and challenge the Catholic Church. For those within the Catholic Church has changed and perverted these documents for their own glory and riches. So Martin Luther called them out for it which was shown to be in the right. This is the main reason that when you seek to learn the original meaning of the words within the New Testament you must look to the Greek not the Latin.
The first fully “approved” English version of the Bible come into being in 1611. There are those that point to this date as the creation of the Bible and say that since it was made at this point that the resurrection of Jesus is a myth. But as I have just shown above this is the furthest thing from the truth. As I also have shown that since this idea was made even after 1611 it is those stating this theory are in actuality the ones creating their own myth. A myth that God is not real and that His Son did not exist nor raise from the dead.
So this is a brief overview of the history of the New Testament. It is now up to you to think and decide for yourself what you wish to think and believe. For that is something that can only come from each person on their own to decide. You cannot depend on what others or even I say. You must look, think, challenge and learn what is real and what is true on your own. I challenge you as those early scholars did all the way to the point these books were written in the first place.