The Process of Scripture
As a physical record, Scripture came to us in a timeframe of several hundred years. Tradition suggests that Moses generated the First or Old Testament documents in about 1400 B.C. (others give the date of 1280 B.C.). At the beginning of the what is often called the Intertestamental Period (approximately 400 B.C.) the writing was finished. This period is also referred to as Second Temple Judaism (515 BC–AD 70). The actual Pentateuch text was assembled somewhere around 950 BC (others say 550 BC) during the rule of Solomon. The final books of the First Testament were finished around 150 BC.
The timeframe was much shorter for the writing of the Second or New Testament. The letter to the Galatians was written in AD 49 and Revelation was written around AD 96.
Who Wrote Scripture?
Scripture is a collection of books, written by many authors. All of the writers were Jewish, except Luke, who was a Greek. The authors wrote from diverse places like Palestine, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome. The reasons that caused these writers to produce their books was as diverse as the authors themselves. the books of the Second Testament have often been referred to as “problem-solving” literature. As problems arose within the churches that were being created, these authors set out to help those churches to find solutions to their problems.
How many books are there in Scripture? Your answer will depend on the tradition in which you grew up. It is often the case that when people become new Jesus followers, they are often disturbed when they hear there are books which the early Christians read that are not found in their Bible. They want to know who decided which books were in or out. They want to know how this was decided. When did the canon come into existence? The word canon was used by the early church in the following way: Canon was a list of books which were considered to be authoritative. These books were used by the church to measure and correct their beliefs. The early church had two canons: the First or Old Testament which was inherited from the Jews and the Second or New Testament canon which emerged over a three hundred year timeframe.
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