Holy Bible

The Bible (from the Greek βιβλία - books) is a collection of inspired books written by the prophets and apostles at the behest of the Spirit of God. The word "Bible" is not found in the sacred books themselves, and was first used in relation to the collection of sacred books in the east in the 4th century by St. John Chrysostom and Epiphanius of Cyprus. Orthodox Christians, speaking of the Bible, often use the term Scripture (necessarily with a capital letter) or Holy Scripture, which is part of the Holy Tradition of the Church.

The main theme of the Bible

The Bible is a religious book. The main theme of the Bible is the salvation of mankind by the Messiah, the incarnated Son of God, Jesus Christ. The Old Testament speaks of salvation in the form of types and prophecies about the Messiah and the Kingdom of God. The New Testament sets forth the very realization of our salvation through the incarnation, life and teaching of the God-man, sealed by His death on the cross and resurrection.

Inspiration of the Bible

The Bible was written by more than 40 people who lived in different countries: Babylon, Rome, Greece, Jerusalem ... The authors of the Bible belonged to different social strata (from the shepherd Amos to the kings David and Solomon), had different educational levels (Ap. John was a simple fisherman, Ap. Pavel graduated from the Jerusalem Rabbinic Academy). The unity of the Bible is observed in its integrity from the first page to the last. In their diversity, some texts are confirmed, explained and supplemented by others. In all 77 books of the Bible there is some kind of unartificial, internal consistency. There is only one explanation for this. This Book was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by the people chosen by Him. The Holy Spirit did not dictate the Truth from Heaven, but participated with the author in the creative process of creating the Holy Book, which is why we can notice the individual psychological and literary characteristics of its authors. Holy Scripture is not a divine product, but a product of God-human co-creation. Holy Scripture is the result of the combined action of Divine and human will. In such an action, a person is not a passive tool and impersonal instrument of God, but becomes a collaborator and participant in His all-good action. This statement is a dogma of the Church and is called inspiration.

Correct Understanding and Interpretation of the Bible

While believing in the divine inspiration of the books of the Bible, it is important to remember that the Bible is the book of the Church. According to the plan of God, people are called to be saved not alone, but in a society that is led and inhabited by the Lord. This society is called the Church. The Church has not only preserved the letter of the word of God, but also possesses a correct understanding of it. This is due to the fact that the Holy Spirit, who spoke through the prophets and apostles, continues to live in the Church and guide it. Therefore, the Church gives us the correct guidance on how to use her written wealth: what is more important and relevant in it, and what has only historical significance and is not applicable in New Testament times.

Time of writing

The Bible books were written at different times for about 1.5 thousand years - before the birth of Christ and after His birth. The former are called the books of the Old Testament, and the latter the books of the New Testament. The Bible consists of 77 books; 50 is found in the Old Testament and 27 in the New. 11 non-canonical books (Tobit, Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach, the Epistle of Jeremiah, Baruch, 2 and 3 books of Ezra, 1, 2 and 3 Maccabees) are not inspired by God and are not included in the canon of the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament.

Language of the Bible

The books of the Old Testament were written in Hebrew (with the exception of some parts of the books of Daniel and Ezra, written in Aramaic), the New Testament - in the Alexandrian dialect of the ancient Greek language - Koine. The original books of the Bible were written on parchment or papyrus with a pointed reed stick and ink. The scroll looked like a long ribbon and was wound around a shaft. The text in the ancient scrolls was written in large capital letters. Each letter was written separately, but the words were not separated from one another. The whole line was like one word. The reader himself had to divide the line into words. There were also no punctuation marks, no aspirations, no stresses in the ancient manuscripts. And in the Hebrew language, vowels were also not written, but only consonants.

Bible canon

The composition of the books of the Bible evolved gradually. The books of the Old Testament were created over a considerable period of time: from the XIII century. BC e. until the 4th c. BC e. It is believed that the canonical (inspired) books of the Old Testament were collected together by the scribe Ezra, who lived around 450 BC. e. The canon of the books of the Old Testament was finally approved at the Council of Laodicea in 364 and the Council of Carthage in 397, but in fact the Church has used the Old Testament canon in its present form from ancient times. Yes, St. Meliton of Sardis, in a Letter to Anesimius, dated about 170, already gives a list of the books of the Old Testament, which almost completely coincides with that approved in the 4th century. In general terms, the canon of the New Testament had already developed by the middle of the 2nd century, as evidenced by the citation of the New Testament Scriptures by the apostolic men and apologists of the 2nd century, for example, schmch. Irenaeus of Lyons. Both Testaments were first reduced to canonical form at local councils in the 4th century: the Council of Hippo in 393 and the Council of Carthage in 397.

The history of the division of the Bible into chapters and verses

The division of words in the Bible was introduced in the 5th century by the deacon of the Alexandrian church, Eulalius. The modern division into chapters dates back to Cardinal Stephen Langton, who divided the Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, in 1205. And in 1551, the Genevan printer Robert Stephen introduced the modern division of chapters into verses.

Classification of books of the Bible

The Bible books of the Old and New Testaments are classified into Legislative, Historical, Teaching and Prophetic. For example, in the New Testament, the Gospels are Legislative, the Acts of the Apostles are Historical, and the Epistles of Sts. Apostles and the Prophetic Book - Revelation of St. John the Evangelist.

Bible translations

The Greek translation of the seventy interpreters - the Septuagint - was begun at the behest of the Egyptian king Ptolemy Philadelphus in 271 BC. The Orthodox Church since apostolic times has been using sacred books translated by 70. You can read the translations presented on our website here.

The Latin translation, the Vulgate, was published in 384 by the blessed Jerome. From 382 Blessed Jerome of Stridon translated the Bible from Greek into Latin; at the beginning of his work, he used the Greek Septuagint, but soon switched to using the Hebrew text directly. This translation became known as the Vulgate - Editio Vulgata (vulgatus means "widespread, well-known"). The Council of Trent in 1546 approved the translation of St. Jerome, and it came into general use in the West.

The King James Version is a translation named after King James I of England who commissioned the new English Bible translation in 1604 A.D. King James 'authorized' the new translation to be read in churches in England and beyond after it was first published in 1611 A.D. Later known as the 'Authorized Version' in 1814, the King James Version became a standard among English-speaking Christians.

Sections of biblical studies

Isagogy (from the Greek εἰσαγωγή “introduction”) is a historical and philological study of the Bible that describes the state (preservation) of the text, its language, reveals authorship, dating, literary genre, writing circumstances and historical background.

Exegetics (from the Greek ἐξήγησις, “interpretation, exposition”) is the interpretation of individual elements of the biblical text related to the peculiarities of the author’s language, the author’s terminology, the historical, political, cultural and everyday realities described in the text, and finally, the author’s psychological motivation and theological views.

Hermeneutics - (from the Greek ἡρμηνεύω - “I interpret, I translate”) the theological essential interpretation of the text, the generalization of exegetic data, that is, the interpretation of individual fragments, and at the same time the development of a methodology for biblical interpretation, the sum of its principles.

Some facts

The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 118 (Psalm 118), consisting of 176 verses. And the shortest chapter is also in the book of Psalms. This is Psalm 116 (Psalm 116) (only 2 verses). You can find the shortest verse in Exodus 20:15 (Exodus 20:15) and Deuteronomy 5:19 (Deut. 5:19): "Thou shalt not steal." The longest verse is in the book of Esther, chapter 8, verse 9. (Esther 8:9)