The Holy Bible: The Book of the People & the People of the Book
It has taken me quite a while before sitting to write this. I started studying the Bible in my penultimate year in secondary school. I read those amazing stories in the Old and New Testaments. I prayed in the morning with one Chapter and at night with the next in a linear sequence. I finished reading it at some time in my second year at the University. I’ll be sharing some worldviews on the Bible.
How it came: The Old- & New- Testaments
The Bible has two major parts: The Old- and the New- Testaments. The Old is about the Jews and how God led them through time. The New is centred on Jesus and His disciples. At some point, Christians decided to merge the two because they felt they are complementary Pieces. Christians hold that the Old spoke about the things that later happened in the New.
The Book of the People & the People of the Book
People wrote the books of the Bible. There is the belief that these people were inspired by God to write them. That is why the Bible may be referred to as “The Book of the People” (those who wrote) and also the “The People of the Book” (those whom it was written about) since Jews and Christians are the Writers and Subjects of the Bible. I picked these expressions from Henry Wansbrough (OSB), a Priest and biblical scholar through his book: How the Bible Came to Us.
What the Bible is
The Bible is an account of events and teachings that took place. Events and teachings that are considered Holy from God. It may however not be an exhaustive account because no one book contains everything about any subject in life (at least none that I’ve seen). The Bible is a ‘selective discuss’ of stories that are considered worthy to be remembered by the Christian Faith. Very intelligent people sat at Conferences (or Councils) and decided which books should/not be part of the Collection.
How the Bible came to us
The Bible was the book that inspired the technology to print documents (i.e., Printers). Formally people recopied Bibles by hand which was a strenuous task (you can imagine how painstaking that was). Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic were the original languages it was written in, but later it became necessary to translate it to other languages like Latin and English for the sake of accessibility and wider reach.
The Protestant Perspective
Many (not all) Protestant Christian groups hold the Bible as the only source of God’s teachings. They respect the contents of the Bible above all else. One would find that they commit to studying the Bible and memorizing its chapters and verses as much as they can. This is a particularly admirable trait that should be adopted by All Christians especially if it leads to living a life of love. But this set of Protestants ‘protest’ against anything that is not in the Bible and for this group, it is only the Bible.
The Catholic Perspective
Catholics ‘venerate’ the Bible as the Holy Word of God (i.e., place high respect and importance). However, they believe that not all about the Christian Faith is contained in the Bible. They hold that Oral Tradition, which includes some practices of the early Christians are not all captured within the Bible. They also believe that the Church through the leadership of the Pope and the Bishops (Magisterium) is saddled with the responsibility of guiding the teachings of the Christian Faith. Hence, Catholics have three pillars to their Christian faith: The Bible, Oral Tradition and the Magisterium.
This article is intended to shed some light on how the Bible came to be. It is also to help you appreciate the worldviews of two major groups in the Christian religion: the Protestants and the Catholics. Finally, it hopes to spark you to think about which argument is sounder than the other. Ultimately, it may remain a matter of faith, but faith is shaped by sound knowledge and God.
Adieu mes amis!