The history of the Bible is invaluable in explaining the present. Many questions that puzzle over 1,000 Protestant, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox groups can be answered by studying the history of this one book. Differing beliefs and practices become more understandable when examined in the light of past events.
For Christians, the value is even greater. By studying the history of the Bible, they discover their spiritual legacy. An intellectual foundation for a Christian's faith and belief comes from knowing the origins of the Bible and discovering the archaeological, historic, and scientific discoveries that suggest the true events of that era. Understanding varying viewpoints, and knowing why one holds particular beliefs, leads to personal enrichment.
The apostle Paul, a renowned scholar, believed that knowledge of the past gave hope to the Christian life (Romans 15:4). The depth of this hope motivated preachers such as John Wesley, who preached over 10,000 sermons during his lifetime while traveling thousands of miles on horseback. The inspirational Billy Graham devoted his life to preaching the gospel to an estimated 200 million people during his lifetime. Studying the history of the Bible both inspires and challenges the curious student.
Exciting archaeological discoveries provide evidence that substantiates some of the biblical writers’ many claims. Excavations of ancient cities, the discovery of ancient manuscripts such as the celebrated Dead Sea Scrolls, and mysterious artifacts such as the Shroud of Turin—there's so much more to the study of the Bible than a lot of “thou shalt not's.”
As you read this book, your first task will be to use sound principles of exegesis, or proper interpretation, to discover the identity of the wise men from the East who followed the star to Bethlehem. You will also investigate the Bible's own claim of divine inspiration, which includes reviewing why certain writings were included in the biblical canon and others were not. You'll have fun exploring the archaeological discoveries that many believe support the history of the Bible. For example, did you know that the greatest buried treasure map was found in a cave near Qumran? Countless questions will come to your mind. What can we learn from the remains of a man (and we don't mean Jesus) who was crucified in the first century? Have we really found the bone boxes of Caiaphas, the first-century high priest, and James, the half-brother of Jesus?
Toward the end of the book, you will also spend some time learning about the founders of modern scientific disciplines and how their studies relate to the Bible. Finally, you will examine the propositions put forth in Dan Brown's bestseller The Da Vinci Code through the lens of history, and you'll take a close look at other modern works of literature and film that bring the Bible into our present-day experiences.
There's only one way to find out the answers to your questions. Turn the page and begin your journey through the history of the Bible.