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They wave their Bibles at passers-by and shout accusations of homosexuality. They keep the granite relics of the Ten Commandments in the prayer area at the school. They turn to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in thousands at football stadiums to pray for the salvation of the country.
The Bible Has Been Changed Many Times
They are god-deceiving, coffee-shop Christians who choose which Bible verses to focus on more than choosing their lunch order. They are joined by religious rationalizers—fundamentalists who, unable to find Scripture to support their prejudices and beliefs, twist phrases and change translations to prove that they adhere to the words of the Bible.
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It is not a matter of personal or personal belief. America is beset by biblical illiteracy as politicians, public leaders, and even some clergy turn to a book they have never read and whose phrases they do not understand. Climate change is said to be impossible because God promised Noah; The Old Testament Law of Moses governs the American government; creationism should be taught in schools; helping syrians resist chemical weapons attacks is a sign of the end times are all arguments made by today’s evangelical politicians and their brethren, but none of them are supported by scripture as originally written.
The Bible is not the book many American fundamentalists and political opportunists think, or rather the book they want. Their ignorance of the Bible is well established. A 2010 Pew Research survey found that evangelicals ranked only slightly higher than atheists in their knowledge of the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus. “Americans respect the Bible, but they often don’t read it,” wrote George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli, researchers whose work focuses on religion in the United States. The Barna Group, Christian Survey. company found in 2012 that evangelicals were more receptive to the views and beliefs of the Pharisees, portrayed in the New Testament as anti-Christ and his message, than to the teachings of Jesus.
The study of the history and meaning of the Bible here is not intended to promote a particular theology or argue for the existence of God. Rather, it aims to shed light on a book that has been misused by people who claim to respect it but have not read it, causing pain to others. When the ignorance of the so-called biblically literate leads parents to drive their children from their homes, sets neighbor against neighbor, breeds hatred and recrimination, hinders science, and undermines intellectual development, the subject becomes vital. Americans, whether they are deeply religious or mildly religious, religious or atheist, should not care.
This examination, based on the works of many theologians and scholars, some dating back centuries, reviews the history of the Bible and repeats its words. Only by accepting where the Bible came from and who composed it can anyone understand what history’s most important book says and, more importantly, what it doesn’t say.
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No TV reporter has ever read the Bible. Not even an evangelical politician. Not even the Pope. I don’t have either. And you too. At best, we’ve all read a bad translation—a hand-copied translation of copies of manuscripts—and hundreds of times.
About 400 years passed from the writing of the first Christian manuscripts to the compilation of the New Testament. (This is the time between the arrival of the pilgrims at Maygul Flower and today.) The first books of the Old Testament were written 1000 years before that. In other words, it took about 1,500 years from the time the first writer of the Bible stuck to clay until the books that would become the New Testament were chosen. There was no printing press either before or after 1000 years. For centuries there was no vacuum technology to preserve paper. Dried clay cracked, papyrus and parchment crumbled, and primitive inks faded.
At that time, the only way to transfer records from one era to another was by copying them by hand. Although there were professional scribes who devoted their lives to this arduous task, they did not begin to copy the letters and testaments of Jesus’ time until centuries after they were written. Until then, the work was done by amateurs.
These manuscripts were originally written in koiné, or “common” Greek, and not all apprentice copyists could speak the language or even be fully literate. Some copied the script without understanding the words. And it is written in a language called Koiné
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It can be interpreted as “We should go and eat, mom” or “We should go and eat, mom.” Sentences can have different meanings depending on where the spaces are placed. For instance,
For centuries, none of this mattered, because Christians believed that God guided the hand not only of the original author but also of all copyists. But over the past 100 years, tens of thousands of centuries-old New Testament manuscripts have been discovered. And what biblical scholars now know is that the most recent versions of the books differ significantly from their earlier versions—indeed, even copies produced during the same period differ from each other. “There are more differences in our manuscripts than in the words of the New Testament,” says Dr. Barth D. Ehrman, founding biblical scholar and professor at the University of North Carolina, author of numerous books on the New Testament.
Most of these inconsistencies are little more than the handwritten equivalent of a typo, but the error was introduced by later scribes. A few centuries after the manuscripts were written, minor changes were made by skilled scribes who believed that the accounts they had copied were flawed. For example, the early New Testament version of Luke 3:16 says, “John answered them all and said…” The problem is that since no one asked John anything, a fifth-century scribe “corrected it by changing the words.” Knowing what they were thinking, John said, “Most Bibles in English today are correct but not clear,” John replied.
But this discussion is about something far more important than the fact that a medieval scribe believed that God was ignoring Luke’s guiding hand. Indeed, there are significant differences in the versions that raise much deeper issues. The writers added entire chapters of the New Testament and removed words and sentences that conflicted with the new orthodox views.
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Consider one of the most famous stories in the New Testament, which begins in John 7:53. A group of Pharisees and others bring a woman who had been committing adultery with Jesus. According to the Law of Moses—the Law of Moses given in the Old Testament—he must be stoned. The Pharisees ask Jesus whether they should free the woman or kill them, hoping to force her to choose to keep the Law of Moses and its teachings on forgiveness. Jesus answers: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” The group leaves and Jesus tells the woman to sin no more.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivers his closing remarks at The Response to an estimated 30,000 people at Reliant Stadium on August 6, 2011 in Houston. Erica Rich/The Daily Texan/AP
This is a powerful story that even those who know little of the Bible will know. This is depicted in the Mel Gibson movie
And is often used to show the hypocrisy of Christians who condemn what they believe to be the sins of others. Unfortunately, Janice didn’t write it. Writers invented it in the Middle Ages. It does not appear in the three other Gospels or in any of the early Greek versions of John’s name. Although John’s Gospel is a misrepresentation of the history of Jesus’ ministry, the story did not just happen. Also, according to Ehrman, the writing style of this account is different from the rest of John’s writings, and this chapter contains phrases found nowhere else in the Bible. According to scholars, these words were used more often long after the Gospels were written.
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An important Bible passage for Pentecostals is found in Mark 16:17-18. These verses tell us that those who believe in Jesus will speak in tongues and have special powers such as casting out demons, healing the sick, and holding snakes. Pentecostal ministers often make unintelligible sounds, partly based on these verses in Mark, and proclaim that the sounds they make indicate that they have the Holy Spirit within them. This is also the main basis
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