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Bible

From Greek biblia, "books"; in Christian usage, the collection of writings authoritative for faith and practice. The Protestant Bible consists of thirty-nine books from the Jewish faith (the Old Testament) and twenty-seven Christian writings (the New Testament). The Roman Catholic Old Testament also includes seven "deuterocanonical" books — Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch (with Letter of Jeremiah) — plus additions to Daniel (Susanna, Bel and the Dragon) and Esther. The Eastern Orthodox Old Testament contains several writings not found in Catholic or Protestant Bibles — Esdras, Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, Odes, 3 and 4 Maccabees, and Psalms of Solomon.

These differences should not obscure the overwhelming degree of agreement on the Bible's content: There are sixty-six books to which Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians share a common commitment, writings that provide believers with an awe-inspiring record of God's nature and character. Vigorously attacked, the Bible has withstood the most overwhelming scrutiny, being repeatedly found historically reliable. In contrast to the world's other religions, which depict humanity attempting to reach God, the scriptural account is one of a God who reaches down to humanity.

The penning of these works spans roughly fifteen hundred years through more than forty authors, yet the Old and New Testament books exhibit remarkable unity. The Old Testament authors allude to a new "covenant" (agreement or contract) that was later revealed through Jesus Christ (Jer. 31:31-34); the New Testament confirms the full authenticity and dependability of the Old (John 10:35; 2 Tim. 3:14-16) and asserts its own equal authority (e.g., 1 Timothy 5:18 quotes Luke 10:7 as Scripture; see also 2 Peter 3:15-16). See apocrypha; canon; Esdras; Muratorian Fragment.



Printed with permission from Bethany House Publishers, South Bloomington, Minnesota from the book "The Da Vinci Codebreaker : an easy-to-use fact checker for truth seekers" by James L. Garlow.
 

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