Biblical Archaeology

What Is the Oldest Hebrew Bible?


What is the oldest Hebrew Bible? That is a complicated question. The Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments of the oldest Hebrew Bible text, while the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex are the oldest complete versions, written by the Masoretes in the 10th and 11th centuries, respectively. The Ashkar-Gilson Manuscript falls in between the early scrolls and the later codices…

Bible History Daily seeks to answers the question.


Bible Archaeology

How Many of Your Favorite New Testament Books Were Popular Among the Early Christians?

Jimmy Akin:BodmerPapyrus

Obviously, taken as a whole, the books of the New Testament were quite popular. They were Scripture, after all!

But how popular were they individually?

People today have favorite books in the Bible–ones they go to all the time, and ones they only rarely look at.

This is a phenomenon that affects both the books of the Old and the New Testament, and it’s possible to get a sense of how popular particular books were in particular time periods.

One way of doing that–before the Bible was bound as a single volume–is by seeing how many copies there are of individual books…

Continue here.



ACNA to Review Women’s Orders

Via George Conger:

The College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has agreed to launch a Task Force examining the question of the Holy Orders of women clergy.  Meeting last week in Orlando, the ACNA bishops set down a five part protocol studying the question of women clergy in conjunction with the issues of Prayer Book reform, the creation of a Catechism for the church, and a review of its ecclesial structures.

In ordering their priorities, the bishops decided to begin with a study of Scripture and church traditions and them move to the creation of church policies.  One bishops told The Church of England Newspaper the ACNA bishops wanted to ground their actions in doctrine, rather than find a doctrine to support their actions.

The election and translation of five bishops were approved by the College of Bishops, while time was also spent seeking to heal the hurts caused by the break-up of the Anglican Mission in America last year.

The ACNA currently permits dioceses to ordain women to the diaconate and priesthood, but not to the episcopate.  However, Forward in Faith and the Anglo-Catholic Diocese of San Joaquin have urged the province to review its “two integrities” structure.

The bishops announced they had appointed a task force to study the doctrine of Holy Orders – not limiting their work to the question of women clergy – and would begin by with the Bible and then move to a study of doctrine and tradition.

At Phase 4 “the Task Force will discuss the arguments, pro and con, related to the ordination of women, considering the relevant Scriptural texts and historical arguments, and reviewing studies conducted within and without the Anglican tradition.”

The College of Bishops said that before final action is taken, their recommendations will be passed to the theological commission of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.  The conservative reform movement within the Anglican Communion is divided on the question of women clergy with Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda strongly in favor, while Singapore, Sydney and the Anglo-Catholic provinces of Africa are opposed.

A report on overlapping dioceses and episcopal jurisdictions was also presented to the College.  A communique from the meeting stated the ACNA sought to bring the church into conformity “with historic Anglican practice. The goal of the work is to organize each region for the long-term sustainability of the movement in recognizable, godly Anglican Church structures.”

The bishops received a map showing the location of each of the their 951 congregations, which enabled the bishops to identify “11 regions of overlapping mission work among the various jurisdictions of the Province.”

While no diocese or group was slated for elimination, the bishops’ communique stated the challenge of overlapping jurisdictions “will result in enhanced collaboration, responsive structures and ministry oversight, with better sharing of resources, clearer communication and more profound unity in the mission that we share.”



The Queen James Bible

I kid you not… A Gay Friendly Set Of Scriptures.

The Queen James Bible is doing for the church what gay marriage rights have  done for many states, making religiously accessible without discrimination. The bible which was just recently released for sale features the teachings of the scriptures in a gay and lesbian friendly manner.

The homosexual friendly bible does not list editors by name and on Amazon the  books publisher is simply noted as “Queen James.”

Located at the books editors write:

“The Queen James Bible resolves any homophobic interpretations of the Bible,  but the Bible is still filled with inequality and even contradiction that we  have not addressed. No Bible is perfect, including this one. We wanted to  make a book filled with the word of God that nobody could use to incorrectly  condemn God’s LGBT children, and we succeeded.”

In some cases the Queen James Bible editors say they have simply corrected  gay hate wording added to the bible in recent memory. For example notes that the word “homosexual” wasn’t included in the bible until 1946.

While the bibles editors did not delete passages they did make changes to the  eight most cited passages used to spread hate speech against homosexuals.  According to the editors the passages were amended “in a way that makes  homophobic interpretations impossible.”

The bibles editors explain why they chose the King James version of the bible  for their Queen James Bible edition:

“The King James Bible is the most popular Bible of all time, and arguably the  most important English language document of all time. The brainchild and  namesake of King James I, who wanted an English language Bible that all could  own and read, it has been in print for over 400 years and has brought more  people to Christ than any other Bible translation. Commonly known to biographers  but often surprising to most Christians, King James I was a well-known bisexual.  Though he did marry a woman, his many gay relationships were so well-known that  amongst some of his friends and court, he was known as “Queen James.” It is in  his great debt and honor that we name The Queen James Bible  so.”

Sorry, I’m feeling a little queasy after reading all this… In fact, I think I may be sick.



How Jesus Used the Bible (What Jesus Said About the Bible)

Jesus often quoted what we know today as the Old Testament. He used these Scriptures to create curiosity, break traditions, and answer questions in a way that penetrated hearts, stirred thoughts, and even angered the religious leaders of His time. Not only did His statements about the Bible challenge their thinking then, but His words also continue to raise questions in the minds of many today.



Lutherans Latest to Reject New NIV Bible Over Gender Language

Good… The more the merrier. It’s a very poor translation of the Scriptures.

The updated NIV Bible has gained another critic: the Lutheran  Church-Missouri Synod. In a recent report, a panel of Lutherans cautioned  against use of the new NIV over gender-related issues.

“The use of inclusive language in NIV 2011 creates the potential for  minimizing the particularity of biblical revelation and, more seriously, at  times undermines the saving revelation of Christ as the promised Savior of  humankind,” the Commission on Theology and Church Relations Executive Staff  stated in an August report.

“Pastors and congregations of the LCMS should be aware of this serious  weakness. In our judgment this makes it inappropriate for NIV 2011 to be used as  a lectionary Bible or as a Bible to be generally recommended to the laity of our  church.”

The New International Version is reported to be the world’s leading  contemporary English Bible translation as it is known for being easy to  understand. It was announced in 2009 by global ministry Biblica that the popular  translation would be revised for the first time in 25 years.

The updated NIV (completed by members of the Committee on Bible Translation,  an independent body of global biblical scholars that has the sole authority to  update the text of the NIV) was released in 2011 and has drawn criticism largely  over its revised gender language.

Critics include the Committee on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the  Southern Baptist Convention, which officially rejected the revised NIV last  year, saying it “alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by  erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language.”

Conservative Lutherans are the latest to express caution against use of the  2011 NIV.

The Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the LCMS has long  recognized that language evolves. It also acknowledged the intent of the  Committee on Bible Translation to try to communicate the meaning of the Bible’s  texts in English as it is used today.

But the commission took issue with some of the substitutions for masculine  singular pronouns.

“While there may be many examples in which such substitution does not change  the sense or inherent intent of the passage,” the commission reported, the  approach is advised against because “of its potential to alter  significantly the meaning of passages.”

Among the changes made in the updated NIV is the substitution of “he,” “him,”  and “his” for “they,” “their,” and “them.”

The commission provided two significant examples where such a revision proved  to affect the meaning of Scripture “adversely”…

There is more with examples here.