This word signifies the Book, by way of distinction, the Book of all books. It is also called Scripture, or the Scriptures, that is, the writings. It comprises the Old and New Testaments, or more properly, Covenants, Ex 24:7; Mt 26:28. The former was written mostly in Hebrew, and was the Bible of the ancient Jewish church; a few chapters of Daniel and Ezra only were written in Chaldee. The latter was wholly written in Greek, which was the language most generally understood in Judea and the adjacent countries first visited by the gospel. The entire Bible is the rule of faith to all Christians, and not the New Testament alone; though this is of especial value as unfolding the history and doctrines of our divine Redeemer and of his holy institutions. The fact that God gave the inspired writings to men in the languages most familiar to the mass of the people who received them, proves that he intended they should be read not by the learned alone, but by all the people, and in their own spoken language.
The Old Testament contains thirty-nine books. Josephus and the church fathers mention a division into twenty-two books, corresponding with the twenty-two letter of the Hebrew alphabet. But we have no sufficient evidence that such a division obtained among the Jews themselves. They arranged the books of the Old Testament in three divisions, called, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, that is, the Holy Writings. The Law embraces the five books of Moses. These are divided into convenient sections to be read through once a year in their synagogues. The second division, the Prophets, is subdivided into the former prophets, namely, the historical books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings; and the later, that is, the prophets proper, with the exception of the book of Daniel. The later prophets are once more distributed into the greater-Isaiah, Jeremiah, (not including Lamentations,) and Ezekiel; and the less-the twelve minor prophets. Selection from both the earlier and the later prophets are read in the synagogues along with the sections of the Law; but these don not embrace the whole of the prophets, and the arrangement of them differs among different divisions of the Jews. The Holy Writings (Hagiographa) embrace all the remaining books of the Old Testament, namely, (according to the Masorectic arrangement,) Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles. In the arrangement of the Old Testament books now prevalent, the historical books come first, then the devotional and didactic, and lastly the prophetical. The Jews ascribe to Ezra the honor of arranging and completing the canon of the Old Testament books, being inspired for this work by the Spirit of God, and aided by the learned and pious Jews of his day. The New Testament writings were received each one by itself from the hands of the apostles, and were, as their inspired works, gradually collected into one volume to the exclusion of all others.
The division into chapters and verses was not made until comparatively modern time, though there appears to have been a more ancient separation into short sections or paragraphs. The chapters now used were arranged probably by Cardinal Hugo, above the year 1240. The division into verses was made in the Old Testament in 1450, and recognized in the Hebrew Concordance of Rabbi Nathan. The arrangement of the verses of the New Testament as we now have them was perfected in the Latin Vulgate, an edition of which with verses was published by Robert Stephens, a learned French printer, in 1551. He also modified and completed the division of the Old Testament into verses, in an edition of the whole Bible, the Vulgate, in 1555. This division into verses, and even into chapters, having regard more to convenience of reference than to the meaning must often be disregarded in reading in order to get the true sense.
The genuineness, authenticity, and divine origin of the Scriptures cannot be here discussed. The reader is referred to the treatises of Bogue, Gregory, Keith, McIlvaine, Nelson, Spring, etc., published by the American Tract Society, and numerous other valuable and standard works.
The first well-know English translation of the New Testament was that of Wicliffe, made about 1370, before the invention of printing; though others had been made, one as early as king Alfred, of parts of the Bible into Saxon. In the time of Edward I, 1250, it required the earnings of a day laborer for fifteen years to purchase a manuscript copy of the entire Bible. Now, a printed copy may be had for the earning of a few hours. The first printed English Testament was that of Tyndal, in 1526, which was afterwards followed by his translation of the Pentalteuch. The first complete English Bible is that of Myles Coverdale, in 1535. Matthew's Bible appeared in 1537. Coverdale and some other prelates, who resided at Geneva during the bloody reign of Mary, published there another edition in 1560, hence called the Geneva Bible. At the accession of queen Elizabeth a new revision was made, which appeared in 1568, and is called the Bishop's Bible. This continued in use till our present English version, made by order of James I, was published in 1611. The first copy of this was made by forty-seven of the most learned men in England, divided into six companies. This first copy was then revised by a committee of twelve, or two from each of the six companies; and then again by two others. The work of translation and revision occupied between four and five years; and the faithful, clear, and vigorous standard Bible thus secured, is an enduring monument of the learning, wisdom, and fidelity of the translators.
One of the most remarkable movements of modern time, and that which holds out the greatest promise of good for the coming triumphs of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the temporal as well as spiritual welfare of future generations, is the mighty effort which is making to circulate the holy Scriptures, not only in Christian, but also in heathen lands. In the year 1804, the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed; and the success which has attended this glorious object has by far exceeded the most sanguine expectations of its founders and supporters. "Their voice has gone out through all the earth of the world." During the first fifty years of this society, it printed or assisted in printing the Scriptures in 148 languages, in about sixty of which they had never before been printed, and issued upwards of 29,000,000 copies of the sacred writings. The Scriptures have now been published in about 220 different languages and dialects. Other similar association have followed nobly this glorious example; and of these none had labored with more effect than the American Bible Society, which was formed in 1816, and has now, 1859, issued thirteen millions of Bibles and Testaments.
Bible, the English form of the Greek name Biblia, meaning "books," the name which in the fifth century began to be given to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came gradually into use in our English language. The Bible consists of sixty-six different books, composed by many different writers, in three different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the space of about 1600 years: and yet, after all, it is only one book dealing with only one subject in its numberless aspects and relations, the subject of man's redemption.
It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. The names given to the Old in the writings of the New are "the scriptures" (Mt 21:42), "scripture" (2Pe 1:20), "the holy scriptures" (Ro 1:2), "the law" (Joh 12:34), "the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms" (Lu 24:44), "the law and the prophets" (Mt 5:17), "the old covenant" (2Co 3:14, R.V.). There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New. (See Apocrypha.)
The Old Testament is divided into three parts:, 1. The Law (Torah), consisting of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses. 2. The Prophets, consisting of (1) the former, namely, Joshua, Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings; (2) the latter, namely, the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. 3. The Hagiographa, or holy writings, including the rest of the books. These were ranked in three divisions:, (1) The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, distinguished by the Hebrew name, a word formed of the initial letters of these books, emeth, meaning truth. (2) Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, called the five rolls, as being written for the synagogue use on five separate rolls. (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Between the Old and the New Testament no addition was made to the revelation God had already given. The period of New Testament revelation, extending over a century, began with the appearance of John the Baptist.
The New Testament consists of (1) the historical books, viz., the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) the Epistles; and (3) the book of prophecy, the Revelation.
The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later period, in the ninth century A.D., into verses. Our modern system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced by Cardinal Hugo about the middle of the thirteenth century (he died 1263). The system of verses for the New Testament was introduced by Stephens in 1551, and generally adopted, although neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it is very useful. (See Version.)
THE Book by preeminence. "Next to God the Word," says Fuller (Pisgah Sight), "I love the word of God. I profess myself a pure leveler, desiring that all human conceits, though built on specious bottoms, may be laid flat, if opposing the written word." The term "Bible," though dating only from the 5th century in its sacred and exclusive use, is virtually expressed in the designations occurring in itself: "The Scripture" (Joh 10:35; 20:9; Ro 4:3; 2Pe 1:20); "the Book" (Ps 40:7, cepher); "the Scripture (kithab) of truth" (Da 10:21). The books composing it are not isolated, but form together an organic unity, one whole made up of mutually related parts, progressively advancing to the one grand end, the restoration of the fallen creature through the love and righteousness of our God.
The Lord comprehends and stamps with divine sanction the whole Old Testament, under the threefold division recognized by the Jews, "the law, the prophets, and the psalms" (including all the holy writings not included in the other two, namely, the Hagiographa) (Lu 24:44). The Torah, or law, is mentioned as a book (including the five books of the Pentateuch) (Jos 1:8; 8:31-35; 24:26). The Hebrew names of the five books of the Pentateuch are taken from the initial words of the several books. The names we use are from the Greek Septuagint: "Genesis" (creation) answering to bereeshit ("in the beginning".) And so the rest: Exodus (Israel's departure from Egypt) answering to weeleh shemot ("and these are the names"), etc.
The prophets comprise the former (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings), and the latter, comprising the greater (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) and the less (the twelve minor prophets). The including of histories among the prophets arose from the fact that they were the inspired productions of such prophetic men as Samuel, Gad the seer of David (1Ch 29:29), Nathan, Ahijah, and Iddo (2Ch 9:29). The schools of the prophets trained such men as Isaiah for the office of historian (2Ch 26:22; 32:32). Daniel is not included among the prophets, because he did not hold the prophet's office among the chosen people.
The Hagio-grapha, or "sacred writings" (kethubim, from kathab, to write), include (1) Psalms, Proverbs, Job; (2) The Song of Solomon of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther; (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles. The first three, from their initial letters, were called meth, "truth." The second five were called "the five rolls" (chamesh megillot), written for use in the synagogue on special feasts. Ecclesiastes (qoheleth) means "The Preacher." Chronicles bear the Hebrew name "words of days," i.e. records, the Greek paraleipomena, "things omitted" in Kings and here supplied as a supplement. The apocryphal books are never found in the Hebrew canon, and exist only in the Greek Septuagint.
The Second Epistle of Peter (2Pe 3:16) shows that the epistles of Paul were recognized as part of "Scripture" at the time when Peter wrote: "in all his epistles are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned ... wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures;" compare 2Pe 3:2; "be mindful of the words ... spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior." Justin Martyr (Apology 1:66) states that "the memoirs of the apostles" were read side by side with the scriptures of the prophets. Clement of Alexandria speaks of the New Testament making up with the Old Testament "one knowledge." Tertullian terms them together "the whole instrument of both Testaments," "the complete-together Scripture." The Syrian version (Peshitto) at the close of the 2nd century contains the New Testament with the Old Testament.
The eastern churches set the catholic epistles before the Pauline. The quotations, Lu 20:37, "at the bush," i.e. the section concerning the flaming bush; Ro 11:2 margin, "in Elias," i.e. in the passage concerning Elias; Ac 8:32, "the place of the Scripture"; show that some divisions of the Old Testament existed, with titles from their subjects. A cycle of lessons is implied in Lu 4:17; Ac 13:15; 15:21; 2Co 3:14. The law was divided into 54 Parshioth or sections; a section for each sabbath in the year. Shorter Parshioth also existed, subdivided into open sections (Petuchoth) like our paragraphs, marking a change of subjects; and shut ones (Satumoth) or less divisions. The divisions of the prophets were called Haphtaroth, from patar, to "dismiss"; as Missa or "Mass" comes from the dismissal of the congregation on its completion.
Verses (Pecuqiym) were marked by the Masoretic editors of the text in the 9th century A.D. Stephens adopted them in his Vulgate, 1555; the English translation in the Geneva Bible of 1560. Our arrangement has adopted Cardinal Hugo's chapters and the Masoretic verses. Tartan, in the 2nd century, formed the first harmony of the four Gospels, called the Diatessaron. The elder Stephens, in a riding journey from Paris to Lyons, subdivided the New Testament chapters into verses, and the first edition with this division appeared in 1551. In reading the Bible we should remember these divisions have no authority; and where they break the sense, or mar the flow of thought, they are to be disregarded. The Four Gospels stand first in the New Testament, setting forth the Lord Jesus' ministry in the flesh; the Acts, His ministry in the Spirit, His church's (the temple of the Holy Spirit) foundation and extension, internally and externally.
To the histories succeed the epistles of Paul the apostle of faith, Peter of hope, and John of love, unfolding the gospel facts and truths more in detail; just as in the Old Testament the histories come first, then the inspired teachings based on and intimately connected with them, in Psalms, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon of Solomon, and the Prophets. Finally comes Revelation, answering to Daniel, the prophetic Apocalypse of the Old Testament The first three Gospels are called "the synoptical Gospels," giving a synopsis of Christ's ministry in Galilee; John's gives His ministry in Judea. They dwell more on Christ's Spirit-filled humanity; He on His Divinity, from everlasting one with God.
The New Testament 27 books, emanating from nine different persons, and the Old Testament 39 books, separated from each other by distances of time, space, and character, yet form a marvelously intertwined unity, tending all to the one end. Internal and external evidence disprove the possibility of their being written by several authors combining to palm an imposture on the world. How are we to account for the mutual connection and profound unity? The only answer that meets the exigencies of the case is, the word of God "came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2Pe 1:21).
Rationalists try to disintegrate the parts of the sacred volume, but the more they do so the greater is the need for believing in one divine superintending Mind to account for a unity which palpably exists, though the writers themselves did not design it (see 1Pe 1:10-12). If the parts of a watch be disconnected, it needs only for the maker to put them together again, to show their unity of design. However widely apart the makers of the several parts may live, the master mind used the makers as his workmen, and contrived and combined the parts into one. Infinite intelligence alone could combine into one the works of men of so various minds and of ages so. wide apart as the sacred writers, beginning with Moses the legislator and ending with John the divine. Moreover, anyone book cannot be taken from the canon without breaking a link in the complete chain. Inspiration was needed alike in producing each sacred book, and in guiding the church (while it was still possessing the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit) which to omit of even inspired books. Whatever was not necessary for all ages, though needed for the church's good for a time, were omitted (see Col 4:16).
The credibility of the Old Testament is established by establishing that of the New Testament, for the Lord quotes the Old Testament in its threefold parts, "the law, the prophets,
1. The Name.
Biblia. This name is from the Greek through the Latin, and signifies 'The Books.' The whole is also called 'The Scriptures,' and once 'The Holy Scriptures,' that is, 'the Sacred Writings,' distinguishing them from all others. The advent of the Lord Jesus, who was the great subject of the scriptures, Joh 5:39, and in whom as 'Son' God spoke, after a silence of 400 years, naturally led to a division of the sacred writings into two parts, called the Old and New Testaments. The 'Old Testament' is mentioned as being read in 2Co 3:14; but the term 'New Testament,' as applied to the collection of books that commonly bear that title, does not occur in scripture. There was also a change in the language in which the various books of the two Testaments were written. The Old was written in Hebrew, except Ezr 4:8 to Ezr 6:18; 7:12-26; Jer 10:11; Da 2:4 to Da 7:28: these portions being written in Chaldee or Aramaic. The books of the New Testament were written in Greek (without now taking into consideration whether the Gospel by Matthew was originally written in Aramaic). The glad tidings of salvation was for the whole world, and the language most extensively known at that time was chosen for its promulgation.
The Old Testament may be considered as dividing itself into:
1. The Pentateuch, or five books of Moses.
2. The Historical Books, including Joshua to the end of Esther.
3. The Poetical Books, Job to the end of Song of Solomon.
4. The Prophetical Books, from Isaiah to Malachi.
The Jews divided the Old Testament into three parts:
1. The Law (Torah), the five books of Moses.
2. The Prophets (Nebiim), including Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and
2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets.
3. The Writings (Kethubim, or Hagiographa, 'holy writings'), including
a, the Psalms, Proverbs, Job;
b, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther;
c, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles.
The books are in this order in the Hebrew Bible. The above triple division is doubtless alluded to by the Lord, in Lu 24:44, "All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me;" cf. Lu 24:27. 'The Psalms' being the first book in the third part, may have been used as a title to express the whole of the division.
The Talmud and later Jewish writers reckon twenty-four books in the O.T. To make out this number they count the two books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles as one book each; Ezra and Nehemiah as one; and the twelve Minor Prophets as one. The earlier Jews reckoned the books as 22, according to the letters in the alphabet: they united Ruth with Judges, and Lamentations with Jeremiah. But all such arrangements are arbitrary and fanciful.
The 'oracles of God' were committed to Israel, Ro 3:2, and they have been zealous defenders of the letter of the O.T. For a long time it was thought that their great care and exactitude in copying had preserved the manuscripts from error; but it has been abundantly proved that those copyists erred, as all others have erred in this respect, and numerous errors have been discovered in the MSS, though many of them are seen at once to be mistakes of the pen, some doubtless caused through the similarity of the Hebrew letters, and are easily corrected. Other differences can be set right by the preponderance of evidence in the MSS themselves now that many of these have been collated.
Besides such variations there are other deviations from the common Hebrew text that profess to have some amount of authority. They are commonly called Keri and Chethib, q.v.
As to the text of the NEW TESTAMENT there is no particular copy that claims any authority, though the Received Text (Elzevir, 1624) was for a long time treated 'as if an angel had compiled it,' as one expressed it. But the undue respect for that text has passed away, and every translator has to examine the evidence for and against every variation, in order to know what he shall translate.
He has before him
1. Many GREEK MANUSCRIPTS: some 40 being called Uncials because of being written all in capital letters (though some of this number are only portions or mere fragments), and are represented by capital letters, A, B, C, etc. They date from the fourth to the tenth century. There are also hundreds of Cursives (those written in a more running hand), for the most part of later date than the uncials, a few of which are of special value. They date from the tenth century to the fourteenth, and are represented by numerals.
2. ANCIENT VERSIONS, which show what was apparently in the Greek copies used for the versions: the Old Latin, often called Italic; the Vulgate; Syriac; Egyptian, called the Memphitic and the Thebaic; the Gothic; Armenian; and AEthiopic. These Versions date from the second to the sixth century.
3. THE FATHERS, which are useful as showing what was in the Greek copies from which they quoted: they date from the second century.
The variations in the Greek Manuscripts are very numerous, yet the Editors (men who have attempted to discover what God originally caused to be written)
The Bible is the name given to the revelation of God to man contained in sixty-six books or pamphlets, bound together and forming one book and only one, for it has in reality one author and one purpose and plan, and is the development of one scheme of the redemption of man. I. ITS NAMES.--
(1) The Bible, i.e. The Book, from the Greek "ta biblia," the books. The word is derived from a root designating the inner bark of the linden tree, on which the ancients wrote their books. It is the book as being superior to all other books. But the application of the word BIBLE to the collected books of the Old and New Testaments is not to be traced farther back than the fifth century of our era. (2) The Scriptures, i.e. the writings, as recording what was spoken by God. (3) The Oracles, i.e. the things spoken, because the Bible is what God spoke to man, and hence also called (4) The Word. (5) The Testaments or Covenants, because it is the testimony of God to man, the truths to which God bears witness; and is also the covenant or agreement of God with man for his salvation. (6) The Law, to express that it contains God's commands to men. II. COMPOSITION.--The Bible consists of two great parts, called the Old and New Testaments, separated by an interval of nearly four hundred years. These Testaments are further divided into sixty-six books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New. These books are a library in themselves being written in every known form old literature. Twenty-two of them are historical, five are poetical, eighteen are prophetical, twenty-one are epistolary. They contain logical arguments, poetry, songs and hymns, history, biography, stories, parables, fables, eloquence, law, letters and philosophy. There are at least thirty-six different authors, who wrote in three continents, in many countries, in three languages, and from every possible human standpoint. Among these authors were kings, farmers, mechanics, scientific men, lawyers, generals, fishermen, ministers and priests, a tax-collector, a doctor, some rich, some poor, some city bred, some country born--thus touching all the experiences of men extending over 1500 years. III. UNITY.--And yet the Bible is but one book, because God was its real author, and therefore, though he added new revelations as men could receive them, he never had to change what was once revealed. The Bible is a unit, because (1) It has but one purpose, the salvation of men. (2) The character of God is the same. (3) The moral law is the same. (4) It contains the development of one great scheme of salvation. IV. ORIGINAL LANGUAGES.--The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, a Shemitic language, except that parts of the books of Ezra
and of Daniel
and one verse in Jeremiah
were written in the Chaldee language. The New Testament is written wholly in Greek. V. ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS OF THE ORIGINAL.--There are no ancient Hebrew manuscripts older than the tenth century, but we know that these are in the main correct, because we have a translation of the Hebrew into Greek, called the Septuagint, made nearly three hundred years before Christ. Our Hebrew Bibles are a reprint from what is called the Masoretic text. The ancient Hebrew had only the consonant printed, and the vowels were vocalized in pronunciation, but were not written. Some Jewish scholars living at Tiberias, and at Sora by the Euphrates, from the sixth to the twelfth century, punctuated the Hebrew text, and wrote is the vowel points and other tone-marks to aid in the reading of the Hebrew; and these, together with notes of various kinds, they called Masora (tradition), hence the name Masoretic text. 0f the Greek of the New Testament there are a number of ancient manuscripts They are divided into two kinds, the Uncials, written wholly in capitals, and the Cursives, written in a running hand. The chief of these are-- (1) the Alexandrian (codex Alexandrinus, marked A), so named because it was found in Aiexandria in Egypt, in 1628. It date back to A.D. 350, and is now in the British Museum. (2) The Vatican (codex Vaticanus, B), named from the Vatican library at Rome, where it is kept. Its date is A.D. 300 to
325. (3) The Sinaitic (codex Sinaiticus) so called from the convent of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai, there it was discovered by or Tichendorf in 1844. It is now at St. Petersburg Russia. This is one of the earliest best of all the manuscripts. VI. TRANSLATIONS.--The Old Testament was translated into Greek by a company of learned Jews at Alexandria, who began their labor about the year B.C. 286. It is called the Septuagint, i.e. the seventy, from the tradition that it was translated by seventy (more exactly seventy-two) translators. The Vulgate, or translation of the Bible into Latin by Jerome, A.D. 385-405, is the authorized version of the Roman Catholic Church. The first English translation of the whole Bible was by John de Wickliffe (1324-1384). Then followed that of William Tyndale (1525) and several others. As the sum and fruit of all these appeared our present Authorized Version, or King James Version, in 1611. It was made by forty-seven learned men, in two years and nine months, with a second revision which took nine months longer. These forty-seven formed themselves into six companies, two of whom met at Westminster, two at Oxford and two at Cambridge. The present English edition is an improvement, in typographical and grammatical correctness, upon this revision, and in these respects is nearly perfect. [See VERSIONS]
See Versions, Authorized
A REVISED VERSION of this authorized edition was made by a group of American and English scholars, and in 1881 the Revised New Testament was published simultaneously in the United States and England. Then followed the Revised Old Testament in 1885, and the Apocrypha in 1894. The American revision committee was permitted to publish its own revision, which appeared in 1901 as the American Standard Version. Modern-speech translations have been made from time to time between 1898-1945. Among these were Moulton's Modern Reader's Bible, the Twentieth century New Testament, Weymouth's, Moffatt's, and the American translation. As a result of the modern-speech translations that have appeared and been widely received, the American Revision Committee set to work again, and in 1946 the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament was published. VII. DIVISIONS INTO CHAPTERS AND VERSES.--The present division of the whole Bible into chapters was made by Cardinal Hugo de St. Gher about 1250. The present division into verses was introduced by Robert Stephens in his Greek Testament, published in 1551, in his edition of the Vulgate, in 1555. The first English Bible printed with these chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible, in 1560. VIII. CIRCULATION OF THE BIBLE.--The first book ever printed was the Bible; and more Bibles have been printed than any other book. It has been translated, in its entirety or in part, into more than a thousand languages and dialects and various systems for the blind. The American Bible Society (founded in 1816) alone has published over 356 million volumes of Scripture.
BIBLE, the book, by way of eminence so called, as containing the sacred Scriptures, that is, the inspired writings of the Old and New Testament; or the whole collection of those which are received among Christians as of divine authority. The word Bible comes from the Greek ??????, or ???????, and is used to denote any book; but is emphatically applied to the book of inspired Scripture, which is "the book" as being superior in excellence to all other books. ??????? again comes from ??????, the Egyptian reed, from which the ancient paper was procured. The word Bible seems to be used in the particular sense just given by Chrysostom: "I therefore exhort all of you to procure to yourselves Bibles, ??????. If you have nothing else, take care to have the New Testament, particularly the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospels, for your constant instructers." And Jerome says, "that the Scriptures being all written by one Spirit, are one book." Augustine also informs up, "that some called all the canonical Scriptures one book, on account of their wonderful harmony and unity of design throughout." It is not improbable that this mode of speaking gradually introduced the general use of the word Bible for the whole collection of the Scriptures, or the books of the Old and New Testament. By the Jews the Bible, that is, the Old Testament, is called Mikra, that is, "lecture, or reading." By Christians the Bible, comprehending the Old and New Testament, is usually denominated "Scripture;" sometimes also the "Sacred Canon," which signifies the rule of faith and practice. These, and similar appellations, are derived from the divine original and authority of the Bible. As it contains an authentic and connected history of the divine dispensations with regard to mankind; as it was given by divine inspiration; as its chief subject is religion; and as the doctrines it teaches, and the duties it inculcates, pertain to the conduct of men, as rational, moral, and accountable beings, and conduce by a divine constitution and promise, to their present and future happiness; the Bible deserves to be held in the highest estimation, and amply justifies the sentiments of veneration with which it has been regarded, and the peculiar and honourable appellations by which it has been denominated.
2. The list of the books contained in the Bible constitutes what is called the canon of Scripture. Those books that are contained in the catalogue to which the name of canon has been appropriated, are called canonical, by way of contradistinction from others called deutero-canonical, apocryphal, pseudo-apocryphal, &c, which either are not acknowledged as divine books, or are rejected as heretical and spurious (See Apocrypha.) The first canon or catalogue of the sacred books was made by the Jews; but the original author of it is not satisfactorily ascertained. It is certain, however, that the five books of Moses, called the Pentateuch, were collected into one body within a short time after his death; since Deuteronomy, which is, as it were, the abridgment and recapitulation of the other four, was laid in the tabernacle near the ark, according to the order which he gave to the Levites, De 31:24. Hence the first canon of the sacred writings consisted of the five books of Moses; for a farther account of which see Pentateuch. It does not appear that any other books were added to these, till the division of the ten tribes, as the Samaritans acknowledged no others. However, after the time of Moses, several prophets, and other writers divinely inspired, composed either the history of their own times, or prophetical books and divine writings, or psalms appropriated to the praise of God. But these books do not seem to have been collected into one body, or comprised under one and the same canon, before the Babylonish captivity. This was not done till after their return from the captivity, about which time the Jews had a certain number of books digested into a canon, which comprehended none of those books that were written since the time of Nehemiah. The book of Ecclesiasticus affords sufficient evidence that the canon of the sacred books was completed when that tract was composed; for that author, in chapter 49, having mentioned among the famous men and sacred writers, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, adds the twelve minor prophets who follow those three in the Jewish canon; and from this circumstance we may infer that the prophecies of these twelve men were already collected and digested into one body. It is farther evident, that in the time of our Saviour the canon of the Holy Scriptures was drawn up, since he cites the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, which are the three kinds of books of which that canon is composed, and which he often styles, "the Scriptures," or, "the Holy Scripture," Mt 21:42; 22:29; 26:54; Joh 5:39; and by him therefore the Jewish canon, as it existed in his day, was fully authenticated, by whomsoever or at what time it had been formed.
3. The person who compiled this canon is generally allowed to be Ezra. According to the invariable tradition of Jews and Christians, the honour is ascribed to him of having collected together and perfected a complete edition of the Holy Scriptures. The original of the Pentateuch had been carefully preserved in the side of the ark, and had been probably introduced with the ark into the temple at Jerusalem. After having been concealed in the dangerous days of the idolatrous kings of Judah, and particularly in the impious reigns of Manasseh and Amon, it was found in the days of Josiah, the succeeding prince, by Hilkiah the priest, in the temple. Prideaux thinks, that during the preceding reigns the book of the law was so destroyed and lost, that, beside this copy of it, there was then no other to be obtained. To this purpose he adds, that the surprise manifested by Hilkiah, on the discovery of it, and the grief expressed by Josiah when he heard it read, plainly show that neither of them had seen it before. On the other hand, Dr. Kennicott, with better reason, supposes, that long before this time there were several copies of the law in Israel, during the separation of the ten tribes, and that there were some copies of it also among the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, particularly in the hands of the prophets, priests, and Levites; and that by the instruction and authority of these MSS, the various services in the temple were regulated, during the reigns of the good kings of Judah. He adds, that the surprise expressed by Josiah and the people, at his reading the copy found by Hilkiah, may be accounted for by adverting to the history of the preceding reigns, and by recollecting how idolatrous a king Manasseh had been for fifty-five years, and that he wanted neither power nor inclination to destroy the copies of the law, if they had not been secreted by the servants of God. The law, after being so long concealed, would be unknown almost to all the Jews; and thus the solemn reading of it by Josiah would awaken his own and the people's earnest attention; more especially, as the copy produced was probably the original written by Moses. From this time copies of the law were extensively multiplied among the people; and though, within a few years, the autograph, or original copy of the law, was burnt with the city and temple by the Babylonians, yet many copies of the law and the prophets, and of all the other sacred writings, were circulated in the hands of private persons, who carried them with them into their captivity. It is certain that Daniel had a copy of the Holy Scriptures with him at Babylon; for he quotes the law, and mentions the prophecies of Jeremiah, Da 9:2,11,13. It appears also, from the sixth chap. of Ezra, and from the ninth chap. of Nehemiah, that copies of the law were dispersed among the people. The whole which Ezra did may be comprised in the following particulars: He collected as many copies of the sacred writings as he could find, and compared them together, and, out of them all, formed one complete copy, adjusted the various readings, and corrected the errors of transcribers. He likewise made additions in several parts of the different books, which ap