By Andy Hale
The canonization of the Bible is a pretty fascinating and crazy story.
Uncle Marcion gave us an early glimpse into the struggles to find orthodoxy. Dueling Gods of the Old and New Testament made for fascinating theological constructs. Marcion’s Bible would have given us one of the earliest examples of a theology crush on the Apostle Paul, with only the Gospel of Luke and the Old Apostle Epistles.
It would take nearly 150 years after Marcion for Lucian of Antioch’s Greek New Testament text and 60 years after Lucian for Athanasius’s Festal Letter to give us a relative foundation for the Bible as we know it today.
We then look to the fathers that gathered in Carthage, Jerome, Bede, Eadfrith of Lindisfarne, and the revolutionary work of Guttenberg that carried the development of the Scriptures. For time sake, we will skip past Luther’s issues with the Epistle of James.
Time, sacrifice, courage, and death surround this book that I now have such easy access to either in print or digitally. Not that it counts towards jewels in a crown of righteousness, but I counted 11 different Bible editions in my office. Diocletian would be rolling in his grave if he knew.
As we so graciously benefit from the diligent work of others, we have the charge of deepening our knowledge of this curious book.
Our guest for this week’s CBF Podcast is the editor of a fresh New Revised Standard Version Cultural Background Study.
“Through understanding the background, we can better understand why people spoke and acted the ways they did and can better identify with them. Besides helping us understand the world in which people in the Bible lived, study of ancient text from the cultures in the Biblical world can provide information that we really need to understand the biblical material,” said Dr. John H. Walton on the CBF Podcast.
Walton is the professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School and the author of many books, including Demons and Spirits in Biblical Theology and The Lost World of Genesis.
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Andy Hale created and hosts the podcast of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy