In the exchanges between Yeshua and the Jews, particularly the religious leaders of his time, it becomes evident that the people possessed a knowledge of the scriptures, but their comprehension was lacking. This disconnect stemmed from an eisegetical approach, wherein personal and cultural beliefs were imposed onto the text, ultimately hindering a deeper understanding of the Word.
Understanding the Essence of Scripture
Deuteronomy 4:2 reinforces the importance of not adding or diminishing from the word of God. This scriptural principle still resonates strongly in our modern interpretation of ancient texts. Today, eisegetical interpretation risks mirroring the error of the Jews in Yeshua's time, where they knew the word but failed to truly grasp its essence.
A Solid Foundation for Gospel Exploration
To navigate the Gospels effectively and gain a profound understanding, one must lay a solid foundation rooted in comprehending the scriptures that lead to life. This journey begins with addressing fundamental questions: What constitutes scripture? How were these sacred texts transmitted, preserved, and collated throughout history?
The Gospel Writers' Intent
Luke 1:1-3 and Acts 1:1-2 shed invaluable light on the nature of the Gospels. While we now consider these writings as scripture, it's essential to recognize that the Gospel writers initially intended them as declarations of what Yeshua did and taught. Their intention was never to replace existing scripture but to affirm and complement it.
Scripture: The Foundation of Faith
When Yeshua and the apostles referred to "the scriptures," they were alluding to what had already been written, not specifically to the Gospels themselves. To gain profound insight into these questions, we must delve into the earliest scriptures that formed the bedrock of their faith.
The Ancient Scriptures: A Timeless Legacy
Exodus 24:1-4 and Exodus 31:14-18 offer glimpses into the first scriptures, which were written by both YeHoVaH and Moses around 1400 BCE. These scriptures, penned in antiquity, served as the solid foundation upon which faith was built and principles were established.
A Timeline of Antiquity
Historical evidence suggests that the construction of the temple, a significant milestone in biblical history, commenced between 970 to 931 BCE. This event, occurring 480 years post-exodus, further solidifies the antiquity and profound significance of scripture.
Preservation Through Generations
Deuteronomy 17:18 emphasizes the practice of each king writing a copy of the law, showcasing a deep commitment to preserving and transmitting the sacred scriptures from one generation to the next.
The TaNaKh: Foundation of Hebrew Scriptures
The TaNaKh, representing the Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim, forms the bedrock of Hebrew scriptures. While its canonization timeline is a subject of debate, there's no denying its profound impact on religious thought and the enduring legacy it carries.
Scripture in the Time of Paul
2 Timothy 3:16 serves as a reminder that all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, correction, and instruction in righteousness. At the time of writing, Paul referred to the Tanakh as scripture, further underscoring its foundational role in early Christianity.
The Impact of the Septuagint
During Paul's era, the scriptures were primarily the Tanakh. However, due to cultural influences and the need for wider accessibility, the Tanakh was translated into Greek, resulting in the creation of the Septuagint.
The Septuagint: A Pivotal Translation
The Septuagint, often abbreviated as LXX, is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. It is estimated that the translation of the Torah or Pentateuch took place in the mid-3rd century BCE, while the remaining texts were translated in the 2nd century BCE. This monumental work expanded the reach of the scriptures to a broader audience.
The Apocrypha: Hidden Gems or Secrets?
The Septuagint, in addition to translating the Tanakh, separated and included books not considered authoritative by the compilers of the Tanakh. These additional books, now known as the 14 books of the apocrypha, contain hidden and secret teachings.
The Latin Vulgate and Its Influence
In the late 4th century, Jerome's Latin Vulgate drew from the Old Latin Gospels and the Septuagint as source materials, resulting in a Bible that included a total of 80 books.
The 1611 King James Bible and the Apocrypha
The original 1611 King James Bible, an English translation of the Latin Vulgate, incorporated the 14 books of the apocrypha due to its reliance on the Latin Vulgate and the Septuagint. However, these books have been the subject of debate and were eventually removed by Protestant reformers who sought to align the Bible more closely with the Tanakh.
In essence, understanding the evolution and preservation of scripture is integral to grasping the profound depth of the Word and its impact on religious thought and practice throughout history. It serves as a reminder that the journey of interpretation and comprehension is a continuous one, requiring diligence and reverence for the sacred texts that have shaped our beliefs and faith.
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