June 1 I Saturday
2 Chronicles 15-16
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.” —John 16:13
At the birth of the early church, there were many Christian writings that circulated. The New Testament that we read today was formalized when the Council of Hippo Regius 393 AD and the Council of Carthage 397 AD met to officially classify certain books of the Bible as being canonical. They recognized the New Testament books that we now read as being authentic Scripture.
One of the ways in which these councils recognized each book’s authenticity was how the authorship related to the apostles, who were disciples of Jesus. There were eight or nine writers of the New Testament. Four of them were apostles: Matthew, John, Peter and Paul. While Matthew, John and Peter had the privilege of being Jesus’s disciples during His time on earth, Paul was not a disciple during Jesus’s lifetime, but he was an apostle, set apart as such by the Lord Jesus.
The other four were non-apostolic writers but they were very closely connected with the apostles: Mark, Luke, James and Jude. Mark was Peter’s scribe and secretary, who wrote one of the gospels. Some recognize that Mark’s gospel is actually Peter’s version of the story of Jesus’s life. Luke was the only Gentile writer, but he was part of Paul’s apostolic team. James was the brother of Jesus and a leader of the church in Jerusalem. Jude was also a brother of Jesus. And while we do not know with certainty who wrote the Book of Hebrews, it was still recognized as authentic and coming from the Holy Spirit.
Some may challenge the authenticity of the book that has been passed down through the centuries, but when the Bible was copied by hand early on, there was a meticulous process to ensure the words were copied without error. The scribes would count how many letters were in each book of the Bible, identify the middle letter, and when a scribe had finished this particular book, they would count the letters. If it was one letter too many or one too short, they would throw the whole book away––even though the scribe had spent hours writing it out by hand. When the whole Bible was done, they would count every letter in the entire Bible and do the same thing; find the middle letter and if it was wrong, discard the whole manuscript. How grateful we should be for the accuracy with which Scripture has come to us as a result of this process. For all these reasons, we can be sure that the Bible we hold in our hands has the very words by which God authoritatively revealed Himself to us.
Prayer: I praise You Lord for how You preserved the Bible for us throughout the centuries so that we may know You through Your Word. Grow in me a greater desire to read Your Word daily. Thank You, Lord.