“He has revealed to you this Book (Qur’an) with the Truth, confirming whatever there still remains of the scripture which preceded it, as He revealed the Torah and Gospel, aforetime as a guidance unto mankind, and it is He who has bestowed (upon man) the standard by which to discern the true form the false. Behold, as for those who are bent on denying God’s messages-grievous suffering awaits them: fro God is almighty, an avenger of evil.”(Qur’an;3:3-4)
Bible is the sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity, derived from Greek biblos (“book”) can be compared with byblos (“Papyrus”: The writing material of ancient times and also the plant from which it was derived). In the fifth century, name ‘Bible’ 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 the English language. Interestingly the word ‘Bible’ does not exist in the scripture. The order as well as the number of books differs between the Jewish Bible, the Protestant and Roman Catholic versions of the Bible.
The four bodies of written works of Biblical literature, consists of: (1) The Old Testament writings according to the Hebrew canon; inter-testamental works, including (2) The Old Testament Apocrypha; (3) The New Testament writings; and (4) The New Testament Apocrypha. Apocryphal (secret) is referred to books not publicly read in churches, generally these books were considered less authoritative, accepted only by individual Christian writers or by minority heretical groups.
The sixty-six different books of the Bible were 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. It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The sixty-six books of Bible which include 39 books of Old Testaments and 27 books of New Testaments were chosen, after a bit of haggling, by the Catholic Council of Carthage in 397 C.E; almost four hundred years after the time of Jesus. English Bibles list 39 books for the Old Testament because of the practice of bisecting Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, and of counting Ezra, Nehemiah, and the 12 Minor Prophets as separate books. The complete Bible, i.e. the Old Testament and the New Testament put together, contains 73 books. However, the Protestant Bible i.e. the King James Version contains only 66 books as they consider 7 books of the Old Testament to be apocrypha, i.e. of doubtful authority. Therefore the Old Testament of the Catholics contains 46 books and that of the Protestants, 39 books. However the New Testament of both these sects contains 27 books. Hence the Bible of Protestants consists of total 66 books and the Bible of Catholic has 73 books. The 66 common books of the Bible are as listed in Appendix-III.
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 C.E, into verses. The modern system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced by Cardinal Hugo (died 1263 C.E) about the middle of the thirteenth century The system of verses for the New Testament was introduced by Stephens in 1551 C.E, 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.
The literature of the Bible has played a special role in the history and culture of the Western & Christian world. There are over forty different major versions of Bible, suitable to the doctrine of different followers, one claiming to be batter and more accurate than other. The main versions are: The King James (Authorized) Version, The English Revised Version, The American Standard Version, The Revised Standard Version, Jewish Versions, The New English Bible and The Catholic Versions.
Bible has been translated in almost all the languages of the world. According to Encyclopedia Britannica; there is no reliable evidence of any pre-Islamic Arabic translation of Bible. Only when large Jewish and Christian communities found themselves under Muslim rule after the Arab conquests of the 7th century did the need for an Arabic vernacular Scripture arise. The first and most important was that of Sa’adia ben Joseph (892-942 C.E), made directly from Hebrew and written in Hebrew script, which became the standard version for all Jews in Muslim countries. The version also exercised its influence upon Egyptian Christians and its rendering of the Pentateuch was adapted by Abu al-Hasan to the Samaritan Torah in the 11th-12th centuries. Another Samaritan Arabic version of the Pentateuch was made by Abu Sa’id (Abu al-Barakat) in the 13th century. Among other translations from the Hebrew, that of the 10th-century Karaite Yaphith ibn ‘Ali is the most noteworthy.
Islam and Previous Scriptures:
It is part of articles of faith of a Muslims to believe in all the previous messengers of God and the scriptures; in the original form in which they were revealed upon them. God says: “(Qur’an is a guide for those) who believe in this Revelation (Qur’an) which is sent to you (O Muhammad) and the Revelations which were sent before you (Torah, Psalms, Gospel…) and firmly believe in the Hereafter.”(Qur’an;2:4); “And We verily sent Noah and Abraham and placed the Prophethood and the Scripture among their seed, and among them there is he who goeth right, but many of them are evil-livers.”(Qur’an;57:26). “Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as we imparted unto David the Psalms;(Qur’an;4:163). “Surely, We sent down the Torah (to Moses), wherein is guidance and light; by its laws the Jews have been judged by the prophets who surrendered themselves to God, the rabbis and the doctors of law, because they were entrusted the protection of God’s book and were witnesses thereto”.(Qur’an;5:44). “And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those (earlier prophets), confirming the truth of what ever there still remained of the Torah; and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein there was guidance and a light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God conscious.” (Qur’an;5:46).
The scriptures revealed to the earlier prophets were meant for specific period and nation which, with the passage of time got distorted, because the Rabbis and Doctors of Law entrusted with the responsibility of their protection failed to do so. These scriptures underwent distortion, addition, and omission: “- – Some of the Jews pervert words from their meanings-” (Qur’an;4:46). “So woe to those who write the Book with their hands, and then say: ‘This is from God,’ that they may sell it for a little price. So woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for their earnings”(Qur’an;2:79). “To you, O Muhammad, We have revealed this Book (Qur’an) with the truth. It confirms whatever has remained intact in the scriptures which came before it and determining what is true therein. Therefore, judge between people of earlier revelations according what God has bestowed from high, and do not follow their errant views, forsaking the truth has come unto thee. We have ordained (different) law and Way of life for each of you. If God wanted He could have made all of you a single nation. But He willed otherwise in order to test you in what He has given you; therefore try to excel one another in good deeds. Ultimately you all shall return to God; then He will show you the truth of those matters in which you dispute.”(Qur’an;5:48).
All the divine revelations (scriptures) except Qur’an are extinct. The Bible; which besides Torah, Psalm and Gospel also contain other scriptures, books and commentaries by mostly unknown scribes attributing to known messengers and personalities.
The Torah, Psalm and Gospel as available in the Bible may contain the original revelations in some form which pass the test of Qur’an; the criterion to distinguish right from wrong: “Blessed is the One Who has revealed Al-Furqan (the criterion to distinguish right from wrong: The Qur’an) to His servant, that he may be a Warner to the worlds;” (Qur’an;25:1). “And say: “Truth has come and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood by its nature is bound to perish.”(Qur’an;17:81). The authenticity, accuracy and originality of Torah, Psalm and Gospel as revealed scriptures is doubtful, which is also evident from the long history and complex process of compilation and canonization.
· Bible: A Short History: http://t.co/H5QjqWm
· Bible: Questionable Precepts: http://t.co/jO5UfC6