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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary

Bible

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This name is given to the Word of God; and no one is at a loss to know what is meant by it when we say, the Bible. But it is not, perhaps, so generally known wherefore the Sacred Scriptures are called the Bible. This is the reason.—The word Bible is taken from the Greek. Biblos, or book; and it is called so by way of eminency and distinction, as if there were no other book (and which is, indeed, strictly and properly speaking, the ease) in the world. So then, by Bible is meant the Book, the Book of God, the only Book of God, including the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and no other; for these and these alone, are "able to make wise unto salvation, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus." The Hebrews call their Scriptures Mikra, which means, lesson, instruction, or Scripture.

When I said the Bible includes the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and no other, I consider what is called Apocrypha as not included. The very name Apocrypha, (so called by those who first placed those writings in our Bibles) which means hidden, or doubtful, implies as much, for them is nothing which, can be called doubtful in the word of God.

Some pious minds, indeed, have gone farther, and have ceased to call those writings apocryphal, or doubtful, but have decidedly determined against them, and from their own testimony shewn that they are unscriptural and contrary to God's word. And, indeed, if what they have brought forward in proof be compared with the unalterable standard of God's own declarations in Scripture, without doubt, they ought not to have place in our Bibles.

It would by far exceed the limits I have laid down for myself in this work, to enter deeply into the subject by way of determining the matter. One or two observations is all I shall offer; leaving the reader to frame his own judgment.

The Book of Ecclesiastics, take it altogether, is by far the best of the whole apocryphal writings. In the prologue, or preface, the writer, or translator, begs pardon for any errors that he may have fallen into in this service; which at once implies his opinion that he had no idea the author wrote it under divine inspiration. In 3:20 he speaks of giving alms as an "atonement for sins;" and 35:3 he declares the forsaking unrighteousness to be a propitiation. Thus much may suffice without enlarging.

I cannot, however, take leave of the subject without first quoting the words of Tertullian, who lived in the second century. He speaks decidedly concerning the Apocrypha, and felt indignant that it should ever have had a place in our Bibles. "The prophet Malachi, (saith Tertullian) is the bound or skirt of Judaism and Christianity. A stake that tells us, that there promising ends, and performing begins; that prophecying concludes, and fulfilling takes place. There is not a span between those two plots of holy ground, the Old and New Testament, for they touch each other. To put the Apocrypha, therefore, between them, is to separate Malachi and Matthew; Law and Gospel. It is to remove the land-mark of the Scriptures, and to be guilty of that breach in divorcing the marriage of the testaments, and what God hath joined together for man to put asunder."

Perhaps it may not be unacceptable to the reader to subjoin, under this article of the Bible, an account of the different copies of the sacred volume which have been handed down in the church through the several successive ages, for it will serve to manifest the Lord's watchful care over his own precious Word.

The first copy, called the Septuagint, in Greek, so called from the seventy pious men devoted to this service, was produced about two hundred and forty years before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, including all the sacred books, as we now have them, from Genesis to Malachi.

The second copy consisted of the Old Testament, from Hebrew into Greek by a Jew named Aquila, being converted to the Christian faith, in the time of the Emperor Adrian.

The third translation was about fifty-three years after the former. And to this succeeded a fourth, under the Emperor Severus. Eight years after this, another translation appeared by an unknown hand; and this was called the fifth translation. Afterwards Hieronymus translated it out of the Hebrew into the Latin tongue; this is what is called the sixth copy. And this is what is used in the Latin language to this day. Our first English translation was that of Myles Coverdale, Bishop of Exeter, bearing date 1535, and dedicated to King Henry the Eighth.


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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Bible'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/pmd/b/bible.html. London. 1828.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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