What does bible mean

The terms and uses of the Bible

Answers to terms and uses of the Bible

What does the word "Bible" mean?

The word "Bible" comes from the Greek language and means "books" (biblia). Because the Bible is actually a collection of different individual writings or "books". In Protestant Bible editions, it consists of 39 writings of the Old Testament, 27 of the New Testament and 11 late writings of the Old Testament (Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical writings). In Catholic editions of the Bible, the late writings belong to the canon of the Old Testament, which includes 46 scriptures. The collection of 77 individual books can definitely be compared to a library.

What does the word "gospel" mean?

The Greek word "gospel" literally means: "good news", "good news". The first Christians first used this word when they spoke of God's saving act in Jesus Christ and when they summarized the most important contents of this act. It was probably Mark who, based on this usage, was the first to describe his extensive account of Jesus' life as "Gospel" / "Good news". Based on this, the corresponding representations of the other authors (Matthew, Luke and John) were also called that in the early church. This expresses the fact that, despite all the differences in the details, there is always the one "good news" that is unfolded in four ways.

Why is the first part of the Christian Bible called "Old Testament"?

The term "Old Testament" for the Hebrew Bible is derived from the New Testament and names the relationship between the two parts of the Bible, understood by young Christianity, as promise and fulfillment. Both testaments bear witness to God's gracious "covenant" (that is the original biblical meaning of "testament"), which according to Exodus / Exodus 24 applies to his people Israel and whose effectiveness is then extended to people of all peoples in Jesus Christ . Since, according to the New Testament understanding, the covenant with Israel is not being dissolved, but renewed and expanded, some experts speak of the "First" and the "Second Testament" in order to avoid the appearance of a value between the two parts of the Bible.

What are the "Apocrypha"?

A special group of Old Testament writings has only come down to us in the Greek language. These writings date from the last two centuries before the birth of Christ and are therefore also grouped together under the name "Late Writings of the Old Testament". In the churches of the Reformation they are referred to as "Apocrypha" ("hidden writings") and their value is assessed differently. Martin Luther placed them in his translation as a special group of writings between the Old and New Testaments and assessed them as "books that are not kept in the same way as the Holy Scriptures and yet are useful and easy to read." In the Catholic Church these scriptures are called "deutero-canonical", i.e. they come second in the scriptural canon. They are considered a full component of the Holy Scriptures and are accordingly distributed across the other scriptural groups in Catholic editions of the Bible, thus also in the standard translation, depending on their literary character.

What are "pseudepigraphs"?

The New Testament textbooks are letters to churches or individuals. They are divided into two groups: "Paul's letters" (including the so-called "pseudepigraphs", i.e. writings that were written by his students under the name of Paul) and "Catholic letters". The Catholic Letters (Catholic = Greek for "general", ie intended for the whole Church), which name Peter, John, James and Jude as the authors, deal with very similar problems as in the Pauline letters: representation of true faith, Defense against false teachings and the right organization of Christian life in the community, the family, the professional world and in society.

Why are the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark and Luke called the "synoptic" Gospels?

A comparison of the four Gospels shows that the first three agree in many places in the wording and in the order of what is presented, while the Gospel of John goes its own way. Because of their great similarity, the first three Gospels can be viewed side by side (in a synopsis). They are therefore also called the "synoptic" Gospels (synopsis = synopsis). To explain these similarities and differences, it is almost generally assumed today that Mark and his Gospel formed the basis for the presentation of Matthew and Luke. The parts that Matthew and Luke have in common beyond Mark - they are mainly speech sections, e.g. the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) and the field speech (Luke 6: 20–49) - are based on a second, not preserved source returned. It is assumed that this essentially contained the words of Jesus and is therefore called "Proverb" - or (with the Greek term) "Source of Logia". In addition, both Matthew and Luke had access to other traditions of the doctrine and deeds of Jesus, which are referred to as their "special property". The Gospel of John, whose theological character clearly differs from the three Synoptic Gospels, seems to have known them in turn. Because of this, it is often assumed that it was created the latest.

What is the "Septuagint"?

Very early on, between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC, the texts of the Hebrew Bible were translated into the world language of that time, Greek. Legend has it that this translation was made by 70 (or 72) scholars who independently came to the same conclusion. This is why this translation is called "Septuagint" (Latin for "seventy") and is often abbreviated with the Roman numeral for seventy "LXX". For the early Greek-speaking Christians, the Septuagint was holy scripture. It was only with the establishment of the New Testament canon that the distinction between Old and New Testament was introduced. The Septuagint has now also been translated into German.

What is the "Vulgate"?

In 382 AD. Pope Damasus I commissioned the theologian Hieronymus to produce a uniform Latin translation of the Bible. As early as 384 Jerome submitted a revised version of the Gospels. It is still not clear whether he also revised the other writings of the New Testament in a similar way or whether others did so. The translation was given the name "Vulgate" (Latin for "the folk"). It became the most important translation of the Bible in the Middle Ages and shaped the academic language of universities for centuries with its Latin. The Council of Trent declared the Vulgate in 1546 as "a time-honored, general translation that has been tried and tested in the use of the Church over so many centuries," as authoritative for use in the Catholic Church. Following the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), a "Nova Vulgate" (i.e. new Vulgate) was created, which checked and stylistically revised the Vulgate translation using the basic Hebrew and Greek texts. It was introduced in 1979 and is intended to be used in the Catholic Church wherever biblical texts in Latin are used.

How do I find my way around the Bible?

The Bible is a very long book. The printed text of the Bible comprises between 1,300 and 1,600 pages. The division into book groups helps for better orientation. The books of the Old and New Testaments are arranged in German-language Christian Bibles according to a three-part scheme, namely in history, textbooks and prophet books. The beginning of the history books of the Old Testament are "The Five Books of Moses", "Genesis to Deuteronomy" or, in Greek, "Pentateuch" (book of five scrolls). This is followed by the "early" or "fore prophets," that is, the books from Joshua to Kings. They are counted among the "prophets" because, according to Jewish tradition, they were written by prophets. This is followed by the "textbooks", the name of which is not entirely happy, since they are not only intended to serve teaching but also edification. They range from the Psalms to the Song of Songs. These writings are followed by the "later" or "later prophets". They span the books of Isaiah through Malachi. The history books of the New Testament are the four Gospels according to Matthew, Mark Luke and John and the Acts of the Apostles of Luke. This is followed by the New Testament letters of Paul and other authors as textbooks. At the end there is the Book of Revelation as a prophetic book.

Where does the Bible's chapter and verse counting come from and how does it work?

An important aid for orientation within the Bible is the division into chapters and verses. The chapter count goes back to the English Archbishop Stephen Langton from the 13th century. The French printer Robert Estienne introduced the numbering of verses in 1551 in a Greco-Latin edition of the New Testament. The Bibles of Luther's time did not yet know the division into verses. Since the 17th century, the division of chapters and verses has become generally accepted. Since then, biblical references have generally taken the form: book name (possibly with a preceding number), chapter number, verse number beginning (-section number end) A special feature is that instead of the second verse number in a passage, you can also use "f." Or "ff. «Can write: 1.1 f. Are verse 1 and the following verse 2. The indication 1.1 ff. Means verse 1 and the following verses up to the end of the unity of meaning. The same procedure is possible for chapters. The division into chapters and verses offers the advantage that each individual Bible quote can be specified precisely and quickly opened.