The past several weeks in school we have been studying the history of the Israelites from the time of Joshua to the time of David.
Obviously, our primary history book was the Bible with a few other supplements along the way.
One of the big discussion topics we had throughout our study (and repeatedly) was with Treyton when he would ask "How Do We KNOW the Bible is True?"
Treyton has a very theological, deep-thinking mind. It is usually the first thing that most adults notice about him. As parents, we are truly grateful for this as it is encouraging to see him seek out the answers of our faith and to begin to make it his own. Our desire is not to have him ride on the coattails of our faith, but to claim it and understand it for himself. Asking tough questions is a great start!
WHAT'S IN THE BIBLE
To really explain how we know the Bible is true I started with the basics and made him a few charts that we put up next to our timeline.
On it I explained some of the Bible basics:
The Bible is one book made up of 66 smaller books. 39 Old Testament Books and 27 New Testament Books. He had already learned this through AWANA, but reminders can never hurt.
It was written over the course of 1500 years by over 40 writers but 1 Author (God).
There are several different types of books the ones I chose to focus on were: History (including Genealogies), Prophecy, Letters and Law. With each type, I gave reasons why those areas are true.
History: While discussing the history of the Israelites, we used other history resources, including encyclopedias, fiction stories, the internet and more to reinforce what was being taught. At every opportunity I explained to him, that the Bible is not the only book that has recorded historical events. Other writings and (archaeological) findings have helped verify many of the stories we read about.
Genealogies trace back the family lines which also help us to verify certain aspects of the Biblical history (for example, Jesus' genealogy helps us to see that he was in fact a real person but also confirms that God kept his promise to David about having a family member on the throne, which shows the fulfillment of a prophecy.
Prophesy: I first explained that prophesy was the foretelling of things that were going to happen. It was telling the future, in many cases hundreds sometimes thousands of years before it came true. When the prophesies came true it was evidence that God had said those things, not man.
HOW DID WE GET THE BIBLE - THE CANON
We also discussed how the Bible was put together.
The Old Testament Canon was agreed upon about 60 years before Jesus was born (other than the apocrypha, which are the books the catholic church, and other religions added in later).
The Old Testament canon that we know today, would be the same canon that Jesus would have heard in the Synagogue and taught from himself. Through His life teachings and the acceptance of the Old Testament as "scripture" we can know that the Old Testament books that are there, should be there (and not added too…. though that's another post for another day).
The New Testaament Canon, which was obviously constructed after the death and resurrection of Christ, had three qualifications to meet before being qualified as scripture:
1. It had to be written by an apostle or someone CLOSE to an apostle (Luke, Mark and James would be examples of people that were close to the apostles.)
2. It had to be accepted by the early Church (big C) as being inspired, and taught from.
3. It could not contradict other writings already accepted as scripture
The 66 books of the Bible that we have today were not actually agreed upon until the 4th Century. It took several hundred years and several generations of the Church for the final 6 books of the NT (Revelations, Jude, 2 John, 3rd John, Hebrews and James) to be agreed upon. This shows the seriousness and time dedicated to getting it right. (Contrary to modern day western culture opinion there was not a single man sitting along in a room somewhere conspiring to put a book in or take a book out, but I digress). The early churches had accepted and taught from these scriptures corporately and in TIME, after being accepted and agreed upon, they were added to the NT Canon.
In 367 AD, Bishop Athanasius listed the 27 books of the current New Testament in his Easter letter that circulated to all the churches.
DEAD SEA SCROLLS
In addition to the discussion and teachings we were having with Treyton, (the Lord's timing is amazing isn't it?) I found out that Tim and I were going to have the opportunity to see the Dead Sea Scrolls while we are at the Homeschool convention in April. Soon after I had posted this on Facebook, my Uncle sent me an article about pieces of the scrolls being pictured and then posted online for viewing. This was a great illustration for Treyton who really hasn't been able to comprehend how old the Bible actually is and how many years the Bible was written over. Seeing the older scrolls really helped it sink in that the Bible is REALLY OLD! And that the Bible that we hold in our hands today, is not just "one book" written at one sitting, but a collection of books rather that make up that one BIG book.
WHAT'S IN THE BIBLE
Through our co-op, I had recently learned about the What's in the Bible series, put out by the makers of Veggie Tales - and while Veggie Tales isn't necessarily "my thing" this new series sounded great!!
We watched the first one, and were then gifted the second one, by friends. They have been amazing in reemphasizing all the things we had already been talking about in a fun kid-friendly way. I would highly recommend these (at least the first two which is what we've watched already) - Though I should warn you, the kids got discs 3-9, which covers the entire Old Testament for Christmas, so you may be hearing more about them.