Restoring the Original Bible
Introduction 

 

Restoring the Original Bible

By

Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D.

This book is dedicated to
my son Samuel and his dear wife Simone

From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth,
From the laziness that is content with half-truths,
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
Oh God of Truth, deliver us.

~ Ancient Prayer

The Associates for Scriptural Knowledge
P.O. Box 25000
Portland, Oregon 97298 USA

© Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1994
Edited by David Sielaff, 2004

ISBN 0-945657-83-8

All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes, no part of
this book may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means — electronic
or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or information storage and
retrieval systems — without written permission from copyright owner.


   

Read and ListenDr. Martin has taught history for 12 years at a college in England, been the Chairman of the Department of Theology at another in California, has supervised over 450 college students at the most significant archaeological excavation ever conducted in Jerusalem for two months each year for a period of five years (and his archeological educational program was featured in the Education section of Time magazine for September 3, 1973).

He has written over a dozen major research books advertised internationally in archeological and biblical periodicals, and over 600 planetariums around the world show his astronomical and historical material at their December showings. He has written several hundred articles on biblical and historical matters and is also listed in the current editions of Who’s Who in Religion and Education, and Who’s Who in Biblical Studies and Archaeology.

Reviews about this Research ...

“Martin's work is a fascinating adventure into the world of late 2nd  Temple Judaism and emerging Christianity. It not only deals with little understood aspects of the early ‘canonization’ of both the Old and New Testaments, but it captures the ‘sound and fury’ of those turbulent times surrounding the deaths of the apostles and the Fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70 A.D. This book is highly recommended for students, non-specialists, and academics alike.”

 

Contents

Preface by David Sielaff
Restoring the Original Bible by Ernest L. Martin
Introduction by Ernest L. Martin

Chapter 1 Restoring the Original Bible
Chapter 2 The Biblical Keys to Canonization
Chapter 3 The Original Number of Old Testament Books
Chapter 4 The Tripartite Divisions
Chapter 5 The Proper Numbering of the Books
Chapter 6 The Design of the Old Testament
Chapter 7 The Temple and the Old Testament Canon
Chapter 8 The Law — the First Five Books
Chapter 9a The Prophets Division - Part 1
Chapter 9b The Prophets Division - Part 2
Chapter 10 The Writings Division
Chapter 11 The Final Three Books of the Third Division
Chapter 12a The Old Testament Periods of Canonization - Part 1
Chapter 12b The Old Testament Periods of Canonization - Part 2
Chapter 12c The Old Testament Periods of Canonization - Part 3
Chapter 13a The Need for a New Testament - Part 1
Chapter 13b The Need for a New Testament - Part 2
Chapter 13c The Need for a New Testament - Part 3
Chapter 14 The Prophetic Environment of the First Century
Chapter 15a The Book of Acts and New Testament History - Part 1
Chapter 15b The Book of Acts and New Testament History - Part 2
Chapter 16 The Jewish/Roman War and Canonization
Chapter 17 The Canonization by Peter
Chapter 18 The Authority to Canonize the New Testament
Chapter 19 The Apostle John and Canonization
Chapter 20 When Was the Book of Revelation Written?
Chapter 21 The New Testament Pentateuch
Chapter 22 The Seven General Epistles
Chapter 23a The Epistles of Paul - Part 1
Chapter 23b The Epistles of Paul - Part 2
Chapter 24 The Canonization of Paul’s Epistles
Chapter 25a The Completeness of the Canon - Part 1
Chapter 25b The Completeness of the Canon - Part 2
Chapter 26a The Rejection of the Apostle Paul - Part 1
Chapter 26b The Rejection of the Apostle Paul - Part 2
Chapter 26c The Rejection of the Apostle Paul - Part 3
Chapter 27 The Meaning of Canonization
Chapter 28 Where Was the New Testament Canonized?
Chapter 29 The Autographs of the New Testament Books
   
Appendix One Preliminary Suggestions for the Structure of the Psalms
Appendix Two The Book of Proverbs: Its Structure, Design and Teaching

 

Other books by Dr. Ernest L. Martin

The Star that Astonished the World
Secrets of Golgotha
101 Bible Secrets Christians Do Not Know
ABC’s of the Gospel
The Tithing Dilemma
The People That History Forgot
The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot
Essentials of New Testament Doctrine

A.S.K. has FREE each month a newsletter called the ASK Newsletter that keeps the general public knowledgeable of prophetic and doctrinal teachings that are up-to-date with contemporary information that people will find interesting and worthwhile in their biblical studies. It is available on our website: www.askelm.com.

 

Select Bibliography

Aland, Kurt & Aland, Barbars. The Text of the New Testament (Leiden: Brill, 1987).

Baker, David L. Two Testaments, One Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1991).

Black, D.A. & Dockery, D.S. New Testament Criticism & Interpretation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991).

Bruce, F.F. The Canon of Scripture (London: InterVarsity, 1988).

________. The History of the Bible in English (New York: Oxford, 1978).

Campenhausen, Hans. The Formation of the New Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977).

Collins, R.F. Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1983).

Comfort, Philip W. Early Manuscripts & Modern Translations of the New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1990).

________. The Origin of the Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1992).

Cullmann, Oscar. The Johannine Circle (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976).

Edersheim. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (New York: Longmans, 1896).

Eusebius. Ecclesiastical History (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1965).

________. Proof of the Gospel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981).

Filson, F.V. Which Books Belong in the Bible?  (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1957).

Finegan, J. Encountering New Testament Manuscripts (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974).

Frend, W.H.C. Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981).

Ginsburg, C. Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible (New York: KTAV, 1966).

Grant, R.M. The Apostolic Fathers, 6 vols. (Nashville: Nelson, 1968).

Gregory, C. Canon and Text of the New Testament (Edinburgh: Clark, 1924).

Guthrie, D. New Testament Introduction (London: Tyndale, 1970).

Henry, Carl F.H. God, Revelation and Authority, 4 vols. (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1979).

McKim, Donald K. The Authoritative Word (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983).

Mazar, B. The Mountain of the Lord (New York: Doubleday, 1975).

Metzger, B. The Text of the New Testament  (New York: Oxford, 1980).

________. Early Versions of the New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1977).

Moule, C.F.D. The Birth of the New Testament (London: Black, 1981).

Roberts, C.H. and Skeat, T.C. The Birth of the Codex (London: Oxford, 1987).

Robinson, J.A.T. Redating the New Testament (London: Oxford, 1987).

Schurer, E. History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, New English Version, ed. By Vermes, Millar, Black (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1979).

Stowers, Stanley K. Letter Writing in Greco-Roman Antiquity (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1986)

Sturz, Harry A. The Byzantine Text-Type and New Testament Textual Criticism (Nashville: Nelson, 1984).

Westcott, B.F. and Hort, F.J.A. Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek  (New York: Harper, 1882).

Westoctt, B.F. History of the Canon of the New Testament (London: Macmillan, 1875).

 

Preface

by David Sielaff

This book will tell you more about the Bible than you ever imagined. You will be in awe of the majesty and care with which God the Father has protected and arranged His Word through the Holy Scriptures.

The Word of God has changed over the generations as God has seen fit. God’s message to mankind was progressively revealed more and more, so that God’s purposes can be fulfilled and His ultimate aim, the reconciliation of all creation to Himself, through His Son Christ Jesus, will be accomplished. To this end the various accounts and revelations were finally compiled and arranged by the apostles themselves (and not generations after the apostles).

This book tells story of how the Bible is structured and how internal evidence from the Scriptures show God’s hand and God’s story as the final revelations were placed into the canon of your present Bible.

This book goes deep into the Word of God, exploring details that will surprise and please you. Relax and enjoy the journey, it will be pleasant.

Keep in mind while reading this book that God’s care and nurturing of His Word is a pale example of the care and nurturing He gives to each of us through His creation and through your being called to understand the Holy Scriptures.

DWS, 2004

 

Restoring the Original Bible

by Ernest L. Martin

The Guessing Game of Scholars

All scholars love to guess. I also love to guess, especially when I feel my guessing is approaching the truth. Indeed, all scholars who are in the field of discovering what represents the inspired and original canon of the Old and New Testaments often show a profound reliance on the principle of guessing.

There is nothing wrong with guessing if one has no solid evidence to support one’s position of belief. But in regard to the canonization of the Old and New Testaments most scholars feel compelled to resort wholesale to the realm of guessing.

What I wish to do in this book, however, is to present some biblical and historical facts that will have the effect of bringing us out of the guessing game (in relation to what books belong in the Bible and their proper arrangement in the Bible), and this will place all of us on a more solid ground of biblical and historical fact.

Up to now, most scholars who are the textual critics of the biblical books have guessed that the various documents that now make up our New Testament were apparently found in various church congregations scattered around the Mediterranean areas and that gradually, without any official canonization by New Testament authorities, the books of the New Testament just seemed to come together out of the clear blue sky into their present canonical form. In the opinion of most Christian theologians, it took the Christian community until the 4th century finally to accept the 27 books that now comprise our New Testament as the official canon.

This guessing game of scholars is based purely on assumption. All scholars admit, when questioned, that their guessing game has not the slightest evidence of support in a practical and biblical sense. Yet strangely, their scholarly opinions are so accepted by the general public today as being proper that most preachers, priests, evangelists, heads of denominations, etc., feel that it is the height of absurdity to question the legitimacy of their professional guessing. But why should such guessing be accepted as proper when there are historical explanations from the Bible that are far better?

This book approaches the question of what books belong in the Bible from a different point of view, and it is, as I see it, the correct one. I start with the belief that God the Father and Christ Jesus were the ones who decided what the canon of the Old and New Testaments should be, and that they gave deliberate authority to certain men to accomplish the task of canonization.

This book presents new and refreshing evidence to show that the biblical books of the basic Protestant canon are the proper and authoritative ones. This book also reveals, however, that the documents of the Bible were at first arranged differently and placed in seven major divisions that are at variance with all modern Bible versions. I show that we ought to return to the original manuscript arrangement of the biblical books. This book also reveals what the original Bible was like when it first left the hands of the authorized canonizers. It provides the proper evidence to assure all Christians today that we can have the original Bible that the official canonizers intended.

In a word, this book concerns the history (not the guessing game) of biblical canonization in regard to the number and order of the biblical books. I hope to give all readers some real facts from the Bible and history that will eliminate much of that guessing that all of us have been saddled with up to now. It is not a matter of arrogance for me to make this statement because I will present to my readers some of the most common sense evidence that anyone could ask for.

It is time to look at the Bible in a new a proper way that will dispense with much of the guessing that prevails in the theological world today about this subject. This book concerns the need for people of the world to take an interest in and to do their part in “Restoring the Original Bible.”

 ELM, 1994

Introduction

by Ernest L. Martin

There is no doubt that the world has the complete Bible in its midst. One of them is the beloved King James Version published in 1611. There have been many other complete versions produced over the last 100 years. So, why do we need a “Restoring of the Original Bible”? The fact is, there needs to be a drastic revision within all Bible translations and versions (and that means all Bibles in existence no matter in what languages they have been published). Truly, there is not a Bible on the market today which follows the arrangement of the earliest manuscripts. One might think that such a state of affairs could not exist, but it does. Publishers have assiduously neglected to produce a complete Bible which positions the books in the correct manuscript order. The outcome has been a mass of Bible translations and versions which are literally topsy-turvy in their design and arrangement.

One might at first glance dismiss this infraction as being of minor consequence. But this represents a prime misjudgment when anyone looks seriously at the issue. In truth, the Bible of the manuscripts has all its divisions, parts and order of books in a symmetrical balance which shows a harmonious story flow from beginning to end. But theologians and publishers have abandoned all attempts to restore this Bible to the general public.

Look at it this way. Suppose you bought a novel containing 49 chapters which introduced the various characters and plot in a progressive way from start to finish. Would it not be difficult to understand what the plot was all about if, in the first 22 chapters, chapter 16 followed immediately after chapter 6, and especially if the chapters were not properly numbered? What then if chapter 22 were placed after chapter 7, chapter 22 before 21, chapter 14 after 21, chapters 12 and 13 followed 14, chapter 18 positioned after 13, chapter 17 followed 8 and 9, chapter 20 after 10, and finally chapter 11 came after chapter 20? This would represent utter confusion. But if one reckons the chapters of our hypothetical novel as being the books of the Old Testament, this is the exact sequence we are saddled with in our present Bibles.

Let’s not stop with the Old Testament. Look at what has happened when we add the 27 New Testament books. Return once more to the illustration of our novel. It means that chapters 23 to 27 follow immediately after chapter 11. Chapters 28 to 34 are found after chapter 44, while chapter 44 itself follows chapter 48, and chapters 35 to 43 are positioned after chapter 27. This is further confusion.

Some might say, however, that a comparison of the Bible with a novel is not proper. But this is exactly where the first mistake is made in appreciating the manuscript order of the biblical documents. It will be shown in this book that there is a definite weaving together of a single story theme through the biblical books. And it is a remarkably consistent account which often amazes people when they see it for the first time.

The only reason that such a homogeneous narrative has not been recognized by most people today is because none of our published Bibles has the books of the Old and New Testaments in the original manuscript order. When the proper design is restored, a marvelous and revealing series of connected subjects is seen running through the Bible which illustrates a compatible and coherent account from beginning to end. This book will reveal some of those amazing relationships which exist between and among the various books. This information may well prove to be an eye opener to many students of the Bible—facts that have never been realized before.

Other matters are considered in the body of this book. It will be seen that the responsibility for canonizing the New Testament fell to the apostles themselves. It was they who had the authority to write and collect the various books of the New Testament, and that two apostles in particular were given the special assignment of formulating the New Testament into a complete and final canon. It will also be shown that the original number of both the Old and New Testament books should be reckoned as 49—not the 66 that we have in our modern Bibles. The present enumeration reflects a numerical pattern which is very foreign to the original. Indeed, some Bibles even have an extra eleven (and some fourteen) books included in their contents. This divergence represents an abandonment of the original number and arrangement of the books.

The subject of this book is almost like an adventure story—a story of re-discovery. Yet, in actual fact, looking at the New Testament alone, this book contains not one bit of new evidence (regarding the manuscript order of the biblical books) that has not been known by New Testament textual scholars for over a century and a half. It is an incredible circumstance that most readers of the Bible are totally ignorant of this evidence (and this includes most preachers, evangelists, priests and even theologians).

Such proof has long been in the hands of scholars who have professionally dealt with the New Testament manuscripts, but even here, not one attempt has been made to provide the English-speaking world with a complete Bible which follows the manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments. It is even rare that the introductions to any English version deem it necessary to inform the general public what the manuscript order really is, and even then it is usually a brief and inconsequential reference that the reader would hardly think significant. The situation is best described as being a sad state of affairs. Indeed, in comparing the original manuscript arrangement of the Old and New Testament books, our modern versions are in utter shambles.

This chaos in respect to the manuscript order of the biblical books needs rectifying. It is time that the world is presented with the real “Manuscript Version of the Bible.” Publishing such a work would provide a proper canon of the Bible. The word “canon” means rule or standard. But it is a fact that no version being published today resembles the canonical Bible of the manuscripts (and this includes the most prestigious modern versions). But why not? Should not Christians want to perpetuate the biblical canon devised by the men who formed it? Yes, this is what the world desperately needs. Such a version (the proper one) is long overdue.

In this book we provide a great deal of internal evidence from the Bible itself which goes a long way in showing that the early manuscript order of the books is correct. It is time for the guessing game to cease. This erroneous order has been imposed upon the world since the time the Latin Vulgate was produced by Jerome in the 5th century after Christ. This improper arrangement of the biblical books needs to be abandoned. The fact is, the historical and biblical evidence for understanding the canonization is quite replete. Scholars should accept this evidence (especially that which comes from the Bible and the manuscripts) instead of continuing in their guessing game.

The scholars particularly need to return to the evidence from the manuscripts themselves. Doing so will reveal significant biblical themes that could not be observed otherwise. There is one theme which is most important. If the books of the Old and New Testaments are restored to their manuscript arrangement, the center books become those which describe the life and times of Jesus Christ. In a word, the manuscripts show that Jesus Christ is featured as the focal point (the fulcrum) of all Scripture (both Old and New Testaments). But this feature can only be observed when we have our Bibles in the manuscript order of the books.

In this book I stress the importance of letting the Bible itself speak about its own origin and arrangement of the biblical books. It is now being recognized in the scholarly world that such internal evidence is a valuable tool in understanding canonical matters. This book provides a considerable amount of information on this internal evidence that is often overlooked by many students of the Scripture.

When people allow the Bible itself to be its own interpreter to show the proper doctrinal principles that govern the whole issue of canonization, we find that much of the guessing that scholars have resorted to up to now can be replaced with sensible and reasonable information so that those who love the biblical revelation can rely on with confidence.

In this book I will place the emphasis of importance on what the Bible itself teaches about its own rules that govern canonization. This procedure is a refreshing approach to research study which will put in people’s hands, for the first time in our modern period, the correct tools to decide properly which books belong in the canon, which ones do not, and in what order the biblical books ought to be placed. The research in this book will reveal why the original manuscript order of the divine canon gives the correct arrangement of the real Holy Scriptures that left the hands of the prophets and apostles.

What is especially beneficial from this research is the fact that all teachings in the Bible become clearer and plainer when the biblical books are placed back in their correct order. It is truly amazing what the books of the Bible have to tell us when we read the Holy Scriptures in the context that was first intended by those who officially canonized the Bible.

It is proper that the world, for the first time in over 1600 years, be given the real Bible of the official and authorized canonizers. Thankfully, as of 1991, some top theological scholars now realize the need to reproduce for the first time in modern history “the original Bible.” Within the next five years this proper version should be available and in bookstores around the world. It will show what the original Bible was like when it was first canonized. This present book is published simply to give research which can lead the way in showing the need for returning to the proper Bible of the prophets and apostles. The information in the following pages of this book will demonstrate in the clearest of ways why this modern world needs a “Restoring of the Original Bible.”


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