The Bible’s Authority on Leadership (New Testament)

March 16, 2013 — Leave a comment

After taking a look yesterday at why the Old Testament of the Bible Has Authority on Leadership, it is now important to look at why the New Testament has authority on leadership.

Picture of Greek Bible

Photo Credit: ideacreamanuela2

The New Testament is the smaller half of the Bible. It consists of 27 books. Five of those books are narrative books which simply retell events, 21 are letters to churches and individuals, and the other book is Revelation which is of prophesy.

Care by Scribes

For centuries both Jews and Christians took great care when making copies of the books of the Bible. These men were called “Scribes,” and their only job was to take delicate care of the ancient manuscripts which were at that time written on papyrus.

When copying the manuscripts the Scribes would take a measurement to the center of the page and identify which letter was there, then as they copied, they would ensure that they copied the same information by measuring the news manuscript to see if that same letter ended up in the center of the page. They also would double check the first letter of every line to make sure they had not skipped a line or had copied the same line twice. This was an extremely delicate process.

Rick Warren shares in his blog post, “The Bible is Historically Accurate,” that these Scribes had a specific number of columns that had to be the same in length. Additionally, the Scribes knew knew how many times specific words had to occur in each book and if that specific number of words did not appear in the newly copied manuscript, the Scribe would start over.

Many Manuscripts

Fortunately for us as Christians, over 4,000 copies of sections of the New Testament have been discovered. Among these thousands of different copies there are small word or sentence differences in the biblical text. However, these word and sentence differences are dealt with carefully in order to make sure we understand what the Bible teaches. Because of the deep knowledge we have about biblical Greek, some of these “errors” or differences among words can be corrected simply because some words look out of place or do not fit the grammatical structure. Thus biblical scholars know which of the contradicting texts is correct.

Meanwhile, because of the enormous amount of ancient texts that have been discovered, scholars are able to deduce the correct or more original form of what was said. If 25 of the texts say one word, and only one other text has a different word, then it is likely that the 25 texts contain the correct form of the word. Additionally, Greek is a very exacting and specific language. The text of the Greek New Testament is unique because ancient texts contain no spaces between words and no punctuation marks. They were either all upper case or all lower case, and there were no periods. Basically, the text was all one big chunk of letters:

suchasthisiswheniwritetoyouwithoutusingspacesorpuncationmarks.

One interesting fact is that in our current day, the “alphabet” which we call our letters in English is derived from both the Hebrew and Greek languages of the Bible. The letters “alpha” and “beta” are the first two letters of the Greek aplabet as well as in Hebrew.

When looking at the Bible as an authority on leadership we can be very grateful to the Scribes who were careful to make copies of the text and to the generations of Jews and Christians who preserved the biblical manuscripts for us. Because of them we have a Bible we can use as an authority on leadership.

Question: What thoughts do you have about the Bible’s authority on leadership?

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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