“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Gospel of John 3:16
Cross Publications devotes this site to the Bible, particularly the New Testament, which is the same for all of Christianity. We also sponsor the Christianity Ring, dedicated to Christian unity, as in the times of Jesus.
The Bible portrays the undying love God our Creator shows for mankind. The Bible tells of God giving his son Jesus to save humanity, and sending the Holy Spirit to guide us. The Bible serves as a guide for a happy life on earth, gives prophecy on the end times, and helps us reach heaven in the after-life.
Cross Publications sponsors the Christianity Ring.
Would you like to join?
The Christianity Ring
The Bible is the Word of God and is composed of both the Old and New Testaments.
The Old Testament relates God’s Creation of the world, the story of Adam and Eve, Moses receiving the Ten Commandments, and the prophecies of the Messiah. There are over 300 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, perhaps the most amazing being Daniel 9:24-27, which actually predicted the time of the Messiah to that of the time of Jesus!
The Old Testament is Hebrew Scripture or Tanakh, and is composed of the Law, or Torah, which contains the Pentateuch of Moses; the Prophets, or Neviim, which includes the former prophets (also known as the Historical Books), the major prophets, and the minor prophets; and the Writings, or Ketuvim, which comprise a body of poetry, songs, and wisdom literature. The Law was known as Scripture as early as II Kings 22-23. The three-fold division of Hebrew Scripture was evident at the time of Jesus, who referred to “The Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms [Luke 24:44].” The Old Testament was composed in Hebrew, except for the following written in Aramaic – Genesis 31:47, Jeremiah 10:11, Ezra 4:8-6:18 and 7:22-26, and nearly half of the Book of Daniel 2:4-7:28.
The writings of the Old Testament were preserved in three languages – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and have been passed on to us mainly through 4 manuscripts: the Greek Septuagint from Alexandria; the Masoretic Hebrew text; the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls of the Essenes; and the Targums, translations of the Old Testament Books into Aramaic. The differing traditions have led to the disparity found in the Old Testament canons among major religions.
The oldest surviving translation of Hebrew Scripture is the Greek Septuagint, which was undertaken in Egypt in the third century before Christ (BC). The Greek Septuagint Old Testament was in circulation at the time of Christ, and was widely read. In fact, the majority of Old Testament quotations in the New Testament are from the Greek Septuagint Old Testament. When Jesus read Isaiah [61:1-2] in the synagogue at Nazareth [Luke 4:16-19], he followed the language of the Greek Septuagint. The early Christian Churches referred to the Septuagint as the source of Scripture. The Orthodox Churches have retained the Septuagint for their canon of the Old Testament to the present day!
Following the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD, the rabbinical school of the Pharisees in Jamnia (also known as Jabneh or Yavneh) became a center of religious thought. Faced with the rapid emergence of Christianity, they were believed to have held a Council in 96 AD to affirm the books traditional to Judaism. Jamnia used 4 criteria to determine which books should be retained for the canon of Hebrew Scripture: the book had to conform to the Pentateuch; it could not have been written after the time of Ezra (circa 400 BC); it had to be written in Hebrew; and it had to be written in Palestine. Jamnia accepted 10 books less than the Greek Septuagint Old Testament. The Masoretic Text developed from the fifth through tenth century reflected the Hebrew canon of Jamnia.
In summary, the canon of the Old Testament at present lacks uniformity among modern Christianity, for Catholics and Eastern Orthodox continue to refer to the Greek Septuagint as Old Testament while Protestants chose the books of the Hebrew canon of Jamnia. See the Canon of the Old Testament for a more complete discussion.
It was St. Augustine who best explained the relationship of the Old and New Testaments:
“The new lies hidden in the old, the old is made manifest in the new.”
The New Testament recorded the oral tradition of the Life and Teachings of Jesus, his Passion, Death and Resurrection, and the formation of the early Christian community, the Church.
The canon of the New Testament is exactly the same for all of Christianity! There are 27 Books of the New Testament. Three Fathers of the Church – Athanasius of Alexandria in 367, Jerome in Bethlehem in 390, and Augustine of Hippo in 393 – called these 27 Books the inspired Word of God. The Books of the New Testament are the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Acts of the Apostles, the 14 Letters of Paul (including Hebrews), the 7 catholic or universal letters, and the Book of Revelation.
The earliest discovered manuscripts of the New Testament were written in Greek. Jesus and his Apostles spoke Aramaic, as this was the common language at the time in Palestine. Several Aramaic words and expressions were preserved in the writings of the New Testament, such as the following examples. Jesus addressed God in prayer, using the Aramaic word Abba, the affectionate term for “Father” [Mark 14:36]. Jesus raised the child by calling out Talitha cumi, which means “little girl, arise” in Mark 5:41. He cured the man who was deaf and dumb by speaking Ephphatha, meaning “be opened” in Mark 7:34. Jesus refers to hell as Gehenna in Mark 9:42-50. Jesus cried out from the cross Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani, that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34]. Jesus used Aramaic words twice in referring to Peter: he used the prefix Bar-, “the son of,” (not the Hebrew Ben) when he called Peter Bar-Jonah, the son of Jonah [Matthew 16:17]; and he called Peter Cephas, the Aramaic word for rock in John 1:42. The Maronite Eastern Catholic Church in Lebanon still celebrates part of the Mass in Aramaic.
The Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John proclaim the “Good News” of the coming of Jesus Christ. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels, as they parallel each other. The Gospel of John is an unparalleled spiritual and theological work. There are three stages in the development of the Gospel narrative: the teachings of Jesus himself; the oral tradition of the Apostles, who handed down the teachings of Jesus to the early Christian community, the Church; and finally, the inspired written Word of Scripture. The Bible was written within the Church. It is now thought the concise narrative Gospel of Mark was the first formally written Gospel (64 to 70 AD), and served as a source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Considering the impact of his life and teaching, it is remarkable the Ministry of Jesus lasted such a short time!
The Acts of the Apostles is the second Book written by Luke, and describes the explosive growth of Christianity following the Pentecost, the Descent of the Holy Spirit. The Acts describes the growth of the early Christian community, the Church, from Jerusalem and Antioch to the Gentiles in Asia Minor and Rome, focusing primarily on the activities of Peter and Paul.
There are 14 Letters of Paul that are part of the canon of the New Testament.
The Pauline corpus begins with the Letter to the Romans, a key theological work that emphasizes God’s righteousness that saves all who believe. The letter begins and ends with the ideal Christian response to our merciful Saviour, “the obedience of faith [Romans 1:5, 16:26].” FirstCorinthians gives us an insight into the early Christian community, while SecondCorinthians is personal in nature and reveals much about Paul’s character. Galatians emphasizes the way to salvation is through Christ and the Cross. Ephesians is the Pauline letter on the Church. Paul’s first Christian community were the Philippians, and the letter shows his great love for the Gospel and his converts. Colossians continues the discussion of the relationship of Christ and his Church. The first writings to become part of the New Testament were First and SecondThessalonians, written in 51 AD. First and SecondTimothy and Titus are the Pastoral Epistles. He breathes love and equality into the ancient and accepted institution of slavery in the Letter to Philemon. The Letter to the Hebrews is an outstanding treatise on the priesthood of Jesus, who perfected Revelation by his one Sacrifice which established God’s New Covenant. Of the 14 letters originally attributed to Paul, all but the Letter to the Hebrews begin with his name. The early Church Fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria, who lived in the second century, stated that Paul wrote Hebrews: “the Epistle to the Hebrews is the work of Paul, and that it was written to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language; but that Luke translated it carefully and published it for the Greeks, and hence the same style of expression is found in this epistle and in the Acts. But he says that the words, ‘Paul the Apostle’, were probably not employed, because, in sending it to the Hebrews, who were prejudiced and suspicious of him, he wisely did not wish to repel them at the very beginning by giving his name.” Consistent with the early Church Fathers, Jerome attributed Hebrews to Paul, when he translated the Greek version of the New Testament into Latin in the Fourth Century.
The seven catholic or universal Letters of James (1), Peter (2), John (3), and Jude (1) are so called because they are addressed to all the Churches, unlike the letters of Paul, which are addressed to a particular community [Romans, Corinthians, and so on]. They were open letters that concerned themselves with different themes pertinent to Christians. The Letter of James emphasizes that faith without works is dead. First Peter shows us the mission of the early Church in the midst of a hostile society, and provides direction for Christian behavior in the world. Second Peter portrays the effort early Christians made, inspired by the hope of Christ’s second coming. First John expresses God’s love and forgiveness in the face of the universality of sin, and asserts the humanity and Divinity of Jesus. Second John also serves as a warning against heresy in the early Church, while Third John is a valuable testimony to the fidelity of the early Christian communities. The Book of Jude gives encouragement to fidelity in the Christian faith and notes the moral implications of the Gospel message. The mysterious Book of Jude also described a phenomenon noted in some anesthetic patients with near-death experiences: “They are like wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shameless deeds, wandering stars for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved forever [Jude 1:13].”
The Book of Revelation is the final Book of the New Testament, and is the only apocalyptic work of the New Testament. The Book of Revelation is at once frightening, as it speaks of the rise of the antichrist and the end of the age, dramatic as it describes the final battle of good and evil, and, above all, optimistic, as it points to the triumph of Jesus Christ over evil and the dawn of a new creation. Written by John, it has fascinated readers for centuries, as it prophesizes about the End Times, a time which may be drawing near.
1 Minto AL. Biblical Foundations. Course Lectures and Texts, Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio, 2002.
2 Miletic SF. Principles of Biblical Study – The New Testament. Course Lecture and Texts, Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio, 1999.
3 Coogan MD (ed): The New Oxford Annotated Bible – an Ecumenical Study Bible, Third Edition. New Revised Standard Version. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001.
4 The Navarre Bible. New Testament – Revised Standard Version. Four Courts Press, Dublin, Ireland, 2001.
5 Young FM. Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
6 Berry GB. The Interlinear KJV – Parallel New Testament in Greek and English. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2000.
7 Pontifical Biblical Commission. The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church. Pauline Books & Media, Boston, Mass, 1993.
8 The Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible, St. Ignatius Catholic Edition, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1966.
9 Lienhard JT. The Bible, The Church, and Authority – The Canon of the Christian Bible. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1995.
10 The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Second Edition. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2000.
11 Ratzinger JC. Introduction to Christianity. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1990.
12 Flannery, Austin (ed). On Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), from Vatican Council II, 1965, Dominican Publications, Dublin, Ireland, 1998.
13 The Douay-Rheims Holy Bible. Old Testament, English College of Douai, 1609; New Testament, English College of Rheims, France, 1582. Revision, Bishop Challoner, 1749-1752, England. John Murphy Co., Baltimore, Maryland, 1914.
14 The Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible. England, 1611. The Gideons International, Nashville, Tennessee, 1978.
15 Johnson LT. The First and Second Letters to Timothy. Anchor Bible Series, Doubleday, New York, 2001.
16 Clifford RJ, Murphy RE, in Brown RE, Fitzmeyer JA, Murphy RE (eds): The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1990.
17 Ware T. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, New York, 1978.
18 Goodspeed EJ. The Apocrypha. University of Chicago Press, 1938. Reprint, Random House, New York, 1959.
19 Jensen J. God’s Word to Israel. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1988.
20 Johnson LT. The Writings of the New Testament. Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1986.
21 The Holy Scripture. Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia, 1993.
22 Rappaport U. Dead Sea Scrolls. Israeli Publishing Institute, Jerusalem, 1967. Reprint. Harvey House, Irvington-on-Hudson, New York.
23 Vanderkam JC. The Dead Sea Scrolls Today. WB Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1994.
24 Vermes G. The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 4th Edition. Penguin, London, 1995.
25 Josephus Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews. Translation by William Whiston, London, 1733. JC Winston, Philadelphia.