Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

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13. Historicity of the OT

In this chapter, we will look at how the Hebrew Bible was written and compiled, how the canon was established, and a few other issues, such as apparent contradictions and the use of large numbers, such as the ages of people before the flood.

If you want some more technical information about how the Old Testament was written and transmitted to us today, here is a PDF on Digging Deeper into Hebrew.

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Discussion questions

  1. Without knowing all the ins and outs of how we got the Old Testament, is it fair to say that if Jesus and Paul accepted it, so should we?
  2. Why do you think it is significant that Jesus talked about “the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44)?
  3. Have you ever read any books in the Apocrypha? If so, do you believe they should or should not be included in the canon?
  4. Have you ever heard someone base a belief on a passage from the OT Apocrypha?
  5. Have you ever heard someone point out a contradiction in the Old Testament?
  6. What does it mean that the Old Testament is often recursive? How might that affect our understanding of the accounts?
  7. Do the large numbers in the Old Testament bother you? Do you really think a person could live for hundreds of years before the flood?
  8. Is it fair to distinguish between how the ancient culture treated women to how God told the Jewish nation to treat women? What are some examples in the Bible of how God has revealed his will over time?