Today, we think of private reading as the only way to read the Bible. But in the Middle Ages, the public reading of the Bible was what made it more accessible to more people.
Now, of course the big problem was it was in Latin and sometimes it was not read very faithfully. So there are challenges, yes. But no one took the Bible from the laity, rather the cost was prohibitive. You couldn't have a Bible.
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And it was only when Gutenberg came along and he dropped the price because he made it so cheap and easy to reproduce that it really changed. Who wrote the Bible? Are you asking which person wrote the Bible? Or, which authority helped create the Bible? Which authority superseded the Bible?
He calls, empowers and equips people to write the text of the scriptures themselves. So, for example, we affirm both that the New Testament is God's Word. And yet there are Paul 's letters, his personal letters to the churches where he gives instructions. In the end, the individual person wrote the Bible, under the inspiration, which included their talents, their word choice, their style of writing—it wasn't like a magic Harry Potter pen going across the page as they watched it being written for them.
In other scriptures of other religions, there is usually a specific time when it was written by one person. First from the time of Moses all the way through the patriarchy through King David's time, all the way into the exile, the Babylonian exile, the intertestamental period, and so on. Centuries, and centuries, and centuries of the church's history, from Israel all the way into the New Testament. It is not written in one moment, rather it is written in pieces. In fact, the journey from the beginning of the Old Testament to the end of the New Testament is a long one that takes you through centuries of God's people, and actually points you out as you go into all the Earth to share the gospel.
View the free preview here:. The History of the Bible. How did we get the Bible?
When was the Bible written? How can we trust the Bible? How we got the Bible.
The history of the Bible
Which translation is best? This course will help you read the Bible better, taking you on a journey from ancient manuscripts to the book on your dining room table. View Course. Related Posts. ZA Blog April 3, Jeremy Bouma October 2, Your form could not be submitted. Please check errors and resubmit. Later, the government beheaded Kang, as well as the priest and many other church leaders, in what later became known as the Sinyu Persecution of For the first time, Catholicism itself was officially prohibited nationwide.
Despite being started by aristocratic men, the first Korean Christians understood that the church was for all people. In a society stratified by ancestry and segregated by gender, early Christian communities included women and people of different ranks, and those from outcaste groups. Some aristocrats who converted to Catholicism or were sympathetic to the faith disguised their views, caring for exiled believers by allowing them to live on land they owned in more remote mountain areas or islands.
Some of the exiled made their living as potters and itinerant tradespeople who spread the faith by disseminating Catholic literature and religious objects across the country. The first Korean priest, Kim Dae-geon Andrew , was ordained in after receiving religious training in other parts of Asia. However, shortly after re-entering Korea, Kim was discovered with incriminating Korean-language Christian texts and images.
The authorities learned that he had been trying to help French priests enter the country from China and he was executed. News of the incursions of Western powers and spread of Western ideas into China increasingly alarmed the Korean government, driving it to further isolationism and more aggressive suppression of Catholicism. In addition to starting their own churches, Korean Protestants also lobbied for the entry of Western missionaries and supported their work.
There were at least two seedbeds of Protestantism in Korea.
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The party taught the missionaries the Korean language and helped them translate the Chinese Bible. The second seedbed was Sorae, on the west coast, the hometown of one of the first Protestant evangelists, Suh Sang-ryun — Suh carried copies of a Korean translation of the Gospel of Luke there and began to pastor a group of Korean believers. By the s, the Confucian order was crumbling and Korean sovereignty was threatened not only by Western powers but also by the rise of Japan. Progressive Koreans sought to modernize the country and pressed for the entry of foreign missionaries to help with medicine and education.
Some saw Christianity as the religious or ideological basis of Western society, believing the nation would benefit from a spiritual renewal of the people. Underwood, a Northern Presbyterian, and Appenzeller, a Northern Methodist, disembarked together from the same ship in Many of the first believers they baptized in Seoul were from Sorae.
One Protestant progressive was Yun Chi-ho — , an aristocrat who had become a Christian at the Anglo-Chinese School in Shanghai, while in exile following the failure of a coup in He urged them to send missionaries and also offered financial support for them.
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Yun, like many future Christian leaders, regarded Christianity as a new energy for national revival. Despite the efforts of Yun and others, Western missionary numbers were comparatively low in Korea. Moreover, many missionaries did not master the Korean language, so they were dependent on their Korean co-workers for evangelistic work. In traditional Korea, male missionaries were prohibited from conversing with Korean women and from gaining access to the anbang , a private room for women in a Korean home.
In fact, most of them were wives who had been neglected by their husbands in the patriarchal society of Korea. Nevertheless, they served as role models for modern women through their witness and Christian teaching, which included the principle of equality and the rights of women. As she walked it, she was sometimes verbally attacked, refused food by local people, and once imprisoned. Despite the opposition, Dorcas continued to evangelize Korea.
While spiritual in nature, the revival cannot be understood apart from the political context of the time. The power struggle in East Asia in was gradually being won by Japan, who defeated China in , and Russia. In , Japan would annex Korea and it would cease to exist as a separate country until the defeat of the Japanese Empire in The famous revival in occurred at a time of crisis as the nation was being lost.
Kil Sun-ju — , who was ordained later in as one of the first ministers of the newly established Presbyterian Church of Korea, was the central leader of the revival. Before he converted to Protestantism, he had been deeply engrossed in Daoist ascetic practices.
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As foreign powers encroached on Korea, Kil searched for another religion that was socially engaged and offered hope for the future to save the country from its fate. While losing his sight, Kil was introduced to Christianity by a Christian friend who asked him whether he could pray to God as father. Kil and others preached across the country as the revival spread further to China and Manchuria. The religious movement also took on political overtones and became increasingly associated with Korean nationalism.
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Kil was one of the key leaders in the Independence Movement of March 1, , against the Japanese colonization of the country. The revival had lasting effects on Korean Christianity and on Korea. Indigenous Christian rituals such as sagyeonhoe Bible study and the Bible-examining meetings , saebyoek gido dawn prayer meetings , and tongseong gido collective audible prayer were formulated as part of Protestant practice.
Korean Christian leaders led nationwide educational movements with the vision of making Korea a Christian nation. The Great Revival transformed Protestantism from a foreign religion to a new national religion, laying the foundation for the most remarkable church growth in Asia in the 20th century and positioning South Korea as a global center of Christianity.
Hoon Ko is a PhD candidate in intercultural studies at Fuller Theological Seminary researching how Korean Protestant preachers contributed to national revival from to Sections Home.