A little Bible History
From Chuck Lane

I. From Moses to the Second Temple: Establishing the Old Testament Canon (Book of Psalms)

  • Circa B.C. 1400–400 - The manuscripts comprising the original Hebrew Bible (39 Old Testament books) are completed. The Book of the Law is kept in the tabernacle and later in the Temple beside the Ark of the Covenant. (Nebuchadnezzar destroys Solomon’s temple 587 BC; Zerubbabel and the first wave of captives return to Jerusalem and build the foundation of the second temple 538-520 (construction was halted for 12 years), resumed and completed 521-516 then dedicated 515. https://www.learnreligions.com/history-of-the-bible-timeline-700157

II. Early Church and New Testament Canon


  • 140-150 Marcion’s heretical “New Testament” incites orthodox Christians to establish a NT canon


· Heresy: Marcionism

Marcionism is a heresy that is attributed to an early church figure by the name of Marcion of Sinope . Marcion was the son of a bishop and moved to Rome about 135 AD. Marcion, who was denounced by the early church fathers including Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian in the second century, taught a dualistic belief in a distinction between the God of the Old Testament (demiurge) and the God of the New Testament.

According to Marcionism, the God of the Old Testament was a ruthless, bloodthirsty evil God who desired only to pour out His wrath upon creation, whereas, the God of the New Testament was a benevolent savior of love who was opposed to the God of the Old Testament and came to offset the Old Testament God. Marcionite theology teaches that the Old Testament God entrapped creation into a physical universe and that Jesus, unrelated to the Old Testament God and previously unknown to creation, came to free humanity.

Many of Marcion’s teachings align with Gnostic teachings.

Key tenets of Marcionism include:

  • Jesus was not Jewish, but a spiritual entity
  • Jesus did not have a physical body (Docetism)
  • Jesus is not related to the Old Testament God

· The Old Testament God is evil, the New Testament God is good

· The Hebrew Scriptures have no authority over Christians https://reformationcharlotte.org/2019/03/17/heresy-marcionism/

  • Early Church Heresies – The Second Century

Beginning with the apostle Paul, the leaders of the early church had to address wrong-headed ideas that threatened the integrity of the gospel message.


· The first historical reference listing the exact 27 writings in the orthodox New Testament is in the Easter Letter of Athanasius in 367 AD. http://www.churchhistory101.com/docs/New-Testament-Canon.pdf


  • On February 23, 303, on the Terminalia feast, Emperor Diocletian , by proposal of Galerius, issued a persecutory edict. The edict prescribed:
  • Destroying of churches and burning of the Holy Scriptures
  • Confiscation of church property

· Banning Christians from undertaking collective legal action

· Loss of privileges for Christians of high rank who refused to recant

  • The arrest of some state officials.

At that time, Galerius held the position of Caesar of the Roman Empire , the second most important position after the Emperors.

In 305 Diocletian abdicated; Galerius, his successor, continued persecution in the East until 311, when he granted Christians forgiveness, freedom of worship and, implicitly, the status of religio licita.

In 311, the dying Emperor Galerius ended the Diocletianic Persecution that he is reputed to have instigated, and in 313, Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan , granting to Christians and others "the right of open and free observance of their worship". [26]


  • Constantine (306-337) united east and west
    Constantine, the son of Constantius I (Chlorus) and Flavius Helena (said by Saint Ambrose to have been an innkeeper and by Chesterton and later historians to have possibly been a Briton) accompanied his father from Boulogne to York. There, in AD306 his father died and Constantine was proclaimed Augustus - ruler of the Roman Empire - at York. Eventually he was to become known to posterity as the Emperor Constantine the Great. http://www.oodegr.com/english/istorika/britain/British_Orthodoxy.htm

    In the spring of 311, with 40,000 soldiers behind him, Constantine rode toward Rome to confront an enemy whose numbers were four times his own. Maxentius, . . .

On the eve of the battle, Constantine saw a vision in the afternoon sky: a bright cross with the words By this sign conquer. As the story goes, Christ himself told Constantine in a dream to take the cross into battle as his standard. When he awoke early the next morning, the young commander obeyed the message and ordered his soldiers to mark their shields with the now famous Chi-Rho.


· Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity .

Constantine was the first emperor to stop the persecution of Christians and to legalize Christianity, along with all other religions/cults in the Roman Empire. In February 313, he met with Licinius in Milan and developed the Edict of Milan , which stated that Christians should be allowed to follow their faith without oppression.

He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325 , which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed . [4] The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem and became the holiest place in Christendom .


· One purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of the Son in his relationship to the Father: in particular, whether the Son had been 'begotten' by the Father from his own being, and therefore having no beginning, or else created out of nothing, and therefore having a beginning. [12] St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the popular presbyter Arius , from whom the term Arianism comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250–318 attendees, all but two agreed to sign the creed and these two, along with Arius, were banished to Illyria).


The following table, which indicates by [square brackets] the portions of the 325 text that were omitted or moved in 381, and uses italics to indicate what phrases, absent in the 325 text, were added in 381, juxtaposes the earlier (AD 325) and later (AD 381) forms of this Creed in the English translation given in Philip Schaff 's compilation The Creeds of Christendom (1877)


First Council of Nicaea (325)

First Council of Constantinople (381)

We believe in one God , the Father Almighty , Maker of all things visible and invisible.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God , begotten of the Father [the only-begotten ; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God,] Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father ;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons) , Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;

By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth];

by whom all things were made;

Who for us men, and for our salvation , came down and was incarnate and was made man;

who for us men, and for our salvation, came downfrom heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;

He suffered , and the third day he rose again , ascended into heaven;

he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate , and suffered, and was buried , and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven , and sitteth on the right hand of the Father ;

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead .

from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead . ;


whose kingdom shall have no end .

And in the Holy Ghost .

And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.


In one holy catholic and apostolic Church ; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead , and the life of the world to come . Amen.

[But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable'— they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.]



III. The Latin Psalter and Liturgy of the Hours


The Latin Psalters are the translations of the Book of Psalms into the Latin language. They are the premier liturgical resource used in the Liturgy of the Hours of the Latin Rites of the Roman Catholic Church . These translations are typically placed in a separate volume or a section of the breviary called the psalter, in which the psalms are arranged to be prayed at the canonical hours of the day. In the Middle Ages , psalters were often lavish illuminated manuscripts , and in the Romanesque and early Gothic period were the type of book most often chosen to be richly illuminated.

The Latin Church has a diverse selection of more-or-less different full translations of the psalms. Three of these translations, the Romana, Gallicana, and juxta Hebraicum, have been traditionally ascribed to Jerome (347-420 A.D) , the author of the Latin Vulgate . Related too is Jerome's Gallican psalter (versio gallicana), made between 386 and 389, which was translated from the Greek text of the Hexaplar Septuagint . Later, ca. 392, Jerome translated the book of psalms from Hebrew, this translation is called the versio juxta Hebraicum.


The Liturgy of the Hours is the official set of prayers "marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer". [3] It consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns, readings and other prayers and antiphons .


The English term ( Old English psaltere, saltere ) derives from Church Latin . The source term is Latin : psalterium, which is simply the name of the Book of Psalms (in secular Latin, it is the term for a stringed instrument, from Ancient Greek : ψαλτήριον psalterion).

Dedicated psalters, as distinct from copies of the Psalms in other formats, e.g. as part of a full edition of the Old Testament, were first developed in the Latin West in the 6th century in Ireland and from about 700 on the continent .


IV. Rome in the British Isles

· Before Christianity, the British Isles were inhabited by pagan Celtic tribes. English tradition links the introduction of Christianity to Britain to the Glastonbury legend of Josef of Arimathea. Then Christianity was introduced through the Romans (Roman invasion: 55/54 B.C. – 407 A.D.). The Romano-British population after the withdrawal of the Roman legions (407 A.D.) was mostly Christian. https://urok.1sept.ru/статьи/310161/

· In the tradition of the Church, Christianity was brought by people from the region of Ephesus and established in the British Isles by AD45. . . . These five councils ruled that the Church in the British Isles is the oldest Church in the gentile world

Saint Aristibule (Aristobulus, one of the Seventy Apostles mentioned in the Gospel of Saint Luke 10:1) who died circa AD90, as Bishop of Britain, was one of the early organisers of Christianity among the Celts in Britony and Britain

Saint Athanasius specifically states that the British Church recorded her agreement to the decisions of the First Ecumenical Council held at Nicaea in 325.

Very soon after the importation of monasticism from Egypt (Alexandria) to the Eastern Empire, it appeared in the British Church and quickly became extremely popular.


  • Also called the Roman Wall, Picts' Wall, or Vallum Hadriani in Latin, was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia , begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian . . . .and was largely completed in six years. [19]



· the Venerable Bede reports in his History of the English Church and People that in 156, during the reign of Roman emperor Marcus Antoninus, a British king named Lucius wrote Pope Eleutherus in Rome requesting instruction in the Christian faith. (Historians contest this date, pointing out Eleutherus did not become pope until 171 at the earliest.) Bede writes: "This pious request was quickly granted, and the Britons received the Faith and held it peacefully in all its purity and fullness until the time of the Emperor Diocletian."


· Rome sacked in 410 (Led to period of 3 dukes)

Saint Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre visited Britain twice, advising the British Bishops in setting up schools for Ordinands, and securing the banishment of the few remaining Pelagian heretics. He led a Christian army in an apparently bloodless victory against the combined Picts and Saxons in the north in 431c. He is recorded as preaching very effectively at Glastonbury during his second visit in 447. From this time the monasteries largely ran the government of the Church.

In 397 Saint Ninian founded the monastery at Whitehorn in Galloway and began preaching among the Picts and the Scots.

Around the year 400, the Deacon Calporans of (modern) Cumberland, himself the son of a Priest, had a son, Patrick. About 410, Patrick was kidnapped by raiding Irish pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave. After some six years, he escaped to Gaul where he entered a monastery and was trained to the priesthood. He returned to his family near the Solway of Firth around 426 and was Consecrated Bishop in 432 when he took up residence in Ireland. Saint Patrick ruled as monk-Bishop of Armagh for the next thirty years, founding many monasteries and building up the Church in Ireland until the time of his death in 464.

Saint Columcille was born in 521 at Gartan.



V. An Introduction to the Psalms

  • Basics for the study of the Psalms


  • How the Psalms are organized


· Additional Psalms

The Septuagint , present in Eastern Orthodox churches, includes a Psalm 151 ; a Hebrew version of this was found in the Psalms Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls . Some versions of the Peshitta (the Bible used in Syriac churches in the Middle East) include Psalms 152–155 . There are also the Psalms of Solomon , which are a further 18 psalms of Jewish origin, likely originally written in Hebrew, but surviving only in Greek and Syriac translation. These and other indications suggest that the current Western Christian and Jewish collection of 150 psalms were selected from a wider set. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalms