The scriptures (sacred scriptures), which are also known as Holy Writ, or revered texts, are used by the world’s religious groups as a guideline or instructions while living on earth. It consists of a broad pert of the world’s literature. These scriptures are different from each other in terms of volume, extent of sacredness and age; but they have some similar attributes that make them serve the same purpose, for instance, all the words in the scripture are believed to be sacred by the believers of these scriptures. These sacred words are different from the rest of the ordinary words because they are believed to have some magical and spiritual forces or powers that can bring about physical changes to human life (Britannica 1).
However, most of these sacred scriptures were initially oral and it was passed from one generation to another through memorization until it was later written for future use. There are some scriptures which are still kept in oral form, for instance, the American Indians’ hymns (currently recorded by the anthropologists). Majority of these oral scriptures have marks which are unmistakable of their oral sources and thus it can be understood well when they are recited loudly; interestingly, many Buddhists and Hindus still have them and they believe that when these scriptures are read silently, it loses meaning as well as its significance as compared to when reading it loudly because they believe that the voice of human add some power and truth dimensions which an individual reader cannot grasp. Moreover, not all the scriptures were initially oral or have some divine effects (spiritual or magical powers) in performing rituals. The larger part of the scripture that has been recorded has either an expository or a narrative character (Britannica 1).
The scriptures are mainly used by the western religious traditions which include Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Each of these religious traditions is the outcome of many different traditions that are competitive to each other and are based on different judgments that are accumulated over centuries. These traditions bear some similar aspects besides their unique elements. The three religions have different beliefs and attributes that are nurtured to their followers through their sacred scriptures which differ from each religion. The traditions that define each of these three religions are kept in form of writing or oral, as mentioned earlier called scriptures, and it is passed on from one generation to the next as a way of continuing their religion. However, these scriptures need to be interpreted in order to gain understanding and also it has to be applied in the life of believers. In addition, scripture need to be read well to get the deeper meanings that can help to solve or answer questions and issues concerning each of the new generation. Therefore, the scripture in itself serves as a source of traditions that have a wider range of interpretations of the books (Holy Books) which are believed to be valuable in the community since they give deep meanings of the scripture. This means that each of the three religious traditions is a product of traditions of interpretations which mostly exist as a scripture (Corrigan et al. 1).
Manifestation of the Scripture in Muslims and Christians
The scripture manifest itself differently as holy books between the Muslims and Christians. The Holy Book of the Muslim community is called Qur’an while that of Christian community is called the Bible. These two books are sacred books that are believed to contain Holy Scriptures meant to shape the characters of the believers in a certain acceptable way. These scriptures are believed to have been written by ancient individuals who were inspired through supernatural forces or powers, known as Allah in Muslims and God in Christians. The scriptures in these two religious group are teaches their believers based on different views or grounds that seem to conflict with each other (Faith Facts n. pag).
Similarly, the scripture in the Christian Bible is made up of chapters and verse which are classified into the Old Testament and the New Testament. In addition, the scriptures in the Bible are classified into different books such as Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, Epistles, and Gospel. The scripture is quoted, for instance, as Matthew 24:1, whereby 24 refer to the chapter while 1 refers to the verse. The scriptures are the word of God written by human writers through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. Unlike the Qur’an which is centered on Muhammad, the Bible is mostly centered on Jesus Christ who is the Son of God and the scripture teaches Christians that Jesus came to the earth to be offered as a perfect sacrifice for forgiveness of human sins (Faith Facts n. pag).
Similarities in the Scriptures between Muslims and Christians
There are several similarities between the scriptures in the Qur’an and the Bible in terms of the teachings and they are discussed below. First, both the two scriptures agree that human beings who had good and unique personalities were inspired by God (Allah) to write the Holy Books (Qur’an and Bible). This means that the authorship of both the Bible and the Qur’an had divination and inspiration as compared to the ordinary books which are written based on human knowledge and understanding. Secondly, both the scriptures teach their followers that there is one God (Allah) who is the creator and the provider of all living and non-living things. These scriptures agree that God is the God of Justice and will judge the world fairly during resurrection day. Thirdly, both the scriptures have some common traditional and historical connections whereby the Qur’an and the Bible acknowledge that God sent His prophets such as Abraham, Moses, Noah, Joseph, David, John the Baptist and Jesus to the earth to accomplish the purpose of God to humanity. The other similarity between the two sacred scriptures is the existence of the twin commandments in which Muslims and Christians are expected to love God as well as their neighbors, even though the interpretation may vary. This means that both the Qur’an and the Bible stipulate the importance of loving God and each other in order to fulfill the commandments and avoid judgments for disobedience during the end of time. Last, but not least, the two religion believes that the Old Testament (Torah) as well as the New Testament (Gospel/Injil) are the Holy scriptures contained in the two Holy books (Islam101 n. pag.).
Differences in the Scriptures between Muslims and Christians
Despite the similarities between the teachings of the scriptures in the Qur’an and the Bible, there are also differences which are discussed in this part. To begin, the Muslims through their scriptures in Qur’an believe that Muhammad was the last God’s messenger to the earth and he was believed to be a human being capable of performing many miracles during the time he was living on earth. He was sent mainly to show mercy to all the creation. Unlike the Qur’an, the Christians’ scripture in the Bible stipulates that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who was offered as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of human sins. Jesus was believed to be God the Son (through the Trinity of God), who was born in human flesh and then suffered on earth before dying as human and resurrecting as God the Son. Secondly, the Bible says that all human beings were born with inherited sins from Adam and it is Jesus who came to die in order for the original sins to be forgiven. This means that no one is clean at birth unless they are baptized to be cleansed from the sin through the blood of Jesus that was poured on the cross. On the contrary, the Qur’an dismisses the fact that human beings are born originally as sinners. Instead, it says that God created humanity and destined them to heaven unless they become disobedient and deny His mercy. This scripture made the Muslims to believe that God can forgive all human sins no matter how they are, and on the other hand, He can reward abundantly all those acts of His creation that please Him. Thirdly, the Christian scripture states that God exist in Holy Trinity that is God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but the Muslim scriptures states that God is only one and does not exist in Trinity as believed by the Christians. Finally, the Christians through the Bible scriptures believes in the existence of the Holy Spirit (God the Holy Spirit that exist in the Holy Trinity) as stated in the book of Genesis, but the Muslims through the Qur’an scriptures believe that there is no Holy Spirit, and instead, it stipulates that the angel Gabriel was the Spirit that was trusted (Islam101 n. pag.).
Britannica. Scripture. Encyclopedia Britannica, n. d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/530020/scripture>.
Corrigan et al. Jews, Christians, Muslims: A Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions, 2/e. Pearson, 2009. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://www.pearsonhighered.com/readinghour/religion/assets/Corrigan_0205018254_ch1.pdf>.
Faith Facts. Christianity vs. Islam. Faith Facts, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2013. <http://www.faithfacts.org/world-religions-and-theology/christianity-vs.-islam>.
Islam101.com. Basic Beliefs: Christian versus Muslim. Islam101, n. d. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.