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How Was the Bible Written and Created?

Many people never really question how the Bible was written and compiled.

Even most Christians and Catholics don’t stop and think about the history of the Bible.

Here we will go through what the Bible is, how it came to being and who decided what books to include.

Divine inspiration

Contrary to popular belief the Bible was not written by God dictating to the human authors to write what he said word-for word. Rather, the Scriptures are inspired by God. The Holy Spirit guided the authors to be moved in such a way that their writings were of God.

Scripture’s authors: human and divine

Just as we humans participate in God’s ongoing creation through procreation, we also had a part in creating the Scriptures. God and his people have always worked side by side. God chose Mary to bear Jesus. The prophets brought God’s message to Israel. Jesus sent the Apostles on a mission to preach the Gospel to the whole world. The message that God wants conveyed is contained in the Scriptures, but the way in which it is conveyed was left up to the specific authors.

Therefore, it is very true to say that God is the author of the Scriptures, but it is also true that the human authors are the authors of the various books of the Bible. For example, St. Paul is the author of the First Letter to the Corinthians. God is also its author. Each Gospel has a different “flavor” based on the personality and goals of its human author.

The Bible is the written account of the human experience with God. Many parts of the Bible are oral tradition that was written down. Most people were illiterate and relied much more on their memories to pass on traditions and stories. Oral tradition was the norm long before writing and reading was popular.

Different books have different histories. For example, Genesis likely involved many sources passed down over hundreds of years. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians has one human author (Paul) and was written within 30 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Furthermore, different books of the Bible belong to different genres. Obviously, a New Testament epistle is a letter. 1 and 2 Samuel were histories. The Song of Songs is a love poem. The way in which the author wrote was due in part to the genre in which he wrote.

What belongs in the Bible?

There was no Bible as we know it for the first 350 years of Christianity. Jesus did not give his Apostles a list of the books of the Bible (also known as the canon of Scripture) before he ascended into heaven. Rather, the early leaders of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, discerned which books belonged in the Bible. This process took centuries.

Some criteria for determining the canon of Scripture were as follows:

  • Special relation to God, i.e., inspiration
    • This means that, guided by the Holy Spirit, the leaders of the early Church discerned that these books were inspired by God
  • Apostolic origin
    • This means that the author of the book was either an Apostle or someone closely associated with an Apostle. It took the Church longer to include the book of Hebrews in the Bible because its authorship was (and still is) uncertain.
  • Used in Church services, i.e., used by the community of believers guided by the Holy Spirit
    • When Paul (or other Apostles) wrote letters to the various Churches, the Churches would often read the letters as part of their liturgy. This liturgical context was important in deciding which books belonged in the Bible
  • Universal use
    • This means that for a writing to be considered Scripture, it could not be used only in one region. A letter written to the Church in Corinth that was only known to the Corinthians would not be considered Scripture. But if that letter spread to many other Christian communities, it was a candidate for inclusion in the canon of the Bible.

Historical context

The first official list of Scriptures was compiled in 393 at the Council of Hippo, then again in Carthage in 397 and 419. The universal Church accepted this canon and used it without controversy for over 1000 years. The Church did not infallibly define these books until the Council of Trent, when it was called into question by Martin Luther and other Protestant Reformers, in 1556.

There were two different forms of the ancient Scriptures in use, the Septuagint and the Masoretic texts. The Septuagint has its influence from the Greek Jews in the Diaspora (outside Israel) whereas the Masoretic text was used by the Jews still in Jerusalem.

The Church has always used the Septuagint as its base for the Old Testament. The Septuagint has a few more books than the later established Masoretic texts. Many of these books were written in Greek by Greek-speaking Jews in the Mediterranean region. The other books were translated into Greek. Many Jews living outside Israel did not know Hebrew, and it was important to them to have Scriptures they could read. The Apostles wrote in Greek and used the Septuagint in quoting from what we now call the Old Testament.

The Masoretic text was in Hebrew and the Masoretic canon was set by the Jews in Israel after the Christians accepted the Septuagint version as their Scripture. When Martin Luther established the canon of the Protestant Old Testament, he decided to use the Masoretic canon.

Catholic Bibles do not have extra books, non-Catholic Bibles are missing books.

28 thoughts on “How Was the Bible Written and Created?”

  1. THE BIBLE WAS COMPILE BY POPE DAMASUS FIRST IN THE YEAR 382. GOOGLE IT. THATS WHY EVANGELICALS BELIEVE IS THE WORD OF GOD. BECAUSE SOMEONE WITH AUTHORITY TOLD THE WORLD, THIS IS THE WORD OF GOD. OTHERWISE NO ONE WOULD BELIEVE IT.

  2. Nathan Almanon

    Seems right to a man — the first paragraph. But read the truths.

    Jer. 30:2-3 Thus says the Lord God of Israel, Write in a book the words of I have spoken to you….

    Eze. 24:2 Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day….

    Eze. 25:1 The word of the Lord came to me… Hear the words of the Lord… Thus says the Lord….

    Mal. 1:1 This is an oracle, the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi.

    The prophets of the OT wrote the words of the Bible according to what God had declared to them. They recognized it was the words of God and it was authoritative. Not the words they wrote, sanctified and made authoritative by God because they said so.

    Let us believe God in faith. No question. Or we be called a liar.

    Great difference in putting the words of God on questions.

    1 Cor. 4:6 Do not go beyond what is written.

    There is a way which seems right to a man but the end thereof is death.

  3. If God is the author of the Bible – why are there contradictions in the Bible. If anyone says there are none – obviously they have not read the whole bible!

    1. Bridget Muniak

      First off, We have all added and taken from the bible which is breaking the commandments. Second Jesus was Jewish, Hebrew . His name is Jeshua or Joshua. Third Catholics worship and acknowledge false idols. They have altered how mass has been said Including The Lords Prayer. Who’s prayer? Not ours to change. Who and what gives them this right?

    2. Based on my experience and also what is being published, majority of the Christians don’t really read the Bible. That makes me wonder what they think they believe really matters in what name it is called without knowing or interested in knowing what they think they believe is about. Their belief is just a fulfillment of the void in their hearts. At that right moment of their lives, they could believe in any religion or any gods. It is so easy for churches to propagate the notion that God is the author of the Bible thus it is infallible since majority of the church goers don’t really read the Bible.

    3. Ignacio Montejo

      I have talk to people about this and everyone of them seem to ignore it. I am like you if the Bible is inspired by God then I believe that the Bible should be all perfect because God is all perfect and good.

  4. Jesus is God : In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God.
    2 He was with God in the beginning.
    3 Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him.
    God decide to come in human body, in flesh, in Israel, as Israel is His chosen people: 4 What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men;
    5 and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it.
    The Holy Scripture, the Bible is the only ultimate Truth, the Word of God.
    Many translations made It difficult to understand, the only way is: study ancient Hebrew and start reading the Bible in natural language and the Truth will be discovered to you.

    1. Ignacio Montejo

      I think that you got that wrong. The book of Mark didn’t claim that Jesus was divine but when you read the book of John,John claim that Jesus was divine. Remember God promise a seed that seed came in the line of Abraham and David.

  5. The truth is, there are over 450 versions of the Bible. The first being made around 1532.

    From 10 rules on 2 rocks to 450+ versions of an 1,800+ page book/novel/movie script….

    Call them versions or “translations” or whatever else you want.. It won’t change the fact that all of them were created by men… untrustworthy men, with bias opinions and agendas… men bent on controlling the lives of others.

    Lets see a 13 year old pregnant girl claim she’s a virgin today, and then see how many believe it. I’m pretty sure impregnating a 13 year old girl today would make god a pedophile today…

    1. I understand your point, if the Bible is presented without surrounding support, then I would believe with you. If the Catholic Church tells Razor Sharp Empirical Scientists that God/human being is the is the wafer or Holy Eucharist, I would not envy at all the presentation, until they supply surrounding support that it is true with some Eucharistic Miracles/inexplicable under the attestations of state of the art equipments. Chow!

      1. There have been numerous Eucharistic Miracles….look them up! Back in the 90’s, Dr. Zugibe, an esteemed cardiologist, examined a consecrated Eucharist without knowing its origin and determined that this sample of Eucharist was a portion of the left ventricle of the heart muscle and this “person” had A-B blood which is often found in the Middle East. He also discovered that this “specimen” of Eucharist was that of a living heart! Jesus said “for my flesh is real food and my blood real drink”. This type of blood is also consistent with an earlier Eucharistic Miracle and also backs up testing done on the Shroud of Turin. For those who claim the Shroud is fake by Carbon dating tests performed in the 80’s, look up all the additional tests performed on it. Many scientists do not know what to make of the Shroud nor how the image of an apparently crucified man was transferred to this cloth. Many have also called into question the carbon dating sample used and labeled the test done on it as inaccurate.

  6. And all aforementioned untrue, yet still believed.

    Jesus was not a Jew, he was Lebanese. His whole family was from the village of Qana (Lebanon) traced through census. He didn’t even like the Jews (who had a price on his head) and tried to warn others about them (the money changers). His native language was Aramaic (an Arabic dialect), not Hebrew.

    He spoke like Muslims (“God = Allah” and “Peace be Upon You = Asalama-lakum”) and prayed like Muslims (Mathew 26:39). Whether Islam existed or not isn’t known for sure, but the fact he lived and did everything the same as Muslims today, is.

    And all these religions worship and teach things untrue. Maybe that’s the reason the “Jesus Tree” grows in Lebanon. To remind people, knowing the truth is more important than having faith in lies.

    1. Jesus was Mary’s Son and Joseph as adopted Father, they were all of the line of David in a immediate understanding. Chow!

    2. Also for the record as you appear to be one day envy as a scholar, Islam is said by others in expressions that hurts my social sensibilities and therefore I don’t approve, a sort of bastered religion put together 400 years of Christianity by a false understanding of Judaism, Christianity and some other Arap element perhaps a scorpion’s wisdom. check ya latter again chow!

    3. Jesus was ethnically a Jew and was religiously a Jew. He completed the Jewish religion by serving as the Messiah (Christ) whom the prophets had long foretold.

  7. If two people have a great relationship together and love each other and are both widow and widower, is it still considered adultry? We both have families and would not get married or live together for family and monetary reasons. Can we still go to communion? Is it a mortal sin? Is it a sacrilege?

    1. sexual relations outside of marriage is sin. There is nothing in scripture forbidding the marriage of a widow to a widower except the admonition it is better to marry than burn in sexual desire; and let each man have his own wife for the sake of escaping fornication.

      1. Our Lord said, if thoust look at another woman and sin with her in your thoughts, thoust comit adultery. chow dude!

    2. You’re focusing on the wrong thing. Communion has NOTHING to do with your question. Communion is remembering what Jesus did for us. He died so we could be saved – for those who believe in Him and acknowledge Him as their personal savior. Forget about the rituals and religion. Until you make it a RELATIONSHIP your missing out. Until you surrender and make it RELATIONSHIP you are doing church and not being the church. Now, the bigger issue, Bible does teach that sex outside of marriage is a sin. The question you should be really asking yourself, how much do you mean to each other- apparently it seems you each are being selfish- thinking from the worldly point of view only. You both want your cake and eat it too. You each want to keep what you have without making any sacrifices for each other yet you want to enjoy the physical part of each other when really you have no right to each other. Technically you can’t have it both ways and be blessed. You either totally join and receive God’s blessings or remain chaste companions living separate and receive God’s blessings.

  8. what is the passaged in bible talking about the slave should obey to the master .if that bible expired by god therefore not for slave it god of blanc

    1. Slavery, has a form of justice in it. There are criminals that were to be killed, but through the system they live only if their Masters brought them and dressed them and live well than others have been to the point of being murder or died of hunger, this means, these slaves owe their masters for saving their lives service, in this sense Our Lord meant it . . . chow!

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