How Did We Get The Bible?

Where did the Bible come from?  The Bible didn’t just float down from Heaven on golden pages. It was written by human beings who were inspired by God. The first 5 books of the Old Testament were written by Moses. Most of the other books of the Bible bear the name of their author.

All of the books of the Old Testament were written by Jewish authors. These books were written on scrolls, collected, treasured as “The Torah,” and passed down through the generations. The last book of the Old Testament was written in about 400 BC.

The New Testament was written by the early disciples of Jesus Christ. The first 5 books are history–the Gospels and Acts–and the last book is a mystical revelation of Jesus. The rest of the N.T. books are called epistles. (No that does not mean the wives of the apostles.) “Epistles” is the Greek word for “letters.”

As the apostles spread the news about Jesus around the Roman Empire, they targeted the large cities. As people in cities became Christians they fellowshiped and worshiped together in support groups. After the apostle would leave the city he would want to check on the support group he left behind and give them advice.

Since there were no cell phones or e-mail, the apostles had to use snail mail–the Roman postal service–actually, they usually had a friend carry the letter back to the support group. They would usually address the letter in Greek something like this: “To the support group in (a certain city)”. Thus most of the letters became known by the people of the city–such as I Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians. These letters are not so much religious sermons as they are practical information about how to live a victorious life.

Eventually the Christian support groups of different cities began to exchange copies of their letters with other cities. Thus these support groups began to have collections of letters and books by the apostles. Finally in the mid-300’s AD the Christian support groups from around the Roman Empire sent representatives to a “council” to meet in prayer and agree on which books and letters should be considered to be Scripture. At that time they decided on the books we have in our modern day English New Testament.  (This is called the cannon.)

There were also many anti-Christian books that had been written about Jesus and Christianity. These books were intentionally left out of the New Testament–the Gospel of Judas for example. The Discovery Channel likes to run a TV show called “The Banned Books Of The Bible.” That is because they don’t know history. Nothing was banned, but anti-Christians books were left out.  The books we have were chosen in prayer based on their authenticity.

 Through the many centuries and generations the Bible was preserved by monks who believed they were copying the Word of God. Thus they were extremely careful to accurately reproduce it. Today, your copy of the Bible represents the commitment, sacrifice, and devotion of the many people who wrote it and preserved it for you. Why not open it now and read some?

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences in non-traditional church, called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." If you need encouragement, search for: Elephants Encouraging The Room and/or check out my Amazon author page. Thank you!
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10 Responses to How Did We Get The Bible?

  1. Steve Simms says:

    Thanks, David. Great to have you and your family at Berry Street yesterday!

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