2 – The Bible

What is the Bible?
That sounds like a simple question but it does not have a simple answer. The word Bible literally means “the books” and that is exactly what it is. It is a collection of sixty-six books that fit into one unified whole to provide the story of God’s creation and redemption of man. They are written by about forty men inspired by God over a span of about one thousand five hundred years. This book, or collection of books, are considered uniquely inspired, authoritative, and infallible by Christians.

The Number
Sixty-six is the number of books in most protestant Bibles but the Catholic Bible has seventy-three. Even then, there hasn’t always been complete agreement on what is and is not in the Bible. For example, even the great German Reformer Martin Luther did not believe the book of James belonged. That said, the sixty-six books we do have viewed by most as the Bible for very good reasons. They all have theological agreement, unity of purpose, and fit into an overarching narrative of God’s redemption of mankind.

The Authors
Traditionally, the answer to the question of authors says that there are about forty. Of course, a more correct answer would be to say that God authored it, but we will discuss in more detail that in a later segment. Modern scholarship has called some of the traditional views of who some of those authors might be. When scripture is making claims that a certain person was writing (ie the Pauline Epistles) then we should not question that authorship. When no specific author is named (ie the historical books) then the floor is wide open for digging deeper into the who, how, and when of that book’s authorship and we should not blindly hold to a tradition that might be wrong.

The Time
From cover to cover, the writing of the Bible spans roughly fifteen hundred years. Moses was the first author (with the possible exception of Job) and he wrote around 1,400 BC. John was the last author and he finished right around 90 AD. While modern scholarship likes to push everything to more recent times, there are many internal clues within many of the books of the Bible that squarely set them at specific moments in time. For example, the book of Acts comes to a conclusion just before Paul’s first trial in Rome and does not include any references to the Jewish war or the destruction of Rome. Both these facts make it clear that Luke and Acts were written in the early 60’s.

All the dates and authors I list below are the traditional orthodox view. They are not meant to be definitive but rather a guide to help understand the order of creation and general time period each book is set in.

The Old Testament:
.     The Pentateuch
.          Genesis – Moses (1,400BC)
.          Exodus – Moses (1,400BC)
.          Leviticus – Moses (1,400BC)
.          Numbers – Moses (1,400BC)
.          Deuteronomy – Moses (1,400BC)
.     History
.          Joshua – Joshua (1,385 BC)
.          Judges – Samuel (1,100 BC)
.          Ruth – Samuel (1,075 BC)
.          1&2 Samuel – Samuel/Nathan/Gad (1,000 BC)
.          1&2 Kings – Jeremiah (620 BC)
.          1&2 Chronicles – Ezra (450 BC)
.          Ezra – Ezra (450 BC)
.          Nehemiah – Ezra (450 BC)
.          Esther – Mordecai (400 BC)
.     Poetry
.          Job – Unknown (?)
.          Psalms – Mostly David (1000 BC)
.          Proverbs – Solomon (950 BC)
.          Ecclesiastes – Solomon (940 BC)
.          Song of Solomon – Solomon (960 BC)
.      Major Prophets
.          Isaiah – Isaiah (700 BC)
.          Jeremiah – Jeremiah (600 BC)
.          Lamentations – Jeremiah (586 BC)
.          Ezekiel – Ezekiel (580 BC)
.          Daniel – Daniel (530 BC)
.     Minor Prophets
.          Hosea – Hosea (710 BC)
.          Joel – Joel (840 BC)
.          Amos – Amos (750 BC)
.          Obadiah – Obadiah (590 BC)
.          Jonah – Jonah (760 BC)
.          Micah – Micah (700 BC)
.          Nahum – Nahum (650 BC)
.          Habakkuk – Habakkuk (600 BC)
.          Zephaniah – Zephaniah (630 BC)
.          Haggai – Haggai (520 BC)
.          Zechariah – Zechariah (515 BC)
.          Malachi – Malachi (400 BC)
The New Testament
.     The Gospels
.          Matthew – Matthew (55 AD)
.          Mark – Mark (50 AD)
.          Luke – Luke (60 AD)
.          John – John (90 AD)
.     History
.          Acts – Luke (60 AD)
.     The Pauline Epistles
.          Romans – Paul (55 AD)
.          1 & 2 Corinthians – Paul (53,55 AD)
.          Galatians – Paul (49 AD)
.          Ephesians – Paul (60 AD)
.          Philippians – Paul (61 AD)
.          Colossians – Paul (60 AD)
.          1 & 2 Thessalonians – Paul (50,51 AD)
.          1 & 2 Timothy – Paul (61,63 AD)
.          Titus – Paul (62 AD)
.          Philemon – Paul (60 AD)
.      The Other Epistles
.          Hebrews – Unknown (65-70 AD)
.          James – James (45 AD)
.          1 & 2 Peter – Peter (63,64 AD)
.          1,2,3 John – John (90 AD)
.          Jude – Jude (65 AD)
.     Prophesy
.          Revelation – John (90 AD)

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