Not wishing in any way to be controversial, this paper is simply about a book called the Bible, who wrote it and why and in what language was it first written? These are the key questions. As we all know, the holy scripture of the Christian religion is called the Bible. It tells the history of the Earth from its earliest creation to the spread of Christianity in the first century AD. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament have undergone changes over the centuries, including the publication of the King James Bible in 1611 and the addition of several books that were discovered later.
Whatever religion holds your belief, you’ll be interested to read about the Bible HERE and to view an excellent timeline HERE. The Bible is a compilation of various texts or “books” of different ages. Together, they make up the central religious text of Judaism and Christianity. It is probably the most quoted and the most widely distributed book in history, and many of the greatest writers in literature have been influenced by Biblical themes, motifs and images in one form or another.
The Bible is split into two parts: The Old Testament is larger (about 77% of the whole Bible): The New Testament contains the stories of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and followers.
The Bible informs what its authors believe is the history of the Earth – from its earliest creation to the spread of Christianity in the first century AD. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament have undergone changes over the centuries, including the publication of the King James Bible in 1611 and the addition of several Bible books that were discovered later. The Old Testament is the first section of the Bible, covering the creation of Earth, taking us through Noah and the flood, Moses and more, finishing with the Jews being expelled to Babylon. The Old Testament is very similar to the Hebrew Bible, which has origins in the ancient religion of Judaism, the exact beginnings of which religion are unknown, but the first known mention of Israel is in an Egyptian inscription from the 13th century BC.
The earliest known mention of the Hebrew God Yahweh is in an inscription relating to the King of Moab in the 9th century BC. It is speculated that Yahweh was possibly adapted from the mountain god Yhw in ancient Seir or Edom. It all started with the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament, originally written almost entirely in Hebrew, with a few short elements in Aramaic. When the Persian Empire controlled the eastern Mediterranean basin, Aramaic became the lingua franca of the area, and for liturgical reasons, it became necessary for the Jewish communities of the region to have the Torah, or Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), translated into the common language from the traditional Hebrew. The resulting Targums (from Aramaic meturgeman, meaning “translator”) survived after the original Hebrew scrolls had been lost.
The Holy Book
You might well ask about this ‘holy book’– just how did it come to be called the Bible? The Bible takes its name from the Latin word Biblia (‘book’ or ‘books’), which comes from the Greek Ta Biblia (‘the books’) traced to the Phoenician port city of Gebal, known as Byblos to the Greeks. Although the Bible, the collection of sacred texts or scripture, is the central book in Western culture, it seems extraordinary that there is no comprehensive history of it. Along with the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Sinaiticus is considered the oldest known Bible in the world. The Codex Sinaiticus was more than 1,460 pages long and measured 16 x 14 inches. Several people wrote it around the time of Constantine the Great in the 4th century. The manuscript contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek. Greek was the language of the eastern Roman Empire, the area where Christianity first emerged. The western Roman Empire mainly spoke Latin.
The New Testament appears in the original vernacular language (koine) and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. The entire Bible was first put together in Greek. The Old Testament came from the Septuagint, a Jewish translation of the Hebrew scriptures and related writings into Greek before the time of Christ. The New Testament documents were all in Greek, although Aramaic materials may have been used. Biblica, The International Bible Society, says that during the thousand years of its composition, almost all of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. But a few chapters in the prophecies of Ezra and Daniel and one verse in Jeremiah were written in the language called Aramaic, which became very popular in the ancient world and displaced many other languages. Aramaic even became the common language spoken in Israel in Jesus Christ’s time, and it was likely the language that He spoke day-by-day. Some Aramaic words were even used by the Gospel writers in the New Testament.
Vetus Latina and the Septuagint
The Greek bible was translated into Latin by various people, with varying quality, until Saint Jerome translated major portions of the Bible into Latin. He began in 382 AD by correcting the existing Latin language version of the New Testament, commonly referred to as the Vetus Latina. By 390 AD, he turned his hand to translating the Hebrew Bible from the original Hebrew, having already translated portions from the Septuagint, which came from Alexandria.
A timeline of events recorded in the Bible, based on traditionally accepted timeframes and the general consensus of a variety of sources, can be found at: https://biblehub.com/timeline/#sources. The sources include Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible, A Survey of Israel’s History (Wood), The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (Thiele), ESV Study Bible, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, and Easton’s Bible Dictionary. They are probably available online at Amazon and other bookshops.
The first human author to write down the biblical record was Moses. He was commanded by God to take on this task: Exodus 34:27 records God’s words to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses wrote in his native language, which was Hebrew – one of a group of languages known as the Semitic languages, which were spoken throughout that part of the world, then called Mesopotamia, located today mainly in Iraq. Their alphabet consisted of 22 letters, all consonants no vowels. Much later, vowels were added to their alphabet. During the thousand years of its composition, almost the entire Old Testament was written in Hebrew. But a few chapters in the prophecies of Ezra and Daniel and one verse in Jeremiah were written in Aramaic.
According to both Jews and Christians, the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the first five books of the Bible and the entirety of the Torah) were all written by Moses in about 1,300 BC. Not everyone agrees however, because of the lack of evidence that Moses ever existed and the fact that the end of Deuteronomy describes the “author” dying and being buried.
The Old Testament
NOTE: In theological terms, the word Testament means a covenant or dispensation – a distinctive arrangement or period in history that forms the framework through which God relates to humankind. Usually, seven dispensations are identified, although some theologians believe there are nine; others count as few as three or as many as thirty-seven dispensations. The seven dispensations of history are:
To answer the question, who wrote the Bible and why we must look next at the Old Testament (also known as the Jewish Tanakh). It is the first 39 books in most Christian Bibles. The name stands for the original promise with God (to the descendants of Abraham in particular) before the coming of Jesus Christ in the New Testament (or the new promise). The Old Testament is a collection of books about the history and religion of the people of Israel. It begins with the book of Genesis, which tells the story of how the world was created, and how God anointed his chosen people and taught them how to live. It includes famous stories: like Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Joseph and Noah’s Ark.
After Genesis, the different books of the Old Testament discuss the trials of the Israelites as they endure centuries of enslavement or captivity under various empires. There is a general pattern where God sends a Prophet to teach the Israelites how to live and lead them from hardship, but over time they lose faith and find themselves suffering new hardships. The most famous example is Moses leading his people out of slavery in Egypt – the people are impious and must wander the desert for forty years before their descendants can enter the promised land.
Some of the other important episodes from the Old Testament include the rise of King David, the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the Babylonian Captivity. The Old Testament also includes various sayings and songs about morality, god, and other esoteric subjects.
The Apocrypha (Ancient Greek: ‘the hidden [things]’) are the biblical books received by the early Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not included in the Hebrew Bible, being excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews from their canon. Their position in Christian usage has been ambiguous. Apocrypha, per se, are outside the Hebrew Bible canon, not being considered divinely inspired but are regarded as worthy of study by the faithful.
- Additions to the Book of Esther
- Wisdom of Solomon
- The Letter of Jeremiah
- The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews
- Bel and the Dragon
- 1 Maccabees
- 2 Maccabees
- 1 Esdras
- Prayer of Manasseh
- Psalm 151
- 3 Maccabees
- 2 Esdras
- 4 Maccabees
Pentateuch (Law of Moses)
- Genesis: Thought to have been written by Moses, 1450-1410 BC. Genesis means “the beginning or origin of something” and is the first book of the Bible, recording the Creation, the fall of man and the early years of the nation of Israel. Genesis speaks of beginnings and is foundational to the understanding of the rest of the Bible. It is a book that speaks about relationships, highlighting those between God and his creation, between God and humankind, and between human beings.
- Exodus: Thought to have been written by Moses, 1450-1410 BC. God appointed Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan, establishing a special relationship with them on route to Mount Sinai. The descendants of Jacob’s children have become a vast people, but the Pharaoh of Egypt holds them in slavery. God chooses one man, Moses, to rescue the Israelites. Exodus describes the history of the Israelites leaving Egypt after slavery. The book lays a foundational theology in which God reveals his name, his attributes, his redemption, his law and how he is to be worshipped. Exodus describes the history of the Israelites leaving Egypt after slavery.
- Leviticus: Thought to have been written by Moses, 1445-1444 BC. God gives Israel rules to live by and instructions to present themselves as holy before God. Leviticus receives its name from the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament) and means “concerning the Levites” (the priests of Israel). It serves as a manual of regulations enabling the holy King to set up his earthly throne among the people of his kingdom. It explains how they are to be his holy people and to worship him in a holy manner. Leviticus receives its name from the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament) and means “concerning the Levites” (the priests of Israel).
- Numbers: Thought to have been written by Moses, 1450-1410 BC. A sequel to Exodus, Numbers takes its name from two censuses (or “numberings”) of the people of Israel, following their journey through the wilderness for forty years. Numbers relates the story of Israel’s journey from Mount Sinai to the plains of Moab on the border of Canaan. The book tells of the murmuring and rebellion of God’s people and of their subsequent judgment.
- Deuteronomy: Thought to have been written by Moses, 1407-1406 BC. A farewell speech from Moses to the people of Israel shortly before his death, Deuteronomy recaps the promises of God and provides instructions to obey Him in the Promised Land. Deuteronomy (“repetition of the Law”) serves as a reminder to God’s people about His covenant. The book is a “pause” before Joshua’s conquest begins and a reminder of what God required.
Historical Writings (or Former Prophets)
- Joshua: Thought to have been written by Joshua and possibly Phinehas, 1405-1383 BC. Joshua is a book of conquest. It details the Israelites’ invasion and eventual occupation of the Promised Land through faith and action. Joshua is a story of conquest and fulfilment for the people of God. After many years of slavery in Egypt and 40 years in the desert, the Israelites were finally allowed to enter the land promised to their fathers.
- Judges: Thought to have been written by Samuel, 1086-1004 BC. Israel enters a cycle of sin, suffering defeat and oppression, only to cry out to God for deliverance, who sends leaders (called “judges”) to help them. The book of Judges depicts the life of Israel in the Promised Land—from the death of Joshua to the rise of the monarchy. It tells of urgent appeals to God in times of crisis and apostasy, moving the Lord to raise up leaders (judges) through whom He throws off foreign oppressors and restores the land to peace.
- Ruth: Author not known, written 1375-1050 BC. Occurring during some of the darkest days in Israel’s history, Ruth follows the journey of two widows who lose everything but find hope through God. The book of Ruth has been called one of the best examples of short narratives ever written. It presents an account of the remnant of true faith and piety in the period of the judges through the fall and restoration of Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth (an ancestor of King David and Jesus).
- 1 Samuel: Thought to have been written by Samuel, Nathan, and Gad, 930 BC. Israel rejects God’s chosen leader, Samuel (a judge), and demands a king despite God’s warnings. Samuel relates God’s establishment of a political system in Israel headed by a human king. Through Samuel’s life, we see the rise of the monarchy and the tragedy of its first king, Saul.
- 2 Samuel: Possibly written by Samuel, 930 BC. The life and career of King David, who subdues Israel’s enemies and doubles the size of the kingdom, but is not without failings. After the failure of King Saul, 2 Samuel depicts David as a true (though imperfect) representative of the ideal theocratic King. Under David’s rule, the Lord caused the nation to prosper, defeat its enemies, and realise the fulfilment of His promises. After the failure of King Saul, 2 Samuel depicts David as a true (although imperfect) representative of the ideal theocratic King.
- 1 Kings: Author not known, written 560-538 BC. Israel enjoys a period of peace and prosperity under King Solomon but later splits in two after Rehoboam (his son) takes the throne. 1 Kings continues the account of the monarchy in Israel and God’s involvement through the prophets. After David, his son Solomon ascends the throne of a kingdom united, but this unity only lasts during his reign. The book explores how each subsequent King in Israel and Judah answers God’s call—or, as often happens, fails to listen.
- 2 Kings: Author not known, written 560-538 BC. The kings of Israel and Judah ignore God and His prophets, eventually falling captive to invading nations and are exiled to foreign lands. 2 Kings carries the historical account of Judah and Israel forward. The kings of each nation are judged in light of their obedience to the covenant with God. Ultimately, the people of both nations are exiled for disobedience.
- 1 Chronicles: Thought to have been written by Ezra, 430 BC. Written to encourage the people returning from Babylonian exile, 1 Chronicles recaps the history and genealogy of Israel, emphasising the spiritual significance of David and future Messianic King. Just as the author of Kings had organised and interpreted Israel’s history to address the needs of the exiled community, so the writer of 1 Chronicles wrote (for the restored community) another history.
- 2 Chronicles: Thought to have been written by Ezra, 430 BC. A continuation of the previous book, 2 Chronicles focuses on the kings of Israel, from King Solomon and the building of the temple to subsequent division, exile and return from captivity. It also continues the account of Israel’s history with an eye for restoration of those who had returned from exile.
- Ezra: Thought to have been written by Ezra, 450 BC. Fulfilling the promises of God, the Israelites return from exile after seventy years and rebuild the temple. The book of Ezra relates how God’s covenant people were restored from Babylonian exile to the covenant land as a theocratic (kingdom of God) community even while continuing under foreign rule.
- Nehemiah: Thought to have been written by Ezra, 450 BC. Despite local opposition, Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem from exile, rallying the people to rebuild the city walls and gates in just fifty-two days. Closely related to the book of Ezra, Nehemiah chronicles the return of this “cupbearer to the king” and the challenges he and the other Israelites face in their restored homeland.
- Esther: Thought to have been written by Ezra, written 450 BC. Occurring during the exile of Israel, Esther is a Jewish queen to a Persian king. She intercedes on behalf of her people to save them from a genocidal plot. The book records the institution of the annual festival of Purim. Esther records the institution of the annual celebration of Purim through the historical account of Esther, a Jewish girl who becomes queen of Persia and saves her people from destruction.
Wisdom and Poetry
- Job: Possibly written by Job, 2100-1800 BC. Job, a righteous man, loses everything and suffers many hardships, but remains faithful to God and is blessed abundantly. Through a series of monologues, the book of Job relates the account of a righteous man who suffers under terrible circumstances. The book’s profound insights, its literary structures, and the quality of its rhetoric display the author’s genius.
- Psalms: Thought to have been written by David, Asaph, (sons of Korah, Solomon, Heman, Ethan and Moses), 1440-586 BC. A collection of 150 songs and poems of worship and praise to God that includes prophecies of the coming Messiah. They represent centuries worth of praise and prayer to God on several themes and circumstances. The Psalms are impassioned, vivid and concrete; they are rich in images, in simile and metaphor. The Psalms are collected songs and poems that represent centuries worth of praises and prayers to God on many themes and circumstances.
- Proverbs: Thought to have been written by Solomon, Agur and Lemuel, 970-930 BC. The book of Proverbs contains God’s divine wisdom, covering various topics for every area of life. Proverbs was written to give “prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young” and make the wise even wiser. The frequent references to “my son(s)” emphasises instructing the young and guiding them in a way that yields rewarding results in life.
- Ecclesiastes: Thought to have been written by Solomon, 935 BC. Solomon’s analysis of life, which is meaningless and empty without God. The author of Ecclesiastes puts his powers of wisdom to work to examine the human experience and assess the human situation. His perspective is limited to what happens “under the sun” (as is that of all human teachers).
- Song of Songs (Solomon): Thought to have been written by Solomon, 970-930 BC. A passionate yet gentle song of love between a husband and wife, symbolising God’s relationship with humankind. In ancient Israel, everything human came to be expressed in words: reverence, gratitude, anger, sorrow, suffering, trust, friendship, commitment. In the Song of Solomon, love finds words – inspired words that disclose its exquisite charm and beauty as one of God’s choicest gifts.
- Isaiah: Thought to have been written by Isaiah, 700-681 BC. Isiah, the first book of the Major Prophets, Isaiah, contains warnings of God’s coming judgement and detailed prophecies about the Messiah. Isaiah, son of Amoz, is often thought of as the greatest of the writing prophets. His name means “The Lord saves.” Isaiah is a book that unveils the full dimensions of God’s judgment and salvation.
- Jeremiah: Thought to have been written by Jeremiah, 627-586 BC. Known as the weeping prophet, Jeremiah passionately pleads with the people to repent before the coming Babylonian captivity but is ignored. This book preserves an account of the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah, whose personal life and struggles are shown to us in greater depth and detail than those of any other Old Testament prophet.
- Lamentations: Thought to have been written by Jeremiah, 586 BC. Lamentations consists of a series of poetic and powerful laments reflecting on the destruction of Jerusalem (the royal city of the Lord’s kingdom) in 586 BC.
- Ezekiel: Thought to have been written by Ezekiel, 571 BC. Ezekiel is called by God to preach a message of judgment and deliverance for the captives living in Babylon. The Old Testament in general and the prophets, in particular, presuppose and teach God’s sovereignty over all creation and the course of history. And nowhere in the Bible are God’s initiative and control expressed more clearly and pervasively than in the book of the prophet Ezekiel.
- Daniel: Thought to have been written by Daniel, 535 BC. Like Ezekiel, Daniel has been taken to Babylon in captivity and receives prophetic visions while serving in the King’s courts. Daniel captures the major events in the life of the prophet Daniel during Israel’s exile. His life and visions point to God’s redemption plans and sovereign control of history.
The Minor Prophets
NOTE: Giving this group of prophets the tag of ‘minor’ should not be taken as meaning they were unimportant or worthless: they were called minor prophets because the books about their prophecies were much shorter than those of the major prophets.
- Hosea: Thought to have been written by Hosea, 715 BC. The first book of the Minor Prophets, Hosea, is a tragic love story that demonstrates God’s unending love for His people despite their unfaithfulness. The prophet Hosea, son of Beeri, lived in the tragic final days of the northern kingdom. His life served as a parable of God’s faithfulness to an unfaithful Israel.
- Joel: Thought to have been written by Joel, 835-796 BC. Joel warns the people to repent and turn back to God before judgement falls upon them. The prophet Joel warned the people of Judah about God’s coming judgment—and the future restoration and blessing that would come through repentance.
- Amos: Thought to have been written by Amos, 760-750 BC. A shepherd named Amos prophesies to the northern kingdom, which has become self-sufficient and indifferent towards God during a time of great prosperity. Amos prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah over Judah (792-740 BC) and Jeroboam II over Israel (793-753).
- Obadiah: Thought to have been written by Obadiah, 627-586 BC. The book is a single chapter – Obadiah demonstrates God’s ongoing protection of His people and coming judgement on the nation of Edom, which was indifferent during the Babylonian plunder of Jerusalem. The prophet Obadiah warned the proud people of Edom about the impending judgment coming upon them.
- Jonah: Thought to have been written by Jonah, 785-760 BC. A reluctant prophet, Jonah is sent by God to Nineveh, but refuses and learns the futility of it in the belly of a giant fish. Jonah is unusual as a prophetic book in that it is a narrative account of Jonah’s mission to the city of Nineveh, his resistance, his imprisonment in a great fish, his visit to the city and the subsequent outcome.
- Micah: Thought to have been written by Micah, 742-687 BC. Micah warns of the coming judgement that will eventually exile the nation and includes some of the clearest predictions of the Messiah. Micah prophesied, during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Israel was in an apostate condition. Micah predicted the fall of her capital, Samaria, and also foretold the inevitable desolation of Judah.
- Nahum: Thought to have been written by Nahum, 663-654 BC. Nahum is the second prophet sent to Nineveh (Jonah being the first) to preach God’s judgement on the Assyrian city and empire. The book contains the “vision of Nahum,” whose name means “comfort.” The focal point of the entire book is the Lord’s judgment on Nineveh for her oppression, cruelty, idolatry, and wickedness.
- Habakkuk: Thought to have been written by Habakkuk, 612-589 BC. God answers Habakkuk’s complaints of wickedness and injustice in the land. Little is known about Habakkuk except that he was a contemporary of Jeremiah and a man of vigorous faith. The book bearing his name contains a dialogue between the prophet and God concerning injustice and suffering.
- Zephaniah: Thought to have been written by Zephaniah, 640-621 BC. Written shortly before the fall of Judah (Southern Kingdom of Israel) to Babylonian conquest, Zephaniah warns the people and the surrounding nations that the day of the Lord is near. The prophet Zephaniah was evidently someone of considerable social standing in Judah and was probably related to the royal line. The author intended to announce to Judah God’s approaching judgment.
- Haggai: Thought to have been written by Haggai, 520 BC. Written after the Babylonian exile, work to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem had halted due to the opposition and spiritual apathy, so Haggai motivates the people to finish. Haggai was a prophet who, along with Zechariah, encouraged the returned exiles to rebuild the temple. His prophecies clearly show the consequences of disobedience. When the people give priority to God and his house, they are blessed.
- Zechariah: Thought to have been written by Zechariah, 520-480 BC. Zechariah ministered with Haggai after the 70-year exile, encouraging the remnant to return to God. Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Zechariah was not only a prophet but also a member of a priestly family. The chief purpose of Zechariah (and Haggai) was to rebuke the people of Judah and to encourage and motivate them to complete the rebuilding of the temple.
- Malachi: Thought to have been written by Malachi, 430 BC. The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi is a beautiful expression of God’s love for a nation that continues to disobey Him. Malachi, whose name means “my messenger,” spoke to the Israelites after returning from exile. The theological message of the book can be summed up in one sentence: The Great King will come not only to judge his people but also to bless and restore them.
A Closer Look at the First Five Books of the Bible
According to Jewish and Christian beliefs, the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the first five books of the Bible and the entirety of the Torah) were all written by Moses in about 1,300 BC. However, there may be a few issues with this, such as the lack of evidence that Moses ever existed and that the end of Deuteronomy describes the “author” dying and being buried.
Scholars have developed their own view of who wrote the Bible’s first five books, mainly by using internal clues and writing style. Just as English speakers can roughly date a book that uses many “thee’s” and “thou’s,” Bible scholars can contrast the styles of these early books to create profiles of the different authors. In each case, these writers are talked about as being a single person, but each author could just as easily be an entire school of people writing in a single style.
Holy books have a reach and influence far beyond what virtually all works of literature can ever achieve. That fact can be good or bad, and it’s often been both over the many centuries during which Christians have been reading the Bible and Jews have been reading the Torah. Given its immense reach and cultural influence, it’s a bit surprising how little is known about the Bible’s origins and, in particular, who wrote it. Some books of the Bible were written in the clear light of history, and their authorship isn’t all that controversial. Religious doctrine holds that God himself is the author of or at least the inspiration for the entirety of the Bible, which was transcribed by a series of humble people. See what you think:
- E: “E” stands for Elohist, the name given to the author(s) who referred to God as “Elohim”. In addition to a fair bit of Exodus and a small part of Numbers, the “E” author(s) are believed to be the ones who wrote the Bible’s first creation account in Genesis chapter one. However, “Elohim” is plural, so chapter one originally stated that “Gods created the heavens and earth.” It’s believed that this hearkens back to a time when proto-Judaism was polytheistic, though it was almost certainly a one-deity religion by the 900s BC, when “E” would have lived.
Picture Credit: “IMG_3370KA Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn. 1606-1669. Amsterdam. Moïse montrant les Tables de la Loi.. 1659. Berlin Gemäldegalerie.” by jean louis mazieres is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
- J: “J” is believed to be the second author(s) of the first five books (much of Genesis and some of Exodus), including the creation account in Genesis chapter two (where Adam is created first and there’s a serpent). This name comes from “Jahwe”, the German translation of “YHWH” or “Yahweh” – the name the author used for God. At one time, J was thought to have lived close to the time of E, but it is inconceivable that could be true. Some of the literary devices and turns of phrase that J uses could only have been picked up sometime after 600 BC, during the Jewish captivity in Babylon. For example, “Eve” first appears in J’s text when she is made from the rib of Adam. “Rib” is “ti” in Babylonian and is associated with the goddess Tiamat, the mother deity. A lot of Babylonian mythology and astrology (including text about Lucifer, the Morning Star) found its way into the Bible this way via the captivity.
- P: “P” stands for “Priestly” and probably refers to a whole school of writers living in and around Jerusalem in the late sixth century BC, immediately after the Babylonian captivity ended. These writers were effectively reinventing their peoples’ religion from fragmentary texts now lost. P writers drafted almost all of the dietary and other kosher laws, emphasised the holiness of the Sabbath, wrote endlessly about Moses’ brother Aaron (the first priest in Jewish tradition) to the exclusion of Moses himself. P seems to have written just a few verses of Genesis and Exodus, but virtually all of Leviticus and Numbers. P authors are distinguished from the other writers by their abundant use of Aramaic words, mostly borrowed into Hebrew. In addition, some of the rules attributed to P are known to have been common among the Chaldeans of modern-day Iraq, whom the Hebrews must have known during their exile in Babylon, suggesting that the P texts were written after that period.
- D: “D” is for “Deuteronomist”, which means: “the person who wrote Deuteronomy”. D was also, like the other four, attributed initially to Moses, but that’s only possible if Moses liked to write in the third person, could see the future, used language no one in his own time would have used and knew where his own tomb would be. D also takes little asides to indicate just how much time has passed between the events described and the time of his writing about them — “there were Canaanites in the land then”, “Israel has not had such a great prophet [as Moses] down to this very day” — once again disproving any notions that Moses was the one who wrote the Bible in any way. Deuteronomy was actually written much later. The text first came to light in the tenth year of the reign of King Josiah of Judah, which was roughly 640 BC. Josiah had inherited the throne from his father at age eight and ruled through the Prophet Jeremiah until he was of age. Around 18, King Josiah decided to seize control of Judah, so he despatched Jeremiah to the Assyrians with a mission to fetch home the remaining diaspora Hebrews. Then, he ordered a renovation of the Temple of Solomon, where Deuteronomy was supposedly found under the floor — or so Josiah’s story goes. Purporting to be a book by Moses himself, this text was a near-perfect match for the cultural revolution Josiah was leading, perhaps suggesting that Josiah may have orchestrated this “discovery” to serve his own political and cultural ends.
The next answers to who wrote the Bible come from the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, generally believed to have been written during the Babylonian captivity in the middle of the sixth century BC. Traditionally believed to have been written by Joshua and Samuel themselves, they’re now often taken together with Deuteronomy due to their similar style and language. Nevertheless, there is a substantial gap between the “discovery” of Deuteronomy under Josiah in about 640 BC and the middle of the Babylonian captivity somewhere around 550 BC. However, it is possible that some of the youngest priests who were alive in the time of Josiah were still alive when Babylon took the whole country as captives.
This history opens with the Hebrews getting a commission from God to leave their Egyptian captivity (which probably resonated with the contemporary readers who had the Babylonian captivity on their minds) and utterly dominate the Holy Land. The next section covers the age of the great prophets, who were believed to be in daily contact with God, and who routinely humiliated the Canaanites’ deities with feats of strength and miracles. Finally, the two books of Kings cover the “Golden Age” of Israel, under Kings Saul, David, and Solomon, centred around the 10th century BC.
The intent of the authors of the Bible isn’t hard to parse. Throughout the books of Kings, the reader is assailed with endless warnings not to worship strange gods, or to take up the strangers’ ways — especially relevant for a people in the middle of the Babylonian captivity, freshly plunged into a foreign country and without a clear national identity of their own.
The next texts to examine for the answer about who wrote the Bible are those of the Biblical Prophets. They were an eclectic group who mostly travelled around the various Jewish communities to admonish people and lay curses and sometimes preach sermons about everybody’s shortcomings. Some Prophets lived long before the “Golden Age”, while others did their work during and after the Babylonian captivity. Later, many of books of the Bible attributed to these prophets were primarily written by others and were fictionalised to the level of Aesop’s Fables by people living centuries after the events in the books were supposed to have happened, for example:
- Isaiah: Isaiah was one of the greater prophets of Israel, and the book of the Bible attributed to him is agreed to have been written in basically three parts: early, middle, and late. Early, or “proto-” Isaiah texts may have been written close to the time when the man himself really lived, around the eighth century BC, about the time when the Greeks were first writing down Homer’s stories. These writings run from chapters one to 39, and they’re all doom and judgment for sinful Israel. When Israel actually did fall with the Babylonian conquest and captivity, the works attributed to Isaiah were dusted off and expanded into what’s now known as chapters 40-55 by the same people who wrote Deuteronomy and the historical texts. This part of the book is frankly the ravings of an outraged patriot about how all the lousy, savage foreigners will someday be made to pay for what they’ve done to Israel. This section is where the terms “voice in the wilderness” and “swords into ploughshares” come from. Finally, the third part of the book of Isaiah was clearly written after the Babylonian captivity ended in 539 BC when the invading Persians permitted the Jews to return home. It’s not surprising then that his section of Isaiah is a burbling tribute to the Persian Cyrus the Great, who is identified as the Messiah himself for letting the Jews return to their home.
- Jeremiah: Jeremiah lived sometime after Isaiah, immediately before the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. The authorship of his book remains relatively unclear, even compared with other discussions as to who wrote the Bible. He may have been one of the Deuteronomist writers, or he may have been one of the earliest “J” authors. His own book may have been written by him, or by a man named Baruch ben Neriah, whom he mentions as one of his scribes. Either way, the book of Jeremiah has a very similar style to Kings, and so it’s possible that either Jeremiah or Baruch simply wrote them all.
- Ezekiel: Ezekiel ben-Buzi was a priesthood member living in Babylon during the captivity of the Jews.
There’s no way he wrote the whole book of Ezekiel himself, given the stylistic differences from one part to the next, but he may have written some. His students/acolytes/junior assistants may have written the rest. These also might have been the writers who survived Ezekiel to draft the P texts after the captivity.
The next section of the Bible — and the next investigation into who wrote the Bible, deals with what’s known as wisdom literature. These books are the finished product of nearly a thousand years of development and heavy editing. Unlike the histories, which are theoretically non-fiction accounts of stuff that happened, wisdom literature has been redacted over the centuries such that it is hard to pin down any single book to any single author. Some patterns, however, have emerged:
- Job: The book of Job is actually two scripts. In the middle, it’s a very ancient epic poem, like the E-text. These two texts may be the oldest writings in the Bible. On either side of that epic poem in the middle of Job are much more recent writings. It’s as if Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales were to be reissued today with an introduction and epilogue by Stephen King as if the whole thing were one long text. Section one of Job contains a very modern narrative of setup and exposition, which was typical of the Western tradition and indicates that this part was written after Alexander the Great swept over Judah in 332 BC. The happy ending of Job is also very much in this tradition. Between these two sections, the list of misfortunes that Job endures, and his tumultuous confrontation with God, is written in a style that would have been around eight or nine centuries old when the beginning and ending were written.
- Psalms/Proverbs: Like Job, Psalms and Proverbs are pieced together from both older and newer sources. For example, some Psalms are written as if there’s a reigning king on the throne in Jerusalem, while others directly mention the Babylonian captivity, during which time there was, of course, no king on the throne of Jerusalem. Proverbs was likewise continuously updated until about the mid-2nd century BC.
- Ptolemaic Period: The Ptolemaic period began with the Greek conquest of Persia in the late 4th century BC. Before then, the Jewish people had been doing very well under the Persians, and they were not happy about the Greek takeover. Their main objection seems to have been cultural: Within a few decades of the conquest, Jewish men were flagrantly adopting Greek culture by dressing in togas and drinking wine in public places. The writings from this time are of high technical quality, partly thanks to the hated Greek influence, but they also tend to be melancholy, likewise due to the hated Greek influence. Books from this period include Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes.
Bible Stories: New Testament
Whilst the Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox branches of Christianity disagree on how many books should be included in the Old Testament, the New Testament books are the same across all branches.
The New Testament is concerned with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, which form the basis for Christianity. His life story is told in the four Gospels (a word from the Old English for “good news”). Almost all other books are thought to be letters written by Saint Paul or other Christian teachers, discussing their beliefs or imparting advice.
The New Testament was written in Koine Greek. The autographs, the Greek manuscripts written by the original authors, have not survived. Scholars surmise – you might say ‘improvised’ – the original Greek text from the manuscripts that have survived. The three main textual traditions of the Greek New Testament are sometimes called the Alexandrian text-type, the Byzantine text-type, and the Western text-type.
In the 2nd century BC, with the Greeks still in power, Jerusalem was run by fully Hellenised kings who considered it their mission to erase Jewish identity with complete assimilation. To that end, King Antiochus Epiphanes had a Greek gymnasium built across the street from the Second Temple and made it a legal requirement for Jerusalem’s men to visit it at least once. The thought of stripping nude in a public place blew the minds of Jerusalem’s faithful Jews, and they rose in bloody revolt to stop it. In time, Hellenistic rule fell apart in the region and was replaced by the Romans. It was during this time, early in the first century AD, that one of the Jews from Nazareth inspired a new religion, one that saw itself as a continuation of Jewish tradition, but with scriptures of its own:
- Gospels: The four Gospels in the King James Bible — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — tell the story of Jesus’ life and death (and what came after that). These books are named after Jesus’ apostles, although the author(s) of these books’ may have just been using those names for street credibility. The first Gospel to be written may have been Mark, which then inspired Matthew and Luke (John differs from the others). Alternatively, all three may have been based on a now-lost older book known to scholars as Q. Whatever the case, evidence suggests that Acts seems to have been written at the same time (the end of the first century AD) and by the same author as Mark.
- Epistles: The Epistles are a series of letters written to various early congregations in the eastern Mediterranean by a single individual. Saul of Tarsus famously converted after an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, after which he changed his name to Paul and became the single most enthusiastic missionary of the new religion. Along the way to his eventual martyrdom, Paul wrote Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude.
- Apocalypse: The book of Revelation has traditionally been attributed to the Apostle John. Unlike the other traditional attributions, this one wasn’t very far off from actual historical authenticity, though this book was written a little late for someone who claimed to know Jesus personally. John seems to have been a converted Jew who wrote his vision of the End Times on the Greek island of Patmos about 100 years after Jesus’ death. The most important event discussed in the book of Revelation is the Second Coming of Christ, although most of the events in Revelation are controversial or potentially controversial in their meaning.
The 4 Gospels
- Gospel of St. Matthew: A brief history of the life of Christ. The ministry of Jesus Christ is presented from the point of view that He is the rightful King to rule from Israel’s throne. He offered the kingdom to His people, but Israel rejected Him as their King and crucified Him. Jesus rose again and sent His disciples into the world to proclaim His teaching. The Apostle Matthew (who is credited with writing this book) appears to have written this Gospel to a Christian audience that was either Jewish or very familiar with Judaism.
- Gospel of St. Mark: A brief history of the life of Jesus Christ, supplying some incidents omitted by St. Matthew. The ministry of Jesus is presented from the point of view that He is the Righteous Servant of God. Jesus obeys the Father’s will and accomplishes all He had been sent to do, including dying for sinners and rising again from the dead.
- Gospel of St. Luke: The history of the life of Christ, with particular reference to his most important acts and discourses. The ministry of Jesus Christ is presented from the point of view that Jesus is the Son of Man who came to save the whole world. Jesus shows the love of God to all classes of people, regardless of race or gender. Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and crucified but rose again.
- Gospel of St. John: The life of Christ, giving important discourses not related by the other evangelists. The ministry of Jesus Christ is presented from the point of view that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus speaks at length of His nature and work and the necessity of faith, and He proves that He is the Son of God through a series of public miracles. He is crucified and rises again. The Gospel of St. John is the latest written of the four biographies of Jesus preserved in the New Testament. Written by a Christian named John, this book indicates that the author was not the John who was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
Acts of the Apostles
- Acts of the Apostles: This book provides the history of the labours of the Apostles and of the foundation of the Christian Church: The church begins in Jerusalem, expands to Samaria, and spreads to the Roman world. Acts is a second volume of the Gospel of Luke. It is the story of Christianity’s beginnings and how evangelism played a role in spreading the faith around the world and gives gentiles a reason for possible conversion. It describes the way people fought against the other prominent religions and philosophies of the day. The message of Acts is that, because Jesus was a Jew, the Gospel should be presented first to Jews, then to Gentiles.
Paul’s Letters to Local Churches
- Epistle to the Romans: A treatise on the doctrine of justification by Christ. This theological treatise, written by St. Paul on one of his missionary journeys, examines the righteousness of God and how God can declare guilty sinners to be righteous based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- First Epistle to the Corinthians: A letter from St. Paul to the Corinthians, correcting errors into which they had fallen. The church in Corinth is riddled with problems, and St. Paul writes to give them God’s instructions to deal with various issues, including sin and division in the church, marriage, idolatry, spiritual gifts, the future resurrection, and the conduct of public worship.
- Second Epistle to the Corinthians: St. Paul confirms his disciples in their faith and vindicates his own character. The problems in the church in Corinth have largely been overcome, and Paul writes this letter to encourage the Corinthians to explain the love gift he is collecting for Judean Christians and to defend his apostleship against critics who had been speaking out against him.
- Epistle to the Galatians: St. Paul maintains that justification comes from faith and not by rites. False teachers have infiltrated the churches in Galatia, wrongly suggesting that works of the law (specifically circumcision) must be added to faith in Christ for salvation to be real.
- Epistle to the Ephesians: A treatise by St. Paul on the power of divine grace, arguing that salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ. St. Paul says the church is the Body of Christ. The main message to the Ephesians is ‘Christians, get along with each other and maintain the unity practically which Christ has effected positionally by his death.’ Another theme in this Epistle is the keeping of Christ’s body (that is, the Church) pure and holy. In the second part of the letter (Ephesians 4:17–6:20), the author gives practical advice on living a holy, pure and Christ-inspired lifestyle. The authorship of the Epistle has traditionally been attributed to Paul the Apostle, but from 1792, it has been challenged as being Deutero-Pauline, that is pseudepigrapha written in St. Paul’s name by a later author strongly influenced by St. Paul’s thought, probably by “a loyal disciple to sum up Paul’s teaching and to apply it to a new situation fifteen to twenty-five years after the Apostle’s death”.
- Epistle to the Philippians: St. Paul sets forth the beauty of Christian kindness. He wrote this letter from a Roman prison and thanked the church in Philippi for the love gift they had sent him. He said that the Gospel of Christ was advancing in the world, despite hardship.
- Epistle to the Colossians: St. Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians proclaimed Christ to be the supreme power over the entire universe and urged Christians to lead godly lives. The letter consists of two parts: first a doctrinal section, then a second regarding conduct. The developed theology of the letter, many believe, indicates that it was either composed by Paul in Rome about 62 CE [AD], rather than during an earlier imprisonment, or by one of his disciples.
- First Epistle to the Thessalonians: St. Paul urges his disciples to continue in the faith and in holy conversation. St. Paul started the church in Thessalonica. Afterwards, he wrote this first letter to the believers there within just a few months of leaving.
- Second Epistle to the Thessalonians: St. Paul corrects an error concerning the speedy coming of Christ the second time. The second letter was written shortly after the first, but some question St Paul’s authorship because there is notable ambiguity about the proximity of Christ’s Second Coming. Christians believed that it was useless to work because the end of the world was thought to be close at hand.
The Pastoral Epistles: Paul’s Letters to Church Leaders
- First and Second Epistles to Timothy: St. Paul instructs Timothy in the duty of a pastor and encourages him in the work of the ministry.
- Epistle to Titus: St. Paul encourages Titus in the performance of his ministerial duties.
- Epistle to Philemon: The Epistle is a prison letter, possibly co-authored by Paul the Apostle with Timothy, to Philemon, a leader in the Colossian church. It deals with the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation and includes an appeal to receive a converted escaped slave with kindness.
The General Epistles: Letters to Large Groups
- Epistle to Hebrews: St. Paul maintained that Christ is the substance of the ceremonial law. It is mentioned that there are Jewish members of the church who are tempted to return to the Jewish law. The author of this Epistle urges them not to look back but to move on to full spiritual maturity, by faith.
- Epistle of James: A treatise on the efficacy of faith united with good works.
- First and Second Epistles of Peter: Exhortations to the Christian life, with various warnings and predictions.
- First Epistle of St. John: Respecting the person of our Lord, and an appeal to Christian love and conduct.
- Second Epistle of St. John: St. John warns a converted lady against false teachers.
- Third Epistle of St. John: A letter to Gaius, praising him for his hospitality.
- Epistle of St. Jude: Warnings against deceivers.
- The Revelation: The future of the Church (and the world) foretold.
The Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible was mainly written in Biblical Hebrew, with some portions (notably in Daniel and Ezra) in Biblical Aramaic. From the 6th century to the 10th century AD, Jewish scholars compared the text of all known biblical manuscripts to create a unified, standardised text. A series of highly similar texts eventually emerged, and any of these texts are known as Masoretic Texts (MT). In antiquity, variant Hebrew readings existed, some of which have survived in the Samaritan Pentateuch and other ancient fragments, as well as being attested in ancient versions in other languages.
Picture Credit: “A Hebrew Bible from the 1500s / Bible en hébreu des années 1500” by BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The 24 canonical books of the “Tanakh” or “Hebrew Bible” can be split into three main parts:
- “Torah” (“Teaching”, also known as the “Pentateuch” or “Five Books of Moses”): 1. Genesis, 2. Exodus, 3. Leviticus, 4. Numbers, 5. Deuteronomy.
- “Nevi’im” (“Prophets”): 6. Joshua, 7. Judges, 8. Samuel I and II, 9. Kings I and II, 10. Isaiah, 11. Jeremiah, 12. Ezekiel, 13. Twelve Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi).
- “Ketuvim” (“Writings”): 14. Psalms, 15. Proverbs, 16. Job, 17. Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon), 18. Ruth, 19. Lamentations, 20. Ecclesiastes, 21. Esther, 22. Daniel, 23. Ezra (including Nehemiah), 24. Chronicles I and II.
The Bible has been translated into many languages (over 700) from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,551 languages and Bible portions or stories into 1,160 other languages. The Latin Vulgate was dominant in Western Christianity through the Middle Ages.
Picture Credit: “The Venerable Bede Translates John” by James Doyle Penrose (1862-1932). Inset from “The last chapter (Bede)”, exhibited at the Royal Academy (1902). Public Domain. File URL: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/78/The_Venerable_Bede_translates_John_1902.jpg
English Bible translations have a rich and varied history of more than a millennium. The English Bible Translation is often regarded as the most accurate of all Bible versions. You can find a comprehensive list of English Bible translations HERE.
During the Middle Ages, translation, particularly of the Old Testament, was discouraged. Nevertheless, there are some incomplete Old English Bible translations, notably a lost translation of the Gospel of John into Old English by the Venerable Bede, which is said to have been prepared shortly before his death around the year 735 AD.
Messianic Bible Translations
Messianic Bible translations are English translations of the Christian Bible, some of which are widely used in the Messianic Judaism and Hebrew Roots communities. Although Jewish Christian scholars may translate them, they are not the same as Jewish English Bible translations. Also, they are often not standard straight English translations of the Christian Bible but incorporate Jewish elements for a Jewish audience, such as the use of the Hebrew names for all books, the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) order for the books of the Old Testament, both testaments being given their Hebrew names (Tanakh and Brit Chadasha). This approach also includes the New Testament being translated with the preference of spelling names (people, concepts and place names) in transliterated Hebrew rather than directly translated from Greek into English. Some Sacred Name Bibles, such as the Hallelujah Scriptures, conform to these elements and may also be considered Messianic Bibles.
- Aramaic Targums: Some of the first translations of the Torah began during the Babylonian exile when Aramaic became the lingua franca of the Jews. With most people speaking only Aramaic and not understanding Hebrew, the Targums were created to allow most people to understand the Torah as it was read in ancient synagogues.
- Greek Septuagint: By the 3rd century BC, Alexandria had become the centre of Hellenistic Judaism, and during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC, translators in Egypt compiled a Koine Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures in several stages (completing the task by 132 BC). The Talmud ascribes the translation effort to Ptolemy II Philadelphus who, it is alleged, hired 72 Jewish scholars for the purpose – the translation is widely known as the Septuagint (from the Latin septuaginta, meaning “seventy”). The Septuagint (LXX), the very first translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, later became the accepted text of the Old Testament in the Christian Church and the basis of its canon (the body of principles, rules, standards, or norms). Jerome based his Latin Vulgate translation on the Hebrew for those books of the Bible preserved in the Jewish canon (as reflected in the Masoretic text) and on the Greek text for the deuterocanonical books. The translation, now known as the Septuagint, was widely used by Greek-speaking Jews and later by Christians. It differs somewhat from the later standardised Hebrew (Masoretic Text). Versions of the Septuagint contain several passages and whole books not included in the Masoretic texts of the Tanakh. There are also several ancient translations, most important of which are in the Syriac dialect of Aramaic (including the Peshitta and the Diatessaron gospel harmony), in the Ethiopian language of Ge’ez, and in Latin (both the Vetus Latina and the Vulgate).
- Codex Amiatinus: The earliest surviving complete manuscript of the entire Bible in Latin is the Codex Amiatinus, a Latin Vulgate edition produced in England in the 8th century at the double monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow.
The most notable Middle English Bible translation, Wycliffe’s Bible (1383), based on the Vulgate, was banned by the Oxford Synod in 1408. But it is the work of William Tyndale, who translated the New Testament and part of the Old Testament between 1525 and 1535, that became the model of several subsequent English translations. All previous English translations culminated in the King James Version (1611), which was prepared by 54 scholars appointed by King James I. For someone who lived some 500 years ago, he is still highly regarded: he was placed 26th in the BBC’s 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.
Among the more recent Protestant Bibles are the Revised Version (1881–85), a revision of the King James Version; the Revised Standard Version (1946–52); the New Revised Standard Version (1989); the New International Version (1978); the English Standard Version (2001); The New English Bible (1961–70) and The Revised English Bible (1989).
Among the Roman Catholic Bibles are a translation by Ronald Knox (1945–49); The Jerusalem Bible (1966); The New Jerusalem Bible (1985); The New American Bible (1970); The Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (1966; also called The Ignatius Bible); and The New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (1989).
Well-Known Sayings from the Bible
The Bible is rich in sayings or catchphrases, which still to this day are in everyday use. Some are listed below.
- A man after my own Heart, meaning admiration for someone who shares the same opinion or interests. A kindred spirit, from 1 Samuel 13:14 (NIV), “But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” Also, from Acts 13:22 (NIV), “After removing Saul, he made David their King. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
- A Scapegoat, meaning a person who takes the blame for another’s mistakes, from Leviticus 16:10 (NIV), “But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.” 
- Bite the Dust from Psalms 72:9, “They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.” (KJV)
- Broken Heart from Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (KJV).
- By the Skin of Your Teeth from Job 19:20. The Geneva Bible translated the Hebrew Literally, which read, “I have escaped with the skin of my teeth.”
- Can a Leopard Change his spots? from Jeremiah 13:23 (KJV), “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
- Cast the First Stone from John 8:7, “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ” “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
- Drop in a Bucket from Isaiah 40:15 declaring God’s sovereignty and power over the nations, “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he takes up the isles as fine dust.” (ESV).
- Eat, Drink, and Be Merry from Ecclesiastes 8:15, “…because a man hath no better thing under the sun than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.”
- Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth from Matthew 5:38, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”
- Fall From Grace from Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
- Fly in the Ointment from Ecclesiastes 10:1 (KJV), “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”
- Forbidden Fruit from Genesis 3:3 when Adam and Eve were commanded not to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
- Go the extra mile from Matthew 5:41 that says, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (KJV).
- He who lives by the sword dies by the sword from Matthew 26:52, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
- How the Mighty have Fallen from 2 Samuel 1:19, “The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!”
- Jezebel, meaning an immoral and troublesome woman, from 1 Kings 16:31 (NLT), “And as though it were not enough to follow the sinful example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal.”
- Land of Milk and Honey, meaning a desirable place of abundance, from Exodus 3:8 (NIV) “So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.”, from Leviticus 20:24 (NIV) “But I said to you, ‘You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.”, and from Numbers 13:27 (NLT), “This was their report to Moses: ‘We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces.’” and from Deuteronomy 6:3 (NIV), “Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.”
- Let there Be Light from Genesis 1’s creation account.
- Nothing but skin and bones from Job 19:19-20, “All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. I am nothing but skin and bones.”
- Pride comes before a fall from Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”(KJV)
- Put words in one’s mouth from 2 Samuel 14:3, “And come to the King and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.”
- Rise and shine from Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.”
- Scapegoat from the Old Testament Law (Leviticus 16:9-10 specifically) “…where a goat is chosen by lot to be sent into the desert to make atonement for sin.”
- See eye to eye from Isaiah 52:8 (KJV), “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.”
- Sign of the times from Matthew 16:3 (KJV), “And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”
- Strait and Narrow from Matthew 7:14, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
- The Blind Leading the Blind Matthew 15:13-14, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”
- The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil from 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (ESV)
- The Powers that Be from Romans 13:1 (KJV), “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
- The Root of the Matter from Job 19:28 (KJV), “But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?”
- There’s nothing new under the sun from the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (KJV) says, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
- Twinkling of an Eye from 1 Corinthians 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
- Wash your hands of the matter from Matthew 27:24 (KJV), “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”
- Weighed in the balance from Job 31:6, “Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.”
- Wit’s End from Psalm 107:27 (KJV), “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.”
- Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing from Matthew 7:15 (KJV), “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
- Writing’s on the Wall from Daniel 5. “The writing is on the wall” is now a popular idiom for “something bad is about to happen”.
Picture Credit: “Monument of Paul the Apostle, St. Peter’s Square, Rome” by Dennis Henge is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Whether the priests of the Deuteronomy era or their successors wrote Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, the texts in the Bible represent a highly mythologised history of a newly dispossessed people thanks to the Babylonian captivity of the Jews.
Authorship of the Book of Proverbs was considered in a paper by Bishop Barrington C. Hibbert, PhD, and he asked: Was King Solomon the only author of the book, or can its contents be attributed to others as well and why is this question important? Hibbert acknowledges the authorship question is important – simply because if it can be shown that some non-Jewish source or sources contributed to this book, it raises the question as to the intended purpose of Proverbs. He appears to conclude that there is no consensus opinion as to the identity of the author of the Book of Proverbs.
The writings attributed to John do show some congruity between who wrote the Bible according to tradition and who wrote the Bible according to historical evidence, but the question of Biblical authorship remains complex, blurred and contested with no sure definitive answer.
Leaving aside the question of who wrote the Bible, there seems to be a problem with the dateline: The current Christian era is calculated from the birth of Jesus and is based upon the calculations of Dionysius (6th century). Subsequent investigation has shown that the Dionysian date is at least four years too late. The technical part of Hebrew chronology presents considerable difficulties, whilst the historical part of Hebrew chronology is no less difficult than the technical.
Noah and the Ark
A synthesis of several biblical source traditions, Noah is the image of a righteous man who is made a party to a covenant with Yahweh, the God of Israel, in which the future protection of man and nature against catastrophe is assured. Noah’s story appears in the Hebrew Bible (in the Book of Genesis, chapters 5–9) and the Quran. Not all flood stories are the same, but the destruction of the world by water is a common theme in many religions and cultures. Most flood stories have an angry God or deity and a catastrophic water event that destroys the world but is only survived by a chosen few. The Genesis flood narrative is among the best-known stories of the Bible.
Moses is credited as the author of Genesis (as well as the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and most of Deuteronomy) but modern scholars, especially from the 19th century onward, consider the books as having been written hundreds of years after Moses is supposed to have lived, so that introduces doubt about Noah’s story.
Many people consider the story of Noah’s Ark merely an instructive myth or parable about God’s punishment for man’s wickedness. Others believe that the story is historically accurate, and the story describes events that did take place only a few thousand years ago. What do you think? Before you answer that question, consider this: contrary to many depictions of the Ark, God asked Noah to collect not one but seven pairs of “clean” animals and one pair of “unclean” animals (Genesis 7:2-3), resulting, in some cases, in fourteen of many animals.
If Dinosaurs were taken on the cruise (assuming they could actually be coaxed on board), there wouldn’t have been enough space for all of them despite the Ark’s size. Another thing: think how long would it have taken to get all the animals in one place and gather the food and water for a long journey? Having so many creatures in one confined habitat would have been no easy task for the crew of the Ark to manage (you couldn’t expect Noah to look after everything, could you?) Finally, and this may be the nail in the coffin for belief in the story, how could a ship of the size necessary for the purpose of sailing around the world ever have been constructed? There weren’t that many carpenters or shipbuilders around in those days.
The conclusion is that the story of Noah and the Ark, as with other stories like Adam and Eve, may be symbolic rather than factual and should be treated as being didactic, providing a lesson from God to all humanity. The Bible ought to be read not as an accurate and definitive document but rather as a work of literature and theology that often draws on historical events (as well as drawing on non-Hebrew mythology) as primary source material.
Interesting Bible Facts
As this paper nears the end, here are some facts about the Bible that I found of which you may be unaware:
- The Bible has 17 historical books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. These books establish the historical events of the Old Testament.
- The Bible has five poetical books: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Bible historians see these books as a link between the historical past and the prophetical books of the future.
- The Bible has 17 prophetic books: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. These books were all written by the minor prophets of the Bible.
- The Bible has 4 Gospels: There are the 4 Gospels of the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Moreover, the term “Gos” comes from the Old English word for God, meaning “good” and “Spel” which means “News.” In Christianity, the word “Good News” refers to the birth, death, sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as part of saving His beloved people.
- The Bible has 21 Epistles: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude. Although these books are all attributed to the Apostle Paul, there is some dispute over whether he wrote all of them.
- Shortest verse: The shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.”
- Longest verse: Esther 8:9 is the longest verse in the Bible.
- Longest chapter: Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible with 31,102 verses.
- Oldest person: Methuselah is the oldest person in the Bible who died at the age of 969.
- The Bible has several genres: Psalms are considered to be poetry. Letters belong to the epistolary genre. The Book of Revelation represents apocalyptic literature etc.
- Books within the Bible were written in different periods/times: For example, we know that the Book of Daniel was perhaps written during the Persian (Achaemenid) Empire’s ruling of the Middle East. But when Paul was writing his letters, the Persian Empire was long gone.
- Translations: The Bible has been translated into 532 languages. It has been partially translated into 2,883 languages.
- Longest word: The longest word in the Bible is “Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:3).
- Numbered verses:The Geneva Bible is the first Bible to use numbered verses. It is also the Bible that William Shakespeare used and the one that the Pilgrims took to America in 1620.
- Best selling book: The Bible is the best-selling book in history, with total sales exceeding 5 billion copies (and every year, the Holy Bible sells over 100 million copies).
- Where is God?: The book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that never mentions God’s name. All other books in the Bible mention God.
- Fear NOT: There are 365 verses that tell us to fear not – one for every single day of the year.
Sources and Further Information
- Glossary – Timeline of the Bible, published by OneSmartPlace: http://onesmartplace.com/resources/glossaries/
- Codex Vaticanus: https://evangelicalfocus.com/culture/337/codex-vaticanus-is-now-online and https://www.historyofinformation.com/detail.php?id=163 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Vaticanus
- Codex Sinaiticus: https://codexsinaiticus.org/en/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Sinaiticus and https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/codex-sinaiticus
- Saint Jerome and the Vulgate Bible: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome and https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-jerome and https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Jerome/Major-literary-works
- Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings: https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-who-wrote-bible-s-kings-and-prophets-1.5374070
- Biblical Prophets: https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-who-wrote-bible-s-kings-and-prophets-1.5374070
- Proverbs: http://www.cjcpassaic.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Proverbs-Authorships-1.pdf
- The Four Gospels in the King James Bible — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124572693
- King James Version English translation: http://bibleresources.bible.com/bible_kjv.php
- Latin Vulgate Bible: http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/www/Vulgate/
- Ancient Greek Old Testament (Septuagint): http://www.spindleworks.com/septuagint/septuagint.html
- Mount Seir is the ancient and biblical name for a mountainous region stretching between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba in the northwestern region of Edom and southeast of the Kingdom of Judah. Edom, is the ancient land bordering ancient Israel, in what is now southwestern Jordan, between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. ↑
- Explained on Britannica.com as: Lingua Franca – the language used as a means of communication between populations speaking vernaculars that are not mutually intelligible. The term was first used during the Middle Ages to describe a French- and Italian-based jargon, or pidgin, that was developed by Crusaders and traders in the eastern Mediterranean and characterised by the invariant forms of its nouns, verbs, and adjectives. These changes have been interpreted as simplifications of the Romance languages. ↑
- The Pentateuch depicts a series of beginnings—the beginning of the world, of humankind, and of God’s promise to the Israelites. ↑
- Source: Britannica.com, HERE. ↑
- The ‘Codex Vaticanus’ is regarded as the oldest extant manuscript of the Greek Bible, one of the four great uncial codices. The Codex is named after its place of conservation in the Vatican Library, where it has been kept since at least the 15th century. It is written on 759 leaves of vellum in uncial letters and has been dated paleographically to the 4th century. The literal meaning of ‘Codex Sinaiticus’ is the Sinai Book. The word ‘Sinaiticus’ comes from the fact that the Codex was preserved for many centuries at St Catherine’s Monastery near the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt. ↑
- Source: https://www.biblica.com/resources/bible-faqs/in-what-language-was-the-bible-first-written/ ↑
- Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/seven-dispensations.html ↑
- Source: https://biblicalstudy.weebly.com/7-dispensations.html ↑
- The word Genesis comes from the Hebrew word toledoth. The first book of the Bible is titled “Genesis” in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures. The word means “beginning, origin, ancestors or generation” – something along the lines of “begotten things,” and the toledoth statements are found in abundance in the various sections of Genesis. Some toledoth are genealogies. Other toledoth statements introduce long narrative sections. It is the sixth weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. The Toledot tells of the conflict between Jacob and Esau, Isaac’s passing off his wife Rebekah as his sister, and Isaac’s blessing of his sons. It constitutes Genesis 25:19–28:9. ↑
- See: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd rev. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2005. p. 68. ISBN 9780192802903. ↑
- See HERE, for commentary. The word Apocrypha origin is the Medieval Latin adjective apocryphus, ‘secret, or non-canonical’, from the Greek adjective (apokryphos), ‘obscure’, from the verb (apokryptein), ‘to hide away’. ↑
- Compiled from: https://www.biblestudytools.com/books-of-the-bible/ https://city.org.nz/kit/bible-overview https://www.infoplease.com/culture-entertainment/religion/books-bible ↑
- Source: https://allthatsinteresting.com/who-wrote-the-bible ↑
- Such as Joel S Baden, The Composition of the Pentateuch, publishes by Yale University Press, HERE. ↑
- Polytheistic: relating to or characterised by belief in or worship of more than one god. The Egyptians were the first to have multiple gods with characteristics that were extensions of the naturally occurring processes observed daily. Their entire culture was based on this philosophy. ↑
- The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a large number of Judeans from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital city of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, following their defeat in the Jewish–Babylonian War and the destruction of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The event is described in the Hebrew Bible, and its historicity is supported by archaeological and non-biblical evidence. ↑
- See https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-who-wrote-bible-s-kings-and-prophets-1.5374070 ↑
- The Ptolemaic Period began when Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in Egypt in 332 BCE. After he died in 323 BCE, his generals divided up his empire and Ptolemy took Egypt. Initially the generals ruled in the name of Alexander’s heirs, but Ptolemy proclaimed himself King in 305 BCE. ↑
- Source: https://www.infoplease.com/culture-entertainment/religion/books-bible ↑
- See: Herbert Weir Smyth, Greek Grammar. Revised by Gordon M. Messing. ISBN 9780674362505. Harvard University Press, 1956. Introduction F, N-2, p. 4A ↑
- King Antiochus IV was a king of the Seleucid Empire who took upon himself the title Epiphanes, meaning the “illustrious one” or “god manifest.” He was known as Antiochus Epiphanes and reigned from 175 BC until 164 BC in what is now Syria. He nearly conquered Egypt and was known for severe persecution of Jews. This oppression lead to the Maccabean revolt. Jews nicknamed him Epimanes, meaning “mad one”. Source: https://www.compellingtruth.org/Antiochus-Epiphanes.html ↑
- Judaism is defined by Britannica.com, HERE as: Judaism s the Jewish religion came to be known in the 1st century CE [AD], was based on ancient Israelite religion, shorn of many of its Canaanite characteristics but with the addition of important features from Babylonia and Persia. The Jews differed from other people in the ancient world because they believed that there was only one God. ↑
- Source: Cliffs Notes, HERE. ↑
- Apostle Paul uses the word “Greek” interchangeably with the word “Gentile” to refer to any non-Jewish ethnicity. ↑
- Corinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. ↑
- Galatia (Galatía, “Gaul”) was an ancient area in the highlands of central Anatolia, roughly corresponding to the provinces of Ankara and Eskişehir, in modern Turkey. Galatia was named after the Gauls from Thrace who settled here and became a small transient foreign tribe in the 3rd century BC. ↑
- Ephesus was a city in ancient Greece on the coast of Ionia, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. ↑
- Philippi was a major Greek city northwest of the nearby island, Thasos. Its original name was Crenides. ↑
- Colossae was an ancient city of Phrygia in Asia Minor, and one of the most celebrated cities of southern Anatolia (modern Turkey). The Epistle to the Colossians, an early Christian text which identifies its author as Paul the Apostle, is addressed to the church in Colossae. ↑
- Source: Britannica.com, HERE. ↑
- Thessalonica (also called Thessalonike) was an ancient city of Macedon in northern Greece which today is the city of Thessaloniki. ↑
- Timothy or Timothy of Ephesus (Greek: Timótheos, meaning “honouring God” or “honoured by God”) was an early Christian evangelist and the first Christian bishop of Ephesus. ↑
- Titus was an early Christian missionary and church leader, a companion and disciple of Paul the Apostle, mentioned in several of the Pauline epistles including the Epistle to Titus. He is believed to be a Gentile converted to Christianity by Paul andwas consecrated as Bishop of the Island of Crete ↑
- Philemon was a wealthy Christian, possibly a bishop of the church that met in his home (Philemon 1:1–2) in Colossae. ↑
- Now known as Masoretes. ↑
- From: https://overviewbible.com/masoretic-text/: The Masoretic Text was an answer to a problem that had been building in the Jewish community for centuries: biblical Hebrew was ambiguous, and most Jews didn’t know how to read it anymore. ↑
- Source, Wikipedia, HERE. ↑
- See: Most Accurate Bible Translation: Which Bible Translation is Best?”. BibleVersesPro. bibleversespro.com. 2020-10-06. Retrieved 22/2/2021. ↑
- See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_English_Bible_translations. ↑
- See, Britannica.com, HERE: The Gospel According to John, is fourth of the four New Testament narratives recounting the life and death of Jesus Christ. John’s is the only one of the four not considered among the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., those presenting a common view). Although the Gospel is ostensibly written by St. John the Apostle, “the beloved disciple” of Jesus, there has been considerable discussion of the actual identity of the author. ↑
- See: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Bede-the-Venerable. ↑
- Source, Wikipedia, HERE: Messianic Jews believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and that the Hebrew Bible and New Testament are the authoritative scriptures. Belief in Jesus as a Messiah and divine is considered by Jews to be the defining distinction between Christianity and Judaism. In Hebrew they tend to refer to themselves as maaminim (“believers”), not converts, and yehudim (“Jews”), not notzrim (“Christians”). ↑
- Source, Wikipedia, HERE: The Hebrew Roots movement is a religious movement that advocates adherence to the Torah and believes in Yeshua (Jesus Christ) as the Messiah. ↑
- Source: Wikipedia, HERE: Sacred Name Bibles are Bible translations that consistently use Hebraic forms of the God of Israel’s personal name, instead of its English language translation, in both the Old and New Testaments. Some Bible versions, such as the Jerusalem Bible, employ the name Yahweh, a transliteration of the Hebrew YHWH, a tetragrammaton (four letters), in the English text of the Old Testament, where traditional English versions have LORD. ↑
- Explained, HERE by Britannica.com as: Targum, (Aramaic: “Translation,” or “Interpretation”), any of several translations of the Hebrew Bible or portions of it into the Aramaic language. The word originally indicated a translation of the Old Testament in any language but later came to refer specifically to an Aramaic translation. ↑
- Synagogue: Jewish house of worship – consecrated spaces used for the purpose of Jewish prayer, study, assembly, and reading of the Tanakh (the entire Hebrew Bible, including the Torah). ↑
- From Oxford Bibliographies, HERE: The term “Hellenistic Judaism” is a conventional one, long used, but a misnomer according to many contemporary scholars. Traditionally, “Hellenistic Judaism” was a designation for Judaism in the Greek-speaking world, including those Jews who spoke Greek and adopted (to some extent) a Greek way of life. It has been argued, however, that all Judaism after the conquests of Alexander was Hellenistic Judaism. ↑
- The Hebrew term Talmud (“study” or “learning”) commonly refers to a compilation of ancient teachings regarded as sacred and normative by Jews from the time it was compiled until modern times and is still regarded as such by traditional religious Jews. ↑
- Ptolemy II Philadelphus, was the King of Egypt (285–246 BC), second king of the Ptolemaic dynasty, who extended his power by skilful diplomacy, developed agriculture and commerce, and made Alexandria a leading centre of the arts and sciences. Source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ptolemy-II-Philadelphus ↑
- From Wikipedia, HERE: The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, is the canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi’im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a few passages in Biblical Aramaic (in the books of Daniel and Ezra, the verse Jeremiah 10:11, and some single words). ↑
- The Old Testament is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, a collection of ancient religious Hebrew writings by the Israelites. The second division of Christian Bibles is the New Testament, written in the Koine Greek language. ↑
- Explained HERE: Deuterocanonical books means “second canon” in Greek. It usually means the parts of the Bible that are only used by some Christian churches (mostly Roman Catholic and Orthodox). The books only exist in Greek language manuscripts that were written by the Jewish people living in Greek speaking areas of the Mediterranean Sea between 250 and 50 BC, as were all of the books of the Old Testament. It was not until circa 900 AD that the Old Testament as known in Jewish and Protestant religions was written in Hebrew and limited to the current so-called “canons”. ↑
- From Britannica.com, HERE: John Wycliffe, also spelled Wycliff, Wyclif, Wicliffe, or Wiclif, (born c. 1330, Yorkshire, England—died December 31, 1384, Lutterworth, Leicestershire), was an English theologian, philosopher, church reformer, and promoter of the first complete translation of the Bible into English. ↑
- William Tyndale was a leading figure in the Protestant Reformation in the years leading up to his execution. He is well known as a translator of the Bible into English, influenced by the works of Erasmus of Rotterdam and Martin Luther. Tyndale’s Bible is credited with being the first Bible translation in the English language to work directly from Hebrew and Greek texts. It was the first English biblical translation that was mass-produced as a result of new advances in the art of printing. The Tyndale Bible usually refers to the translations of various books of the Bible by William Tyndale in the 1500s. Tyndale’s translations have greatly influenced nearly every modern English translation of Scripture. ↑
- Except where otherwise specified, the sayings are excerpted from: https://unlockingthebible.org/2012/03/37-common-english-sayings-from-the-bible/ ↑
- Source: Wikipedia: “NIV” means New International Version, an English translation of the Bible first published in 1978 by Biblica. The NIV was published to meet the need for a modern translation done by Bible scholars using the earliest, highest quality manuscripts available. ↑
- From City.org.nz, HERE. ↑
- Ibid ↑
- ‘KJV’ means King James’ Version of the Bible. ↑
- Source: Wikipedia: The Geneva Bible is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into English, preceding the King James Version by 51 years. It was the primary Bible of 16th century English Protestantism and was used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John Knox, John Donne, and John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678). It was one of the Bibles taken to America on the Mayflower. The Geneva Bible was used by many English Dissenters, and it was still respected by Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers at the time of the English Civil War, in the booklet The Souldiers Pocket Bible. This version of the Bible is significant because, for the first time, a mechanically printed, mass-produced Bible was made available directly to the general public ↑
- Source: Wikipedia: “ESV” means The English Standard Version, an English translation of the Bible. The ESV was published in 2001 by Crossway, having been created by a team of more than 100 leading evangelical scholars and pastors. ↑
- From City.org.nz, HERE. ↑
- Ibid ↑
- Defined by Britannica.com, HERE as: Babylonian Captivity, also called Babylonian Exile, the forced detention of Jews in Babylonia following the latter’s conquest of the kingdom of Judah in 598/7 and 587/6 BC. The captivity formally ended in 538 BC, when the Persian conqueror of Babylonia, Cyrus the Great, gave the Jews permission to return to Palestine. ↑
- See: http://www.cjcpassaic.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Proverbs-Authorships-1.pdf ↑
- From Wikipedia: Dionysius the Areopagite was an Athenian judge at the Areopagus Court in Athens, who lived in the first century. A convert to Christianity, he is venerated as a saint by multiple denominations. ↑
- Source: https://biblehub.com/topical/c/chronology.htm ↑
- Attribution: https://facts.net/bible-facts/ ↑
- Epistles is a book of the New Testament in the form of a letter from an Apostle. ↑
- Attribution: https://overviewbible.com/bible-facts/ ↑
- The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire that was based in Western Asia and founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. It reached its greatest extent under Xerxes I, who conquered most of northern and central ancient Greece. Source: Wikipedia ↑
- Attribution: https://www.factretriever.com/bible-facts ↑
- Attribution: https://thinkaboutsuchthings.com/fun-facts-about-the-bible/#10-fun-facts-about-the-bible ↑