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Who Wrote the Bible?

by Evangeline



According to countless sources, the single best-selling book of all time is the Bible. Billions of copies have been sold and distributed the world over, far more than popular classics or recent hits like Harry Potter.

In most cases, authors of best-selling books have struck gold with the royalties received from the sales of their book(s). Take Harper Lee, for example. In 1960, she published her first and only (until 2015) book, To Kill a Mockingbird. After that, she never had to work another day in her life. Just how much did she receive? In the first 6 months of 2009 alone, she made over US$9,000 a day in royalties! Her book sold, and still sells, around 1 million copies a year, the royalties from which she lived off till the end of her life. Compare that to the Bible, of which around 100 million copies are printed and sold each year. Imagine the amount in royalties that would have gone to the author! But, here comes the question: who exactly is the author? Who wrote the Bible?

Writing a book is undoubtedly a long process. Some authors take years just to complete writing one book. The Bible, too, was written over a very long period. However, the reason it took so long was certainly not due to the usual writer’s block. It was written over 1,500 years – a vast chronicle of history over those years – more than several lifetimes of the average human being! Hence, it was obviously written by a number of different authors.

The Bible consists of 66 books in total; but surely, there were more than just 66 books originally. Where there was more than one witness to the events recorded in the Bible, there was bound to be other accounts floating around. However, these 66 gradually came to be accepted by the churches, and in 367 AD, the church father Athanasius of Alexandria first provided this complete list of the books belonging to the Bible. (After the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church added 7 books from the Apocrypha in 1546, which explains why their Bible has 73 rather than 66 books today.)

While some of these books can be clearly and historically attributed to certain authors, it cannot be said for sure who some of the others are. It is fairly clear who wrote the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the letters of Paul and Peter, Song of Solomon, prophecies of Isaiah, Nehemiah, and Ezekiel, and so on, but the authorship of some parts of the Bible are less clear. Here is a list of what we do know.

Of course, who the authors are of all the other books continues to be a subject of contention amongst historians. A quick trawl through various internet sources turned up differing and somewhat confusing accounts and evidences of all sorts. In all these claims, several factors have been used to attribute the individual books to different authors, such as the historical timeline, language used, and more.

So, back to the question of who wrote the Bible… Never mind the factual-or-not evidences. If we think about and reflect on this as Christians rather than historians, the answer is simple: there was and is actually only one author of the Bible all along. That author, of course, is God – ALL scripture is GOD-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). And, on a final note, since God is the author of the all-time best-selling book, we should also think about how we can give to God those ‘royalties’, shouldn’t we? ;)

Men's ideas differ about the extent that human skill can go; but the reason we believe the Bible is the basis of our assurance and hope is because it is inspired. The reason we believe the Bible is inspired is so simple that the humblest child of God can comprehend it. If the proof of its divine origin lay in its wisdom alone, a simple and uneducated man might not be able to believe it. We believe it is inspired because there is nothing in it that could not have come from God. God is wise, and God is good. There is nothing in the Bible that is not wise, and there is nothing that is not good.
If the Bible had anything in it that is opposed to reason or to our sense of right, then perhaps we might think that it was like all the books in the world that are written by mere men. Books that are just human books, like human lives, have in them a great deal that is foolish and wrong.
Like the other wonderful things of God, this book bears the sure stamp of its author. It is like Him. Though man plants the seeds, God makes the flowers, and they are perfect and beautiful like He is. Men wrote what's in the Bible, but the work is God's.
D.L. Moody
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