Q: #175. Who wrote the Bible?
A: The Bible was written by over 40 different men over a period of between 1500 to 1600 years. These men came from quite varied lives: kings, fishermen, priests, a shepherd, a doctor, a tax collector, a tentmaker, etc…
It is important to note, however, that while these men may have written the words in the Bible, they were given the words to write down by God Himself. God sovereignly provided these words to them through the Holy Spirit. There are three key verses in the Bible that best explain this:
(2 Tim 3:16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
(2 Pet 1:20-21) knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Interestingly, the word “inspiration” in 2nd Timothy, (which comes from the Greek word “theopneustos“) is not used anywhere else in the whole Bible. This word is a combination of two different Greek words: “theos” (God) and “pneuo” (to breathe). In other words, all scripture is “God-breathed.” God breathed out what He wanted the authors of the Bible to write and they wrote the words down.
How did God impart His words to these men so they could write them? We can see in the Bible that God basically used (and still uses today) 3 ways to speak to people:
1. He spoke directly (audibly). For example: Noah (Gen 6:13-7:5)(Gen 8:15-17), Abraham (Gen 12:1-3)(Gen 17:1-22), Moses (Ex 3:2-4:17)(Ex 33:11), Joshua (Josh 1:1-9), Job (ch 38-41), Paul (Acts 9:1-6).
2. He spoke through dreams and visions. For example: Jacob (Gen 28:10-15)(Gen 31:10-13)(Gen 46:2), Ezekiel (Ezek ch 8-11), Daniel (Dan 2:19) (Dan ch 7,8,10-12), Ananias (Acts 9:10-16), Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8), Peter (Acts 10:9-16), Paul (Acts 16:9-10)(Acts 18:9-10).
3. He spoke by supernaturally placing His thoughts and desires into people’s minds (through the Holy Spirit). For example: (David (1 Chr 28:12)(Mt 22:43), Peter (Acts 10:19-20), Paul (Acts 16:6-7)(Eph 3:3-5).
We can also see in several places that God specifically told several people to write down exactly what He had revealed to them. For example: Moses (Ex 24:3-4)(Ex 34:27-28), John (Rev 1:9-11,19), Habakkuk (Hab 2:2).
While we don’t know the exact way God revealed His word to each of the authors, we do know that each word of the Bible was infallibly inspired. While I am not going to go into details on the numerous proofs we have that the Bible is TOTALLY accurate in this study, you can go to this link to see them.
This being said, a few things should be noted. First, while the original manuscripts WERE infallible and inspired, translations of these originals are not. What we have today in our various translations of the Bible may contain some errors. For example, the KJV Bible, which I consider the most accurate version of the Bible (along with the NASB) has had some errors over time in various translations due to human error (see: Q: #1), however, these have been found and corrected. Most errors in translation are minor. Much of what is contained in our Old Testament was confirmed as VERY accurate when the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. These scrolls (dating from app. 250 B.C. to 65 A.D.) contain over 100,000 fragments of every book of the Bible but Esther, and are nearly word for word what we have as our Old Testament today. God’s word has indeed been accurately preserved over time just as God said it would be (1 Pet 1:23,25)(Isa 40:8).
Secondly, it should be pointed out that God did not override the personalities and writing styles of the various authors. Clearly, some writers were more polished than others. Some were more detailed. Some were bolder. Some left out a few personal details (i.e. Look at the various accounts of Peter’s walking on water and see how Mark’s account “protects” Peter a little because Peter had led Mark to the Lord and was also his friend. Also, look at the various accounts of the woman with the issue of blood and note how Luke [who was a doctor] describes the story).
Thirdly, I believe it is important to note that there is not one place in the Bible that is more or less inspired than another. For example, many people place more importance on the words of Jesus than other people in the Bible. Some Bibles even place His words in red. This is a mistake. While Jesus was the greatest man who ever lived, God told the Gospel writers what words of Jesus to record just as He told Paul or the other Bible writers what He wanted said. Each word is from God Himself and all are equally important.
Finally, I would like to tell you that the same Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who inspired these Bible writers is available any time to speak to you as well. I do not believe that God speaks audibly to many today, nor do I believe He speaks to people a great deal through dreams or visions anymore, however, the Bible does clearly state that as Christians we can “hear” and communicate with God. Jesus said in (Jn 10:3-5,16,27) that those who belong to Him know His voice. This communication is generally done through the Holy Spirit who speaks to us (Acts 8:29)(Acts 10:19-20)(Acts 13:2)(Acts 28:25), and through us (Mt 22:43), teaches us (Jn 14:26), guides us (Jn 16:13), directs us (Acts 11:12)(Acts 20:22), and warns us (Acts 20:23).