turning pages of Bible
Savanna DiStefano
SG Social Media Coordinator
July 1, 2020
The Bible can be intimidating to read for new and seasoned Christians. While it is the most popular book in the world, it’s also considered illegal and dangerous in some countries due to its power. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. But who wrote the Bible, when, and why? Here is a quick overview of the book that has shaped our world.
What is the Bible?
The Bible is the holy book of Christianity. It is made up of 66 books divided in two parts: Old Testament and New Testament. The Old Testament covers the story of God’s people from the creation of the world to approximately 450BC. The New Testament consists of written accounts from the life of Jesus and the beginning of Christianity (around 30AD) until about 95AD.
Who wrote the Bible?
The Bible was written by approximately 40 different people over a period of about 1,500-2,000 years. Old Testament authors traditionally include Biblical figures like Moses and King David, though no one can know for certain who wrote every book. The New Testament books were written by Christ’s followers, including firsthand accounts by Jesus’ group of original 12 followers, and people who did not know of Jesus until after He left earth. Most of the New Testament books are letters written to churches or other first-century Christians. At least 13 of the 27 New Testament books are attributed to Paul, one of the most well-known followers of Christ.
How were the books chosen to be part of the Bible?
The canon, the 66 books of the Bible considered by most Christians as God-inspired and authoritative scripture, were not formally listed until 367AD by a church father named Athanasius from Alexandria. The books of the Bible came together over the centuries as early Christian churches used them in worship and believed them to be God inspired. The Old Testament was generally settled within Judaism by the second century BC.  Several of the Old Testament books were brought together into a single form as early as 200BC, but there is not one single date the canonical books were decided.
How do I read the Bible?
When reading the Bible, it is important to understand the context of the scripture which you are reading. Each book of the Bible was written for a specific purpose for a specific group of people during a time in history. Study Bibles and online commentaries are a great resource to use when reading scripture and understanding the larger story God has used people to write over thousands of years.
When beginning to read the Bible, try starting with Matthew or John in the New Testament, each telling an account from Jesus’ life. If you’re interested in creation or the Old Testament, try reading at the beginning, Genesis, the first book of the Bible. As you read, write down questions you may have or sections/terms that may be confusing to you. Take notes, highlight, circle, underline different verses that speak to you.
We encourage everyone to dive deeper into God’s Word alongside others, especially those who have expanded knowledge on the subject. Meeting with other Christians or church leaders is a great place to ask questions or understand new terms/concepts. Consider joining a Bible study or small group with a church or asking a local Pastor for assistance in learning more about the Bible.
The bottom line:
The Bible is the story of God’s people and His love for them. It includes historical information, poetry, encouragement and instructions on living a godly life. God uses the Bible to teach us about Himself, who He is and how we have been created to be part of His larger story.
Other sources used for this article:
The International Bible Society
Answers Magazine