Where Did the Bible Come From?

I have a black leather bound Bible that I purchased at the Family Christian Book Store, and it goes with me everywhere I go. It’s in my messenger bag when I go to work. It’s in my backpack when I’m at school. It waits for me every morning at my kitchen table for my morning readings (more on this later). For as much as I am a tech geek, I never got next to reading my Bible on a screen. For some reason, this book more than most, I want to hold it in my hands.

But where does the Bible come from, not just Family Christian Book Stores I’m sure. This is an impossible topic to cover in a single post, but let’s see if we can shed some light on the basics. The Bible started with someone writing something down.

I’ll give you a moment to recover.

While this news doesn’t seem earth shattering, it’s an important place to start. The Bible isn’t a book that fell out of the sky and onto bookshelves. The Bible is actually a collection of books written by human beings to explain their understanding of God and God’s action in their worlds. The pages of the Bible come from lived experience. And of course, as we discovered last week, the Bible is breathed into by God, so these writers had help. God inspired (literally breathed into) these writers and thus the Scriptures were born.

Each book has its own flavor and tone. In the Psalms, you hear a collection of passionate artists trying to wrap words around their experiences of God. The Psalms may be some of the most honest writings we get about God. The experiences these song writers felt were on both the good and bad side of the spectrum. There are psalms of victory as well as psalms of defeat. Or look at Romans 7:14-20. Imagine the context Paul was writing this. Paul is walking back and forth in a room, dictating to a young man who writes down every word. Of course this section of Scripture seems a little disjointed. Paul is getting excited about what he’s talking about, and Tertius (Romans 16:22) is faithful in writing everything down. Each book has a flavor. Each book has a tone. Each book has a personality. Each book points to the goodness of God in the Son Jesus Christ.

In 325 CE, a group of Christians got together to sort out what writings should be a part of the cannon and what should be left behind. It turned out that some “Christian” writings were at best not pointing to Christ at all, and at worst pointing to a Christ who didn’t really exist. In one book, Jesus is depicted as a child zapping other children who won’t play with him. While some people want to make it sound like there is some vast conspiracy to keep something hidden from the world, one of my professors said it best. She read a few passages of these left behind books and quietly asked “This just doesn’t sound like the voice of the Shepherd, does it?” In the end, the entirety of Scripture drips with the voice of our Good Shepherd. Even the Hebrew Scriptures point to Christ on nearly every page (check out Psalm 22, written centuries before Christ was on the scene). And so the Church Fathers designated these 66 books as the Bible, the Word of God.

With all that in mind, what do we do with this book? How do we approach it? Tune in next week to find out more!

Next time: How can two people read the same Bible and come away with different interpretations?

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