The history of the Bible is one that is widely contested. However, it is equally compelling. There are some that do not believe in the texts, while others feel there is a more accurate version of the text that should be used.

Regardless of the arguments, the history of the Bible is fascinating. The word “Bible,” comes from the Greek word “ta biblia” or “the books.”

The Bible is not a single book written by a single person or published at the same time. In fact, it is a collection of texts written by Jewish and Christian members that wanted to leave behind divine inspiration. These books focus on the relationship between God and humans, and they serve as a historical timeline for what occurred years ago.

Today, the oldest copy of a complete Bible was written on 4th Century parchment, and it has been preserved in the Vatican Library. It is called the “Codex Vaticanus.”

When “Bible” Was the Term

The scriptures within the Bible were not noted until the 2nd Century BCE when Jewish religious groups referred to the separate books of the Bible as “scriptures.”

It was not until the 13th Century when the Bible was officially divided into chapters by Stephen Langton, and it was made into verses in the 16th Century by the French printer Robert Estienne.

Today, Bibles are printed using the book, chapter, and verse. This makes it easier to search the Bible online or to reference back to a particular passage.

The Hebrew Bible

The Hebrew Bible is a Jewish Bible canon. The word “Torah” refers to “teaching” and the Torah contains the five books of Moses. These five books are known as:

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy

Within the Torah are the commandments of God, which is a debate among scholars as to where these commandments indeed originated and how accurate they are.

A Look at the Bible History Timeline

If one were to create a Bible history timeline, it would be full of skeptics and expert guesswork, because no one knows for sure at what point things were written.

However, the Book of Genesis does help create a timeline that gave scholars insight into the beginnings of man, their destruction, and more.

A clear majority of the books of the Bible were written in BC years, but the timeline is as follows:

  • Early Bible (Dates Uncertain): Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Ruth.
  • 1000 BC: 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Chronicles (developed into 500 BC), and portions of 1 and 2 Kings, and the beginning of Psalms.
  • 900 BC: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, portions of 1 and 2 Kings, parts of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Joel.
  • 800 BC 500 BC: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Nahum, Daniel, Haggai, Malachi, Ezra, Nehemiah, Obadiah, Habakkuk, Esther, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Zechariah, Amos, Jonah, Hosea, and Micah.
  • 300 BC: Psalms is finished.
  • 0 – 70 AD: John, Luke, Mark, Matthew, Acts, Revelations, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Timothy, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1 – 3 John, Jude.

Bible historyWhat about the Ten Commandments?

It is said that the Lord wrote the Ten Commandments Himself on stone tablets that he delivered to Moses. Scholars feel that these were completed somewhere between 1400 BC and 1500 BC. The 39 books that make up the Old Testament were thought to be completed by 500 BC, while the First Century AD was when the books of the New Testament were done.

By 500 AD, the Bible had already been translated into more than 500 languages.