Who wrote the Bible? Why do we believe it? How do we know it is accurate? This week we’ll be exploring who wrote the Bible and why we believe it.
Who Wrote the Bible?
From the “What’s in the Bible” Sunday School Series:
“Most Christians believe Moses wrote the first five books. Jewish tradition says that Ezra wrote 1st and 2nd Chronicles and Nehemiah. We think David wrote some of the Psalms and David wrote many of the Proverbs and most likely the Song of Songs. The Major and Minor Prophets were written, we believe, by the men those books are named for. We believe Jeremiah may have also written Lamentations.
In the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written by, well, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Luke also wrote the book of Acts and John also wrote 1st, 2nd, and third John, and his Revelation. Jesus’ brother James wrote James and the Jesus’ disciple Peter from 1st and 2nd Peter. Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are all letters written by Paul, who was very, very busy. . .
The other books, well, we’re not entirely sure who wrote those.”
So how do we trust them if we’re not entirely sure who wrote them? Because, as is explained in the “What’s in the Bible” Sunday School series (sorry, I’m a teacher :p ) – we don’t only trust that God inspired the writing of the books of the Bible. We also trust that God inspired the process in selecting which books were put in the Bible.
Faith also can lead us to trust in the Bible, it’s validity, and the process it has gone through from the time of it’s writing until today. But for the purpose of examining our faith and finding justification for what we believe, in order to answer the unbeliever, here are some thoughts. All of the following quotes are taken from the book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” by Normal L. Geisler and Frank Turek (2004).
a. Early testimony
The statistical facts concerning the early testimony of Jesus from both Christians AND non-Christians is convincing! Here are just a few points mentioned in “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.”
- “Including Josephus, there are ten known non-Christian writers who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life. By contrast, over the same 150 years there are nine non-Christian sources who mention Tiberius Caesar, the Roma emperor at the time of Jesus. So discounting all the Christian sources, Jesus is actually mentioned by one more source than the Roman emperor. If you include the Christian sources, authors mentioning Jesus outnumber those mentioning Tiberius 43 to 10.” (p. 222)
- All New Testament books were written before A.D. 100 (about 70 years after the death of Jesus) (pg. 235)
- Most if not all of these books were written before A.D. 70 (about 40 years after the death of Jesus) (pg. 237)
- Many New Testament books were composed before A.D. 62 (about 30 years after the death of Jesus) (pg. 239)
- Some New Testament books were penned in the 40s and 50s A.D., with sources from the 30s (only a few years after the death of Jesus) (pg. 241)
b. Eyewitness testimony
- The New Testament contains at least four to six lines of early, independent eyewitness written testimony (pg. 271).
c. Uninvented (authentic) testimony
Interesting points were brought up to validate the authentic testimony of the New Testament. Most of this I hadn’t ever considered before. Here is the outline from chapter 11 of the book.
The New Testament writers:
- included embarrassing details about themselves.
- included embarrassing details and difficult sayings of Jesus.
- included demanding sayings of Jesus
- carefully distinguished Jesus’ words from their own
- included events related to the resurrection that they would not have invented
- included more than thirty historically confirmed people in their writings
- include divergent details
- challenge their readers to check out verifiable facts, even facts about miracles
- describe miracles like other historical events: with simple, unembellished accounts
- abandoned their long-held sacred beliefs and practices, adopted new ones, and did not deny their testimony under persecution or threat of death
d. Eyewitnesses who were not deceived.
But what about the validity of the Old Testament?
After watching my spliced video (above), my husband brought up a very interesting point: If the New Testament is proven valid, and the Old Testament is proven valid by association, we also have to prove that the Old Testament was written before the New Testament. Aha! Excellent point, lovey! But that will have to be a question answered in a different post, for a different time. For now, I’m just going to believe by faith. Amen 🙂
Who Wrote the Bible Sources:
- “What’s in the Bible?” Sunday School Curriculum from whatsinthebible.com
- “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek (2004)