Who Wrote the Bible
The Bible

The Bible: Who Wrote the Bible?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

The first offense Satan used against God and man was to call into question what God had declared. The New International Version (NIV) and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) translate this phrase to say, “Did God really say…?” The English Standard Version (ESV) words it as, “Did God actually say…?”

Satan was not asking for clarity from Eve about what God had commanded. Rather, he was hoping to cause Eve to question God’s motives, authority, and wisdom.

Satan was the first Bible twister. Click To Tweet

Satan was the first Bible twister and his first lesson to man was how to twist God’s Word to fit our desires rather than God’s. He taught us how to interpret God’s revealed Word from a man-centered point of view rather than God-centered.

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Satan’s original scheme of teaching us to question God’s Word and manipulate it to fit our fallen desires still works today. We are just as vulnerable to this pattern today as Eve was in the Garden. We must, as Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 4:22-23 instruct, be renewed in our minds and as 1 Peter 1:13 says, “prepare your minds for action.”

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)

Part of this robing, this putting on of the armor of God, is what some translations of Ephesians 6 refer to as the “belt of truth.” The New American Standard Bible (NASB) words it as, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth.” To stand firm against the schemes of the devil, we must be grounded in the truth and Truth is found in the pages of Scripture.

We must be grounded in the truth and Truth is found in the pages of Scripture. Click To Tweet

Part of knowing, understanding, and placing our firm foundation upon the Bible is knowing who wrote it. This can help us have confidence in the authority of the words within the Bible and properly interpret what is being taught. When the world, Satan, or our own minds ask, “Did God really say…” we will be able to confidently declare the Truth, hold firm, and not be “tossed by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).

Who Wrote the BibleDuel Authorship

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

Scripture claims what is called duel authorship. This means there are two authors. As this passage in 2 Peter claims, the Bible was written by man but also by God.

“Scripture signals that its origin involves God and men in a dynamic relationship, so much so, that a passage can be equally said to be from God and the human agent (e.g., Heb 1:6). This relationship is routinely labeled concursive.” ~ Jared M. Compton2

This process of God writing His Word through men is called inspiration.

The doctrine of inspiration teaches that God the Holy Spirit, inspires or breathes into man what He desires to be written. It is based on 2 Timothy 3:16 where it says, “All Scripture is inspired by God…” Some translations word this passage as, “God-breathed” (NIV) or “breathed out by God” (ESV).

The doctrine of inspiration is not an easy concept and it cannot be fully comprehended this side of heaven. We can put our trust in that it is the method God chose in His perfect wisdom to reveal Truth to us even if we cannot fully understand exactly how the process works.

“God superintended the human authors of the Bible so that, while using their own writing styles and personalities, they still recorded exactly what God intended. The Bible was not dictated by God, but it was perfectly guided and entirely inspired by Him.” ~ Got Questions9

Do not confuse the process of inspiration with automatic writing or possession, as some will argue. It is quite different. God still allowed those who penned His Word to use their own writing styles and personalities, yet every word is from Him.

God is the Ultimate Author of the Bible

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

As this passage in 2 Timothy and the passage in 2 Peter referenced above tells us, God is the ultimate author of all Scripture. Nothing in Scripture originated apart from God. While men may have penned it and their personalities and writing styles are evident in their writings, every word of it comes from God.

“I see an increasing trend in the church to treat God’s Word like a book written by fallible people, just like other books. Instead, we need to be reminded of what we read in Thessalonians: ‘For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13).” ~ Ken Ham4

We have all heard the claim that the Bible is just a book written by a bunch of fallible men. They argue that while God may have influenced them in their writing, they still made mistakes. I’ll admit that I also held to this belief for many years until I actually started studying Bibliology.

If the Bible is fallible, if God did not have His guiding hand inspiring and preserving every word and concept, that puts us in a very precarious spot. (1) If there is the possibility of errors then how do we know where they are? How do we know what we can trust and what isn’t true? How do we know that Jesus is actually the Savior? (2) This makes God a liar when He says that this is His Word, when He claims to speak truth, and when He makes a promise.

The Bible is the only inspired Word of God. Click To Tweet

While these claims may be true of every other book in existence, the Bible is different. The Bible is the only inspired Word of God.

“What is revealed in Scripture finds its origin not in the opinions of men. It is not a mere record of religious experience or a record of the attempts of ancient people to come to an understanding of our Creator. Instead, it is the very revelation of God Himself. It is exactly what the lord wants us to have in order to know His will, and is nothing less than the very speech of our Maker.” ~ Tabletalk3

The truth is that the Bible is completely trustworthy and true because it did not originate in man’s ideas but it originated from our perfect, omniscient Creator. He is perfect, omnipotent, sovereign, and cannot sin. It is not difficult to comprehend that such a being has the power to not only convey His message through His created beings but to do so in a way that preserves the truth and perfection of His Word.

“…the Bible itself claims to be the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). For some reason, many people seem to dismiss this as if such internal evidence doesn’t count. But this is a double standard that they would not apply to most other books. Consider my book Taking Back Astronomy. This book claims to have been written by me, and most people would accept that it really is written by me simply because it says so. So, why do some people arbitrarily reject the Bible’s internal claim? This is the fallacy of special pleading and may indicate an anti-God bias that is part of our fallen nature.”
“Granted, the fact that the Bible claims to be the Word of God does not by itself prove that it is. But for any other document, the internal claim of authorship is usually accepted on its own merit. So, the Bible’s self-authenticating claim should not be simply dismissed. After all, how else would we know that the Bible is written by inspiration of God unless it said so?” ~ Jason Lisle7

I loved the above quote by Jason Lisle. I understand people’s hang up at first about using the argument that the Bible claiming to be the inspired Word of God is not a valid argument. People lie all the time. Books lie all the time. We can’t just trust someone because they make a claim.

However, the way Jason Lisle explains how the Bible’s claim of inspiration is valid evidence toward the trustworthiness of the Bible makes complete sense.

If you know God, you know that He can be trusted fully. Click To Tweet

Part of this has to also do with who the Author is. If I make a truth claim, you know nothing of me. You have no idea if I can be trusted or not. But when God makes a truth claim, all arguments end. He is God. If you know Him, you know that He can be trusted fully.

“Not just the Bible’s authors but Jesus Christ Himself claimed that the Bible was God’s Word. Jesus tied His own life and reputation to that claim. So either He is God and His Word is flawless or both Christ and His Word are false.” ~ Don Landis6

CS Lewis famously proposed that Jesus was either a lunatic, liar, or Lord. Throughout His ministry, Jesus referenced the Scripture over and over and spoke about it as if it was completely true (Luke 11:51, Matthew 24:37–39, John 8:56–58, Luke 17:28–32, John 3:14, Matthew 12:39–41). He never contradicted any of it. He claimed that it was about Him as well (John 5:39-40).

Either Jesus lied or was crazy. No sane or honest person would make such claims as He did. But Jesus was different. He is God the Son; He is Lord.

If God the Son, claims that the Scripture is God’s Word, all arguments are over.

“…we are not denying that God made use of human authors to put His words on paper. He commissioned apostles and prophets to speak on His behalf (for example, see Jer. 1:5 and Rom. 1:1), using their individual giftings and writing styles to give us His Word. But He did this in a manner that makes the words of His servants nothing less than His words.” ~ Tabletalk3

We can trust that God being all-powerful and all-knowing, has the ability to make this so. He not only has the ability but it takes no exertion of energy on His part. Everything is simple for the Lord and conveying Truth to those whom He created in His image, while it was a miraculous event, was not difficult or beyond His capability.

Who Wrote the Bible“Even though God used humans to write the Scriptures, these men were specially ‘moved by the Holy Spirit’ to ensure every Word was God-breathed (2 Peter 1:20–21).” ~ Ken Ham4

It is the God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity that inspired Scripture. This was a special occurrence that only happened a few times in history to a very small group of men spread out over thousands of years. Since the canon is closed, there is no more Scripture being inspired.

“Because Scripture is the living and active Word of God, what we have in the pages of the bible is the Lord’s voice. In other words, we are at no disadvantage to Abraham, Moses, or the other great figures in biblical history, for we have what they had—God’s speech to His people. Let us not be tempted to think that the believers of ages past had it better than we do, for Scripture clearly reveals to us God’s will and is to be followed just as we follow the Lord Himself.” ~ Tabletalk3

We may feel a bit disappointed that we will not experience God using us in the same way He used these men. It was a very special commission. However, we shouldn’t feel as though we have missed out on something.

We have God’s Word in its entirety. Click To Tweet

We have God’s Word in its entirety. Most of these men did not. We have the privilege of seeing all of God’s redemptive plan laid out before us in all its glory. We are at the advantage. We should praise and glorify God in His wisdom that we have been blessed to be born in such a time as this.

Authors of the Individual Books of the Bible

Scholars believe that the Bible has had forty authors (other than God). We can confidently name thirty-five of these men but we are unsure about five of them.

A great source for profiles of thirty-five of the possible forty authors, I recommend checking out this article at Overview Bible.

“Over 3,000 times, in some form or another, the Bible’s authors claimed to be speaking for God. With phrases like ‘the word of God’ and the ‘word of the Lord’ they indicated that they believed their words were of divine origin.” ~ Don Landis6

To claim to be speaking on behalf of God is a bold claim. As CS Lewis said of Jesus, to do so makes the professor either a lunatic, a liar, or one speaking truth.

To claim to be speaking on behalf of God is a bold claim. Click To Tweet

God does not take someone claiming to speak for Him lightly. It was commanded in Deuteronomy 13:1-5, that someone proven to be a false prophet was to be put to death.

To claim to speak for God when He has not inspired that person to speak for Him is a serious affront directly to the face of God. It is to blaspheme Him and He take that very seriously.

“We also find many authors of Scripture verifying each other’s writings as God’s Word.” ~ Don Landis6

  • Danial recognized Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2)
  • Paul regarded Luke as Scripture (1 Timothy 5:18, citing both Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7)
  • Peter referenced Paul’s writings as being inspired by God (2 Peter 3:16–17)
  • Jesus quoted the Old Testament frequently and considered all written in it to be true.

These men, speaking for God, defended each other’s claims. They not only trusted these men’s words but they put their own reputation and life on the line to endorse them.

“Despite being penned by different authors over 15 centuries, the Bible does not contradict itself and does not contain any errors. The authors all present different perspectives, but they all proclaim the same one true God, and the same one way of salvation—Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).” ~ Got Questions9

The amazing unity and consistency throughout the Bible is astounding when you consider how many men, from all walks of life, from several different locations, and over many years. You would be hard-pressed to find two people agree 100% on anything, much less forty.

The unity of the Bible clearly reveals that it must have one ultimate Author. Click To Tweet

We look today at the discussions between the politicians in America over the Constitution. Many of them interpret the Constitution to mean something very different from what the original authors meant a few hundred years ago. This is only one example what a miracle the unity of the Bible is. It clearly reveals that it must have one ultimate Author.

Why does authorship of the Bible matter?

Like I said at the beginning, knowing who the author of a writing is helps to determine whether the document is trustworthy.

“…biblical authority is inseparable from biblical authorship. If God is the ultimate author of Scripture, then it must be our only infallible authority because the Lord Himself is infallible. He cannot err, and if He inspired every word of the bible, then the bible cannot err either.” ~ Tabletalk3

Thankfully, we serve a perfect, infallible, inerrant God. His love and grace is seen in that He did not leave us to wonder about without any guidance of who we are, who He is, how we can be redeemed, how to live our lives, and a hope for the future. Because we can trust Him, we can trust His Word. Because we can trust Him, we can trust that He has perfectly preserved His Word. Because He loves us, He continues to present us with His perfect Word.

Because God loves us, He continues to present us with His perfect Word. Click To Tweet

“If we know who wrote a book, to whom, under what circumstances and at what period of history, that information will greatly ease our difficulty in understanding it.” ~ RC Sproul8

Not only does our hope and trust lie in what the Bible says about God and His authority, but knowing the individual authors helps us to know that we are interpreting each passage properly.

We can read a passage and know the words that are on the page, but, sometimes they make little sense to us. We may even notice slight differences in two account so of the same story, such as in the Gospels. Knowing who the author is helps us to better understand what is being said and why one person tells a story slightly different from another person. This helps us be able to apply passages to our lives more accurately.

“I am convinced of the need to help people understand that the Bible is not just the word of men—but that it is, in truth the Word of the living God.” ~ Ken Ham4

As 1 Corinthians 8:1 says, “knowledge makes arrogant” or how some translations say, “knowledge puffs up.” This doesn’t mean that knowledge is wrong. It isn’t. It is very, very important to gain as much knowledge as you can. But knowledge alone is useless. Unless that knowledge is transforms the person, unless it becomes wisdom, it is vainly obtained.

We not only need to know the contents of the Bible but we need to know that this is the Truth, this is the Word of God. We need to understand that Truth so that it can renew our mind (Colossians 3:10) and sanctify life.

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

Before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed what has come to be known as His High Priestly Prayer. Christ as about to go to the cross. He was about to endure one of the most physically painful methods of capital punishment that has ever been conceived. The physical pain was of little concern to Him. He knew He was going to have to endure much worse. He was going to have to experience the full wrath of God upon Himself on behalf of all Christians from all times. He was going to take on our sins and pay the penalty. With all of this weighing on Him, He still took time to pray for His disciples, to pray for all of us.

Part of this beautiful prayer was to acknowledge that the Scripture is God’s Word, that it is true, and that it has the power to sanctify us, make us more holy, make us more into the image of our Savior.

Who Wrote the Bible

“When we speak of the authorship of Scripture, we must never forget that the individual human authors of each book did contribute a distinct style and emphasis to our understanding of God. However, we must always remember that though each brought a unique contribution to the canon, God inspired each of them so that they wrote His words accurately. As you study the Bible, ask God to remind you that the words you read are indeed His words. ” ~ Tabletalk1

 


Sources

  1. “Authority And Authorship”. 2017. Ligonier Ministries. Accessed March 22. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/authority-and-authorship/.
  2. Compton, Jared. 2008. “Shared Intentions? Reflections On Inspiration And Interpretation In Light Of Scripture’s Dual Author”. Themelios From The Gospel Coalition. http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/article/shared-intentions-reflections-on-inspiration-and-interpretation-in-light-of.
  3. “Divine Authorship And Authority”. 2017. Ligonier Ministries. Accessed March 22. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/divine-authorship-and-authority/.
  4. Ham, Ken. 2014. “The Bible Says Or Paul Says?”. Answers In Genesis. https://answersingenesis.org/the-word-of-god/the-bible-says-or-paul-says/.
  5. Kranz, Jeffrey. 2016. “Who Wrote The Bible? Meet The 35 (Traditional) Authors”. Overview Bible. http://overviewbible.com/authors-who-wrote-bible/.
  6. Landis, Don. 2011. “2. Claims Of Divine Authorship”. Answers In Genesis. https://answersingenesis.org/the-word-of-god/2-claims-of-divine-authorship/.
  7. Lisle, Dr. 2009. “A Question Of Authorship”. Answers In Genesis. https://answersingenesis.org/the-word-of-god/a-question-of-authorship/.
  8. Sproul, RC. 2009. “Hermeneutical Principles”. Monergism.Com. https://www.monergism.com/hermeneutical-principles.
  9. “Who Were The Authors Of The Books Of The Bible?”. 2017. Gotquestions.Org. Accessed March 22. https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-authors.html.

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  • So much Truth and wisdom. Thank you for blessing me this morning.

  • Thanks for a well thought out post on the inspiration of Scripture. Good theology is essential to our walk with God and it is so lacking today.

  • Thanks for linking up on Mondays @ Soul Survival! Happy Monday!

  • Wanda@The Watered Soul

    Thanks for highlighting this topic so thoroughly. I look forward to digging around your site some more. So many rich nuggets.

  • You are a teacher at heart! Thanks for bringing us back to solid ground!

  • Brandi Raae

    Appreciate you linking up your solid teaching at Literacy Musing Mondays! I love studying God’s Word; I just wish I had more time to write about it. Thanks for putting in the time and energy it takes to do all this research.

  • Thank you so much for linking at #overthemoon! I look forward to seeing what you share every week. Please come back for #WonderfulWednesday or #ThursdayFavoriteThings. Enjoy your week ahead.

  • Thanks for sharing this at #MomentsofHope! Love the resources you provide here and scheduled this to share on Facebook!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

  • Jann Olson

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful info! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

  • This is a wonderful, thought-provoking post. It really resonated with me as I remember asking my late Mom who wrote the Bible when I was little. She said it was “man inspired by God”. I’ve always held on to that. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Hearth and Soul.

  • Such important truths to understand! Thank you for sharing them at Encouraging Word Wednesday!

  • Liz Rigby

    Wonderfully sound and thorough! I especially liked this: “He taught us how to interpret God’s revealed Word from a man-centered point of view rather than God-centered.” and Lisle’s argument. I’ll be pinning this on my pinterest and my stumbleupon accounts! Thanks again for sharing on Word Warriors!

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