Who Wrote the Bible? (Part 1)

Who Wrote The Bible

Who wrote the Bible?

God…right?  While that may be a profound and direct answer, it’s also overly simplistic. The Bible is God’s special revelation to mankind, delivered through the divine inspiration of human authors. So who were the human authors?

There’s a lot riding on the answer. Not so much in terms of their actual identities, but because many attacks against Christianity are targeted at disproving the reliability of human authorship. What kind of defense can those of us who believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God offer regarding the trustworthiness of the authors of the Bible?

It’s not essential that we know the names of the human authors (otherwise they would have laid out their identities in the text with certainty), but it is essential that we know that the Scripture is trustworthy. So with this post we begin a series to help readers appreciate the Bible as an accurate, historical, and trustworthy document. In a companion series we will explore how we got the “Holy Bible,” but for now we’ll begin with the authors.

Let’s lay out one precept: we’re about discovering the truth, not defending traditional notions. For example, it is widely believed that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. But that cannot be completely true. Why not? Because the fifth book (Deuteronomy) contains the accounts of his death and post-mortem reflections on his life—so at the very least someone else put the ending on his five books. Likewise, some people who haven’t really read the Bible have notions that God’s inspiration constituted divine dictation. But it is obvious in many passages that the Bible is not dictation from the Creator of the universe. How do we know that? Because the human authors state so—point blank in many verses (see this post for one clear example).

Back to the authors. Ezra was a priest, who mourned over his people’s disobedience to God after they were delivered from the Babylonian captivity. He was also a painstaking historian whose detailed historical records are downright anal-retentive (who counts plates, really?!). Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet—and why not?  You’d weep too if you went through what he endured (by the way, there have been some stunning archaeological finds involving Jeremiah in recent months). Gad was the bag man for David’s bad news. Obadiah is said to have been a descendant of Eliphaz, the friend of Job. And on and on…you get the point.  There are a lot of fascinating biographical details to appreciate about these authors.  Our aim in writing this post is to make them readily accessible.

We created the following Bible infographic depicting the grouping of the Old Testament books, the authors, the approximate dates of writing, and how many chapters each book contains. It’s a snapshot of the construction of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament


So…sticking with just the Old Testament for now, here is a new color-coded table keyed to our original infographic with hyperlinks to articles about the inspired authors of the Bible.  As you’ll read in the linked material (click on the author’s name in the right-hand column), some books have considerable contention about authorship.  But the point here is not to resolve that contention—we simply want to expose you to the biographies of the plausible authors.

The Old Testament

Pentateuch (Mosaic Law)

Genesis

Moses

Exodus

Leviticus

Numbers

Deuteronomy

Moses

Joshua

History

Joshua

Joshua

Judges

Samuel

Ruth

1 Samuel

Samuel, Gad, Nathan

2 Samuel

Gad, Nathan

1 Kings

Jeremiah?

2 Kings

1 Chronicles

Ezra?

2 Chronicles

Ezra

Ezra

Nehemiah

Ezra?

Esther

???

Wisdom Literature

Job

Job?

Psalms

David,

Others

Proverbs

Solomon,

Others

Ecclesiastes

Solomon

Song of Solomon

Major Prophets

Isaiah

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Jeremiah

Lamentations

Ezekiel

Ezekiel

Daniel

Daniel

Minor Prophets

Hosea

Hosea

Joel

Joel

Amos

Amos

Obadiah

Obadiah

Jonah

Jonah

Micah

Micah

Nahum

Nahum

Habakkuk

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Zephaniah

Haggai

Haggai

Zechariah

Zechariah

Malachi

Malachi

In an upcoming post we will give similar treatment to the New Testament  authors, and then review apologetic arguments that defend the trustworthiness of the human authors of the Bible.  Enjoy!

Resources

Areopagus-Journal-Spring-20The spring 2012 issue of the Areopagus Journal is an excellent resource for further study, and we will make use of several articles in our upcoming posts.

HT: Yvonne Brendley, Faith Smagalski

About John Paine

This blog is topical and devotional--we post whatever interests us, whenever. If you want to follow in an orderly fashion, please see our Kaqexeß page. View all posts by John Paine

10 responses to “Who Wrote the Bible? (Part 1)

  • jriddett

    Thank you john! I liked the clearness that you stated about dictation and inspiration. What a great direction these posts are going 🙂

    Like

  • dhrudy

    This looks like a great series, John, but the graphic is fantastic!

    Like

    • John Paine

      Thanks Dave, I’m so glad you mentioned that graphic. I couldn’t find anything appropriate, so I asked our graphics department to come up with something completely original…with just the right amount of ethos, pathos, and logos–but not taking itself too seriously. They put their heads together on a snowbound Saturday and hit one out of the park. I’ll pass on your kind encouragement.

      Like

    • Clarke Morledge

      Bet you didn’t know that Veracity has a graphics department…

      … actually I did not either, but…. 🙂

      Stay tuned, everyone, the Veracity wheels over at John Paine’s place have been turning around awhile on this topic. Lot’s of engaging material in store, I am sure!

      Like

    • John Paine

      It’s a small, non-union shop staffed with pixies, roustabouts, and ne’er-do-well cads. I almost hestitate to mention them because they are so unreliable–none of them showed up for work today.

      Like

  • John Otey

    I’m looking forward to more on this series. Keep up the good work, and thanks! J.O.

    Like

    • John Paine

      Thanks John! Whit said you both watched the Nye vs. Ham debate. (I am quite impressed that Whit would be interested, but then he is an exceptional young man.) Dave Rudy found this review of the event by Hugh Ross on The John & Kathy Show on WORD-fm in Pittsburgh. It starts at 24 minutes in and lasts about 24 minutes, and fills the gap between the two debaters rather nicely.
      [audio src="http://salem-wordfm.media.streamtheworld.com/audio/the_ride_home_102593781.mp3" /]

      Like

  • dwwork

    John, great post. Looking forward to the rest of the series

    Like

  • dwwork

    Reblogged this on Reasons For The Hope Blog and commented:
    The start of what should be a great series.

    Like

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