Who Wrote the Bible?

Learn who wrote the Bible in this Howcast video with Reverend Dr. Timothy Coombs.

Transcript

Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.

The question is: ""Who wrote the Bible?"" Well, that question is kind of a misnomer. Even though the word ""bible"" means book and Scriptures means writings, no one actually sat down and wrote it out from the very beginning. Almost everything that we read in the Bible occurred first as an oral story and was experienced as an oral performance by listeners. Only later on did someone eventually write it down. In the Hebrew Scriptures, they were scribes, who took those oral stories and wrote them down for various reasons. The other thing about particularly the Hebrew Scriptures, it's a very layered document even within certain books. You have different traditions of writers adding on top of each other. For its credit and its reliability, sometimes these stories are laid side-by-side so you can read the different traditions at the time.

Now, in the New Testament, we have the gospels that were written by different evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But these stories existed orally for upwards of 40 years before they got put down on paper. Mark is the earliest who wrote somewhere around 70 AD. Well that's about 40 years after Jesus was crucified, so these stories existed orally in different communities for a long time before they got put down on paper. Even the letters of Paul were often delivered orally rather than just read. Very few people could read. Maybe 5 percent of people could actually read. And when they did read, they did it out loud for people to hear. So, who wrote the Bible? Hard to say. Many people. But before they put it on paper, many people told these stories orally as inspired by God.

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