How Did We Get the Bible?

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Questions are often asked such as, “Just where did the Bible come from anyway?  Isn’t it just a collection of human writings?”  Although this subject could be elaborated upon at length (numerous volumes have been written on the subject), I just want to provide a concise overview of this topic.  First off, there are a number of words and phrases used in the biblical writings to refer to the Bible in various contexts.  These include: scripture, prophecy, word of God, writings, testimonies, law, precepts, commandments, judgments, and statutes, to name a few.  The two verses above use “prophecy” and “scripture”.

In 2 Peter 1:21, we learn at least three things.  First, it wasn’t just man’s writings.  Rather, God’s Word is distinct from other written works.  Second, God used “holy men” to convey His truth.  These were people who had a unique relationship with God.  Third, the impetus behind these men was the Holy Spirit, Who moved upon them to bring God’s Word into both spoken and then written form.  The men did not write of their own accord.

In 2 Timothy 3:16, teaches us some more about the process of transmission.  Scripture came “by inspiration of God”.  From the original Greek, an alternate translation would be “All scripture is God-breathed”.  The words are His, not man’s, but they were given through man and for mankind.  We must be careful not to overlook the word “all”.  This “inspiration” is universal in scope for the entire Bible.

So to sum up, God gave His Word to mankind through specific people who had a unique relationship with Him.  These men wrote down what God revealed to them while using their personalities and often their individual perspectives.  What we end up with is a single volume made up of 66 books written over a period of 1600 years by some 40 different writers, but still having a unified message and doctrine.  Something like that can only be accomplished through the work of God.