Have you ever picked up your Bible, looked at the cover and inside, and thought to yourself, “How old is the Bible?” You’ve likely heard that the Bible was written thousands of years ago. With numerous choices, finding the right Bible translation as a reader can take effort and time.
For many years, scholars have researched and developed several conclusions about the timeline of when the Bible was written. You may have discovered facts about the Bible you didn’t know about and were shocked at the results. Perhaps your faith journey is only starting, and you’re looking for answers. The Bible has plenty of love, oozing with God’s directions.
The first five books of the Bible.
The first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch. Some scholars believe the first five books lay the groundwork for the remainder of the Bible. From the start of the Bible to the end, Give provides an opportunity to grow in faith and learn about Him. Bible researchers believe that the first five books of the Bible were written during the 1400s B.C. when Israel was wandering in the desert. Moses is identified as the author of the first five books of the Bible, and he may have written facts shared by others. The final part of Deuteronomy shares Moses’ death, meaning another person wrote that part. Many believe Joshua shared the death of Moses.
When were the prophets written?
Prophets were couriers sent to warn and guide the people, as described in Deuteronomy 18:18-19. Whether people ignored their warnings or listened, their messages were important. The prophets didn’t speak for themselves; they spoke for God, sharing information people needed to know and speaking the truth from God.
The books of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Lamentations, Joel, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Obadiah, Micah, Haggai, Zephaniah, Zechariah, and Malachai all share the prophets’ writings. However, other prophets are listed in the Bible, like Miriam, though her name isn’t included in the minor or major list. Jeremiah’s book warns people to avoid evil or face serious consequences. While some heeded the warnings, others didn’t. The book of Jeremiah might have been written around 600 B.C., while Jeremiah, between 586 and 516 B.C., likely wrote the book of Lamentations.
When were the Old Testament books written?
Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Lamentations, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes are considered poetry books in the Bible. Remembering that poetry doesn’t have to rhyme lets the reader read these books as the writer may have spoken the words. Researchers say Job’s story dates back to Abraham’s time and was likely passed down orally until someone wrote down the story.
The book of Psalms lists David as the author. However, numerous people contributed to writing Psalms, which were given in different periods. The Bible says that temple workers gathered Psalms together after the exile, probably in the third century B.C. The author of the Song of Solomon likely wrote it in the 10th century B.C. The author of this book, often referred to as a love song, is uncertain, but Solomon is listed as a likely author.
You might ask yourself why Lamentations is listed as a poetry book. Jeremiah, between 586 and 516 B.C., possibly wrote Lamentations. The book is Jeremiah’s perspective of the devastation in his homeland. Amidst the sadness and turmoil of writing, the author reminds readers that they can find hope in God. The historical books of the Bible include 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Joshua, and Judges. Joshua’s writing describes God’s faithfulness. Scholars think the original manuscript was likely written in the 1300s B.C. and had words added later. The book of Joshua introduces us to Rahab’s story of faithfulness and bravery. The last chapters of Joshua ask people to choose who they will serve, specifically in Joshua 24:15.
Samuel is thought to be the author of the book of Judges. However, there is some question about its authorship. Judges was likely written around 1000 B.C. and cover 330 years. The book of Judges details Israel’s history after Joshua’s death. 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were both written by an unknown author sometime after Israel was divided into northern and southern kingdoms around 930 B.C. Meanwhile, 1 Kings and 2 Kings were likely written around 550 B.C. by an unknown author.
When were the New Testament books written?
The New Testament details the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, with every book including some aspect of Jesus’ life. From Jesus’ genealogy of Jesus to Mary finding out about the unique child she was carrying, to Jesus’ works and healing, and His crucifixion, death, and resurrection, the New Testament has plenty of crucial details. The New Testament starts with the book of Matthew, with the name Matthew meaning ‘gift of God.’ Matthew, a tax collector, shows that God can use anyone to share His glory and love. Matthew’s book was likely written before Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70. However, scholars have debated the actual date the book was written around A.D. 55.
Luke, a physician, wrote his account around A.D. 59 to A.D. 63. Luke shares his history directed to Theophilus. The book of John gives us some of the most famous words in the Bible, specifically in John 3:16-17. These words are shared daily on billboards, t-shirts, signs, bookmarks, and sporting events.
Most Bible scholars think the Book of Revelations was the last written book of the Bible between A.D. 90 and 95 by the apostle John during his exile on Patmos. John could’ve also written 1, 2, or 3 John or the Gospel of John after writing Revelations. However, the consensus remains that Revelations was one of John’s last writings.
Since around 40 different authors wrote the Bible over roughly 1,500 years, answering the question of “how old is the Bible?” can’t be answered with a single number. If you look at when the Bible was first written, the Bible is more than 3,400 years old. However, if you go by when the Bible was finished, the Bible is more than 1,900 years old.