What is the age of the Bible?


By BibleAsk Team

The age of the Bible refers to the historical and chronological timeline of its composition, preservation, and transmission over thousands of years. The Bible is a collection of texts spanning different genres, languages, and cultures, reflecting a rich tapestry of human history and divine revelation.

Understanding the age of the Bible involves examining its origins, development, and transmission from ancient times to the present day. Let’s explore the age of the Bible, drawing upon relevant references from the Word of God.

Ancient Origins:

The 66 books of the Bible were written by about 40 different people over a period of about 1,500 years. Most traditional Bible scholars believe that the first book of the Bible Genesis was written by Moses during the wilderness experience. This would put the date of his authorship somewhere between 1450 BC and 1400 BC. The last book of the Bible is Revelation. It was written by the apostle John during his exile on the island of Patmos. It was completed between AD 90 and 95. Therefore, the Bible age is over 3,400 years.

One of the greatest miracles of the Bible is its unity.  This book was written on three continents, in three languages and by different people (such as kings, shepherds, scientists, attorneys, fishermen, priests and others) who in most cases have never met. And these authors who wrote on the most controversial subjects had varied education and backgrounds. Yet, though it seems completely unimaginable, the 66 books agree with one another.

  • Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV): “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'” This passage marks the beginning of God’s covenant with Abraham, a foundational event in biblical history.

Composition and Transmission:

The Bible was composed and transmitted over many centuries by various authors. The process of composition involved oral tradition and written texts resulting in the compilation of diverse literary genres, including historical narratives, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, and epistles.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV): “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

This verse affirms the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture, emphasizing its enduring relevance and usefulness for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

The Bible, written by many writers, reads as if it was written by one mind. And this is because “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21, NKJV). The Holy Spirit “moved” them all; He is the real Bible author and His truths are applicable to all generations. The changed lives of those who read the Bible and obey its principles provide some of the most convincing proofs of its divine inspiration.

Ancient Manuscripts and Codices:

The preservation of the biblical text was facilitated through the copying and dissemination of manuscripts and codices by scribes and scholars throughout antiquity. Ancient manuscripts, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, affirm the reliability of the textual transmission of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament).

  • Isaiah 53:5-6 (NKJV): “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

This passage from Isaiah is among the prophetic texts found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, providing evidence of the textual integrity and continuity of the biblical text over time.

Canonical Development:

The process of canonization, or the determination of which books are considered authoritative Scripture, occurred gradually over several centuries within Jewish and Christian communities. The Hebrew Bible canon was largely established by the time of Jesus, while the New Testament canon developed in the early Christian church.

  • 2 Peter 3:15-16 (NKJV): “and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.”

Peter’s reference to Paul’s epistles as Scripture indicates the recognition of apostolic authority and the emergence of authoritative writings within the early Christian community.

Impact and Influence:

The Bible has had a profound impact and influence on human religion, ethics, history, culture and literature. Its teachings and narratives have shaped the beliefs, values, and practices of countless individuals and societies throughout the ages.

  • Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV): “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

This verse highlights the transformative power and enduring relevance of the Word of God, which continues to convict, inspire, and guide people across generations and cultures.

Contemporary Relevance:

Despite its ancient origins, the Bible remains relevant and applicable to contemporary life, addressing universal themes and human experiences. Its message of redemption, reconciliation, and hope continues to resonate with individuals seeking meaning, purpose, and spiritual truth.

  • Psalm 119:105 (NKJV): “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”

This verse expresses the enduring relevance of God’s Word as a source of guidance, illumination, and direction in navigating life’s journey.

The Bible is unique in that it answers life’s most puzzling questions: 1) Where did I come from?  2) Why am I here? 3) What does the future hold for me? And it declares that Jesus will come very soon to take His faithful children to the wonderful home He is preparing for them (John 14:1–3). And the saved will live in supreme happiness and peace forever in God’s presence (Revelation 21:3, 4).

In conclusion, the age of the Bible spans thousands of years, from its ancient origins to its contemporary relevance. It is a testament to the enduring power and authority of God’s Word, which continues to shape and transform lives across generations and cultures. As believers engage in studying the Scriptures, they are invited to encounter the living God who speaks through its timeless truths and promises.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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