Who wrote the Bible?

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About 40 authors over a period of 1,500 years wrote the Bible. These authors wrote the books of the Bible under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

The authors consisted of: kings, shepherds, scientists, attorneys, an army general, fishermen, priests, and a physician. These writers, in most cases, had never met. Yet, though it seems totally unbelievable, the 66 books have full harmony with each other.

The Bible is united in purpose, theme, development, and coordination. This could only be possible because God inspired holy men with what to write. The holy Book is basically God’s impressions and messages written in human language.

If we ask people who have seen an identical event, each will give a report of what happened. They may differ widely and could contradict each other in some way. Yet, the Bible, penned by 40 writers over a 1,500-year period, reads as if written by one great mind. And, indeed, it was: “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).

World’s best seller

According to Guinness Book of records, “the Bible is the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book. A survey by the Bible Society concluded that around 2.5 billion copies were printed between 1815 and 1975, but more recent estimates put the number at more than 5 billion. By the end of 1995, combined global sales of Today’s English Version (Good News) New Testament and Bible (copyright for which is held by the Bible Societies) exceeded 17.75 million copies, and the whole Bible had been translated into 349 languages; 2,123 languages have at least one book of the Bible in that language.”

Alphabetical List of Bible Authors that wrote the Bible

  1. Amos: The book of Amos
  2. Asaph: Part of Psalms
  3. Daniel: The book of Daniel
  4. David: Part of Psalms
  5. Ethan: Part of Psalms
  6. Ezekiel: The book of Ezekiel
  7. Ezra: The book of Ezra 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, and possibly parts of Nehemiah and Esther
  8. Gad: Parts of 1 Samuel
  9. Habakkuk: The book of Habakkuk
  10. Haggai: The book of Haggai
  11. Heman: Part of Psalms
  12. Hosea: The book of Hosea
  13. Isaiah: The book of Isaiah
  14. James: The book of James
  15. Jeduthun: Part of Psalms
  16. Jeremiah: 1 Kings and 2 Kings, Lamentations, the book of Jeremiah
  17. Joel: The book of Joel
  18. John: Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation
  19. Jonah: The book of Jonah
  20. Joshua: The book of Joshua
  21. Jude: Book of Jude
  22. Korah: Part of Psalms
  23. Luke: Gospel of Luke, Acts of the Apostles
  24. Malachi: The book of Malachi
  25. Mark: Gospel of Mark
  26. Matthew: Gospel of Matthew
  27. Micah: The book of Micah
  28. Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Part of Psalms and possibly Job
  29. Nathan: Parts of 1 Samuel
  30. Nahum: The book of Nahum
  31. Nehemiah: The book of Nehemiah
  32. Obadiah: The book of Obadiah
  33. Paul: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon and possibly the book of Hebrews
  34. Peter: 1st and 2nd Peter
  35. Samuel: 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, Ruth, and Judges
  36. Solomon: Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Song of Solomon
  37. Zechariah: The book of Zechariah
  38. Zephaniah: The book of Zephaniah
  39. Unknown Authors: Several Chapters of Psalms are from unknown authors as well as the books of Esther and Hebrews

While not every text of the Bible has a noted author, the following article will breakdown what scholars have concluded.

How is the Bible Organized?

To start, the Holy Bible consists of 66 books spread across the Old Testament and New Testament. Some of these books contain multiple authors. The books of the Bible consist of 5 main themes:

  1. History
  2. Poetry
  3. Prophecy
  4. Gospels
  5. Epistles
Themes of 66 books of the Holy Bible

Authorship of the Books of the Old Testament

Below is a full list of books of the Bible, as well as their authorship and historical setting.

Genesis

Authorship: Moses?
Historical Setting: 4,000 BC (Creation) – 1,806 BC (Death of Joseph)
Date written: 1,400 BC

Exodus

Authorship: Moses?
Historical Setting: 1526 BC – 1445 BC
Date written: 1,400 BC

Also see, Who is the author of the book of Exodus?

Leviticus

Authorship: Moses
Historical Setting: 15th Century BC
Date written: 1,400 BC

Numbers

Authorship: Moses
Historical Setting: 1445 BC to 1406 BC
Date written: 1,400 BC

Deuteronomy

Authorship: Moses
Historical Setting: 15th Century BC
Date written: 1,400 BC

Scholars all seem to agree that the first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch were written by Moses. Scholars also seem to agree that Moses wrote the book of Job. For more on that, please visit Who wrote the book of Job and when?.

However, it’s important to note that while Moses wrote these books, a lot of times he was quoting the direct words of God. A prime example of this would be the Ten Commandments which God spoke to His people in Exodus 20, and then wrote with His own finger upon the tablets of stone. It’s interesting to note that some scholars credit Genesis 1:1 – Genesis 2:3 as being written by God, in the third person, while Moses took the narrative on from Genesis 2:4 where the term “God” was replaced by “Lord God”. See more on Who wrote the first five books of the Bible?

Joshua

Authorship: Joshua?
Historical Setting: 14th Century BC
Date written: 1,350 BC

Similar to Genesis, commentators and critics are divided as to whether the book of Joshua was actually by Joshua himself. Similar to other books of the Bible, the book was written in the third person. Critics argue that the use of the term “unto this day” makes it sound that the book was written much later, but for example when referencing Rahab in Joshua 6:25, it also says “and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day” giving the impression that the book was written within her lifetime or that of Joshua’s. For more on Joshua, please check out: Why did God choose Joshua to take the place of Moses?

Judges

Authorship: Samuel?
Historical Setting: 1,400 BC – 1,050 BC
Date Written: 10th Century BC

See more on Who wrote the book of Judges and when?

Ruth

Authorship: Samuel?

Ruth was a Moabite that married Boaz, giving birth to Obed, who was the grandfather of King David. Jesus Christ also came from this line. For more on Ruth and Boaz, please check out How did Ruth and Boaz get married?

1 Samuel

Authorship: Samuel, Nathan and Gad
Historical Setting: 1,100 BC 1,011 BC

2 Samuel

Authorship: Nathan and Gad
Historical Setting: 1,011 BC to 971 BC

The general consensus today is that Samuel wrote the book of Judges, Ruth, and the first 24 chapters of 1 Samuel. 1 Samuel 25 to 1 Samuel 31 were written by Nathan and Gad.

1 Kings & 2 Kings

Authorship: Unknown, Editorship: Jeremiah?
Historical Setting: 10th Century BC to 7th Century BC
Date written: 7th Century BC

The books of Kings are a compilation of selected materials brought together by an editor. According to Jewish tradition, there is a record in the Talmud, Baba Bathra, 15a, that it was Jeremiah who brought the materials of Kings together in their present form.

1 Chronicles & 2 Chronicles

Authorship: Ezra?
Historical Setting: See 1 and 2 Kings

See more on Who wrote the books of the Chronicles?

Ezra & Nehemiah

Authorship: Ezra?
Historical Setting: 539 BC – 5th Century BC
Date written: 450 BC

The style and language of the books of Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah seem to indicate the same author. In fact, 2 Chronicles and Ezra may have been one book. This is indicated that there is no real break between 2 Chronicles 36 and Ezra 1. In addition, the Talmud and early Christian scholars also saw the books of Ezra & Nehemiah as possibly being one volume. For more on Ezra, please check out: What role did Ezra play in helping the Israelites return from exile?

Esther

Authorship: Unknown
Historical Setting: 483 BC – 473 BC
Date written: 5th Century BC

The author of the book of Esther is unknown, though it could have very well have been Ezra or even Mordecai. Also, the timing is debatable. Historically speaking, if Ahasuerus is Xerxes I, then the events of the book if Esther could have been anywhere between 483 BC and 473 BC. For more on Esther, please check out: What is the story of Esther?

Job

Authorship: Moses
Historical Setting: Unknown
Date written: 1,400 BC

The book of Job is the first of the Poetic books of the Bible. As mentioned earlier, scholars seem to agree that Moses also wrote the Book of Job. The Babylonian Talmud, Baba Bathra, 14b, 15a, says the following: “Moses wrote his own book, and the passages about Balaam and Job” (see Who wrote the book of Job?). The historical setting of it seems to place it before the Exodus and Moses may have wrote it during his time in Midian.

Psalms

Authorship: David, Asaph, Korah, Moses, Heman, Ethan, Solomon, and Jeduthun
Dates written: 1,500 BC – 78 BC

The book of Psalms, or the Psalter, has several authors. Some of those authors are known, while several psalms have unknown authors (see Who wrote the book of Psalms?).

Proverbs

Authorship: Solomon
Dates written: 970 BC – 931 BC

Ecclesiastes

Authorship: Solomon
Dates written: 970 BC – 931 BC

See Who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes?

Songs of Solomon

Authorship: Solomon
Dates written: 970 BC – 931 BC

See Why was the Song of Solomon includes in the Bible?

The Bible tells us that Solomon spoke “three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five” (1 Kings 4:32). Today we can read some of that in the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.

Isaiah

Authorship: Isaiah
Historical Setting: 8th Century BC
Date written: 8th Century BC

The book of Isaiah was the first of the Prophetic books in the Old Testament. See Who was Isaiah in the Old Testament?

Jeremiah

Authorship: Jeremiah
Historical Setting: 627 BC – 561 BC
Dates written: 7th – 6th Century BC

The book of Jeremiah is another prophetic book in the Bible. The Prophecies of Jeremiah took place between 627 and 561 BC. For more information about Jeremiah and his prophecies, you can check out the following links:

Lamentations

Authorship: Jeremiah
Historical Setting: After 587 BC
Dates written: 6th Century BC

Lamentations was also written by Jeremiah, after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BC. See more on Why was the book of Lamentations included in the Bible?

Ezekiel

Authorship: Ezekiel?
Dates written: 6th Century BC

See more on Ezekiel on the following links:

Daniel

Authorship: Daniel
Historical Setting: 6th Century BC
Date written: 6th Century BC

See more on Daniel on the following links:

Hosea

Authorship: Hosea
Date written: 8th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Hosea, please check out: Who was the prophet Hosea in the Bible?

Joel

Authorship: Joel
Date written: 9th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Joel, please check out:

Amos

Authorship: Amos
Date written: 8th Century BC

Obadiah

Authorship: Obadiah
Date written: 7th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Obadiah, please check out: Who was Obadiah in the Old Testament?

Jonah

Authorship: Jonah
Date written: 8th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Jonah, please check out:

Micah

Authorship: Micah
Historical Setting: 8th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Micah, please check out: Who was Micah the Morasthite in the Old Testament?

Nahum

Authorship: Nahum
Date Written: 7th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Nahum, please check out: When did Nahum’s prophecy of destruction against Nineveh get fulfilled?

Habakkuk

Authorship: Habakkuk
Date Written: 7th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Habakkuk, please check out:

Zephaniah

Authorship: Zephaniah
Date Written: 7th Century BC

For more on Zephaniah, please check out: Who was Zephaniah in the Old Testament?

Haggai

Authorship: Haggai
Date Written: 6th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Haggai, please check out: How did Haggai the prophet help his nation?

Zechariah

Authorship: Zechariah
Date Written: 6th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Zechariah, please check put:

Malachi

Authorship: Malachi
Date Written: 5th Century BC

For more on the Prophet Malachi, please check out: Who was Malachi in the Old Testament?

Authorship of the Books of the Old Testament

Matthew

Authorship: Matthew
Date Written: 55 AD

Mark

Authorship: Mark
Date Written: 50 AD

For more on the apostle Mark, please check out the following:

Luke

Authorship: Luke
Date Written: 60 AD

For more on the apostle Luke, please check out the following:

John

Authorship: John
Date Written: 90 AD

For more on the disciple John, please check out the following: Who wrote the gospel of John? How does it differ from the synoptic gospels? 

Acts of the Apostles

Authorship: Luke
Date Written: 65 AD

Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon

Authorship: Paul
Date Written: 50-70 AD

For more on the Apostle Paul, please check out:

Hebrews

Authorship: Unknown. Possibly Paul, Luke, Barnabas, or Apollos
Date Written: 65 AD

For more on the book of Hebrews, please check out:

James 

Authorship: James
Date Written: 45 AD

1 Peter & 2 Peter

Authorship: Peter
Date Written: 60 AD

For more on the disciple Peter, please check out:

1 John, 2 John & 3 John

Authorship: John
Date Written: 90 AD

Jude

Authorship: Jude
Date Written: 60 AD

For more on Jude, please check out Who was Jude in the New Testament?

Revelation

Authorship: John
Date Written: 90 AD

For more on the book of Revelation, please check out:

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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