Who Wrote The Books Of The Bible? The Real Story Behind Their Inspiration


Who wrote the books of the Bible? Was it God, since the book is claimed to be divine? Was it men? And if it was men, how can it claim to be God’s Word? Understanding the Bible’s authorship and how it came to be is foundational to our faith.

If we should be taking all the claims of the Bible seriously, we need to know that it’s a book we can trust.

What Scripture Itself Says About Who Wrote The Books Of The Bible

Upon first examination, it seems like a bunch of different men from many different spheres of life all contributed to writing Scripture, and that, in one way, does answer the question of who wrote the books of the Bible. Many books in Bible introduce the author in the opening verses of their first chapter. And while it is true that human authors like Moses, David, Peter and Paul did physically write down the words of the Bible, there’s a little more to it than meets the eye. Okay, actually a lot more. Check it out –

2 Peter 1:19-21 says,

“Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines[g] in your hearts. Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.”

In this passage, Peter is recalling to his audience how he saw Jesus Christ with his own eyes. His life wasn’t just a cleverly designed story – it was all real. Because of what he experienced, he urges believers to take Scripture seriously. And most importantly, they must understand that Scripture didn’t come from human authors, it came from God through the Holy Spirit. This phenomenon is called inspiration.

What Does Inspiration Mean?

Inspiration is key to understanding who wrote the books of the Bible.

It’s profound but simple. God is the source of every word in the Bible, but he used human writers to be the instruments His Word flowed through. These authors were prompted by the Holy Spirit to write exactly what they did.

In fact, 2 Timothy 3:15-16 says all Scripture is inspired by God. Every word.  The marriage of each author that contributed to writing the Bible with God’s purpose is a beautiful thing. The flowing poetry of David’s psalms convey God’s truth in a different way than the theological argument Paul gives in Romans, yet both are part of His holy revelation to us. God used the unique personalities and writing styles of 40 different men to record everything he wanted to communicate to mankind – no more and no less than what He wanted.

Evidences Of Inspiration

Again and again throughout Scripture, the Bible refers to itself as the word of the Lord, or claims to be a direct message from God.  And we believe that the claims of the Bible are enough, but outside evidence just confirms even more that this book and every word in it is really authored by God, and that Peter, Paul and all the rest were just writing out His thoughts.

For one thing, the Bible is scientifically correct.

It’s not a science textbook, but every time it refers to scientific realities it proves true. For example, Isaiah 40:22 refers to the earth being round, Isaiah 55:10-12 talks about water cycles, Job 26:7 names Earth as suspended in space, and Jeremiah 33:22 claims the stars are innumerable (we haven’t found the end of them yet!). God created the world and the system and laws it is run by, so it only makes sense for Him to be able to talk about science accurately – more accurately than us and before some of these scientific discoveries were made.

The Bible hold up historically as well.

Over and over the Bible and historical records have confirmed one other, and we know from secular history that biblical places like Sodom and Gomorrah and figures like Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus the Great, and Jesus existed as real people. Studying history is eye-opening, as through it we see the prophecies of Scripture fulfilled again and again and again.

Christ’s View of Scripture

Jesus was clear about His view of Scripture, and that’s the most convincing argument about who wrote the books of the Bible. He plainly believed that Scripture was God’s Word (a.k.a HIS word!). He studied and valued it, quoted it as authority in His confrontation with Satan (Matthew 4:1-11), and taught it as truth. He even described Scripture as unbreakable, or unable to be altered (John 10:35).  Jesus was God and man, the sacrifice for our sin. He knew that He Himself was the fulfillment, climax, and glory of all that God had to say to man, which is why he said to the religious leaders at the time,

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (John 5:39).

It Only Makes Sense For God To Be The One Who Wrote The Books Of The Bible

At the end of the day, the Bible is not a book that could have and would have been written by man. If you think about the message of the Bible, it’s anti-human nature. No man would have come up with the idea that all of our hearts are desperately wicked and that we need a Savior. We would never judge ourselves and the entire world so harshly and accurately. There is also no way we know the character and heart of God, as well as His perfect plan for our redemption, had he not revealed it to us Himself.

What The Inspiration Of Scripture Means For Us

The beauty of inspiration is in the fact that it can bring us rest. Imperfect people may have recorded God’s thoughts, but He is perfect and his words to us are perfect. This wasn’t just some men shooting in the dark and hoping they came to close to saying what God was thinking. No, God Himself was guiding these men as they wrote. Through the hands of chosen men, God  was the one who wrote the the books of the Bible. Because of what we know about Him, we can also know that His book is authoritative, inerrant, and sufficient.

History of the Bible: God’s Revelation to Man

History of the Bible: God’s Revelation to Man

The history of the Bible is a long story, filled with many characters and unlikely happenings. The book’s origins, evolution, and preservation through the ages is a magnificent tale of God’s grace and sovereignty, and it concerns all mankind – from the highest kings to the lowliest servants. The details of how it was written and has survived through the centuries is found in later posts. For now, let’s start at the very beginning of the story – with God Himself.

The History Of The Bible Starts With Its Author

When we study the history of the Bible, we have to begin before the opening words of its first chapter, before secular records of its existence, and before the Church’s traditions of how it came to be. We must start with its Author, the God of the Universe.

Through different means, of which the Bible is one, God Almighty has revealed Himself to us.

As we get to know Him in comparison to ourselves, this fact should stagger us more and more.

We as human beings are both finite and fallen. We are limited by time, physicality, and knowledge. Beyond that, we are broken by sin.

In and of ourselves there is only so much we can attain or accomplish, and we can never live up to even our own moral standards.

In contrast, God is infinite – unbound by time, space, or any other limitation. He is also Spirit; we cannot see Him.  We could never discover the truth about God by our human devices. He bridged the differences between us, knowing that we could never on our own enter into His world.

And God has done just that. The fact that He has made great efforts to communicate Himself to us shows us that He is not just some cold and distant god. No, He is a God who wants us to know Him. He is a God who wants relationship with man.

He is, as we will come to see through the history of the Bible and the message it contains, a God who stops at nothing to save us and invite us to come back into relationship with Him.

God’s Revelation To Man

God has revealed Himself to mankind in different ways at different times of history to different groups of people. He has spoken to us all through the witness of creation. He spoke to His chosen nation of Israel through judges, prophets, and kings. He has historically visited certain people in dreams and visions, and during the life of Christ He revealed Himself through His Son. And slowly through the years He compiled His holy Word so that all the earth could have a record of His thoughts and a clear message of truth.

He has never revealed all that He could – we do not have a complete revelation of God and His plan. However, God has always revealed enough of Himself that His people can know how to live in fellowship with Him and according to His will.  In whatever age and fashion God has spoken, the purpose of His communication has primarily been to pull us out of darkness and offer us redemption from sin.

General Revelation vs. Specific Revelation

In order to accomplish this, God has communicated both generally and specifically. In our Bibliology class here at Ethnos 360 Bible Institute (which explores the history of the Bible much more in depth!), Professor Scot Keen gives us great definitions for each. He says this about general revelation:

“We call this aspect of revelation general because it does not reveal specifics about God, but generalities. From creation one can recognize that there is a God, but cannot discern His moral characteristics.”

Its true; when we look around we can figure out that there is a creative God, and He has made the world as a witness to Himself. But we cannot know about Christ and the plan of salvation just by observing nature. Our conscience is another form of general revelation. God has hardwired each of us to have a sense of right and wrong. Through this revelation we can see our sinful hearts, but this revelation is limited, because our consciences may condemn us, but they cannot save us. Creation and  our inner conscience are only part of what God has to say.

Specific revelation, on the other hand, gives us deeper insight into God and his thoughts. Professor Keen defines specific revelation as:

“God’s specific communication to certain men thought history intended for the benefit of all. Specific/special because God directly revealed specific information to mankind through supernatural means.”

The Bible: God’s Compiled Revelation

The Bible is God’s specific revelation that has been compiled over many years and through the pens of many different human writers. It gathers up the history of God’s dealings with His people, His character and attributes, His plan for redeeming mankind, and most importantly, it introduces us to Christ, the ultimate expression of God Himself. God has seen fit to preserve His Word through the centuries so that His truth is available to us. This revelation from Him is His most direct communication to us and is His authoritative voice. We can put all our hope in its message and stake our lives on its claims.

The history of the Bible is a big subject, but it starts with the God who speaks to us.

The revelation of God to man is a phenomenon of grace. It is the God who lives in purity and light reaching into a world where men stumble and fall in the darkness. If we are going to undertake to truly understand the Bible, we must start with this foundation.