A series of articles exploring what God says is the ultimate Truth. Once established, all other truths are subject to it... including yours, mine, everyone's.
Who wrote the Bible?
Where did the Bible come from?
This is a question that many would answer by saying "the church gave it to us". This is only partially correct. For one thing, the larger portion (the Old Testament) was given to us through the nation of Israel... not a New Testament church. Back to the question though, the simplest answer is "God wrote it and assembled it - it came from God, not man".
Scriptures teach that the Bible came into being by God Himself.
I don't mean that God said "zap", and a book named the Bible popped into being. His Word (contained in the Bible) is from eternity past - it has always been there:
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Psa 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.
Psa 119:160 Your word [is] true [from] the beginning: and every one of your righteous judgments [endures] forever.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
He revealed it to man in His way and by His timetable by working through men to write and assemble His Book:
Peter II 1:21 For the prophecy in old time did not come by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Maybe I can explain what I mean. It is clear that God has used godly people in the past to accomplish His Will. Moses comes to mind and many others. He also used ungodly people or things. He called the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar "His servant" even though he was executing God's judgment against Israel. God had this man do His Will even though what he was a heathen king.
Jeremiah 25:9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, says the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land (Israel)
God even used a donkey to speak what He wanted it to say:
Numbers 22:28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto you that you have beaten me these three times?
He used Joseph's cruel brothers back in Genesis to transport Joseph to Egypt and put him in a position that ended up saving a great many people from a great famine:
Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive.
What I'm getting at is that God has used all kinds of people and events in the past to accomplish His Will. He has used both good and bad people to do it as well as good and bad events. He wrote and assembled the Bible through people - in this case, the early church. I do not mean to say that God necessarily used bad men to assemble the Bible, but He moved men to assemble the books(writings) that He wanted in the Bible. It was not the men themselves who decided what should be in the Bible. God simply used them to accomplish His Will. They were tools in His hands.
The Old Testament Scriptures.
One author wrote that "no Old Testament Cannon of Scripture was in existence before the New Testament church put it together". I respectfully disagree. We can find that at least parts of the Bible had been assembled in the Old Testament times before the NT church was even in existence:
Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD has said, we will do, and be obedient.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.
Kings II 22:10 And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest has delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
Kings II 22:11 And it came to pass that when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he tore his clothes.
Kings II 22:12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying,
Kings II 22:13 Go inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
The Scriptures in Jesus' time.
Some sort of collection of the Scriptures must have been recognized by Jesus' time since He refers to them as the Scriptures, or the book of the law on numerous occasions. Here are two of them, but, there are many more references:
Matthew 21:42 Jesus said unto them, Did you never read in the scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?
Matthew 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets
The reading of the Scriptures seemed to be a regular part of the Old Testament Sabbath Day worship in which Jesus partook:
Luke 4:15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Luke 4:17 And there was given to him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
So, some sort of cannon must have been recognized and accepted as early as Jesus' time at the very least. The evidence points toward a recognition of a cannon much earlier than that though. Obviously it was not yet complete, but God had assembled a great deal of His Book by this time. It was not assembled by anyone in particular, just like it was not written by one person in particular. God saw to it that His Book was written and assembled in His time using the devices of His choosing.
The New Testament Scriptures
The New Testatment Scriptures had been begun to be declared by God "as His Word" even before the Bible was completed:
Thessalonians I 2:13 For this cause also we thank God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works in you that believe. - God, through Paul's writing, is telling us (and the Thessalonians) that Paul's words were the Word of God. I believe that some of his vocal words were the Word of God as well as his written words. The Thessalonians had the blessing of receiving Paul's verbal words as well as hearing Paul's written word through the reading of Paul's epistles. We, however, no longer have Paul around, and therefore, we do not have the extra blessing of having God speaking directly in just the same way that we no longer have the blessing of having Jesus dwelling among us in bodily form as the Jews of His day had.
Peter II 3:15 And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, has written unto you;
Peter II 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things that are hard to understand, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrestle with, as they do also with the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. - Peter here refers to Paul's writings as equivalent to the Scriptures. I don't know what calendar date God ended writing of His Word at the end of the book of Revelation, and I don't know when He assembled the completed packet, but it is relatively unimportant. What is important is the content of His Word and that we now have the completed Revelation from God. Without question, there is no more:
Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Additional Word of God?
It is interesting to note that the Word of God has not been added to in almost 2000 years. One would think that with all the reported visions and appearances of God's messengers, the Bible would have had something added to it by now. God has kept these things out of His Word. It doesn't seem logical to keep them out if they were from God, Himself. God has preserved His Standard, and continues to preserve it.