The Bible

Depicting Bibles
Bibles have many Versions

The History of the Bible – what Book is this?

Very unlike the Qur’an, yet in some ways the same.

The Bible is a library with Books ranging from the mythological through to the Historical, containing allegories, Parables, Psalms and Canticles, the recounting of mighty wonders and Theophanies.


Theophanies are instances of divine self-revelation in which God manifests himself to humans (the word “theophany,” which means “appearance of God,” comes from the Greek roots theo [God] and phaino [to appear]). While theophanies occur in different forms in Scripture, the content of a theophany is always the same. Theophanies consistently show God graciously revealing himself and his covenantal promises to his people.


Theophanies are important since both Qur’an and Bible contain descriptions of them, the Qur’an was born within one.

Before we examine the other content we require a Time Line, an idea of when each Book in this Library came to be. Why they are placed as they are. Like the Qur’an the Bible is not in chronological order and has been redacted or edited many times, unlike the Qur’an which was only redacted twice – we will come back to this.

Composition over time

The sixty-six books ( + deuterocanonical/apocryphal books and pseudepigrapha books) contained in the Bible were written over a span of approximately 1,500 years. That is the amount of time it took for the Scriptures to be written down and for the complete canon of Scripture to be compiled, as God revealed His Word to people in His own timing. ( A Canon is the list of sacred books which make up the entire library we call the Bible)

Old Testament

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*A deuterocanonical/apocryphal book
**A pseudepigrapha book

New Testament

The newest or last Book in this Canon was written in the years 94 and 96 AD

The Book of Revelation was written sometime around 96 CE in Asia Minor. The author was probably a Christian from Ephesus known as “John the Elder.” According to the Book, this John was on the island of Patmos, not far from the coast of Asia Minor, “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 1.10).

The Book of Revelation Apocolypse Frontline PBS

There are many Christians who would prefer the Authorship of John the Evangelist to John the Elder but that is by the by.

The oldest book is said to be the Book of Job written in the time of the Patriarchs, between 1900 and 1700 B.C. Job is actually a Drama written in a form of Hebrew that is older than the ancient Hebrew used throughout most of the Old Testament. The language used in Job is not usually referred to as ancient Hebrew. Instead, it is called “Paleo-Hebrew.”

The Books are attributed to their various authors whether actually written by these or in their name to gain acceptance – a very good example of this is the Book of Isaiah:

Fresco from the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo

Isaiah spans a period of 54 years beginning in 740 BC and completed in 686 BC, with a break of some 15 years in between, making 39 years. The preferred belief is that a single author is responsible for all 66 Chapters. We know, by the content and style that Chapters 1- 39 originated with the historical prophet,Isaiah ben Amoz, interspersed with prose commentaries written in the time of King Josiah a hundred years later, making Isaiah a very old man if all were attributed to him. The remainder of the book dates from directly before and directly after the end of the exile in Babylon, almost two centuries after the time of the historical prophet. And so Isaiah was a very old man indeed save for his followers or those writing in his name completing the remaining 27,

Bernhard Duhm wrote that Isaiah comprises three books: Proto-Isaiah, chapters 1 – 39, Deutero-Isaiah, chapters 40 – 55 and Tritero-Isaiah chapters 56 – 66.

Duhm believes Deutero-Isaiah to be the work of an anonymous 6th century prophet, written during the Exile. Tritero- Isaiah after the exile.

Go here for further information on Isaiah. And for the Jewish views here, though it is necessary to join the site for complete information, where Isaiah is believed to have been compiled by king Hezekiah.

Timeline of Biblical History