How was the Bible compiled?

Have you ever wondered where the Bible came from and how it was put together? The answer might surprise you.

The Old Testament comes from Jewish tradition. “All of these were considered inspired books, but the first five, the Books of Moses—Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers—those were infallibly inspired,” said Fr. Richard Simon, host of Father Simon SaysTM.

The first Christians were Jews, and so they accepted these books into Christian scripture. They were made up of the law, the prophets, and the writings.

Around 150 AD, there was a bump in the road. With so many different books and even some false prophets floating around the early Church, Christians began to question what they could count on. “The bishops got together and they wrote up a reading list, a list of approved books and that was called a Canon. They canonized certain books,” explained Fr. Simon.

How did the bishops decide which books to approve? It all came down to the Mass.

“What books did they canonize? The books that were being read at Mass throughout the world,” said Fr. Simon. “Now there were some books that were just being read in places like Ethiopia or Arabia or someplace. But they weren’t being read throughout the whole Christian world from Spain to India, from Ethiopia up into Germany. The ones that were being read at Mass throughout the empires, those were considered the Christian Scriptures.”

Then in 350 AD, the books were compiled into one book, called the Bible (in greek, the books).

“The purpose of those books wasn’t just revelation, it was so that if you felt God was saying something in your heart or mind, you could hold it up against this collection of approved writings and say, oh no, that’s not from God what I’m thinking or feeling. So it was meant to be a tool to help in hearing God more clearly,” said Fr. Simon.

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Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.