Bible Questions and Answers

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When was the Bible written? Thank you.

How old is the Bible?

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The Bible consists of Two Testaments.


The Old Testament (39 books) was written in Hebrew and Aramaic by various authors over a long period of time and covers history from the beginning (Genesis 1:1) c.4000 BC until about 450 BC (the prophet Malachi).
The Hebrew word 'torah' which means 'teaching (of the law)', was sometimes used to designate the whole collection of books, but more correctly referred to the first major section called the Pentateuch (the first five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.) Moses who lived approx. 1500 BC is the acknowledged author. The next section was called 'The Prophets', which was subdivided into the Former Prophets (i.e. Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings), and the Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12 (Minor Prophets)). The final section is 'the Writings', and consists of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah. This order is different from our modern Old Testaments, but reflects the typically used order of the time based on importance.

All were accepted and considered authoritative by the Jews from the time of their writing, and were passed down as such.

It is impossible to be very precise about the dates of the Old Testament books.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy were written approx.1500 BC. (From the comment in Romans 4:23 we may reasonably suppose that Moses had access to an older written account of Genesis).
Joshua and Judges were written approx. 1500-1000 BC.


Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon were written approx. 1050-900 BC.


1&2 Kings and 1&2 Chronicles cover the history of the kingdom from approx.1000-550 BC.


Job was written approx. 2000 BC.


Psalms were written and compiled approx. 1000-450 BC


Isaiah, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum and Zephaniah were written approx. 800-700 BC.


Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel and Habakkuk were written 640-540 BC.


Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were written 600-450 BC.


The translation of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) into Koine Greek was completed around 180 BC and is known as the Septuagint. This contains all the books that appear in the Old Testament in our Bibles today and shows that the books of the Hebrew Bible were agreed upon by that time. Officially, the Hebrew canon was closed at the Council of Jamnia c. AD 90.


The Septuagint contains extra books that the Hebrew version of the Old Testament (known as the Masoretic text) does not. These are called the apocrypha. The apocrypha are books that the Jews do not accept as Scripture, but view as historically important.


The New Testament (27 books) was written in Greek by various authors after  AD 40 and before c. AD 100. Its 27 books were formalised into a single volume within the next two and a half centuries. The New Testament canon as it is exists today was listed by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in AD 367.


Early ‘Christian’ works that presented themselves as ‘authentic’ but did not obtain general acceptance within the churches are called New Testament apocrypha. Familiarity with scripture generally makes apparent the inferiority of both Old and New Testament apocrypha.


The King James English translation from the Hebrew and Greek was made in AD 1611.


I hope this helps.