The Bible is not just a book as we commonly think of a novel or a textbook. The word ‘Bible’ is from the Greek word ‘biblion’, which just means book or scroll. Even so, our Bible is a collection of books written by more than forty people, over a time span of about 1,600 years. But God is the ultimate Author. There is one coherent message throughout Scripture, and that is the truth about God and man.
Christians believe that the Scriptures are inspired by God, meaning that God made sure that what the human authors wrote down was true and without error. Thus, you may see the phrase, “inerrant in the original manuscripts”. This means we’re not trying to say that no one ever made an error while they were copying portions of Scripture, only that the original writing was infallible and authoritative.
So who did this original writing? Well, famous Bible characters, kings, murderers, priests, prophets, fishermen, warriors, scribes, court officials, shepherds, a tax collector, a doctor, Jesus’ disciples and half-brothers and a tent maker. There are also some mystery authors, since we don’t know who wrote several books of the Bible.
The Two Giants
Moses is credited with writing Genesis, though he may have been mainly compiler and editor of earlier source documents. He did write Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. He probably also edited Job (the oldest book, written originally by Job himself). Moses also wrote Psalm 90.
Paul wrote thirteen of the twenty-seven New Testament books, all letters to individuals or churches. These include Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Timothy, Titus and Philemon. That’s 48% of the New Testament, even if we don’t count Hebrews, which most ancient church writers attribute to Paul. Quite a portfolio for a guy who started out imprisoning and killing all the Christians he could lay his hands on. Then he met Jesus, and nothing was ever the same again.
Books Called by their Authors’ Names
Many of the New Testament Epistles are named for their recipients, but most books bearing a person’s name are named for their author. These follow this pattern:
Joshua, written by Moses’ successor, leading Israel into the Promised Land.
I Samuel, by the prophet who installed Israel’s first and second kings. But he dies in chapter 25, so other prophets, Nathan and Gad, probably wrote the rest, and II Samuel.
Ezra, Nehemiah, Job (edited by Moses), Isaiah, Jeremiah (who also wrote Lamentations), Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi all were written by the prophets named in the titles.
All four of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are named for their authors. Luke also wrote Acts (the Acts of the Apostles). James, Peter, John and Jude wrote the books bearing their names.
It is uncertain who wrote Judges (possibly Samuel), Ruth, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles (possibly Ezra), and Esther.
The Book of Psalms contains 73 psalms written by King David, one by Moses, twelve by King Asaph, and one each by Heman and Ethan. The authors of the remaining 62 poems are unknown.
King Solomon wrote or collected most of the proverbs in the Book of Proverbs. The last two chapters are by Agur and Lemuel. Solomon also most likely wrote Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ (usually just called Revelation) was written by the aged Apostle John (the author of the gospel of John and I,II, and III John) while he was in exile on the isle of Patmos.
So you just read the long answer to “Who Wrote the Bible?”. The short answer is God, the Creator of the Universe. Anything He wrote we will want to read, absorb, obey, and live out.