Lesson #2 – How did the Bible get into book form?

In our first lesson we showed the meaning of “Old Testament” and “New Testament.”

These two sections of the Bible tell how God began dealing with man on earth (Old Testament) and how He continues to do so today (New Testament).

If you started reading in Genesis (Old Testament, first book) or in Mark (New Testament, second book), as suggested in Lesson #1, you were soon reading things that sounded like they came from God (and they did). But how did this information get from God to men on earth? That is the subject of this lesson.

The second book of the Old Testament, called “Exodus,” introduces the important Bible character, named “Moses.” By the time Moses, an Israeli, was born, the tiny nation of Israel had been in captivity, the people living in Egypt as slaves, for most of 400 years. Moses, through strange circumstance, had been raised in the house of the Pharaoh (king) of Egypt. When he grew to adulthood he rejected all the privileges of the adopted prince he was.

Siding with his own people (the Israelis), Moses experienced the direct hand of God upon his life. We do not know all the circumstances surrounding the way in which God chose to confront and speak directly to Moses but early on God chose to get Moses’ attention while he was a common shepherd in the deserts northeast of Egypt.

A bush began burning in the desert one day, as Moses guided his sheep there. An angel from God spoke from within the bush, giving Moses instructions from God. Bible students know this event as “The Call of Moses” to lead God’s people away from Egypt to establish their own homeland.

Moses eventually led the whole nation of Israel away from Egypt toward the northeast into what we now know as Israel which would occupy much of the land at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea. But early on, the journey of about a million or more people took them south to what we now know as the Sinai Peninsula away from the Egyptians.

At Mount Sinai God directed Moses onto the mountain where God spoke directly to him and there issued, among other things, “The Ten Commandments.” This event caused the writing of these commandments to be read to the people. In a similar way, God used Moses to convey His truth, again and again to the nation of Israel.

Over a period of the next forty years, the balance of Moses’ lifetime, God used him to write the first five books of the Old Testament. Writing in that day was on scrolls, usually leather from the hides of animals. Centuries later when writing was modernized , these same scrolls were copied into “codices” or books such as we now have.

God revealed His truths to about forty different men and women who would write the various Bible books over the course of about 1600 years. There is good reason to defend the means that God chose to convey the Bible to man. The science of archeology, the digging up of old things, renders it completely possible that the various Bible writers did, indeed, pen those Bible books ascribed to them. By the end of the first century after Christ’s life on earth all the books in both the Old and New Testaments had been completed and were being circulated.

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