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How old is the Bible?

The Bible is our ultimate guide to being human. God inspired about 40 authors over the course of 1500 years to write the books we find the Bible today. Historical accounts, big lessons, basic "instructions for life," and more can be found between the first book, Genesis, to the last one, Revelation. God arranged for us to have these words so that we could learn more about Him, His relationship with His people, and how to live our lives in the healthiest way possible, and so we could understand just how much He truly loves each one of us. The Bible is like God's love letter to the people He created—and it was written WAY before any of us were even born.

The Beginning & the End

Most biblical scholars agree that it was probably Moses who wrote the first books of Scripture and that he wrote them while living among the Israelites as they wandered the desert for 40 years (Numbers 14). There's some debate about the oldest book of the Bible, which is a tossup between the book of Genesis and the book of Job. All these events, of course, were a part of verbal history at the time of Moses' life, and God inspired him to record them for the collection of books that would come together in the future.

Assuming Moses wrote these books during the Israelites' wandering, scholars can date the authorship of Genesis and Job to somewhere between 1450-1400 BC. So if you go by when the first books were written, then the Bible is over 3400 years old. Wow.

The grand finale of the Bible (and time itself!) is found in the book of Revelation. Revelation is the last book of the Bible, and it is believed to have been written by the apostle John somewhere between 95-90 AD while he was exiled on the island of Patmos. This is the same John who also wrote the Gospel of John and 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. So if you're counting the age of the Bible by when the last book was written, then it was completed over 1,900 years ago.

The Canon of Scripture

The "canon" of Scripture refers to the divinely inspired books (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) that are included in the Bible we have today. This was a process that took place over a few centuries, first by Jewish rabbis and scholars then by early Christians. Around 250 AD, the Old Testament canon was finally agreed upon, but it took nearly another 150 years for everyone to come to a consensus about the New Testament's canon.

Sadly, none of the inspired writings tell us which books to include in the Bible, so the final decisions on the canon of Scripture is a result of many councils, meetings, debates and arguments, and the like. But ultimately the canon of Scripture was determined by God. He knew what He wanted included in His Word and simply convinced the humans who had the power to declare the canon of His plan.

Let's do the math.

If we take into account when the first books of Scripture were written and when the book of Revelation was written, that means the Bible is anywhere from 1,900 to over 3,400 years old! The Bible has changed so many people’s lives—including all of OURS here at 412teens. The Bible still stands as one of the most popular books of all time and accurate copies have survived throughout the years despite conspiracy and corruption. Copies of the Bible dating to the 14th century AD are nearly identical in content to copies from the 3rd century AD. God has truly protected His Word!

The Bible is extremely important in the life of a believer, just as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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TL;DR

The Bible can be dated to be anywhere from 1,900 to over 3,700 years old. God inspired about 40 authors over the course of 1500 years to write the books we find the Bible today. God arranged for us to have these words so that we could learn more about Him and His relationship with His people, and so we could understand just how much He truly loves each one of us (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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