Bible Background

This past week we shared on Sunday that God’s Word is a “lamp unto my feet” and a “light unto my path”. The Holy Scriptures is a collection of books which are gathered into one book, considered holy and sacred by Christians of all groups. Not only is this book a Holy Book, but it is also an inspired book. God’s word to man is inspired, infallible, and inerrant.

In the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, we find the theological and doctrinal statement with reference to the Holy Scriptures. It reads, “The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God as its Author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error for its matter.”

I was asked after the service where the word “Bible” comes from. As I shared in the message, although it seems strange to say, the Bible itself does not call itself “the Bible.” That exact word is not found in all of its sixty-six books. So how did the holy Book become known as the “Bible”?

The word paper and the word Bible both come, not from the same word, but from the same plant. Papyrus reeds grow in the marshes near the Nile River. Ages ago Egyptians discovered that the inner bark of these reeds when dried and woven together could be written upon. The word paper of course comes from the word papyrus. Note however that the inner bark of the reed itself in the Greek was called biblos.

Biblos came to mean “book” because that is what many ancient books were written on. Today we are so blessed to have so many of the early scrolls which were recorded on papyrus. Authors even before the time of Christ called collections of sacred writings simply “little books”. Five hundred years after Christ the collection of Old and New Testaments were called Biblia or “the books”. The cannon of sixty-six books became regarded as the “Book of books”. From Greek to Latin, the word Biblia passed into modern languages…in Spanish, La Biblia, in French, “La Bible” and in English, “The Bible”

Thus, the sixty-six books of the Holy Word of God became known as “The Bible”.