The Christian Bible Book Report

The First Printed Edition of the "Bible"

The Gutenbberg Bible is the first known printed compilation of the Jewish and Christian common core of beliefs.
The Gutenbberg Bible is the first known printed compilation of the Jewish and Christian common core of beliefs. | Source

Definition of "The Bible" For the Purposes of This Hub

The Bible is a compilation of ancient texts selected by the Council of Nicea beginning with the first council in A.D. (Common Era) 325. The council was convened to determine Christian creeds and canons (religious laws) under the Emperor Constantine.

Who Wrote the "Bible"?

"Modern (biblical) scholars believe that the 66 books of the Bible were written by at least 39 authors over a period of 1,500 years."1 (References given at the end of the hub.)

The number, 66, is not all inclusive of the number of books in today's bible, but rather an overall number mainly used by the majority of Jewish and Christian scholars. Various sects of Judaism and Christianity use different versions of the bible and some books are added, some are subtracted.

Moses is considered to be the first author of the Old Testament. But there are about 20 or more people named as authors of the OT.

The New Testament authors are slightly better known and consist of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, and Jude. Jude is allegedly the half brother of Jesus Christ, the one called the Messiah, who was considered to be the central figure of the New Testament and of the new religion called Christianity.

What was the Geographic Scope of the Bible? Its Setting?

There is a factual accounting of some of the geographical locations in the Bible. The earliest accounts and stories of the Bible in Genesis have no known whereabouts. The "garden of Eden" is thought to have existed somewhere in the "fertile crescent" of Mesopotamia, but no one has ever found a specific geographical location.

"Before Abraham came on the scene, the biblical story had already begun in a world that had witnessed the rise and fall of many human kingdoms. However, it has proved almost impossible to identify much of the early persons, places, or events recorded in Ge 1-11. Many of the persons and places in Ge 14 still elude us."2

The entire geography of both Old and New Testaments cover the world of the "Middle East". The countries still present today are:

  • Egypt
  • Syria
  • Palestine
  • Lebanon
  • Israel

The major geographical markers of the Bible are the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The bulk of the entire area was collectively known as Mesopotamia.

The Bible World in a rough circle by bodies of water.

show route and directions
A markerThe Black Sea -
Black Sea
[get directions]

Northern Border of Biblical lands

B markerCaspian Sea -
Caspian Sea
[get directions]

Northeastern border of biblical lands

C markerPersian Gulf -
Persian Gulf (also known as the Arabian Gulf)
[get directions]

Southeastern border

D markerRed Sea -
Red Sea
[get directions]

Southwestern border.

E markerMediterranian sea -
Mediterranean Sea
[get directions]

Northwestern border of biblical lands

The Common Era Explained

The Common Era, or CE refers to the new calendar created to mark the birth of Jesus Christ. It also vaguely replaces the old marker of A.D. which is sometimes confused as "after death" or after the death of Christ.

BCE refers to "before the Common Era" or "before Christ" (B.C.)

The Romans elected this new calendar to start at the year 0 (zero) to divide the old system of B.C. and A.D.

When was the Bible written?

The complete Old and New Testament (as assembled by the Council of Nicea) covered a timeline from a vague "The Beginning" through 95 A. D. The Romans, under the decree of Emperor Constantine, restructured the common yearly calendar to begin over, ostensibly in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ.

"The first five books of the bible in Judaism are called the Torah, meaning "instruction", and are regarded as the most important section of the Scriptures, are attributed to have been written between the 16th century and the 12th century BCE by Moses, but scholars now believe that they were actually written by four main sources known as JEDP."3

The last surviving written record was written between 68 - 100 C.E. (Common Era).

"The oldest extant manuscripts of the vocalized Masoretic Text (the basis of modern editions), date to the 9th century CE. With the exception of a few biblical sections in the Prophets, virtually no biblical text is contemporaneous with the events it describes."3

The stories in the Bible are said to have covered the timeline from the beginning of "everything" through the time of the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Rabbi of Jerusalem. The entire New Testament was written after the death of Jesus, and Jesus did not leave behind a known written autobiography.

The authors of the New Testament wrote or dictated their stories many years after the death of the one called, Jesus. Paul, considered to be the father of Christianity, simply wrote letters describing his visions.

The Gutenberg Printing Press

Moveable type printing press
Moveable type printing press | Source

Why has the Bible become the most widely distributed book in the world?

The Bible was the very first book produced by a new technological marvel, the moveable type printing press developed by Gutenberg.

Before the printing press was invented, every single piece of parchment had to be laboriously copied over and over to produce new editions. Complete books were hard to find and people who could read and write and translate were even harder to find.

King James of England commissioned the most popular translation of all of the previous copies, pieces, and various translations of the books of the Bible. This translation became a sort of treasure owned by the rich and those in power.

As moveable type and copies became easier and easier to produce, copies of the printed editions of the Bible were distributed to more and more people. It was an honor to own a copy of the Bible. It marked the upper class from the lower classes.

The book became a symbol of wealth and power. Eventually, the process for printing the book became so cheap that almost everyone could afford to display a copy of a real book in their home.

The book was mass marketed to nearly everyone on the planet. The price became so cheap that households began to see it as a staple in their homes. They recorded births and deaths in it and kept it as a family heirloom and genealogy record.

Missionaries carried cheap copies to Africa and other populated countries and gave the bible away as gifts. For some reason, the bible became a fixture in every hotel, motel, and Inn across America.

Artist Rendition of the Council of Nicea

The Council of Nicea
The Council of Nicea | Source

Book Report Summary

Currently, there are some six to forty major Independent denominations, Protestants, Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Anglicans, contributing to about 33,000 organized Christian groups using the Bible as a guideline for societal and cultural life.

The books of the Bible are touted as "divine inspiration", books of prophesy, the direct word of the Abrahamic god, moral guidance, spiritual guidance, and the way to be purified and cleansed of "original sin", a belief stemming from God (the main character of the books) having placed a curse on all of humanity for the disobedience of the first human woman.

Although there are advanced degrees in Seminary and Bible studies, very few people have actually read the Bible as a book. Even in modern times, it is extremely rare for anyone to have read all of the pieces and parts of the bible in the original languages. It is used primarily as a reference book and subject to diverse and imaginative interpretation.

As the Bible's books refer to a civilization stretching from some 4,000 years before the Common Era, to no further than approximately 96 years after the Common Era, the stories of the Bible should be well documented and proven by independent contemporary books.

However, debates continue constantly on who wrote the books, how it was written, the subject matters, the varied interpretations of the books and passages, and even if the main characters were historically accurate.

The books sometimes read as lectures, history lessons, poetry, mythology, and anecdotal examples. The original books contain a lot of genealogy and creation myths which may or may not have been copied from the Sumerians and Egyptians.

Overall, the books of the Bible are extremely difficult to read and interpret. Some people insist the books are written in "code" and must be read under the influence of the "holy spirit" and in a certain order.

Some people insist that the Bible books are the inerrant word of the creator of the universe and to question the "word" is to blaspheme the creator.

Christians tend to view the Bible as coming directly from their triumvirate God, God the Father; God the Son; and God the Holy Ghost. They believe that the actual authors of the books were "divinely inspired" by these Gods.

Truth or Not

Can you honestly say you have read the entire Bible from cover to cover?

  • Yes, numerous times.
  • Yes, once or twice
  • Yes, most of it anyway
  • No, not cover to cover
  • No, I trust my religious leaders to read and interpret the Bible
  • No, I don't like to read.
See results without voting

© 2015 Austinstar

More by this Author


Comments - You must be signed in, no copy/paste comments allowed, and no off topic comments allowed... 20 comments

Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan 14 months ago from New Zealand

An interesting article. I guess it's true that atheists typically know more about Christianity than Christians do! I knew much of this too, but it was worth reading to fill in the gaps. I read most of the Bible when I was very young; around the same time I read numerous fairy tales. I think when I read the line from the King James Bible "There were giants in the earth in those days" (Gen 6:4), it helped me realize they're pretty much the same!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 14 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Yes, the line, "there were giants in the earth in those days" does read like, "once upon a time" doesn't it? Interesting.

The weirdest thing happens when you try to read the Bible like you do any other group of books anthology, It all starts to sound way too contrived. Whole passages and "books" make no sense at all and are repetitive variations on a theme.

I read something to the effect that in order to read the Bible "properly", you must start with John and then follow the code. What code?

Even if you could figure this code out, it would have been written in Greek, Latin, or Aramaic. So, how is one supposed to figure out this "code"?


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 14 months ago from Arkansas

This is a very well researched and written article. In the first college I attended, religion was a required course so I took six credit hours. Although it was taught by a Presbyterian minister, he gave a very unbiased view of the Bible, and we learned a lot of Biblical history. This is a good synopsis of a compilation we know so little about and that is so open to interpretation. Good job!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 14 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Thank you MizB -it took me longer than usual to write this one. I was not taught about how the bible actually came to be. Most people seem to think it just appeared out of nowhere or floated down from heaven itself.


jgshorebird profile image

jgshorebird 14 months ago from Earth

Stop making me curious about more stuff. I have enough not to think about!


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 14 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

I was not aware that Anglican is a separate denomination. I thought Church of England was Orthodox.

My recent flashbacks have caused me to view the Bible from an outsider's point of view. I was raised being taught that its facts are "Spiritually discerned," so if it doesn't make sense, that means the reader is not under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and is therefore condemned to hell. So obviously no one is going to say it makes no sense, right? Kind of like the Emperor's New Clothes.

What kind of parents would run a trip like that on their kids?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 14 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Say yes - parents spread these delusions because they were deluded by their parents. It's time to break the cycle.


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 14 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

Amen to that! But what I meant was, an all-powerful, all-knowing parent would know better. If He still does it, He must be malevolent.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 14 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Oh, I think the cruelty of the Abrahamic god is quite clear, no matter how many times the Christian apologists apologize for it. Imagine worshipping a god that challenges you to kill your son just to see if you would actually do it. Gross.


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 14 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

Are you going to write about any other holy books? I'm currently attending Baha'i Faith meetings, and what little exposure I'm getting to their holy book reads like Psalms and Proverbs. I don't know if they have any stories. It seems to me there's only so much advice, and ways to say "Praise the Lord".


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 14 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

I am planning to do some more of these type hubs. From my list of holy books question. Why are you going to bahia faith meetings?


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 14 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

I've been checking out other faiths, such as Buddhism and Shinto. That is because since I wrote articles about them, I figured it makes sense for me to check them out for myself.

There are no Confucianists where I live (none that I know of, anyway) but his story is the one that impresses me the most. I hope you write an article sbout his holy books.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 14 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Did Confucius write down a set of books? Or were they written down? I will check this out.


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 14 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

It is believed Confucius wrote them himself. I describe Confucianism in my Far East Asian Religions hub.


LoliHey profile image

LoliHey 13 months ago

A.D. stands for "Anno Domini", which is Latin for "The Year of Our Lord."


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 13 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

We know what A.D. stands for, you obviously did not read this hub. The new designation is now C.E. for Common Era. It replaces A.D.


newjerusalem profile image

newjerusalem 12 months ago from India

Good introduction about the Bible with its special features and apt references.


CallumCharles profile image

CallumCharles 12 months ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

A truly fascinating hub. I am not a Christian, Or religious, but I love history. Coming from Britain and a Christian family I read the bible as a child and as an adult. I can honestly say that religion isn't for me, but I don't begrudge it being for someone else, however that is another story.

I was truly engrossed by your hub, I am sure I will read it again in the future. You have given great insight. Looking forward to reading more of your work.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 12 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Thanks, Charles. I am an outspoken atheist, once raised as a "Christian". The whole idea of religion makes no sense to me now. It takes a lot of mental gymnastics to believe in the bible, or perhaps a lack of logical thinking ability.

Thanks for stopping by!


CallumCharles profile image

CallumCharles 12 months ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

It's best to be honest. Some might say outspoken, but they are the ones that secretly agree. I found Christianity in theory, that is my mother and grandmother's interpretation of it, to be quite beautiful, I still do. However, when I got older and seen the way it is truly interpreted these days, I was disgusted, disappointed and saddened at the way Christianity can be used to persecute, to hurt and to control free thought and questioning. Such a shame because theoretically many things can be lovely, it just depends on who and how it is interpreted I suppose.

Thank you too :)

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working