The Bible was written in 3 continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe) over the span of about 1500 years, and the languages used were Hebrew (Old Testament), Aramaic, and Greek (New Testament). Of even greater interest is the fact that although many of the authors did not know each other, live at the same time as the others, or even live on the same continent at the same time, the Bible contains one basic story and theme throughout. No other book can make that claim.
There were many ancient writings in existence at the time the books of the Bible were being written. There were other books that came after the last apostle (John) died. Some of these other books include the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Judas, and the Apocalypse of Peter, to name a few. The problem with these books is that they were contradictory to what had already been recorded in the Scriptures. After Jesus’ resurrection, and during the years of the early church, people were creating heresies and leading others astray with false doctrine, such as claiming that Jesus was not the son of God, among other things.
The early church fathers, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, got together at different councils and decided what books would be included in the Bible. The books we have today are known as the canon of scripture. The following are five questions that were asked when considering acceptance of each book:
- Was the book written by a prophet of God?
- Was the writer confirmed by acts of God?
- Did the message tell the truth about God?
- Does it come with the Power of God?
- Was it accepted by the people of God?
If the book did not meet these criterions, then it was thrown out. For more information about the Canon, please see the following link: http://www.gotquestions.org/canon-of-Scripture.html
Some claim that Constantine was the person who decided which books belonged in the Bible. However, history does not at all confirm this. Constantine played no part in the canon selections. Please see the following link for more information about what Constantine really did: http://www.gotquestions.org/Constantine-Bible.html
The Bible is a collection of 66 individual books. It includes different writings such as laws, historical narratives, biographies, poetry, prophecies, and letters. There were 40 authors who wrote the different books. The Bible records the beginning of Earth’s history, and the very first sentence is “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1). Before this, there was no history, thus the term “prehistory” is unnecessary. The Bible gives us an understanding of biology (created kinds), anthropology (the dispersal and creation of people groups after the tower of Babel), linguistics (tower of Babel), astronomy (planets and stars) and geology (the results of the catastrophic flood). The Bible is not a science textbook—those have to be updated every few years.
For a more detailed overview of the Bible, see the following link: http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-summary.html
You may have read about this era in history or philosophy books. The Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was a time when people shifted away from relying on God’s Word and instead focused on the views of man. The Bible was seen as unreliable while man’s word was cherished and held in high regard. This was a time where philosophical ideas were readily accepted, and there was more focus on rationality and science (implying that the Bible lacked rationality). This era in history affected religion, politics, and culture. Philosophers without a scientific background began proposing ideas about how everything on Earth and in space came into existence. This is also a time when Spiritualism began. Many of the philosophers were involved in this occult practice. The scientific theories such as the origin of life and the age of the Earth were being formed and reformed at this time.