How Did The Bible Get Its Name? What Does The Word Bible Mean?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

How did the Bible become known as the Bible?  Where did this name come from and what is the meaning of the word “Bible?”

Greek Word for Bible

It might seem strange that the word “Bible” is not in the Bible but the inference of the Bible is there when the words “Scripture,” “The Word of the Lord” or “Thus says the Lord” occur and that is over one thousand times.  By this enormous amount of references to Scripture as the Word of God, we know that all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim3:16) and its source is from the Spirit of God (2 Pet 1:21). The English word “Bible” is from the Greek word “Byblos” and the Latin “biblia” and both mean “books.” These “books” are a collection of writings constituting the sacred text of Scripture. These books are collectively referred to as the Bible and include the Book of Genesis all the way to the Book of Revelation. These books of the Bible are what God calls “the Word of God” or “Scripture” and include “Thus says the Lord.”

How Did The Bible Get Its Name

The Autographs

There are 40 authors and 66 books in the Bible and many of these ancient manuscripts survive…by the thousands.  Even though these books were written by individuals, in most of them God says “You shall say to the…” and “write down these words” so it was not the authors thoughts, ideas, and truth but God’s.  Scripture never had a human source.  Some of the books in the Bible began as letters, like with Paul’s letters to the different churches. These were collected and copied and gathered with the gospels, along with the Old Testament, and assembled into one book and out of one book (biblio) came many books (biblios), known today as the Bible.

The Author

Who is the Author of Scripture?  We’ve already read what Paul wrote about Scripture, saying it’s not man-originated but “God-breathed.”  This point’s to the True Source of the Word of God as the God of the Word.  Peter says that “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21).  By Peter’s saying “no prophecy,” he is saying no other prophecies we ever read are from the will of man (unless they’re false ones).   It was never a work of man but of God as these men “were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  Think of it this way; is my word processor the author behind this article or is it me?  My key strokes show up and what you see are letter arrangements that hopefully make sense, but I don’t sign these articles by using my computers name or my word processer’s name.   I wrote it, not the processor.  In similar fashion, the apostles and prophets “were carried along by the Holy Spirit” and not carried along by “the will of man.”

Preserved Forever

Jesus said that the gates of hell (or death) couldn’t stop His church (Matt 16:18) but He also said that the Word of God will abide for all time and nothing could prevent that either.   Listen to what Jesus said about the Word of God, the Bible: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt 24:35) and since we also know Jesus’ Words are Scripture and He is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14), whatever He said will hold true for time without end.  The psalmist wrote “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89).  The Apostle Peter wrote “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Pet 1:24-25). The psalmist declared Scripture as “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever” (Psalm 119:160).  The psalmist had learned this long ago and so wrote “your testimonies that you have founded them forever” (Psalm 119:152).  Not one of these Scriptures refers to there being any chance of God’s Word not being binding and eternal.

The Power of the Gospel

Peter wrote earlier about the good news that was preached to the church (1 Pet 1:25) which is found in the everlasting Word of God and that the “good news” or Scripture has the very power of God behind it.  Paul understood that the gospel came attached with its own power as he wrote in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” which was why Paul was “eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome” (Rom 1:15).   He knew that “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).  We can rest in the fact that God’s Word is alive and active and contains the power of God (Heb 4:12-13) which is what Isaiah was saying when He wrote what God said about His Word; “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).  It will not return without doing something, convicting someone, saving someone, and even angering someone.   You can be absolutely certain that God’s Word will do exactly what God wants it to do. It will “succeed in the thing for which [He] sent it” out do to and there is nothing any of us can to do prevent that (not that we would).

Conclusion

The Bible is an amazing collection of books (biblios) that has stood the test of time and its truths will remain as true no matter what society says or looks like.  God never changes but He wants those who are not saved to change.  God desires that nobody perishes apart from Christ and He wants all to be saved (2 Pet 3:9) but you must humble yourself and repent of yours sins.  This means you must turn to God and trust in Christ.  Then you will be saved.   That’s what the “good book” says.

Related reading about the Bible: How Do We Know the Bible is True?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian January 7, 2016 at 11:38 am

How would you answer the following questions, as I would have posed them to you in my younger days as an agnostic:

1. When Paul said scripture was “God-Breathed,” was he also speaking of the very letter he was writing at the time? Is it possible, or even probable, that Paul would have demurred out of humility, assuring us that his letters were not fit to be held alongside of the Torah?

2. Am I to trust the Bible’s authority based on its own passages? If so, what makes it more of an authority than any other writing that claims divine origin? How do you address the circular reasoning that states the Bible is the word of God, because it says so in the Bible? And how could the writer apply this to the New Testament, when the NT was still a few hundred years away from being compiled, by man?

3. Was hthe compilation of the Bible by Constantine and others also divinely ordained?

Reply

Jack Wellman January 7, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Paul didn’t need to assuage his own statement because “thus says the Lord” appears almost 600 times in the Old Testament and the New Testament is also God-breathed as well. YOu don’t think Paul’s letters (epistles) were inspired and fit to be placed in the Bible? Maybe I misunderstood you sir.

Christians trust the Scripture with their lives…their eternal destination is based upon whether they believe it or not (Rev 20:12-15). The Bible is not like other divinely claimed books because it has empirical evidence like over 5,000 manuscripts, archeological evidence, historical evidence, and prophetic-fulfillment proofs.

The Bible was already being circulated in the first century and beyond with the circulating of the gospel writer’s letters. I suggest you read this article sir that asks, “How Do We Know the Bible is Really the Word of God?” at; http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-do-we-know-the-bible-is-true-is-it-really-the-word-of-god/

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Edwin Albarran January 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

So if all the prophets had books why didnt jesus have a book or letters i always wondered tht

Reply

Jack Wellman January 22, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Thank you Mr. Albarran. Jesus does have a book…in fact, four of them, and they are called the Gospels, and in fact, Jesus is the Word (John 1:1-14). Read Hebrews 1

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Blake June 29, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Was Constantine and his non biblical implements along with the non biblical implements of the early Catholic Church divinely driven? If not how are we to trust that the compilation of books THEY have given us are the only books to be called the word of God espeacially when in the 1600s we had 14 books removed including a book called “the wisdom of Solomon” who is biblicly the wisest MAN who ever lived. Are we as believers in the word (bible) to discount these once acknowledged books? if a time ever came that the Roman Catholic Church decided against the authenticity of a current writing in the bible and decreed it void are we as believers in the word to discount it also? Is their a line between the word of Christ and the doctrine of the church and are those excluded books no longer the word of God? Was they ever the word of God?

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Jack Wellman June 29, 2017 at 6:28 pm

Hello Blake. Jesus quoted out of the Old Testament, in fact several books, but never once did He quote out of the Apocrypha and besides, these books are not inspired as are the 66 books we have now. The Apocrypha has some historical accounts that are accurate, but when it’s about doctrine or beliefs, they have many, many doctrinal errors in them. WE know we have the Word of God today.

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Jeremiah December 18, 2017 at 1:50 am

Who determined that to be considered as an “inspired book” a book should be quoted out by Jesus?

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Jack Wellman December 18, 2017 at 8:37 am

I am not sure of your question sir. If Jesus quotes Genesis or Isaiah, then we know it is inspired and by the way, anything Jesus says is inspired as He is God.

Reply

Ashley February 8, 2018 at 11:25 pm

Basic instructions before leaving earth

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