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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