When Was the Bible Written?

Contrary to popular assumption, the Bible is not a single book but a collection of religious scriptures pertaining to Christianity and Judaism.'When was the Bible written' is a question that has provided fodder for speculations and controversies over the ages. Let us delve deeper and make an attempt to find the answer...
SpiritualRay Staff
The Holy Bible, as we know it, is a collection of 66 books that have been classified under two broad divisions: the Old Testament, having 39 books, and the New Testament, having 27 books. If you want to know when the Bible was written, then you should know that the earliest of these books were supposed to have been written about 3500 years ago. The first five books, viz., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, are believed to have been written by Moses during his sojourn on Mount Sinai, somewhere around 1400 BC. The subsequent books of the Old Testament are accredited to numerous other authors and spread over about 11 centuries.
The 27 books of the New Testament have been written by 10 different authors, the authorship of some of these books being disputed. These books were written between 49 AD and 90 AD.
When Was the Holy Bible Written?
The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry has enlisted the books of the Holy Bible, further classified by the authors and approximate periods during which they were written. The answer to the titular question cannot be given by citing a single date or era. The development of the Bible as the Holy Scripture of Christianity has spanned over numerous centuries, as the tabulated representations show below.
Old Testament
Book Author Date Written
Genesis Moses ? - 1445 BC
Exodus Moses 1445 - 1405 BC
Leviticus Moses 1405 BC
Numbers Moses 1444 - 1405 BC
Deuteronomy Moses 1405 BC
Joshua Joshua 1404 - 1390 BC
Judges Samuel 1374 - 1129 BC
Ruth Samuel 1150? BC
First Samuel Samuel 1043 - 1011 BC
Second Samuel Ezra? 1011 - 1004
First Kings Jeremiah? 971 - 852 BC
First Chronicles Ezra? 450 - 425 BC
Second Chronicles Ezra? 450 - 425 BC
Ezra Ezra 538 - 520 BC
Nehemiah Nehemiah 445 - 425 BC
Esther Mordecai? 465 BC
Job Job? ??
David 1000? BC.
  • Sons of Korah wrote Psalms
    42, 44-49, 84-85, 87
  • Asaph wrote Psalms 50, 73-83
  • Heman wrote Psalm 88
  • Ethan wrote Psalm 89
  • Hezekiah wrote Psalms
    120-123, 128-130,132, 134-136
  • Solomon wrote Psalms 72, 127
  • Solomon wrote 1-29
  • Agur wrote 30
  • Lemuel wrote 31
950 - 700 BC
Ecclesiastes Solomon 935 BC
Song of Solomon Solomon 965 BC
Isaiah Isaiah 740 - 680 BC
Jeremiah Jeremiah 627 - 585 BC
Lamentations Jeremiah 586 BC
Ezekiel Ezekiel 593-560 BC
Daniel Daniel 605 - 536 BC
Hosea Hosea 710 BC
Joel Joel 835 BC
Amos Amos 755 BC
Obadiah Obadiah 840 or 586 BC
Jonah Jonah 760 BC
Micah Micah 700 BC
Nahum Nahum 663 - 612 BC
Habakkuk Habakkuk 607 BC
Zephaniah Zephaniah 625 BC
Haggai Haggai 520 BC
Zechariah Zechariah 520 - 518 BC
Malachi Malachi 450 - 600 BC
New Testament
Book Author Date Written
Matthew Matthew 60's
Mark John, Mark Late 50's AD
Early 60's AD
Luke Luke 60
John John Late 80's AD
Early 90's AD
Acts Luke 61 AD
Romans Paul 55 AD
1 Corinthians Paul 54 AD
2 Corinthians Paul 55 AD
Galatians Paul 49 AD
Ephesians Paul 60 AD
Philippians Paul 61 AD
Colossians Paul 60 AD
1 Thessalonians Paul 50 AD - 51 AD
2 Thessalonians Paul 50 AD - 51 AD
1 Timothy Paul 62 AD
2 Timothy Paul 63 AD
Titus Paul 62 AD
Philemon Paul 60 AD
Hebrews (Paul, Apollos, Barnabas...?) 60 AD
James James, half-brother of Jesus 40s AD or 50s AD
Peter Peter 63 AD
Peter Peter 63 AD- 64 AD
John John Late 80s AD
Early 90s AD
John John Late 80s AD
Early 90s AD
John John Late 80s AD
Early 90s
Jude Jude, half-brother of Jesus 60's AD or 70's AD
Revelation John Late 80s AD
Early 90s AD
Other Popular Versions of the Bible
Over the centuries, numerous versions of the Bible have surfaced. Among them, the most popular are the Catholic Bible, the Protestant Bible, The Authorized King James Version, the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version. Let us take voyage back in time and get familiar with the periods when these versions were created.
When was the Catholic Bible Written?
The Catholic Bible is the original Bible and contains all the original set of books which are believed to have been used by Jesus and His apostles and is the original testament and guide to Christian spirituality. Therefore, it can be said that the Catholic Bible is the first version, containing all the original books of the Old and New Testament, some of which were later rejected by the Protestant reformers.
When was the Protestant Bible Written?
The Protestant Bible is no different from the original Catholic Bible. The crux of the debate on Catholic Bible vs Protestant Bible lies in the fact that the Protestant Bible omits some of the books that are included in the Catholic Bible. This is the sole basis of divergence between Catholicism and Protestantism. During the 1500's, the Old Testament got organized by Protestant leaders as per official canons of Judaism instead of the Septuagint (Greek translation of Jewish Scripture). Those books which were not there in the Jewish Canon were separated and archived as the Apocrypha. After the mid 1800's, the Apocrypha was dropped from the Protestant Bible as it was considered less important.
When was the King James' Bible Written?
The first Bible, regarded as God's own words to mankind, is believed to have been written in 1400 BC. Since then, the Bible has undergone numerous translations and a myriad of versions have resulted thereby. The most popular of these versions is King James' Bible, which was a translation by the Church of England. The translations began in 1604 and the first edition was concluded and printed in 1611. Forty seven scholars, all members of the Church of England, were employed for translating this Bible and the final publication included a list of morning and evening prayers. The translators were specifically instructed by King James to make sure that the translated version was in conformity with the theological study of the Christian Church and the Church Governance hierarchy, that was prevalent in the Church of England at that time.
When was the NIV Bible Written?
The vision for New International Version Bible came through in 1965. It was a translation of the Bible made by more than a hundred scholars by studying and working on the most reliable Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew texts. This venture was conceptualized by committees from the Christian Reformed Church and the National Association of Evangelicals and after numerous years of research and study, an international gathering of scholars took place at Palos Heights, Illinois, to work on a new version in contemporary English. The proposition of the contemporary version won consensus of a multitude of Christian Clerical heads and a self-governing body, the Committee on Bible Translation, was vested with the onus of the creation of the New International Version Bible in 1966. The translation and printing of the entire Bible was concluded in 1978 and revisions were introduced to it in 1983.
The New Revised Standard Version
The new Revised Standard Version was published in 1990, the latest amendment to which was made in June, 2010. This publication is a result of the efforts of the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. It is part of an ongoing process of making the Bible available in the most current English usage prevalent today.
As time changes, the context of religious beliefs and understanding of scripture also changes. Therefore, to keep religion in pace with the times, our scriptures undergo translations and re-inventions. This enables the common man to balance sprinting in the rat race as well as to hold on to his faith. At this rate, we will see many more versions of our sacred scriptures, designed to reach out to the modern spiritual needs.