Bible Question:

How old is the Bible? When were the books of the Bible written?

Bible Answer:

The earliest book of the Bible was written about 1450 B.C. From that date we can then determine how old is the Bible? The Bible contains 66 books, with 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. Before the printing press was invented, the books were often written in the form of  scrolls.

How old is the Bible?

These books or scrolls were written by about 40 different authors over approximately 1540 years. Jewish historians state that the Great Synagogue, a group of about 200 Jewish scholars (400 B.C.), recognized and protected the books that now comprise the Old Testament.[1] Flavius Josephus refers to the Old Testament books and indicates they existed by the time of King Artaxeres (464 to c. 425 BC.).[2] Flavius Josephus also indicates that Alexander the Great read about himself in the book of Daniel (Daniel 7:6; 8:7, 21; 11; 11:3-4) when arrived at Jerusalem.[3] That puts the date of Daniel at least by 333 B.C. The book of Daniel was also accepted by the Great Synagogue (c.a. 516 – 400 B.C.). The Old Testament was eventually translated into Greek. The translation is known as the Septuagint Bible or the LXX. Jewish tradition says that seventy scribes translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek between 270 and 150 B.C. Therefore, the books contained in the Old Testament were accepted hundreds of years before the time of Jesus and the apostles. This is also validated by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Now what do we know about the individual books and the dates of the oldest books of the Bible? It is believed the oldest book in the Old Testament is the book of Job. We know Job was written before the book of Ezekiel was written since the prophet Ezekiel mentioned him in Ezekiel 14:14, 20. However, the precise date of the book of Job is unknown since internal evidence and external evidence of the book is insufficient. However, the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) were written about 1450 to 1045 B.C. The book of Joshua was written about 1405 to 1385 B.C. The book of Psalms started being composed at approximately 1410 and was finished about 450 B.C. Nehemiah was the last book written and accepted into the Old Testament (424-400. B.C.). This reveals the complete set of Old Testament books existed by at least 400 B.C. Now we can answer the question, “How old is the Bible?” The answer is that it dates to about 1445 B.C.

Then there was a 400 year gap before the first book of the New Testament was written. The first book of the New Testament was James and it was written about A.D. 44-49. The last book of the Bible was Revelation and it was written in A.D. 94-96. The claim by liberals theologians and atheists that the New Testament was created by early church councils such as the Nicene Council (A.D. 325) is deceptive. But the New Testament and historical data reveals that the New Testament books were recognized in the first century A.D. by the apostles and the early church. The Muratorian Fragment provides one of the most complete lists of the New Testament books. It reveals that the New Testaments books were recognized by the early church as inspired. The rationale for the order of the books in the Bible is described in “Why are the books of the Bible in the current order?”

More Information:

God has been faithful to keep the Bible accurate. Our God wants us to know Him and to know that He loves us! For an overview of the Bible visit, “Overview of the Books of the Bible – themes and descriptions.” For information about who divided the Bible into chapters and verses read, “Who divided the Bible into chapters and verses?



1. Geisler and Nix. A General Introduction to the Bible. Moody Press. 1973. p. 158.
2. Bogens Muller. First Bible of the Church. Sheffield Academic Press. 1996. p. 27-28.
3. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, chap. 8, sec. 5, William Whiston translation, 1981. p. 244.