How did we get the Bible?
How did we get the Bible? Who preserved it for us to read? Who decided which writings were inspired or not?
Just before his death Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, which finalized the first major set of inspired books that would become part of the Bible. This set is known as the Pentateuch, or Law, and is composed of the following five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Upon completion of the last book Moses, a Levite, gave them to the priests so that they may be preserved:
It was from the death of Moses that, according to The Holy Bible in Its Original Order - A Faithful Version, Second Edition (HBFV), the priest and Levites were made the official protectors of God's word. Their job was to make faithful copies and to preserve his revelations to man for future generations.
God, for many years after Moses, inspired others such as Samuel, King David, King Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel to write books. It wasn't until the late fifth century B.C., however, that these books were collected and compiled to form what we know as the Old Testament. Ezra, a priest at the temple who lived more than eight hundred years after Moses, led the effort to canonize the Old Testament.
What exactly is canonization? Canonization is the process by which a collection of writings comes to be considered authoritative, definitive and fixed by a religious authority. It was during the canonization process that the number of books in the Old Testament and their book arrangement was set.
How did we get the Old Testament?
Ezra and the Great Assembly brought together all the writings inspired by God and produced an Old Testament made up of twenty-two (22) manuscripts (books). The number of finalized manuscripts (22) is the same as the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
The Old Testament canon was divided into three major divisions: 1) The Law, 2) The Prophets, and 3) The Writings (also known as "the Psalms" because the book of Psalms is listed first in this division).