The Bible contains sixty-six books. These were written
over a long period of time (almost one and a half thousand
years) by a large number of different people (at least 36
and possibly as many as 47 writers were involved). The books
were written over a wide geographical spread (from Rome to
Babylon). Three different languages were involved. In spite
of this the book contains a unified message. This is the
basis of the argument from Harmony.
How could a book, or collection of books, like the Bible be
written by so many different people over such a long period
and still show such unity?
The Chronology of the Bible
The oldest book of the Bible is probably Job, which seems
to have been written before the exodus. This would place it
in 1500 BC or (most probably) even earlier. However, even if
this book is ignored the oldest books of the Bible: Genesis,
Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers were written before the
Children of Israel entered the promised land in about 1400
BC. The book of Deuteronomy was probably finished shortly
after the Israelites crossed the river Jordan, and was
therefore also completed in about 1400 BC. At the other end
of the range we have the Gospel of John and the Book of
Revelation, both of which were probably written shortly
before the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in 70 AD. The
following table illustrates this chronological spread:
||40 - 47 AD
||Before 50 AD
||58 - 60 AD
||600 - 650 BC
The Number and Variety of Writers
The number of writers of the Bible is large. There are
nine New Testament writers and 22 writers of Old Testament
books after Job. The number of writers of the historical
books is more difficult to estimate as it is not clear
exactly who wrote them. Assuming one writer each and one
writer for the first four books of the Bible we have another
13 writers (Ezra and Nehemiah being counted as one book)
bringing the total to 35 writers for the Old Testament.
However, the historical books show signs of having been
written by a succession of people, raising the number still
Not only were there a large number of different writers,
but they were from a wide variety of walks of life, from
kings to peasants and from scholars to tax collectors.
Again, the variety can be illustrated by a table which gives
a sample of the different walks of life:
||Slave who became a prince
||Shepherd who became king
||Rich man's son
||Scholar and tent-maker
||Small business man
Given that there is 1500 years or more between Moses and
John one can imagine the difference in their outlook. A
first century AD fish dealer would have nothing in common
with a fifteenth century BC ruler of people, especially as
Moses came from Egypt having been brought up in the ways of
the Egyptian court.
Geography and Language
Not only were the books of the Bible written over a very
long period by a large number of different writers with
different outlooks, there is also a wide geographical
separation between the places in which they were written.
Even in the first century the difference of outlook between
Jerusalem and Rome was great, as it was between either city
and Babylon or Antioch.
In fact the different writers of the Bible did not all
speak one another's languages. Moses would not have
understood New Testament Greek and Nebuchadnezzar (who is
credited with part of the book of Daniel) would probably not
have spoken Hebrew. Even where the language remains the same
in name it changed over the centuries so that the Hebrew of
Malachi is not quite the same as the Hebrew of Job.
In spite of all this variety, the Bible is a very united
book (or, more correctly, set of books). The scope of this
unity can be seen by exploring almost any theme in it. By
following a concordance and the marginal references one soon
finds oneself in a chain of passages which covers the whole
Consider, for example, Galatians 36-9.
This refers to the promises made to Abraham in
Genesis 156 and
Genesis 123. The
promise of Genesis 156
is also referred to in Romans 413,16
and there is a cross reference between
Galatians 37 and
Romans 413,16. Following through the
promises to Abraham one finds another promise in
which is a specific promise about one special descendent of
Abraham, the Messiah. This is referred to in
Galatians 316, a
little further down the page from our original reference.
Following the promises to the descendants of Abraham shows
that they were given to Jacob in much the same words as to
Abraham, and that they later rested on David (2 Samuel 712-14).
The promise of a descendant of David who would sit on
David's throne and establish it forever continues through
the Old Testament, being found also in
Ezekiel 2132; it is commented on in
Luke 131-33 where
the birth of Jesus is being foretold. This birth was itself
in fulfilment of Genesis 2217,
This process could go on to cover much more of the Bible.
A different starting point will produce a different network
of connections but in the end it will grow to cover a large
portion of the Bible. What is interesting is that these
chains never end up contradicting themselves (provided that
one is prepared to relax one's assumptions as directed by
the Bible). The Bible is clearly one united whole.
The content of the Bible is united over fifteen
centuries, three languages, upwards of 36 writers from
completely different backgrounds who wouldn't have all
understood each other if they had been put together by a
For this to happen there needs to be a single controlling
interest. This has to span fifteen hundred years and two
thousand miles. It has to have the power to make all the
different writers produce a unified message. There is only
one possible candidate for this controlling interest. It has
to be the will of God. This means that the Bible must have
been produced by men writing for God under God's direction.
In other words, the Bible must have been inspired by God.