Writers of the Old Testament

Question:

“I have been studying but have not found all the information I want. How many men wrote the Old Testament and when were each of the books written? Please answer on your website.”

Answer:

This is a difficult question to answer and it becomes very involved. The writers of the Bible did not “date” their writings and the time each was written must be determined by events recorded in it and by references from other books. It is thought by most scholars that about 27 to 35 men were involved in the writing, from about 1500 B. C. (the first five books) until about 400 B. C. (the book of Malachi). Among the writers were such men as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Ezra, Nehemiah, David, Solomon and the 17 prophets whose books bear their names.

The author of Job is unclear and so is the time it was written. The authors of Esther and both books of Chronicles are also unknown. While King David wrote most of the Psalms, there were probably about 6 – 10 other writers. So from the Psalms alone there were 6 – 12 writers. And, presumably, these were written over a period of about 200 years. Granted, much of the above is surmised from evidences in the Bible and from other sources, and it is certainly debatable how accurate it is.

The thing to remember is that God is the author of the Old Testament Scriptures.

The apostle Peter wrote, “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For 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 Peter 1:20, 21, English Standard Version).

For this reason the apostle Paul wrote of those Scriptures, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

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