Where did the Bible come from? Why do we call it the “Word of God?”
Let’s look at it from 2 parts: The Old Testament and The New Testament.
The Old Testament that consists of 46 books, is a collection of sacred texts that pre-date the advent of Jesus Christ. The foundation of the Old Testament in the Catholic Bible is the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Hebrew Scriptures or the Tanakh, which includes books such as Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, Isaiah, and many others. According to Catholic teaching, these texts bear witness to God’s covenant with the people of Israel, the history of God’s relationship with humanity, and prophecies that point towards the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Church included additional texts known as the Deuterocanonical books in its Old Testament. These books, including Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and parts of Daniel and Esther, were originally written in Greek and were part of a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible called the Septuagint. The Septuagint was widely used by Jews in the Hellenistic world and was the version of the Old Testament most commonly used by early Christians.
Turning to the New Testament that consists of 27 books, which comprises texts primarily focussed on the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These writings were composed in the first century AD and include the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles (letters) written by various apostles (e.g., Paul, Peter, John, James, and Jude), and the Book of Revelation. It is important to note that Jesus did not personally write any of the texts within the New Testament, nor did he issue explicit directives to create such writings. Instead, he conveyed his teachings orally and established a community, the Church, to perpetuate his mission and teachings following his ascension into heaven. Subsequently, the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles at Pentecost, enabling them to preach and propagate Jesus’ message.
The Catholic Church existed before the books and letters of the new testament were canonized.The process of recognizing and formalizing the canon of the New Testament was gradual.