The word Bible literally means ‘Books’. We see it today as one Book and we often refer to it as ‘a Book’. This is why the Qur’an calls it ‘al Kitab. More than 40 prophets, who lived through a time span of over 1600 years, wrote the collections of books that make up the Bible. These prophets had very different backgrounds. Daniel (whose tomb is in modern-day Iran) was a prime minister in Babylonian (Iraq) and Persian (Iran) Empires. Nehemiah was an attendant to the Persian Emperor Artaxerxes. Ezekiel was a Priest. Dawood (David) was King of Ancient Israel as was his son Suleiman (Solomon), and so on. Thus you can really think of the Bible (or al Kitab) as more like a library, in one volume, that has 66 books.
To help us better ‘see’ the prophets and their books through history I have placed some (not all because there is not enough room) on a historical timeline. What stands out is the very long period of human history this timeline covers. The ticks (or units) of time in this timeline measure centuries (years by the 100’s)! The green horizontal bars show the lifespan of that particular prophet. You can see that Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses) lived many years!
Different Eras, Prophets and Languages
Because these prophets lived in different time periods, different countries (or empires) and in different social levels (i.e. some were with rulers and others with peasants) the languages used varied. The prophet Musa (Moses) PBUH wrote the Taurat in Hebrew. The books of David/Dawood (PBUH) and Solomon/Suleiman (PBUH) in the Zabur were also in Hebrew. Other books in Zabur (parts of Daniel and Nehemiah – PBUH) were originally written in Aramaic. The prophet Isa al Masih (PBUH) would have spoken in Aramaic and perhaps Hebrew. The apostles of Isa al Masih (Jesus) PBUH wrote the books of the Injil in Greek.
What is most interesting for us is that these original languages are preserved, accessible and even used to this very day. But, these languages, not being European, are not used by Westerners so they do not get the attention that, say, English gets. You can see the Taurat in Hebrew online by clicking here. Note that it reads right to left like Arabic. Read the original Greek of the books of the Injil here. Then, from these originals, scholars translate the books of the Bible into modern-day languages like English, French, Thai etc. This is similar to how scholars translate the Qur’an from Arabic into the many languages of today.
Learn Allah’s story from its beginning with the Sign of Adam.