Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 18 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Maria Anna Blondin
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Why is scripture called the “Bible”?

HOLY BIBLE

Riala | CC0

Philip Kosloski - published on 01/27/18 - updated on 03/01/21

No, it doesn't mean, "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth."

While there are no exact figures to cite, most claim the Bible is the world’s best-selling book of all time. It has been translated into countless languages and generally speaking is a book most people own.

However, even though it is a popular book, few know the origins of its name.

Origins of the word, “Bible”

The English word “Bible” has at its root the Latin word biblia, which in turn is derived from the Greek biblion. Both ancient words originally meant “book.” Early on, Christians began to identify the collection of sacred writings as a single volume of inspired text. According to Douglas Harper, “The Christian scripture was referred to in Greek as Ta Biblia as early as c. 223.”

Two phrases were eventually coined to identify the scriptures, one in Latin, biblia sacra (holy books), and biblia to hagia (the holy books) in Greek.

While it may seem strange (or anti-climatic) to identify the most sacred text of Christianity with such a mundane name, the point was to identify the scriptures as the bookThink of the name as calling it is the “book of all books;” a book that nothing else can compare with. For this reason instead of calling it the “Holy Book” in English, tradition has preserved the original name and we continue to call it the “Holy Bible,” differentiating it from every other book that has been (or ever will be) published.


septuagint

Read more:
Where did the Bible come from?

Tags:
Bible
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
3
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
4
MASS
Philip Kosloski
5 Essential things used at Mass and their symbolism
5
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
7
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.