Scribes and Scripture: The Amazing Story of How We Got the Bible

By John D. Meade, Peter J. Gurry

... Show All


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Scribes and Scripture: The Amazing Story of How We Got the Bible

By John D. Meade, Peter J. Gurry

... Show All

Answers to Common Questions about the Writing, Copying, Canonizing, and Translating of the Bible

There are many common questions and misconceptions surrounding the formation and history of the Bible: Why is the Bible composed of the current 66 books instead of others? Why are there so many translations? How are we to understand both the human and divine elements of the Bible? In Scribes and Scripture, scholars John D. Meade and Peter J. Gurry answer these questions and give readers tools to interpret the evidence about God’s word.

Beginning with the history of the Bible—from the invention of the alphabet to the most recent English translations—the book focuses on three main areas: the writing and copying of the Bible, the canonization of the Bible, and the translation of the Bible. Using Old and New Testament scholarship, Meade and Gurry help God’s people better appreciate the story of the Bible as a way to better appreciate the stories in the Bible.

  • Engaging Visual Content: Contains maps, charts, sidebars, and pictures
  • Collaboration of Old Testament and New Testament Scholarship: Written by experts in both Old Testament (Meade) and New Testament (Gurry) textual scholarship 
  • Answers Common Questions: Specifically regarding textual criticism, the canon, and Bible translations 

Read Chapter 1


John D. Meade

John D. Meade (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament and codirector of the Text & Canon Institute at Phoenix Seminary. He is the coauthor of The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis and the author of A Critical Edition of the Hexaplaric Fragments of Job 22–42. He and his wife, Annie, have four children and are members at Camelback Bible Church.

Peter J. Gurry

Peter J. Gurry (PhD, University of Cambridge) is associate professor of New Testament and codirector of the Text & Canon Institute at Phoenix Seminary. He is the author of A Critical Examination of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in New Testament Textual Criticism. He and his wife, Kris, have six children and are members at Whitton Avenue Bible Church. 

Product Details

Category: Biblical Studies
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 272
Size: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Weight: 11.61 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-7789-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-7789-5
ISBN-UPC: 9781433577895
Case Quantity: 48
Published: October 18, 2022

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Part 1: Text
Chapter 1: Writing the Bible
Chapter 2: Copying the Old Testament
Chapter 3: Copying the New Testament

Part 2: Canon
Chapter 4: Canonizing the Old Testament to the Reformation
Chapter 5: The Old Testament in the Reformation Period
Chapter 6: Canonizing the New Testament

Part 3: Translation
Chapter 7: Early and Medieval Bible Translation
Chapter 8: English Bible Translation to the King James
Chapter 9: The English Bible after the King James

Appendix 1: Modern Canons
Appendix 2: Early Christian Canon Lists
Illustration Credits
General Index
Scripture Index


“This is the book I've been waiting for! With skeptical claims against the Bible readily available online, this book will be a resource I will refer to again and again. Looking for an accessible yet thorough explanation of how you got your Bible? Look no further than Scribes and Scripture.”
Alisa Childers, Host, The Alisa Childers Podcast; author, Another Gospel? and Live Your Truth and Other Lies

“Many Christians love the Bible and yet know little of the fascinating story of what happened between its original composition and the book we can hold in our hands today. In Scribes and Scripture, John Meade and Peter Gurry provide a succinct and yet amazingly detailed overview of how the Bible was written and copied, canonized, and translated. This book will enable Christians to understand why Protestants have a different canon than Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox. It will teach them how to respond to secular critics who claim the Bible has been hopelessly corrupted over time or that the process of canonization was the arbitrary result of power struggles in the early church. And it will encourage them that we can trust our Bibles without ignoring or downplaying the messy realities of scribal errors, variant manuscripts, or disagreements about canonicity in the church. Properly considered, these ‘human’ elements in the story of the Bible in no way detract from the Bible’s authority as the word of God. I enthusiastically recommend this timely, unique, wise, and God-honoring book to anyone who wonders how we have received the Bible we have today. It will be the first book I recommend on the subject to any curious inquirer.”
Gavin Ortlund, President, Truth Unites; Theologian-in-Residence, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee

“Misconceptions and myths about the Bible’s origins lead many to reject it and continue to confuse sincere believers. Now, at last, we have a book that shatters these misconceptions. This impressively informative book is based on solid scholarship, yet it is accessible, easy to read, and profitable for any reader at any level. Not for a generation have we seen such a helpful book on this topic! I heartily recommend it to everyone.”
Peter J. Gentry, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Old Testament and Senior Research Fellow of the Text & Canon Institute at Phoenix Seminary

“Questions proliferate today on the Bible as scholars, and even laypeople, debate whether the Scriptures were accurately copied and transmitted, whether the books accepted as canonical are the right ones, and whether our many translations are accurate or needed. Meade and Gurry give us a sane and responsible tour on all these questions. One of the striking features of the book is its fairness and its reasonableness. No book, of course, is written without a perspective, but Meade and Gurry aren’t trying to win a debate or to demonize opponents. They carefully present and analyze the evidence so that readers can make their own judgments. I can’t think of another book that introduces in such a brief and illuminating way matters of text, canon, and translation.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The history of the Bible is complex: it involves multiple languages (ancient and modern), and it divides into two very much distinct (but also overlapping) branches we call the Old and New Testaments. Christians need trusted guides to lead us through that history. This is why I am so grateful for the work of Old Testament specialist John Meade, New Testament specialist Peter Gurry, and their Text & Canon Institute. They represent the newest generation of evangelical historians of the Bible, and they are both able and eager to keep a foot in the academy and a foot in the church. There are many threats to the orthodox viewpoint on text, canon, and translation. Scribes and Scripture is their attempt to serve the church by guiding Christians toward an accurate and faith-filled grasp of the Bible’s history.”
Mark Ward, Editor, Bible Study Magazine; author, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible