WHERE DID THE WORD “BIBLE” COME FROM?
“The Holy Book is popularly known as the Bible. Where did the word 'Bible' come from?”
ETYMOLOGICALLY, THE WORD “Bible” was actually derived from the Greek word biblion:
“It is from biblion, in fact, that our word ‘Bible’ is derived.” (Bruce, p. 3.)
However, this Greek word biblion is actually a diminutive of the Greek word biblos which means “book” (Ewert, p. 20). The Greek word biblos sometimes spelled byblos, but the earliest spelling was bublos (Ibid.). The Greek word biblion means “small book” (Thayer, p. 102).
Both biblion and biblos are singular (“small book” and “book,” respectively), and both have the same plural form, ta biblia or “books” (Bruce, p. 3). The whole collection of the biblical books came to be known as "ta biblia":
“…the whole collection of Old and New Testament books came to be known by Greek-speaking Christians as ta biblia, ‘the books.’ ” (Bruce, p. 3)
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- Bruce, F.F. The Books and the Parchment. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1984.
- Ewert, David. A General Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990.
- Thayer, Joseph Henry. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981.