Mr. Kranz' information about the Bible authors continues below. For January, we will show the first seven authors. February, March, May, and June will each have seven more authors' information. (April will contain Easter-related information.)
1. Moses (Genesis | Exodus | Leviticus | Numbers | Deuteronomy | Psalms)
Moses is the prophet who leads Israel from slavery in Egypt to the edge of the promised land. He also wrote about 20% of your Bible. Of all the Old Testament prophets, nobody’s like Moses (Dt 34:10–12).
Moses is a Hebrew born in Egypt and raised in Pharaoh’s house. After killing an abusive Egyptian slave driver, Moses escapes the death penalty by running to the wilderness, where he marries and takes up life as a shepherd. Forty years go by, and God meets Moses in the wilderness (there’s a burning bush involved).
God commissions Moses: tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. Moses does so, Pharaoh resists, God judges Egypt with 10 plagues, and the Israelites leave. Moses takes the new nation to Mount Sinai, where the Lord brings Israel into a special relationship: from now on, Israel is God’s people, and God is Israel’s deity. Moses writes out the details of what that relationship looks like. These details are called the “Law,” and they take up most of the books attributed to Moses in the Bible.
The first book, Genesis, sets the stage for the other four books. It explains where the Jewish people came from, and how they ended up in Egypt. The next four books chronicle Israel’s physical and spiritual journey from Egypt to the promised land.
But Moses’ works aren’t over at Deuteronomy! He’s also the one who wrote Psalm 90.
2. Ezra (1 & 2 Chronicles | Ezra)
Bible author portrait EzraEzra is born long, long after Moses. But like the ancient prophet, Ezra leads a group of Israelites from exile in another nation back to the promised land.
Ezra is a scribe (someone who reads, writes, and interprets documents), and he’s especially well-versed in the Law of Moses (Ezra 7:6). He’s actually related to Moses: Ezra is a great-great-great(…)-grandson of Moses’ brother Aaron, which means he’s also got some priest blood in him (7:1–5). Ezra grows up in Babylon, but he is determined to move to become a missionary to his homeland (7:10), so he takes a group of Jews back to Jerusalem and begins teaching the people God’s ways.
Ezra is a key player in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. He’s a religious leader in Jerusalem who calls the people around him to holiness.
The Jewish Talmud says Ezra wrote the book of 1 & 2 Chronicles (yes, they’re really two parts of the same book), and the book of Ezra. If this is the case, it makes Ezra the second-most prolific author of the Bible. Not bad for a guy you never hear about, right?
3. Nehemiah (Nehemiah)
Nehemiah is a cupbearer to the king of Persia when he gets some disturbing news: his countrymen back in Jerusalem are in dire straits, and the city is in shambles (Neh 1:3). Nehemiah then gets the go-ahead from King Artaxerxes to rebuild the city walls and gates, and takes off for Jerusalem.
And get this: he gets the wall rebuilt in just 52 days (6:15).
Nehemiah’s more than a wallbuilder, though. Artaxerxes makes him the governor of Judah (Neh 5:14), and Nehemiah uses this position to point the people to God. He’s the one stationing soldiers, commissioning singers in the temple, and making sure the temple stays clean. Plus, he teams up with Ezra to rededicate the people to God (10:28–39) and hold them to their promises (13:4–31).
Nehemiah wrote the book that bears his name—and he wrote it in first person. Nehemiah has a very transparent writing style, often breaking from his story to record a prayer he made to God (4:4; 13:22).
4. David (Psalms)
You’ve all heard of this guy. He’s the shepherd boy who killed Goliath the giant. He’s the war-hero king who delivered Israel from her enemies and established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He’s the jerk who killed off Uriah so he could have Uriah’s wife. And maybe most importantly, he’s a messiah: someone anointed by God to rule the people in wisdom and justice.
David is the focal character in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Chronicles, and the books of Ruth and Kings tell us all about his family. David’s one of the Bible’s most important characters, but that doesn’t have all that much to do with David. He’s important because God makes a special promise to him: from David will come an everlasting kingdom with an everlasting king. Spoiler alert: that’s Jesus.
Somebody may have told you that David wrote the book of Psalms, but that’s not really the case. David only wrote about half of the Psalms—73 out of all 150, to be precise (though the Latin Vulgate and Septuagint credit a few more to him). Even so, that’s a lot more than any other psalmist
These ones are his, specifically:
Psalms 3–9 Psalms 11–41 Psalms 51–65
Psalms 68–70 Psalm 86 Psalm 101
Psalm 103 Psalms 108–110 Psalm 122
Psalm 124 Psalm 131 Psalm 133
If you throw in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) and Latin Vulgate credits, it brings the count as high as 85.
Sidenote: another common myth about the book of Psalms is that it’s the longest book of the Bible. But that’s not really true, either.
5. Solomon (Psalms | Proverbs | Ecclesiastes | Song of Solomon)
Authors of the Bible SolomonWhen Solomon succeeds his father David as king of all Israel, the Lord appears to him in a dream. He gives Solomon the ultimate “blank check”: Solomon names anything he wants, and God will give it to him. Instead of asking for cash or the heads of his enemies, Solomon just asks God for wisdom. And boy, does God deliver:
Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations. (1 Ki 4:29–31)
Solomon came up with 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs (1 Ki 4:32). Lucky for us, a lot of that wisdom is part of our Bibles.
Solomon is traditionally credited for authoring the books of Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. In the first, he asks, “What’s the point of even existing?” In the second, he celebrates love, marriage, and all kinds of sexual privileges that come with that.
Solomon contributes to two more books of the Bible as well. He’s the main writer in Proverbs, which is a book of principles for making decisions in wisdom and justice. Most of the first 29 chapters were written or curated by Solomon. The wise king also joins his dad in the book of Psalms: numbers 72 and 127 are Solomon’s.
6. Asaph and family (Psalms)
When David commissions the temple in Jerusalem, he appoints Asaph and his family to lead worship (1 Ch 16:5). We don’t know much about Asaph, except that he’s a singer from the tribe of Levi (2 Ch 5:12). He and his family must have been some awesome songwriters, because 12 of the Psalms are credited to him (Ps 50; 73–83).
7. Sons of Korah (Psalms)
Moses is leading Israel through the wilderness, a Levite named Korah challenges Moses’ leadership. That doesn’t end well—the earth swallows up Korah and his followers.
But Korah’s sons survive, and they have quite a legacy in the Bible through their music. The descendants of Korah wrote 11 psalms: