Why do people refer to the Bible as the Holy Bible?
By the second century BC Jewish leaders had referred to the Old Testament writings as holy writings. The New Testament referred to this concept as well. Paul called himself, "set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures" (Romans 1:1-2). Second Timothy 3:16 adds that the Scriptures were breathed out by God.
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The Greek word biblos meant a book or scroll. When the Bible was translated into the official Latin Vulgate version around the beginning of the fifth century, the term biblia sacra was often used to refer to the Bible as the sacred or holy Bible.
In English, the 1611 King James Version of the Bible included the title "Holy Bible" on its cover. The impact and legacy of this Bible version has helped to make the term "Holy Bible" a common name for the Scriptures in the English-speaking world.
The term "holy" has been used to describe that the Bible is set apart from other writings or books. Its contents are inspired by God: "no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Jesus taught, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17). The Bible is also holy in the sense that it spoke truly and supernaturally regarding the coming of Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus came as a fulfillment of the holy writings revealed in the Old Testament.
Further, the Bible is able to give godly wisdom (Psalm 19:7), offer the gospel of salvation (Romans 1:16-17), and give us the truth that sanctifies (John 17:17). Of all the world's books, the Bible is the one that is said to be eternal: "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8). Jesus taught that it would last until heaven and earth pass away: "For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:18).
The Bible is the Holy Bible because its origin is from God; it is inspired by God; it provides the wisdom of God, for the people of God to live according to the ways of God. Its words share the way of salvation, instruction for life, and will last forever.
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