How the Bible Was Built

How the Bible Was Built

How the Bible Was Built

How the Bible Was Built


The Bible continues to be the world's runaway best-seller. But very few people could say just how its seemingly disparate jumble of writings - stories, letters, poems, collections of laws, religious visions - got there. Filling this knowledge gap, How the Bible Was Built clearly tells the story of how the Bible came to be. Penned by Charles Merrill Smith in response to his teenage granddaughter's questions, the manuscript was discovered after Smith's death and has been reworked by his friend James Bennett for a wider audience. Free of theological or sectarian slant, this little volume provides a concise, factual overview of the Bible's construction throughout history, outlining how its various books were written and collected and later canonized and translated. Written in an easy conversational style and enhanced by two helpful appendixes (of biblical terms and dates), How the Bible Was Built will give a more informed understanding of the Bible to people of virtually any reading level and any religious persuasion.

Did you know?
  • The word "Bible" comes from biblion, a Greek word meaning "papyrus scroll."
  • It took several thousand years to construct the Bible.
  • The book we call Deuteronomy was discovered hidden away in a dark corner during the reconstruction of the temple under King Josiah.
  • The Apocrypha contains some of the earliest "detective" stories on record.
  • Church councils had many disagreements about which books ought to be authoritative (a book called the Shepherd of Hermas almost made the cut; the book of Revelation almost didn't).
  • A heretic helped form the canon.
  • Debate over the canon didn't really end until the Protestant Reformation and the use of the printing press.


This wonderful book comes with a story. It is, literally, the manuscript found in the basement, some years after the author’s death.

Its author, Charles Merrill Smith, penned a number of provocative books of religious commentary during his life, which ended in February of 1985. He wrote the runaway bestseller How to Become a Bishop Without Being Religious, which was published by Doubleday in 1965. His other religious books include When the Saints Go Marching Out (Doubleday, 1969) and The Case of a Middle Class Christian (Word, 1973).

Later in his writing career, Mr. Smith turned to fiction, writing the novels which make up the Reverend Randollph mystery series.

How the Bible Was Built was discovered by his widow, Betty, in February of 1999 as she was sorting through some . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.