How Did the Books in the Bible Get Chosen?

In the elementary years, my daughter and I had an evening ritual.

After her little brother went to bed, we’d snuggle together under warm blankets and I’d read aloud to her.

Most of the books we read together were great, but there was one particular standout that neither of us liked.  It was called, Little Lord Fauntleroy.

How were the books in the Bible determined? Who decided the books and why? That's what today's post is all about. Join us for a clear and practical explanation about how the books of the Bible were chosen. We are calling this series, "Delight in Doctrine." Why not stop by for a little deeper thinking?

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Little Lord Fauntleroy was written in 1885. 

It’s about a little boy named Ceddie who goes to live with his grandfather, a grumpy English earl.

In the story, Ceddie wins the hearts of everyone he meets because he is perfect. Seriously.  Long paragraphs about how loving, kind, wise, and virtuous he was, filled the pages.   It seemed he could do no wrong.

The book was written as a morality tale- and Little Lord Fauntleroy was the hero for children (an example on how to behave).

A lot of people have loved the story.  It’s a classic!  I felt like I should have liked it, too.  But it annoyed me. I kept thinking, no one is that perfect!

The story felt strangely familiar, and then I thought, it sounds like a Sunday school story!

As a child, I was in Sunday school every week.  Back then, stories were told with flannel boards, while we sat (kris-cross applesauce) on our carpet squares, eating vanilla wafers out of Dixie cups.

My teachers were kind and well intentioned- yet I picked up on a couple of things that likely caused more harm than good in my understanding of the Bible.

I had two misconceptions:

  1. The characters in those stories were Bible heroes.
  2. The Bible was an instruction manual with morality tales on how to behave (and those heroes were my examples).

I would go home and read the Bible on my own, only to discover that those heroes did a lot of bad stuff (not mentioned in the flannel board stories).  Was God okay with those bad things they did?  If so, I wasn’t so sure about this God.  These were his heroes, weren’t they?  I didn’t understand. If I thought about it too much, I became uncomfortable.

So I avoided the parts I didn’t understand.  Instead, I favored Proverbs and the red-letter parts of the gospels. Just tell me what to do, I thought.

For the rest of this post, follow me over to Dawn Klinge’s site. 

You can link HERE.


Join us as we take a clear and practical look at some of the most basic and essential tenants of the Christian life – the doctrines of the faith.  

Each week, we will highlight and explain a core doctrine. Then, we will pose the question, “Why does this matter to you and me?”

You can catch all of this year’s “Delight in Doctrine” posts by clicking HERE.

For the purposes of the study, our main texts will be first, the Bible, of course, and Wayne Grudem’s classic, Systematic Theology:  An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.

It is our prayer that by the end of 2017, we will all find more delight in understanding what we believe and why we believe it.

“…And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)

Were you encouraged by what you read today?

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© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Blessed wife of Randy for over 25 years, mom to two great college students, blogger, women's ministry coach, speaker and author who is amazed by God's grace-

2 thoughts on “How Did the Books in the Bible Get Chosen?

  1. What a practical and simple to follow post about how we got the books of the Bible, Dawn!
    Thanks for taking the time to make this topic personal, practical, and entirely useful. You have a gift for making hard things much easier to understand.
    Sure do appreciate you,

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