Once upon a time, there was God, his people, and Jesus. One day, God told his people to write down some words to follow. Then he sent Jesus.

Jesus performed miraculous healings and preached phenomenal sermons. God’s people wrote down these events as well. Thousands of years later, God’s people received the Bible. Well, that’s mostly how the story goes.

The Bible essentially is a collection of books of Jewish history, glorious defeats, tragic failures, and stories of hope and salvation. In recently years, Christians and other religious people alike have been seeking more information about the Bible–discovering that several books with similar stories and pearls of wisdom, are missing pieces of history.

Scholars, critics, and even questioning Christians have recognized that many of the original manuscripts have not been found.

While the Dead Sea Scrolls shed light on understanding the Bible more, the lost-found books of the Bible, and other evidence recovered keeps people wondering which text is of God and which is from man.

Choosing the books of the Bible was a strenuous hundreds of years long process that involved some of the most powerful people of the world; they created the world’s best selling, life transforming book in history. During several meetings of various religious leaders, they chose the stories, doctrine, principles, and other religious ideals to incorporate into the Bible. (Note that there were numerous councils, but we will cover only two this round.)

Scholars believe the process began in 90 A.D. with the Council of Jamnia, a group of rabbis who decided what books to include in the Old Testament.

Charles Merrill Smith and James W. Bennett, writers of “How the Bible was Built,” explain that this council met to establish religious order and preserve tradition.

“These rabbis at Jamnia said, in effect, ‘We’ve got to decide once and for all which books are scripture and which aren’t, or people will keep adding new books forever.’ Their decision was to limit the Jewish scriptures to the books in the Hebrew Bible– the books as we have them in most Protestant Bibles today.”

This portion of the Bible is called the Hebrew Canon. The rabbis decided to only include 39 books, because they were the only ones found written in Hebrew. Conflicting reports say the Jamnia is a mythical meeting created by Christians, but others say there is historical proof of the council’s decision.

Then in 325 A.D., the General Council Nicaea came together and made some changes. According to appendix III of “The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults” by Donald W. Wuerl, this council was responsible for defining who Jesus Christ would be in the Bible and to the Christian church.

“The first general council, held in Nicaea in Asia Minor in 325… This council also promulgated 20 canons on disciplinary matters, especially the treatment of believers who had denied the faith during the persecutions.”

A Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, named Arius prompted the call of this council. John Bagnell Bury, author of “The Cambridge Medieval History” writes that in an attempt to unify Greek and Israelite concepts of a transcendent God, the clergyman decided in order for this theology to work, God needed a mediator.

Bury writes that Arius also ran into the more complicated dilemma of defining the godhood and humanity of Jesus Christ, in keeping with a monotheistic religion. So he then called the council of bishops.

“If only the bishops could be brought to some decision, it was not likely to be disobeyed; and the Sate could safely enforce it, if it was. Local councils had long been held for the decision of local questions … As it could fairly claim to speak for the churches generally, it was soon invested with the authority of the ideal Catholic Church; and from this it was an easy step to make its decisions per se infallible,” Bury writes.

Perhaps the Bible as we know it is the chosen words of God, but maybe not. As we continue to uncover the back story of Christianity and all of its ins and outs, taking into account the history of the fundamental book is important for a conclusive revelation.