The Bible

The Bible.

I’m not an expert on the Bible by any stretch of the imagination. I did read a few passages of the Book of Revelations as a younger man, out of sheer curiosity, but that’s about it. Still though, it’s a very interesting name, even if you haven’t read any of it.

It basically means the book. It’s derived from the Latin biblia sacra, meaning holy books. This phrase can be traced back to the Greek word biblion, meaning paper or scroll.

But while its older names meant the holy books, if you’re a Christian, it probably makes sense to think of it as the book. And with it being the book, it of course makes sense to capitalise it. The T of the isn’t necessary, but certainly the B. The first B, obviously.

Of course you don’t have to be a Christian to capitalise it. I’m not religious, but I do it. You could so out of respect, or simply because, like the title of any book, it’s a proper noun.

And it might be necessary to use the capital B to distinguish the book(s) from any use of the word bible as a regular noun. I might say, accurately, that English in Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy is the English-language teacher’s bible. Or maybe something by Martin Parrott.

We can also see many modern words inspired by the Greek biblion, all related to books. If you cite a lot of sources in something you write, you should include a bibliography. The -graphy is from the Greek for written. But you already knew that.

And of course, if you like reading books, you’re a bibliophile, literally meaning book lover (compare to words like Anglophile, cinephile, and uh, yeah, that’s it).

22 thoughts on “The Bible

  1. As I understood it, all religious texts and indeed some other ‘one off’ documents (for example The Declaration Of Independence) are to be treated as proper nouns and capitalised – and indeed the titles of books (unless the author specifies otherwise).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. D’you know, that is the first time I have thought about the suffix graphy! So as a Geographer I write about the Earth as opposed to a Geologist who studies it However as an ecologist I study the relationships of the life forms in relation to it (Earth) Cool.
    Slightly off topic – sorry, but it’s kinda where my train of thought took me.

    The wee white sweetie mice in my head aren’t working hard enough for a decent comment on The Bible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Its always interesting to think about why the Bible, or any other well known book or other well known word or document have the name they possess. (I did actually know the history of the Bible’s name, daughter of a missionary/latin teacher here!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] The word first began to be used in English with its modern meaning in the 16th century. Prior to that, it had been used to refer to a period of 40 days in which a widow could remain in her husband’s house, as well as to the period of 40 days in which Christ had fasted in the desert, according to the Bible. […]


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