1 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. Revelation 5:1 (NASB) 

In the passage above (Revelation 5:1) is the word “book” which translates βιβλίον (biblion). This word is the diminutive of βίβλος (biblos), which refers to a “book, scroll, writing.” Biblos originally referred to the papyrus plant and then its fibrous stem, which was exported to Greece through the port of Byblos in Syria….

There, the plant was prepared by splitting the stems and then pressing and gluing two layers together to form a sheet. A series of sheets were then joined together to form a scroll that was rolled from both ends. Because papyrus was not very durable, becoming brittle with age, and rotting with moisture, it was eventually replaced by “vellum,” which was made from animal skins, such as calf, antelope, sheep, or cow.

The word biblos, then, came to be used not just in its literal reference to papyrus, but for any writing material. It finally came to mean a scroll, book, letter, or just writing. The word biblion became more common in both the Septuagint and New Testament Greek. In secular Greek these came to refer to any holy book, and this carried over into the writings of Josephus and Philo, who called the Old Testament hierai bibloi (holy books). Our English word Bible, then comes from the Latin ta biblia.  View article →