The English word
Bible is from the Latin biblia, from the same word in
Medieval Latin and
Late Latin and ultimately from
Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία ta biblia "the books" (singular βιβλίον biblion).
Medieval Latin biblia is short for biblia sacra "holy book", while biblia in Greek and Late Latin is neuter plural (gen. bibliorum). It gradually came to be regarded as a feminine singular noun (biblia, gen. bibliae) in medieval Latin, and so the word was loaned as a singular into the vernaculars of Western Europe.
 Latin biblia sacra "holy books" translates Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια ta biblia ta hagia, "the holy books".
The word βιβλίον itself had the literal meaning of "paper" or "scroll" and came to be used as the ordinary word for "book". It is the diminutive of βύβλος byblos, "Egyptian papyrus", possibly so called from the name of the
Phoenician sea port
Byblos (also known as Gebal) from whence Egyptian
papyrus was exported to Greece. The Greek ta biblia (lit. "little papyrus books")
 was "an expression
Hellenistic Jews used to describe their sacred books (the
 Christian use of the term can be traced to c. 223 CE.
 The biblical scholar
F.F. Bruce notes that
Chrysostom appears to be the first writer (in his Homilies on Matthew, delivered between 386 and 388) to use the Greek phrase ta biblia ("the books") to describe both the Old and New Testaments together.
By the 2nd century
BCE, Jewish groups began calling the books of the Bible the "scriptures" and they referred to them as "holy", or in Hebrew כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ (Kitvei hakkodesh), and Christians now commonly call the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible "The Holy Bible" (in Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια, tà biblía tà ágia) or "the Holy Scriptures" (η Αγία Γραφή, e Agía Graphḗ).
 The Bible was
divided into chapters in the 13th century by
Stephen Langton and it was divided into verses in the 16th century by French printer
 and is now usually
cited by book, chapter, and verse. The division of the Hebrew Bible into verses is based on the
cantillation mark used by the 10th-century
Masoretes to record the verse divisions used in earlier oral traditions.
The oldest extant copy of a complete Bible is an early 4th-century parchment book preserved in the
Vatican Library, and it is known as the
Codex Vaticanus. The oldest copy of the
Tanakh in Hebrew and Aramaic dates from the 10th century CE. The oldest copy of a complete Latin (
Vulgate) Bible is the
Codex Amiatinus, dating from the 8th century.