The Ten Most Important Writers of All Time

July 17, 2013

Who are the ten most important writers of all time? Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I believe that the nine writers of the books of the New Testament are the nine most important writers of all time.

I then rank one writer of the Old Testament as number ten. Finally, I group these ten most important writers into three groups, from the most important writers to those who are of progressively lesser importance.

My criteria for ranking these writers are the following (in the order of their importance):

1. Writing more than one genre of the New Testament books > writing only one genre of the New Testament books

2. Writing more than one New Testament book > writing only one New Testament book

3. Writing a longer New Testament book > writing a shorter New Testament book

4. New Testament writer > Old Testament writer

Group A

The three most important writers of all time are John, Luke, and Paul. Each contributed more to the New Testament writings than any of the other New Testament writers contributed.

(1) John

John is the only man to write three genres of New Testament books: The Gospel of John; First, Second, and Third John; Revelation. He also had the privilege of writing all five of the final books given to man by divine revelation.

(2) Luke

Luke is the only other person besides John who wrote more than one genre of New Testament books: the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Unless Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, Luke also wrote more of the New Testament than any other writer did, including John.

(3) Paul

Paul wrote more New Testament books (13) than any other writer did. If he also wrote the book of Hebrews, as many believe he did, Paul would be the author of more of the New Testament than anyone else would be.

(For more on John and Paul, see Paul or John: A Noteworthy Comparison)

Group B

Four writers comprise the second most important group of writers of all time: Peter, Matthew, Mark, and the writer of Hebrews. Each of these writers wrote more of the New Testament than did any of the writers in Group C.

(4) Peter

Peter is the only writer in this group to have written more than one book. Many scholars believe that he also contributed heavily to the Gospel of Mark.

(5) Matthew

Matthew wrote the earliest of the four Gospels. Because it is also longer than the combined length of the Gospel of Mark and the book of Hebrews, I rank Matthew ahead of Mark and the writer of Hebrews.

(6) Mark

Mark wrote his Gospel based on information that he received from Peter. Many scholars also believe that he was the first to write a Gospel. Mark is more than twice the length of Hebrews.

(7) The Writer of Hebrews

We do not know with certainty who wrote the book of Hebrews. Whoever he was, he wrote one of the most profound books ever written. Hebrews is about three times the length of the book of James.

Group C

Three writers comprise the third most important group of writers of all time: James, Jude, and Moses. Two of these writers were New Testament writers, and the third is an Old Testament writer.

(8) James

Of the two New Testament writers who are not in Group A or B, James wrote a much longer book than Jude did. He also likely wrote the earliest written book of the New Testament.

(9) Jude

Jude was the second-to last writer of the books of the New Testament. His book is the shortest among the writings of those who only wrote one book of the New Testament.

(10) Moses

Moses is the only writer in the top ten who did not write any New Testament books. I rank him as the tenth most important writer because he wrote more of the Old Testament than anyone else did. Moses also wrote all five of the earliest books of the OT, which are foundational for all the rest of Scripture.

Discussion

I expect that many would disagree strongly with my rankings of the top three writers because they believe that Paul is the most important New Testament writer of all, which may be true.

What do you think?

Rajesh

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