You will probably want to concede that there is a short answer, a medium answer, and a long answer to this question. You will offer the short answer here. You will link to the helpful Rose Publishing resource for the medium answer, as well as perhaps the American Bible Society site's answer. And you will link to and recommend F.F. Bruce's book for the excellent long answer.
The American Bible Society provides on their web site an excellent short answer to the question of how the Bible came to us.
Meanwhile, Rose Publishing offers a nice variety of resources on this subject. Their wall chart, for example, gives a kind of at-a-glance overview of the story. You will also find that they have resources in other formats, as well, with varying levels of detail. Some of what they offer is not only useful for individual study, but is also suitable for classes and group studies.
Finally, for a longer, more scholarly, detailed treatment of the subject, we recommend F.F. Bruce's The Cannon of Scripture. It is not necessarily an easy read. While writing for the general public, Bruce is always a scholar, and this book may go into the deeper end of the pool than some folks want. But if you are looking for a thorough answer to the question, Bruce has written an excellent book on the subject.
Meanwhile, I wonder about my capacity to edit and update my posted answers. I'm guessing from what I am seeing that this IS a possibility. Yay!
One of the most commonly asked questions is about how the Bible came to be. No one person sat down to write it. No one person compiled it. So how, through hundreds of years and dozens of authors, did our present Bible come to be?
Of course, whole books have been written on this subject, and so any brief answer can only scratch the surface. But I have found that the American Bible Society offers a good, responsible summary of the process. Their answer can give the curious Bible student a helpful overview, and from there we might individually get a clearer sense of what step in the process we might be interested in researching further.
Meanwhile, let me say a word about the meaning of the process.
I think it is profoundly noteworthy that the Bible does not make any grandiose claims about its origins. We don't have a story about an angel delivering the manuscript from heaven, or some individual taking divine dictation. No, the Bible is unapologetic about its human origins. It was written and compiled through an undeniably human process.
Does that make it suspect? Does that make it less holy? Less divine? Not at all.
From the day that God made human beings in His image and gave them stewardship of His creation, we see this recurring and compelling theme in Scripture: namely, that God prefers to do His work through people. If God sent His Son born of a woman (as opposed to miraculously coming down and appearing on Earth sans flesh), then it should not surprise us that He also gives us His written word through human vessels. This is His standard operating procedure. Human beings are not just recipients of His work, but participants in it.
Is the Bible less holy, less divine, or less perfect because it comes through human hands? No. For neither is Jesus less holy, less divine, or less perfect because He put on flesh and was born of a woman. The same God who breathed into the dust that He called Adam, who imparts His grace through ordinary water, bread, and wine, and who became incarnate in Bethlehem, also conveys His perfect word through dusty and ordinary human instruments.