THE BIBLE IS COLLECTION OF 66 SEPARATE BOOKS
Actually, the Bible isn’t one book but rather a collection of 66 separate books, usually bound together for convenience into a single volume. The Bible is a miniature library consisting of all the primary source books which contain factual information about God. The word ‘Bible’ is derived from the Latin biblia and the Greek biblia, words which mean ‘books.’ The word is capitalized to denote God’s books.
The books of the Bible are listed on the next page and shown in the order they appear in printed volumes. The order is sequential, starting with God’s creation, then tracing God’s revelation of himself to people he chose to be his communicators, then eye-witness accounts of the life of Jesus Christ, followed by a history of the early church and letters of instruction to Christians, and finally a shadowy glimpse of the future. For each book, the table also shows the name of the writer (see Topics 19 and 24).
Some of the books are named for their contents; such as Genesis (beginnings), Exodus (Israelites leaving Egypt), Kings (record of the Kings of Israel), Proverbs (wise sayings), Acts (what the early church did), Revelation (what the future will be). Other books are named after the writer; such as Joshua, Isaiah, Micah, Matthew, John and Peter. Still other books are named after the church to which it was addressed; such as Romans (to the Christians who live in Rome), Galatians (to the Christians who live in Galatia), II Thessalonians (second letter to the Christians who live in Thessalonica).
Names of the books and chapter and verse divisions were not part of the original text but have been added by translators to to make reading and referencing easier for us.
The Bible is divided into two basic parts: The Old Testament (see Topic 33) and the New Testament (see Topic 36). The word ‘testament’ means covenant, agreement or deal. In other words, the Bible consists of the old deal (for background) and the new deal (for current action). In the New Testament, God makes an incredible offer to us (see Topics 54-59) which we individually must either accept or reject. As with any offer, no response is the same as rejection. The Old Testament shows how and why the offer developed, and the New Testament presents it for our response.
Depending upon page size and type size, the full Bible is typically about 1,000 pages, of which three-fourths is Old Testament and one-fourth is New Testament. Compared to the sacred writings of the major religions (see Topics 13 and 14), the Bible is very compact and easy to read.
BIBLE BOOKS HAVE WIDE DIVERSITY OF STYLE
Each book of the Bible has its own unique literary style, reflecting its time and purpose as well as the personality of the writer. In addition to straight-forward history and moral teaching, various books contain poetry, maxims, allegories and illustrations – all of which were widely and meaningfully used in the ancient world and are still used in our modern world as creative writing and drama.
Rather than giving bare historical facts, most Biblical narratives make use of literary techniques to interest and involve the reader. History is simplified, interpreted and punctuated with human emotion so that it can more easily be understood and remembered.
NOTE: There are 15 other books – called the Apocrapypha – which Roman Catholics regard as part of the Old Testament but which are rejected as holy Scripture by Jews and Protest ants. They’re minor books and don’t conflict with any of the universal books, so acceptance or rejection doesn’t alter the message of the Bible. These books are I Esdras, II Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Additions to Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, The Letter of Jeremiah, Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, The Prayer of Manasseh, I Maccabees and II Maccabees.
Bible Survey Topics
ORIGINS AND LAW:
PREACHING AND PROPHECY:
Numbers Moses Deuteronomy Moses
Joshua Probably Joshua
I Samuel Unknown
II Samuel Unknown
I Kings Unknown
II Kings Unknown
I Chronicles Unknown
II Chronicles Unknown Ezra Probably Ezra
Psalms David and others
Proverbs Solomon Ecclesiastes Probably Solomon Song of Solomon Solomon
Jeremiah Jeremiah Lamentations Jeremiah Ezekiel Ezekiel
LIFE OF CHRIST:
START OF CHURCH:
LETTERS TO CHURCHES:
I Corinthians Paul
II Corinthians Paul Galatians Paul
Ephesians Probably Paul
I Thessalonians Paul
II Thessalonians Paul
I Timothy Paul
II Timothy Paul
James Probably James
I Peter Peter
II Peter Peter
I John John
II John John
III John John