How Is The Old Testament Organized
January 23, 2020 by Krisan Marotta
The Bible is divided between the Old and New Testaments. Books written before the time of Jesus make up the Old Testament. Book written after Jesus ministry on earth comprise the New Testament.
In the modern English Bible, the 39 books of Old Testament are divided into 4 main parts based on genre. Within each genre, books are organized by author, chronology and size. The number of books in each division is easy to remember: 5-12-5-5-12.
Heres A Snapshot Of Every Book Of The Bible
The Bible is one book made up of 66 books. Each book has a major theme that emphasizes an aspect of Godâs character or a way he is working to carry out his perfect plan. What follows is an attempt to capture these themes it’s simplest form.
For those wanting to dig deeper into Bible Book Paragraph Summary Themes go here.
There Are 66 Books In The Bible
- 1. The books are arranged in 2 major divisions: The Old & New Testament
- 2. The Old Testament consists of 39 books
- a. The term Old Testament is used in two ways and can be confusing
- b. The Old Testament can refer to the Law given to Moses by God at Mount Sinai
- c. It is also a descriptive term referring to the 39 books of the O.T.
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Making A Bible Library
Making a Bible library can provide a great way to see how the Bible is organized. It also creates a visual tool that can be used over and over to practice the books of the Bible. A Bible library can be made easily with poster board, Velcro tabs, construction paper and contact paper . Use your construction paper to create a book spine for each book of the Bible. A simple rectangle works fine since you want your books to look as if they are sitting on shelves. Laminate or cover each one in contact paper to make them more durable. Using Velcro tabs , fix one tab to the back of each book spine.
Now you are ready to make your Bible book case. Using poster board, decorate your board to represent a book case with 10 shelves or sections. You may want to create an Old Testament book case and a New Testament book case. Each shelf or section should have the appropriate label on it. Be sure to place the sections in their proper order. Putting the sections in order gives this project the added benefit of helping kids put the books of the Bible in order as well. The 10 labeled sections are:
- The Law
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Books Of History Gospels To Acts
The Gospels occur at the beginning of the New Testament in virtually every arrangement of the NT found in the early historical documents. They record the life of Christ. It is logical because without Jesus Christ the New Testament does not make any sense. The book of Acts records the ministry of the apostles and the growth of the church after Christs ascension back to heaven. Thus, the Gospels and the book of Acts are historical.
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History Of The Books Of The Bible
As mentioned, the Bible as most mainline traditions know it consists of 66 books. But some traditions include more books of the Bible. The Catholic Bible, for example, contains 7 additional books. So how and when was it decided which books to include and which to leave out? To answer this, well briefly consider the history of canonization or the formal decision of which books, letters, and text are considered authoritative parts of testament scriptures.
What Are The Divisions Of The Sixty
The Bible is divided into two major divisions: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament consists of thirty-nine books and the New Testament is made up of twenty-seven books, a total of sixty-six books all together.
Both testaments, or covenants are divided by a grouping of the various books into different kinds of literature, time frames of history, poetry and wisdom literature, prophecy and so forth. So, lets begin with the Old Testament division or grouping of books . . .
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Why Was Enoch Removed From The Bible
The Book of Enoch was considered as scripture in the Epistle of Barnabas and by many of the early Church Fathers, such as Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Tertullian, who wrote c. 200 that the Book of Enoch had been rejected by the Jews because it contained prophecies pertaining to Christ.
Books Of History Genesis To Esther
What is clear is that the Old Testament books in the Protestant Bible follow both a chronological and a topical order starting with the book of Genesisthe Creation. The first five books are called the Pentateuch. Moses was the author. Genesis starts with the creation and ends with the twelve sons of Jacob in Egypt. Exodus through Deuteronomy explain the exodus of the nation of Israel from Egypt to the month before the nation entered the Promised Land. The Pentateuch also contains the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Law.
The next books in the Old Testament, Joshua through 2 Chronicles, provide the history of the nation of Israel in the Promised Land. By the end of 2 Chronicles, the northern nation of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah have been defeated by the invading Assyrian and Babylonian armies. The next group of books are Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. They recount the return of the nation to the land. In summary, Genesis through Esther are primarily historical and chronological in order.
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What Are The Apocrypha And Pseudepigrapha
The word apocrypha comes from the Greek for hidden or secret. Its a little confusing, because the word apocrypha is used in a couple of different ways when talking about books outside of the standard biblical canon.
First, theres the category of New Testament Apocrypha which includes a long list of non-canonical texts written mostly in the second century C.E. and beyond that pertain to Jesus and his apostles. As Combs says, there are hundreds of these texts and we dont have written specimens for all of them.
Then theres a subset of Old Testament books that are included in the Roman Catholic Bible. These seven books, including Tobit, Judith and 1 & 2 Maccabees, are published between the Old and New Testaments in the Catholic Bible and called the Apocrypha or sometimes the Deuterocanon which means second canon.
And then theres a third category called pseudepigrapha from the Greek for false author. This list includes more than 50 texts written between 200 B.C.E. and 200 C.E. by both Jewish and Christian writers expanding on stories and characters from the Old Testament. Notable Old Testament pseudepigrapha include 1 Enoch, Jubilees and the Treatise of Shem.
How Were The Books Of The Bible Established
The books of the Bible were originally written on scrolls. In synagogues, keepers looked after the scrolls and stored them in the order of their choosing, or as they were instructed. Hence, no specific order of the books of the Bible was established in ancient times.
The invention of the printing press in 1440 made it possible to print Bibles and thereby make them more accessible. However, the increased circulation resulted in varying book divisions of the Bible being printed and read.
Over time, the modern-day Bible with the book divisions that we are familiar with has emerged as the most common version of the Bible to be printed and is used as a standard reference for most Bibles today.
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How To Read The Bible Chronologically
Christians have a special relationship with the Bible. Its not a just book we read once and set aside. Its one that we hopefully come back to regularly for knowledge, inspiration, and guidance.
The challenge we face is in maintaining constant exposure to Scripture without developing a been-there-read-that mentality. Finding new ways to approach the Bible prevents us from the kind of familiarity that makes reading it a chore.
Reading the Bible chronologically can be a refreshing way to see it through new eyes. We might think that because the Bible starts with creation and ends with Revelation its already laid out sequentially, but its not. Reading it in the order that events occurred can equip us to understand its narrative more clearly, and see it from a fresh perspective.
A Chronological Reading Plan
If youre wondering where to get started reading the Bible chronologically, check out a few of the links above. You can also check out the chronological edition of the NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological ebook Edition, which breaks up Bible into 365 sequential readings.
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The Books Of The Bible Are Not Arranged Chronologically
Although the books of the Bible are not in strict chronological order, they follow a general timeline. All the books of the Old Testament were written before the New Testament.
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew with a handful of chapters and verses in the Aramaic. The New Testament was written almost completely in Greek.
The English word Bible comes from a Latin word that means books. The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by about 40 authors over a period of 1600 years in various places and includes many literary genres.
Although we wouldnt be able to tell from English translations of the Bible, the language of the original books is also a way to divide the Bible into Old and New Testaments.
The Order Of The Gospels
Within the Gospels, why are they placed in the order they are?
The basic reason is that this is the order that, for much of Church history, this is the order people thought they were written in. In his Harmony of the Gospels, St. Augustine explains:
Now, those four evangelists whose names have gained the most remarkable circulation over the whole world, and whose number has been fixed as fourit may be for the simple reason that there are four divisions of that world through the universal length of which they, by their number as by a kind of mystical sign, indicated the advancing extension of the Church of Christare believed to have written in the order which follows: first Matthew, then Mark, thirdly Luke, lastly John Harmony of the Gospels I:2:3).
This opinion was not universal in the early Church. Indeed, Eusebius reports concerning Clement of Alexandria:
The Gospels containing the genealogies , he says, were written first .
Clement lived earlier than Augustine, and so his represents earlier testimony, but it was Augustines opinion that came to dominate.
Most modern scholars think that the order in which the Gospels were composed was actually different, but that discussion would take us too far afield.
For now suffice it to say that the reason the Gospels are organized the way that they are was because that was historically the dominant view of the order in which they were written.
How The Bible Is Organized
The Bible is actually 66 small books assembled together into one large volume. It is like a bookshelf of books.
When people refer to passages in the Bible, the first number is always the chapter number, and the second number is always the verse number. For example, Joshua 23:6 means the book of Joshua, chapter 23, and the 6th verse . Occasionally there will be an a or b attached to a verse number, and that simply means it is the first half or last half of the verse.
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Other Names And Titles
The New Testament uses several titles to refer to Jesus. However, some terms that are commonly used in the Christian tradition rarely appear in the New Testament, e.g. the exact term Savior appears only once, and is uttered by the Samaritans in John 4:42. The title Nazarene applied to Jesus has been also used to designate Christians in Syriac and Arabic traditions.
The title Chosen one or Elect one is used twice in Lukes gospel: eklektos is used in 23:35 when the rulers mock Jesus, while eklelegmenos is used in 9:35 when Jesus is baptized. James R. Edwards notes that the phrase is used repeatedly in 1 Enoch, but was associated in Jewish thinking with triumph and glory, rather than with suffering.
Christian theologians such as Thomas Aquinas have produced significant arguments analyzing various names and titles for Jesus. In John 8:58 Jesus says: Before Abraham was born, I am. The phrase I am was considered a name for Jesus by Aquinas who considered it the most proper of all divine names, for Aquinas believed it to refer to the being of all things.
One of the titles preceded by an I am assertion of Jesus is the Bread of Life title in John 6:35: I am the bread of life: he who comes to me shall not hunger. The Bread of Life Discourse takes place in the Gospel of John shortly after Jesus feeds the crowds with five loaves of bread and two fish.
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Why The Book Of Enoch Is Not In The Bible
I Enoch was at first accepted in the Christian Church but later excluded from the biblical canon. Its survival is due to the fascination of marginal and heretical Christian groups, such as the Manichaeans, with its syncretic blending of Iranian, Greek, Chaldean, and Egyptian elements.
Who Decided Which Books To Include In The Bible
In his best-selling novel, “The Da Vinci Code,” Dan Brown wrote that the Bible was assembled during the famous Council of Nicea in 325 C.E., when Emperor Constantine and church authorities purportedly banned problematic books that didn’t conform to their secret agenda.
Except that’s not how it really went. “The Da Vinci Code” was fiction, but Brown wasn’t the first to credit the Council of Nicea with deciding which books to include in the Bible. Voltaire, writing in the 18th century, repeated a centuries-old myth that the Bible was canonized in Nicea by placing all of the known books on a table, saying a prayer and seeing which illegitimate texts fell to the floor.
In truth, there was no single church authority or council that convened to rubber stamp the biblical canon , not at Nicea or anywhere else in antiquity, explains Jason Combs, an assistant professor at Brigham Young University specializing in ancient Christianity.
“Dan Brown did us all a disservice,” says Combs. “We don’t have evidence that any group of Christians got together and said, ‘Let’s hash this out once and for all.'”
What evidence scholars do have in the form of theological treatises, letters and church histories that have survived for millennia points to a much longer process of canonization. From the first through the fourth centuries and beyond, different church leaders and theologians made arguments about which books belonged in the canon, often casting their opponents as heretics.
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Why Did Martin Luther Remove 7 Books From The Bible
Several reasons are proposed for the omission of these books from the canon. One is the support for Catholic doctrines such as Purgatory and Prayer for the dead found in 2 Maccabees. Another is that the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1646, during the English Civil War, actually excluded them from the canon.
Where Is The Original Bible Kept
The oldest surviving full text of the New Testament is the beautifully written Codex Sinaiticus, which was discovered at the St Catherine monastery at the base of Mt Sinai in Egypt in the 1840s and 1850s. Dating from circa 325-360 CE, it is not known where it was scribed perhaps Rome or Egypt.
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General Letters To The Church
There were also letters written by people like Peter, John, and others. Each letter had a specific audience in mind as well as a reason for the letter. Each letter is, therefore, unique with its own flavor and lessons to be learned. The General Letters include Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, and Jude.
Finding A Reference In Your Bible
Every Bible has an index in the front. Once you find the book you want in the list, go to the page number that it directs you to.
Once you have found the beginning of the book, you should see bold-type numbers. Those are the chapter numbers. In each chapter, youll find individual verses. Each verse has its own small number in front of it.
So if you want to look for John 3:16, you find the gospel of John, look for the third chapter, and then look for the sixteenth verse inside of chapter three.
Dont be confused with all of the books of John. If you take a close look, youll see there is John, I John, II John, and III John.
John 3:16 is a gospel book and we know that because it does not have a Roman Numeral in front of it. .
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