Why Do Jewish Bibles Have Fewer Books Than The Christian Old Testament
The Jewish Scriptures are organized differently, but consist of the same books. The Jewish Bible lists only 24 books rather than the 39 we list in the Old Testament, but that is because some of the books that Christians list separately are combined into one book in the Jewish Canon. Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles are each one book rather than two. Ezra and Nehemiah are also combined into one book. The prophets Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are grouped together as The Twelve. Thus, though we number them differently, we are actually describing the same set of Scriptures, as can be seen in the chart below:
Old Testament Books Of The Bible
The 39 books of the Old Testament were written over a period of approximately 1,000 years, beginning with Moses until the time when the Jewish people returned to Judah from exile during the Persian Empire. The English Bible follows the order of the Greek translation of the Old Testament and thus differs in order from the Hebrew Bible. For the sake of this study, we will consider the divisions of Greek and English Bibles only. Many English Bible readers may not realize that the books are ordered and grouped according to style or type of writing, and not chronologically.
The Prophetic Books Of The Bible
There have been prophets throughout every era of God’s relationship with mankind, but the books of the prophets address the “classical” period of prophecyduring the later years of the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel, throughout the time of exile, and into the years of Israel’s return from exile. The Prophetic Books were written from the days of Elijah until the time of Malachi . They are further divided by Major and Minor Prophets.
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An Overview Of The Old And New Testaments
The Old Testament begins with the book of Genesis, which tells the story of how the world was created, and how God anointed his chosen people and taught them how to live. This includes famous stories like those of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah’s Ark.
After Genesis, the different books of the Old Testament relate the trials of the Israelites as they endure centuries of enslavement or captivity under different empires. There is a general pattern where God sends a prophet to teach the Israelites how to live and to lead them from hardship, but over time they lose faith and find themselves suffering new hardships. The most famous example is Moses leading his people out of slavery in Egypt–the people are impious and must wander the desert for forty years before their descendants can enter the promised land.
Some of the other important episodes from the Old Testament include the rise of King David, the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the Babylonian Captivity. The Old Testament also includes various sayings and songs about morality, god, and other esoteric subjects.
The New Testament is concerned with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, which are the basis for Christianity. His life story is told in the four Gospels . Almost all of the other books are letters written by Saint Paul or other Christian teachers, discussing their beliefs or giving advice.
Whats The Difference Between The Protestant Bible And The Catholic Bible
The Protestant Bible comprises much of the Hebrew Bible but organizes the stories into a larger collection than its Jewish predecessor. While the Hebrew Bible was formed entirely from ancient scrolls , the Protestant Bible combines the Hebrew Bible with the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible written in the third and second century BC.
The Eastern/Greek Orthodox Church may use the New King James Version or other translations that allow more of the Greek translation to be used, coupled with their belief that the Bibles New Testament, with the story of Jesus, is precedent over the Old Testament. The Catholic Bible consists of 46 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament .
The additional Old Testament sections in the Catholic Bible are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus , Baruch , I and II Maccabees, and additional sections for the books of Daniel and Esther. Those of the Catholic faith believe what is in their Bible was canonized by the Synod of Rome council and the early church in AD 382.
It was decided several years later, during the Reformation, by Protestants to follow more of the Greek translations of the Bible instead of the entire Hebrew Bible, which had been canonized and accepted in the original King James Bible by the Catholic Church.
Six: Follow Up With More Than Memory
Learning how to memorize scripture at any level is fun and easy.
But to really go the distance and get the material deep into memory, you want to learn it in context.
To make that process riveting:
- Read as much as you can and also memorize facts about each book
- Write summaries of each book and your thoughts about them
- Discuss often with others
- Listen to lectures about each book in order
During this stage, you can also add facts to the names of the books youve already memorized. For example, if you want to remember that Zephaniah is prophetic literature, you can add an image of a prophet profiting to the core image in the Memory Palace.
Books Of The Bible In Canonical Order
GenesisExodusLeviticusNumbersDeuteronomyJoshuaJudges1 Samuel2 Samuel1 Kings2 Kings1 Chronicles2 ChroniclesJobPsalms
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Why Did It Take So Long
The New Testament was not all neatly printed and bound by the MacedonianPub. Co. at Thessalonica shortly after Pauls death and sent out by thepallet load into all the bookstores and kiosks of the Roman Empire. Here aresix reasons why it took time for the books of the New Testament to be gatheredtogether.
Zooming Out: Numbers In Context
Numbers isnt a standalone book. Numbers is the fourth book of the PentateuchIsraels five-movement origin story. Reading Numbers without at least familiarizing yourself with the previous three books is kind of like tuning in to the fourth season of a TV seriesyoure not going to know whats going on if you didnt see what happened beforehand.
In Genesis, God makes promises to Abraham, the patriarch of Israel. God specifically promises that his descendants will be given the land of Canaan, that the nations would be blessed through him, and that God will bless those who bless Abraham and curse those who curse Abraham. Abrahams family grows, and the book ends with about 70 of his descendants as refugees in Egypt.
At the start of Exodus, the nation of Israel has grownbut theyve been enslaved by their Egyptian overlords. God sends his people a prophet, Moses, who speaks on Gods behalf to both Israel and Pharaoh. God frees Israel, and leads them to a mountain in the wilderness , where he makes a special agreement with them. They promise to follow his commands, and he promises to dwell among them, giving them his blessing and protection. The book of Leviticus focuses on how a nation of mortals can cohabitate with the God of heaven.
Numbers picks up the story right as the Israelites have been at Sinai for a year.
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Why Isnt The Bible Arranged Chronologically
Its important to remember that the Bible is a collection of writings. No one sat down and said, Lets write the Bible from start to finish. The scrolls that make up the books of the Bible were written by more than 30 authors and accumulated over thousands of years.
These books were laid out by literary genre:
- The books of Moses
- Final prophecy
At the beginning, the Bible is in chronological order. If you read the books of Moses in the order that they appear, youre reading biblical history in its proper sequence. And of course, the Old Testament is chronologically before the New Testament. But eventually youll come to places where timelines weave together or overlap. And there is benefit to this arrangement, as for example stopping to read a prophet can give you insight into a historical narrative, and reading one of Pauls epistles can clarify events in the story of Acts.
The Canon Of The New Testament
The earliest available list of New Testament books is known as the MuratorianCanon and is dated around A.D. 150. It includes the four Gospels, Acts,thirteen letters of Paul, Jude, two letters of John, and theRevelation of John. It claims that these were accepted by the universal church.This leaves out 1 and 2 Peter, James, and Hebrews. However, 1 Peter was widelyaccepted by this time and may be an oversight by the compiler . No other books are present except the Wisdom of Solomon, but thismust be an error since that book belongs in the Apocrypha and no one everadded it to the New Testament!
By A.D. 240, Origen from Alexandria was using all our 27 books asScripture, and no others, and referred to them as the New Testament.13 Hebelieved them to be inspired by the Spirit.14 But it was not until A.D. 367that Athanasius, also from Alexandria, provided us with an actual list of NewTestament books identical with ours.15
However, long before we have that list, the evidence shows that the 27books, and only those, were widely accepted as Scripture.
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The Canon Of The Old Testament
The Jews had a clearly defined body of Scriptures that collectively could besummarized as the Torah, or Law. This was fixed early in the life of Israel, andthere was no doubt as to which books belonged and which did not. They didnot order them in the same way as our Old Testament, but the same books werethere. The Law was the first five books, known as the Pentateuch, which meansfive rollsreferring to the parchment scrolls on which they were normallywritten. The Prophets consisted of the Former Prophets and the Latter Prophets .The Writings gathered up the rest. The total amounted generally to 24 booksbecause many books, such as 1 and 2 Samuel and Ezra and Nehemiah, werecounted as one.
When was the canon of the Old Testament settled? The simple response isthat if we accept the reasonable position that each of the books was written atthe time of its historythe first five at the time of Moses, the historical recordsclose to the period they record, the psalms of David during his lifetime, andthe prophets written at the time they were giventhen the successive stagesof acceptance into the canon of Scripture is not hard to fix. Certainly, the Jewsgenerally held this view.
Josephus, the Jewish historian writing around A.D. 90, clearly stated in hisdefense of Judaism that, unlike the Greeks, the Jews did not have many books:
How Many Books Are In The Bible
The current English Bible consists of 66 books with two distinct sections: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The two sections are arranged this way to highlight the birth of Jesus, with the Old Testament sharing the emerging prophecies of the Messiah.
- Blair ParkeEditor for Xulon Press
- 202025 Jun
The most read book of all time is the Bible, surpassing favorites such as The Lord of the Rings series, the Harry Potter series, and even classics like The Diary of Anne Frank and To Kill a Mockingbird. It is recorded by Business Insider that the Bible has sold 3.9 billion copies over the last 50 years, while the Harry Potter series has sold 400 million copies.
What is it about the Bible that has made it the book to turn to for the last half-century? It is a book that also has various translations to choose from and even different representations among the Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant faiths. The Book of Hebrews states it best when explaining why the Word of God is something everyone is drawn to:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, .
Lets journey through the origins of the Bible, learning as we go of how the Bible has affected not only the lives of countless people but has also become the foundational building blocks for the leading faiths in our world today.
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How To Memorize The Books Of The Bible In Order
There are 66 books in most modern Bibles. You can find them in order based on the Old Testament and the New Testament using this handy list.
Some of the names will be familiar to you already, but memorizing even the most well-known names in order can still be a challenge.
Other names will be difficult, but Ill also show you how to deal with harder words like Zephaniah. Soon, they will be very easy to remember.
But lets focus on memorizing the order first.
Why A Chronological Reading Can Be Fun And Insightful
Nearly everyone knows the story of David and Goliath, but what if you could hear David talk about that story from his perspective? You can! Psalm 151 is a short Psalm where David discusses defeating Goliath and taking away Israels disgrace.
What if you could gain insight into Nathans confrontation with David over Bathsheba? Reading Psalm 51 after 2 Samuel 12 gives you a touching look at the extent of Davids repentance. It also connects a clear cause-and-effect relationship between Nathans rebuke and Davids response. Heres a potential chronology for each Psalm.
Like most of the prophets, its easy to read the book of Amos as a free-floating prophecy without understanding its placement in the Israelite narrative, but 2 Kings 14:2329 gives it an anchor. Reading Amos prophecy where it occurs historically contextualizes the prophets words.
Thats why reading the Bible chronologically offers new insights and perspectives into passages you may already be familiar with.
Bible Gateway provides a helpful chart for discerning where the books of the Old Testament prophets would have landed in Israels timeline.