What To Read Next
If youre wondering where to start reading in the Bible, a great place to start is with the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament. You can check out my thoughts on that topic here: Which Gospel to Read First the Best Way for Beginners. Mark is also arguably the best book in the entire Bible to read first for beginners, or for anyone.
The Bible Explained for Beginners . In this article, I share a simple diagram that summarizes the main-story line of the Bible. I also share a summary of its main message.
Old And New Testaments
The first division used to organize the books of the Bible is the division between the Old and New Testaments. This one is relatively straightforward. Books written before the time of Jesus are collected in the Old Testament, while books that were written after Jesus’ life and ministry on Earth are collected in the New Testament. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.
Do You Need Organized Religion
IF YOU have been disillusioned with organized religion or have dismissed it as irrelevant, you are not alone. In fact, the number of people who are choosing not to be affiliated with organized religions is mushrooming.
Some have abandoned organized religions because they believe that such institutions breed hypocrisy and intolerance. Others find it too complicated to follow a structured form of worship. Still others feel that organized religion is nothing but a superfluous middleman between God and his worshippers. What does the Bible really teach about organized religion?
Recommended Reading: Where In The Bible Does It Say Pray Without Ceasing
Stories You Didn’t Learn In Sunday School
Many of the New Testament texts familiar to Christians today were being used authoritatively already in the second century, but different congregations preferred some texts over others and included some texts that don’t appear in the New Testament. Here are a few:
The Gospel of Peter: Only a fragment of this text was recovered in 1886 in Egypt, but it includes the only narrative account of the resurrected Jesus leaving his tomb. According to Peter’s version, two giant angels descended to the tomb and escorted the resurrected Jesus out, who was also suddenly gigantic. But the oddest note was that the three figures were followed by a floating cross that could talk.
“And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, ‘Thou hast preached to them that sleep.’ And a response was heard from the cross, ‘Yea.'”
The Gospel of Mary: Combs says that some apocryphal texts reflected theological and doctrinal debates going on within the early church, such as the role of women. In the Gospel of Mary , is not only referred to as one of Jesus’s disciples, but perhaps his favorite one. In this text, after Jesus is resurrected, he relays esoteric teachings to Mary, who then tells the other disciples. Peter asks why they should listen to a woman, to which another disciple Levi responds:
“If the Savior made her worthy, who are you then, for your part, to cast her aside? Surely the Savior knows her full well. That is why he has loved her more than us.”
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.
Recommended Reading: Is Maryland Bible College And Seminary Accredited
How Many Books Are In The Bible
For those within the Christian faith, the Bible is a text of profound significance. A rich book, full of insights and lessons on what it means to live ones life the way God intends, the Bible known as God’s word. It is composed of many different books and includes a vast array of literary styles such as short stories, letters, poetry, and historical accounts combined to form a unified whole.
But how many books are in the Bible? And how did the current list of books come to be? Well offer a brief overview of the Bibles composition and some insights into the history of how the Bible as we know it was established.
New Adam / Second Adam / Last Adam
Just as in Adam all of us died, so too in Christ all of us will be brought to life.
Just as the Gospel of John proclaims the universal relevance of the Incarnation of Jesus as Logos, the Pauline view emphasizes the cosmic view that his birth, Crucifixion and Resurrection brought forth a new man and a new world. Paul’s eschatological view of Jesus counter-positions him as a new man of morality and obedience, in contrast to Adam. Unlike Adam, the new man born in Jesus obeys God and ushers in a world of morality and salvation.
In the Pauline view, Adam is positioned as the first man and Jesus as the second and last Adam /1_Corinthians#15:45″ rel=”nofollow”> 1 Corinthians 15:45), the first having corrupted himself by his disobedience, also infected humanity and left it with a curse as inheritance. The birth of Jesus, on the other hand, counterbalanced the fall of Adam, bringing forth redemption and repairing the damage done by Adam.
The theme is reiterated by Paul, in Romans 5:18-21, when he states:
In the 2nd century Church FatherIrenaeus continued this tradition and stated: “so that what we had lost in Adam – namely to be according to the image and likeness of God- that we might recover in Christ Jesus.” Irenaeus also used the analogy of “second Adam and second Eve” and suggested the Virgin Mary as the “second Eve” who had set a path of obedience for the second Adam from the Annunciation to Calvary.
You May Like: What Does The Bible Say About Mental Abuse
Summary Of The Bible: Organization Of The Books
The Bible contains two main parts: the Old Testament and the NewTestament. The Old Testament tells the history of Gods relationship with theJewish people while the New Testament tells the story of God bringing theGentiles into His kingdom along with the Jews.
Both of these parts are actually about the same thing. They both focus on Jesus,the Son of God, Who came to be a sacrifice and enabled God to have a relationshipwith sinful man. In Luke 24:27, we read what Jesus said about it:
Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Again in Acts 3:18, we read what Peter says about it:
But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
That is the basic story of all sixty-six books in the Bible. Letstake a look at each part a little more in-depth.
Why Is The Bible Important
The Bible contains the sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity and has long been the most available, familiar, and dependable source and arbiter of intellectual, moral, and spiritual ideals in the West. The great biblical themes are God, his revealed works of creation, provision, judgment, and deliverance, his covenant, and his promises. The Bible sees what happens to humankind in the light of Gods nature, righteousness, faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Don’t Miss: What Does The Bible Say About Creamation
The New Testament Is About Jesus And The Church He Established
The New Testament is arranged into 4 sections as well: The Gospels, History, Letters, and Prophecy.
|Revelation||Jesus Second Coming and Leadership|
There are four accounts of the life of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each author gives a different emphasis and shares different aspects of the life of Jesus. The Gospels, or telling of the Good News, explain why Jesus came, what His message was, how He lived, and ultimately, why He died and rose from the dead.
Theres one book in the category of History and thats the book of Acts. The book of Acts explains how Jesus formed communities of people called the church to continue His message and mission in the world. It describes the story of the followers of Jesus in the early church.
The Letters, also called Epistles, include 13 that were written by Paul and the rest that were written by other followers of Jesus, such as Peter, James, and John. The Letters include teachings, corrections that needed to be made, or specific instructions for the churches or their leaders.
Some of these letters are named after the cities to which they were addressed. For example, Romans, Philippians, Corinthians were written to the churches in the cities of Rome, Philippi, and Corinth. Other letters are named after the author and some are named after the recipients.
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 Luke’s 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.
Also Check: Is The New Testament In Chronological Order
Disputed Spurious And Downright Heretical
Luther had issues with the book of James, which emphasized the role of “works” alongside faith, so he stuck James and Hebrews in the back of the Bible alongside Jude and Revelation, which he also thought were questionable. Combs says that in Luther’s original Bible, those four books don’t even appear in the table of contents.
Eusebius was a Christian historian writing in the early 300s who provided one of the early lists of which books were considered legit and which were borderline bogus.
Eusebius broke his list down into different categories: recognized, disputed, spurious and heretical. Among the “recognized” were the four gospels , Acts and Paul’s epistles. Under “disputed,” Eusebius included James and Jude the same books Luther didn’t like plus a few others that are now considered canon, like 2 Peter, 2 John and 3 John.
When Eusebius turns to the “spurious” and “heretical” categories, we get a glimpse into just how many other texts were in circulation in the second and third century C.E. Have you ever heard of the Apocalypse of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas or the Gospel of Thomas? Combs says that there were hundreds of texts similar to those found in the New Testament and Old Testament that didn’t make it into the canon.
What Is The Structure Of The Bible
- The Old Testament is called old because it came first. It is the Bible that Jesus had, and its also called the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament was written by the apostles and those who worked with them. It was confirmed in the 300s A.D. by the Christian church as scripture.
- The OT and NT are ordered by the type of literature they are. This gives us the following the organizational structure in Protestant Bibles:
- Law: Genesis Deuteronomy
- Poetry: Job Song of Solomon
- Major Prophets: Isaiah Daniel
- History of the Church: Acts
- Epistles: Romans Jude
- Apocalypse: Revelation
Don’t Miss: Does The Bible Speak Against Cremation
What Language Was The Bible Originally Written In
The Hebrew Bible was written in Hebrew. Its Greek translation, the , made it accessible in the Hellenistic period and provided a language for the New Testament and for the Christian liturgy and theology of the first three centuries CE. The Bible in Latin, the Vulgate, shaped the thought and life of Western people for a thousand years. Bible translation led to the study and literary development of many languages.
Chapters And Verses Of The Bible
The chapter and verse divisions did not appear in the original texts they form part of the paratext of the Bible. Since the early 13th century, most copies and editions of the Bible present all but the shortest of these books with divisions into chapters, generally a page or so in length. Since the mid-16th century editors have further subdivided each chapter into verses each consisting of a few short lines or sentences. Esther 8:9 is the longest verse in the Bible. Sometimes a sentence spans more than one verse, as in the case of Ephesians 2:89, and sometimes there is more than one sentence in a single verse, as in the case of Genesis 1:2.
The Jewish divisions of the Hebrew text differ at various points from those used by Christians. For instance, in Jewish tradition, the ascriptions to many Psalms are regarded as independent verses or parts of the subsequent verses, whereas established Christian practice treats each Psalm ascription as independent and unnumbered, making 116 more verses in Jewish versions than in the Christian. Some chapter divisions also occur in different places, e.g. Hebrew Bibles have 1 Chronicles 5:27-41 where Christian translations have 1 Chronicles 6:1-15
Don’t Miss: How Many Times Bible Says Fear Not
Gods Friends In Ancient Times
The Bible provides a clear description of the form of worship practiced by ancient patriarchs, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For instance, on one occasion God said: I have become acquainted with in order that he may command his sons and his household after him so that they shall keep Jehovahs way to do righteousness and judgment. Abraham was a friend of God and thus had a personal relationship with the Creator as an individual. But he also worshipped in the company of his household. Likewise, other patriarchs who were friends of God engaged in worship as a community, usually with immediate and extended family members as well as their servants.
In time, God required the ancient Israelites, and later the first-century Christians, to congregate for worship. Those occasions for organized worship included singing, readings from the Scriptures, and public prayer. The Scriptures also prescribed that a qualified body of men lead the congregation in worship.1 Timothy 3:1-10.
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
- General Letters
Read Also: 365 Do Not Be Afraid Bible Verses
What Are The Apocrypha And Pseudepigrapha
The word “apocrypha” comes from the Greek for “hidden” or “secret.” It’s 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, there’s 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 don’t have written specimens for all of them.
Then there’s 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 there’s 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.