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Learning the Bible

About the Bible

The Bible is the most important document ever written. It is the inspired word of God. God dictated it to righteous men:

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

Without the Bible we cannot know God. It tells us of His character and His will in the world and in our lives.

It is also the foundation for our Western Society, American government, and our culture.
It is the greatest piece of literature ever written containing some of the most beautiful prose and poetry ever written (Psalms as well as many individual passages rhyme in Hebrew).
It is essential that we study our Bible regularly. We cannot become too familiar with it. This is how we draw closer to God.

Facts About The Bible

The Bible is made up of 66 books: 39 from the Old Testament and 27 from the New.

The Old Testament has thirty-nine books (Memory help: there are three letters in the word old and nine in the word testament= 39). The first five are called the Pentateuch, and most attribute them to Moses. They are:
  • Genesis (Creation through the life of Joseph)
  • Exodus (The Israelites leaving Egypt and traveling to the promised land)
  • Leviticus (Various laws given by God)
  • Numbers (The numbering of Israel and various laws)
  • Deuteronomy (Various Laws)
The next twelve are the books of history. They are:
  • Joshua (written by Joshua telling of Israel's conquering of the promised land)
  • Judges (The history of Israel under the rule of judges, from Joshua to Samuel)
  • Ruth (A romance story)
  • 1 Samuel (The birth of Samuel, crowning of Saul as the first king)
  • 2 Samuel (The story of David and Saul)
  • 1Kings (The history of Judah and Israel, from a kingly perspective, from Solomon to the captivity)
  • 2 Kings (The history of Judah and Israel, from a kingly perspective, from Solomon to the captivity)
  • 1 Chronicles (The history of Judah and Israel, from a priestly perspective, from Solomon to the captivity)
  • 2 Chronicles (The history of Judah and Israel, from a priestly perspective, from Solomon to the captivity)
  • Ezra (Israel returns to Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity.)
  • Nehemiah (Israel returns to Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity.)
  • Ester (A story of God’s provision and protection, though the book does not use the name of God anywhere at all.)
Then come the books of poetry:
  • Job (The trials of a righteous man and a debate about the nature of God.)
  • Psalms (Songs)
  • Proverbs (Wise sayings)
  • Ecclesiastics (The purpose of life)
  • Song of Songs (or Solomon; a love story)
The Major Prophets (each written by the man the book is named after):
  • Isaiah (Tells of the coming destruction of many countries as well as the ending history of Judah.)
  • Jeremiah (Tells of the coming destruction of Judah and of its actual end.)
  • Lamentations (written by Jeremiah to mourn the death of the king.)
  • Ezekiel (many prophecies from the end of Judah to the coming of Christ.)
  • Daniel (the story of the Captivity and prophecies concerning the rest of the history of the Israelite people).
And the Minor Prophets (each written by the man the book is named after):
  • Hosea (Prophecy of the coming Assyrian Captivity and an example of God’s love for Israel.)
  • Joel (A description of a coming plague, a call to repentance, and prophecy of the coming Messiah.)
  • Amos (The shepherd prophet; coming judgment on Israel’s enemies and Israel herself. A call to repentance.)
  • Obadiah (Judgment pronounced on Edom.)
  • Jonah (A story about rebellion and redemption.)
  • Micah (The story of Israel’s sin, judgment and restoration.)
  • Nahum (Nineveh is doomed.)
  • Habakkuk (Prophecy of Judah’s destruction.)
  • Zephaniah (Prophecy of Israel’s destruction and restoration.)
  • Haggai (An exhortation for the restored Israel to finish the Temple.)
  • Zechariah (Prophecy of the coming Messiah and His work.)
  • Malachi (God’s answers to man’s questions. A call to righteousness.)

The New Testament has twenty-seven books (Memory help: three letters in the word new times nine letters in the word testament equals twenty-seven.)

The first four books are about the life of Christ, are named after the authors and are called the Gospels:
  • Matthew (From the Hebrew perspective.)
  • Mark (From the Roman perspective.)
  • Luke (From the Greek perspective.)
  • John (From the Savior’s perspective.)
The one book of History:
  • Acts (The history of the early church. Could be called the second half of the book of Luke.)
The Pauline (written by Paul) epistles (letters):
  • Romans (Written to the church at Rome. The “Constitution of the Christian Church.”)
  • 1 Corinthians (Written to the church at Corinth. Practical Theology.)
  • 2 Corinthians (Information and Instruction to the Corinthian Church.)
  • Galatians (Written to the church at Galatia. Justification is by Grace, not Law.)
  • Ephesians (Written to the church at Ephesus. Explanation of relationships and roles.)
  • Philippians (Written to the church at Philippi. Joy in the Christian walk.)
  • Colossians (Written to the church at Colossae. Salvation is through Christ alone.)
  • 1 Thessalonians (Written to the church at Thessalonica. Correct doctrine and instruction to the church.)
  • 2 Thessalonians (Written to the church at Thessalonica. More of the same.)
  • 1 Timothy (Written to his apprentice Timothy. The Leadership manual for the Church.)
  • 2 Timothy (Written to his apprentice Timothy. Paul’s final words and instructions to Timothy.)
  • Titus (Written to his friend Titus. Much the same theme as in Timothy.)
  • Philemon (Written to his friend Philemon about a runaway slave who had come to Christ.)
  • Hebrews (We don't know for sure who wrote this book. Some attribute it to Paul. Others to Apollos, Timothy, or other ministers of the time. It was written to Hebrews still in Jerusalem.)
The non-Pauline epistles (named after the authors):
  • James (Practical application of the Gospel.)
  • 1 Peter (To persecuted Christians.)
  • 2 Peter (An exhortation to continue growing in God.)
  • 1 John (Strengthening believers and refuting heretics.)
  • 2 John (“Stay the course.”)
  • 3 John (Commendation to Gaius and Condemnation to Diotrephes.)
  • Jude (Encouragement to remain doctrinally pure.)
One book of Prophecy (Written by Jesus' disciple John):
  • Revelation (Foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and the ending of the Jewish nation.)