Understanding the Bible

The Bible contains 66 books – 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.

The Bible is divided into two parts, the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and Christian Writings (New Testament).  The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) were written by over thirty authors over a span of 1400 years in Hebrew then translated into Koine Greek.

  • Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
  • History: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
  • Wisdom/Poetical: Job, Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
  • Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

The Christian Writings (New Testament) is a compilation of twenty seven books written by eight or nine authors over a span of about fifty years in Aramaic and Koine Greek.

  • Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
  • History: Acts
  • Paul’s Letters: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon,
  • Other Letters: Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude,
  • Prophecy: Revelation

What languages was the Bible written in?
The Bible was written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek.

When was the Bible canonized?
The entire New Testament as we know it today, was canonized before the year 375 A.D. The Old Testament had previously been canonized long before the advent of Christ.

What does “canon” mean?
“Canon” is derived front the Greek word “Kanon,” signifying a measuring rod. Thus, to have the Bible “canonized” meant that it had been measured by the standard or test of divine inspiration and authority. It became the collection of books or writings accepted by the apostles and leadership of the early Christian church as a basis for Christian belief. It is the standard by which all Christians throughout the ages live and worship.

When was the first translation of the Bible made into English?
1382 A.D., by John Wycliffe.

When was the Bible printed?
The Bible was printed in 1454 A.D. by Johannes Gutenberg who invented the “type mold” for the printing press. It was the first book ever printed.

What is the oldest almost-complete manuscript of the Bible now in existence?
The Codex Vaticanus, which dates from the first half of the fourth Century. It is located in the library of the Vatican in Rome. There are older fragments of the Bible that are still preserved however– the oldest being a tiny scrap of the Gospel of John was found in Egypt, dating back to the beginning of the second century. (It is currently in the Rayland’s Library in Manchester, England).

How many languages has the Bible been translated into?

The Bible has been translated into 2,018 languages, with countless more partial translations, and audio translations (for unwritten languages). (This is an enormous amount of translations. In comparison, Shakespeare, considered by many to be the master writer of the English language, has only been translated into 50 languages.)

Types of Bible Translations

  • Literal Translations: NKJV, NASB, RSV, HSCB
  • Dynamic Equivalent: NIV, NEV, NLT
  • Paraphrase: The Message, Phillips Version, The Living Bible
  • False: Jehovah’s Witness, Apocrypha, Mormon etc