The Structure of the Bible

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The Bible is comprised of 66 books which were written over a period of roughly 1,500 years by various individuals as the Holy Spirit moved them. The books themselves fall into different categories which are determined by their literary structure. These categories, which reflect in part the author's purpose in writing each book, are further discussed in the section: Types of Writing in the Bible - Genre. Between categories there is often some overlap. Prophecy is not restricted only to the prophetic books but is frequently found elsewhere and much that is within the prophetic books themselves is in the form of poetry, Isaiah is an especially good example of prophecy in poetic form. Many of the Psalms are poetry and at the same time are unquestionably prophetic; the fact that much of the Bible is couched in poetry should not detract from the value of the text as poetry is often a far more capable method of expression than is prose and it is in no way reduced in its ability to convey truth.

OLD TESTAMENT

39 Books

Historical

Poetical

Major Prophets 5

Minor Prophets 5

Genesis 1

Exodus 1

Leviticus 1

Numbers 1

Deuteronomy 1

Joshua

Judges

Ruth

1 & 2 Samuel 2

1 & 2 Kings 2

1 & 2 Chronicles 2

Ezra

Nehemiah

Esther

Job 3

Psalms 3

Proverbs 3

Ecclesiastes 3

Song of Songs 3, 4

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Lamentations

Ezekiel

Daniel

Hosea

Joel

Amos

Obadiah

Jonah

Micah

Nahum

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Haggai

Zechariah

Malachi

1.These are also referred to as "The Law," "The Law of Moses" or "The Pentateuch"
2.The books of Samuel and Kings give the history of both Israel and Judah from a moral standpoint, while the books of Chronicles give the history of the kings of Judah alone to a restored nation from an idealistic perspective.
3.Though poetical these are also known as "Wisdom Literature," they also contain a great deal of prophecy and refer frequently to events recorded in the historical writings
4.Also called "The Song of Solomon"
5.The major and minor prophets are not named to signify their importance or the importance of their message but to indicate the size of their prophetic writings, both together are referred to as "The Prophets" by the Jews.

 

NEW TESTAMENT

27 Books

Biographical

Historical

Letters

Prophetic

Matthew 1

Mark 1

Luke 1

John 1

Acts 2

Romans 3

1 & 2 Corinthians 3

Galatians 3

Ephesians 3

Philippians 3

Colossians 3

1 & 2 Thessalonians 3

1 & 2 Timothy 4

Titus 4

Philemon 4

Hebrews 3

James 3

1 & 2 Peter 3

1 & 2 &3 John 3

Jude 3

Revelation 5

1.Known as "The Gospels," first-hand biographical accounts of the life of Jesus
2.The history of the early Church beginning at Jesus' ascension and ending with the imprisonment of the apostle Paul; overlapping most of the letters
3.Letters to churches, not churches as we know them today groups of believers in various regions
4.Letters to individuals
5.An apocalyptic account of the end times and the beginning of eternity, although most of the other books of the New Testament also contain prophecy they are not devoted entirely to prophecy as is Revelation