This article is divided into 6 sections, explaining the Bible:

A brief overview of the Christian Bible.

The Old Testament's 39 books.

The New Testament's 27 books.

A summary of the Old Testament books.

A summary of the New Testament books.

A quick note about where to get a Bible.

!hl2 A brief overview of the Christian Bible

Many Christian Bibles divide scripture into 66 books, with 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. Some Christian Bibles have a different structure. Some, for example, combine the books 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel into one single book called Samuel. And some will do the same for 1 Kings and 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles. In these cases, the content of the Bibles are the same, but the books are divided or combined in cosmetically different ways.

The Catholic Bible has an additional seven books. These books are mostly histories about the time before Jesus.

• Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God.

• The Bible is the Holy Book for Christians and is the only source of scripture for Christians.

• The Bible is divided into two parts - the Old Testament and the New Testament. Each testament is divided into "books."

• The books of the Bible were written by about 40 different people, including prophets, poets and historians, within a 1500-year period, between the time of Moses about 3400 years ago, up until the death of the Apostle John about 1900 years ago.

• The New Testament contains the four Gospels, which refers to the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It also contains Epistles, or "letters," that were written by Peter, Paul, James and other followers of Jesus. It also contains the book of Revelation.

• The books of the Bible are divided into chapters, and the chapters are divided into verses. As an example, John 3:16 would refer to the book of John, chapter 3, verse 16, which says: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

• The Old Testament has many prophecies about Israel, the surrounding countries, the world, the Messiah, and the Hebrew people, who also are known as the Israelites and as the Jews. The books of the Old Testament were written before the time of Jesus.

• The New Testament was written during the first century of this era, about 1900 years ago. It records the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians view the New Testament as the continuation of the Old Testament, as the fulfillment of prophecies that were made in the Old Testament, namely how Jesus was the Messiah who was prophesized in the Old Testament.

• The Protestant Christian Bible contains 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation. The Catholic Bible contains the same 66 books and an extra 7 books. Those extra 7 books are mostly historical accounts of events that took place before the time of Jesus.

• Many Christian churches recite the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, which are summaries of Christian beliefs, based on various Bible passages.

!hl2 The Old Testament's 39 books

1. Genesis, 50 chapters.

2. Exodus, 40 chapters.

3. Leviticus, 27 chapters.

4. Numbers, 36 chapters.

5. Deuteronomy, 34 chapters.

6. Joshua, 24 chapters.

7. Judges, 21 chapters.

8. Ruth, 4 chapters.

9. 1 Samuel, 31 chapters.

10. 2 Samuel, 24 chapters.

11. 1 Kings, 22 chapters.

12. 2 Kings, 25 chapters.

13. 1 Chronicles, 29 chapters.

14. 2 Chronicles, 36 chapters.

15. Ezra, 10 chapters.

16. Nehemiah, 13 chapters.

17. Esther, 10 chapters.

18. Job, 42 chapters.

19. Psalms, 150 chapters.

20. Proverbs, 31 chapters.

21. Ecclesiastes, 12 chapters.

22. Song of Solomon, 8 chapters.

23. Isaiah, 66 chapters.

24. Jeremiah, 52 chapters.

25. Lamentations, 5 chapters.

26. Ezekiel, 48 chapters.

27. Daniel, 12 chapters.

28. Hosea, 14 chapters.

29. Joel, 3 chapters.

30. Amos, 9 chapters.

31. Obadiah, 1 chapter.

32. Jonah, 4 chapters.

33. Micah, 7 chapters.

34. Nahum, 3 chapters.

35. Habakkuk, 3 chapters.

36. Zephaniah, 3 chapters.

37. Haggai, 2 chapters.

38. Zechariah, 14 chapters.

39. Malachi, 4 chapters.

!hl2 The New Testament's 27 books

1. Matthew, 28 chapters.

2. Mark, 16 chapters.

3. Luke, 24 chapters.

4. John, 21 chapters.

5. Acts, 28 chapters.

6. Romans, 16 chapters.

7. 1 Corinthians, 16 chapters.

8. 2 Corinthians, 13 chapters.

9. Galatians, 6 chapters.

10. Ephesians, 6 chapters.

11. Philippians, 4 chapters.

12. Colossians, 4 chapters.

13. 1 Thessalonians, 5 chapters.

14. 2 Thessalonians, 3 chapters.

15. 1 Timothy, 6 chapters.

16. 2 Timothy, 4 chapters.

17. Titus, 3 chapters.

18. Philemon, 1 chapter.

19. Hebrews, 13 chapters.

20. James, 5 chapters.

21. 1 Peter, 5 chapters.

22. 2 Peter, 3 chapters.

23. 1 John, 5 chapters.

24. 2 John, 1 chapter.

25. 3 John, 1 chapter.

26. Jude, 1 chapter.

27. Revelation, 22 chapters.

!hl2 A summary of the Old Testament books

Books 1-5: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

These books were written perhaps as long ago as 3400 years ago, by Moses. These five books are sometimes called the Pentateuch or the Torah.

Books 6-16: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah.

These books explain the history of Israel from the time that the nation was established about 3400 years ago. It includes information about the time when the nation was conquered by the Assyrians about 2700 years ago, and when it was conquered by the Babylonians about 2600 years ago. The Assyrians and Babylonians forced many Jews out of their homeland. But, many Jews returned during the next few centuries, shortly before the time of Jesus.

Books 17-22: Ester, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.

These books are sometimes called the books of Writings, or the books of Poetry, or the books of Wisdom.

Books 23-27: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel.

These books contain prophecies that were delivered by prophets named Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. These prophets lived about 2700 to 2500 years ago. Some of their prophecies found fulfillment more than 2500 years ago. Christians believe that many of the prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus about 2000 years ago. And many of their prophecies have found fulfillment during the past 200 years.

Books 28-39: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

These books are sometimes called the books of the "minor" prophets. They are called "minor" because their books are short in length.

!hl2 A summary of the New Testament books

Books 1-4: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

These four books are sometimes called the Gospel, or the Gospels. They were written about 2000 years ago by the followers of Jesus. These books contain details about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Books 5-26: Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude.

These 22 books are sometimes called Letters or Epistles. They were written by followers of Jesus. They often were sent to other people to help explain Christianity. Sometimes they were written to counter heresy, or wrongful interpretations of the teachings of Jesus.

Book 27: Revelation.

This book was written by John about 1900 years ago. He was shown visions of the future by Jesus. This book contains many prophecies about the End Times, or the Apocalypse.

!hl2 A quick note about where to get a Bible

Many bookstores sell copies of the Bible. We recommend a Bible with footnotes that explain the meaning of different Bible passages. Our favorite English translation of the Christian Bible is the "Condordia Self-Study Bible NIV." You also can look up Bible verses, or download a complete copy of the Bible, from various Web sites, including and more information is available in our article entitled How to read the Bible online

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