Based upon Jesus’ words, the Old Testament has commonly been divided into three major sections:
- The Law
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
- The Prophets
Former: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings
Latter: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel; the Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)
- The Writings
Poetical: Psalms, Proverbs, Job
Five Rolls: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Ecclesiastes
Historical: Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles
THE NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament is commonly divided into 5 sections:
- The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)
- The Acts of the Apostles
- The Epistles of Paul (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon)
- The General Epistles (Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 John, Jude)
- The Book of Revelation
CHAPTERS AND VERSES
It is important to remember that the Bible was not originally divided into chapters and verses as we have it today.
These features were added for convenience of reference only within the last 600 years.
These chapter and verse divisions are helpful for finding things, but they can be misleading as well.
Those who added these divisions in the Bible did the best they could to keep related passages together.
But sometimes the divisions can fall right in the middle of a subject being dealt with, and the reader may think that a new subject is being introduced.
It may even be necessary to ignore the chapter divisions as you read, in order to finish reading the subject being addressed.
An example of this can be found in Galatians 3:26-29. Those four verses would be better understood if they had been placed at the beginning of Galatians 4, instead of at the end of Galatians 3.
This is particularly true with the New Testament writings. The Epistles, for example, were written in the format, or style, of a letter, rather than an historical record (I & II Kings, I & II Samuel, etc.) or poem (Psalms, Proverbs, etc.).
The Bible is one book, but it is made up of many books. These books were written by at least 40 different writers who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. They lived over a period of more than 1,500 years, spanning 60 generations.
The last writer died more than 1900 years ago. Many of the writers never met or spoke to each other. They lived in different parts of the world, over three continents – Asia, Africa and Europe.
Many of these writers lived hundreds of years apart. There was no way for them to communicate with each other about the basic concepts in the Bible.
They even wrote portions of the Scriptures in different languages, depending on where and when they lived. The books of the Bible were written in three different languages: Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.
…BUT ONE TRUE AUTHOR
The Biblical writers had various occupations, and many different levels of society and education. They were kings and statesmen; soldiers and tax-collectors; theologians and scribes; doctors and butlers; shepherds and fishermen…and more.