Sixty-Six Books in the Bible
and How They are Relevant to You

The books in the Bible represent a compilation of sixty-six books.  These books teach us how to learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.  They are books that were written by forty different authors, but were inspired by One author - God  (2 Tim. 3.16).

The books in the Bible are divided into two major sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.  There are thirty-nine books in the Old Testament and twenty-seven books in the New Testament.

The Old Testament Books in the Bible

You and I have made mistakes.  We have either intentionally or ignorantly broken God's laws and have severed our relationship with Him.  The consequence of that broken relationship is not only the hardships in this life, but the anticipation of eternal punishment in the life to come  (Heb. 10.27).

We are not the first, and we will not be the last to find ourselves in this condition  (Rom. 3.23). 

The Old Testament begins with the first man and woman breaking God’s commandment, and severing their relationship with their Creator.  From that point, you read about God implementing His plan to save humanity and restore the broken relationship that we have all caused because of our own sin  (Rom. 5.12).  

God’s solution to restoring His relationship with humanity is through His Son, Jesus. 

The Old Testament follows the nation of Israel from its inception in Genesis 12, it’s development as a nation, the laws that were given to govern the nation, and its interaction with other nations. 

All of this was recorded to show us how God implemented His plan by bringing His Son into the world through this chosen nation.

We can divide the Old Testament books in the Bible into four categories.  

 1.  There are Books of Law

The first five books of the Bible are the books of Law. These five books are also known collectively the Torah.  They are also known as the Pentateuch.  

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy

The author of these five books is Moses.  If you were to turn to the New Testament, you would read several places where these first five books in the Bible are quoted.  Most of these quotations are attributed to Moses.

For example, we read in John 1.45: “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’”

There are books of History

At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses dies and Joshua is appointed by God as the new leader over the nation of Israel. The next series of books in the Bible are historical accounts of the nation of Israel.

  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Esther

There are Books of Poetry

The books in the Bible that are classified as poetry in the Old Testament include...

  • Job
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Solomon

There are Books of Prophecy

Israel was not only governed by the Law of Moses, but also through the prophets.  In the New Testament book of Hebrews, the writer reminds us that “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets”  (Heb. 1.1)

The phrase, "in times past" refers to the Old Testament time in which God would communicate to the nation of Israel through the prophets. The books of prophecy can be divided into two categories.

The Minor Prophets

These prophets are so called not because they are of less significance than the other prophets or had a lesser impact and influence on the lives of the nation of Israel.  The description of minor prophets relates to the length of their books.  Obadiah has only one chapter. Jonah only has four chapters.

There are twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament...

  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi

The Major Prophets

As is the case with the minor prophets, the major prophets are so described because of the more lengthy nature of their books. There are five major Old Testament books of prophecy which were written by four prophets...

  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations (also written by Jeremiah)
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel 

The New Testament Books in the Bible

The Old Testament books in the Bible begin with the promise of God to save humanity and traces the development of that plan through the nation of Israel. 

The New Testament books in the Bible tell us about the promise of God realized.  It is no longer a future promise that humanity was anticipating.  It is now a reality that can be enjoyed.  Through the New Testament, Jesus comes into the world, and we learn how to restore our relationship with God through Him.  

In a New Testament, there are twenty-seven books written by those who were guided by the Holy Spirit.  They break down into three categories.  

Books of Reflection

We call the first five books of the New Testament books of refection because they were written from the perspective of looking back at what had previously taken place.

For example, John records Jesus saying, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2.19).  As John writes from the perspective that it has already happened, he writes that he remembered Jesus saying this and knew exactly what Jesus meant.

John 2.22: "Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.”

Each of the four gospels in our New Testament survey tells the story of Jesus with the purpose of establishing that Jesus in the Christ, the Savior that was promised in the Old Testament.  Each gospel approaches the life of Christ and proves His deity in very different ways based on the intended audience.

If you are dealing with something and want to know how Jesus wold handle it, these are the books you want to read.  If you want to know what Jesus taught, these are the books you want to read.  if you are looking for key quotes from Jesus, these are the books where you will find them.

The book of Acts is a book in which Luke reflects back on the establishment and growth of the church through the preaching of the gospel.

  • The Gospel of Matthew.
  • The Gospel of Mark.
  • The Gospel of Luke.
  • The Gospel of John.
  • The Acts of the Apostles.

Books of Instruction

The next section in the New Testament we might call the books of instruction. These consist of epistles (fancy word for letters) which offer instruction to the New Testament church or individuals within the church.  

What we are reading in the epistles are the personal mail written to individuals and churches.  They were to be circulated throughout the brethren in the first century.  These letters contain instructions on how to live the life of a Christian and how to function as a congregation including the work, organization, and worship of the church.

  • If you want to learn about the grace of God and how it functions in your life, then Ephesians 2 is where you find instructions about grace.
  • If you want to study the subject of faith, you can turn and read Hebrews 11.
  • If you want to learn how to love your fellow man, then 1 Corinthians 13 is where you want to go. 

These letters can be divided into two sections.

The Epistles of Paul

  • Romans
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon

The General Epistles

  • Hebrews
  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude

Book of Prediction

We might call the last of the books of the Bible a book of prediction.  

It is known as an apocalyptic letter. Apocalypse is a transliteration of the Greek word apokalupsis meaning, “disclosure” [Strong] and “an uncovering” [Vine].  It is most often translated in the New Testament as “revelation.”  

In this book that is filled with highly symbolic imagery, the book of Revelation predicts the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the events associated with the end of time.

  • Revelations

All these sixty-six books in the Bible tell us that God wants a relationship with you, and what He did to fix what we have broken.  These are books that tell us how to live, how to enjoy a peace of mind, how to find true happiness.  

The God who created us is the God who knows what we need to live a good and fulfilling life.  The books in the Bible are God's communicating His thoughts to us.  

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