Books of the Bible
The Bible isn’t just one book, it’s a collection of many books. It even includes letters written to specific people! It’s easier to read the Bible when you know what type of book or letter you are actually reading. Learning all the books of the Bible can be difficult. Here’s a handy color coded Bible chart with all the books in the Bible. We also made a bookmark to help you keep your place with a couple questions to ask and things to think about as you read the Bible.
Well, actually, hold on. The Bible gets a little more complicated than just those above agreed upon 66 books. Christians in the three major denominations – Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox – all agree on those, but how they name, arrange, and organize the Scriptures in the Bible is different. There’s a protocanon, canon, and deuterocanon that is just going to vary in different religious traditions. Which books in their entirety are God’s Word and true? That’s basically the measuring stick for the standard of Scripture (Psalm 119:160). Let the debate begin! JK, it’s been going on for quite some time.
Here’s our attempt to give you a looksy at what’s on the deuterocanonical table:
Just for fun, let’s look at one chapter of one of these deuterocanonical books – 1 Enoch, chapter 10. In just the first 12 verses of the chapter it mentions “children of the Watchers” (which sounds weird like Genesis 6:1-4), “ascribing sin to Azazel” (which would help explain that strange goat ritual in Leviticus 16:7-10), “angels chained in darkness awaiting judgement” (which might be where Jude and Peter came up with Jude 1:6 and 2 Peter 2:4), and highlights a period of “seventy generations” (which is the same period of time Luke fits in the Genealogy of Jesus from, *pause for dramatic effect*, Enoch. The Enoch who “was no more, because God took him away” in Genesis 5:21-24 and then is linked in Jesus’ genealogy in Luke 3:21-38). It’s something to wrestle with.
What books were the people who wrote the Bible reading? Did Jude, Peter, or Luke believe 1 Enoch was inspired Scripture? What books did Jesus read? Even if you don’t believe 1 Enoch is “God’s Word,” books that were around during the same time as the Biblical authors might help make sense of their worldview and some of the strange spiritual stuff mentioned in the Bible.
Wait, so where did the books that are in the Bible actually come from? Did the Bible just fall out of the sky? Well, let’s start with the Hebrew Bible:
After you’ve got a handle on the books in the Hebrew Bible, we need to go back to the original writings. These books, before they were pages bound together, were originally scrolls. Jesus read from a scroll (Luke 4:16-21). What we have today are ancient manuscripts, scrolls and pieces of scripture written on fragments, that Biblical scholars use to piece together a clearer picture of what was in the original text and learn more about how it was copied. It’s complex, to put it lightly. Here’s just a little peeksy: