The B-I-B-L-E (Yes that's The Book for me!)
If you've clicked on this page you're probably interested in a little Bible study information and are about to discover this is a long post...but hopefully you will find it informative and even a little funny!
I've been leading and attending Bible studies for many years. During a study at least a decade ago one of the participants pulled me aside and stated that she, "had no idea what the Bible was about, what the Book names meant or how to find anything in the Bible. I really loved this question and so decided to do a deep dive to help this sister out! From that point on I've used the following that I composed through a lot of research, considerable editing and a sprinkle of humor! Please feel free to use this as an extremely simple guide...with the full disclaimer that I am no Bible scholar...just a regular gal who happens to love God's Word and needed it broken down into ways I could understand!
Get a snack and kick back:
Okay so here is a mini-Bible lesson primarily about order and why. Now remember I'm not a scholar. I do however have a hunger to know and learn more about The Word and so have a lot of reference books that help me with that desire. My reference books range from college level to books collected over my time while in active ministry to lots of fun books that I've picked up along life's journey!
Book knowledge is just that. Anyone can pick a book up, read it and put it down.The Bible however, is a God breathed and inspired compilation of Kingdom truths and wisdom teaching. It is a gift to us to receive and believe. We take that knowledge contained within and despite anything that has occurred in our lives, we press on toward our goal which is to become more Christlike in nature and to prepare ourselves for meeting our Almighty Father God in Heaven. Does that mean you have to read the Bible as a pre-requisite to meeting God-no. That's why He sent His Son Jesus for us. We just need to ask Him into our hearts, then remember that a child of God remembers to behave and act like a child of God and try our best to NOT lapse backwards in to our old ways.
However nothing trumps real life experiences and the testimonies that come from those experiences. It really is the driving force behind my love of Jesus and need to know more. I get really excited when I learn something new or see how the puzzle pieces come together. God is so big and amazing, so vast and yet so close. God has brought us together for as it says in the Book of Esther-"such a time as this". This is our time to help one another along our journey!
The Christian Bible is composed of 66 Books.
Those 66 Books are divided between two parts.
The first part is the Old Testament or "OT".
The second part is of course the New Testament or "NT".
The OT has 39 Books
The NT has 27 Books.
What's It About?
A Summary of the OT can be looked at like this:
God Builds His Nation
God Educates His Nation
God Preserves His Faithful
Let's Jump In!
The first five books of the OT-all written by Moses are:
1.) Genesis-All about creation. Our earthly beginnings.
2.) Exodus-When the Jews escaped oppression from Egypt.
3.) Leviticus-All about rules, customs and how to live in a perfectly created world and in harmony with God.
4.) Numbers-All about Israel's journey from Mount Sinai to the plains of Moab near Canaan. God's people are getting restless.Judgment will come.
5.) Deuteronomy-The Word or Words. Rememberances of the Jews enslavement, their 40 year journey in the wilderness and reminders to the Jews that there is only one God. Thought to have been spoken by Moses before the Jews entered "The Promised Land".
This order makes sense because it begins with creation and moves toward obeying the laws and remembering God.
Smarty Pants Stuff
These first five books are also referred to as:
1.) The Torah (Hebrew)
2.) Pentateuch (Latin/Greek)
3.) Septuagint (Also a Greek word for the Hebrew Bible)
The next three books are:
Joshua-Written by Joshua. All about how God fulfilled His promises to Israel. Moses had died, Joshua becomes the leader of the Israelites, military conquests happen and Israel is settled.
Judges-Author Unknown-the Israelites really mess up after Joshua's death and so God delivers them back into oppression. Eventually God delivers them once again.
Ruth-Author Unknown, but scholars speculate is was written by the prophet Samuel. Awesome Book about loss, emptiness, faithfulness, God's presence, new found love and redemption. A happily ever after Book. Lots of references to growing wheat, gleaning, compassionate caring, sifting, faithfulness, love and protection..a favorite of mine.
Okay so now comes 3-2's/Kingdom information-A.K.A:
1st Samuel-Kingdoms are coming into the picture. The beginning of a monarchy in Israel. We're talking National Enquirer/TMZ stuff. David is introduced. Love the drama!
2nd Samuel-More kingdoms, Bad king out, King David does really well then really messes up.
1st Kings-Couple hundred years of history
2nd Kings-More history
1st Chronicles-Lots of genealogy
2nd Chronicles-Lots about King Solomon, building and dedication of the temple, David's dynasty, rise and fall of that dynasty, blessings in obedience, punishment in obedience and exile of the Israelites to Babylon.
The 3-2's might possibly have been written by the prophets Jeremiah and Ezra. I'm not doing these Books justice because there is so much history there so forgive me.
Now comes Ezra and Nehemiah-then Esther:
Ezra-The Israelites pull it together and return to Judea from exile in Babylon. Ezra was a priest They rebuild the temple and start behaving again under Moses's law.
Nehemiah-Through Nehemiah's leadership God helped the Israelites become strong once more and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. They renew their commitment to God.
Esther-Queen Esther is a babe. She's been raised by her good uncle, Mordecai. She's the wife to King Xerxes. He doesn't know she's a Jew. His right hand man hates the Jews, plots to wipe out every Jew on the planet. Moredecai hears his plan. Tells his niece she must tell the King. She does; Haman the right hand man and bad guy is hung on the gallows he prepared for Uncle Mordecai. God's people are saved once more. She was born "for such a time as this" meaning, she is yet another person God used to save her entire culture, yet God is never mentioned once in this book. It's about Him being present even when we can't see His work or feel His presence. Cool!
Okay take a break because here comes the 9 books of wisdom:
Job-A good man. Loses everything more then once. Complains incessantly along with his friends. Finally God speaks and says, who do you think you are Mr. Big Stuff? (Okay those are my words!) Either way, God reminds Job it is HE that gives and takes away. This book spoke to me big time during a time of great loss… Also considered to be the oldest Book in the B-I-B-L-E!
Psalms-Smack dab in the middle of the Bible. The beautiful book of poetic expression, praises, prayers, songs, thanksgiving, confidence and a series of Psalms speak of the Israelites return to their homeland.
Proverbs-Pure wisdom to live by.
Ecclesiastes-There are seasons for everything under the sun. Why do anything unless you are doing it for God?
Song of Solomon A.K.A. Song of Songs-Whoop-Whoo the Biblical manual for marriage and…love is good! Solomon loves his bride. This whole book should have Barry White as background music! Lots of bride and groom language that can also be taken apart from the intimacies of marriage and applied to Christ as the Groom and his followers as the Bride.
Now comes the 5 Major Prophets:
Isaiah-Written by Isaiah. We're in the 8th century now and Isaiah is considered one of the MAJOR prophets-probably the most major prophet. Isaiah is the one who prophesies the virgin birth of Christ. Lots of information about the One to come and save us all.
Jeremiah-was a bullfrog…JUST KIDDING! Another Major prophet. A Book full of hope despite prophesy about how tough the last days will be.
Lamentations-This one is another anonymously written Book but the author might be Jeremiah. Devastation has hit Jerusalem once again and lots of crying out is happening here. God's mercy prevails.
Ezekial-This Major prophet writes about three visions of God; Revealing God's Glory, God's judgement, God's people. Future blessings are a promise in this Book.
Daniel- Love this one! Prophesy, Prophesy, Prophesy! Faith, Obedience, Trials, Perseverance, Not bowing down to false idols, the fiery furnace with buddies including a "4th" Man in the fire-hmmm, we think it was Jesus himself! He's a survivor who sees the future. We see almost identical visions in Revelation later on. Double dig this Book!
The final 12 Books in the OT are all considered Books of the Minor Prophets. That doesn't mean there is minor information though!
They're listed in this order:
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah
Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habbakuk
Zephaniah, Haggai, Zacchariah, Malachi
Call me a nerd but I had to use mind puzzles to memorize back in the days of nursing school. So try it in 4's:
IF YOU ARE STILL READING THIS YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, now comes the easier part…let's move on to The New Testament!
As a reminder:
The OT has 39 Books
The NT has 27 Books.
A Summary of the NT can be looked at like this:
God Sends His Son to Redeem Us All
God Begins Building His Everlasting Kingdom
God Spreads The Kingdom Through The Church
God Was Right
There Will Be a New Heaven and a New Earth and We Get To Be With God!
Jesus is The Rock and He Rolls My Blues Away!
The first four Gospels of the NT are:
1.) Matthew-The tax collector/One of Jesus's Disciples. Written by Matthew after Jesus' death (A.D.) A.D. 55-65 years.
Matthew talks about Jesus as The Messiah, God's Kingdom, The Church
2.) Mark-Teenage fisherman-Written by Mark A.D. 50-60. Talks about Jesus the Servant, God's Kingdom, Jesus' suffering and death and time in Galilee.
3.) Luke (Greek name = Theophilus)-1st century Gentile/Greek doctor. Written by Luke about 60 years after Jesus' death. Talks about Jesus as Savior, Jesus' good news for all, the poor and helpless, prayer and joy.
4.) John-Called as well as calls himself, "The Beloved Disciple"/One of Jesus's Disciples. Written by John some 80-90 years A.D. John writes about Jesus' signs and wonders, the "I AM' teachings including Jn. 3:16, "For God So Loved The World…".
From here we know that Jesus was crucified, dead and buried and on the 3rd day He rose again! YAY!!
Remember we've learned that He spoke first to Mary Magdalene and Mary, then Peter, then to the remaining 11 Disciples (because Judas had killed himself after selling Jesus out to the Romans) and later we find out Matthias becomes the 12th…then to 500 more people….then He finally speaks to his brother James.
From there He stays here on Earth for 40 days and does all kinds of wonderful things prior to His Ascension into Heaven. Read about that in Acts 1:1-11. Can you imagine!
The following is in regard to how and why the order of the Bible is the way it is:
Acts-Probably written by Luke 61-62 years A.D. (after death of Christ.) Carrying through with Jesus' instruction on building The Church, The Holy Spirit is God Breathed filling the followers with the joy of The Lord!
From here we meet Paul the guy who once "breathed murder"-killing any and all following Jesus' teachings quite literally has a "Come to Jesus Meeting" on the road to Damascus one day. Jesus asks him why he's being such a jerk and Paul becomes a full-on convert seeing The Lord with his own eyes!!! He then becomes the author of the next several Books which are:
Below is a super quick summary or timeline of Paul's ministry spreading the Good News of The Gospel throughout Judea, Samaria, the Greek and Roman worlds and to the ends of the Earth.
Paul at Damascus
Imprisonment in Judea
Voyage to Rome
Imprisonment in Rome
However you'll see below that the books were not placed in chronological order according to Paul's journey's but don't get confused…it is what it is and that's why I like tabs on my Bible! P.S. These journeys logged thousands of miles!
First Thessalonians-52 AD
Second Thessalonians-52 AD
First Corinthians-57 AD
Second Corinthians-57 AD
First Timothy-64-65 AD
Second Timothy-66-67 AD
WOW if you're still with me I'm so very proud of you and honored to be learning together!
SO- let's wrap it up with the last Books including:
1st Timothy-Written by Paul to Timothy about Godliness, sound doctrine, church leadership and taking care of widows.
2nd Timothy-Written by Paul to Timothy about inspiration from Scripture, be unashamed, live by sound doctrine.
Titus-Written by Paul about sound doctrine, conducting ourselves properly particularly focusing on age appropriateness and gender. (Check out Titus 2:3.)
Philemon-Written by Paul now as a prisoner. Good news for the repentant-do it and live forever. Love and forgive.
Hebrews-AUTHOR UNKNOWN! Always a good topic for Bible students. Talks about Christ's superiority over all.
James- James is the author. Speculated to be the oldest Book of the NT, but admitted into the Bible last. We know that he was the brother of Jesus. "Faith without works is dead". Mini instruction book compared to Proverbs and the prophet Amos. 54 commands are in this book.
1st Peter-Written by the Apostle Simon Peter. Wait for The Lord. There is Hope in the future.
2nd Peter-Same author-Hold firmly to the truth in the face of false teachings. Jesus will VISIBLY return!
1st John-Written by the Apostle John about Fellowship.
2nd John-Same author-notes on Faithfulness.
3rd John-Same author-notes on Truth.
Jude-Written by Jude, the half brother of Jesus. Fight for what's right. Stay in The Truth. Reject what is ungodly
Revelation-The Apocalypse! By now John, the Beloved has been exiled as a follower of Christ and one who has been preaching The Gospel. He lives on the island of Patmos somewhere out in the Aegean Sea near Greece. He's due to be executed however God speaks to him saying, "I Am The Alpha and The Omega (beginning and end), Who Is, and Who Was, and Who Is To Come, The Almighty. WHOA!
So tons of visuals happen with this encounter with God-lots of analogy, warnings, judgement, punishment and mercy. Satan will be defeated! Hallelujah!! The new Heaven and new Earth will come!
I can't believe you read this to the end! I pray that these summaries sprinkled with a bit of humor helps you understand a little bit more about the treasure called, The B-I-B-L-E!