The contents of the Bible
The contents of the Bible
Old Testament Books
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum , Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
New Testament Books
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, 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, Revelation
Here is a very brief summary of the contents of the Bible.
The book of Genesis contains the account of the creation of all things; the story of the fall of the first man named Adam; the account of the first murder (Cain, son of Adam, killed his brother Abel); the story of Noah, who was saved from the flood together with seven others in the ark which God commanded him to build; the story of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob (who are the forefathers of the nation of Israel, that is, of the Jews, to whom God promised He would give the land of Canaan to their offspring); and the story of one of the sons of Jacob called Joseph, who was sold as a slave by his brothers and sent to Egypt, where by God’s grace he became the governor of Egypt, and who, after he was made known to his brothers, sent for his father Jacob (to whom God gave the name ‘Israel’) and his whole family, who thus went down to Egypt.
The book of Exodus contains the account of the growth of the Israelites, their enslavement in Egypt, and their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage (which lasted four hundred years); the account of their journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai; the formation of the covenant between God and the people at Mount Sinai, and the giving of moral and ceremonial laws on which the covenant was based, detailed instructions for the construction of a tabernacle, priestly robes, and other ritual objects; the designation of Aaron as high priest and of his sons as priests; the first national apostasy in worshiping the golden calf, and the construction and dedication of the tabernacle.
The book of Leviticus contains laws on various types of sacrifice; rules for the priests; laws on purity and impurity, including the dietary law, regulations on the feasts of God (the Sabbath, the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles), on the jubilee year and on vows, as well as ritual and ethical codes not contained in Exodus. The only narrative incidents of the book are these: the ordination of Aaron and his sons; the first offerings of Aaron; the destruction of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu for they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, and the stoning of a blasphemer.
The book of Numbers contains the following things: the account of the census of the people of Israel (the census of the Levites was taken separately) taken at God’s command; the commandments concerning the vow of separation to the Lord as a Nazirite; the priestly blessing; the offerings at the dedication of the tabernacle; the setting apart of the Levites; the Passover celebrated by the Israelites in the desert of Sinai; the construction of two silver trumpets for communication signals; the departure from Mount Sinai; the judgement of God upon the Israelites for they had complained about their hardships; the account of how God provided meat for the Israelites; the murmurings of Aaron and Miriam against Moses for he had married a Cushite woman and the divine judgement upon Miriam; the exploration of the land of Canaan and the rebellion of the Israelites against God and the judgement of God upon the rebels (they did not believe in God when God commanded them to enter the land of Canaan and take hold of it, and so God swore that they would wander in the desert for forty years, only their children would enter into the land); laws concerning the offerings for unintentional sins; the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram against Moses and Aaron and the account of how God caused the earth to open its mouth and to swallow them; the budding of Aaron’s staff; duties of priests and Levites; the offerings for the priests and Levites; the account of how God brought water out of a rock for the Israelites; the rebellion of Moses and Aaron at the waters of Meribah and the judgement of God against them (He forbade them to enter the land of Canaan); the murmuring of the Israelites against God and Moses during their journey from Mount Hor to Moab and the judgement of God upon them (He sent venomous snakes among them which bit the people and many died); the conquest of the Amorite’s land and of the land of king Bashan; the story of Balaam the prophet (he was summoned by Balak king of Moab to curse Israel, but Balaam blessed the Israelites three times, so Balak drove him away, but afterward Balaam taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality, and for his sin he was put to death by the Israelites at God’s command); the second census; laws of inheritance; the consecration of Joshua as successor of Moses; calendar of worship; laws concerning vows of women; the destruction of the Midianites; the allotment of TransJordan; plans to conquer the Canaanites and divide the land; Levite cities and cities of Refuge.
The book of Deuteronomy contains a series of three discourses by Moses. The first discourse summarizes the events between the encounter with God at Sinai and the encampment in Moab, followed by an urgent appeal for faithfulness to God. The second discourse recounts the giving of the Ten Words (Commandments) at Sinai. This is followed by an explanation of the first commandment centered around the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Heb: “hear”), and an extended appeal to remain faithful to God in spite of the temptations that will come in the new land. Specific instruction in communal life begins in chapter 12, concluding with a covenant ceremony and homily focusing on their responsibilities to God and each other. The third discourse encapsulates the first two, with a historical review, covenant renewal, admonitions to faithfulness, and warnings of the consequences of disobedience. The conclusion includes instructions concerning Moses’ successor, final instructions and liturgies, the Song and Blessing of Moses, and his death.
The book of Joshua contains the story of the conquest and partition of the land of Canaan.
The book of the Judges contains the stories of the judges, whom God chose and sent to deliver the Israelites from the hands of their enemies.
The book of Ruth contains the story of a Moabite woman called Ruth, who became the wife of Boaz (who was a descendant of Judah) and gave birth to a son called Obed, who was the father of Jesse the father of David.
The first and second book of Samuel contain the story of the prophet Samuel, the story of king Saul and king David, his successor.
The first book of Kings contains the story of king Solomon, then the story of the division of the Kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms (that division was God’s punishment on Solomon for his rebellion against God), that is, the kingdom of the north (Israel) and the kingdom of the south (Judah). Then in it we find the stories of several kings of Israel and of Judah.
The second book of Kings contains the stories of all the other kings of Judah and of Israel. This book describes the downfall of the Kingdom of Israel (606 before Christ) and of the Kingdom of Judah (586 before Christ). Their downfall was God’s punishment on them for their sins and the continued ignoring of His messengers (prophets). The Kingdom of Israel was punished through the Assyrian army, which deported many Israelites to Assyria. Whereas the Kingdom of Judah was punished through the Babylonian army, which destroyed Jerusalem, the walls of the holy city, the temple which had been built by Solomon, and deported many Jews to Babylon.
The first and the second book of Chronicles contain many genealogies, a part of the story of David, and the whole story of king Solomon, and the stories of all the kings of Judah.
The book of Ezra contains the account of the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity (which occurred after seventy years), and of the rebuilding of the altar and temple.
In the book of Nehemiah we find the account of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem made under the leadership of Nehemiah.
In the book of Esther we find the story of the deliverance of the Jews from a massacre plotted against all the Jews who lived in the Kingdom ruled by king Xerxes (whose wife was Esther, a Jewish woman). That massacre had been plotted by Haman who was the highest royal official.
The book of Job is the story of the sufferings of a man named Job, who was very rich yet righteous, who was tested by God through severe trials. For God took away everything Job had, and allowed Satan to afflict Job with painful sores. However, Job stood the test and after many sufferings God made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.
The book of Psalms is a collection of 150 Psalms (prayers, songs and poems) written by various authors (David, Solomon, and others).
The book of Proverbs contains many wise proverbs and sayings uttered mostly by king Solomon.
The book of Ecclesiastes is a poem which emphasizes the vanity of earthly things. All is vanity and grasping for the wind. We must fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.
The Song of Solomon or Song of Songs is a loving dialogue between a bridegroom and his bride. It is an allegory relating to the Church, symbolizing the mutual love of Christ and the Church.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are the books of the prophets, which contain many sharp words of God spoken through the prophets against the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah because of their rebellion against Him. God rebuked them sharply through the prophets and exhorted them to repent of their iniquities and to return to Him, but they refused to hear Him, so God foretold them His punishments on them. They contain also the predictions of the punishments of God on many foreign nations (Moab, Edom, Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and others), as well as words of comfort and encouragement for the downcast. But these books contain also the predictions concerning the Messiah (the Anointed One), who would save His people from their sins. The book of Daniel and the book of Jonah are a bit different from the others; for Daniel is the story of the prophet Daniel while he was in Babylon (among other things we find in it the account of several deliverances which were experienced by Daniel, and several visions he had concerning the rise and fall of several kingdoms); and Jonah is the story of the prophet Jonah, sent by God to Nineveh to preach against the inhabitants of that great city, who believed God and turned from their evil ways, and thus God had compassion on them and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened. The book of Lamentations is series of dirges by Jeremiah, bewailing the afflictions of Israel (particularly of Jerusalem).
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which are called ‘the Gospels,’ contain the story of Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah: His birth (the Gospel according to Mark and that according to John, unlike the other two Gospels, do not contain any reference to His birth), His life, His ministry, His teachings, His miracles and healings, and His signs and wonders, His sufferings, His death and His resurrection, His appearances, and His ascension to heaven (the Gospel according to Matthew and that according to John, unlike the other two Gospels, do not end with the account of the ascension of Jesus into heaven). Matthew emphasizes the Messiahship of Jesus, showing from the Scriptures how the predictions concerning the Messiah, made by the prophets of old, were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. Mark emphasizes the supernatural power of Christ over nature, disease and demons. Luke is the most complete biography of Jesus; it portrays Him as the Son of Man, full of compassion for the sinful and the poor. John emphasizes the Sonship of Jesus, and therefore His Deity: it contains His teaching on the new birth, on salvation, on the relationship between Him and His Father, on His mission, and on the Holy Spirit. Matthew, Mark and Luke and called Synoptic Gospels for they describe many events from a similar point of view.
The book of the Acts of the apostles contains an account of the ascension of Jesus to heaven, and the history of the early Church from the ascension of Jesus till about 60 after Christ. In it we find many stories of conversions (among which that of Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle of the Gentiles), several accounts of baptisms with the Holy Spirit, and the accounts of some of the miracles and healings worked by the apostles and by other servants of God, the accounts of several deliverances, of some persecutions against the saints, of several missionary journeys made by Paul and his fellow workers, and other things.
Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, are epistles written by the apostle Paul. They contain many important teachings (on justification by faith, on the purpose of God according to election, on the atoning death of Christ, on the mystery of Christ, on the Church, on water baptism and the Lord’s Supper, on marriage, on the gifts of the Spirit, on the resurrection of the dead, on the coming again of Jesus, etc.), exhortations (to live a holy and godly life, to pray without ceasing, to practice hospitality, to stand firm in the faith, to fight the good fight, etc.) and warnings (against false doctrines, false ministers of Christ, and the sinful lusts of the flesh) for the Church. 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus are called ‘pastoral epistles’: in them Paul gives instructions to Timothy and Titus concerning their conduct and ministerial work. Philemon is a letter written to Philemon, beseeching him to receive and forgive Onesimus, a runaway slave.
Hebrews is an epistle written (some say by Paul, however I don’t think Paul is the author of it) to the Jews who had turned to the Lord, through which the author warns them not to draw back; in this epistle the author explains why Jesus is superior to angels, to Moses and Aaron, and why the New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant.
James is an epistle written by James, the brother of the Lord Jesus, to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: the author urges them to persevere under trial, to put into practice the Word of God, not to show favouritism, to keep a tight rein on their tongue, to submit themselves to God, and to pray in faith.
1 Peter and 2 Peter are epistles written by the apostle Peter; in the first epistle he urges the saints to be patient in affliction, to be holy, to submit to rulers and masters, and he exhorts wives to be submissive to their husbands and to dress modestly: in the second epistle he urges the saints to make their calling and election sure, to beware of false teachers, and to live holy and godly lives while they wait for the blessed hope.
1 John, 2 John and 3 John, are epistles written by the apostle John; in the first epistle he exhorts the saints to walk in the light, to beware of antichrists, to test the spirits because many false prophets have gone out into the world, to have faith in the Son of God; in the second epistle he urges the chosen lady to walk in love, and to beware of deceivers; in the third epistle he urges a certain Gaius to imitate what is good.
Jude is an epistle written by Jude, brother of James, who urges the saints to contend for the faith. He warns them against some godless men, who have secretly slipped in among them, who turn the grace of God into lewdness and deny Jesus Christ.
The book of Revelation is a book written by the apostle John near the end of the first century after Christ while he was on the isle of Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. He wrote what he saw and heard in a heavenly vision, and sent the book to the seven Churches of Asia. Many future events still to be fulfilled (such as the coming of the lawless one, the return of Christ, the Millennial reign on the earth, the day of judgement, and the descent of the New Jerusalem on the new earth) are recorded in this book.
The Old Testament was written over a period of time of approximately 1400 years (from around 1400 before Christ to the end of the first century before Christ), while the New Testament books were written at various times during the first century after Christ.