Navigating the Bible

This article is for a newcomer to the Bible. We think of the Bible as a single book but it is really a compilation of many books. The largest division of the Bible is between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Within each testament there are a number of books.

Old Testament/New Testament

The Old Testament is comprised of 39 books and the New Testament is comprised of 27 books. This division is primarily made due to the historical events surrounding the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament, written before Christ, covers events from the time of creation to the period of time after the return from exile. The New Testament, written after Christ, recounts events from Christ’s life, the early church, and a number of early writings.

The Old Testament Division

The Old Testament has been divided into three major sections: The Law, the Writings, and the Prophets.

The Law Genesis-Deuteronomy
The Writings Job-Song of Solomon
The Prophets Joshua-Esther (Former Prophets), Isaiah-Malachi (Latter Prophets)

This division was originally from the Jewish division of the Scriptures. It is actually mentioned in the New Testament. Jesus references “everything written about [him] in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).

The New Testament Division

The New Testament is divided into three major sections as well.

Historical Matthew-Acts
Letters Romans-Jude
Apocalyptic Revelation

Old Testament Books

The following is a list of every Old Testament book.









1 Samuel

2 Samuel

1 Kings

2 Kings

1 Chronicles

2 Chronicles








Song of Solomon


















The New Testament Books

The following is a list of every book in the New Testaments







1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians





1 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians

1 Timothy

2 Timothy





1 Peter

2 Peter

1 John

2 John

3 John



Chapters and Verses

Each book of the Bible is divided into chapters and verses. This system of versification was derived from the chapters and verses inserted into a Latin copy of the Bible by Stephan Langton (1150-1228). Chapters and verses were added to assist in locating specific passages quickly. They are listed in literature in the following way

[Book Name] [Chapter Number]:[Verse Number]

There are 5 books which do not fit this format due to their brevity. Obadiah, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude are so short that they only have verses. For these books passages are listed as follows

[Book Name] [Verse Number]

This Bible article is a part of the Christianity 101 Series.

Where to find Bible Characters in the Bible

This page is intended to help you locate and study prominent Bible characters.

Person(s) Location in Bible Significance
Adam and Eve Genesis 2-3 First man and woman
Noah Genesis 6-9 Built an ark
Abram (later re-named Abraham) Genesis 12-25 God made a covenant with Abram
Isaac Genesis 17, 21-27, 35 Son of Abraham
Jacob (later re-named Israel) Genesis 25-37 Son of Isaac
Joseph Genesis 37-50 Son of Jacob (Israel)
Moses Exodus 2-Deuteronomy 34 Delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt
Pharaoh Exodus 5-14 Egyptian leader who oppressed Israel
Joshua Exodus 17; Numbers 11, 14; Deuteronomy 3, 31, 34; Joshua 1-24 Leader of Israel who succeeded Moses
Deborah Judges 4-5 A judge of Israel
Gideon Judges 6-8 A judge of Israel
Samson Judges 13-16 A judge of Israel
Ruth Ruth 1-4 A Moabite widow who was loyal to her Hebrew mother-in-law
Samuel 1 Samuel 1-12, 25 A prophet
Saul 1 Samuel 9-31 First King of Israel
David 1 Samuel 16-1 Kings 2 King of Israel who succeeded Saul
Solomon 1 Kings 1-11 (see also the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) King of Israel who succeeded David
Hezekiah 2 Kings 18-20 A good king in Judah
Elijah 1 Kings 17-2 Kings 2 A prophet
Jesus Christ Matthew, Mark, Luke, John The Son of God
Paul (formerly, Saul) Acts 8-9, 11-28 (see also Paul’s letters, Romans-Philemon) Jewish convert to Christianity, wrote 13 books of the New Testament

This is by no means a complete list. It is general in scope so as to be easy to use by someone new to Bible study.

This Bible article is a part of the Christianity 101 Series.

Recommended Bible Translations

There are so many English language translations of the Bible that it can seem very confusing for a new(er) Christian who has not considered which one(s) they should read. This page is intended to offer you some information about translations which I recommend.

For a list of Bible translations you should avoid, click here.

You should be aware of the following when choosing a Bible translation:

Committee Translation – Bible translations committees should be comprised of educated individuals with expertise in linguistics and translation of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. When Bible’s are translated by one individual they are prone to theological bias and other errors. A committee offers a system of checks and balances against this.

Literal vs. Dynamic Equivalence – There are good English translations which fall on this spectrum. At one end are translations which stick to more literal renderings (for example, preserving the original language’s word order when possible). At the other end are translations which offer a “dynamic equivalent” (explaining the meaning of the passage without much emphasis on the original word order). Both sides offer unique challenges. More literal translations can tend to be less easy to read through, while dynamic equivalent translations make a number of interpretive decisions for you. Both sides also offer unique benefits. More literal translations allow you to study bible words and details in more depth, while dynamic equivalent translations can be excellent for devotional reading.

Theological Bias – A bias is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be if you are not aware of it. Some Bible translations are translated with a distinct bias toward a group (such as the Roman Catholic Church, or cults like Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses). Other Bible translations are produced by representatives from multiple, similar, backgrounds (such as evangelical protestants from various denominational backgrounds). I would recommended investing in a Bible from the latter of these two.

Translational Notes – The original language documents from which our bibles are translated offer a number of translational challenges. Any good translation will have some system of notation to indicate to the reader when a decision had to be made in this. These challenges sometimes stem from variant readings and ancient copyist mistakes.

Age – There are English Bible translations dating back hundreds of years. Historically speaking, these older translations are not incorrect, but they were translated from a much smaller pool of available manuscripts by people with less linguistic resources available to them. The translators behind newer English language Bibles have been able to consult a more complete corpus of ancient documents previously unavailable to older generations. In most cases these newly discovered manuscripts confirm what was known, but in some cases we have been able to make corrections.

In addition to the number and quality of manuscript evidence, the English language is evolving with every new generation. The Bible you read should not sound drastically different from the way you would speak or write. Older Bibles with “thee” and “thou” no longer reflect current language.

With that said, I would recommend reading the following English Bible Translations. More information about each specific one can be found in the preface material at the beginning of each translation.

English Standard Version
New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update
New International Version
The Holman Christian Standard Bible
The NET Bible

Should I only read one Bible translation?

If you are brand new to the Bible, I would say yes. Stick to one of these translations, make underlines, highlights, take notes (whether in a paper copy or in a Bible app). Get to know God better. At some point in your bible study you will want to visit a different translation. No single translation is perfect and having studied and compared good translations will be of great benefit to your Christian walk.

This Bible article is a part of the Christianity 101 Series.

Where to find Major Events in the Bible

The Bible contains a lot of content. It will be beneficial to be aware of where certain things are located. This page is intended to assist you in becoming more familiar with commonly referenced passages of Scripture.

This list is by no means complete, it is intended to be a starting point for becoming more familiar with the Bible’s content.


Location in Bible


Creation Genesis 1 The creation of all things
The Fall Genesis 3 The fall of mankind into sin through Adam and Eve
The Flood Genesis 6-7 Noah builds an ark and God sends a flood over the whole earth
The Burning Bush Exodus 3 God speaks to Moses through a burning bush
The Ten Plagues Exodus 7-12 God sends ten plagues on Egypt until the Pharaoh released Israel from slavery
Parting of the Red Sea Exodus 14 God parts the Red Sea for Israel to escape from Pharaoh’s pursuit
The Ten Commandments Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21 God gives Israel ten commandments through Moses
The Fall of Jericho Joshua 6 The first major victory in Israel’s settling the promised land
David Fights Goliath 1 Samuel 17 David defeats Goliath with the help of God
David becomes king 2 Samuel 5 David is anointed king of Israel
Elijah and the Prophets of Baal 1 Kings 18:20-40 Elijah competes with the prophets of Baal over which one had the real God
Israel taken into Captivity 2 Kings 17:6-23 Israel is taken into captivity by Assyria
Judah taken into Captivity 2 Kings 25 Judah is taken into captivity by Babylon
The return from Captivity Ezra & Nehemiah Exiled Jews return to Israel and begin to rebuild
The testing of Job Job 1-2 God allows Satan to test faithful Job
Isaiah’s vision of the Lord Isaiah 6:1-6 Isaiah has a vision of God
The Suffering Servant Isaiah 52:13-53:12 One of Isaiah’s most vivid prophecies of the events surrounding Jesus’ trial and death
Jeremiah visits the Potter’s House Jeremiah 18 God uses the image of a potter and clay to illustrate his relationship to Israel
The Fiery Furnace Daniel 3 Three faithful Israelites are thrown into a furnace as punishment for their faithfulness to God; they are preserved unharmed
Daniel and the Lion’s Den Daniel 6 Daniel survives a night in a lion’s den
Jonah and the Large Fish Jonah 1-2 Jonah is swallowed by a large fish
Jesus’ Birth Matthew 1:17-25; Luke 2:1-21 The miraculous birth of Jesus to the virgin Mary
The Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5-7; Luke 6:20-49 Jesus preaches a sermon on a mountain
Jesus’ Transfiguration Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2–8; Luke 9:28–36 Jesus is transfigured
Jesus’ Trial, Death, and Resurrection Matthew 26:46-28:10; Mark 14:43-16:8; Luke 22:47-24:12; John 18:1-20:10 The events surrounding Jesus’ death
The Day of Pentecost Acts 2 The Holy Spirit fills the disciples and Peter preaches a sermon
Saul’s Conversion Acts 9:1-19 Saul (Paul) meets Jesus and converts to Christianity
The Jerusalem Council Acts 15 The Church begins formally engaging in mission to Gentiles
The Hall of Faith Hebrews 11 A chapter recounting faithful believers through the ages
Letters to the Seven Churches Revelation 2-3 Jesus dictates seven letters to seven churches in Asia Minor

This Bible article is a part of the Christianity 101 Series.

Online Bibles & Bible Apps

You don’t have to buy a physical book in order to read the Bible. There are many free websites and apps which allow you to read and study the Bible. Below are a few which I recommend:


Logos – This app is free and if you sign up for a free account you get access to a number of good study resources. I personally have purchased a number of other books and resources in addition to the free content. Logos is a good, innovative brand and updates their software regularly. [iPhone/iPad] [Android]

Olive Tree Bible – Published by HarperCollins, this app offers 2 free translations and has about 40 or so free book downloads when you register a free account.  More resources are available for purchase in their in-app store. They also offer Apple Watch functionality. [iPhone/iPad] [Android]

YouVersion – Bible, from Life Church, offers a number of reading plans and study tools to assist you in digging deeper into God’s Word. [iPhone/iPad] [Android]


BibliaBiblia is a free logos product which allows you to study your resources in your web browser. My favorite feature is that it has a 2 collumn format and lets you link resources. You can have your bible and a commentary open and as you scroll through your bible the commentary automatically keeps up with the current passage.

Bible GatewayBible Gateway is a resource-rich bible study website. is from the same group who made the YouVersion app. is not an online bible, but I include it here as a starting point for bible study. It will connect you with numerous articles, sermons, and other media which will help you better understand God’s Word.


This Bible article is a part of the Christianity 101 Series.