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.

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

Song of Solomon

Isaiah

Jeremiah

Lamentations

Ezekiel

Daniel

Hosea

Joel

Amos

Obadiah

Jonah

Micah

Nahum

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Haggai

Zechariah

Malachi

The New Testament Books

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

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

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.

The Holy Spirit Speaks in Acts 11:12

And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.

In support of the biblical doctrine of the trinity it can be seen in Acts 11:12 that the Holy Spirit evidences personality by speaking to Peter.

In this passage Peter is recounting an earlier event where the Holy Spirit was identified as the one speaking to him.

Jesus and the Holy Spirit are Identified as Distinct Persons in Acts 10:38

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

In support of the biblical doctrine that the persons of the trinity are distinct from one another we find Peter speaking of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit as distinct persons.

This is in contrast to heretical teachings such as Modalism (which teaches that only one divine person exists who expresses himself at different times in different modes).

Jesus is called “God” in Acts 10:28

And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.

In support of the biblical doctrine that Jesus Christ has a divine nature he is called “God” by Peter in Acts 10:28.

For context note that Peter references an earlier encounter where Jesus shows him that he should not call any person common that God has made clean (Acts 10:9-15, note that New Testament writers frequently use “Lord” to identify Jesus).

The Holy Spirit Speaks in Acts 10:19

And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.

In support of the biblical doctrine of the trinity it can be seen in Acts 10:19 that the Holy Spirit evidences personality by speaking to Peter.

This event is mentioned later by Peter where he, again, notes that the Holy Spirit was the specific person speaking.