The Bible is a compilation of 66 books written by 44 different authors, spanning across approximately 1,500 years. It is divided into two main sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament includes 39 books that focus on God’s dealings with the Jewish people, while the New Testament includes 27 books that focus on Jesus Christ and the early Christian church.
The Old Testament
The Old Testament books can be divided into four main categories: history, law, poetry, and prophecy. The first five books—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—are known as the Pentateuch or the Torah. These books detail the creation of the world, God’s covenant with the Israelites, and the laws that they were to follow.
Following the Pentateuch are four historical books—Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and 1 & 2 Samuel—that tell the story of how the Israelites conquered the Promised Land and their first two kings, Saul and David.
This is followed by four more historical books—1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles—which detail the rise and fall of Israel’s two kingdoms: Judah in the south and Israel in the north. These are followed by seven poetic books—Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, and Esther—which contain a mix of wisdom literature and lyrics praising God.
Finally, there are 17 prophetic books—Isaiah through Malachi—that detail God’s message to his people through his prophets. These include both major prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel—and minor prophets—Hosea through Malachi.
In general terms, these books can be divided into two categories: those that focus on judgment for sinful behavior and those that focus on hope for restoration after exile.