The Bible, translated from the Greek word “ta biblia” meaning “the books”, is a compilation of books that are believed to be holy and God-inspired. The Protestant canonization of the Bible consists of 66 books–divided into 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament.
The first book of the Bible is believed to have been written around 1450 B.C. and the last book was written around 95 A.D. The Bible as a whole was composed over a 1,500-year-period by more than 40 different authors from all over the world, including: kings, prophets, philosophical writers, fishermen, shepherds and prisoners. Most of the books of the Bible bear the name of the author whom wrote the book–For example, Isaiah wrote the book of Isaiah, Jeremiah wrote the book of Jeremiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the books that bear their names. The Bible’s original manuscripts were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek and was later translated into over 2,000 other languages.
The first five books of the Old Testament, (aka the TaNaKh or the Hebrew Bible to Jewish believers), are known as the TORAH (aka the Books of the Law, or the Books of Moses). These books are about the origins of life, the creation of Man, the fall of man into sin, the selection of the Jews to be God’s chosen people and the light to the world, and the laws of God given to his chosen people. These books were written by Moses and completed by Joshua, son of Jacob.
The next group of books in the Old Testament, known as the NEVI’IM, are the books of the prophets, which give an historical account of the nation of Israel and their conflicts with surrounding nations. The book of the prophets contained God’s blessings and promises for Israel, as well as lamentations and judgments for Israel and other nations. The book of the prophets also gave foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, who is in the person of Jesus Christ. This coming Messiah would bring salvation to the world.
The last set of books in the Old Testament, known as the KETUVIM, are writings of poetic and philosophical works by various authors, such as Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon.
The first four books of the New Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – known as the Synoptic Gospels, give an account of the deity, birth, life, death, bodily resurrection and acension of Jesus Christ and his ministry while on earth. The book of Acts gives an account of the outpour of God’s Holy Spirit, the establishment of the Christian church and the actions of the Apostles. The following 21 books are the epistles or letters that the Apostles wrote to different churches around the world. These letters addressed certain issues that those churches faced within their congregation, explained the doctrine of salvation, and advised the churches on how to live a proper Christian lifestyle. And Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is a book of end-time prophecy. It explains the chain of events that will occur before the end of the world.