How Many Books Are In The Bible?

The Bible is one of the most important and influential books in human history. It has been translated into thousands of languages and has been read by billions of people around the world. The Bible is a collection of religious texts that are considered sacred by Christians, Jews, and Muslims. It contains stories, poetry, songs, letters, and prophecies that have shaped the beliefs and practices of these religions for thousands of years.

One question that often arises when discussing the Bible is “How many books are in the Bible?” This seemingly simple question can be more complicated than it appears at first glance. Different versions and translations of the Bible contain different numbers and arrangements of books. Additionally, there are debates among different Christian denominations about which books should be included in the Bible.

In this article, we will explore the number and order of books in the Bible. We will examine both the Old Testament and New Testament, as well as any additional books that may be included in certain versions or translations. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how many books are in the Bible and why this question is important to believers and scholars alike.

Are there 66 or 73 books in the Bible?

Overview of the Old Testament

The Old Testament is the first part of the Christian Bible, and it consists of 39 books. It is also recognized as a sacred text by Jews and Muslims. The Old Testament tells the story of God’s relationship with humanity, starting from creation and ending with the Babylonian exile. It is divided into five categories: Law, History, Poetry/Wisdom, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets.

Number of books in the Old Testament (39)

There are 39 books in the Old Testament, which are further divided into subcategories. The Law contains five books that describe God’s laws for His people. The History category includes 12 books that tell the history of Israel from Joshua to Esther. The Poetry/Wisdom category has five books that contain poetry and wisdom literature. The Major Prophets include five books written by prophets who had a significant impact on Israel’s history.

Finally, there are 12 Minor Prophets who wrote shorter prophetic works.

List of books in the Old Testament by category

Here is a list of all the books in the Old Testament categorized by their respective categories:

Law History Poetry/Wisdom Major Prophets Minor Prophets
Genesis Joshua Job Isaiah Hosea
Exodus Judges Psalms Jeremiah Joel
Leviticus Ruth Proverbs Lamentations Amos
Numbers 1 Samuel Ecclesiastes Ezekiel Obadiah
Deuteronomy 2 Samuel Song of Solomon Daniel Jonah

Brief description of each book.

Here is a brief description of each book in the Old Testament:

  • Genesis: The first book of the Bible, which tells the story of creation and the beginning of humanity.
  • Exodus: Describes how God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt and gave them His laws.
  • Leviticus: Contains detailed instructions for worship and sacrifice, as well as laws for daily living.
  • Numbers: Tells about Israel’s journey through the wilderness and their disobedience to God.
  • Deuteronomy: A repetition of God’s laws to prepare Israel for entering the Promised Land.
  • Joshua: Describes Israel’s conquest of Canaan and the division of the land among the tribes.
  • Judges: Tells about Israel’s cycle of sin, oppression, and deliverance by judges.
  • Ruth: A short story about a woman who becomes part of Israel and is an ancestor of King David.
  • 1 Samuel: Tells about the life of Samuel, Saul, and David, including their rise to power and struggles with sin.
  • 2 Samuel: Continues the story of David’s reign as king over Israel.
  • 1 Kings: Tells about the reigns of Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, and other kings in Israel and Judah.
  • 2 Kings: Continues the history of Israel and Judah until their exile to Babylon.
  • 1 Chronicles: A genealogy from Adam to King David, as well as a history of David’s reign.
  • 2 Chronicles: Tells about the reigns of several kings in Judah after Solomon’s death.
  • Ezra: Tells about the return of Jews from exile in Babylon and rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.
  • Nehemiah: Tells how Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem’s walls after returning from Babylonian captivity.
  • Esther: The story of a Jewish woman who becomes queen to King Xerxes I and saves her people from genocide.
  • Job: A poetic book that explores why bad things happen to good people.
  • Psalms: A collection of 150 poems and songs that express a range of emotions to God.
  • Proverbs: A collection of wise sayings and advice for daily living.
  • Ecclesiastes: A philosophical book that explores the meaning of life and the futility of human efforts.
  • Song of Solomon: A love poem between a man and a woman, often interpreted as an allegory for God’s love for His people.
  • Isaiah: A prophetic book that predicts the coming of the Messiah and describes God’s judgment on Israel’s sin.
  • Jeremiah: Tells about Jeremiah’s call to be a prophet, his message to Judah, and his suffering for speaking the truth.
  • Lamentations: A poetic book that mourns the destruction of Jerusalem and expresses grief over Israel’s sin.
  • Ezekiel: Tells about Ezekiel’s visions, including God’s judgment on Israel and hope for restoration in the future.
  • Daniel: Contains stories about Daniel and his friends in Babylonian captivity, as well as prophecies about future kingdoms.
  • Hosea: A prophetic book that uses Hosea’s marriage to Gomer as an analogy for God’s relationship with Israel.
  • Joel: A prophetic book that predicts a coming day of judgment on Israel and calls for repentance.
  • Amos: A prophetic book that condemns Israel’s social injustice and warns of God’s judgment.
  • Obadiah: A prophetic book that predicts the downfall of Edom, Israel’s enemy.
  • Jonah: Tells about Jonah’s reluctance to preach to Nineveh and God’s mercy on the city when they repent.
  • Micah: A prophetic book that predicts a coming Messiah and describes God’s judgment on Israel’s sin.
  • Nahum: A prophetic book that predicts the destruction of Nineveh, Assyria’s capital.
  • Habakkuk: A prophetic book that questions why God allows evil and describes His justice.
  • Zephaniah: A prophetic book that predicts a coming day of judgment on Judah and calls for repentance.
  • Haggai: A prophetic book that encourages Jews to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
  • Zachariah: A prophetic book that contains visions about the future restoration of Jerusalem.
  • Malachi: A prophetic book that rebukes Israel for their disobedience and promises a coming messenger.
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Interesting fact: 1. Verify the source of information before accepting the number of books in the Bible.

Overview of the New Testament

The New Testament is the second part of the Christian Bible and consists of 27 books. It was written in Greek between approximately 50 AD and 100 AD, and it tells the story of Jesus Christ and his teachings, as well as the early Christian church. The New Testament is divided into four categories: Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation.

Number of books in the New Testament (27)

There are a total of 27 books in the New Testament. This number has been consistent across different versions/translations of the Bible.

List of books in the New Testament by category (Gospels, Acts, Epistles, Revelation)

Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John Acts: Acts of the Apostles Epistles: 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: Revelation

Brief description of each book

Gospels: – Matthew: Written by one of Jesus’ disciples; focuses on Jesus’ teachings about God’s kingdom. – Mark: Shortest Gospel; emphasizes Jesus’ actions rather than his words. – Luke: Written by a physician who interviewed eyewitnesses; includes many parables. – John: Written by one of Jesus’ disciples; emphasizes Jesus’ divinity. Acts: – Acts of the Apostles: Written by Luke; describes the early history of Christianity after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Epistles: – Romans: Written by Paul; explains the gospel message in detail. – 1 Corinthians: Written by Paul; addresses various issues within the church in Corinth. – 2 Corinthians: Written by Paul; defends his apostleship and encourages the church in Corinth. – Galatians: Written by Paul; emphasizes salvation through faith rather than works of the law.

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– Ephesians: Written by Paul; describes the unity of believers in Christ. – Philippians: Written by Paul; expresses gratitude for support from the church in Philippi. – Colossians: Written by Paul; emphasizes Christ’s supremacy over all things. – 1 Thessalonians: Written by Paul; encourages believers to live holy lives and be ready for Christ’s return.

– 2 Thessalonians: Written by Paul; addresses confusion about Christ’s return among believers in Thessalonica. – 1 Timothy: Written by Paul to his disciple Timothy; provides instructions for church leaders. – 2 Timothy: Also written by Paul to Timothy; encourages him to remain faithful despite persecution. – Titus: Also written to a church leader (Titus); provides guidance for leading a healthy church community.

– Philemon: Short letter written by Paul to a slave owner named Philemon, asking him to forgive his runaway slave Onesimus who had become a Christian. – Hebrews: Authorship is unknown, but likely written to Jewish Christians who were considering returning to Judaism. Emphasizes Jesus as the ultimate high priest and sacrifice for sin. – James: Likely written by James, Jesus’ brother.

Encourages practical Christian living and warns against favoritism and hypocrisy within the church community. – 1 Peter: Written by Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. Encourages believers who are facing persecution and suffering, emphasizing hope in Christ. – 2 Peter: Written by Peter; warns against false teachers and emphasizes the importance of living a godly life.

– 1 John: Written by John, one of Jesus’ disciples; emphasizes love for God and others as evidence of true faith. – 2 John: Short letter written by John; warns against false teachers and encourages believers to continue in the truth. – 3 John: Also written by John; commends a church leader named Gaius for his hospitality and warns against a man named Diotrephes who is causing trouble within the church.

– Jude: Written by Jude, likely another of Jesus’ brothers. Warns against false teachers and encourages believers to remain faithful. Revelation: – Revelation: Written by John; describes a series of visions he received about the end times and Christ’s ultimate victory over evil.

Comparison Table

Category Number of Books Main Focus
Gospels 4 Life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Acts 1 The early history of Christianity after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Epistles 21 Apostolic teaching on various topics related to Christian living and theology.
Revelation 1 The end times and Christ’s ultimate victory over evil.

In summary, the New Testament consists of 27 books that tell the story of Jesus Christ, his teachings, and the early Christian church. The books are divided into four categories: Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation. Each book has its own unique characteristics and purpose, but all contribute to the overall message of the New Testament. Understanding the contents of the New Testament can provide valuable insight into Christian beliefs and practices.

Interesting fact: 2. Be aware that different religious denominations may have variations in the number and order of books included in their version of the Bible.

Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books

The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books are a collection of texts that are considered by some Christian denominations to be part of the Bible, while others do not recognize them as canonical. The term “Apocrypha” comes from the Greek word meaning “hidden,” while “Deuterocanonical” means “second canon. ” These books were written during the intertestamental period between the Old and New Testaments, and were originally written in Greek.

The status of these books is disputed among different Christian denominations. Protestant Christians generally do not include them in their Bibles, while Catholic and Orthodox Christians do. Some Protestant Bibles may include them as an appendix or separate section, but they are not considered to be part of the canon.

The following is a list of the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books:

  • Tobit
  • Judith
  • Additions to Esther (Vulgate)
  • Wisdom of Solomon
  • Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
  • Baruch
  • Letter of Jeremiah (Baruch Chapter 6)
  • Additions to Daniel:
    • The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Jews
    • Susanna and the Elders
    • Bel and the Dragon
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Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books Included in Catholic Bible? Included in Orthodox Bible? Included in Protestant Bible?
Tobit Yes Yes No
Judith Yes Yes No
Additions to Esther (Vulgate) Yes Yes No

In addition to Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books are also included in some Protestant Bibles, such as the King James Version. However, they are not considered to be part of the canon by most Protestant denominations.

While there is disagreement among Christians about the status of these books, they offer valuable insights into Jewish history and thought during the intertestamental period. They also provide context for understanding New Testament teachings and beliefs.

Interesting fact: 3. Understand that translations of the Bible into different languages may also have variations in the number and order of books included.

Total Number and Order of Books

There are variations in the number and order of books in different versions/translations of the Bible. The total number of books varies depending on whether or not the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books are included. Protestant Bibles typically have 66 books, while Catholic and Orthodox Bibles include these additional books, bringing the total to 73 or 76.

The order of the books also varies among different versions/translations. For example, some Bibles place the historical books before the poetic/wisdom literature, while others reverse this order. Some Bibles group all four Gospels together, while others place John’s Gospel last.

Protestant Bible Order and Number

  • Old Testament (39 books)
    • Pentateuch (5 books)
    • Historical Books (12 books)
    • Poetic/Wisdom Literature (5 books)
    • Major Prophets (5 books)
    • Minor Prophets (12 books)
  • New Testament (27 books)
    • Gospels (4 books)
    • Acts of the Apostles (1 book)
    • Epistles – Pauline Letters (13 letters)
    • Epistles – General Letters (8 letters)
    • Revelation to John (1 book)

Catholic Bible Order and Number

  • Old Testament (46 books)
    • Pentateuch (5 books)
    • Historical Books (16 books)
    • Poetic/Wisdom Literature (7 books)
    • Major Prophets (4 books)
    • Minor Prophets (12 books)
  • New Testament (27 books)
    • Gospels (4 books)
    • Acts of the Apostles (1 book)
    • Epistles – Pauline Letters (14 letters)
    • Epistles – General Letters (7 letters)
    • Revelation to John (1 book)
  • Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books (7 books)
    • Tobit
    • Judith
    • Additions to Esther
    • Wisdom of Solomon
    • Sirach/Ecclesiasticus
    • Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah
    • Additions to Daniel: Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Jews; Susanna; Bel and the Dragon

Orthodox Bible Order and Number

  • Old Testament (49 books)
    • Pentateuch (5 books)
    • Historical Books (16 books)
    • Poetic/Wisdom Literature (7 books)
    • Major Prophets (4 books)
    • Minor Prophets (12 books) Additional Old Testament Books: Orthodox Christians include additional Old Testament texts that are not found in other Bibles. These include: The Prayer of Manasseh 1 Esdras 3 Maccabees Psalm 151 The Odes
  • New Testament (27 books)
    • Gospels (4 books)
    • Acts of the Apostles (1 book)
    • Epistles – Pauline Letters (14 letters)
    • Epistles – General Letters (7 letters)
    • Revelation to John (1 book)
  • Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books (10 books)
    • Tobit
    • Judith
    • Additions to Esther
    • Wisdom of Solomon
    • Sirach/Ecclesiasticus
    • Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah
    • Additions to Daniel: Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Jews; Susanna; Bel and the Dragon

The most common order and number used by Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians is as follows:

    • Old Testament (39 or 46 or 49 books)
      • Pentateuch
      • Historical Books
      • Poetic/Wisdom Literature
      • Major Prophets
      • Minor Prophets

Additional Old Testament Books: Catholic and Orthodox Christians include additional Old Testament texts that are not found in other Bibles. These include: The Prayer of Manasseh 1 Esdras 3 Maccabees Psalm 151 The Odes

  • New Testament (27 books)
    • Gospels
    • Acts of the Apostles
    • Epistles – Pauline Letters
    • Epistles – General Letters
    • Revelation to John
  • Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books (7 or 10 books)
    • Tobit
    • Judith
    • Additions to Esther
    • Wisdom of Solomon
    • Sirach/Ecclesiasticus
    • Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah
    • Additions to Daniel: Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Jews; Susanna; Bel and the Dragon

Understanding the variations in number and order of books in different versions/translations of the Bible can help readers navigate different editions and deepen their understanding of this important text.