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The Bible (literally meaning "the books") refers to a collection of religious texts or scriptures which are central to the religious traditions of Judaism and Christianity. The term Bible can be understood as a sinlge book compiled of various texts as well as a concept [see N1].


In simplest terms, the Bible is a collection of sacred texts central to the two Abrahamic religious beliefs of Judaism and Christianity. It consists of two main sections: the Hebrew Bible, known as the Old Testament in Christianity, and the New Testament. The Hebrew Bible is made up of books such as the Torah (Law), Prophets, and Writings, while the New Testament includes the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles, and Revelation. These texts were written by various authors over many centuries, encompassing a range of literary genres such as history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, and letters. The Bible contains teachings on faith, morality, and spirituality, and is considered a foundational religious text for Jews and Christians alike. It has been translated into numerous languages and is one of the most widely read and studied books in the world.

Brief History

circa 1400 BCE -

The Bible's history spans thousands of years and involves the development of two main collections of texts: the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament. The Hebrew Bible, also known as the Tanakh in Judaism, is a collection of sacred texts written in Hebrew (and some Aramaic) over many centuries. It includes the Torah (Law), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings), which together encompass historical narratives, poetry, law, prophecy, and wisdom literature. These texts were composed and compiled between approximately the twelfth and second centuries BCE.

The New Testament contains writings about the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as the early Christian church. These texts, written in Greek, include the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation. They were written in the first century CE by the apostles and other early Christian leaders. The canonization process for the New Testament occurred over the following centuries, conculding sometime in the mid third century CE.

Books of the Bible

circa 1300 BCE - 450 CE

The texts are organized into different books, which are further divided into chapters and then verses. The Bible is traditionally divided into two main sections: the Old Testament, which includes the Hebrew Scriptures, and the New Testament, which contains texts central to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the early Christian church.

The books of the Bible encompass a diverse range of genres, including narrative, poetry, wisdom literature, prophecy, and epistles. These texts were written by multiple authors and edited over time, resulting in a rich tapestry of stories, teachings, and reflections that have shaped religious thought and cultural heritage across the world. The books of the Old Testament vary slightly in content and arrangement between Jewish and Christian traditions, while the New Testament is consistent among most Christian denominations. Overall, the books of the Bible provide guidance, inspiration, and spiritual insight for millions of people worldwide.

Major Sections

circa 2000-200 BCE

Old Testament
The Old Testament is the first section of the modern day Christian Bible and encompasses a rich collection of ancient religious texts originating in the Judaic scriptures consisting of laws, histories, poetry, and prophecies. It corresponds largely to the Hebrew Bible, which is the sacred scripture of Judaism. The Old Testament provides the foundation for Christian beliefs and includes key narratives such as the creation story, the history of the Israelites, and the lives of important figures such as Abraham, Moses, and David. These texts offer moral teachings and spiritual insights that have been revered by believers for centuries.

circa 50-200 CE

New Testament
The New Testament is the second section of the modern day Christian Bible, comprising 27 books that discuss and provide information about the teachings and life of Jesus, the early Christian church, and theological letters. Written by various authors in the first century CE, these texts are foundational to the beliefs and practices of Christianity. The New Testament begins with the Gospels, which narrate the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and continues with the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation. The New Testament's books were written in Greek and have been translated into numerous languages, making it one of the most widely studied and influential texts in human history.

Notable Manuscripts

circa 125-175 CE

Papyrus P52
Also known as the John Ryland's Papyrus 457 or the St John's fragment, it is a fragment from a papyrus codex. Tha recto of the small (almost credit card sized) contains parts of seven lines from the Gospel of John 18:31–33, in Greek, and the back (verso) contains parts of seven lines from verses 37–38.

circa 1450 CE

Gutenberg Bible

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See Also

External Resources


Recommended Readings

Unearthing the Bible (Titus Kennedy)

Unearthing the Bible

From the earliest tablets of creation to artifacts connected with the life and resurrection of Jesus, Unearthing the Bible shows you can be confident there is an abundance of archaeological support for the history told in the Scriptures. Using this visual guide, you can find context for your faith as you make your way through the Bible.
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Excavating the Evidence for Jesus

Excavating the Evidence for Jesus

Excavating the Evidence for Jesus progresses chronologically through the Gospels, noting the many relevant archaeological, historical, geographic, and literary findings. As you read, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether the evidence confirms the existence and story of Jesus, and determine whether the Gospels are worthy...
See on Amazon

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