The Bible Bookcase

If the 66 books of the Bible were published as separate volumes then they might look something like this. The Old Testament is on the top three shelves with the New Testament on the bottom shelf.


The Old Testament is arranged by type of book. The Law is the foundation of the rest of the Bible and is a mixture of the early History of the people of Israel and the laws God gave them as a nation. The History books provide a history of the Israelites from the time they entered their promised land (in Joshua) through to the exile (at the end of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles) and after the return from exile (Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther).

The Wisdom books were mostly written around the time of King David and King Solomon, whose histories are recorded in 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 Kings. The writings of the Prophets start a couple of centuries later. The four largest books come first and are usually called the Major Prophets because of their size and they are followed by the twelve Minor Prophets. The whole of the Old Testament was referred to as “The Law and the Prophets” (see Matthew 7:12 and Acts 13:15) in Jesus’ time as the History and Wisdom literature is also prophetic in the sense of revealing God’s word to his people.

The New Testament has four Gospels which give an account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, a history of the early church called Acts of the Apostles, and 22 letters, most of which are very short.

Note that the Minor Prophets and the New Testament Letters are not to scale on the diagram as some of them are only a few pages long.


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