About the Bible

Basic Division of the Bible

The word “Bible” comes from the Greek word biblia = books, (biblos = book). The Bible is therefore not just a book but a real small library, a library made up of 66 “books”. These books are united in two main parts, in the Old and New Testament. If we want to know what God demands of us today, then we must especially know the New Testament. It does not mean that the Old Testament should be neglected. All 66 Biblical books are permeated by the unique Spirit of God. Some Bible books have written more than forty inspired people, different social backgrounds and occupations, in the period of sixteen centuries. But it is entirely God’s work. People wrote down what God had told them.

The Old Testament contains 39 books:

  1. The Law – 5
  2. History – 12
  3. Poetry and wisdom – 6
  4. Prophets – 16 (big – 4, small – 12)

In the Old Testament, there are seven additional books added in the Catholic Bible: Tobit, Judith, Books 1 and 2 of the Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, and some parts of Esther and Daniel. Since these books have never been included in the Bible accepted by the Jews, and even their originals in the Hebrew language are unknown, they are considered as apocryphal books.

The New Testament contains 27 books.

The Bible canon contains 66 books or 73 with apocryphal books (in the Catholic tradition still known as deuterocanonical or “second-canonical” books)

The Bible books are not arranged in an arbitrary order.

Old Testament

The Old Testament contains books divided into four basic, thematic groups.

Moses’ Pentateuch (the Torah):

  1. The Book of Genesis
  2. The Book of Exodus
  3. The Book of Leviticus
  4. The Book of Numbers
  5. The Book of Deuteronomy

In these first five books, there is a basic overview of the world’s history and the history of the Jewish people. Particularly here is the law of Moses, the covenant of God with the Israeli people.

Historical Books:

  1. The Book of Joshua
  2. The Book of Judges
  3. The Book of Ruth
  4. The First Book of Samuel
  5. The Second Book of Samuel
  6. The Book of Kings
  7. The Second Book of Kings
  8. The First Book of Chronicles
  9. The Second Book of Chronicles
  10. The Book of Ezra
  11. The Book of Nehemiah
  12. The Book of Ester

These twelve books talk about the fate of the Jewish people after coming to the promised land of Canaan.

Psalms and Wisdom books:

  1. The Book of Psalms
  2. The Book of Job
  3. The Book of Proverbs
  4. Ecclesiastes
  5. The Song of Songs
  6. Lamentations

In these books, we find the spirit of Jewish worship, which is particularly pronounced in the Jewish poem – the book of Psalms. In it we find a multitude of wonderful prayers and hymns.

Prophetic Books:

  1. The Book of Isaiah
  2. The Book of Jeremiah
  3. The Book of Ezekiel
  4. The Book of Daniel
  5. The Book of Hosea
  6. The Book of Joel
  7. The Book of Amos
  8. The Book of Obadiah
  9. The Book of Jonah
  10. The Book of Micah
  11. The Book of Nahum
  12. The Book of Habakkuk
  13. The Book of Zephaniah
  14. The Book of Haggai
  15. The Book of Zachariah
  16. The Book of Malachi

In these sixteen books we find the words of prophets (inspired by the God’s Word) which God has, from time to time, sent to his people. Here, in a vivid series, warnings, consolations, controversies, promises and threats alternate and thus witness the dynamic history of a nation.

New Testament

The New Testament is also made on the basis of a specific plan. Knowing this plan is of special importance.


  1. Mathew
  2. Mark
  3. Luke
  4. John

The first four books of the New Testament represent some kind of descriptions of Jesus’ life. They provide evidence of its divine power and origin. About the Gospel, the Apostle John declares so:

“But these are written that you may believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (Jn 20,31)

Acts of the Apostles: the fifth book of the New Testament describes the birth and history of the Church of Christ and shows the path and the way how someone can become a Christian. Many conversions are described here. From this book we find out how did the people at the beginning of the Christian era were on the path to Jesus Christ and his Church. The Acts of the Apostles give an answer to the question: How can a man be saved??

Epistles: after the Acts of the Apostles follows 21 epistles to Christian communities and some believers. In these letters (scriptures) it is explained how to live the Christian life and how to organize worship and community life.

  1. The Epistle to the Romans (Romans)
  2. The First Epistle to the Corinthians (1st Corinthians)
  3. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (2nd Corinthians)
  4. The Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians)
  5. The Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians)
  6. The Epistle to the Philippians (Philippians)
  7. The Epistle to the Colossians (Colossians)
  8. The First Epistle to the Thessalonians (1st Thessalonians)
  9. The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (2nd Thessalonians)
  10. The First Epistle to Timothy (1st Timothy)
  11. The Second Epistle to Timothy (2nd Timothy)
  12. The Epistle to Titus (Titus)
  13. The Epistle to Philemon (Philemon)
  14. The Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews)
  15. James’s Epistle (James)
  16. The First Peter’s Epistle (1st Peter)
  17. The Second Peter’s Epistle (2nd Peter)
  18. The First John’s Epistle (1st John)
  19. The Second John’s Epistle (2nd John)
  20. The Third John’s Epistle (3rd John)
  21. The Epistle of Jude (Jude)

The Book of Revelation: the last book in the Bible has a prophetic character. It tells the Christian about his future homeland, about “the new heaven and the new earth.” The book contains the most wonderful promises to all who obey God’s Word and persevere in the faith to the end.


Jovanović, Mladen. (2002). Uvodu Bibliju. Zagreb: Institut za biblijske studije u Zagrebu.