Intorduction into Bible Organization
God to the writers of the Bible, ”Take this down,” ”In the beginning I (God) created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God didn’t dictate His Word to a bunch of secretaries or stenographers, He spoke to their hearts threw His Holy Spirit. In other words He whispered His Inspiration into their ears and hearts.
As society started to evolve enough to keep historical records the Old Testament was pretty much written. The first five books were already intertwined in the Hebrew faith. The books of the prophets were studied and quoted during Hebrew worship services. The early theologians formed task forces (councils) in order to care for and pass the manuscripts through the generations.
As for the New Testament there were plenty of committee meetings about what books were really inspired by God. By the late fourth century, the New Testament was considered finished with the twenty-seven books you have today in your own Bible.
The Old Testament is organized into four categories: The Law, written by Moses himself (which are the basis for the Hebrew faith) include, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The History books, these books span from the time the Hebrews reentered Israel (after leaving Egypt) to the time they reentered Jerusalem after the exile (Joshua threw Esther).
The Wisdom books or wisdom literature mostly were written by King David and his son Solomon. From Job to the Songs of Solomon, were written stories and grappling-with-life situations and sayings, in order to guide and comfort the reader with their journey walk with God.
The final set of books in the Old Testament are broken down into major and minor categories. The reasoning is this, the major Prophetic writings are longer and there is more information about the writers of these books. In the books from Isaiah to Daniel, not only do we see the faith of these prophets but we get our first glimpses into the coming of the Messiah. The final twelve books of the Old Testament is considered the minor prophets, only because they were more obscure and their writings much shorter then the major prophets (Hosea to Malachi).
The New testament is broken down into four categories: The Gospels, History, Epistles( or letters) and Prophecy. The four Gospels were written by Jesus’ Apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These four books tells of Jesus and His ministry, death and resurrection from each of the writers own point of view.
There is only one historical book in the New Testament, Acts. Some in the theological circles consider this as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke. Acts tells of the beginning of not only the church but the spread of the good news of Jesus.
Following the historical book of Acts are the letters or Epistles of the apostle Paul. These letters (Romans-Philemon) were instructions and observances to the various churches and the people who were assisting Paul in his ministry. The book of Philemon was different because it was a plea to Philemon to forgive a runaway slave Onesimus who is now a brother in the Way.
The final book of the New Testament is also the only book of prophecy, Revelations. This book tells of the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world as we know it.
A book as complete and complex as the Bible could only come from God. It is God breathed on the writers and organizers of the Bible.