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How many books are in the Bible

Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Reading on April 11, 2023

    How many books are in the Bible?

    The Bible is the world’s most-read book. However, it’s not exactly a book, in fact, it’s an anthology, a collection of various religious scriptures and texts. All of which is sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, as well as other religions. Important figures appearing in the Bible include Moses, Kind David, Jesus Christ, and many others.

    As such, these texts are sort of like books on their own. But, how many of these texts are in the Bible? And what specific characteristics do the testaments and various versions of the Bible hold? In order to unravel that, be sure to read on.

    A brief history of the Bible

    The history of the Bible sure is complicated. This is largely due to the fact that the oldest books in the Bible were orally transmitted. So, there is a bit of limbo there between the written word and the aural story. However, the first books to be written were written on papyrus scrolls, though, unfortunately, no originals have survived to the present day.

    When it comes to the oldest texts in the Hebrew Bible, they are assumed to date back to around 1200 BCE. The oldest manuscripts were written in paleo-Hebrew, which was a form of a cuneiform pictograph, similar to other pictographs of the time.

    The famed Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest existing copies of the Hebrew Bible that aren’t fragmented, and they can be dated back to somewhere between 250 BCE and 100 CE.

    The entirety of the Bible was also translated into different languages, such as Latin and old Greek, in its early existence, and has become the most translated book in the world. When it comes to the old Greek translation, a famous example is the Septuagint, which is the oldest Greek translation of the original Hebrew texts.

    The Old Testament

    The Old Testament presents the first division of the biblical canon, relating to both Christianity and Judaism since it is based on the twenty-four books that make up Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. Understandably, the Old Testament consists of a collection of various books written by various authors throughout the centuries.

    According to Christianity, the books of the Old Testament are divided into four different sections. The Pentateuch, which corresponds to the Jewish Torah, consists of the first five books. Then, there are the history books that deal with the history of the ancient Jews in Israel, or Israelites as they’re also known. There are then the wisdom books as well as the poetic ones, containing psalms and songs such as the Song of Songs. Lastly, there are the books of the biblical prophets that talk about the dangers of turning away from God.

    It is important to note that Catholic Bibles include seven books in the Old Testament that other Protestant versions do not contain. These differences are explained further in the article.

    The New Testament

    The second division of the biblical canon is the New Testament, originally written in the Koine Greek language. It was also written by various authors, and it discusses the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, as well as various events of the time.

    Now, while the Old Testament may vary from one Christian denomination to another, the New Testament is recognized universally within branches of Christianity, ever since the period of late Antiquity and early churches.

    With that in mind, in practically all Christian traditions of today, the New Testament is made up of 27 books. These books include the four canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), The Acts of the Apostles, 13 Pauline epistles, The Epistle to the Hebrews, seven general epistles, and The Book of Revelation.

    Books of the Bible

    The Bible consists of 66 books in Protestant Bibles and 73 books in Catholic Bibles. As mentioned beforehand, a collection of different texts, written in different languages at different times. It is perhaps the world’s richest anthology.

    So, let’s get into a bit more detail by naming the individual books present in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

    Books of the Old Testament

    Some of the books of the Old Testament are canonical to most different churches, while some are considered apocrypha or deuterocanonical. But, we’re putting all that completely aside, so below is a list of books in their proper order regardless of which Bible you use.

    1. Genesis
    2. Exodus
    3. Leviticus
    4. Numbers
    5. Deuteronomy
    6. Joshua
    7. Judges
    8. Ruth
    9. 1 Samuel
    10. 2 Samuel
    11. 1 Kings
    12. 2 Kings
    13. 1 Chronicles
    14. 2 Chronicles
    15. Ezra
    16. Nehemiah
    17. Esther
    18. Job
    19. Psalms
    20. Proverbs
    21. Ecclesiastes
    22. Song of Solomon
    23. Isaiah
    24. Jeremiah
    25. Lamentations
    26. Ezekiel
    27. Daniel
    28. Hosea
    29. Joel
    30. Amos
    31. Obadiah
    32. Jonah
    33. Micah
    34. Nahum
    35. Habakkuk
    36. Zephaniah
    37. Haggai
    38. Zechariah
    39. Malachi

    New Testament Books of the Bible

    Just like with the Old Testament, we’re also including a proper list of all the books present in the New Testament, so here it is below.

    1. Matthew
    2. Mark
    3. Luke
    4. John
    5. Acts
    6. Romans
    7. 1 Corinthians
    8. 2 Corinthians
    9. Galatians
    10. Ephesians
    11. Philippians
    12. Colossians
    13. 1 Thessalonians
    14. 2 Thessalonians
    15. 1 Timothy
    16. 2 Timothy
    17. Titus
    18. Philemon
    19. Hebrews
    20. James
    21. 1 Peter
    22. 2 Peter
    23. 1 John
    24. 2 John
    25. 3 John
    26. Jude
    27. Revelation

    The Hebrew Bible and the Catholic Bible

    When it comes to the Hebrew Bible and the Catholic Bible, there are, of course, differences. As we mentioned earlier, the Christian Bible also includes the New Testament. Concerning the Old Testament, the number of books differs between the Bibles the Catholic Church uses and Protestant churches use due to ecclesiastical differences.

    The Jewish or Hebrew Bible and the Catholic Bible don’t contain the same books, and, in addition to that, the ones they do share, often don’t share the same order. So, while there are many similarities, there are also considerable differences between the two.

    Why does the Jewish Bible contain fewer books than the Christian Old Testament?

    The Jewish Bible, or Tanakh, and the Christian Old Testament are actually of the same length. The reason, however, that the Christian Old Testament seems to have more books, is due to the fact that Christians had divided the old Hebrew texts into multiple parts. Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles were divided into two parts each. Ezra-Nehemiah was divided into two separate books, and the Minor Prophets was turned into 12 separate books.

    What makes the Old Testament different in Roman Catholic Bibles?

    There is a significant difference between the Roman Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible. This difference is regarding the Old Testament. In the Protestant Bible, certain books from the Old Testament are considered deuterocanonical, which makes them pretty much non-canonical. The Old Testament in Protestant Bibles has 27 books, while the Old Testament in Catholic Bibles has 39.

    There are seven of these deuterocanonical books, and these are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. The Catholic Church believes these additional books to be inspired by the Holy Spirit like the rest of the Bible. There are also certain additions to Esther and Daniel.

    Audiobook collection of the Bible

    With the plethora of audiobook services available currently, experiencing the Bible in audio form is a perfect choice. It’s a great option accessibility-wise, and it can come in handy during Bible study.

    The ideal audiobook platform for all your audiobook needs is Speechify Audiobooks. Speechify’s audiobook platform is easy to use, practical, and available across multiple devices. It’s also available in many different languages.

    Most importantly, Speechify has many different versions of the Bible, so you can choose the one that resonates with your experience and religion.

    Listen to the Bible and other books about Christianity with Speechify Audiobooks today.

    Cliff Weitzman
    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.