The Bible is made up of 66 books. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament.
Below is a quick overview of these books.
Genesis is the first book of the Bible. The first twelve chapters cover four major events – Creation, The fall, The flood and the division of the Nations.
Chapter twelve introduces us to the call of Abram (Genesis 12). God promises to give his descendants the land of Canaan (Genesis 15). God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai, his wife, to Sarah (Genesis 17). Abraham and Sarah give birth to Isaac who marries Rebekah. She gives birth to Esau and Jacob.
God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32). Israel had twelve children from four women. The last two children of Israel – Joseph and Benjamin, were the sons of Rachel, Israel’s favourite wife. Joseph becomes the favourite of his father and envy of his other brothers.
Envy and hatred can bring the worst out of people, and the brothers of Joseph nearly kill him. Thanks to Reuben, the first child of Israel, they end up selling him to some traders instead.
Joseph ends up in Egypt, by God’s providence; he becomes the second most powerful man in Egypt. He eventually invites his family, now known as Israel, to live with him in Egypt, so ends Genesis.
Exodus opens with Joseph long dead. Israel has now grown into a massive number of people and the Egyptians, out of sheer fear, are keeping Israel under severe bondage (Exodus 1:6-14).
God rises up Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. It takes twelve plagues, and the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea to accomplish such a feat. Israel arrives in the wilderness and God introduces himself to them as their saviour (Exodus 20:1-2). Israel now transit from a large group of people into the people of God. God also gives them the Ten Commandments, informing these former slaves how to live as free people of God (Exodus 19 – 20).
Leviticus follows immediately after Exodus and is a continuation of the journey. Israel is camped at Mount Sinai in the wilderness (Leviticus 7:37-38) where God gives them guidance on how to live. Leviticus is all about offerings and feasts. Offerings have to do with sacrifice – our relationship with God. Feasts on the other hand tell us how to get on with one another.
Numbers tells us of Israel’s first attempt to take the land that God had promised Abraham. This book starts and ends with the counting of the children of Israel (Numbers 1 & 26). Twelve spies are sent out and for 40 days they spy the land that God has promised them (Numbers 13:25). Only Caleb and Joshua return with a good report, reassuring the people that they can take the land (Numbers 14:6-10). However, the children of Israel believe the report of the 10 other spies who say they cannot take the land because giants are there.
Unbelief and murmurings are the unfortunate feature in Numbers. This results in Israel wandering in the wilderness for 40 years due to their conduct and lack of faith. Only Caleb and Joshua, among the spies sent out originally, were to enter the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy – after wandering for forty years it is now time to enter the Promised Land again. By now all those adults who came out of Israel are dead and their children have grown up. God introduces them to the Law he initially gave them 40 years ago (Compare Exodus 20 with Deuteronomy 5). By the end of Deuteronomy Moses dies and Joshua becomes the new leader (Deuteronomy 34). The next book, Joshua, now narrates the next attempt to take the Promised Land. Please read the first chapter of Joshua. I leave you with one verse from that chapter that every leader (potential leader and committed believer) should know by heart.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)
To be continued
NOTES – The Protestant Bible has 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church’s Bible includes additional books. However, the protestant, catholic and Orthodox New testament all contain 27 books. For more details see http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_bibles.htm