Books of the Bible

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
For the edition of the Bible without chapters and verses, see The Books of the Bible.

Different religious groups include different books in their Biblical canons, in varying orders, and sometimes divide or combine books, or incorporate additional material into canonical books. Christian Bibles range from the sixty-six books of the Protestant canon to the eighty-one books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church canon.

The Tanakh or T-N-K canon contains twenty-four books divided into three parts: the five books of the Torah ("teaching"); the Nevi'im ("prophets"); and the Ketuvim ("writings"). The first part of Christian Bibles is called the Old Testament, which contains, at minimum, the above twenty-four books but divided into thirty-nine books and ordered differently, sometimes also called the Hebrew Bible.

The Catholic Church and Eastern Christian churches also hold that certain deuterocanonical books and passages are part of the Old Testament canon. The second part is the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books; the four Canonical gospels, Acts of the Apostles, twenty-one Epistles or letters and the Book of Revelation.

The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches may have minor differences in their lists of accepted books. The list given here for these churches is the most inclusive: if at least one Eastern church accepts the book it is included here.

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament[edit]

Hebrew Bible[edit]

Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE. A popular former theory is that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BCE, the Prophets c. 200 BCE, and the Writings c. 100 CE,[1] perhaps at a hypothetical Council of Jamnia, but this position is increasingly rejected by most modern scholars.

Christian Old Testament[edit]

The books of the Old Testament, showing their positions in both the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, shown with their names in Hebrew) and Christian Bibles. The Deuterocanon or Apocrypha are colored differently from the Protocanon (the Hebrew Bible books considered canonical by all).

Protestants and Catholics[2] use the Masoretic Text as the textual basis for their translations of the protocanonical books (those accepted as canonical by both Jews and all Christians), with various changes derived from a multiplicity of other ancient sources (such as the Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.), while generally using the Septuagint and Vulgate, now supplemented by the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts, as the textual basis for the deuterocanonical books.

The Eastern Orthodox use the Septuagint as the textual basis for the entire Old Testament in both protocanonical and deuteroncanonical books—to use both in the Greek for liturgical purposes, and as the basis for translations into the vernacular.[3][4] Most of the quotations (300 of 400) of the Old Testament in the New Testament, while differing more or less from the version presented by the Masoretic text, align with that of the Septuagint.[5]

Intertestamental books[edit]

The intertestamental books, largely written during the intertestamental period, are called the Biblical apocrypha ("hidden things") by Protestants, the deuterocanon ("second canon") by Catholics, and the deuterocanon or anagignoskomena ("worthy of reading") by Orthodox. These are works recognized by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches as being part of scripture (and thus deuterocanonical rather than apocryphal), but Protestants do not recognize them as divinely inspired.

Many other Christians recognize them as good, but not on the level of the other books of the Bible. Anglicanism considers the apocrypha "read for example of life" but not used "to establish any doctrine."[6] Luther made a parallel statement in calling them: "not considered equal to the Holy Scriptures, but are useful and good to read."[7]

The difference in canons derives from the difference in the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. Books found in both the Hebrew and the Greek are accepted by all denominations, and by Jews, these are the protocanonical books. Catholics and Orthodox also accept those books present in manuscripts of the Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament with great currency among the Jews of the ancient world, with the coda that Catholics consider 3 Esdras and 3 Maccabees apocryphal.

Most quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, differing by varying degrees from the Masoretic Text, are taken from the Septuagint. When the Jews closed the Old Testament canon, two criteria were used, that the book be written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and that it be no younger than the time of Ezra. This process led to the 24/39 books of the Tanakh and Old Testament. (However, Daniel was written several hundred years after the time of Ezra, and since that time several books of the Septuagint have been found in the original Hebrew, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Cairo Geniza, and at Masada, including a Hebrew text of Sirach (Qumran, Masada) and an Aramaic text of Tobit (Qumran); the additions to Esther and Daniel are also in their respective Semitic languages.)

The unanimous consensus of modern (and ancient) scholars consider several other books, including 1 Maccabees and Judith, to have been composed in Hebrew or Aramaic. Opinion is divided on the book of Baruch, while it is acknowledged that the Epistle of Jeremiah, the Wisdom of Solomon, and 2 Maccabees are originally Greek compositions.

Eastern Orthodox[edit]

Additional books accepted by the Eastern Orthodox:

Syrian Orthodox[edit]

Additional books accepted by the Syrian Orthodox (due to inclusion in the Peshitta):

Ethiopian Orthodox[edit]

The Ethiopian Tewahedo church accepts all of the deuterocanonical books of Catholicism and anagignoskomena of Eastern Orthodoxy except for the four Books of Maccabees.[10] It accepts the 24/39 books of the Masoretic Text along with the following books, called the "narrow canon".[11] The enumeration of books in the Ethiopic Bible varies greatly between different authorities and printings.[12]


The table uses the spellings and names present in modern editions of the Bible, such as the New American Bible Revised Edition, Revised Standard Version and English Standard Version. The spelling and names in both the 1609–1610 Douay Old Testament (and in the 1582 Rheims New Testament) and the 1749 revision by Bishop Challoner (the edition currently in print used by many Catholics, and the source of traditional Catholic spellings in English) and in the Septuagint differ from those spellings and names used in modern editions that derive from the Hebrew Masoretic text.[13]

For the Orthodox canon, Septuagint titles are provided in parentheses when these differ from those editions. For the Catholic canon, the Douaic titles are provided in parentheses when these differ from those editions. Likewise, the King James Version references some of these books by the traditional spelling when referring to them in the New Testament, such as "Esaias" (for Isaiah).

In the spirit of ecumenism more recent Catholic translations (e.g., the New American Bible, Jerusalem Bible, and ecumenical translations used by Catholics, such as the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition) use the same "standardized" (King James Version) spellings and names as Protestant Bibles (e.g., 1 Chronicles, as opposed to the Douaic 1 Paralipomenon, 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings, instead of 1-4 Kings) in those books universally considered canonical—the protocanonicals.

The Talmud in Bava Batra 14b gives a different order for the books in Nevi'im and Ketuvim. This order is also quoted in Mishneh Torah Hilchot Sefer Torah 7:15. The order of the books of the Torah are universal through all denominations of Judaism and Christianity.

The disputed books, included in one canon but not in others, are often called the Biblical apocrypha, a term that is sometimes used specifically to describe the books in the Catholic and Orthodox canons that are absent from the Jewish Masoretic Text and most modern Protestant Bibles. Catholics, following the Canon of Trent (1546), describe these books as deuterocanonical, while Greek Orthodox Christians, following the Synod of Jerusalem (1672), use the traditional name of anagignoskomena, meaning "that which is to be read." They are present in a few historic Protestant versions; the German Luther Bible included such books, as did the English 1611 King James Version.[6]

Empty table cells indicate that a book is absent from that canon.

(Jewish Bible)
(24 books)[14]
Books in bold are part of the Ketuvim
Old Testament
(39 books)
Old Testament
(46 books)
Eastern Orthodox
Old Testament
(51 books)
Original language
Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses
Nevi'im (Prophets)
YehoshuaJoshuaJoshua (Josue)Joshua (Iesous)Hebrew
Rut (Ruth)[15]RuthRuthRuthHebrew
Shemuel1 Samuel1 Samuel (1 Kings)[16]1 Samuel (1 Kingdoms)[17]Hebrew
2 Samuel2 Samuel (2 Kings)[16]2 Samuel (2 Kingdoms)[17]Hebrew
Melakhim1 Kings1 Kings (3 Kings)[16]1 Kings (3 Kingdoms)[17]Hebrew
2 Kings2 Kings (4 Kings)[16]2 Kings (4 Kingdoms)[17]Hebrew
Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles)[15]1 Chronicles1 Chronicles (1 Paralipomenon)1 Chronicles (1 Paralipomenon)Hebrew
2 Chronicles2 Chronicles (2 Paralipomenon)2 Chronicles (2 Paralipomenon)Hebrew
1 EsdrasHebrew
Ezra-Nehemiah[15]EzraEzra (1 Esdras)Ezra (2 Esdras)[17][18]Hebrew and Aramaic
NehemiahNehemiah (2 Esdras)Nehemiah (2 Esdras)[17][18]Hebrew
Tobit (Tobias)Tobit (Tobias)Aramaic (and Hebrew?)
1 Maccabees (1 Machabees)[20]1 MaccabeesHebrew
2 Maccabees (2 Machabees)[20]2 MaccabeesGreek
3 MaccabeesGreek
4 Maccabees[21]Greek
Ketuvim (Writings)Wisdom books
Iyov (Job)[15]JobJobJobHebrew
Tehillim (Psalms)[15]PsalmsPsalmsPsalms[22]Hebrew
Prayer of ManassehGreek
Mishlei (Proverbs)[15]ProverbsProverbsProverbsHebrew
Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes)[15]EcclesiastesEcclesiastesEcclesiastesHebrew
Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs)[15]Song of SolomonSong of Songs (Canticle of Canticles)Song of Songs (Aisma Aismaton)Hebrew
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)SirachHebrew
Nevi'im (Latter Prophets)Major prophets
YeshayahuIsaiahIsaiah (Isaias)IsaiahHebrew
YirmeyahuJeremiahJeremiah (Jeremias)JeremiahHebrew and Aramaic
Eikhah (Lamentations)[15]LamentationsLamentationsLamentationsHebrew
Baruch with Letter of Jeremiah as the 6th Chapter [23]Baruch[23]Hebrew[24]
Letter of Jeremiah as standalone book [25]Greek (majority view)[26]
YekhezqelEzekielEzekiel (Ezechiel)EzekielHebrew
Daniel[15]DanielDaniel[27]Daniel[27]Hebrew and Aramaic
Twelve Minor Prophets
The Twelve
Trei Asar
HoseaHosea (Osee)HoseaHebrew
ObadiahObadiah (Abdias)ObadiahHebrew
JonahJonah (Jonas)JonahHebrew
MicahMicah (Micheas)MicahHebrew
HabakkukHabakkuk (Habacuc)HabakkukHebrew
ZephaniahZephaniah (Sophonias)ZephaniahHebrew
HaggaiHaggai (Aggeus)HaggaiHebrew
ZechariahZechariah (Zacharias)ZechariahHebrew
MalachiMalachi (Malachias)MalachiHebrew

Several of the books in the Eastern Orthodox canon are also found in the appendix to the Latin Vulgate, formerly the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church.

Books in the Appendix to the Vulgate Bible
Name in Vulgate
Name in Eastern Orthodox use
3 Esdras1 Esdras
4 Esdras
Prayer of ManassehPrayer of Manasseh
Psalm of David when he slew Goliath (Psalm 151)Psalm 151

New Testament[edit]

In general, among Christian denominations, the New Testament canon is an agreed-upon list of 27 books, although book order can vary. The book order is the same in the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant tradition.[N 1] The Slavonic, Armenian and Ethiopian traditions have different New Testament book orders.

Catholic, E. Orthodox, Protestant,
and most Oriental Orthodox
Luther Bible[N 1]
[N 2]
Original language
(Koine Greek)
Canonical gospels
MatthewMatthewMatthewGreek (majority view: see note)[N 3][28][29][30]
Apostolic History
Pauline epistles
1 Corinthians1 Corinthians1 CorinthiansGreek
2 Corinthians2 Corinthians2 CorinthiansGreek
1 Thessalonians1 Thessalonians1 ThessaloniansGreek
2 Thessalonians2 Thessalonians2 ThessaloniansGreek
1 Timothy1 Timothy1 TimothyGreek
2 Timothy2 Timothy2 TimothyGreek
General epistles
HebrewsHebrews[N 1]HebrewsGreek[31]
JamesJames[N 1]JamesGreek
1 Peter1 Peter1 PeterGreek
2 Peter2 Peter2 Peter[N 2]Greek
1 John1 John1 JohnGreek
2 John2 John2 John[N 2]Greek
3 John3 John3 John[N 2]Greek
JudeJude[N 1]Jude[N 2]Greek
RevelationRevelation[N 1]Revelation[N 2]Greek

Chart notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Four New Testament works were questioned or "spoken against" by Martin Luther, and he changed the order of his New Testament to reflect this, but he did not leave them out, nor has any Lutheran body since. Traditional German "Luther Bibles" are still printed with the New Testament in this changed "Luther Bible" order.
  2. ^ a b c d e f The Peshitta, the traditional Syriac Bible, excludes 2 Peter, 2–3 John, Jude, and Revelation, but Bibles of the modern Syriac Orthodox Church include later translations of those books. Still today the lectionary followed by the Syrian Orthodox Church, present lessons from only the twenty-two books of Peshitta.
  3. ^ See Rabbinical translations of Matthew. Most modern scholars consider the Gospel of Matthew to have been composed in Koine Greek, see Language of the New Testament. According to tradition as expressed by Papias of Hierapolis, writing in the late first or early second centuries, the Gospel was originally composed in the "Hebrew dialect" (which at the time was largely the related Aramaic) and then translated into Greek (Eusebius, "Ecclesiastical History", 3.39.15-16; Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 30:3). According to Jerome, Hebrew manuscripts of Matthew were extant while he was translating the Vulgate: "Matthew ... composed a gospel of Christ at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek though by what author is uncertain. The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in the library at Caesarea, which Pamphilus so diligently gathered (St Jerome, "On Illustrious Men", Chapter 3).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McDonald & Sanders, page 4
  2. ^ "Liturgiam Authenticam" (in Latin and English.). Vatican City. 7 May 2001. Retrieved 18 January 2012. "Canon 24. 'Furthermore, it is not permissible that the translations be produced from other translations already made into other languages; rather, the new translations must be made directly from the original texts, namely ... the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, as the case may be, as regards the texts of Sacred Scripture.'" 
  3. ^ Ware, Timothy (1993). The Orthodox Church: New Edition. Penguin Books. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-14-014656-1. 
  4. ^ "Introduction". Orthodox Study Bible (Annotated ed.). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson. 2008. p. 1824. ISBN 978-0-7180-0359-3. 
  5. ^ McLay, R. Timothy (2004). The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research. Wm. B. Eerdman's. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-8028-6091-0. 
  6. ^ a b The foundational Thirty-Nine Articles of Anglicanism, in Article VI, asserts that these disputed books are not (to be) used "to establish any doctrine," but "read for example of life." Although the Biblical apocrypha are still used in Anglican Liturgy, ("Two of the hymns used in the American Prayer Book office of Morning Prayer, the Benedictus es and Benedicite, are taken from the Apocrypha. One of the offertory sentences in Holy Communion comes from an apocryphal book (Tob. 4: 8-9). Lessons from the Apocrypha are regularly appointed to read in the daily, Sunday, and special services of Morning and Evening Prayer. There are altogether 111 such lessons in the latest revised American Prayer Book Lectionary [The books used are: II Esdras, Tobit, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Three Holy Children, and I Maccabees.]" —The Apocrypha, Bridge of the Testaments), the modern trend has been to not even print the Old Testament apocrypha in editions of Anglican-used Bibles.
  7. ^ The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopædia and Scriptural Dictionary, Fully Defining and Explaining All Religious Terms, Including Biographical, Geographical, Historical, Archæological and Doctrinal Themes, p.521, edited by Samuel Fallows et al., The Howard-Severance company, 1901,1910. - Google Books
  8. ^ Including what is known as 5 Ezra (ch. 1-2) and 6 Ezra (ch. 15-16); only chapters 3-14 are denoted 4 Ezra proper in critical editions; the full book of 16 chapters is often printed as one work, "2 Esdras" or "4 Esdras", in popular editions. See Wikipedia's article on the naming conventions of all of the Books of Ezra (and Nehemiah). The naming conventions of the various deuterocanonical and apocryphal Books of Ezra/Esdras are different in every tradition (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Byzantine Catholic, Protestant). Critical editions generally have settled on the Vulgate naming conventions, where Ezra and Nehemiah were 1 and 2 Esdras, Esdras A is 3 Esdras, and the Latin Apocalypse of Ezra is 4 Esdras (Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha).
  9. ^ a b c Prayer of Azariah, Bel, and Susanna are often enumerated as one book, "Additions to Daniel"
  10. ^ According to some enumerations, including Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobit, 1 Esdras, 4 Ezra (not including chs. 1-2 or 15-16), Wisdom, the rest of Daniel, Baruch, and 1-2 Maccabees
  11. ^ These books are accounted pseudepigrapha by all other Christian groups, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox (Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Introduction)
  12. ^ "The Biblical Canon Of The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Today". Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  13. ^ Generally due to derivation from transliterations of names used in the Latin Vulgate in the case of Catholicism, and from transliterations of the Greek Septuagint in the case of the Orthodox (as opposed to derivation of translations, instead of transliterations, of Hebrew titles) such Ecclesiasticus (DRC) instead of Sirach (LXX) or Ben Sira (Hebrew), Paralipomenon (Greek, meaning "things omitted") instead of Chronicles, Sophonias instead of Zephaniah, Noe instead of Noah, Henoch instead of Enoch, Messias instead of Messiah, Sion instead of Zion, etc.
  14. ^ The 24 books of the Hebrew Bible are the same as the 39 books of the Protestant Old Testament, only divided and ordered differently: the books of the Minor Prophets are in Christian Bibles twelve different books, and in Hebrew Bibles, one book called "The Twelve". Likewise, Christian Bibles divide the Books of Kingdoms into four books, either 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings or 1-4 Kings: Jewish Bibles divide these into two books. The Jews likewise keep 1-2 Chronicles/Paralipomenon as one book. Ezra and Nehemiah are likewise combined in the Jewish Bible, as they are in many Orthodox Bibles, instead of divided into two books, as per the Catholic and Protestant tradition.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k This book is part of the Ketuvim, the third section of the Jewish canon. They have a different order in Jewish canon than in Christian canon.
  16. ^ a b c d The books of Samuel and Kings are often called First through Fourth Kings in the Catholic tradition, much like the Orthodox.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Names in parentheses are the Septuagint names and are often used by the Orthodox Christians.
  18. ^ a b Some Eastern Orthodox churches follow the Septuagint and the Hebrew bibles by considering the books of Ezra and Nehemiah as one book.
  19. ^ a b The Catholic and Orthodox Book of Esther includes 103 verses not in the Protestant Book of Esther.
  20. ^ a b The Latin Vulgate, Douay-Rheims, and Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition place First and Second Maccabees after Malachi; other Catholic translations place them after Esther.
  21. ^ In Greek Bibles, 4 Maccabees is found in the appendix.
  22. ^ Eastern Orthodox churches include Psalm 151 and the Prayer of Manasseh, not present in all canons.
  23. ^ a b In Catholic Bibles, Baruch includes a sixth chapter called the Letter of Jeremiah. Baruch is not in the Protestant Bible or the Tanakh.
  24. ^ Britannica 1911
  25. ^ Eastern Orthodox Bibles have the books of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah separate.
  26. ^ Hebrew (minority view); see Letter of Jeremiah for details.
  27. ^ a b In Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, Daniel includes three sections not included in Protestant Bibles. The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children are included between Daniel 3:23-24. Susanna is included as Daniel 13. Bel and the Dragon is included as Daniel 14. These are not in the Protestant Old Testament.
  28. ^ Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 3, Chapter 39.15-16
  29. ^ Hieronymous (St Jerome), Eusebius Sophronius (1999). On Illustrious Men (Fathers of the Church). The Catholic University of America Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-8132-0100-9. 
  30. ^ Philip Schaff (editors), Church Fathers; Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson (1994). The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Series II, Volume VI: Jerome, Letters and Select Works. Hendrickson. p. 8000. ISBN 978-1-56563-116-8. 
  31. ^ Contemporary scholars believe the Hebrews to have been written in Greek, though a minority believe it was originally written in Hebrew, then translated into Greek by Luke. See Wikipedia's New Testament article.

External links[edit]