The Bible is a collection of 66 books, all of which fit into one of the sections below. In essence, Both the Old and New Testaments contain several “history” books which tell the story of God’s unfolding plan. The other writings – poetry, prophecy, and the letters – fit into various stages of the history, and should be read bearing in mind at what stage in the history they were written.
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History: The historical books of the Old Testament describe many events. Some of these include: the creation, man’s original sin, the choosing of Abram from among the scattered human race, and the history of his descendants, Israel. 17 books – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.
Poetry: The poetic books of the Old Testament are comprised largely of speeches, songs or sayings, and were written during the times covered by the historical books. 5 books – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.
Prophecy: The prophetic books of the Old Testament were written mainly during the time of the kings of Israel – covered by the historical books of 1 & 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. 17 books – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
History: The historical books of the New Testament cover the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; with the exception of Acts, which details the acts of the apostles after this time. 5 books – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts.
Acts Period Letters: These letters were written during the period covered by the book of Acts. they were written to believers who were living during the time that Israel was still the dominant nation in God’s plans for mankind. 15 books – Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
Post Acts Period Letters: These letters were written after the period covered by the book of Acts. They were written to believers who were living after Israel ceased to be a dominant nation in God’s plans for mankind. 7 books – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon.