How to Study the Bible
Establish a time for daily reading and study.
Before reading, pray for divine guidance to open your thought to the meaning of the Scriptures.
Get a good Bible dictionary, a set of maps, a complete concordance, and a couple of Bible commentaries to use as you study.
Discover the layout of the Bible.
Take one book at a time and ask yourself:
What time in history is being covered?
Who is the author?
What is his purpose in writing?
Who is the intended audience?
What is the message?
Keep a notebook of your inspiration as you study.
Select verses or passages to commit to memory.
Joan Snipes writes, "The Bible is not just one book written by one author. It is more like a library of books. It was written over a period of many years by a number of different writers. Writing styles in the Bible vary considerably. One can find history, poetry, short stories, laws, prophecy, drama, letters, genealogy, biography, theology, essays, songs, revelation, sermons, and parables.
The Hebrew Bible is arranged in three parts: the Law or Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings or Hagiographa." [p. 6 That Ye May Teach the Children] The Bible consists of 66 books. When teaching children about the Bible, you might explain that the Bible is a library of 66 books divided into two major sections. The two sections are the Old Testament and the New Testament. Since vocabulary work is essential to growing in an understanding of the Scriptures, have your students look up the meaning of "testament" in a Bible dictionary. "Testament" means covenant or agreement. So we have an old agreement with God from Mosaic tradition and a new agreement with God from the teachings of Jesus in the Old and New Testaments.
An easy way to remember how many books are in the Bible and in each testament is to count how many letters there are in "old." Three. How many in testament? Nine. 39 = the number of books in the Old Testament. Okay, how many letters in "new"? Three. How many in testament? Nine. This time, multiply 3 x 9 and you get 27. Twenty-seven books in the New Testament for a total of 66 books. Just remember to multiply the "new" numbers.
The Old Testament has 39 books
Old = 3
The New Testament has 27 books
New = 3
Testament = 9
3 X 9 = 27 books
Total books in the Bible = 66
39 + 27 = 66
Some scholars divide the English Bible into categories.
The Old Testament is divided into thirty-nine books as follows:
"The Law, also called the Books of Moses or the Pentateuch (five: Genesis through Deuteronomy.)
The Books of History (twelve: Joshua through Esther)
The Books of Poetry and Wisdom (five: Job through the Song of Solomon)
The Books of Prophecy (seventeen: Isaiah through Malachi)
The New Testament consists of twenty-seven books divided as follows:
Gospels (four: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
History (one: The Acts of the Apostles, a sequel to Luke)
Epistles or Letters (twenty-one: Romans through Jude)
Revelation or Apocalypse (one: Revelation, the last book of the Bible)"
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