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Religion Library: Christianity

Sacred Texts

Written by: Beth Davies-Stofka

The canonical Christian Bible
(bracketed books are not accepted by all denominations)
Old Testament
PentateuchGenesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Historical BooksJoshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, [Tobit], [Judith], Esther, [1 Maccabees], [2 Maccabees]
Wisdom BooksJob, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, (Song of Songs), [Wisdom], [Sirach]
Major ProphetsIsaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, [Baruch], Ezekiel, Daniel
Minor ProphetsHosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah, Malachi
New Testament
GospelsMatthew, Mark, Luke, John
Apostolic HistoryActs
Letters of PaulRomans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
Other LettersHebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude

Christian scriptures are gathered in the Bible. The word bible comes from the medieval Latin biblia, which means books. Not all the literature produced in Judaism and Christianity is in the Bible. The list of books collected in the Bible is called the canon, a Greek word that means rule or norm. The canon contains only those books considered authoritative, and therefore read regularly, studied, and used in religious services.

Christianity collects the Jewish scriptures in the Old Testament. Twenty-seven manuscripts from the 1st century of the Common Era are collected in the New Testament. The first Christians defined testament in the sense of "will and testament," or "covenant," so the Old Testament is the record of the sacred covenant between God and the people through Abraham and Moses, and the New Testament is the record of the new Christian covenant through Jesus.


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