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Immanuel and St Andrew

The Parish Church of Immanuel and St Andrew, Streatham

452 Streatham High Road · London · SW16 3PY  ·  Tel: (020) 8679 6888

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What is the Bible?

Some brief notes to help you.

The Bible is a collection of documents, or books, which is at the heart of both the Christian and Jewish faiths.

Whatís in the books?

Many of the books contain history or similar accounts of events, but it is always history told against a background of faith. It is not just the story of certain events or characters, but the story of God in action both in history and in the lives of people.

As well as history the Bible contains many other sorts of writing, including songs, prayers, poetry, biography, letters and prophecy. Contrary to the popular view, prophecy is not about foretelling the future. It is the teachings or writings of people called prophets, who declared Godís message to the people of their day.

Godís message was sometimes encouragement or promise. At other times it could be some instruction, or even a judgement or a warning. The prophets did not usually set out to foretell the future, but often the message had relevance beyond the time when they spoke or wrote.

The Christian and Jewish Bibles

The Christian Bible contains two sections. The first section, usually called the Old Testament, is the larger of the two. It is also the Bible of the Jewish faith and is shared by both religions. It is often referred to as the Hebrew (or Jewish) Scriptures.

The Old Testament tells the story of the people of Israel up to about 400 years before the time of Jesus, including how they got their Law, which includes the Ten Commandments. It also contains a lot of prophecy, including promises that Christians believe were fulfilled by the coming of Jesus.

There is a list of the books of the Old Testament below, with page numbers for the church Bibles and a brief note of what they are.

The second, smaller, section, called the New Testament, contains the books which are special to the Christian faith. It includes the Gospels, the accounts of the life of Jesus.

Most of the other books in the New Testament are actually letters, written by St Paul and other early church leaders. Many of them were addressed to some of the new Christian communities which grew up in the first century AD (CE) after Jesusí death and resurrection. Some were addressed to other Christian leaders. The letters were written to explain the faith and deal with various problems that arose. With the Gospels they are the prime source of our understanding of the Christian message.

There is a list of the books of the New Testament below, with page numbers for the church Bibles and a brief note of what they are.

In the New Testament there are sometimes references to 'Scripture' or 'the Scriptures'. These mean the Old Testament, which was the Bible, or Scripture, already in existence when the New Testament books were being written and the events they describe were happening.

The Word of God

Christians believe that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is not just a collection of writings about the faith but the inspired Word of God, and that God speaks to us, and reveals himself to us, in and through it. That doesn't mean all Christians believe every word is literally true. After all, God can speak to us through stories as well as history - as Jesus did in his parables. But it is all true in the sense that it reveals the truth about God and what he does - and our relationship with him.

You can read some excerpts from the Bible, including some of Jesus' parables, by going to the page 'A Quick Read'.

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The Old Testament.

(The front section of our church Bibles)

The Old Testament is the 'Bible' that people had in the time of Jesus Ė the Hebrew Scriptures. It is the first (and bigger) part of our church Bibles.

Book Name Page
in the front section of our Bibles
Notes
Genesis 1 The books of the Jewish Law Ė including the early history of Israel
c. 2000-1200 BC (BCE)
Exodus 50  
Leviticus 91  
Numbers 121  
Deuteronomy 163  
Joshua 199 Books which tell the later history of Israel and stories from the same time
c. 1200-400 BC (BCE)
Judges 223  
Ruth 248  
1 Samuel 252  
2 Samuel 284  
1 Kings 311  
2 Kings 342  
1 Chronicles 371  
2 Chronicles 399  
Ezra 433  
Nehemiah 442  
Esther 456  
Job 464 Books of songs, poetry and 'wisdom'.
Psalms 500  
Proverbs 595  
Ecclesiastes 626  
Song of Solomon 634  
Isaiah 640 Books containing the writings, sayings or stories of the Prophets.
Jeremiah 708  
Lamentations 774  
Ezekiel 782  
Daniel 834  
Hosea 850  
Joel 860  
Amos 864  
Obadiah 873  
Jonah 874  
Micah 876  
Nahum 883  
Habakkuk 886  
Zephaniah 889  
Haggai 892  
Zechariah 894  
Malachi 903  

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The New Testament.

(The back section of our church Bibles)

The New Testament contains the writings special to the Christian faith. It is the second (and smaller) part of our church Bibles.

Most books have a 'short' title by which they are known (eg 'Matthew'), which appears first. The full title follows in brackets, (eg, 'The Gospel of Matthew').

Book Name Page
in the back section of our Bibles
Notes
Matthew (The Gospel of Matthew) 1 The Gospels - accounts of the life of Jesus
Mark (The Gospel of Mark) 33  
Luke (The Gospel of Luke) 53  
John (The Gospel of John) 88  
Acts (The Acts of the Apostles) 114 An account (by St Luke) of the growth of the early church after Jesus' death and resurrection
Romans (The letter to the Romans) 147 Letters from or attributed to St Paul
1 Corinthians (The 1st letter to the Corinthians) 162  
2 Corinthians (The 2nd letter to the Corinthians) 175  
Galatians (The letter to the Galatians) 184  
Ephesians (The letter to the Ephesians) 189  
Philippians (The letter to the Philippians) 193  
Colossians (The letter to the Colossians) 197  
1 Thessalonians (The 1st letter to the Thessalonians) 200  
2 Thessalonians (The 2nd letter to the Thessalonians) 203  
1 Timothy (The 1st letter to Timothy) 205  
2 Timothy (The 2nd letter to Timothy) 209  
Titus (The letter to Titus) 212  
Philemon (The letter to Philemon) 214  
Hebrews (The letter to the Hebrews) 215 Letters from other early Christian leaders
James (The letter of James) 226  
1 Peter (The 1st letter of Peter) 229  
2 Peter (The 2nd letter of Peter) 233  
1 John (The 1st letter of John) 236  
2 John (The 2nd letter of John) 239  
3 John (The 3rd letter of John) 240  
Jude (The letter of Jude) 241  
Revelation (The Revelation to John) 242 A book of prophecy - with warnings and encouragements, and the promise that, despite tribulation (graphically described!), salvation is assured.



If you think it would be useful to have a copy of these tables or notes you can download a Word version which you can print. Click on " download a Word version" and you will be able either to open it directly and print it from your browser (if your browser supports this) or to save it to disk and open it with your word processor later. You may like to keep a print in your Bible.

If you do not have Word or a compatible word processor click on the words "Word viewer" to visit Microsoft's website where you can obtain a free viewer program which will enable you to view and print Word documents.

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May we help you?

A Quick Read

Page last updated 15 August 2006.

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