The Bible (by -400), also called Scripture, is the holy book of Jews and Christians. They regard it as God’s message to the world. The word Bible comes from the Greek ta biblia, “the books”: It is made up of the sacred writings of Jews and Christians.
Scripture was the main name for the Bible in English before the middle 1800s. It is what Shakespeare called it. It is what Jesus and Paul call it in the King James Bible. It comes from scripturae, Latin for “writings”, which is short for “the law, the prophets and the writings”, the three main parts of the Bible in their day.
The Koran is the holy book of the Muslims. It has nothing to do with the Bible, even though it has some of the same stories. Muslims believe the Bible is a holy book, but one where God’s message is incomplete and got screwed up by people who wanted to make the prophet Jesus into a god.
The Christian Bible is made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament:
- The Old Testament is the Christian name for the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible. Its books were mostly written between -950 and -100 and took shape as a set of holy writings between -400 and +100.
- The New Testament is made up of the books that Christians added to the Jewish Bible. Its books were written between +30 and +130 and took shape between 140 and 367.
The Book of Mormon is made up of the books that Mormons added to the Christian Bible in the 1800s.
The gospels are the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. For Christians it is the heart of the Bible. The gospels tell the about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The rest of the Bible, both the Christian and Jewish parts, are there to help understand the gospels.
The Torah is made up of the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. For Jews it is the heart of the Bible. It has the Law of Moses, which God gave to Moses to give to them. It has hundreds of laws, like what not to eat. The first ten laws are known as the Ten Commandments. The rest of the Jewish Bible is there to help understand the Torah.
The Talmud is not part of the Bible. It has teachings about the Law that were passed down by word of mouth through the ages till it was written down in the 700s. It tells how to apply the Law to daily life.
The Septuagint is the Jewish Bible translated into Greek by the Library of Alexandria in the -100s.
The Vulgate is the Bible translated into Latin by St Jerome by 405.
The Apocrypha are those books of the Bible that Jews removed after the time of Christ, stuff like 1 Maccabees. Among Christians, many Protestants have removed them too.
– Abagond, 2006, 2016.
- Reading the Bible
- Does the Bible say that slavery is wrong?
- New Testament canon – how the New Testament came to be.
- God – the god of the Bible
- Jesus Christ
- Library of Alexandria