Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How many books in the Bible?

Protestants and Roman Catholics share the whole of the New Testament and 39 books of the Old Testament, though Esther and Daniel have a few additions in the Roman Catholic Bible, and their Bible includes 6 extra books
and First and Second Maccabees

The Catholic Encyclopedia says that they have 45 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New, making a total of 72 books.

Protestants will tell you that we have 66 books in our Bibles: the same 27 in our New Testaments and 39 in our Old Testament.
But several of these books should really be grouped together. Exodus-Numbers is really one continuous narrative, Samuel-Kings is really one book [and divided in illogical places in our Bibles], Chronicles is also one book, as are Ezra and Nehemiah. So our Old Testament is really a collection of 31 books. The Books of the Bible: a presentation of Today's New International Version also joins Chronicles with Ezra-Nehemiah, but this is not done in the Tenach [the Jewish Old Testament].

There is also one modification to make in the New Testament, because Luke-Acts is really one work in two volumes, thus reducing the New Testament to 26 books, giving us a total of 57 books in a Protestant Bible.


John Dekker said...

This seems like a very arbitrary number. Why, for example, didn't you count the Book of the Twelve as one book?

David McKay said...

Hi John
I know that the minor prophets are sometimes counted as one book, but they are obviously discrete, I think.