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The Bible is the collection of sacred writings or books of Judaism and Christianity.The books of the Bible vary depending on tradition.
The collection of books used by Judaism is called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible.
The collection of books used by Christianity is called the Holy Bible, Scriptures, Word of God, or Christian Bible. Christianity includes the books of the Tanakh within a section of the Bible called the Old Testament, though these books are traditionally ordered differently and may include additional books. The Christian Bible also includes a second section called the New Testament.
Derivation of term Bible

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary the word bible is from Anglo-Latin biblia, traced from the same word through Medieval Latin and Late Latin, as used in the phrase biblia sacra ("holy books"). This then stemmed from the term (Greek: τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια Ta biblia ta hagia, "the holy books"), which derived from biblion ("paper" or "scroll,” the ordinary word for "book"), which was originally a diminutive of byblos ("Egyptian papyrus"), possibly so called from the name of the Phoenician port from which Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece.

Biblical scholar Mark Hamilton states that the Greek phrase Ta biblia ("the books") was "an expression Hellenistic Jews used to describe their sacred books several centuries before the time of Jesus," and would have referred to the Septuagint.The Online Etymology Dictionary states, "The Christian scripture was referred to in Greek as Ta Biblia' as early as c.223."
The Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible (Hebrew: תנ"ך) consists of 39 books. "Hebrew" in "Hebrew Bible" may refer to either the Hebrew language or to the Hebrew people who historically used Hebrew as a spoken language, and have continuously used the language in prayer and study, or both. Tanakh is an acronym for the three parts of the Hebrew Bible: the Torah ("Teaching/Law" also known as the Pentateuch), Nevi'im ("Prophets"), and Ketuvim ("Writings,” or Hagiographa), and is used commonly by Jews but unfamiliar to many English speakers and others (Alexander 1999, p. 17). (See Table of books of Judeo-Christian Scripture).
The Torah, or "Teaching," is also known as the five books of Moses, thus Chumash or Pentateuch (Hebrew and Greek for "five," respectively).
The Pentateuch is composed of the following five books
The Hebrew book titles come from the first words in the respective texts. The Hebrew title for Numbers, however, comes from the fifth word of that text.
The Torah focuses on three moments in the changing relationship between God and people.
  • The first eleven chapters of Genesis provide accounts of the creation (or ordering) of the world, and the history of God's early relationship with humanity.
  • The remaining thirty-nine chapters of Genesis provide an account of God's covenant with the Hebrew patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (also called Israel), and Jacob's children (the "Children of Israel"), especially Joseph. It tells of how God commanded Abraham to leave his family and home in the city of Ur, eventually to settle in the land of Canaan, and how the Children of Israel later moved to Egypt.
  • The remaining four books of the Torah tell the story of Moses, who lived hundreds of years after the patriarchs. His story coincides with the story of the liberation of the Children of Israel from slavery in Ancient Egypt, to the renewal of their covenant with God at Mount Sinai, and their wanderings in the desert until a new generation would be ready to enter the land of Canaan. The Torah ends with the death of Moses.
Traditionally, the Torah contains the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, of God, revealed during the passage from slavery in the land of Egypt to freedom in the land of Canaan. These commandments provide the basis for Halakha (Jewish religious law).
The Torah is divided into fifty-four portions which are read in turn in Jewish liturgy, from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Deuteronomy, each Sabbath. The cycle ends and recommences at the end of Sukkot, which is called Simchat Torah.
The Nevi'im, or "Prophets," tells the story of the rise of the Hebrew monarchy, its division into two kingdoms, and the prophets who, in God's name, judged the kings and the Children of Israel. It ends with the conquest of the Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians and the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians, and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Portions of the prophetic books are read by Jews on the Sabbath (Shabbat). The Book of Jonah is read on Yom Kippur.
According to Jewish tradition, Nevi'im is divided into eight books. Contemporary translations subdivide these into seventeen books.
The eight books are:
  • I. Joshua or Yehoshua [יהושע]
  • II. Judges or Shoftim [שופטים]
  • III. Samuel or Shmu'el [שמואל] (often divided into two books; Samuel may be considered the last of the judges or the first of the prophets, as his sons were named judges but were rejected by the Hebrew nation)
  • IV. Kings or Melakhim [מלכים] (often divided into two books)
  • V. Isaiah or Yeshayahu [ישעיהו]
  • VI. Jeremiah or Yirmiyahu [ירמיהו]
  • VII. Ezekiel or Yehezq'el [יחזקאל]
  • VIII. Trei Asar (The Twelve Minor Prophets) תרי עשר
    1. Hosea or Hoshea [הושע]
    2. Joel or Yo'el [יואל]
    3. Amos [עמוס]
    4. Obadiah or Ovadyah [עבדיה]
    5. Jonah or Yonah [יונה]
    6. Micah or Mikhah [מיכה]
    7. Nahum or Nachum [נחום]
    8. Habakkuk or Habaquq [חבקוק]
    9. Zephaniah or Tsefania [צפניה]
    10. Haggai [חגי]
    11. Zechariah or Zekharia [זכריה]
    12. Malachi or Malakhi [מלאכי]
The Ketuvim, or "Writings," may have been written during or after the Babylonian Exile but no one can be sure. According to Rabbinic tradition, many of the psalms in the book of Psalms are attributed to David; King Solomon is believed to have written Song of Songs in his youth, Proverbs at the prime of his life, and Ecclesiastes at old age; and the prophet Jeremiah is thought to have written Lamentations. The Book of Ruth is the only biblical book that centers entirely on a non-Jew. The book of Ruth tells the story of a non-Jew (specifically, a Moabite) who married a Jew and, upon his death, followed in the ways of the Jews; according to the Bible, she was the great-grandmother of King David. Five of the books, called "The Five Scrolls" (Megilot), are read on Jewish holidays: Song of Songs on Passover; the Book of Ruth on Shavuot; Lamentations on the Ninth of Av; Ecclesiastes on Sukkot; and the Book of Esther on Purim. Collectively, the Ketuvim contain lyrical poetry, philosophical reflections on life, and the stories of the prophets and other Jewish leaders during the Babylonian exile. It ends with the Persian decree allowing Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.
Ketuvim contains eleven books:
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The Tanakh was mainly written in Biblical Hebrew, with some portions (notably in Daniel and Ezra) in Aramaic.

Some time in the 2nd or 3rd century BC, the Torah was translated into Koine Greek, and over the next century, other books were translated (or composed) as well. This translation became known as the Septuagint and was widely used by Greek-speaking Jews, and later by Christians. It differs somewhat from the later standardized Hebrew (Masoretic Text). This translation was promoted by way of a legend that seventy separate translators all produced identical texts.

From the 800s to the 1400s, Jewish scholars today known as Masoretes compared the text of all known Biblical manuscripts in an effort to create a unified, standardized text. A series of highly similar texts eventually emerged, and any of these texts are known as Masoretic Texts (MT). The Masoretes also added vowel points (called niqqud) to the text, since the original text only contained consonant letters. This sometimes required the selection of an interpretation, since some words differ only in their vowels— their meaning can vary in accordance with the vowels chosen. In antiquity, variant Hebrew readings existed, some of which have survived in the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea scrolls, and other ancient fragments, as well as being attested in ancient versions in other languages.

Versions of the Septuagint contain several passages and whole books beyond what was included in the Masoretic texts of the Tanakh. In some cases these additions were originally composed in Greek, while in other cases they are translations of Hebrew books or variants not present in the Masoretic texts. Recent discoveries have shown that more of the Septuagint additions have a Hebrew origin than was once thought. While there are no complete surviving manuscripts of the Hebrew texts on which the Septuagint was based, many scholars believe that they represent a different textual tradition ("vorlage") from the one that became the basis for the Masoretic texts.
Jews also produced non-literal translations or paraphrases known as targums, primarily in Aramaic. They frequently expanded on the text with additional details taken from Rabbinic oral tradition.
The two Torahs of Rabbinic Judaism
By the Hellenistic period of Jewish history, Jews were divided over the nature of the Torah. Some (for example, the Sadducees) believed that the Chumash contained the entire Torah, that is, the entire contents of what God revealed to Moses at Sinai and in the desert. Others, principally the Pharisees, believed that the Chumash represented only that portion of the revelation that had been written down (i.e., the Written Torah or the Written Law), but that the rest of God's revelation had been passed down orally (thus composing the Oral Law or Oral Torah). Orthodox and Masorti and Conservative Judaism state that the Talmud contains some of the Oral Torah. Reform Judaism also gives credence to the Talmud containing the Oral Torah, but, as with the written Torah, asserts that both were inspired by, but not dictated by, God.
The Old Testament

The Christian Old Testament, while having most or all books in common with the Jewish Tanakh, varies from Judaism in the emphasis it places and the interpretations it gives them. The books come in a slightly different order. In addition, some Christian groups recognize additional books as canonical members of the Old Testament, and they may use a different text as the canonical basis for translations.

Differing Christian usages of the Old Testament
The Septuagint (Greek translation, from Alexandria in Egypt under the Ptolemies) was generally abandoned in favour of the Masoretic text as the basis for translations of the Old Testament into Western languages from Martin Luther's Protestant Bible to the present day; already Jerome's Vulgate was based on the Hebrew. In Eastern Christianity, translations based on the Septuagint still prevail. Some modern Western translations make use of the Septuagint to clarify passages in the Masoretic text, where the Septuagint may preserve a variant reading of the Hebrew text. They also sometimes adopt variants that appear in texts discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
A number of books which are part of the Greek Septuagint but are not found in the Hebrew (Rabbinic) Bible are often referred to as deuterocanonical books by Catholics referring to a later secondary (i.e. deutero) canon. Most Protestants term these books as apocrypha. Evangelicals and those of the Modern Protestant traditions do not accept the deuterocanonical books as canonical, although Protestant Bibles included them until around the 1820s. However, the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches include these books as part of their Old Testament. The Catholic Church recognizes seven such books (Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, and Baruch), as well as some passages in Esther and Daniel. Various Orthodox Churches include a few others, typically 3 Maccabees, Psalm 151, 1 Esdras, Odes, Psalms of Solomon, and the Prayer of Manasseh. The Anglican Church uses the Apocryphal books liturgically, but not to establish doctrine. Therefore, editions of the Bible intended for use in the Anglican Church include these books, plus 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh.
The New Testament
The Bible as used by the majority of Christians includes the Rabbinic Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament, which relates the life and teachings of Jesus, the letters of the Apostle Paul and other disciples to the early church and the Book of Revelation.

The New Testament is a collection of 27 books, produced by Christians, with Jesus as its central figure, written primarily in Koine Greek in the early Christian period. Nearly all Christians recognize the New Testament (as stated below) as canonical scripture. These books can be grouped into:

Original language
The New Testament was probably completely composed in Koine Greek, the language of the earliest manuscripts. Some scholars believe that parts of the Greek New Testament (in particular, the Gospel of Matthew) are actually a translation of an Aramaic or Hebrew original. Of these, a small number accept the Syriac Peshitta as representative of the original. See further Aramaic primacy.
Historic editions
Concerning ancient manuscripts, the three main textual traditions are sometimes called the Western text-type, the Alexandrian text-type, and Byzantine text-type. Together they compose the majority of New Testament manuscripts. There are also several ancient versions in other languages, most important of which are the Syriac (including the Peshitta and the Diatessaron gospel harmony), Ge'ez and the Latin (both the Vetus Latina and the Vulgate).
The earliest surviving complete manuscript of the entire Bible is the Codex Amiatinus, a Latin Vulgate edition produced in eighth century England at the double monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow.
The earliest printed edition of the New Testament in Greek appeared in 1516 from the Froben press. It was compiled by Desiderius Erasmus on the basis of the few recent Greek manuscripts, all of Byzantine tradition, at his disposal, which he completed by translating from the Vulgate parts for which he did not have a Greek text. He produced four later editions of the text.
Erasmus was a Roman Catholic, but his preference for the textual tradition represented in Byzantine Greek text of the time rather than that in the Latin Vulgate led to him being viewed with suspicion by some authorities of his church.
The first edition with critical apparatus (variant readings in manuscripts) was produced by the printer Robert Estienne of Paris in 1550. The type of text printed in this edition and in those of Erasmus became known as the Textus Receptus (Latin for "received text"), a name given to it in the Elzevier edition of 1633, which termed it the text nunc ab omnibus receptum ("now received by all"). Upon it, the churches of the Protestant Reformation based their translations into vernacular languages, such as the King James Version.
The discovery of older manuscripts, such as the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus, led scholars to revise their opinion of this text. Karl Lachmann’s critical edition of 1831, based on manuscripts dating from the fourth century and earlier, was intended primarily to demonstrate that the Textus Receptus must finally be corrected by the earlier texts. Later critical texts are based on further scholarly research and the finding of papyrus fragments, which date in some cases from within a few decades of the composition of the New Testament writings.It is on the basis of these that nearly all modern translations or revisions of older translations have been made, though some still prefer the Textus Receptus or the similar "Byzantine Majority Text.”
Christian theology

While individual books within the Christian Bible present narratives set in certain historical periods, most Christian denominations teach that the Bible itself has an overarching message.

There are among Christians wide differences of opinion as to how particular incidents as described in the Bible are to be interpreted and as to what meaning should be attached to various prophecies. However, Christians in general are in agreement as to the Bible's basic message. A general outline, as described by C.S. Lewis, is as follows:
  1. At some point in the past, humanity learned to depart from God's will and began to sin.
  2. Because no one is free from sin, people cannot deal with God directly, so God revealed Himself in ways people could understand.
  3. God called Abraham and his progeny to be the means for saving all of humanity.
  4. To this end, He gave the Law to Moses.
  5. The resulting nation of Israel went through cycles of sin and repentance, yet the prophets show an increasing understanding of the Law as a moral, not just a ceremonial, force.
  6. Jesus brought a perfect understanding of the Mosaic Law, that of love and salvation.
  7. By His death and resurrection, all who believe are saved and reconciled to God.
Many people who identify themselves as Christians, Muslims, or Jews regard the Bible as inspired by God yet written by a variety of imperfect men over thousands of years. Belief in sacred texts is attested to in Jewish antiquity,and this belief can also be seen in the earliest of Christian writings. Various texts of the Bible mention Divine agency in relation to prophetic writings,the most explicit being 2 Tm 3:16: "All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice." In their book A General Introduction to the Bible, Norman Geisler and William Nix wrote: "The process of inspiration is a mystery of the providence of God, but the result of this process is a verbal, plenary, inerrant, and authoritative record."Some Biblical scholars,particularly Evangelicals, associate inspiration with only the original text; for example some American Protestants adhere to the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy which asserted that inspiration applied only to the autographic text of Scripture.
See also
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Baptism in Water
Doctrine of Inclusion
False Prophets
Gift of the Holy Spirit
Head Coverings
Lying Signs and Wonders
The Ultimate Reconciliation of All
Women in Ministry
Blood of Jesus
Born Again
God (The True God)
Life After Death
Audio Bible Online
The Brick Testament
Bible: King James Version
New Revised Standard Version of the Bible
NET Bible : The Biblical Studies Foundation - The #1 Online Collection of Bibles and Biblical Resources
World Wide Study Bible | Christian Classics Ethereal Library
American Bible Society
Talking Bible - Real Audio Bible
New American Bible
What the Bible Says to Kids
What the Bible Says About...
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