The Bible Is…

This year I’m undertaking a little project: summarize the Bible in several parts by grouping its component books together into categories.  The origin of this project came from the question “in what order should I read the books of the Bible if I’ve never read any of it before?”  In fact, I wrote a blog post about this nearly 4 years ago.  Reading straight through in canonical order from cover to cover has its value, but it can be very difficult and confusing for a reader unfamiliar with the whole Bible already.

What I proceeded to work out was an order of Bible book reading that started with the heart of its message and spiraled out from there.  This prioritized approach recognizes that some parts of the Bible are more directly pertinent to the Christian message than others.  “All Scriptures are god-breathed and profitable…” St. Paul affirms (1 Tim. 3:16), but it is perfectly safe to admit that not all parts of Scripture are equally profitable, or profitable in the same way.  Someone new to the faith will benefit much more from reading the Gospel of Mark compared to the book of Numbers.

The result is a break-down of the Bible’s books into 16 categories.  Throughout the year I will write brief summaries of each of these categories, with the aim to show not only what books are in the Bible, but how they function within the overall canon.  Of course, there is considerable overlap between the sixteen categories, but for sake of basic introduction I’m keeping each book within one category only.

Here is the plan.  The Bible is…

#1 the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark)

#2 Origins (Genesis, John)

#3 Teaching/Law [Old Covenant]
(Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)

#4 the New Covenant (Galatians

#5 History (Joshua, Judges, Ruth,
1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Luke, Acts)

#6 Fulfillment (Isaiah, Matthew)

#7 Theology (James, Romans, Hebrews)

#8 General Epistles (Peter, Jude, John)

#9 Worship (Psalms)

#10 Paul’s Epistles (1 & 2 Thessalonians,
1 & 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus)

#11 Great Prophets
(Jeremiah, Lamentations, Daniel)

#12 Preaching (Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Obadiah, Joel, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)

#13 Apocalyptic (Ezekiel, Revelation)

#14 Wisdom (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs)

#15 Perspective (1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Baruch, Tobit, Judith,
1 & 2 Maccabees, 1 & 2 Esdras)

#16 Self-Reflective (Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus/Sirach)


About Fr. Brench

I'm an Anglican Priest and a sci-fi geek. Therefore, I write about liturgy & spiritual formation, theology & biblical studies, and Doctor Who. But I keep those blogs separate so I don't confuse too many people!
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