24 October 2021 by Published in: Jared Smith, Bible Reading No comments yet

A Transcript Of The Video Study

If you have a copy of the Scriptures available, I’d like for you to open the Bible to the table of contents. The Bible is a library of 66 separate books. These books are arranged under two main headings—The Old Testament and the New Testament. There are 39 books belonging to the Old Testament, and there are 27 books belonging to the New Testament.

As a whole, the books belonging to the Old Testament record the history of God’s people prior to the incarnation of Christ. The books belonging to the New Testament record the history of God’s people after the incarnation of Christ. However, all of the books—Genesis to Revelation—sets forth the same message. That is what makes the Bible one complete book. What is that message? The Bible is a special revelation given to us by God, declaring the authority upon which the human race is in relationship to or with Him. Those who are in an unregenerate condition are in relationship TO God under the authority of the covenant of works; those who have been regenerated are in relationship WITH God under the authority of the covenant of grace. It is that simple, my friend.

Now, sometimes those who are unfamiliar with the Bible ask, “Where do I begin if I want to read through the Bible?” Well, where do you begin when you want to read other books? Do you not begin with the table of contents; do you not examine the chapter headings and become familiar with what it is you’ll be reading? I believe that is a good place to begin if you want to read through the Bible. You should examine the table of contents, familiarizing yourself with what it is you’ll be reading. In fact, I believe you will do yourself a real service if you make the time to memorize the 66 books of the Bible. By memorizing the names of the books, you will have a working knowledge on where each book appears in the Bible, which will nurture an appreciation in your heart as you come to each book to read it.

I should point out, the books of the Old and New Testaments are not listed in chronological order. By chronological order, I mean, these books are not arranged according to a historic context. For example, the book of Job is the 18th book to be listed in the Old Testament, but from a historic context, the story of Job occurred during the last chapters of the book of Genesis, and therefore, from a historic context, the book of Job should be listed as the 2nd book of the Old Testament. Likewise, the book of Psalms is the 20th book listed in the Old Testament, but from a historic context, most of the Psalms were written during the time period of 1 and 2 Samuel. Again, if you look at the New Testament, you see that the epistle of James is listed as the 20th book, but actually, in a historic context, it was the earliest letter to have been written in the New Testament, during the time period recorded between Acts 12 and 15. And so, as I’ve said, we mustn’t read through the books of the Bible as if one book follows after another in chronological order. You will only confuse yourself if you do that.

“Well then,” you ask, “If the books of the Old and New Testaments are not arranged in chronological order, then how are they arranged? Have they been arranged in another kind of order?” Yes, there is an order to the books, and in fact, understanding the order will help you better memorize the books.

Let’s begin with the Old Testament. The first seventeen books are grouped together—they are all historical narratives, highlighting the major events which unfolded in the lives of God’s people prior to the incarnation of Christ—this is from the book of Genesis to the book of Esther. The last seventeen books are also grouped together—they are all prophetical in nature, highlighting the major prophecies and sermons preached by the prophets before the incarnation of Christ—this is from the book of Isaiah to the book of Malachi. The remaining five books, which are sandwiched between the the first and last 17 groups of books, are all experiential in nature—they are the personal testimonies of God’s people as they underwent various experiences traveling through this world as strangers and pilgrims—this is from the book of Job to the book of Song of Solomon. And so, as you can see, while there is not a chronological order to the books of the Old Testament, yet there is a logical order to them.

The same is true for the books of the New Testament. The first four books are grouped together, they are historic narratives—they all record the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ—this if from the book of Matthew to the book of John. There is then the book of Acts, which stands alone, but is also a historical book—it records the continued ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, after He ascended into heaven, as His church quickly grew and multiplied throughout the known world. The book of Acts is the historic basis for the remaining books of the New Testament, for it is out from the history of Acts that the other books were written. The remaining 22 books of the New Testament are all letters. The first 9 letters, from Romans to 2 Thessalonians were all written by Paul to various churches. The last 9 letters, from Hebrews to Revelation were all written by various authors to different churches. The middle four letters, sandwiched between the other 9 groups of letters, are all pastoral in nature, written by Paul to individuals—this is from first Timothy to Philemon.

And so, once again, though the New Testament books are not arranged in chronological order, yet there is a clear and decisive logical order to them. My dear friend, if you have it in your heart to read the Bible, then a good place for you to begin is memorizing the books of the Old and New Testament scriptures. With the Lord’s help, I hope you are able to do that this week.

Jared Smith



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