Bible basics

How to read the Bible online

The structure of the Bible

An introduction to the Bible

Advice for reading the Bible

Links to online Bibles

How to read the Bible online:

1. Click on the link for Bible Gateway.

2. Look for the box called "Passage Lookup".

3. In that box, type the name of a Bible book and chapter that you want to read. For example, you could type: John 1 or John 2, etc.

4. Click on the "Lookup" button or press your Enter or Return key.

You can use these steps to read, online, all books and chapters of the Bible. In fact, you can select which English translation you wish to read. The Bible Gateway site offers several English translations, including New International Version, King James Version, Young's Literal Translation, etc. The site also offers translations into other languages.

The structure of the Bible:

The Christian Bible contains 66 "Books." The Books are divided into chapters. The chapters are divided into verses. So, if you wanted to locate John 3:16, you would open the Bible to the book of John, then turn to chapter 3, and then look for verse 16. And there you would find one of the most popular Bible passages:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, NIV translation).

The Old Testament has 39 books:

1. Genesis (50 chapters).

2. Exodus (40 chapters).

3. Leviticus (27 chapters).

4. Numbers (36 chapters).

5. Deuteronomy (34 chapters).

6. Joshua (24 chapters).

7. Judges (21 chapters).

8. Ruth (4 chapters).

9. 1 Samuel (31 chapters).

10. 2 Samuel (24 chapters).

11. 1 Kings (22 chapters).

12. 2 Kings (25 chapters).

13. 1 Chronicles (29 chapters).

14. 2 Chronicles (36 chapters).

15. Ezra (10 chapters).

16. Nehemiah (13 chapters).

17. Esther (10 chapters).

18. Job (42 chapters).

19. Psalms (150 chapters).

20. Proverbs (31 chapters).

21. Ecclesiastes (12 chapters).

22. Song of Solomon (8 chapters).

23. Isaiah (66 chapters).

24. Jeremiah (52 chapters).

25. Lamentations (5 chapters).

26. Ezekiel (48 chapters).

27. Daniel (12 chapters).

28. Hosea (14 chapters).

29. Joel (3 chapters).

30. Amos (9 chapters).

31. Obadiah (1 chapters).

32. Jonah (4 chapters).

33. Micah (7 chapters).

34. Nahum (3 chapters).

35. Habakkuk (3 chapters).

36. Zephaniah (3 chapters).

37. Haggai (2 chapters).

38. Zechariah (14 chapters).

39. Malachi (4 chapters).

The New Testament has 27 books:

1. Matthew (28 chapters).

2. Mark (16 chapters).

3. Luke (24 chapters).

4. John (21 chapters).

5. Acts (28 chapters).

6. Romans (16 chapters).

7. 1 Corinthians (16 chapters).

8. 2 Corinthians (13 chapters).

9. Galatians (6 chapters).

10. Ephesians (6 chapters).

11. Philippians (4 chapters).

12. Colossians (4 chapters).

13. 1 Thessalonians (5 chapters).

14. 2 Thessalonians (3 chapters).

15. 1 Timothy (6 chapters).

16. 2 Timothy (4 chapters).

17. Titus (3 chapters).

18. Philemon (1 chapters).

19. Hebrews (13 chapters).

20. James (5 chapters).

21. 1 Peter (5 chapters).

22. 2 Peter (3 chapters).

23. 1 John (5 chapters).

24. 2 John (1 chapters).

25. 3 John (1 chapters).

26. Jude (1 chapters).

27. Revelation (22 chapters).

An introduction to the Bible:

• Christians acknowledge that the Bible is the inspired word of God.

• The Bible contains 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation. The Catholic Bible contains the same 66 books and an extra 7 books. Those extra 7 books are mostly historical accounts of events that took place before the time of Jesus.

• The Christian Bible is divided into two parts - the Old Testament and the New Testament.

• The books of the Bible were written by about 40 different people who were inspired by God. Moses is credited with the first five books of the Bible. John, the Apostle, wrote the last book of the Bible, which is called the book of Revelation.

• The Old Testament books of the Bible were composed  during a period of time that lasted about 1000 years. That period of time began with Moses, who lived about 3400 years ago. It ended about 2400 years ago, which is about the time that the prophet Malachi lived.

• The New Testament books of the Bible were written sometime from about 50 AD to about 95 AD (that's about 1950 years ago to about 1900 years ago). The writers of the New Testament included some of Jesus' apostles and some of his contemporaries.

• The New Testament contains the "four Gospels," which refers to the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It also contains "epistles" or "letters" that were written by Peter, Paul, James and other followers of Jesus. It also contains the book of Revelation.

The Old Testament:

Books 1-5: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

These books were written about 3400 years ago by Moses. These five books are sometimes called the Pentateuch or the Torah.

Books 6-16: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah.

These books, among other things, explain the history of Israel from the time that the nation was established about 3400 years ago. It includes information about the time when the nation was conquered by the Assyrians about 2700 years ago, and when it was conquered by the Babylonians about 2600 years ago. The Assyrians and Babylonians forced many of the Israelites out of their homeland. But, some returned during the next few centuries, shortly before the time of Jesus.

Books 17-22: Ester, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.

These books are sometimes called the books of Writings, or the books of Poetry, or the books of Wisdom.

Books 23-27: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel.

These books contain prophecies that were delivered by prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. These prophets lived about 2700 to 2500 years ago. Some of their prophecies were fulfilled during ancient times and many others were fulfilled by Jesus Christ about 2000 years ago.

Books 28-39: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

These books are sometimes called the books of the "minor" prophets. They are called "minor" because their books are short in length.

The New Testament:

Books 1-4: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

These four books are sometimes called the Gospels. They were written about 2000 years ago by the followers of Jesus. These books contain details about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Books 5-26: Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude.

These 22 books are sometimes called Letters or Epistles. They were written by followers of Jesus. They often were sent to other people to help explain Christianity. Sometimes they were written to counter heresy, or wrongful interpretations of the teachings of Jesus.

Book 27: Revelation.

This book was written by John about 1900 years ago. He was shown visions of the future by Jesus.

Where can I get a Bible?

Many bookstores sell copies of the Bible. We recommend a Bible with footnotes that explain the meaning of different Bible passages. Our favorite English translation of the Christian Bible is the "Condordia Self-Study Bible NIV." You also can look up Bible verses, or download a complete copy of the Bible, from various Web sites, some of which are listed below.

Our advice for reading the Bible:

If you wish to learn more about Christianity, consider reading the book of John. It is a short book with 21 chapters and it can be read in about two or three hours. It explains the life, the mission and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

There are several English translations of the Bible. We recommend the New International Version (NIV).

Links to online Bibles:

Bible Gateway - You can conveniently look up Bible verses online. Offers several English translations, including King James Version, New International Version, Young's Literal Translation, etc.

Blue Letter Bible - Look up Bible verses in English and view their original Hebrew and Greek texts.

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