The word Bible is derived from the Greek word biblia, which means “books”. The Bible of course consists of all sorts of different books. At the same time, the term biblia in Latin soon acquired the meaning of “the holy book”. It became the name for the Bible. From the name biblia, our word “Bible” is derived.

A book in two parts

The books of the Bible were written by different authors, spread over a time period of perhaps even 1 000 years. These books are usually divided in two parts:

  • The Old Testament. This is the Jewish Bible. It contains the writings of the people of Israel. In it, you will find the stories of the creation and the flood, as well as stories about Abraham, Moses and Elijah. The Old Testament is full of stories, laws and prophecies. All these texts were written long before the beginning of our era.
  • The New Testament. It includes the Gospels, all four of which tell the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in their own way. You will also find a description of the earliest Christian communities and letters from church leaders. The books of the New Testament were written within a hundred years of the death of Jesus.

How many books?

The Bible is a big book, the Old Testament consists of 39 books and the New Testament consists of 27 books. In total, the Bible has 66 books.

Source texts

Modern Bible translations are based on source texts in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Hebrew and Aramaic are the languages of the Old Testament. The New Testament was written in Greek.