How are you with basic Bible facts?

By William J. Brown

What are basic Bible facts?

We can't stress how important God's Word is. To some of you, however, the Book is a frightening mystery. You don't understand it, so why read it? It is important to lay a firm foundation in any study, and God's Word is no exception. So this lesson centers on the basic Bible facts, and then we'll give you some practical hints for more effective Bible study.

We'll take it slow. Don't worry!

For some of you this may be very basic. If so, just scan the material and then take the test at the end and see how you do.

For the rest of you, here are the basic Bible facts you need to know. This study is mostly academic. We'll get into the meaty stuff next lesson.

Here we go...

Prepare to enter the world of Bible facts!

I. We can break up the Bible into two main divisions, the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT.) Sometimes these two divisions are called the Old Covenant and New Covenant.

A testament is simply a covenant or promise between two people. In this case, God has made His Covenant with man. When God makes a promise He will keep it. More about God's trustworthiness in a later study.

Let's start with the basic basic Bible facts.

Both Testaments can be further subdivided into sections. These are as follows:

The Old Testament

Books of Law (or Moses)

Books of History

Books of Poetry

Books of Major Prophets

Books of Minor Prophets

New Testament

Books of History

Pauline Epistles (Letters of Paul)

General Epistles (Also called Catholic Epistles)

Book of Prophecy

Note: Make sure to familiarize yourself with these divisions.

Each grouping contains one or more books. The New Testament division of prophecy has only one book, Revelation. All other divisions contain five books or more. There are 66 books total.

Don't worry. We won't hold you accountable to know every book of the Bible when we're done here. But it would be wise to take note of the basic divisions and sections of the Bible and the numbers we give.

The divisions of the Old Testament look this way...

Books of Law (or Moses)






Books of History




I & II Samuel

I & II Kings

I & II Chronicles




Books of Poetry





Song of Solomon (Song of Songs in some Bibles)

Major Prophets






Minor Prophets













Thirty-nine books in all.

The New Testament does not have nearly as many books and is much shorter than the Old Testament. The New Testament divisions shape up this way...

Books of History






Pauline Epistles (Letters of Paul)


I & II Corinthians





I & II Thessalonians

I & II Timothy



General Epistles (Catholic Epistles)



I & II Peter

I, II & III John


Book of Prophecy


Twenty-seven books in all.

Try to remember the divisions and numbers given to you. They make great Bible Knowledge Survey questions!

Now it's time to take a stretch break before we get into more bible facts.

Go ahead relax...

Get a cup of coffee...

I confess! I prefer tea...

Now that you're comfortable, sit back and review the material covered so far. Then proceed with your lesson.

II. Let's get into a more practical subject, how to study your Bible. Many try to study their Bibles but give up in discouragement because they don't know how. Here are a few tips to improve your Bible study time...

1. Although the two main divisions of the Bible share similar names, the Old Testament and New Testament are very different when it comes to studying them.

The Old Testament reads like a story. For the first part of this Testament, the Books of Moses and History, the books are presented in the order as they happened. It's best to start at the beginning like a story and read it through to the end.

With the rest of the Old Testament like the books of Prophecy and the Prophets read through these separately.

For example, you can read through Proverbs every month because it has thirty-one chapters fitting nicely into a longer month's time. Psalms breaks nicely into five groups of thirty chapters each. Go back and forth between Proverbs and Psalms following the natural flow of the calendar (thirty day months read one thirty chapter section of Psalms and thirty-one day months read Proverbs. Watch out for February!)

Whatever you do find a system that works for you and then stick to it.

2. The New Testament is very different. The first five books cover history and doctrine (teachings of Jesus.) The first four books are similar accounts of Jesus' life and ministry. Acts is church life after Christ's return to Heaven. These books read like a story with a lot of teaching thrown in.

After that, it's all doctrine with a lonely book of Prophecy tacked to the end (Revelation.) So you'll need to adjust your strategy just a bit when you study the second half of the New Testament. It'll read more like a text book, so approach it that way. Just as repetition helped you learn your math facts in school, so constantly reading the doctrinal books of Scripture over and over again helps you learn the lessons God would have you learn.

Keep in mind, God's Word is our guide for all life and godliness. So know it!

I find that tackling one book at a time and reading it through more than once helps me learn those lessons better. I don't always get it the first time through. That's why I repeatedly read the doctrinal books over and over.

Don't forget! We are spiritual ruminants! A ruminant is any animal that chews its cud...

like a cow...

To help digest its food it brings it up, chews and swallows, brings it up, chews and swallows, brings it up...

(I hope it's not near dinnertime for you.)

...chews and swallows until its body can absorb the nutrients. Approaching the Pauline Epistles and the General Epistles like a spiritual ruminant aids in learning the lessons God has for us in the Bible. Read and meditate, read and meditate, read and meditate on a passage until you feel comfortable with it. Then move on.

And last...

3. Don't try to read through the Bible in one year. It's better to take your time and understand it than to rush through it so you can brag to your less spiritual friends that you read your Bible in one year. Ruminate on God's Word and you can't go wrong!

Note: If you're a new believer or you don't feel comfortable with Bible study yet, start in the New Testament. Face it, Leviticus and Deuteronomy can be quite daunting if you aren't ready for it!

Now go take another stretch break.

Get another cup of coffee...

and review the material you studied today. Now take a deep breath...

let it out...

and complete the Bible Knowledge Survey below. We recommend a perfect score on it before you continue.

No peeking!

Go ahead and try it when you're ready.

God bless!

Click here to take the Basic Bible Facts Survey!

Done with Bible Facts? Return to Basic Bible Study!

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