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The Bible is the name used by Jews and Christians for their differing (and overlapping) canons of sacred texts. The Bible is believed to be the inspired word of God by Christians and Jews alike.



The Jewish and Christian Bibles are actually collections of what were originally a number of independent books. The overwhelming majority of Christians refer to the Bible as the combination of Hebrew Scripture, known to Christians as the Old Testament or First Testament; and the New Testament, which describes the life and message of Jesus. For Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and some protestants, the Deuterocanonical books — various writings important in the Second-Temple period of Judaism (often regarded by many protestants as the (or part of the) Apocrypha) — are considered to be part of the Old Testament and as such part of the Bible, although they are rejected by many protestants and are not in the Hebrew Bible as accepted in modern Judaism. Some books considered deuterocanonical by Orthodox Churches are considered apocyphal by other Orthodox Churches and/or Catholics. For Jews, the term refers only to the Hebrew Bible, also called the Tanakh, which includes the Five Books of Moses (the Torah) as well as the books of the Prophets and Writings. Both Christians and Jews regard the Bible as the revealed word of God, with widespread variation on its accuracy, interpretation and legitimacy.

Christian Perspective

Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is both inspired and inerrant. They claim that every word of the Bible is literally true, except for the parts which are intentionally written as allegories or parables. It is free of contradiction and error. So for example, a Fundamentalist would most likely believe in six-day creation because he believes in the literal truth of Genesis.

Liberal Christians take a more open view of the Bible, often believing that it is "inspired by God" but not inerrant. They may believe that, while the Bible is a good spiritual guide, it is not necessarily meant to be taken literally.

Atheist Perspective

Atheists regard the Bible as just a period piece of literature. Its authors may have been sincere when they wrote it, but they were nomadic sheep herders with a narrow perspective on the world. In that sense it is little different than any other ancient text such as The Odyssey: an interesting perspective on the mindset of early cultures, but of questionable accuracy, especially those passages that refer to supernatural events.

The Bible was also written well over a thousand years before the discovery of science, which means that the Bible is nearly irrelevant to any scientific discussion. Not only is the literal story of Genesis completely at odds with modern cosmology, but there are many other scientific errors in the Bible. For instance, there is the Biblical value of pi and the assertion that hares chew their cud.

Additional perspectives

There is an excellent resource available at The Skeptic's Annotated Bible.

Also see The Brick Testament.

Books of the Bible

The Old Testament

  1. Genesis
  2. Exodus
  3. Leviticus
  4. Numbers
  5. Deuteronomy
  6. Joshua
  7. Judges
  8. Ruth
  9. 1 Samuel
  10. 2 Samuel
  11. 1 Kings
  12. 2 Kings
  13. 1 Chronicles
  14. Ezra
  15. Nehemiah
  16. Esther
  17. Job
  18. Psalms
  19. Proverbs
  20. Ecclesiastes
  21. Song of Solomon
  22. Isaiah
  23. Jeremiah
  24. Lamentations
  25. Ezekiel
  26. Daniel
  27. Hosea
  28. Joel
  29. Amos
  30. Obadiah
  31. Jonah
  32. Micah
  33. Nahum
  34. Habakkuk
  35. Zephaniah
  36. Haggai
  37. Zechariah
  38. Malachi

The New Testament

  1. Matthew
  2. Mark
  3. Luke
  4. John
  5. Acts
  6. Romans
  7. 1 Corinthians
  8. 2 Corinthians
  9. Galatians
  10. Ephesians
  11. Philippians
  12. Colossians
  13. 1 Thessalonians
  14. 2 Thessalonians
  15. 1 Timothy
  16. 2 Timothy
  17. Titus
  18. Philemon
  19. Hebrews
  20. James
  21. 1 Peter
  22. 2 Peter
  23. 1 John
  24. 2 John
  25. 3 John
  26. Jude
  27. Revelation

External Links

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