St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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The Bible and the Books

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The Bible is a collection of many books. We started with the first five books called the Pentateuch. Then come the historical, the wisdom, and the prophetic books. The Bible was not written with this in mind. This is how we organize the books to help us remember what goes where and how to use them.

The wisdom books are: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach and Job.

Those books in the Bible that are considered as historical books are: First Book of Samuel, Second Book of Samuel, First Book of Kings, Second Book of Kings, First Book of Chronicles, Second Book of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, First Book of Maccabees and the Second Book of Maccabees.

The prophetic books are divided into the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets. The Major Prophets are: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. The Minor Prophets are:  Lamentations, Baruch, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micha, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Different sources may have minor differences on what book is what. The Catholic Bible I used to give you this list had them listed as such, but the United States Bishops’ website at www.usccb.org says that although Daniel has prophecies, it also has stories. Therefore, they do not categorize Daniel as a prophetic book.

Remember that these were not written by their human writers with the idea that they would be in the Bible. At the time they were written, they were just written for the good of the people. The human writer may or may not have understood that God was the origin of their writings. Abraham did not know he was prophesying on Mount Moriah (Gen 22:8). Caiaphas did not know the extent of his prophesy in his grand scheme to kill Jesus (Jn 11:50 and 18:14). How many times our own children say things in their simplicity, yet are very profound. God uses us in many ways that we might not even know. It was through time that God’s people discovered that the Holy Spirit (God) was behind all these messages. So the Bible was not dictated by God; it was inspired by God. God inspired the authors in everything they wrote, so God is the Author. God used the human writers to write them down.

When you look at the names of these books, you will find the list is different than the Protestant or the Jewish list of Books. There is no First and Second Kings in their scriptures. Why is that? Centuries ago, the Catholic Church decided to divide the one long book into two in order to make the Bible more accessible to memory. This was before there were chapters and verse numbers put in the Bible. It is the same with the other books; Samuel, Chronicles and Maccabees. Nothing was taken away or added; it was just organized in a different way for the people.

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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