The Bible could be described as not just a book but a collection of books; 66 of them authored by 40 different people over a period of 1400 years. It comes in two major parts referred to as the Old and New Testaments - 'testament' meaning 'a witness'.
The Old Testament contains 39 books, covering 2000 years of Israel's history and records how the Jews, as God's people, learnt to know and experience God for themselves.
I hold one single sentence out of God's word to be of more certainty, and of more power, than all the discoveries of all the learned men of all the ages
― Charles Spurgeon ―
The New Testament contains 27 books, covers only a few years of history and focuses on the life of God's son Jesus Christ, His disciples, His Church and future world events.
Unusually, the books of the Bible are not located in date order, but instead are grouped together as differing types of literature.
WHAT IS INSIDE?
The Old Testament, originally written in Hebrew, contains history and law books (Genesis to Esther), poetry and wisdom books (Job to Song of Solomon), the major prophets (Isaiah to Daniel) and the minor prophets (Hosea to Malachi).
The New Testament, originally written in Greek and Aramaic, contains four Gospel accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (Matthew to John), 22 letters to individuals and churches on how to behave and deal with issues (Acts to Jude) and a book of prophecy, which talks about Jesus' return and the end of this world (Revelation).
In 1611 the King of England, James I, authorised by law a translation of the Bible which was to be made available for everyone to read in English. Many years later, other English translations followed such as the Revised Standard Version, New International Version and the American Standard Version. These are all 'word for word' translations and are great for reading and studying in depth.
English translations that sought to convey the 'feelings' of the original text rather than a 'word for word' translation also followed. Examples of Bibles that are paraphrased translations are the Good News Bible, the New Living Translation and the New English Bible, and these are great for reading - particularly if you are a new Christian.
Though the Bible is made up of many books, it has only one author: God. As you read it, you are encountering the will, thoughts and feelings of God Himself communicated through revelation, inspiration and illumination.
“It is as we feed on the Word and meditate on the message it contains that the Spirit of God can vitalize that which we have received, and bring forth through us the word of knowledge that will be as full of power and life as when He, the Spirit of God, moved upon holy men of old and gave them these inspired Scriptures.”
― Smith Wigglesworth ―