First of all, the Bible has two parts, the OLD TESTAMENT and the NEW TESTAMENT. The Old Testament contains the books written before Jesus Christ, or Yeshua the Messiah, lived. The
New Testament contains the books written from the time of Jesus until after his death and Resurrection and late into the First Century.
The Old Testament books of the Bible appear in this order:
1 Samuel [We say, “First Samuel.”] (1 Sam.)
2 Samuel [We say, “Second Samuel.”] (2 Sam.)
1 Chronicles (1 Chron.)
2 Chronicles (2 Chron.)
Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) (Song of Sol.)
Often the names of Bible books are abbreviated, or shortened to save space. You can find some common abbreviations for Bible books in parentheses ( ) after the names of the books, above.
Where to Begin
People do not usually read the Bible from the beginning straight to the end. It is much easier to skip around a bit and get a feel for the whole Bible.
If you have never read the Bible before, the Book of John or Luke is a great place to start. In the Old Testament, you might enjoy starting with Genesis. Exodus, Psalms, Esther, Ruth, and Daniel. The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings that really help us make good choices.
Make it a habit to read the Bible every day. Your whole life will be better for it!
The New Testament Books of the Bible appear in this order:
1 Corinthians (1 Cor.)
2 Corinthians (2 Cor.)
1 Thessalonians (1 Thess.)
2 Thessalonians (2 Thess.)
1 Timothy (1 Tim.)
2 Timothy (2 Tim.)
1 Peter (1 Pet.)
2 Peter (2 Pet.)
3 John [We say, “Third John.”]
Revelation (Rev.) or Apocalypse (Apoc.)
Chapters in the Bible
Each book of the Bible has been divided into chapters to make its parts easy to find. Chapter numbers are the large numbers you will find on the pages of the Bible.
Verses in the Bible
Each chapter in the Bible has been divided into verses. The small numbers you find next to lines or sentences in the Bible are the verse numbers.
How to Look up a Bible (or Scripture) Verse
Bible verses are written in a kind of shorthand, like this: 1 John 1:3.
The first part tells you the name of the book. In this case, the book is First John. The number after the book’s name is the chapter number, in this case, chapter 1. The number or numbers after the colon sign (:) tell you the verse number or numbers. In this case, verse three.
If you see something like this: 1 John 1:3,5 you would go to the book of First John, chapter one, and read verses three and five.
A dash between the verse numbers means that you would read from the beginning of the numbers to the end of the numbers. So if you see 1 John 1:3–5, you should go to the book called First John, find chapter 1, and read verses 3, 4, and 5.
You may also see numbers with a longer dash between them, like this:
1 John 1:3—2:5. This means that you should read the book of First John beginning at chapter 1, verse three, and ending at chapter 2, verse 5.