Creation of the world

The Bible

The Christian holy book is the Bible and this is the most important source of authority for Christians, as it contains the teachings of God and Jesus Christ.

All Christians, regardless of denomination, regard the Bible as the starting point for guidance about their faith. The Protestant Bible contains 66 different books and is split into the Old Testament and the New Testament.

A diagram showing how the Bible is made up from two parts - the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Old Testament

The Old Testament is a collection of books that were written before the life of Jesus. It contains rules which Jews and Christians seek to live by, such as the Ten Commandments in the book of Exodus.

The Old Testament also contains examples of:

  • other people that Christians can learn from, eg Job
  • prayers and songs that are used in worship, eg the psalms
  • passages that are regarded as prophecies of the Messiah, such as Isaiah chapter 53

New Testament

The New Testament is a collection of books that were written after Jesus died and rose from the dead. It contains the four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is in the gospels that Christians learn about the example that Jesus set and the teachings that he gave to his disciples and early followers.

The New Testament also contains the teachings of Saint Paul who helped to form the early church's teachings. He wrote some of the letters, sometimes called epistles, that are in the New Testament, such as Romans and Galatians.

Some Christians also regard the Deuterocanonical books or Apocrypha as part of the Bible. The Deuterocanonical are books that are accepted as scripture by Catholics and the Eastern Churches, but they were not in the Hebrew Canon and are not regarded as canonical by Protestants. These books are usually placed after the Old Testament in a Bible. They help to place other books in historical context and offer teachings of Judaism from the period in between the Old and New Testaments. Examples of Deuterocanonical books include The Book of Wisdom and The Books of Maccabees.

There are 66 books in the Bible - 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.

Word of God

Christians regard the Bible as the Word of God. This means that the authors of the Bible were inspired by God to write down what they witnessed and what was revealed to them. Therefore Christians must follow what the Bible teaches.

Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.Deut. 4:1-2