/buy"beuhl/, n.1. the collection of sacred writings of the Christian religion, comprising the Old and New Testaments.2. Also called Hebrew Scriptures. the collection of sacred writings of the Jewish religion: known to Christians as the Old Testament.3. (often l.c.) the sacred writings of any religion.4. (l.c.) any book, reference work, periodical, etc., accepted as authoritative, informative, or reliable: He regarded that particular bird book as the birdwatchers' bible.[1300-50; ME bible, bibel < OF bible < ML biblia (fem. sing.) < Gk, in tà biblía tà hagía (Septuagint) the holy books; biblíon, byblíon papyrus roll, strip of papyrus, equiv. to býbl(os) papyrus (after Býblos, a Phoenician port where papyrus was prepared and exported) + -ion n. suffix]
* * *The Jewish scriptures consist of the Torah (or Pentateuch), the Neviim ("Prophets"), and the Ketuvim ("Writings"), which together constitute what Christians call the Old Testament. The Pentateuch and Joshua relate how Israel became a nation and came to possess the Promised Land. The Prophets describe the establishment and development of the monarchy and relate the prophets' messages. The Writings include poetry, speculation on good and evil, and history. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bible includes additional Jewish writings called the Apocrypha. The New Testament consists of early Christian literature. The Gospels tell of the life, person, and teachings of Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles relates the earliest history of Christianity. The Epistles (Letters) are correspondence of early church leaders (chiefly St. Paul) and address the needs of early congregations. Revelation is the only canonical representative of a large genre of early Christian apocalyptic literature. See also biblical source, biblical translation.
* * *▪ sacred textBooks of the Biblethe sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. The Christian Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament, with the Roman Catholic (Roman Catholicism) and Eastern Orthodox versions of the Old Testament being slightly larger because of their acceptance of certain books and parts of books considered apocryphal by Protestants (Protestantism). The Jewish Bible includes only the books known to Christians as the Old Testament. The arrangements of the Jewish and Christian canons differ considerably. The Protestant and Roman Catholic arrangements more nearly match one another. (See table (Books of the Bible).)A brief treatment of the Bible follows. For full treatment, see biblical literature.Traditionally the Jews have divided their scriptures (i.e., the Old Testament) into three parts: the Torah (the “Law”), or Pentateuch; the Neviʾim (the “Prophets”); and the Ketuvim (the “Writings”), or Hagiographa. The Pentateuch, together with the book of Joshua (Joshua, Book of) (hence the name Hexateuch) can be seen as the account of how Israel became a nation and of how it possessed the Promised Land. The division designated as the “Prophets” continues the story of Israel in the Promised Land, describing the establishment and development of the monarchy and presenting the messages of the prophets to the people. The “Writings” include speculation on the place of evil and death in the scheme of things (Job and Ecclesiastes), the poetical works, and some additional historical books.In the apocrypha of the Old Testament, various types of literature are represented; the purpose of the Apocrypha seems to have been to fill in some of the gaps left by the indisputably canonical books and to carry the history of Israel to the 2nd century BC.The New Testament is by far the shorter portion of the Christian Bible, but, through its associations with the spread of Christianity, it has wielded an influence far out of proportion to its modest size. Like the Old Testament, the New Testament is a collection of books, including a variety of early Christian literature. The four Gospels (Gospel) deal with the life, the person, and the teachings of Jesus, as he was remembered by the Christian community. The book of Acts (Acts of the Apostles, The) carries the story of Christianity from the Resurrection of Jesus to the end of the career of Paul. The Letters, or Epistles, are correspondence by various leaders of the early Christian church, chief among them the Apostle Paul, applying the message of the church to the sundry needs and problems of early Christian congregations. The Book of Revelation (Revelation to John) (the Apocalypse) is the only canonical representative of a large genre of apocalyptic literature that appeared in the early Christian movement.
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