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What's in Your Bible?

Vincent Setterholm

Jews and Christians throughout the centuries have produced bibles that vary in content and organization. This chart is a sampling of the different bibles used today.

Protestant Reformers like Martin Luther doubted the canonicity* Canon: (kanōn; κανών) comes from the Greek word for “reed” or “rod,” used as a straight edge or ruler for measurement. In biblical studies, when we talk about a canon, we mean that list of books that a community considers both authoritative and inspired. Canonical books form the standard against which other writings, doctrines and practices are measured. of the Apocrypha*Apocrypha: Jerome, the translator of the early Latin Bible, maintained a distinction between those books he considered canonical and the non-canonical books that should be read for the edification of the church. With some modification, this list of edifying books is sometimes called the “Apocrypha.” Other theologians, such as the influential Augustine, did not maintain this distinction, and were more inclusive in their canon lists. , but when Luther prepared his translation of the Bible into German, he did not remove the Apocrypha; he simply moved those books to an appendix. This tradition continues in many European bibles.

The English were the first group of people to remove the Apocrypha altogether. In 1599, an edition of the Geneva Bible was published without the Apocrypha. In 1615, during the reign of King James the First, George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury, declared the penalty for printing a Bible without the Apocrypha to be a year in prison! But over the next three centuries the growing influence of Puritans and Presbyterians over the populace, the government, and the British and Foreign Bible Society led to a strong tradition of printing bibles containing only 66 books.

The situation today reflects this bifurcation. The bibles used by many European Protestants, as well as the Anglican Church, still include the Apocrypha. Most other English-speaking Protestant churches have bibles without the Apocrypha.

What's in Your Bible?
Samaritan Hebrew Bible Greek Orthodox Roman Catholic Syriac Ethiopian Protestant
Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
1 Esdras
2 Esdras
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Judith
Tobit
1 Maccabees  
2 Maccabees  
3 Maccabees  
4 Maccabees  
Psalms
Odes
Prayer of Manasseh  
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs  
Job
Wisdom of Solomon  
Wisdom of Sirach  
Psalms of Solomon  
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zepheniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Baruch
Epistle of Baruch  
Apocalypse of Baruch  
4 Baruch
Lamentations  
Epistle of Jeremiah  
Ezekiel
Susanna
Daniel
Bel and the Dragon  
Enoch
Jubilees
Pseudo-Josephus  
Josephus’ Jewish War, VI    
Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians  
2 Corinthians  
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians  
2 Thessalonians  
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation
Epistle to the Laodiceans  
Acts of Paul and Thecla  
3 Corinthians    
Sinodos
Clement
The Book of the Covenant    
The Ethiopian Didascalia  
Shepherd of Hermas  
Ascension of Isaiah  

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