Get to know the Bible
The Catholic Bible has 73 books divided into Two Testaments: the New and the Old. The historical event that separates these two Testaments is the birth of Christ. The Bible gathers God’s Revelation to his chosen people Israel and then the Church Christ founded on Peter.
The Old Testament has 46 books and can be divided into various categories. The Pentateuch tells the story of the creation of the world, of the first patriarchs and the history of slavery and freedom of Israel through Moses. Salvation history continues in the Historical Books with the history of ancient Israel under the guidance of the judges, who were like local leaders for the people. Later on, the kings would rule over the whole people at one time. This happened once the prophet Samuel anointed Saul, who became the first king. The timeline of the historical books arrives almost in the New Testament with the story of the Maccabees. The Books of the Prophets speak about different men who God sent to renew the Covenant that He had made with his people. Often, we find infidelities committed by God’s people that they have to denounce. They help today’s reader to analyze his own life and look for a new beginning. The Wisdom Books are poems that speak of God’s wisdom and of man. The psalms are an example of man’s prayer in the Old Testament that serves as a school of prayer for the man of today.
The New Testament begins with the Gospels. The word “Gospel” refers to the Good News that Jesus makes of the salvation that comes from God. There are historical books that tell the story of the primitive Church of the first Christian century. After the Book of Acts, we find the Letters of Saint Paul, also known as “epistles.” This great apostle traveled the known world to start churches after his encounter with Christ. When he would leave a community, he would write them to continue exhorting them in the faith. They are a spiritual testament of a great man of God and help us know the true Christ: “Christ crucified who is a stumbling block for the Jews and folly for the pagans.” (1 Cor. 1:23) The Letters from the other Apostles give us the teaching of John, Peter, James, and Judas to the early Church. The Book of Revelation is the last book of the New Testament and is a wonderful story about the end of time. It reminds us that the basic Law of Christianity is love.
It is good to incorporate Sacred Scripture into our prayer and spiritual reading. Although it may not look like it, you can read the Gospel of Mark in a few hours, in one sitting. This can be a great first look at the life of Christ.