The Bible refers to the sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity, usually
compiled in a single volume. The Hebrew Bible contains 39 books. The Christian
Bible adds to the Hebrew Bible some 27 more books, giving a total of about 66
The Christian Bible is divided in two, roughly in a two-third to one-third proportion. Christians call the first two thirds, mostly inherited from the Jews, the Old Testament and the last third, considered written by themselves, the New Testament. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox versions of the Old Testament are slightly larger because of their acceptance and inclusion of certain texts considered apocryphal by Protestants. Considering only the "Old Testament", the Jewish canon and Christian canon differ considerably more than the Protestant and Roman Catholic arrangements differ.
The Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh, is the main source for the history of ancient
Israel. Composedbetween the 14th and 5th centuries BC, the canonical books
recognized by Judaism are traditionally divided into three parts. The five books
of the Torah ("teaching" or "law") comprise the origins of the Israelite nation
and its covenant with God. The Nevi'im ("prophets") consist of prophesies,
ethical teachings, and the historic account of Israel. The Ketuvim ("writings"),
such as Psalms and Job, are poetic and philosophical works. Israelite historians
presented a picture of the ancient nation based on information that they viewed
as historically accurate. Like modern historians, Hebrew writers provided
historical explanations or background information of the events they describe
(e.g., 1 Sam. 28:3, 1 Kings 18:3b, 2 Kings 9:14b-15a, 13:5-6, 15:12, 17:7-23).
Soon after the establishment of Christianity in the first century, Church fathers compiled Gospel accounts and letters of apostles into a Christian Bible which became known as the New Testament. The Old and New Testaments together are commonly referred to as "The Holy Bible". The canonical composition of the Jewish Bible is in dispute between Christian groups: Protestants hold only the books of the Hebrew Bible to be canonical; Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox additionally consider the deuterocanonical books, a group of Jewish books, to be canonical. The New Testament is composed of the Gospels ("good news"), the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles (letters), and the Book of Revelation. The Bible is the best-selling book in history with approximate sales estimates ranging from 2.5 billion to 6 billion.