How Many Books There Are In The Bible

Whether for academic, spiritual or recreational pursuits, reading is one of the most popular activities in the world. So it’s no wonder that the Bible is one of the most-read books in all of human history. But have you ever wondered how many books there are in the Bible?

At first glance, the answer appears to be simple: 66. However, it’s not quite that straightforward. This is because the Bible is an anthology of texts, written over a period of thousands of years and spread across various cultures, languages and geographical regions. Each text was written with a different purpose and by different authors, and the various books don’t all follow the same length or style. That’s why when determining the exact number of books in the Bible, the answer becomes somewhat subjective.

When it comes to the Christian Bible, the majority of churches and denominations agree that it has 66 books—27 in the New Testament and 39 in the Old Testament. The most commonly used Bible translations for the Old Testament are based on the Masoretic Text, which includes 24 books. The Catholic Church recognizes 46 Old Testament books, while the Eastern Orthodox Church follows a version of the Septuagint, which has an additional seven books. Other religions also have their own versions of the Bible, such as Judaism’s Tanakh and Islam’s Quran. These have varying numbers of books.

When counting the books, it’s important to note that some books have multiple parts, such as 1 and 2 Chronicles or 1 and 2 Peter. Each part is independently listed, so they are often counted separately. For example, 1 and 2 Samuel are each listed as one book, as are 1 and 2 Kings. Likewise, 1 and 2 Corinthians are commonly listed as two books.

Another factor to consider is that some books are longer than others. For instance, the Book of Psalms is the longest book in the Bible, with 150 chapters. Meanwhile, the Book of Obadiah is the shortest, with only one chapter.

However, when it comes to the answer to the question, “How many books are there in the Bible?,” it ultimately depends on the version of the Bible and the authority you look to for the definitive answer.

Versions of the Bible

The most popular Bible translations used in English-speaking countries are the King James Version, New King James Version, New International Version, and English Standard Version. Each of these translations has slight variations in the number of books they contain. For example, the King James Version and the New King James Version both contain 66 books each. However, the New International Version contains 73 books in the Old Testament, and the English Standard Version contains 80 books in the Old Testament.

Other translations, such as the Catholic version of the Bible and the Eastern Orthodox Bible, contain even more books than these. Generally speaking, these translations contain additional books that appear in the Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible. Some of these books are included simply to provide more context for the storytelling. Other books are of a religious or spiritual significance.

Regardless of the version of the Bible you read, it’s important to understand that all these books have been carefully compiled to provide a range of spiritual, moral, and intellectual insights.

History of the Bible

The Bible as we know it didn’t exist in its current form until the early centuries of the Common Era (CE), more than two thousand years after the first books were written. The stories and texts that constitute the Bible passed down through oral tradition and were written down by various individuals and groups throughout the centuries. The books were gradually compiled and hand copied by scribes, until a critical mass of scripture was collected and catalogued.

In the 5th century BCE, during the Babylonian exile in Judea, efforts were made to standardize the text for the Hebrew Bible. This led to the Masoretic Text, which served as the basis for much of the Old Testament as we know it today.

In the 3rd century CE, rabbinic scholars began the process of codifying the texts into a single work, which led to the first Hebrew Bible. Later, in the 4th century CE, St. Jerome produced the Latin Vulgate, which was the first complete translation of the Bible into a single language. In the centuries that followed, scholars and theologians continued to build upon these foundations, and eventually the Bible was translated into multiple languages.

Expert Perspectives

According to Biblical scholars, the process of codifying the Bible was never intended to be a precise, scientific endeavor. Rather, it was more a spiritual endeavor, designed to provide readers with deep spiritual and moral insights. In fact, in some contexts, the question of “how many books are in the Bible?” may be the wrong question to ask.

As scholar Craig L. Blomberg says, “What is much more important than the precise number of books is the fact that the Bible has been so carefully and lovingly preserved over centuries by God-fearing men and women. As a result, it is today the world’s most translated and widely circulated book.”

Indeed, the Bible has had a profound impact on billions of people from all walks of life. It has informed and shaped the societies and laws of many cultures and nations. It has inspired works of art and literature, and provided solace in moments of sorrow.

And although the exact number of books contained within the Bible may remain subject to debate, one thing is certain: the Bible has been, and continues to be, a source of inspiration, comfort, and community for millions of people around the world.


The Bible has been interpreted in various ways by different faiths and societies over the years. In some contexts, it’s seen as a literal truth, while in others it’s seen as an allegory. Some read it for spiritual growth and guidance, while others study it for its historical and cultural insights. Regardless of how it’s interpreted, the Bible remains one of the most influential books ever written.

In addition to providing insights into religious and moral philosophies, the Bible also serves as a window into the human experience. Many of the stories and characters in the Bible are timeless and can be seen throughout history and across cultures. The stories in the Bible, both the good and the bad, provide us with instruction, hope, comfort, and ultimately, understanding of our ever-changing world.

At the same time, the Bible remains contentious and open to interpretation. It’s been used as a source of conflict and tension, as debates over its meaning and application continue to arise. And while there may never be definitive answers to some of the most important questions, the Bible continues to challenge us to think critically and reflect on our values and beliefs.


In terms of accuracy, the Bible is generally seen as reliable. Many of the stories and teachings have been corroborated by archaeological evidence, and the New Testament in particular is seen as having much higher accuracy than other ancient works. For example, research has shown that 86 percent of the New Testament is considered to be “authentic,” meaning that it is accepted by the majority of Bible scholars as having been written by the authors to whom they are attributed.

At the same time, it’s important to note that the Bible is not written as a scientific treatise. Given its age and the conditions in which it was written, some of the scientific and historical accounts in the Bible may not be entirely accurate. However, this doesn’t necessarily undermine its spiritual teachings, which remain true and relevant today.

Ultimately, the Bible is a source of insight and comfort to billions of people. Its stories and messages have been passed down for centuries, and the exact number of books contained in it can sometimes depend on one’s interpretation. What matters most, however, is that the Bible continues to provide spiritual guidance to people all over the world.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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