Overview of the Bible – Step #6

Combining Literary Divisions with the Bible Story


Welcome to Step #6 of our Overview of the Bible Course.

Let’s review what you have done so far:

  1. Step #1 — You learned that the Bible tells one continuous and unified narrative.
  2. Step #2 — You memorized the “central message” of the Bible and are able to explain the different terms and phrases.
  3. Step #3 — You memorized the chapter headings of the Bible story
  4. Step #4 – You memorized the Bible story and are able to recount it to someone else.
  5. Step #5 — You memorized the different categories of literature that are found in the Old and New Testaments

Congratulations. This is quite an accomplishment.

Your final task in this Overview of the Bible Course is to fit the different categories of Bible literature into the different chapters of the Bible story.

Joining OT Categories with the Story of the Bible

We’ll start with the Old Testament. Remember there were four categories of literature:

  • Law: Genesis to Deuteronomy
  • History: Joshua to Nehemiah
  • Poetry / Wisdom: Job to Song of Solomon
  • Prophecy: Isaiah to Malachi

Let’s take a look at how these categories coincide with the Bible story you already learned:

Category of the Law

The category of the Law incorporates 3 chapters of the Bible story: Creation, Patriarchs and Exodus.

Books of the Law

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy

Beginning at Genesis, you have the story of creation and then the narratives of the Patriarchs. After that, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy basically cover the chapter of the Exodus.

Category of History

The category of history incorporates 6 chapters of the Bible story: Conquest, Judges, United Kingdom, Divided Kingdom, Exile and Return from Exile.

Books of History

  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 / 2 Samuel
  • 1 / 2 Kings
  • 1 / 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Esther

Starting in Joshua, with the conquest, the rest of the historical books move chronologically through these time periods, ending with Ezra and Nehemiah after the exile.

Category of Poetry / Wisdom

The category of poetry and wisdom is placed within the United Kingdom chapter.

This is because King David is credited with writing many of the Psalms, and King Solomon is credited with writing Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.

  • Job
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Solomon

Category of Prophecy

The category of prophecy is placed in three separate chapters of the Bible Story depending on when each prophet spoke: Divided Kingdom, Exile and Return from Exile.

The majority of the prophets proclaimed their message before the Exile during the period of the Divided Kingdom.

God was trying to warn his people to return to their covenant with him, lest he judge them severely.

(For a fuller understanding of the prophetical books, please check the bonus chapter called Making Sense of the Prophetical Books in the Overview of the Bible course.

 Joining NT Categories with the Story of the Bible

In the New Testament, there were also four categories of literature:

  • Gospel: Matthew to John
  • History: The Book of Acts
  • Epistles: Romans to Jude
  • Apocalypse: Revelation

Let’s take a look how these categories coincide with the Bible story you already learned:

Category of the Gospels

The gospels correspond to the chapter on Jesus Christ in the Bible story.

Category of History and the Epistles

Acts is categorized as a book of history, and along with the 21 epistles, represents the chapter on the Christian Church.

Category of Apocalyptic

Revelation is categorized as an apocalyptic book and represents the chapter on the Return of Christ in the Bible story.

A Final Word on Our Overview of the Bible Course

Well that wraps up our Bible Overview course.

I hope this has been an exciting adventure in the Scriptures for you.

Don’t fret if you didn’t get everything the first time. Just go back and review, take your time, and with a little effort, these lessons will become second nature to you.

Finally, I ask that you do complete one last task for me as part of this course. If you have found these lessons helpful in reducing your confusion and giving you a good foundation for your understanding of the Bible, then please share this method or course with others.

Feel free to do it on your own, use the resources on this site, or simply direct folks to this course so they can cover the same material that you have.

All of God’s blessings to you as you continue to learn more about his word, his work and his wonders.