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March 27, 2017
Divisions of the Bible
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Divisions of the Bible

The Old Testament books are grouped in the following manner:

1) Historical books, which are arranged not in the order in which they were written but according to the order of events in time which they narrate (Genesis to Esther);
2) Didactic or sapiential or moral books, which are so called because they instruct us especially about heavenly wisdom and principles of morality (Job to Ecclesiasticus);
3) The prophetical books, which contain God's message to men, and predictions concerning the future (Isaias to Malachias);
4) A historical appendix (the Books of the Machabees).

The New Testament like the Old Testament has also a threefold division:

1) Historical books (the Gospels and the Acts);
2) Didactic writings (the fourteen Pauline Epistles and the seven Catholic Epistles);
3) A prophetical book (the Apocalypse).

The various divisions of the Biblical books are of rather recent origin. The Jews divided their sacred books into sections. The chapter division, as found in the Bible today, dates from the thirteenth century and is the work of Stephen Langton, professor at the University of Paris and later Archbishop of Canterbury. The present verse division was first introduced by the Dominican, Santes Pagnino (1528), and his system is still in use in most of the books of the Old Testament. The modern verse division in the New Testament is the work of Robert Stephen, a Paris printer of the sixteenth century. The chapter and divisions are of great value for purposes of reference but frequently break up the sequence of thought.

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