For 400 years, the Authorized Version of the Bible--popularly known as the King James Version--has been beloved for its majestic phrasing and stately cadences. No other book has so profoundly influenced our language and our theology.
The Bible refers to the sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity, usually compiled in a single volume. The Hebrew Bible of Judaism contains 39 books. The Christian Bible adds to the Hebrew Bible 27 New Testament books, and particularly in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, some additional Old Testament books, giving a total of between 66 and 77 books.
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. Composed between 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.