Crossroads Church | Sheboygan, WI | Manitowoc, WI

An Overview of the Bible

The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The books within each testament are not necessarily in chronological order.  They are grouped by the type of material they cover.

The Old Testament was written between approximately 2000 BC and 400 BC.  It was written primarily in Hebrew and records the history of God’s dealings with the Jewish people.  It’s the story of God’s promise to redeem fallen humanity and send the Messiah as the Savior of the world.  But those who lived during this time didn’t see the fulfillment of that promise.  They trusted God and looked forward to the future day when that promise would be fulfilled.

The Old Testament has several different sections:

  • The first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy, sometimes called the Law or the Torah.  These books record creation, the fall, and God choosing Abraham and his family to be the ones he would work through to save the world.  This includes God bringing Abraham’s descendants out of slavery in Egypt and giving them his law before leading them to the land he gave them.
  • Next are twelve books of history, Joshua through Esther, that record the history of the nation of Israel, their failings and God’s faithfulness from the time they entered the promised land until the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exile.
  • The five poetic books, Job through Song of Songs are often called wisdom literature.  Including the Psalms and Proverbs, these books address all kinds of situations we encounter and provide practical wisdom for everyday life.  They address some of the biggest questions we have like the problem of evil and suffering.
  • The final 17 books are the Prophets.  The first five books of the prophets (Isaiah through Daniel) are sometimes called the Major Prophets.  The last twelve books (Hosea through Malachi) are sometimes called the Minor Prophets.  Major and minor refers to the length of the books not the importance of the message.  Prophets were men of God who were called to speak God’s Word to his people Israel throughout the history of the nation.  They challenge the people about the need for justice and righteousness and they point to the hope of the future Messiah.

The New Testament was written during the 1st century AD, probably between the 40’s and 90’s.  It was written primarily in Greek and records the life, death and resurrection of the Savior, Jesus along with the birth and expansion of the early church.  The New Testament shows how Jesus came as God’s Son and the fulfillment of the promises about the Messiah in the Old Testament.

The New Testament has four main parts:

  • The Gospels record the eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection from those who knew him best.
    • Matthew writes from a Jewish perspective and emphasizes Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises about the Messiah.  Look for the many ties to the Old Testament as you read this gospel.
    • Mark is short and to the point.  Very action oriented, he doesn’t record many long dialogues but focuses on what Jesus did and said during his earthly ministry.
    • Luke is concerned about justice, the outcast and the poor.  His hard hitting gospel records how Jesus challenged the religious establishment and made a way for everyone to come to God.
    • John, writing his gospel towards the end of his life, includes more of the theology and the deeper meaning behind Jesus’ words and deeds.  He gives a clear picture of Jesus’ divinity and includes in depth dialogues people had with Jesus.
  • The second part of the New Testament is history, found in the Book of Acts.  Acts was written by Luke, and picks up where his gospel left off. It records the birth of the church after Jesus rose from the dead and the expansion of the church over the next 30 years around the Roman Empire.
  • The third part of the New testament is the letters, sometimes called Epistles.  These are letters written by the Apostles to churches and individuals.  They are grouped by author starting with letters of Paul (Romans through Philemon), then the anonymous letter of Hebrews, followed by the letter from James, Two letters from Peter, three letters from John, and a letter from Jude.
  • The final part of the New Testament is the book of Revelation.  Written by the Apostle John, it’s part letter, part prophecy and part apocalypse. Revelation is a message of hope that shows us Jesus is coming back to judge evil and vindicate His followers. He will fix everything that is broken with our world. But before that happens, Christians will need to patiently endure trials and suffering.
Crossroads logo

Crossroads Community Church, with campuses in both Sheboygan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, exists to help people connect with God and others at the crossroads of life.

Crossroads Community Church

Sheboygan Campus | P: 920-694-1552 [email protected]

Manitowoc Campus | P: 920-663-2960 [email protected]


© 2023 Crossroads Community Church | See our Privacy Policy + Terms of Service | Crossroads Community Church is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Designed, Built + Managed by Re3 Creative