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First published in 1611, the King James Version of the Bible is arguably the definitive English edition of the Christian scripture. The KJV isn’t really one book, but rather, 66 books in one—or 80, depending on how you count and whom you ask. To explain this and other details, we’ll give you a brief explanation of the books in the KJV Bible.
The Old Testament
Christianity, being an outgrowth of Judaism, builds upon the books of Jewish scripture. Christians know this compendium, the Hebrew Bible, as the Old Testament. Its first five books—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—comprise the Torah, the foundational text of the Jewish faith and a very important part of Christianity as well.
While the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament are similar in content, they differ in presentation. The King James Version’s Old Testament comprises 39 books compared to the Tanakh’s 24. This isn’t due to omission, but editorial decisions to separate the books of the twelve ”minor prophets” rather than consolidate them. The 39 books also differ slightly in order. The book of Daniel appears late in the Hebrew Bible rather than among the words of the other major prophets. The Old Testament includes Daniel as a major prophet alongside Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
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The New Testament
Where Judaism and Christianity diverge is in the 27 books of the New Testament, the second half of the Bible. Documenting a second covenant between God and humanity, it purports to supplement or even supplant the original covenant between God and the Jewish people.
The first four books of the New Testament are the Gospels: the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These books document the life and times of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. Following these is the book of the Acts of the Apostles—stories of the work the Apostles did following Jesus’s death. The 21 Epistles come next, followed by the thrilling conclusion, the book of Revelation, which may predict the end of the world as we know it.
What You Might Not Find
Absent from the King James Bible is the Apocrypha—the 14 books of the Old Testament that the early Christian Church first accepted as canonical while the Jewish people did not. While 1611’s first edition included the Apocrypha, printings from the 19th century onward have typically omitted these books after the Protestant readership’s dismissal of them. A classic 1611 edition of the King James Version will include the Apocrypha between testaments, as will special editions tailored to Catholic readers,
Of course, a brief explanation of the books in the KJV Bible doesn’t do these books justice. To better understand them, you’ll need a dedicated study resource. In addition to the classic 1611 edition, the KJV Store also offers the Thompson chain-reference study Bible/p>