The Bible (from Greek τὰ βιβλία ta biblia "the books") is a collection of sacred scripture of both Judaism and Christianity. There is no single version; both the individual books (Biblical canon) and their order vary between denominations. The Jewish Tanakh divides the Hebrew Bible into 24 books, while the same texts are usually arranged as 39 books in Christian Old Testaments. Complete Christian Bibles range from the 66 books of the Protestant canon to the 81 books in the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible.
The Jewish Bible, or Tanakh, is divided into three parts: (1) the five books of the Torah ("teaching" or "law") comprise the origins of the Israelite nation, its laws and its covenant with the God of Israel; (2) the Nevi'im ("prophets") containing the historic account of ancient Israel and Judah plus works of prophecy; and (3) the Ketuvim ("writings"), poetic and philosophical works such as the Psalms and the Book of Job.
The Christian Bible (sometimes known as the Holy Bible) is divided into two parts. The first is called the Old Testament, containing the 39 books of Hebrew Scripture, and the second portion is called the New Testament, containing a set of 27 books. Christian Bibles include the books of the Hebrew Bible, but arranged in a different order: Jewish Scripture ends with the people of Israel restored to Jerusalem and the temple and the Christian arrangement ends with the book of the prophet Malachi.
The oldest surviving Christian Bibles are Greek manuscripts from the 4th century; the oldest complete Jewish Bible is a Greek translation, also dating to the 4th century. The oldest complete manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible (the Masoretic text) date from the Middle Ages.
During the three centuries following the establishment of Christianity in the 1st 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" (τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια). The canonical composition of the Old Testament is under 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.
Middle Latin biblia is short for biblia sacra "holy book"; while biblia in Greek and Late Latin is neuter plural (gen. bibliorum), it gradually came to be regarded as a feminine singular noun (biblia, gen. bibliae) in medieval Latin, and so the word was loaned as a singular into the vernaculars of Western Europe. Latin biblia sacra "holy books" translates Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια ta biblia ta hagia, "the holy books".
The word βιβλίον itself had the literal meaning of "paper" or "scroll," the and came to be used as the ordinary word for "book" It is the diminutive of βύβλος bublos, "Egyptian papyrus", possibly so called from the name of the Phoenician port Byblos (also known as Gebal) from whence Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece. The Greek ta biblia (lit. "little papyrus books") was "an expression Hellenistic Jews used to describe their sacred books (the Septuagint). Christian use of the term can be traced to ca. AD 223.
The Tanakh (Hebrew: ) consists of 24 books.
Tanakh refers to the threefold division of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings). This division is alluded to in the New testament: refers to the "law of Moses" (Pentateuch), the "prophets" which include certain historical books in addition to the books now called "prophets," and the psalms (the "writings" designated by its most prominent collection). The Hebrew Bible probably was canonized in these three stages: the law canonized before the Exile, the prophets by the time of the Syrian persecution of the Jews, and the writings shortly after AD 70 (the fall of Jerusalem). About that time, early Christian writings began being accepted by Christians as "scripture." These events, taken together, may have caused the Jews to close their "canon." They listed their own recognized Scriptures and also excluded both Christian and Jewish writings considered by them to be "apocryphal." In this canon the thirty-nine books found in the Old Testament of today's Christian Bibles were grouped together as twenty-two books, equaling the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. This canon of Jewish scripture is attested to by Philo, Josephus, the New Testament, and the Talmud.