Understanding Your Bible

Proper Biblical Divisions (see charts below)

Your Bible has natural divisions that will help you to understand how God has dealt with men throughout history. These divisions will also help you to understand what God expects of you today.  The most basic example of this division is, the OLD TESTAMENT and the NEW TESTAMENT.  

It is easy to see that God made many changes between the two testaments. For example, in 2020 we are no longer required to offer burnt sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem to have our sins forgiven.  It is also true that if you pick up a stick on Saturday, you are not in danger of any punishment like they were in the Old Testament (Num 15:32-36).  

Understanding the proper divisions in the Bible is critical to understanding what God expects of you and of me in 2020.   (2Ti 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.)

Once you begin to  see these divisions, your Bible will come alive and passages that were confusing before, will start to make sense. Passages that seemed to contradict before, can be placed in the proper context and proper TIME. Once the passages are in the proper TIME and context, the 'contradictions' vanish. 

The charts below provide a BASIC understanding of how the Bible is divided. They start with the simple division between the Old and New Testament. Once that division is realized, you can then begin to see some of the other divisions in the Word of God. While these charts are NOT totally complete, they do cover most of the divisions that you will need to gain a better understanding of your Bible. 

I have shown the divisions by book 'as a whole'. In other words, sometimes the transition from one Time Period or (Dispensation) to the another, spans the end of one book into the beginning of the next.  For simplicity I have assigned the book as a whole to the main time period that it covers. 

P.S. Please note that the NT books of Matt, Mark, Luke, and John are assigned to the New Testament in our Bible but according to Heb 9:16 a "Testament" is not in effect until the death of the testator (Jesus Christ).  So, while these books introduce the NT to us, the actual TESTAMENT is not fully IN EFFECT until after Christ dies on the cross.  As you read these four books you will still see many aspects of the OT Law still in force.  That is why I showed these books as a separate or "transitional" time period signified in red.

The transition from OT to NT is a transition in God's 'main focus' from the nation of Israel to the Gentiles. This transition is happening as you read from Matthew to the beginning of the book of Acts. 

Then from the book of Acts to the book of Philemon, the main emphasis is on the Gentiles. 

Another transition occurs when God's main focus changes BACK to the nation of Israel. As you can tell by the name the book, HEBREWS begins the transition back to the nation of Israel. 

So, there are two main places where people get confused in their Bible.  The first one is Matthew - Acts, because the Bible is beginning a transition from the OT to the NT and from the nation of Israel to the Gentiles.  The next Transition happens when the focus is shifted BACK TO ISRAEL... that happens in the book of Hebrews.  Extra care should be taken when you are reading these transitional passages and books. Keep in mind that the transition often takes some time before it is fully complete and understood.