Of course, the spiritual content of the 49 scrolls with the 70 biblical writings is the most important, but also the correct arrangement of books brings additional information to light and shows the work of God in planning and building the Bible. Not only the content of the Holy Scripture is inspired by God, but also the arrangement of the individual books. The main criterion for the grouping (or its order) is not only the time of origin, the number of words or the author, but much more the spiritual content. If we follow the well-known old guidelines of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the NT (Codices, collections of Greek Bible manuscripts), a clear and astonishing number symbolism comes to the fore.
The correct grouping and order of the individual books of the Old Testament (OT) is not complicated and has been known for over 2,200 years. The Hebrew Bible Tanakh (TNK) has a clear structure. The Tanakh is a collection of Hebrew scriptures from a period of about 1,200 years. It consists of the 3 parts Torah (law, directive), Nevi'im (prophets) and Ketuvim (writings, also called "other books" or "psalms" since they first appear in the group). The initial letters "TNK" gave the Hebrew Bible the name TaNaKh. The Christians do not use this name, but "Old Testament" (OT) or "Old Covenant", as a difference to the "New Testament" (NT) or the "New Covenant". The canonization of the OT was already completed at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (3rd century BC) and was clearly separated from all other scriptures (such as from the Samaritans and others). The official Hebrew Bible has been reaffirmed in Judaism over the centuries. There is absolute certainty: today we have exactly the same books as during the lifetime of Jesus. The Hebrew Bible was originally written on 22 book scrolls, but contains a total of 39 individual books (or 43 books, if the psalms are counted as 5 books). The Christians have taken over all 39 books of the Tanakh, but they changed without real reason: [1.] the grouping, [2.] the order and [3.] the number of books by adding additional books to the OT that do not belong to the Bible (apocrypha). Thus they have separated themselves from the order of the Hebrew foundation, that is, from the original, which is why they have lost their knowledge of the symbolism of biblical numbers.
It makes no sense to invent entirely new divisions of the OT while at the same time destroying the God-inspired age-old order. The 3 parts of the OT (Law, Prophets, Writings) were witnessed long before the birth of Jesus. One example is the apocryphal book of Jesus Sirach 175 BC, which reports in the foreword to the [1st] law, [2nd] the prophets, and [3rd] the "other books". Although a different division may be theologically based on church affiliation, the scientific facts speak clearly for the age-old order of the Tanakh. In addition, if the arrangement of the 21 (7x3) prophetic books and the Wisdom Scriptures is changed, then the numerical statement in the arrangement of the entire Bible is automatically lost. The result is that people think that the Bible is a normal book of world literature, because they can no longer recognize God's clear action in the structure (construction) of the Bible because of changes from the theologians. Did the theologians want to achieve that? In the OT, 21 books were written by the Prophets of Yahweh, and in the NT 21 books (letters) were written by the disciples of Jesus. The 3x7 = 21 symbolizes completeness in relation to the prophets and letters. There is no random arrangement of books in the OT, but each book has its own place and meaning. We should rather orient ourselves on the foundation of the Hebrew Bible, because our Lord Jesus Christ (Yeshua ha Mashiach) has given us an example. He did not follow the new Greek (and not God-inspired) division of the Septuagint 250-100 BC. But he clearly named the old specific tripartite division of the Hebrew OT:
"These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written [1st] in the LAW of Moses, and [2nd] in the PROPHETS, and [3rd] in the PSALMS, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand THE SCRIPTURES..." (Lk 24:44-45, KJV).
As can be clearly seen here, Jesus spoke of the old division of the Hebrew Bible and not of newly invented ones (Greek Septuagint), which erase the Hebrew order. Jesus did not say, "Everything that is written by me must be fulfilled in the  Historical Books,  Poetics,  Prophets, and  Apocrypha," but his tripartite division was unequivocal: " law,  prophets and  psalms" (Luke 24:44). These were his scriptures. What speaks against following the example of Jesus and using the same ancient inspired order of the Hebrew Bible as in HIS time?
The individual Hebrew books of the OT have been created over a period of more than 1,200 years. At that time there were no books with individual pages, but the writings were written down and transported on very precious and expensive parchments (animal skins). Since leather is perishable, the texts had to be rewritten again and again. In order not to make a mistake, even all single letters were counted. If the number did not match the original, the copy was destroyed. So today we have exactly the same texts as thousands of years ago. God made sure that His people have a spiritual light in this world, that was the sacred text. These book scrolls (often simply called "scrolls") were the most important treasure of Israel, as they opened the understanding of God and the spiritual dimension. God has chosen the small and despised people of Israel. That's why the language of this people was used to make the first part of the Bible.
The Hebrew text is read from right to left and consists only of consonants. This had the great advantage that the scrolls were much smaller in scope than if they had been written in other languages. In addition, individual books have been summarized in only one scroll. This had the further advantage that only 22 instead of 39 (or 43) individual scrolls had to be stored and transported. The 5 books of Moses were very large in size, so they were not summarized. But the following prophetic writings, "Joshua-Judges" and "Samuel-Kings", were written on just one scroll. The Septuagint therefore speaks of the "4 Books of Kings". This is also what Jerome in Vulgate 382 took over and spoke in summary of the "4 Book of Kings" (libri regnorum). In the later Vulgate editions, the "4 Kings" were subdivided and complemented by "1st-2nd Samuel" according to the model of the Hebrew Bible. Now it will be understood why this 4-designation even took over some Christian Bibles, e.g. the English Wycliffe Bible 1380-1388, Coverdale Bible 1535 or the Great Bible (Cranmer) 1539 listing the "4 Books of the Kings" ("Regum, 1-4 boke of the kynges") without the name "1-2 Samuel" to use. The world's first printed Bible, the Latin Gutenberg Bible 1454, also speaks of the "1-4 Liber Regum". The first French Bibles also had the Catholic order of the books with the "4 books kings": Petrus Comestor 1520 ("La bible en francoiz"), Olivétan 1535, Bible de Louvain 1550, Jean Calvin 1550, Bible de Genève 1588. Since the Septuagint describes the two Chronicle books "Paralipomenon", this word was also used in the first Christian translations. This was also the case in the Gutenberg Bible 1454.
At the time of the canonization, the 12 Little Prophets were written down to a single scroll. Also the 5 books of the Psalms were summarized on a scroll. The same applies to Ezra-Nehemiah. Therefore, in the Septuagint and the Vulgate, the book Nehemiah is referred to as the "2nd Book of Ezra". The two Chronicle books were also recorded on only one scroll. So there were exactly 22 scrolls (see picture at the bottom of this page).
There are numerous historical sources that speak of exactly 22 scrolls of the Hebrew Bible. The most famous of these are the writings of the Roman-Greek historian Flavius Josephus (* 37/38 in Jerusalem, † 100 in Rome), who lived at the same time and in the same geographical area in which the NT was written. In his from 94 AD originating work "Against Apion" ("Contra Apionem") he defended himself against falsifying anti-Semitic authors and convicted them of their mistakes. He also gave a brief reference to the number of scrolls of the original Hebrew Bible:
"For we have not an innumerable multitude of books [Greek "biblion"] among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only 22 books [literally Greek "biblia"], which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine... It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them" (Contra Apionem 1:8; Source: Link1, Link2, Link3)
Also Jerome (* 347, † 420), the author of the Catholic Vulgate 382 (= Latin translation of the Septuagint), speaks in the preface to Samuel kings of the 22 scrolls that the people of Israel had. But Jerome does not follow the original order of the books in the Hebrew original, but in the Greek translation (Septuagint). He writes:
"That the Hebrews have 22 letters is testified by the Syrian and Chaldæan languages which are nearly related to the Hebrew, for they have 22 elementary sounds which are pronounced the same way, but are differently written... As, then, there are 22 elementary characters by means of which we write in Hebrew all we say, and the compass of the human voice is contained within their limits, so we reckon 22 books, by which, as by the alphabet of the doctrine of God, a righteous man is instructed in tender infancy, and, as it were, while still at the breast" (Source: Link).
Numerous church fathers were familiar with the 22 scripture scrolls (often translated as "books") of the Hebrew Bible. But they often did not know exactly on which scrolls the individual 39 books were written on. Although they have often spoken of the 22 scrolls of the OT, but have sometimes changed the order of books according to the Septuagint. There are many mentions of the 22 scrolls (books) of the Hebrew Bible, examples:
Why does the Jewish Tanakh today consist of 24 scrolls instead of 22? Until well into the first century AD, it was a matter of course to speak of the 22 scrolls of the Hebrew Bible. But the problem was that the 22 was not an very important number, especially for the Jews who came from Babylon. Long after the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (70 AD), ie towards the end of the 1st century and the beginning of the 2nd century, some Jewish scholars therefore divided the first two prophetic scrolls (Jos+Jdg and Sam+Kgs) into 4 scrolls (Jos, Jdg, Ri, Sam, Kgs). The result was the desired number 24, with which they could assign each of the 12 tribes of Israel two books; 12x2=24. The first reference to a Jewish canon of 24 books can be found first in the apocryphal book "4 Esdras" from the year 95-120 AD. With the number 24, the completeness of the Hebrew Bible should be expressed. But that is not so, because the 22 is the decisive number, because it symbolizes the complete conclusion of the OT. The Old Hebrew alphabet has exactly 22 letters from Alef to Tav (see alphabets and numerical values of the Bible). Jacob, who was later renamed Israel, is the 22nd generation after Adam. It is no coincidence that the patriarch of Israel was born exactly in this generation. There are many more arguments for keeping the old order and staying with the 22 scrolls. The 24 and even the 39 (or 43) are imperfect numbers in relation to the Bible structure. They indicate that something else is missing, namely the New Testament (NT). The 7 is the holy number of the Bible and 7x7=49 means finalization and completeness. The Bible therefore consists of 22+27=49=7x7 scrolls and has exactly 43+27=70=10x7 individual books. Only the NT completes the Bible and completes the number-symbolism of the Bible. The complete understanding of the numerical symbolism in the construction of the Bible has been revealed to Christianity in recent decades. And why not sooner? Quite simply, because many Christians unfortunately wanted to separate themselves from the Hebrew "Jewish" base of the OT and preferred to adopt their own Catholic divisions.
As it became clear, the order of the Hebrew Bible was important to Jesus and not the later division of the Greek translation of the Bible (Septuagint). Jesus was referring to the Hebrew order and not to the Greek disorder. Thus, it is very easy to use old sources to determine the correct order of all 39 books. All we have to do is stick to the age-old guidelines and the right picture of the OT is created. The order of the books given on the images on this website is not a new idea of ours and also not a change from us, but on the contrary, it has always been like this, it is ancient basic information that every Christian should know. It is not a secret knowledge, but freely available facts that can also be found on Wikipedia (Link1, Link2, Link3, Link4, Link5). Each book of the OT has its clearly defined and firm place. The sequence of the 39 books of the Hebrew Bible Tanakh shown in Wikipedia (see link) corresponds to 100% of those on this website.
In the original order of the Tanakh the Psalms are the 27th, the Song of Songs the 30th, Daniel the 35th and 2nd Chronicles the 39th (and last) book of the OT (see the structure in the bottom picture on this page). The book of Daniel has a special position because it is following the 5 books of Moses plus the 21 prophetic books; so it's the 27th prophetic book of the OT. In other words: Without the "general" or "universal" wisdom (Psalms, Proverbs, Job) and festival scrolls (Megillot), the prophetic Book of Daniel is in the 27th position of the OT, just as the Book of Revelation is also the 27th scroll of the NT. The Song of Songs (30th book) was read aloud at Passover every year; it symbolizes the love of God to us humans and Jesus (Yeshua) was about 30 years when he first appeared (Lk 3:23). He was the love in person. Christians should respect the order of the Hebrew Bible and not distort it in Christian Bibles.
The Structure of the Bible shown on this website, more precisely the given order of all canonical books of the OT, has existed for about 2,200 years and was thus also used at the time of Jesus. In addition, it was confirmed again in the 1st century AD (Tanakh), as well as in the following centuries. The Masoretic text (from Hebrew "masora": "tradition, custom"; abbreviated MT) from the 7th to 10th century AD is nothing more than a Hebrew text version of the Tanach with pronunciation information. It is the result of the editing of the Bible text by the Masorets (punctuators), which inserted vowels and accents in each word, thus setting exactly the pronunciation of the Hebrew text. These Jewish scribes reaffirmed the order of the books. However, the punctuation had the disadvantage that some Hebrew words were fixed, although in the original the consonants (without the vowels) could have multiple word meanings. A famous edition of the Masoretic text is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia 1968-2013 (BHS; Link). It has the correct arrangement of the books. There were translations of the Masoretic text in Spanish, English and German, which always kept the correct order. The very precious Spanish translation, the Alba Bible 1430, involved Jewish scholars (for example, Rabbi Moses Arrangel). This Bible correctly listed the books of the OT (though the Megillot were added after the Chronicle books; Link). The later Spanish translations did not follow this good example, but the wrong arrangement of the Catholic Vulgate. But there are enough other good examples. The Berlin-born Leopold Zunz 1837 (born 1794; died 1886) published from 1837 numerous editions of the AT in German, of course with the correct arrangement of the books. A new edition appeared in 1997. The first Bible translated by a woman was written by Julia Smith, the Julia Smith Literal Translation 1876 (JSLT, "The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments; Translated Literally from the Original Tongues;" link). She has done a very good work and has shown the correct order of the books. The German translation made in 1894 by Emil Friedrich Kautzsch (born 1841, died 1910; "Die Heilige Schrift des Alten Testaments"; Link1, Link2, Link3) lists the 39 books of the OT 100% as well as in the illustrations shown on this website (see the bottom picture). Dr. S. Bernfeld 1902 translated the Hebrew Bible into German and maintained the correct order ("Die Heilige Schrift: nach dem masoretischen Text neu übersetzt"; translated: "The Holy Scriptures: translated anew according to the Masoretic text", Link). The other title of this book is "Torah, Nevi'im and Khetuvim"; this corresponds to the tripartite division of the OT, which also mentioned Jesus. In 1917, the first official translation from the Tanakh (Masoretic text) into English was created by The Jewish Publication Society of America (JSP title: "The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text", Link1, Link2). The correct order of the books was confirmed again. For more than 2,000 years there has been no doubt as to how the books of the OT should be ranked. Here, not everyone can do what they want, because it is about the Word of God. Christians should respect this and not change it senselessly. Even Wikipedia confirms this multiple times: Link1, Link2 (100% the same order of the 39 books in the Tanakh as on this website).
Also the "Polyglot Bible for practical hand use" of Stier/Theile from 1845, which shows the Hebrew, Greek (LXX), Latin (Vulgate) and German (Luther) text, has the correct order of the books of the OT (Tanach). So, on our website, we have not made up a new order of the 39 books of the OT (Tanakh) in the Structure of the Bible, but have kept the same order that existed at the time of Jesus and before. And this is the case with the new Jewish Study Bible 2014:
Even the Bible for Dummies 2003 shows the correct listing of the 39 books of the OT, which it calls the "Jewish Ordering". This is correct, because the Christian Bibles unfortunately do not follow the order of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), which existed at the time of Jesus. Thus, the logical structure of the OT and the numerical meanings remain hidden to most Christians, and most Christians also do not know which books were read aloud on the biblical feast days and why (Megillot). The OT has a three-part division, but not only the Prophets but also the Writings consist of three sub-parts, which have not been indicated in this list:
The Torah: (1) Genesis, (2) Exodus, (3) Leviticus, (4) Numbers, (5) Deuteronomy.
The Prophets: The Former Prophets: (6) Joshua, (7) Judges, (8) 1Samuel, (9) 2Samuel, (10) 1Kings, (11) 2Kings. - The Latter Prophets: The Major Prophets: (12) Isaiah, (13) Jeremiah, (14) Ezekiel. The 12 Minor Prophets: (15) Hosea, (16) Joel, (17) Amos, (18) Obadiah, (19) Jonah, (20) Micah, (21) Nahum, (22) Habakkuk, (23) Zephaniah, (24) Haggai, (25) Zechariah, (26) Malachi.
The Writings: (27) Psalms, (28) Proverbs, (29) Job. - (30) Song of Songs, (31) Ruth, (32) Lamentations, (33) Ecclesiastes, (34) Esther. - (35) Daniel, (36) Ezra, (37) Nehemiah, (38) 1Chronicles, (39) 2Chronicles.
The current arrangement of the books of the OT is based in most of the Christian Bible translations NOT on the Hebrew original (Tanakh), but on the later Greek translation, the Septuagint 250-100 BC, which ordered the books as "historical books". In the Septuagint, not only the translations of the Hebrew canonical writings were recorded, but also several dubious Greek scriptures that have nothing to do with the Bible, the Apocrypha. The Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus (both from the 4th century) do not contain the Hebrew Bible, but their Greek translation (Septuagint). They therefore have the Greek order of books of the OT. Instead of the Hebrew order, they have the Greek disorder, for they also contain the Apocrypha.
The Catholic church father Jerome (* 347, † 420) had in his famous Latin translation, the Vulgate of 382, the order of the Greek Septuagint, but not of the Hebrew original (Tanakh). He also had his own ideas incorporated and also changed the order of some writings. The Vulgate, in turn, was the main Bible of Christendom during 1,500 years. It was used as the basis for translations into other languages, so that the erroneous arrangement of the books was automatically adopted. In other words, the order of the books in Christian Bibles did not follow the original of the Hebrew Bible, but their translations, namely [1.] the Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT) and [2.] their Latin translation Vulgate. The books Ruth, Chronicles, Lamentations, Daniel and Ester were therefore in the wrong place. The importance of the group of 5 festival scrolls (Megillot) was completely overlooked. It is precisely this group of 5 scrolls that can not be divided, as it is precisely these books that were and are read out to the whole congregation on specific holidays each year (see below). However, since Christians reject the 7 feasts of God and instead prefer to orientate themselves on feast days whose origin comes from paganism, it is normal if they can not do anything with the "festival scrolls". However, this knowledge was a matter of course for the first Christian church.
The first Catholic Bible translations were based strictly on the text and the order of the Vulgate. This includes one of the first English Bibles, the Wycliffe Bible 1383-1390, which also contains the Apocrypha. The first printed Bible of the world, the Gutenberg Bible 1452-1455, has published the text of the Vulgate with its Catholic order (including Apocrypha). The world's first printed Bible in a national language, the German Mentelin Bible 1466 follows entirely the structure of the Vulgate. Over the centuries, the status of only a few books has changed. Even Martin Luther in 1534 did not change much, he only put the apocrypha at the end of the OT. This was also the case with the King James Version 1611. In concrete terms, this means that the whole world uses the Catholic arrangement of biblical books (either with or without apocrypha) without being aware of it. Few Christians, on the other hand, know the original God-inspired structure of the Hebrew Bible.
Since most Christian Bibles follow the order of the Septuagint, the books Rut and Ester are among the history books and they are at the beginning of the OT. This is a mistake, because it obscures the true spiritual meaning of these scriptures. The truth is: They belong to the WRITINGS (Ketuvim) and here to the group of "5 Festival scrolls" (Megillot, Hebrew "megilla" = "scroll" or "book scroll") or "The Five Scrolls". The "5 Festival Scrolls" of the Bible have been seen as one group since earliest times. In the correct order of the Hebrew Bible, the order of the scrolls corresponds to the sequence of major Jewish festivals during the year (see calendar and feasts):
The year of origin is not the decisive criterion for grouping, but the content. If, for example, the books of the NT were arranged according to their date of origin, a chaotic picture would be created. Therefore, it is better that all scholars stick to the old logical structures of the OT and NT and renounce new theological ideas. The complete Hebrew Bible consists of 22 scrolls with 39 individual books. The total number of books in the Septuagint and the Vulgate, however, can not be determined at all, since there have been regional differences and disagreements in the recording of individual writings since the beginning. In addition, over the centuries controversial books were arbitrarily removed or added. This created a chaos, which is still visible today in the table of contents of many Bibles. The facts are: The Hebrew order was replaced by a Greek and Latin disorder.
The scholars realized very early that exactly 27 scrolls form the New Testament (NT). Nothing has changed to this day. The New Testament, abbreviated NT, is a collection of 27 scriptures of early Christianity in Greek, proclaiming Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Son of God come to save Israel and the cosmos. Thus, all people know exactly which books belong to the inspired NT and which are not. There is no doubt in Christianity. But as far as the order of the individual writings is concerned, there is disagreement. The arrangement of the books in the NT in the pictures on this website corresponds to the old and original order (see Structure of the Bible). The NT consists of 4 parts,  Gospels,  Acts,  21 Letters (Epistles), and  Revelation. Together with the 3 parts of the OT, the entire Bible consists of 7 (3+4) parts. Some theologians confirm the 4-division, but they group  the Gospels and Acts into a single group, subdividing the 21 letters into two groups, the  7 General and  14 Paul's letters and [4.] Revelation]. But this is not logical, because the similarities in content are much larger in the letters than between the Gospels and Acts. In addition, the Epistle group consists of exactly 21 (3x7) books (letters of the disciples), which harmonizes with the 21 (3x7) books of the prophets (prophetic books) of the OT. We are very fortunate, because the order of the books of the NT is correct in most Bibles, for only the position of the Epistle to the Hebrews should have been a little higher up.
The word "Gospel" is derived from "good spell" and the Greek "evangelion", which means "good news". The 4 Gospels illuminate the life of Jesus from 4 different perspectives. The first 3 gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke are referred to as "synoptic gospels" (synoptics = "to see together") because they have much in common in a temporal compilation of events than the Gospel of John. Since Jesus is the Word of God who came to earth to save people from eternal death, the Gospels are the most important books in the entire Bible. They belong to the beginning of the NT and are therefore right in the center of the 7-part Bible:
All 27 NT scrolls have emerged over the course of 3 to 5 decades. They were collected from the beginning by the Christian communities, copied many times and distributed in all regions. Thus, despite the annihilation and burning of many writings by Romans, Greeks and Jews, far more than 5,000 manuscripts have survived in whole or in part. The many old translations in many other languages have not even been considered. This makes the Bible historically unique and gives us absolute security regarding the text content.
Before the final completion of the NT canon, all the books were grouped into 3 collections of almost the equal size. These 3 collections were the precursors of canonization:
The sorting was different in time and regional. Some collections listed Acts behind the Gospels, others after Paul or even after the Universal Epistles. Still others had put the so-called "Revelation of John" not at the end of the NT, but to the letters of John. The Book of Revelation was accepted late as the 4th group of the NT. Some theologians wanted to get rid of it completely because they could not understand the content. It soon became clear that this book belongs to the Bible and harmonizes with the Gospels and the book of Daniel. The 3 roughly equal-sized collections were available, but the question was, in which order the 27 individual books should be arranged?
At the time of the first church, the individual letters were passed from church to church, without worrying about a righteous order. They were copied over and over again so that each community could have their own books. Already 200 AD, the 4 Gospels were summarized in a codex and formed the beginning of the NT. There was no doubt about that. But the scholars were not sure whether, according to the Gospels, the Corpus Paulinum or the Corpus Apostolicum should be connected with the Acts of the Apostles. The Pauline Epistles were older, but the content of the book of Acts directly connects with the Gospels and clearly belongs to the 5th place of the NT. It is not a 5th Gospel which tells of the life of Jesus, but the historical continuation of the Gospel according to Luke with the description of the first Christian church. Thus OT and NT each begin with a historical Pentateuch (five-scroll book). This (NT) is followed by the 14 long early Pauline Letters and at the end the 7 short and late General Letters. Most of the General Letters were first written when the Christian communities had been around for a long time. Therefore, they are written "general" (universally) and appeal to everyone.
The Latin translation of the Greek basic texts, the Vulgate 382 AD, the official Catholic Bible, had a major influence on the order of the NT books in our modern Bibles. It put the entire Corpus Apostolicum as a whole at the end of the NT. In other words: After to the Gospel of John, the Epistle to the Romans followed, and the Book of Acts appeared at the end of the NT, that is, after the Epistle to the Hebrews. Over the centuries, this order in the Vulgate was not changed and spread worldwide. Very many Latin Bibles (Vulgate) created over the centuries (manuscripts and prints) add the Acts of the Apostles AFTER the Paul epistles (Examples). John Wycliffe 1383-1390 was also inspired by this (Phm, Hebr, Acts, James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude), as he translated from the Vulgate. This single Catholic source also had many translators after him, because the Greek Codex Sinaiticus (discovered in 1844) and the other codices were not yet known at that time. Probably the first completely preserved NT in German, the Codex Teplensis 1390 (Cod-Tpl; "Waldensian Bible", late 14th century) lists the Acts even after the 21 letters, ie directly before the Revelation. The famous German manuscript, the Ottheinrich Bible 1425-30 (OTHR), the Cod-Pal-Germ-23 1441 and the Eberler Bible 1464 (EBRL), list the Acts of the Apostles between the Hebrew and James letters. These and many other Catholic Bible translations follow the example of the Vulgate. Now it becomes clear why the world's first printed Bible, the Gutenberg Bible 1452-1455 (GTB), does not rank the book of Acts after the four Gospels, but continues to place it after the Epistle to the Hebrews. The same order was also adopted by the world's first printed Bible in one national language, the German Mentelin Bible 1466 (printed in Strasbourg, then Germany, today France). Again and again, Acts appeared after the Letter to the Hebrews and also the other German pre-Lutheran (Catholic) Bibles followed this order, e.g. Eggestein 1470, Pflanzmann 1475, Zainer 1475-1477, Sorg 1477-80, Koberger 1483, Grüninger 1485, Schönsperger 1487-1490 and the Low German Lübeck Bible 1494. Especially in Germany, many and accurate Bible translations were made. Even the first complete Bible in several languages, the Complutensian Polyglot Bible 1514, still shows the Acts of the Apostles after the Hebrew Letter and before the General Epistles. In other words, until the time of the Reformation (ecclesial renewal between 1517 and 1648), the book of Acts was in the Vulgate and in various translations BEHIND the Epistles of Paul (and the letter to the Hebrews was at the end). In the French Bibles, the Letter to the Hebrews is at the end of the Pauline Epistles. But there is a peculiarity, because the Bible of Peter Comestor 1520 ("La bible en francoiz") lists the Acts of the Apostles after the Epistle to the Hebrews, followed by the Universal Epistles and Revelation. According to the Catholic grouping of books, the Acts lay for about 1,500 years at the end of the NT. But now for about 500 years, the book of Acts is in the correct position (or order) following the Gospels, because increasingly no longer the Latin, but the Greek texts were used as a translation basis.
Erasmus of Rotterdam published in 1516 his famous edition of the Greek Textus Receptus ("Novum Instrumentum Omne"), which served as a translation base into other languages. He corrected the error of the Vulgate and set Acts behind the Gospels. However, he left the Letter to the Hebrews in the wrong 14th place (see below) because he did not know the orders of the old Codices. Many translators have therefore, in ignorance of the original arrangement, adopted this error in many other languages. Frederick Scrivener (1813-1891) also published the "Greek New Testament" in the same order in 1887. On the other hand, Westcott and Hort 1881 (abbr.: WH-1881, "The New Testament in the Original Greek") decided to order the books according the Codex Vaticanus and listed the General Letters immediately after Acts and the Letter to the Hebrews in the 10th place of the Pauline Epistles.
Martin Luther 1522 was not guided by the error of the Vulgate, but brought the Acts before the Epistles, leaving the General Letters at the end of the NT. The first Catholic counter- or correction Bible to Luther was created by Hieronymus Emser in 1527. He still ordered the Acts after the Gospels and Hebrews after Philemon (ie before the General Letters). So also thought and Eck 1537. But the Catholic correction Bibles of Dietenberger 1534 and 1540 initially took strictly the same order of the Vulgate, so that the book of Acts appeared again at the end of the NT, thus after the Pauline Epistles. But even in the respective later editions, the Acts of the Apostles was also placed in the right place (behind the Gospels) in the Catholic Bibles, which is also logical from the point of view of content and the time of its origin. Almost all Catholic, Protestant and free church Bible translations in the world now have the Acts of the Apostles in the right place. Together with the 4 Gospels they form the 5 historical books of the NT, which harmonize with the 5 books of Moses. In total, there are the 10 (5+5) scrolls of the Law, 5 for the OT Church and 5 for the New Christian NT Church. It is the worldwide Christian family whose sign of recognition is love. This church follows Jesus in a life without violence and even loves the enemies. This dimension of love for a (new) church did not exist at the time of the Old Testament.
Paul was the first to write letters to the newly formed Christian churches. The often-quoted word "Epistle" is nothing more than a word borrowed from Greek for "Letter" (Greek: epistolē, Latin epistola). Paul's letters were collected from the beginning, and were inspired (1Thess 1:5; 1Cor 2:4; Rom 1:16). They should be read everywhere (1Thess 5:27, Rom 16:16) and passed on (Gal 1:2, 2Cor 1:1), so that the recipients could see them (Gal 6:11). They were exchanged in the churches (Col 4:16), and even opponents praised their powers of persuasion (2Cor 10:10). There were some forged Paul's letters, so warnings were pronounced (2Thess 2:2, 3:17), that requires a collection. Peter knew such a collection, as he commented on the content of Paul's letters as a whole (2Peter 3:15-16). These notes in the NT show the high esteem of Paul's letters in early Christianity.
Ever since the beginning of canonization Paul's letters to the "7 churches in dispersion" have been sorted not according to the time of their origin, but according to their size (number of words). After these (altogether 9 church letters), the Epistle to the Hebrews always came in the 10th position in the oldest scriptural collections (Codices), though he (according to the number of words) after the 1. Corinthians letter should have been arranged. Thus, it becomes clear that the early Christians were well concerned about the proper order of the Epistles and could clearly distinguish the group of letters to the seven churches from the Epistle to the Hebrews.
The Holy Spirit has worked to build the NT, inspiring the early Christians to pick up the right books on the Bible. Although the later newly built churches retained the 27 books of the NT, their order was changed. The Catholic theologians had a significant influence on the later orders, because most Bible translations were not based on the order of the ancient Greek codices, but on the Latin translation of the NT, the Vulgate 382 AD. Some Vulgate editions also included the apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans (after Hebrews and before Acts), which was rightly denied early in Christianity because it is a late forgery.
Not only did John wrote to the 7 churches in his book of Revelation, but also Paul previously wrote to other 7 churches that he personally looked after. These letters therefore always formed the beginning of the NT. This was followed by the Letter to the Hebrews, which was also written by Paul (here the proof). Originally, the letter to the Hebrews was not at the end, but in the middle of the NT letters. In the first scriptural collections of the new Christian Church, the Pauline Epistle was part of the "Corpus Paulinum", the first Christian list of exactly 14 (not 13) accepted Pauline letters. The world's oldest and only to the 5th century completely preserved copy of the NT is the Codex Sinaiticus 330-360 AD. It is often referred to as the "oldest Bible in the world". The Codex Sinaiticus was discovered by the German Protestant theologian Konstantin von Tischendorf at Mount Sinai. The Codex has the correct order of the 14 (not 13) Pauline letters. "According to Tischendorf, Codex Sinaiticus was one of the 50 copies of the Bible commissioned from Eusebius by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great [* 270-288; † 337] after his conversion to Christianity (De vita Constantini, IV, 37)" (Wikipedia).
The same order of the Pauline Epistles has all of the earliest complete editions of the 4th-century NT (Codex Sinaiticus, C. Vaticanus) and the 5th century (C. Alexandrinus, C. Ephraemi Rescriptus, Codex Freerianus), as well as numerous other codices, as the Wikipedia page (Link) lists. They all keep the Epistle to the Hebrews at the end of the 9 Pauline Church Letters, that is, after 2 Thessalonians and BEFORE the letters to the 3 co-workers (Timothy, Titus, Philemon). Hebrew is therefore always the 10th book of the Pauline letters. But the Codex Vaticanus arranges the Universal Epistles after the Acts of the Apostles and even before the Epistles of Paul. An very important fact is that in all these early codices the position of Acts and the Universal Epistles varied, but never the 10th position of the Epistle to the Hebrews within the 14 scrolls of Paul. The Vulgate 382 AD did not pay attention to this order, as the Letter to the Hebrews was considered too "Jewish" and thus postponed, that is, behind the Epistle to Philemon. The example of the Vulgate was again followed by many translators around the world. Therefore, the Christians could not know what the original and correct order of the Pauline Epistles was. In other words, after the 9 letters to the 7 churches, the "Epistle to the Hebrews" followed in 10th position. Together, there are 10 letters that Paul wrote to certain church groups (or communities). Then followed the 4 letters to 3 specific persons (or brothers) from the church. Together there are 10+4=14=2x7 Pauline letters.
Why did some theologians postpone the Epistle to the Hebrews in the order of the books? In the 4th century, the Letter to the Hebrews in the Western Churches (Rome) was moved to the last part of the Pauline Epistles, as its contents did not please some Christian theologians. It came the fashion to separate as much as possible from Judaism. It came the fashion to separate as much as possible from Judaism. Some theologians even wanted to remove the Epistle to the Hebrews altogether from the Bible. Some said that it was not written by Paul (see proof that speaks for Paul).
Even Martin Luther (* 1483, † 1546) had his problems, because in his arrangement, he did not even consider the Vulgate, but even set the 3 for him "to Jewish" writings (Hebrew, James, Jude) to the very end of the NT, in his Luther Bible 1522 (NT) and 1534 (OT + NT). These books were not important to him because they allegedly did not center the message of Christ as much as the scriptures before them. But this is not correct, for it is precisely the Letter of the Hebrews which reveals and strongly emphasizes the preexistence of Jesus, "by whom he [God] made the world" (Heb 1:1-14), and shows that even Jews can find Christ because the OT often points to Jesus in his prophecies. Luther even questioned the canonicity of the Epistle to James because it speaks of "works". Luther simply did not like these 3 scriptures, which is why he removed the letter to the Hebrews (in contrast to all other Bibles) from the group of 14 Pauline letters and postponed it to the end (between the 3rd letter of John and James). He was even criticized by the Protestant Christians, because he automatically divided the group of "7 General Letters". This error was also adopted in other translations. The German Zurich Bible 1531 (Froschauer Bible) ordered in their first editions just like Luther (but in the later editions Hebrews after Philemon). And even the NT translated late in Silesia (Breslau) by Hofmann in 1867 and in Leipzig by Stage in 1897 follows Luther and places the Letter to the Hebrews behind the 3rd Letter of John. Luther's example was followed by some of the first English translations, such as Tyndale 1525/26, Coverdale 1535, Matthew 1537, and Taverner 1539. They all had the Epistle to the Hebrews between the 3rd John letter and James/Jude, as well as the Dutch Liesvelt Bible 1535 (LISVT).
The following English Bibles have corrected this mistake and put the Epistle to the Hebrews at least at the end of the group of Pauline letters, e.g. Great Bible 1540, Geneva Bible 1560, Bishops Bible 1568, Douay Rheims 1582, King James Version 1611 (KJV), Aitken 1777, Webster 1833, Darby 1871, ASV 1901, Worell 1904, Apostolic Bible 2003, Scripture4All 2010 ... In the French NT of Albert Rilliet 1860, the Letter to the Hebrews is at the 10th position of the 14 Pauline Epistles. Most French Bibles had the same order that is used today in most Bibles worldwide (Hebrews before the Universal Letters), for example: Pierre-Robert Olivétan 1535, Bible de Louvain 1550, Jean Calvin 1550, Bible de Genève 1588, Bible de Genève 1669, David Martin 1707-1744, Ostervald 1779, John Nelson Darby 1872, Hugues Oltramare 1872, Louis Segond 1880-1910, King James Française 2006, Bible Segond 21 (2007)... However, the first Bible in a national language made on American soil was the German Saur Bible in 1473 (Germantown, Philadelphia). It contained the text of the Luther Bible, thus had Hebrews between the 3rd John and James. The English Young's Literal Translation 1862/63 (YLT) offers a peculiarity, for it lays the Letter to the Hebrews between Titus and Philemon, followed by the 7 General Letters.
Some theologians argued that Paul, "the apostle to the Gentiles," had no reason to write to the Hebrews. But this is not correct, for Paul himself was "a Pharisee and a son of Pharisees" (Acts 22:2-5, 23:6), who was "acting with authority and on behalf of the high priests" (Acts 26:4-6). 12). He knew the way of thinking of the Hebrews much better than anyone since he was a child. His style of writing differs from that to the 7 churches and is exactly adapted to the need of the Hebrews. Whether he wrote the letter himself with his hand or dictated it and was written on the scroll by one of his co-workers, that is not important. Paul presupposes the exact knowledge of the entire OT and explains in detail that the OT refers to Christ. The very first chapter even reveals Jesus as the Creator of the world (Heb 1). Consequently, Christians who are unfamiliar with the OT can not understand the Epistle to the Hebrews. Therefore, his letter fits very well in the Bible and is a great spiritual treasure.
The Catholic, Protestant and free-ecclesiastical translations list the Epistle to the Hebrews as the last (the 14th) of the Pauline Epistles. Mentally speaking, it does not matter if the letter to the Hebrews is in the 10th or the 14th position because the content does not change. But it is better to leave the original order, because it enhances the meaning of the letter to the Hebrews. The letter is one of the 10 letters addressed to different recipient communities of the Church. This good example is also followed by the English Wikipedia page (keyword "Pauline epistles"), which lists all Pauline letters 100% correct (see "Corpus Paulinum"), while in other languages only from 13 Paul's letters is reported:
The NT has exactly 21 letters. The number 21 (=3x7) symbolizes completeness in terms of the Epistles (NT) and prophetic books of the OT. A few scholars want to list the 7 "General Letters" before the 14 Pauline Letters, as some ancient collections of texts (C. Vaticanus, C. Alexandrinus) list them directly after Acts. This is also acceptable; but it speaks much more for keeping it in the current world-wide accepted order. This has been established very early in history, namely [1st] Acts, [2nd] Pauline Letters, [3rd] General Letters. The Pauline letters were first written, are more extensive, had a much wider circulation and significance in Christianity. They have been placed in the Vulgate and most Bible translations worldwide for nearly 2,000 years BEFORE the General Letters. Thus, almost all of today's Bibles have the correct order of books, except that the Hebrews letter is in the 10th position of the 21 letters of the NT. More specific reasons for Pauline Epistel as the first group are:
"Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation, as also our beloved brother PAUL, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also IN ALL HIS EPISTLES, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen" (2 Peter 3:14-18, NKJV).
However, those who prefer to put the General Letters before the Pauline Epistles in the NT canon are welcome to do so. Because we are mainly concerned with the spiritual content of the scriptures anyway. So Christians should not quarrel and each accept the other opinion in love. But anyone who thinks he can simply delete the Pauline letters from the Bible just because some of his statements do not suit him, then he gets to deal with God personally (see Rev 22:18-19), because all 27 are books of the NT inspired by God. God does not want his books hidden from his children and who seduces other people gets into trouble with God. The content of the letters are the teachings of God and not of Paul. That people do not want to listen to God, we have known that for thousands of years.
Every single scroll and every single book in the Bible has its own place. This order was not invented by humans in advance, but is the result of a development that has lasted for many centuries and for many generations. This order was carefully planned by God and is the result of the Holy Spirit or divine inspiration. Precisely the numerical significance, in which the number 7 has the greatest importance, clearly shows the working of God. Although the correct order of all 49 scrolls and 70 individual biblical books has existed for about 2,000 years, it has been known to few Christians over the centuries. But it was revealed again in the present "time of the end", to which Daniel also points:
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE" (Dan 12:4).