Outline Of Christianity’s Religious Texts

In this article, you will find the Outline Of Christianity’s Religious Texts in detail.

Christianity, like other religions, has adherents whose beliefs and biblical interpretations vary. Christianity regards the biblical canon, the Old Testament and the New Testament, as the inspired word of God. The traditional view of inspiration is that God worked through human authors so that what they produced was what God wished to communicate. The Greek word referring to inspiration in 2 Timothy 3:16 is theopneustos, which literally means “God-breathed”.

Some believe that divine inspiration makes our present Bibles inerrant. Others claim inerrancy for the Bible in its original manuscripts, although none of those are extant. Still, others maintain that only a particular translation is inerrant, such as the King James Version. Another closely related view is biblical infallibility or limited inerrancy, which affirms that the Bible is free of error as a guide to salvation, but may include errors on matters such as history, geography, or science.

The outline is a non-exhaustive list of links to specific Christianity’s religious texts which may be used for further, more in-depth study.

Main articles: Christian Literature, and Christianity’s religious texts

The Bible is the sacred book in Christianity.

The Bible is the sacred book in Christianity.

The Bible

Main articles: Biblical canonChristian biblical canons, and Books of the Bible

The primary sacred text of Christianity is the Bible. Its name is derived from the Latin word biblia, which simply means “books.” The Christian Bible is made of two parts: the Old Testament, which is almost identical to the Jewish Bible; and the New Testament, a collection of Christian writings that includes biographies of Jesus Christ and the apostles, like the Apostle Paul, letters to new churches, and an apocalyptic work.

The Bible (the Old Testament and the New Testament). The Apostolic churches (Catholicism and Orthodoxy) also include the Deuterocanonicals.

  • Bible – any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity.
  • Old Testament – Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians, and which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism.
  • Law (The Torah)– first five books of the Hebrew Bible.
  • Writings (Ketuvim)– third and final section of the Hebrew Bible.
  • Prophets (Nevi’im)– second of the three major sections in the Hebrew Bible.
  • Deuterocanonical books – term used since the sixteenth century in the Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible.
  • New Testament – second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first division being the Old Testament.
  • Gospels – an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Epistles – writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter.
  • Bible prophecy – prediction of future events based on the action, function, or faculty of a prophet.
  • Antilegomena – written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed
    • Book of Mormon – sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement that adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2200 BC to AD 421.
  • Notha – works rejected by the early Church.
  • Gospel of Thomas – well preserved early Christian, non-canonical sayings-gospel discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library.
  • Authors of the Bible – Few biblical books are regarded by scholars as the product of a single individual; all have been edited and revised to produce the work we read today.
  • The Bible and history – Bible from a historical perspective, includes numerous fields of study, ranging from archeology and astronomy to linguistics and methods of comparative literature.
  • Bible chronology – Bible (Tanakh / Old Testament) measures the passage of time and thus gives a chronological framework to biblical history from the Creation until the kingdoms of Israel and Judah through various genealogies, generations, reign-periods, and other means.
  • Coptic versions of the Bible – There have been many Coptic versions of the Bible, including some of the earliest translations into any language.
  • Genealogy of the Bible – There are various genealogies described in the Bible.
  • History of the English Bible – Partial translations of the Bible into languages of the English people can be traced back to the end of the 7th century, including translations into Old English and Middle English.
  • List of burial places of biblical figures – list of burial places attributed to Biblical personalities according to various religious and local traditions.
  • List of artifacts significant to the Bible – list of artifacts, objects created or modified by human culture, that are significant to the historicity of the Bible.
  • Syriac versions of the Bible – Syria played an important or even predominant role in the beginning of Christianity.
  • Bible Translations

The contents of Christian Bibles differ by denomination.

  • The Canon of Trent defines a canonical list of books of the Catholic Bible that includes the whole 73-book canon recognized by the Catholic Church, including the deuterocanonical books. (In versions of the Latin Vulgate, 3 Esdras, 4 Esdras, and the Prayer of Manasseh are included in an appendix, but considered non-canonical).
  • Most Protestant Bibles include the Hebrew Bible’s 24 books (the protocanonical books) divided differently (into 39 books) and the 27-book New Testament for a total of 66 books. Some denominations (e.g. Anglicanism) also include the 15 books of the biblical apocrypha between the Old Testament and the New Testament, for a total of 81 books.
  • Greek and Eastern Orthodox Bibles include the anagignoskomena, which consist of the Catholic deuterocanon, plus 3 Maccabees, Psalm 151, the Prayer of Manasseh, and 3 Esdras; The Fourth Book of Maccabees is considered to be canonical by the Georgian Orthodox Church. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, is authoritative.
  • The Church of the East includes most of the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament which are found in the Peshitta (The Syriac Version of the Bible). The New Testament in modern versions contains the 5 disputed books (2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation) that were originally excluded.
  • In Oriental Orthodoxy, the biblical canon differs in each Patriarchate.
    • The Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church has at various times included a variety of books in the New Testament which are not included in the canons of other traditions.
    • The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (and its daughter, the Eritrean Orthodox Church) accept various books according to either of the Narrower or the Broader Canons but always include the entire Catholic deuterocanon, the Prayer of Manasseh, 3 Ezra, 4 Ezra, and The Book of Josippon. They may also include the Book of Jubilees, Book of Enoch, 1 Baruch, 4 Baruch, as well as 1, 2, and 3 Meqabyan (no relation to the Books of Maccabees). The New Testament contains the Sinodos, the Books of the Covenant, Clement, and the Didascalia.
  • Some Syrian Churches, regardless of whether they are Eastern Catholic, Nestorian, Oriental or Eastern Orthodox, accept the Letter of Baruch as scripture.
  • Some early Quakers also included the Epistle to the Laodiceans.
Christian Scientists
  • The Bible
  • Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. This textbook, along with the Bible, serves as the permanent “impersonal pastor” of the church.
  • Nag Hammadi library and other Gnostic texts (not from the Bible)
  • Some books of the Old Testament and New Testament
    • Cerdonianism and Marcionism
  • Only the Gospel of Marcion and selected Pauline epistles accepted
Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • The Bible (The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is their preferred translation.)

Latter Day Saint movement

Further information: Biblical canon § Latter Day Saint canons, and Standard works

  • The Bible
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) uses the LDS edition of the King James Bible for English-speaking members; other versions are used in non-English speaking countries. The Community of Christ (RLDS) uses the Joseph Smith Translation, which it calls the Inspired Version, as well as updated modern translations.
  • The Book of Mormon
  • The Doctrine and Covenants. There are significant differences in content and section numbering between the Doctrine and Covenants used by the Community of Christ (RLDS) and the LDS Church.
  • The Pearl of Great Price is authoritative in the LDS Church, rejected by Community of Christ.
    • Other, smaller branches of Latter Day Saints include other scriptures such as:
      • The Book of the Law of the Lord used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite)
      • The Word of the Lord and The Word of the Lord Brought to Mankind by an Angel used by (Fettingite) branches.

Native American Church

(Christian-leaning factions)

  • The Bible (among Christian-leaning factions only)

Rastafari movement

  • The Bible (Ethiopian Orthodox canon)
  • the Holy Piby
  • the Kebra Nagast
  • The speeches and writings of Haile Selassie I (including his autobiography My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress)
  • Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy

Seventh-day Adventists

  • The Bible
  • The writings of Ellen White are held to an elevated status, though not equal with the Bible, as she is considered to have been an inspired prophetess.


  • The Bible (several books omitted)
  • The works of Emanuel Swedenborg (not considered equal to the Bible)

Unification Church

  • The Divine Principle
  • The Bible as illuminated by more recent revelation

Liturgical books

Worship Eucharist Celebration Of The Eucharist

Worship – Celebration Of The Eucharist

Liturgical books are used to guide or script worship, and many are specific to a denomination.

  • Catholic liturgical books
    • Books of the clergy
      • The Roman Missal (The pope, archbishops, bishops, priests and deacons editions)
      • The Book of the Gospels (evangeliary/evangelion)
      • The Lectionary
      • Sacramentary (for bishops and priests)
      • Pontifical (for bishops)
      • Cæremoniale Episcoporum (for bishops)
      • Breviary (Hours/Divine Office)
      • Gradual (Roman gradual, antiphonal, cantatory)
      • Liber Usualis (Book of Common Use/Gregorian chants)
      • Roman Ritual (baptism, benedictions, blessings, burials, exorcisms, etc.)
      • Roman Martyrology (saints/The blessed)
    • Books of church attendants:
      • Missal (pew cyclical editions)
      • Missalette (pew seasonal editions)
      • Hymnal (pew hymnbook editions)
  • Protestant liturgical books
    • Lutheranism
      • Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book (ELHB) 1912
      • The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH) 1941
      • Lutheran Book of Prayer (LBP) 1941
      • Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal (SBH) 1958
      • Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW) 1978
      • Lutheran Worship (LW) 1982
      • Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) 2006
      • Lutheran Service Book (LSB) 2006
      • Numerous hymn, service and guide books (varies by church)
    • Methodism
      • The Sunday Service of the Methodists
      • Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965)
      • The Book of Hymns
      • The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Church)
      • The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992) (United Methodist Church)
      • Book of Discipline (United Methodist) (John Wesley-1784, United Methodist Church-2016)
      • Numerous hymn, service and guide books (varies by church)
    • Southern Baptists
      • Baptist Hymnal
      • Numerous hymn, service and guide books (varies by church)

Doctrines and laws

Further information: Christian theology and Noahide Laws

Various Christian denominations have texts which define the doctrines of the group or set out laws which are considered binding. The groups consider these to range in permanence from unquestionable interpretations of divine revelations to human decisions made for convenience or elucidation which are subject to reconsideration.

  • Doctrines such as the Trinity, the virgin birth and atonement
  • The Ten Commandments (עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת‎, Aseret ha’Dibrot), also known in Christianity as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship.
  • The Christian Science textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, along with the Bible, serves as the permanent “impersonal pastor” of the Church of Christ, Scientist.
  • Seventh-day Adventists hold the writings of Ellen White are held to an elevated status, though not equal with the Bible, as she is considered to have been an inspired prophetess.
  • Swedenborgianism is defined by the Biblical interpretations of Emanuel Swedenborg starting with Arcana Cœlestia
  • H. Emilie Cady’s 1896 Lessons in Truth, A Course of Twelve Lessons in Practical Christianity is considered a core text of the Unity Church.
  • In Catholicism, the concept of Magisterium reserves matters of religious interpretation to the church, with various levels of infallibility expressed in various documents.
  • Infallibility of the Church is applied to:
    • In the Catholic Church, Papal infallibility of a very small number of papal decrees. Most documents produced by the Pope, including the Catechism of the Catholic Church are considered subject to revision.
  • To the decisions of ecumenical councils in Catholic, some Orthodox, and some Protestant denominations, though the non-Catholic denominations only accept certain councils as genuinely ecumenical.
  • The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine
  • Transubstantiation and Marian teachings in Roman Catholic theology. The department of the Roman Curia which deals with questions of doctrine is called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
  • The distinctive Calvinist doctrine of “double” predestination
  • The Methodist Church of Great Britain refers to the “doctrines to which the preachers of the Methodist Church are pledged” as doctrinal standards

Christianity’s Religious Texts in Sacred Texts.com

The Scriptures

Bible Commentary

  • The Complete Sayings of Jesus
    by Arthur Hinds, int. by Norman Vincent Peale [1927]
    Read everything Jesus says in the New Testament in one sitting.

Gnosticism, etc.

There is now a separate Gnosticism Index.

Early Christian

Eastern Churches

Mediaeval, Renaissance and Reformation


Leave a Reply