Does the Bible really have 49 books?

I received a message from my online feedback form, but unfortunately the writer must have mistyped his email address because my answer was returned as undeliverable. So I thought I would post it here, which is a good idea anyway so others can benefit.


I have recently learnt that the original OT is in fact comprised of 22 books eg I&2 Kings = I book ,1&2 Sam = 1 book, the prophetic (no major or minor)books = I book etc . 22 + 27 = 49 (7×7) which I think suggests completion or perfection.

Interestingly the bible and not the original scriptures = 66 books , now what does 6 represent in scripture ?

If the OT is 22 books how would that fit in with your wheel would it still work ?


Hi Dave,

You are correct that the Jews sometimes counted the OT as 22 books, but they now count them as 24. No one knows what was the “original” way of counting because the Jews also put together the LXX which divided the books as Christians do today. I discuss this in my articles called The 22 Books of the Jewish Canon, and The Christian OT vs. the Jewish Tanakh.

If you like, you can group the books as you suggest for counting purposes and arrive at 49 books. That won’t change the Bible Wheel unless you want to actually combine them so that your list really only has 49 books. If you make changes like that, then the books no longer form a symmetric Wheel. And that’s the beauty of the Bible Wheel. It reveals the divine sevenfold perfection of the Holy Bible as received from God through His work in History. You see the perfection implied in 7 x 7 but that doesn’t impress me because it is forced upon the Bible by rearranging things and recounting. I see the perfection implied in seven divisions that are also symmetrically displayed on the wheel as a much greater sign of divine design because

  1. It exists in the Bible without an manipulations,
  2. It is not merely based on the number 7 but is symmetrical as well,
  3. The symmetry is isomorphic to the sign of deity found in ancient Christian iconography,
  4. The seven divisions are paired the same way as the days of creation and the arms of the Menorah (see my article The Sevenfold Light of God’s Word):

The basic idea of the 49 book Bible has been popularized by the last Ernest L. Martin in his book called “Restoring the Original Bible.” Did you get your ideas from his book? He also advocated creating a new bible that follows a different order in both the Old and the New Testaments. You probably would find my refutation of his book helpful in your quest to understand the structure of the Bible.

As for the symbolism implicit in the Number 6, we find much light if we look to its first occurrence:

Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

The Number Six is intimately related to the Work of God in creation. Is it so surprising to find it also intimately related to the Word of God?

God bless, and don’t hesitate to write with any follow up questions.


Posted in Canon Structure
3 comments on “Does the Bible really have 49 books?
  1. Songbird says:

    Thank you for the work you have done on the Bible Wheel, it is a cog in a much greater wheel you have not yet discovered. The part that is seen of a volcano is smaller than the part that is unseen fueling its fires. Because the fallen flesh obstructs all that we see and know, the perfection and power of the unknown part is obscured and ignored, if not critically dismissed. Still, the words of men were allowed to convey the power and will of God in their fallen state. The truths emerge through the Spirit of wisdom not through fleshly scrutiny of the surface of language. The numbers do not lie but the surface language fails to convey and can obscure the purity of the truths within it. This is why the Kingdom of God can only be received like a child….in purity of hope, belief and trust. No child on earth was ever raised by perfect parents nor could a perfect parent raise a fallen child on a fallen planet. What is left? Trust. Hope. Love. Obscured beauty! These are the ties that bind us. The perfection of a holy God burns away the chaff; all the fallen material but the truth of His perfect and pure love remains. We choose it or we reject it – perhaps because of pride, perhaps because of the chaff. Choosing to trust is more difficult than that camel passing through the eye of a needle…but only a very small amount of it in its pure state can move mountains. I hope you pass through the eye and move on to the next mountain. God bless!

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