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It seems like the first few chapters are named after the people who wrote them, but I was wondering how the other titles were decided upon.

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closed as too broad by Paul Vargas, Dan Jun 19 '14 at 20:16

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

There is a duplicate of this question on Christianity.SE: Where do the names of books of Bible come from? – Caleb Oct 29 '11 at 9:34
Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics! It looks like you got the answer you wanted, but I think the Christianity site is a better venue for the topic. Question here tend to be more associated with the meaning of the texts and techniques for discovering that meaning. – Jon Ericson Nov 1 '11 at 21:08
Such book titles as Romans, Corinthians (1&2), Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians are misleading, within the present scope of biblical titleship, as to those addressed. The above listed Epistle (within my answer), "The first Epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians" should read as (1) "The first Epistle of Paul the apostle to the church at Corinth"; for there was only "one" church of the Christian faith there (2) To address the book as " the Corinthians" leads the reader to believe, to the "generic populace", rather than the sanctified "body of Christ". – user4315 Jun 13 '14 at 23:58
This question is broad, shows no minimal research effort, and is a 'general reference' (LMGTFY) type of question. – Dan Jun 16 '14 at 16:24
up vote 10 down vote accepted

First, let's fix up some of your terminology. The thing you are calling "chapters" are generally referred to as "books". The Bible is composed of many different books written at different times at the hands of several human authors (although all inspired). Each book is then divided up into chapters and verses for easy reference. Secondly the "first few" books you refer to must be the ones of the New Testament (Mathew, Mark, etc). Those are called the "gospel" books and are those people's accounts of Jesus life and ministry. However those are not actually the first books in the bible, the entire Old Testament comes before that.

The OT starts out with Genesis (or Beginnings or Creation depending on language and translation) but is pretty obviously named after the theme: how the world got started and early stories of God's dealings with men. Likewise there are a number of other books named after the theme of their content, such as Acts or Chronicles or Judges or Psalms or Exodus. Other books are named after the people that wrote them, such as James or 1st Peter. This is also often the case for the OT books of prophecy such as Isaiah. A few books are named after the main character that features in the story, such as Job or Ruth. Some of the books were originally letters, and are usually named after the person they were addressed to such as Hebrews of Ephesians.

The names of the books themselves are not inspired and you will find that they often vary from translation to translation and even more so from language to language. They are just convenient names that we give to reference which book.

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The Pentateuch Hebrew names are actually just the first words in the book. Genesis=>In Beginning, Exodus=>The Names, Leviticus=>And He Called, Numbers=>In the Wilderness, Deuteronomy=>The Words. Please allow for variations in translation to English. – Frank Luke Mar 2 '12 at 15:16

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