What are the heavenly books according to the Bible?

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The phrase “heavenly books” may refer to the books God keeps in heaven and also to the books of the Canon. Let us look at each of these groups:

God’s books in heaven

The Bible has several mentions to God’s heavenly books (Exodus 32:32; Psalm 56:8; 69:28; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 13:8; 20:15). The prophet Daniel wrote: “A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:10). These heavenly books are:

1-The Book of Life

The first of the heavenly books is the Book of Life. In this book God records the names of every person who is going to be in Heaven. John writes:

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life” (Revelation 3:5).

And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12).

“But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).

How can we be sure that our names are written in the Book of Life? The Bible talks about a few steps that we need to do:

  • Repent of your sins (Acts 8:22).
  • Believe in the Lord Jesus (Romans 10:9, 10).
  • Walk as Jesus walked (Colossians 2:6) in obedience to God’s moral Law (Exodus 20) by His enabling power (Philippians 4:13).

2-The Book of Remembrance

The second of the heavenly books is the book of remembrance. In this book God keeps record of the good deeds of those who love Him. Malachi writes:

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name (Malachi 3:16).

Here, the prophet encourages those who are trying to do what is right. He shares that God remembers the keen service of His people (Daniel 7:10). God wants us to know that every good deed doesn’t go unnoticed by Him (Matthew 10:42). Jesus wants us to do good deeds and store treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20). Such treasures are lasting, unaffected by ruin.

3- The Book of Sins

The last of heavenly books is the book of sins. The Psalmist says that God marks our iniquities in His heavenly books (Psalm 130:3). Paul teaches that everyone will appear before Christ at the judgement (2 Corinthians 5:10). Good or bad, men’s deeds are recorded in heaven (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Ephesians 6:8, Colossians 3:25; 1 Timothy 6:19).

The Canonical Books

There are 66 books of the Bible. The Scripture is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testaments. The Old Testament has 39 books while the New Testament has 27 books.

In the Old Testament, there are four groups of books

  • The first group is the Pentateuch which includes:
    • Genesis
    • Exodus
    • Leviticus
    • Numbers
    • Deuteronomy
  • The second group is the Historical Books which include:
    • Joshua
    • Judges
    • Ruth
    • 1 and 2 Samuel
    • 1 and 2 Kings
    • 1 and 2 Chronicles
    • Ezra
    • Nehemiah
    • Esther.
  • The third group is the Poetical Books (or Wisdom Books) which include:
    • Job
    • Psalms
    • Proverbs
    • Ecclesiastes
    • The Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs).
  • The fourth group is the Prophetic Books which include:
    • Five Major Prophets:
      • Isaiah
      • Jeremiah
      • Lamentations
      • Ezekiel
      • Daniel
    • The twelve Minor Prophets
      • Hosea
      • Joel
      • Amos
      • Obadiah
      • Jonah
      • Micah
      • Nahum
      • Habakkuk
      • Zephaniah
      • Haggai
      • Zechariah
      • Malachi

The New Testament also includes four major groups.

  • The first group is the Gospels, which include:
    • Matthew
    • Mark
    • Luke
    • John.
  • The second group includes the Historical Book, which is:
    • The Book of the Acts of the Apostles
  • The third group is the Epistles which include:
    • the thirteen Pauline Epistles:
      • Romans
      • 1 and 2 Corinthians
      • Galatians
      • Ephesians
      • Philippians
      • Colossians
      • 1 and 2 Thessalonians
      • 1 and 2 Timothy
      • Titus
      • Philemon
    • the eight other Epistles
      • Hebrews
      • James
      • 1 and 2 Peter
      • 1, 2, and 3 John
      • Jude
  • The fourth group includes the Prophetic Book, which is
    • Revelation

Other books

There are also other books that are mentioned in the Bible but are not part of the Canon. These books are:

  • the Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18)
  • the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14)
  • the Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41)
  • the Chronicles or books of the Kings of Judah (1 Kings 14:29)
  • the book of the annals of the kings of Israel (1 Kings 16:5)
  • the Book of Nathan the Prophet (1 Chronicles 29:29)
  • the Book of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29)
  • the book of Samuel the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29)
  • the Book Enoch (Jude 1:14)
  • the Bible tells us of other works of Shemaiah the prophet (2 Chronicles 11:1–4), the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and the visions of Iddo the seer (2 Chronicles 9:29)
  • the epistle from Laodicea (Colossians 4:16)

For more information on apocryphal books, you can also check out: What are the Apocrypha books?

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi) മലയാളം (Malayalam)

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