Christian Divisions of the Old Testament The Pentateuch (The first

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Christian Divisions of the Old Testament
The Pentateuch (The first five books of Moses)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
These books cover the beginning of all things, the heavens and earth, mankind, the first nations and their
distribution over the face of the earth, the Fall of Man, God’s promise of redemption, the calling of the first
people of God, their development, their entrapment in Egypt and subsequent deliverance as a micro-level type
of the macro-level spiritual deliverance of all mankind to be realized later by the Son of God, the institution of
the worship of God under the Old Testament, the holiness code, the priesthood and ordinances of God, major
failings of God’s people
The Historical Books (12 books)
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
These books chronicle Israel’s entry into the Promised Land, the rise of the Israeli monarchy and its moral
decline, the first great prophets, the gradual decline into sin and anarchy of Israel, its subsequent punishment
and exile to Babylon and later kingdoms, the dealings of God with them during that time, and their eventual
return from exile.
The Wisdom and Poetry Books (6 books)
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations
These are a collection of stories, poems, songs and wise sayings of God’s people, teaching about a variety of
issues; worship, devotional life, business, morality, marriage, suffering, etc.
The Major Prophets (4 books)
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel
The first two prophets bring warnings of coming judgments on Israel and promises of a New Covenant and a
future restoration. The second two prophets spoke during the Exile to Babylon and contain words for God’s
people in Exile as well as prophecies of their return to the Promised Land and the coming Messiah.
The Minor Prophets (12 books)
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
The minor prophets ministries span a broad range of time, from about 820 – 400 B.C., to a broad range of
peoples and situations. (See Timeline of the Prophets.)
Thus, for Christians there are 39 books, divided into five divisions.
Jewish Divisions of the Old Testament (Tanakh)
For Jews, the Tanakh consists of twenty-four books: it counts as one book each Samuel, Kings, Chronicles and
Ezra-Nehemiah and counts Trei Asar (‫עשר תרי‬, the Twelve Prophets; literally "twelve") as a single book.
The Jewish people saw the Tanakh as divided up into three parts:
The Pentateuch or Torah, “Teachings” (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
The Prophets, “Nevi’im” This consists of “the former prophets” (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings) and “the latter
prophets” (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12 Minor Prophets, counted as one book: Hos., Joel, Amos,
Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi)
The Writings, “Ketuvim,” which consist of eleven books in all, the five scrolls or “Megilloth” (Ruth, Song of
Solomon, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther), the poetic books, Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, and other books,
Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles
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