Old Testament Book Order
A collection of events that happened in the past that serves as the evidence of a specified record of events that happened earlier in the bible – the old testament, which is the first part of the two-part Christian bible, is thirty-nine books which make up this part of the Bible.
This part of the bible corresponds approximately to and is primarily based upon the books in the Hebrew bible. It consists of the chief texts of law, history, prophecy, and the literary wisdom of the people of Israel. Centering on the creation of the earth, Noah and the flood, Moses, and many more stories while climaxing with the expulsion of the Jews to Babylon.
As Christians, we need to have a personal relationship with God, and we achieve that by studying the Bible – it is not just a book we read and set aside; we need to study it religiously. But how can you study a book without knowing what order you should read? You can’t just pick it up and read as you please. You need to have a sight of what you are reading and how to read it.
The old testament book order exists to help you know which way and in what order you are meant to read this part of the bible, and we are here to help put your mind on the right path as you curate a great study plan with high effectiveness.
The Categories of The Old Testament
The old testament book order can be categorized into four major sections: The Pentateuch, The historical books of the former prophets, the writings, and the latter prophets. They consist of books written by different authors over centuries – and even as the authors are unknown, they all have a distinct tone and style to their message.
Their accounts include sayings, stories, and laws meant to function for Christians as models of their religious and ethical conduct. Through their comprehensive and detailed events filled with characters, they gave a narrative of God in his quest to relate his higher self with mankind – using a specific group of people, and their attempts were unified.
In the next points, we will examine one after the other, the categories of the old testament book order, to help us understand how to read and understand the bible better.
The Pentateuch can also be called “The Torah,” It includes the first five books in the Hebrew Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books generally describe from the beginning of the creation story until the end of the period where the Jews spent time in the wilderness.
Also known as the five books of Moses – as he wrote them, it starts by tracing the ancestral origin of Israel – Genesis, from the first father and mother, as no main character takes up the entirety of the story as it is narrative.
Exodus down to Deuteronomy takes into account how the Israelites were saved from Egypt, their journey through the wilderness, how they received the law – the ten commandments at the divine mountain – Mount Sinai, and in general was a mixture of their journey in narrative and law, and Moses was at the center of it all.
With Moses as the central character, this part focuses on his life and death, and recounts the story of his leadership over Israel for over two generations – as he liberated them from Egypt, led them through the wilderness, and mediated the divine law he received at Mount Sinai. He repeats the revelation of the law on the plains of Moab to the second generation of Israel.
The Historical Books ( The former prophets)
Comprising books from Joshua down to Nehemiah, each book has a specific focus on who Christ is. Covering the history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to its fall.
Studying the books of Joshua and Judges, we can see how the Israelites conquered the land which God had promised them, their disobedience to God, and the punishment they incurred.
1st and 2nd Samuel covers the rise of Israel as a united nation, the appointment of Saul as a King by Samuel, to the story of Solomon and how he got to be blessed with immense wisdom, capturing his fall as a king – his lust for women and idolatry behaviors, which led to his kingdom being split by God.
This section of the Bible also covers the reign of all the evil kings that led them further from the sight of God while also teaching us about the several attempts made by Elijah and Elisha to warn and halt the wrongdoings of Gods own people – Israel as they ultimately fall into the hands of the Babylonian and Assyrian empires, as their city Jerusalem is destroyed and its people fell into exile.
In the old testament book order, the writings come after the historical books in the Bible, documenting the time the Israelites spent in exile in other nations, and their journey back home.
It also informs us of the story of the young Jewish girl, Esther, with her unexpected ascension to the position of Queen of Persia as she inadvertently saves her people, the Jews, from impending genocide.
The majority of the writings in this book are largely important as they are of literature written in poetry and wisdom. The story of Job – significant as it showcases God’s justice and the problem posed by the suffering of humans, accompanies Psalms – renditions in forms of Poems and hymns attributed mainly to King David as it expresses humanity’s longing and thirsting for God.
Similarly, as the above, proverbs and Ecclesiastes are attributed to the wisdom of King Solomon with his sayings and instructions of the meanings of life and the ethical behaviors expected of humans.
Lastly, on a lighter note, the Songs of Solomon contains the romantic dialogue that could have happened between a young woman and her lover.
The Latter Prophets
Named as such because it was authored by prophets. The first six books were authored by the major prophets, while the latter – twelve, were authored by the minor prophets.
It is important to note that as though they are prophetic books, they are not the same as books that contain prophets.
The major prophets in Christianity are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Baruch (which is only included in catholic and orthodox canons), while the minor prophets are Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
In what order should you read the old testament?
When you start out reading the Old Testament books, you should start with a guided Bible study strategy while reading out chronologically – you should read it in the order with which the events recorded in it occurred. This also helps you gain a firmer grip on your scriptural reading.
Should I read the old testament first?
As versatile as the word of God is, there is not only one way or order to read the bible, as the imperative idea is to engage yourself with the word of God.
As a first-time reader, you might just get bored reading a particular book and get tired of reading it. However, it is okay to drop the chapter, read another book, and get back to it later. You can read it for ages and still get to discover new secrets every day; it’s packed with secrets for the ages – new ones every morning.
So, whenever you are reading the bible, sit and meditate upon what you might encounter, let your interest lead and guide you – let the word be a lamp unto your feet as you search for him in his word, and read what the writers have to share as they document their experience.
What are the five parts of the old testament?
Contrary to all beliefs, there are only four parts to the old testament, namely – The Pentateuch, The Former Prophets (Historical Books), The Writings, and The latter prophets, and we have duly explained the books contained in each book above and the plot that each book or books follow.
How many books are in the old and new testament?
The old and new testaments come together to make up the bible as a whole – it contains a total of 66 books in its entirety, divided into two sections.
These two sections are arranged in a way that they highlight the birth of Jesus Christ, as the old testament was a documentation of the prophecies about the emergence of a messiah while the new testament contains stories of his birth, death, and resurrection.
These books come together to make the bible the most read book of all time, with various translations to choose from.
The old testament book order not only exists to classify these books; they show you what each book is all about, written by which authors, offers an insight into what has been written about, and which direction you might be headed in the particular plot.