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Structure of the Bible: The Old Testament Books

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Why Study the Structure of the Old Testament:

Your spiritual growth is one of the most important facets of your faith, and one of the ways you can grow in your faith is to read your Bible. However, many Christian teens just read their Bible with little consideration to its structure. Most Christian teens know there is an Old Testament and New Testament, but they are not clear as to why it is put together the way it is. Understanding the structure of the Bible can help you grasp Biblical concepts more clearly. Here are some details about the Old Testament to get you started:

Number of Books in the Old Testament:

39

Number of Authors:

28

Types of Books in the Old Testament:

There are three types of books in the Old Testament: historical, poetical, and prophetical. While the Old Testament books are placed in one category or another, the books often contain a little of the other styles. For instance, a historical book can contain some poetry and some prophecy, but it may primarily be historical in nature.

The Historical Books :

The first 17 books of the Old Testament are considered historical, because they outline the history of the Hebrew people. They discuss the creation of man and the development of the nation of Israel. The first five (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) are also known at the Pentateuch, and they define Hebrew law. Here are the historical books of the Old Testament:
  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Esther

The Poetical Books:

The poetical books contain the poetry of the Hebrew nation and they provide the reader with important stories, poetry, and wisdom. They are the 5 books after the historical books of the Old Testament. Here are the poetical books:
  • Job
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Solomon

The Prophetical Books:

The prophetical books of the Old Testament are those that define the prophecy for Israel. The books are divided among major prophets and minor prophets. These are the prophetical books of the Old Testament:

Major Prophets:
  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
Minor Prophets:
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi

Timeline of the Old Testament:

The stories of the Old Testament take place over a period of 2,000 years. The books of the Old Testament, though, are not necessarily placed in chronological order. This is why many Christian teens get confused about the stories in the Old Testament. Many of the prophetical and poetical books take place during the periods written about in the historical books. Here are the books of the Old Testament in a more chronological order:
  • Genesis
    • Job (written during the time of Genesis)
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
    • Ruth(written during the time of Judges)
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
    • 1 Chronicles & Psalms (written during the time of 2 Samuel)
  • 1 Kings
    • Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, & 2 Chronicles (written during the time of 1 Kings)
  • 2 Kings
    • Hosea, Amos, Habakkuk, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Micah, Zephaniah, Lamentations, Jonah, Nahum, & Obadiah (written during the time of 2 Kings)
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
  • Ezra
    • Esther, Haggai, & Zechariah (written during the time of Ezra)
  • Nehemiah
    • Malachi(written during the time of Nehemiah)
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