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The Old Testament

The Protestant Old Testament and the Hebrew Bible of Judaism share the same books and texts, but they are organized differently. The Jewish Scriptures number 24 instead of 39 books and are presented in a different order. The Hebrew Bible is called the Tanakh. The first five books are traditionally linked to Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) and are often referred to as the Law or the Torah (Judaism) or the Pentateuch (a Greek term, “penta” meaning five).

The Books of the Old Testament traditionally fall into five main groups:

The Torah: The first five books, attributed to Moses, describe the creation of the world, Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood, Abraham and the patriarchs, Joseph and the relocation to Egypt, Moses and the exodus from Egypt and 40 years wandering through the desert. In Exodus Moses receives the Ten Commandments. The book of Leviticus describes in detail God’s instructions for worship and living a holy life.

The next 12 books, Joshua through Esther, cover 1,000 years of history (roughly 1400 BC through 400 BC). It addresses the campaign to conquer the Promised Land, the time of the judges, the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon, the divided kingdoms of the North (Israel) and the South (Judea), the defeats by the Assyrians and Babylonians, the exile and ultimate return to Judea/Jerusalem.

Wisdom and Poetry: These timeless principles show how to enjoy success and blessing regardless of the political and religious circumstances into which a person is born. These are also called “books of poetry” because they are largely written as poetry, especially the books of Psalms and Proverbs.

Major Prophets: Four prophets are designated as the Major Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. They are “major” not because of rank, but due to the length of their prophetic books. Isaiah called Judah to repentance, which postponed the judgment of God for 130 years. Daniel and Isaiah both contain many prophecies about Jesus.

Minor Prophets: The 12 Minor Prophets were raised up by God at strategic times during the history of Israel to call people back to Him. They are “minor” only because their books are shorter. Although applications of these books are limited largely to the people to whom they were written, many blessings can be found there.

The complete OT was written over a span of about 1,000 years, from 1400 BC (the books of Moses) through about 400 BC (Malachi). Except for small sections of Daniel and Ezra written in Aramaic (the spoken language in Palestine from 200 BC through 200 AD), the OT was completely written in Hebrew.

The 27 books of the New Testament were all written in Koine Greek (“street” or common Greek) by eight men, three of whom (Matthew, John and Peter) were original disciples and eyewitnesses of Jesus of Nazareth. Paul was not a personal disciple but had a special post-resurrection encounter with Jesus. Paul also had numerous meetings with the original disciples.

The books of the New Testament cover a little less than 100 years, from the birth of Christ to John’s vision of triumph in the book of Revelation. Most emphasis – from a historical perspective – is upon the three-year ministry of Jesus from 30-33 AD.

The books of the NT can be divided into five groups:

The Gospels: The New Testament begins with four records (books) of the life and teachings of Jesus, called the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Most of what is known about the life of Jesus of Nazareth is found in these four books. Each one describes the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Some events are recounted in all four, but each biography presents Jesus in a slightly different light, the variations are determined by the audience and the writer’s intent. The four gospels provide a comprehensive, multi-facetted view of Jesus of Nazareth, known better as Jesus Christ.

Church History: The 28 chapters of the book of Acts record the birth of the church (after Jesus’ resurrection), how the faith was introduced to the non-Jewish believers, and the spread of the new faith through the Roman Empire through the efforts of Paul.

The Pauline Epistles: The majority of books in the New Testament are the 13 Pauline epistles. These were written by Paul (in the period 49-62 AD); some to churches he started, some to individuals, and others had a special message for a general readership. Paul, “the apostle born out of due time,” was the intrepid missionary of the early church who did more to spread Christianity than any man on record in the Bible. His dramatic conversion is a classic testimony to the power of Jesus Christ to change lives, for he was transformed from a Christ-hating opponent to a Christ-serving advocate.

His letters – which can be traced in history by linking them to events described in the book of Acts – give profound answers to questions and solutions to problems in the early Christian church. Almost every human need is covered.

The General Epistles: This collection of letters – written for a specific need or to a group not reached by Paul – cover general truths needed by God’s people of every era. Authors include James and Jude (both brothers of Jesus) as well as the apostles Peter and John.

Prophecy: The last book is a book of prophecy about the coming judgment of Christ, and is called Revelation, also the Apocalypse.

The bible, from the front cover to the back cover can basically be explained with 4 letters L O V E! God’s love in creating us in his image, his love in watching over us as a good Father, giving his only begotten son to die for our sins, and the blood of his Son to cover our sins once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Oh, what a great and merciful God we serve!

Trivia Question: What does the name Jesus Christ Mean? Please post you answer/comments