Books of the Old Testament



The books of the Old Testament are a collection of scriptures that Christianity inherited from Judaism. The Old Testaments in Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Bibles each have a different number of books. The Protestant Old Testament has the same books as the Hebrew Bible, but in a different order.

The books of the Old Testament for Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians include additional books that were a part of the collection of Jewish scriptures in Greek. This collection of Jewish scriptures in Greek is known as the Septuagint. (The name Septuagint is based on the Latin for 70. A writing known as the Letter of Aristeas claims that the 72 Jewish translators produced identical translations of the Hebrew scriptures independently of each other.) The early Christians used the Septuagint as their Old Testament.

The Septuagint includes Jewish writings written in Greek (in addition to translations of the scriptures written in Hebrew). Protestants call these additional writings the Apocrypha. Most Protestants don't consider these books to be inspired, or they give them a secondary status. Some Protestant Bibles include the Apocrypha in a separate section in between the Old and New Testaments.

Roman Catholics call the the writings of the Apocrypha the Deuterocanonical books ("second-listed," because their acceptance as scripture was more controversial).

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians include the writings from the Septuagint in their Old Testaments.


Protestant Books of the Old Testament

The Pentateuch
The Historical Books
The Poetic and Wisdom Books
The Prophets
Genesis
Joshua
Job
Isaiah
Exodus
Judges
Psalms
Jeremiah
Leviticus
Ruth
Proverbs
Lamentations
Numbers
1 Samuel
Ecclesiastes
Ezekiel
Deuteronomy
2 Samuel
Song of Solomon
Daniel

1 Kings

Hosea

2 Kings

Joel

1 Chronicles

Amos

2 Chronicles

Obadiah

Ezra

Jonah

Nehemiah

Micah

Esther

Nahum



Habakkuk



Zephaniah



Haggai



Zechariah



Malachi


The Apocrypha


1 Esdras
Letter of Jeremiah (Baruch ch 6)
2 Esdras
Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews (addition to Daniel)
Tobit
Susanna (addition of Daniel)
Judith
Daniel, Bel, and the Dragon
(addition to Daniel)
Esther (with editions)
Prayer of Manasseh
Wisdom of Solomon
1 Macabees
Ecclesiasticus (Sirach)
2 Maccabees
Baruch




Roman Catholic Books of the Old Testament

The Pentateuch
The Historical Books
The Poetic and Wisdom Books
The Prophets
Genesis
Joshua
Job
Isaiah
Exodus
Judges
Psalms
Jeremiah
Leviticus
Ruth
Proverbs
Lamentations
Numbers
1 Samuel
Ecclesiastes
Baruch (with the Letter of Jeremiah)
Deuteronomy
2 Samuel
Song of Solomon
Ezekiel

1 Kings
Wisdom of Solomon

Daniel (with the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews; Susanna; & Daniel, Bel, and the Dragon)


2 Kings
Sirach
Hosea

1 Chronicles

Joel

2 Chronicles

Amos

Ezra

Obadiah

Nehemiah

Jonah

Tobit

Micah

Judith

Nahum

Esther (with additions)

Habakkuk

1 Maccabees

Zephaniah

2 Maccabees

Haggai



Zechariah



Malachi



Eastern Orthodox Books of the Old Testament*

The Pentateuch
The Historical Books
The Poetic and Wisdom Books
The Prophets
Genesis
Joshua
Psalms
Hosea
Exodus
Judges
Prayer of Manassah
Amos
Leviticus
Ruth
Job
Micah
Numbers
1 Kingdoms (1 Samuel)
Proverbs
Joel
Deuteronomy
2 Kingdoms (2 Samuel)
Ecclesiastes
Obadiah

3 Kingdoms (1 Kings)
Song of Solomon
Jonah

4 Kingdoms (2 Kings)
Wisdom of Solomon
Nahum

1 Paraleipomenon
(1 Chronicles)
Sirach
Habakkuk

2 Paraleipomenon
(2 Chronicles)

Zephaniah

1 Esdras

Haggai

2 Esdras
(Ezra & Nehemiah)

Zechariah

Esther (with additions)

Malachi

Judith

Isaiah

Tobit

Jeremiah

1 Maccabees

Baruch

2 Macabees

Lamentations

3 Macabees

The Letter of Jeremiah



Ezekiel



Daniel (with the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews; Susanna; & Daniel, Bel, and the Dragon)

*Some Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments include 4 Maccabees, Psalm 151, and the Book of Odes.

Chats based on pp. xxxvii-xl,The HarperCollins Study Bible and p. 455 Essays, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha.



For Further Reading

John Barton, How the Bible Came to Be
  • An accessible description of how the various biblical books were written and collected as scripture to form the Bible for beginners.

  • Gives an easy-to-understand overview of the formation of the Bible and why some books were included and others were not.

Lee M. McDonald, The Biblical Canon: Its Origin, Transmission, and Authority
  • A more detailed explanation of the formation of the Bible than in his The Origin of the Bible.

Lawrence Boadt, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction
  • An introduction to the Old Testament books, including the Apocrypha/Deutercanonical books.

Michael D. Coogan, The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures
  • An introduction to the Old Testament books, including the Apocrypha/Deutercanonical books, with numerous photographs, short essays on important topics, maps, charts, & a glossary.







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