Serving Jesus through discipleship

Archive for the month “July, 2011”

A Long Reply to Sonny’s Comment

Since I had two comments that relate to the OLd Testament and because they are related, I posted this on the main blog as its own article. The other reason is that the reply didn’t support the tables well.

Let me clarify the difference between the Jewish Holy writings and the Old Testament.

The total number of books in the Jewish Old Testament is twenty-four. Those twenty -four books are the equivalent of the Old Testament’s thirty-nine books. For example the Jews regard the twelve books of the minor prophets as one book which they call “The Twelve”. Also Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are each one book, and Ezra is combined with Nehemiah.

By the time of Christ, the Jews had grouped the books into three major sections: The Law, The Prophets, and the Writings. These groupings are illustrated below:

The Hebrew Old Testament Arrangement

LAW (Torah)


WRITINGS (Kethubhim)

  1. Genesis
  2. Exodus
  3. Leviticus
  4. Numbers
  5. Deuteronomy
  1. Former Prophets

    6. Joshua

    7. Judges

    8. Samuel

    9. Kings

  2. Latter Prophets

    10. Isaiah

    11. Jeremiah

    12. Ezekiel

    13. The Twelve

  1. Poetical Books

    14. Psalms

    15. Proverbs

    16. Job

  2. Five Rolls (Megilloth)

    17. Song of Songs

    18. Ruth

    19. Lamentations

    20. Ecclesiastes

    21. Esther

  3. Historical Books

    22. Daniel

    23. Ezra – Nehemiah

    24. Chronicles

The chart below illustrates the Protestant Old Testament Arrangement:


LAW (Pentateuch)

  1. Genesis
  2. Exodus
  3. Leviticus
  4. Numbers
  5. Deuteronomy

  1. Job
  2. Psalms
  3. Proverbs
  4. Ecclesiastes
  5. Song of Solomon

  1. Joshua
  2. Judges
  3. Ruth
  4. 1 Samuel
  5. 2 Samuel
  6. 1 Kings
  7. 2 Kings
  8. 1 Chronicles
  9. 2 Chronicles
  10. Ezra
  11. Nehemiah
  12. Esther


Major Prophets

  1. Isaiah
  2. Jeremiah
  3. Lamentations
  4. Ezekiel
  5. Daniel
Minor Prophets

  1. Hosea
  2. Joel
  3. Amos
  4. Obadiah
  5. Jonah
  6. Micah
  7. Nahum
  8. Habakkuk
  9. Zephaniah
  10. Haggai
  11. Zechariah
  12. Malachi

My research has not indicated why the books are arranged differently. I can only assume it was for practical reasons that has no relation to the scriptures themselves.

I hope this answers your questions!


Can We Hear the Voice of God (Part 5)

What Is the Canon of Scripture?

The canon of Scripture is the collection of books that the church has recognized as having divine authority in matters of faith and doctrine. The term comes from the Greek word ‘kanon’ and the Hebrew work ‘qaneh’, both of which mean “a rule” or “measuring rod”. The canon is an authority to which other truth claims are compared and by which they are measured.

In his book The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable, F. F. Bruce states, “One thing must be emphatically stated. The New Testament Books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in the canonical list; on the contrary, the church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, recognizing their innate worth and generally apostolic authority, direct or indirect.”

Time after time Jesus and His apostles quoted from a distinctive body of authoritative writings. They designated them as “the Scripture”. They often introduced their quotations with “It is written”. We call these authoritative writings The Old Testament. Jewish people call them the Tanakh. It is important to note that the Tanakh includes the same material as the Protestant Old Testament though the books are arranged differently.

The early church used three criteria to establish the canonicity of the writings:

  1. Conformity to “the rule of faith.” Did the book conform to orthodoxy, Christian truth recognized as normative in the churches?
  2. Apostolicity: Was the writer of the book an apostle or did the writer have immediate contact with the apostles? All but a few of the New Testament writers were eyewitnesses to the events they recorded. Though not eyewitnesses, Luke received his information Paul and numerous eyewitnesses, while Mark received his information from Peter, who was an eyewitness. James and Jude were closely associated with the apostles in Jerusalem and were probably Jesus’ brothers, which would have also made them eyewitnesses.
  3. Catholicity. Did the book have widespread and continuous acceptance and usages by churches everywhere?

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