Serving Jesus through discipleship

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!


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4 thoughts on “A Long Reply to Sonny’s Comment

  1. Paul Haber on said:

    So, when Jesus referred to the Law and the Prophets, he was not referring to / concerned with the other books. Does that mean they are not divinly inspired?

  2. Thanks Larry for the tables you provided they are most interesting. As Paul point about in his comment… when Jesus referred to the Law and Prophets… Maybe Jesus was referring to a larger section of book than we might normally think about.

  3. Kathleen Calfior on said:

    nice job Larry =)

  4. Kathleen Calfior on said:

    I think perhaps Jesus wasn’t being so specific… probably in those days, there was little in the way of separation of books!!!
    It might have been said simply as “the writings”.
    To me its kind of a broad reference to the Old Writings – what we now call the Old Testament.

    ABSOLUTELY, the whole Old Testament is the inspired Word of God!

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