Capsules of Fact About the Jewish Bible

Jewish practice places Old Testament Scripture in different order than most Christian Bible readers are accustomed to seeing. Traditionally these Scriptures are divided into three sections. They are the Law (Torah), The Prophets (N’viim) and The Writings (K’tubim). As a body of canonical literature, these are called the Tenach, the name being derived from the initial letters of the three Hebrew words.

The Law, in familiar order, is comprised of the Pentateuch—the five books of Moses; these are followed by the Prophets in chronological order: the Earlier Prophets—Joshua, Judges, I & II Samuel and I & II Kings, and the Later Prophets— Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. After these we find the Writings, which include Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and I & II Chronicles.

The New Testament bears witness to this three-fold division of Scripture in Luke 24:44, where the Lord Jesus referred to all things written concerning him in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms.” Here, as in many other places, the Lord used a Hebraism. In our modern language, he probably would have used a phrase like “in the entire Old Testament.”


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