The Old Testament

The books of the Old Testament tell the story of God's covenant with the Israelites. Download the Scripture Seekers' series on the Old Testament here.

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The first part of the Bible, the Old Testament, is common to both Jews and Christians (with some differences). Jews and Protestants recognise only the books that were written in Hebrew – 39 of them. Catholics also recognise seven books which were written in Greek (these are called deutero-canonical). The seven books are: Tobit, Judith, Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus), Wisdom, Baruch and 1- 2 Maccabees.

The Catholic Canon divides the books into four main parts:

  • The Pentateuch (literally meaning the “five scrolls”) contains the same five books as found in the Torah – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
  • The Historical Books – Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ruth, Esther, Lamentations*, Judith, Tobit, Baruch*, 1-2 Maccabees.
  • The Wisdom Books – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes (or Qoheleth), Song of Songs (or Canticle of Canticles), Wisdom and Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus).
  • The Prophetic Books – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and the Book of Daniel (which is half prophetic and half apocalyptic).

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Download the Scripture Seekers’ series on the Old Testament.

*We have included the Books of Lamentations and Baruch in the Prophetic Books download since we are following the order in which they are found in the Bible; most Bibles put these two books after Jeremiah, even though they are NOT part of the Major Prophets.