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Categories Of Old Testament Books

The categories of books in the Old Testament were not identified until sometime after they were written. The earliest Hebrew Bible may have as many as three hundred different works, and even more Christian Bibles contain additional books that are not in all manuscripts. Breaking these works apart into categories makes it simpler to discern their contents, identify common patterns and themes among them, and trace their historical development.Categories of Books in the Old Testament. Types of literature covered in the Old Testament: Historical Books, Prophetic Books, Poetic Books, Wisdom Literature and Major Prophets. Each section contains detailed information about the books categories including their authorship and original purpose.

In the Old Testament, the Bible refers to different types of books. The most common type is historical narrative and includes the books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua. Non-historical narrative does not focus on events from historical time periods but rather events before God made a covenant with his people through Moses on Mount Sinai. These include most prophetic books except for 1 and 2 Chronicles. There are also priestly writings which contain laws regarding worship and food preparation. Finally there are Wisdom Texts which tell stories about wisdom in everyday life


Books of the Bible

The Old Testament Books can be divided in four categories:

  • The Books of the Law (a.k.a. Pentateuch or Torah): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy – written by Moses, which describe from the Creation to the end of the time the Jewish people spent in the wilderness.
  • The Historical Books: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, Second Kings, First Chronicles, Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther – which tell the history of the nation of Israel and describe from the conquest of the Promised Land to Israel’s Restoration after the Babylonian captivity.
  • The Poetical Books (a.k.a. The Books of Everyday Wisdom or The Writings): Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes.
  • The Prophetic Books:

    Major Prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel.

    Minor Prophets – Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

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