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List Of The Bible Books In Chronological Order

If you want to study the Bible and memorize its contents, it will be greatly helpful for you to know them in order. One way of doing that is by reading from one book to another until you finish the book. There are many ways of doing this and here we will list down some of the best Bible books in chronological order

In addition to the Old Testament and New Testament, there is also the Apocrypha, which includes the so-called “Deuterocanonical” works (a term used by Protestants). These books are found in a separate section within the canon.

books of the bible in chronological order list pdf

How about boosting your Bible study by getting to know more about the books of the Holy Bible? Here you will find a suggested chronological order of the different books of the Bible, based on the estimates of scholars. You will learn about theories concerning the authorship of each book and when they were written. It will help you learn more about God’s Word.

Note that this list is based on the Protestant Bible, so it doesn’t include the Deuterocanonical books.

1 Book: Genesis

Genesis is the first book in the list of the books of the Bible in chronological sequence. It is also the first one in the first major division of the Hebrew Bible, called the “Torah.”

There is no information about the author in the book itself. Jewish and Christian Tradition assigns the authorship of the book of Genesis to Moses. He may have used other sources (including oral tradition) to write or compile this book since the events happened a long time before he was born. For example, the creation of the world, Noah’s ark, the tower of Babel, and God sending Abram (later renamed Abraham) to Canaan — all these well-known Bible stories happened centuries before Moses’s lifetime.

Internal evidence, especially from the New Testament, also affirm Moses’s authorship of Genesis (Acts 15:1) and the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Canon of Scripture), usually referred to as the books of the Law (Luke 16:29, 24:27; John 1:45; 2 Corinthians 3:15). This is considered the strongest evidence in favor of the Mosaic authorship. This tradition is so strong that many writers use the expressions “the Law of Moses” or “the books of Moses” when referring to the Pentateuch.

Some scholars who don’t agree with the authorship of Moses developed a theory they called “The Documentary Hypothesis.” Based on the analysis of the biblical text, they identified four different sources that, according to them, were used by one later editor to compile the five books that we know today. Those sources are:

Source J: The texts that refer to God by His covenant name (Yahweh, translated as “The LORD” in all caps in most English Bibles).
Source E: The texts that refer to God as Elohim (the more generic word “God”). The proponents of this theory believe these texts were written before the events in Exodus, so people didn’t know God’s revealed name yet (Exodus 3:15).
Source D: This is essentially the book of Deuteronomy.
Source P: The priestly texts, especially in Leviticus.
Many modern scholars abandoned the Documentary Hypothesis and affirmed Moses’s authorship of the Pentateuch. They argue that there is no evidence of the existence of those four sources. They also say that the differences, repetition, and apparent contradictions within the five books of the Pentateuch can be explained by the literary style of the ancient Near Eastern narratives.

When Written:
Scholars who think that Moses wrote the Pentateuch date it to the period when Israel was wandering in the desert, between 1440 and 1400 B.C.

Scholars who defend the Documentary Hypothesis date the compilation of the Pentateuch as a single work to around 550 B.C., during the Babylonian exile.

2 Book: Exodus

The book is anonymous, but tradition and many scholars consider Moses to be the author of Exodus. Refer to the Genesis discussion above for more information about the authorship of the whole Pentateuch. Exodus 3:15 is the first time that God reveals His covenant name.

Exodus 17:14, 24:4, and 34:27 are considered internal evidence that Moses wrote sections or the entire book. Also, Joshua 8:31 refers to Exodus 20:25 as a command that was “written in the book of the law of Moses” (Joshua 8:31 KJV). The New Testament also refers to texts found in Exodus as texts written by Moses (Mark 7:10, 12:26; Luke 2:22-23).

When Written:
Refer to the Genesis discussion in this post for more information.

3 Book: Leviticus

The book doesn’t identify its author, but tradition and most scholars agree that Moses wrote Leviticus. Refer to the Genesis discussion above for more information about the authorship of the whole Pentateuch.

Even though there is no direct indication that Moses wrote this book, it is clear that God gave him the commands that were registered there (Leviticus 1:1; 4:1; 5:14; 6:1, 8, 19, 24; 7:22, 28; 26:46; 27:34). Paul also affirmed Moses’s authorship of Leviticus in Romans 10:5.

When Written:
Refer to the Genesis discussion above for more information.

4 Book: Numbers

Most scholars agree with the tradition that says that Moses wrote the book of Numbers. Refer to the Genesis discussion above for more information about the authorship of the whole Pentateuch.

Numbers 33:1-2 indicate that Moses wrote at least some part of it. Numbers 1:1, 3:5, 15:1, and other similar verses also indicate that Moses was the one who received most of the contents of this book from God.

When Written:
Refer to the Genesis discussion above for more information.

5 Book: Deuteronomy

Traditionally, Moses is considered the author of Deuteronomy. Refer to the Genesis discussion above for more information about the authorship of the whole Pentateuch.

The verses in Deuteronomy 31:9, 22, 24-25 indicate that Moses wrote at least a major part of this book (his speech started in Deuteronomy 1:5). In 2 Kings 14:6, a quote from Deuteronomy 24:16 is referred to as part of “the book of the law of Moses” (2 Kings 14:6 KJV).

Texts from the New Testament also affirmed the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy: Matthew 19:7-8; Mark 10:3-5; Acts 3:22-23, 7:37-38; Romans 10:19.

Most scholars agree that Moses wrote this book, and another unknown author added the introduction (Deuteronomy 1:1-5) and the conclusion (chapter 34).

When Written:
Scholars and tradition believe that this was the last of the books of Moses, written just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land.

Refer to the Genesis discussion above for more information.

6 Book: Joshua

The book of Joshua, despite its name, is anonymous. It is the first of the historical books in the Christian Bible and the first book in the second major division of the Hebrew Bible called Prophets. It narrates the events as Joshua leads Israel into the Promised Land.

According to the Jewish people’s tradition, Joshua wrote it himself, except for the ending (Joshua 24:29-33). Most scholars agree that Joshua wrote at least some parts of it (Joshua 24:26).

When Written:
Scholars have suggested many possible dates, from the times of Joshua (probably about 1390 B.C.) to the Persian period (fifth and fourth century B.C.).

Some texts indicate that at least portions were written close to when those events took place:

Some parts of it were written by eyewitnesses (Joshua 5:1, 6).
Rahab was still alive (Joshua 6:25).
Some other texts suggest a later date or additions:

There are 12 instances of “to this day,” which puts the author far from those events (for example, Joshua 7:26; 8:29; 15:63).
An eyewitness wouldn’t need to cite a source (Joshua 10:13).

7 Book: Psalms

The book of Psalms includes five collections of compositions by many authors. It is one of the most popular books in the whole Bible. In terms of literary genre, it is one of the books of poetry in the Holy Book.

Most psalms are prefaced by superscripts that give us information about them. According to those superscripts, we have the following authors: David (73 psalms), Asaph (12), the sons of Korah (11), Moses (1), Solomon (2), Heman (1), and Ethan (1).

Some scholars claim that those superscripts might be a later addition, but even the oldest known manuscripts have them.

An important thing that some scholars argue is that the names in the superscripts don’t necessarily mean the author’s name. They may also indicate that the psalm was dedicated to or inspired by someone. For example, the superscript in Psalm 72 refers to Solomon, but some interpreters claim that this psalm was actually written by David (see verse 20) as a short prayer for Solomon.

When Written:
Scholars estimate that the composition of all psalms spanned almost a thousand years, from the times of Moses (around 1400 B.C.) to the Babylonian captivity (Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C.).

Considering that David’s psalms make up for almost half of the book of Psalms, the majority of its composition would have happened during his and Solomon’s lifetime, in the late eleventh century and the tenth century B.C.

8 Book: Judges

The author of the book of Judges is unknown. According to the Jewish people’s tradition, the prophet and judge Samuel wrote it.

When Written:
The date of the writing of this book is also unknown. Scholars argue that the phrase “in those days there was no king in Israel” (Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1) indicates that it was written after the monarchy was established (tenth century B.C.).

9 Book: Ruth

The book of Ruth is anonymous. The Jewish tradition credits it to Samuel, but most scholars credit it to an unknown author who lived during the period of the monarchy.

When Written:
Scholars claim that David’s genealogy at the end and the literary style in this book indicate that it was written during Solomon’s reign (ca. 950 B.C.). They think that the author was someone who worked on the staff of the royal court, possibly a scribe.

10 Book: Proverbs

Proverbs is a popular wisdom book from the Canon of Scripture. It is a collection of writings from several authors, according to the biblical text itself:

Chapters 1 through 24: the proverbs of Solomon, son of David (Proverbs 1:1).
Chapters 25 through 29: the proverbs of Solomon that were compiled by the scribes of the king Hezekiah (Proverbs 25:1).
Chapter 30: the proverbs of Agur, the son of Jakeh (Proverbs 30:1).
Chapter 31: the proverbs of the king Lemuel (Proverbs 31:1).
Some modern scholars challenge Solomon’s authorship and argue that this book is a product of the postexilic period. However, there is no reasonable evidence to back up that theory.

When Written:
Solomon wrote his proverbs between 970 and 930 B.C. Hezekiah’s scribes compiled the additional proverbs between 729 and 686 B.C. There is no other mention of Agur and Lemuel anywhere else in the Holy Scriptures. Scholars think that their proverbs may also have been compiled by Hezekiah’s scribes, or they might have been a later addition.

If Solomon wasn’t the author, scholars think that it was written in the fifth century B.C.

11 Book: Song of Songs or Song of Solomon

The first verse tells us that Solomon either wrote it, it belonged to him, or it was written about him (Song of Songs 1:1). The Bible tells us that Solomon wrote 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:32), so it is reasonable to consider him the author of this book.

Some scholars question Solomon’s authorship and attribute it to an unknown author in the postexilic period, but there isn’t strong evidence to support their claims.

When Written:
If Solomon is indeed the author, then it was written around 950 B.C. If not, critics claim it was written in the fifth century B.C.

12 Book: 1 Samuel

The author of 1 and 2 Samuel is unknown. Both books were originally written as a single volume. They were split into two parts by the translators of the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament from the second century B.C.).

According to the Jewish tradition, the prophet and judge Samuel is the author of both books. However, he couldn’t have written the events after his death (1 Samuel 25:1). Some scholars claim that he wrote the material up to that point, then the prophets Nathan and Gad completed the book. They base this claim in 1 Chronicles 29:29.

When Written:
The books of 1 and 2 Samuel are books of history that tell us about the establishment of the monarchy in Israel, with David as their key character.

Scholars debate about who was the author and when it was written, but most of them agree that the whole book (1 and 2 Samuel) was completed during Solomon’s reign, around 950 B.C.

13 Book: 2 Samuel

Even though both 1 and 2 Samuel were traditionally attributed to the prophet and judge Samuel, the book of 2 Samuel contains events that took place after his death. That’s why some scholars attribute 2 Samuel to the prophets Nathan and Gad (1 Chronicles 29:29).

When Written:
The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally composed as a single volume. Most scholars think that they were written during the period of the events they depict and concluded by the time of Solomon’s reign (around 950 B.C.).

14 Book: Ecclesiastes

The author of this book presented himself as “the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem,” and he also said, “I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1,12 KJV). Note that “son of David” may also mean a descendant, not necessarily his son.

Some scholars question Solomon’s authorship because of the third person reference to the “Preacher” in Ecclesiastes 12:9-14. However, other scholars claim that those verses might have been a later addition by a second author, who compiled the book. The work of a later compiler/editor may also explain the unique literary style of this book.

When Written:
If Solomon wrote this book, he did it late in his life. That would have been around 940 B.C.

Scholars that reject Solomon’s authorship, or at least argue in favor of a later editor, consider it a postexilic text, written as late as 200 B.C.

15 Book: Job

The author of the book of Job is unknown. Traditionally, Moses is considered the author, but there is no evidence to support that.

Most scholars debate whether this book was produced by one or more authors. The difference of style in the narrative and the speeches made scholars conclude that a late author wrote this book using preexisting material, probably passed along through oral tradition.

When Written:
Scholars estimate, based on a careful study of the text, that the events narrated in Job happened during the patriarchal period (second millennium B.C.).

They estimate this book was written sometime between the reign of Solomon (tenth century B.C.) and the postexilic period (fifth century B.C.).

16 Book: Jonah

The book tells the story of the prophet Jonah, son of Amittai (Jonah 1:1), the most popular among the minor prophets. Most scholars agree that Jonah either wrote the book himself or was the author’s primary source. Since the book was written in the third person, the argument is stronger in favor of an unknown author.

When Written:
A prophet called Jonah, son of Amittai, was active in Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II, between 793/92 and 753 B.C., according to 2 Kings 14:25. If Jonah is the author, he probably wrote the book around that time period.

Scholars who think the author of this book is unknown place its composition around the fifth or fourth century B.C. based on linguistic features.

17 Book: Amos

This book records the prophecies of Amos (Amos 1:1). Whether he wrote it himself or another unknown author did it cannot be determined with certainty.

When Written:
The prophet Amos was active during the reigns of the king Uzziah in Judah, and king Jeroboam II in Israel (Amos 1:1), between 760 and 750 B.C. Scholars estimate that Amos or a scribe wrote the book within that time period.

18 Book: Hosea

Scholars cannot determine if the prophet Hosea wrote the book that records his prophecies himself (Hosea 1:1-2) or if an unknown author did it.

When Written:
The prophet Hosea was active during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and Jeroboam II, king of Israel (Hosea 1:1). Scholars estimate the years of this ministry between 755 and 715 B.C. The book was probably written at the end of that time period, after the fall of Samaria (the capital of the northern kingdom) in 722 B.C.

19 Book: Joel

This book records the prophecies of Joel, the son of Pethuel (Joel 1:1). However, this information isn’t enough to determine with certainty who he was and whether he wrote the book himself.

When Written:
The book doesn’t contain any references to kings or any other datable events, so it isn’t possible to date it with certainty. Scholars’ most common suggestion is that it was written between the fall of Samaria (the capital of the northern kingdom) in 722 B.C. and the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

20 Book: Micah

Most scholars agree that the prophet Micah himself wrote parts of the book, specifically the prophecies of judgment. They consider the prophecies of hope (Micah 2:12-13; 4:1-5:9; 7:8-20) a later addition.

When Written:
The prophet Micah was active during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Micah 1:1), between 750 and 686 B.C. Scholars estimate that Micah wrote his prophecies around 700 B.C. They also think that any later addition would have been done early in the seventh century B.C. because it was quoted by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:18) around 608 B.C.

21 Book: Isaiah

The book mentions only one author, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz (Isaiah 1:1, 2:1, 13:1). The Jewish and Christian traditions agree with that.

However, many scholars have raised objections to the single author theory. They claim that differences in style and content in some parts of the book led them to identify at least three different authors:

The prophet Isaiah himself is thought to have written chapters 1 to 39.
A second author, an anonymous prophet, would have written chapters 40 to 55.
A third author, another anonymous prophet, supposedly wrote chapters 56 to 66.
Scholars who agree that Isaiah wrote the entire book present many reasons to maintain the traditional single authorship position. Here are some of their arguments:

An author’s style may change due to several reasons, like age, new experiences, purpose, audience, etc. Also, Isaiah could have used a disciple for the later chapters.
There are some expressions used throughout the whole book that point to a single author. For example, Isaiah refers to God as “the Holy One of Israel” 12 times in chapters 1-39 and 14 times in chapters 40-66. Outside Isaiah, it is only used 6 times in the whole Old Testament. There are 25 other Hebrew words or expressions used throughout the whole book of Isaiah that are not used in any other parts of the Old Testament.
Several quotes in the New Testament ascribe them to the prophet Isaiah. Matthew 3:3 (quoting Isaiah 40:3), Matthew 4:14-16 (quoting Isaiah 9:1-2), Romans 9:27-29 (quoting Isaiah 10:22-23 and 1:9), and Romans 10:20-21 (quoting Isaiah 65:1,2), all those texts assign to Isaiah quotes from the whole book, including chapters 40-66.
The book doesn’t identify any other author. Also, there is no record anywhere else about other authors. Since Isaiah is one of the main prophets of the Old Testament, this silence regarding other authors cannot be ignored.
One of the reasons some critical scholars question Isaiah’s authorship of chapters 40-48 is the precision of the future predictions about the exile in Babylon. Even though these predictions are accurate, there is no evidence in the text that the author was familiar with life in Babylon. That suggests that the author didn’t experience the Babylonian captivity but wrote about it through the Holy Spirit’s divine inspiration.
These are some of the reasons why many scholars agree that the prophet Isaiah wrote the whole book.

When Written:
Many scholars believe that Isaiah was the single author of the entire book. They think he wrote chapters 1-39 not long after 701 B.C. (when the Assyrian army was destroyed – see Isaiah 37). They also believe he wrote chapters 40-66 near the end of his life, around 681 B.C.

Those who defend the three authors theory claim that the second author would have written chapters 40-55 in the sixth century B.C., and the third author would have been a postexilic prophet, who wrote chapters 56-66 around 400 B.C.

22 Book: Nahum

This book contains the prophecies of Nahum, the Elkoshite (Nahum 1:1). There is no other evidence to confirm or deny his authorship.

When Written:
The book anticipates the fall of Nineveh, which happened in 612 B.C. It mentions the destruction of Thebes in Egypt (Nahum 3:8-10), which happened in 663 B.C. So, scholars estimate it was written around 630 B.C.

books of the bible in chronological order list catholic

The Bible is long and complicated, so it can be a bit hard to keep it all straight. The scriptures contain hundreds of stories over generations. Christian Bibles, which borrow heavily from the Hebrew Tanakh, are broken down into different books; we’ve presented the full list of books in order for your reference.

As we discuss below, different traditions count different books and order them differently. We’ve decided to present them here in the order used in most mainline Protestant Bibles, as those are the most common variety in the United States where we’re based.

See also The King James Bible, Old Testament Names, and Kings of Judah & Israel

Looking to broaden your religion reading? Check out our list of the best books on Buddhism.

What Are the 46 Books of the Old Testament in Order?
The Hebrew Scriptures

1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs)
What Are the Books of the New Testament in Order?
Acts of the Apostles
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
The Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical Books
The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical

Additions to the Book of Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
The Letter of Jeremiah
The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews
Bel and the Dragon
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
1 Esdras
Prayer of Manasseh
Psalm 151
3 Maccabees
2 Esdras
4 Maccabees
The Hebrew Scriptures & the Old Testament
The first books in the Christian bible are the holy books of the Jewish faith, collected in the Tanakh. “Tanakh” is an acronym of the three major division of the Hebrew holy book–the Torah (“teachings,” also known to Christians by the Greek name “the Pentateuch” or “five books”), Nevi’im (“prophets”), and Ketuvim (“writings”). In Christian traditions these books are called “the Old Testament.” The Jewish faith also adheres to the teachings in the Talmud, rabbinical commentaries on the Tanakh; unlike the Tanakh, Christian scripture does not recognize the Talmud.

Different Christian traditions acknowledge different books of the Bible as canonical. The Tanakh includes only 24 books, while mainline Protestant bibles inclue 39*, Catholics include 46, and Eastern Orthodox groups include 49. The books included in some bibles and not others are called Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical; this means either that they are not canon, or that they are less canonical than primary canon.

*Protestant bibles do not include more material than Hebrew bibles, but they divide the book of the 12 minor prophets into 12 different books, as well as dividing the book of Ezra-Nehemiah into the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and the book of Chronicles into 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles. All Christian bibles, however, are ordered differently than the Tanakh.

The Five Books of Moses/the Pentateuch
The only set of books included in all forms of the Tanakh and the Old Testament, in the same order, is the Torah or Pentateuch. These five books, the five books of Moses, are the first and arguably most important books in the scripture.

An Overview of the Old Testament & the New Testament
The Old Testament begins with the book of Genesis, which tells the story of how the world was created, and how God anointed his chosen people and taught them how to live. This includes famous stories like those of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah’s Ark.

After Genesis, the different books of the Old Testament relate the trials of the Israelites as they endure centuries of enslavement or captivity under different empires. There is a general pattern where God sends a prophet to teach the Israelites how to live and to lead them from hardship, but over time they lose faith and find themselves suffering new hardships. The most famous example is Moses leading his people out of slavery in Egypt–the people are impious and must wander the desert for forty years before their descendants can enter the promised land.

Some of the other important episodes from the Old Testament include the rise of King David, the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the Babylonian Captivity. The Old Testament also includes various sayings and songs about morality, god, and other esoteric subjects.

The New Testament is concerned with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, which are the basis for Christianity. His life story is told in the four Gospels (which comes from the Old English for “good news”). Almost all of the other books are letters written by Saint Paul or other Christian teachers, discussing their beliefs or giving advice.

The last book of the New Testament is the Book of Revelation, written by John the Apostle, which recounts an apocalyptic vision of the End of Days. The most important event discussed in Revelation is the Second Coming of Christ, although most of the events in Revelation are controversial in their meaning.

Notes on Biblical Terms
There are a few cases of terms that crop up a lot in the books of the bible, but that get confused in everyday language. We just want to focus in on two; the different terms for “God’s chosen people” in the Bible, and how God is identified and named.

The terms “Hebrew,” “Jew,” and “Israelite” are often used interchangeably, but they do mean slightly different things, as addressed in this informative post from Chabad.

The first person identified as a Hebrew is Abraham, and so in a sense the Hebrews are descendants of Abraham. More specifically, the etymology of Hebrew implies an individual who is across or has crossed something, and so it is often used to describe the people of Abraham when not in Israel/Canaan, and when resisting cultural pressures and temptations from outside groups. Joseph is called a Hebrew when in Egypt. Lastly, Hebrew is often used to refer to the Hebrew-speaking Jews of Roman Judaea.

Israelite more specifically refers to descendants of Jacob or Israel, the ancestor of the twelve tribes of Israel who later would be split between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. It is important to note that Israelite is different from the current national demonym Israeli, indicating a person from the country of Israel.

Jew, lastly, refers to the people of Judah, and then after the Babylonian exile to Israelites more broadly due to cultural and religious importance of Judah. In general, Jew or Jewish person is used to refer to a person who practices Judaism or is part of the Jewish community. Due to its invective use by anti-semites, the word “Jew” by itself can sometimes sound harsh or rude, but there are many cases in which it’s perfectly neutral and appropriate.

The Name of God
In the Tanakh, God is identified with the seven different names. Per tradition, these are to be treated with extreme reverence; you shouldn’t erase or damage them when written down. For that matter, despite our academic use of them here, you’re not supposed to write them down too often either.

The most significant name for God in the Tanakh is the Tetragrammaton, or the four letters. The four letters are transliterated as YHWH. In Latin, since the letter J originally was pronounced like a Y or I, and the letter V sounded like a W, this was written JHVH (from which we get “Jehovah,” as in the Witnesses). Since you’re not supposed to write the name down too often, it’s common to change a letter (in English this is often written as G-d) or to space the letters, like Y-H-W-H.

Especially in Judaism, but in many Christian traditions as well, you are not supposed to pronounce the Tetragrammaton. When referring to the name itself, one would typically same HaShem (“The Name” in Hebrew). When reading the four letters, it is pronounced Adonai (or “The Lord”). If the word “Lord” is already next to the four letters, you would say Elohim. This is how we arrive at the common English phrase “the Lord God.”