We say the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) is "God's Word." We believe that God reveals Himself through these ancient writings. So, the conversation about the Hebrew Bible needs to move beyond "How many books are in the Old Testament?' to the important questions raised and answered by the 39 documents (24 in the Jewish canon because some of those divided in the Christian canon such as 1 and 2 Samuel are one book in the Jewish canon).
What is the purpose of the Old Testament? What message might it have for us today? Well, here are some questions raised and answered by the Old Testament:
From The Bible - God's Word for the Biblically-Inept by Larry Richards. © Starburst Publishers. Used under the educational provisions of U.S. copyright laws' "fair use" clauses.
"Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens" -- Psalm 119:89
Why are the Old Testament books in the order that they appear in the Bible?
"The gospel of God — the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures." – Romans 1:1-2
What is the logic behind the order in which the Old Testament books or documents appear? Why does the book of Psalms appear in the Bible after the book by Nehemiah although King David, who authored many of the Psalms, lived hundreds of years before Nehemiah who lived after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians?
As this animated graphic makes clear, the Old Testament writings or books are arranged in the Bible by subject rather than chronologically (although within the subject groupings, there is considerable chronological order).
Static version of this graphic
|Though Scripture was written by about 40 different human authors, it is God who wishes us to hear speaking through it. How do we discern His voice? [ more ]|
-- Howard Culbertson,
Devotional thoughts on Old Testament passages: Where they did not belong, Exodus 1:1-14 What does God have in mind for your kids Exodus 2:1-15 "I am Who I am," Exodus 3:1-10, 13-15 God's man under pressure, Exodus 5:1-14 Unworthily? Exodus 12:1-14 I sing because I'm free, Exodus 14:10-16, 22-31 Another CIA plot? Exodus 10:1-9, 20-25 Is God shooting at us? (In a good way) Exodus 20:1-11 Watch thief, Exodus 33:12-23 Swimming upstream, Exodus 20:12-20 These hands I give to you, Exodus 24:3-18 Dancing around a golden calf, Exodus 25:1-9; 31:1-6 Emptiness versus God's presence, Exodus 32:1-14 Trust the instruments, Joshua 1:9 Unlimited resources, 2 Chronicles 25:8 An appropriate humility -- Job Blessed . . . Not so . . ., Psalm 1 An active faith not fatalism, Psalm 121:1-2<>/a> Telling tales, Psalms 14:1-3; 15; 16:8-11 Swet little baby Jesus, Psalms 22:1-5, 23; 24:7-10 He is my shepherd, Psalm 23 Leaning on the everlasting arms, Psalm 37:1-11 Getting the glory down, Psalm 103:8 Fountain of youth, Isaiah 40:31 God's splendor displayed, Isaiah 49:3 "To everyone who is who is thirsty," Isaiah 55 A pastor's work, Ezekiel 34:11-16 The disease of prejudice -- Jonah 4:11 Measuring up, Micah 6:8 Fountain of joy, Habakkuk 2, 3