The Old Testament

Sometimes called "The Hebrew Bible"

Non-animated graphic

Though we speak of the Bible as one book -- and it can rightly be considered as such -- it is also a collection of documents written by about 40 different divinely-inspired authors over a period of at least 1,500 years. Each document was originally written as a stand-alone letter, historical account, prophetic message, group of worship songs, or a collection of wise sayings.

Three main groups: Seven sub-groups

grahic showing how
Bible books are grouped

Animated version of this graphic

Note: The writings of the Old Testament are arranged by type of writing. They are not in strict chronological order, although there is then quite a bit of chronological order within each grouping. [ Another Another way of understanding how the biblical writings are organized ]

    -- Howard Culbertson,


The Old Testament is divided into several distinct groups of books> Bopoks in each group or genre servbe a specific purpose within the overall narrative of ancient Hebrew literature. The first grouping consists of the Torah, also known as the Pentateuch. It has the foundational texts of Judaism: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books outline the creation of the world, the covenant between God and the Israelites, and the laws and rituals governing their lives.

Following the Torah are the historical books. These writings detail the history of the Israelites from their conquest of Canaan to the Babylonian exile and include narratives of key figures like Joshua, Samuel, and Kings. The next grouping contains the wisdom literature, such as Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. These writings offer philosophical reflections, prayers, and practical guidance. Finally, there are the prophetic books, which can be divided into major prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah, and minor prophets like Amos and Hosea. These writings contain messages of warning, judgment, and hope for God's people.

You might also like these