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Sections of The Old Testament Bible

By Patricia Jackson

McDowell CountyPatricia Jackson McDowell County sections of the old testament bible


To graduate high school (1962), we must have at least one year of Bible studies.  The teacher, Miss Smith, was dedicated to her position and insisted on copious notetaking.  Our final exam required us to list, in order, the books of the new testament.  This simple process has proved invaluable to me over the years as I study the Bible.

Most Bible readers know there are sixty-six books in the Bible, 39 in the OT, and 27 in the NT.  with forty different authors.

These books are categorized as sections or divisions. The first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) are the books of the Pentateuch. Pentateuch was the first collection of literature acknowledged as scripture by the Hebrew Community. Genesis speaks of beginnings, the heavens and earth, light and darkness, seas and skies, animals of human beings, and sin and redemption. Exodus recounts the Jewish struggle to go to the promised land and Moses and Aaron’s role in the process. Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy lay out a series of civil, religious, and ethical laws to govern Israel’s nation.

The following twelve books (Joshua through Esther)  are considered Historical Books. These books share a prophetic view of history, describing how the obedience or disobedience of God’s people is directly tied to the blessings and curses of the covenant. They recount Israel’s story before their conquest of the promised land, establishing judges, kings, and the kingdoms split into the southern and northern kingdoms. Their enemies exiled both kingdoms.

Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and  The Song of Solomon are called Israel’s wisdom, literature and, poetry books. Unlike modern poetry, ancient Hebrew poetry has no distinctive scheme or rhythm to differentiate it from prose.

The following five books, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel, are classified as the five major prophets books. The following twelve books (Hosea through Malachi) are classified as minor prophet books.  This distinction is based on the amount of text, not on the importance of the prophets. God used the prophets to provide direction and wisdom during a crisis, most often speaking through the prophets.

Regardless of what book or verse you study and gain inspiration from, 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine.”If any of you lack wisdom regarding the Bible, ask of God that giveth to all men liberally, and it shall be given to you. “ (James 1:5).


Patricia Jackson is the Assistant Teacher for the Ladies Class at Redeemed Free Will Baptist Church, Glenwood, NC.  She is a grant writer for non-profits, a published author and retired Nursing Home Administrator.  She lives in Rutherford County with her husband.  Contact information: email address:

You can read more good Christian news from Patricia HERE.