An Introduction to the Old Testament

Today I begin a series of studies on the Old Testament. The purpose of these studies is to introduce the Old Testament and provide an overview that will help readers gain a better understanding of the first section of the Bible.

The Old Testament

The Old Testament is an integral part of the Bible. The Bible is the book of the Church. Christians everywhere recognize that the Bible is the word of God. To believers, the Bible is authoritative in matters of faith and the guide to the daily life of the believer.

For Christians, this book of revelation contains the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the story of a people who lived in a period defined in universal history. The Old Testament narrates the events that happened in the history of Israel. For its authors, this story was the result of God’s direct intervention in Israel’s history. The result of this divine revelation was the formulation of God’s covenant with his people, the nation of Israel. In addition, the Old Testament is a retelling of God’s powerful acts in favor of his people. For this reason, Christians believe that the Old Testament is sacred scripture, with a special message for the Church of our day.

Many Christians today believe that they do not need to study the Old Testament. For many Christians, the New Testament has replaced the Old Testament because Jesus Christ came to fulfill the demands of the law (Matthew 5:17-18). But for Jesus and his disciples, the Old Testament was the authoritative word of God, revealing God’s character and purpose for his people.

Jesus knew the Old Testament well and made several references to its content in the teaching of his disciples. The ethical teachings of Christ emanate from the law of Moses and the preaching of the prophets. Today’s church needs to accept the Old Testament as the word of God. Christians must study the Old Testament and know the God that is revealed in the history of Israel. Perhaps this detailed study of the Old Testament will help many Christians to convince themselves that the Old Testament is actually the word of God and that God today still speaks to his people through the Old Testament.

Facts About the Bible

The information below is based on the King James Version of the Bible.

Old Testament

Books in the Old Testament: 39
Chapters in the Old Testament: 929
Verses in the Old Testament: 23,214
Words in the Old Testament: 592,439
Letters in the Old Testament: 2,728,800

New Testament

Books in the New Testament: 27
Chapters in the New Testament: 260
Verses in the New Testament: 7,959
Words in the New Testament: 181,253
Letters in the New Testament: 838,380

The Whole Bible

Books in the Bible: 66
Chapters in the Bible: 1,189
Verses in the Bible: 31,173
Words in the Bible: 773,692
Letters in the Bible: 3,567,180

Other Information about the Bible

The middle chapter of the Bible is Psalm 117
The smallest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 117
The middle verse of the Bible is Psalm 118, verse 8
The word “and” occurs 46,227 times in the Bible
The word “Yahweh” occurs 6855 times in the [Hebrew] Bible

Other Information about the Old Testament

The middle book of the Old Testament is Proverbs
The middle chapter of the Old Testament is Job chapter 29
There is no middle verse in the Old Testament, since the number of verses is even. If there was a middle verse, it would be 2 Chronicles 20, between verses 17 and 18
The shortest verse of the Old Testament is 1 Chronicles Chapter 1, verse 25
The word “and” occurs 35,543 times in the Old Testament
The 21st verse of the 7th chapter of Ezra has all the letters in the alphabet except the letter j
The 19th chapter of 2 Kings and the 37th chapter of Isaiah are alike

This is the first post in the series “An Introduction to the Old Testament.” For other posts in this series, click on the links below.

NEXT: The Books of the Old Testament

Claude F. Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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Studies on An Introduction to the Old Testament

1. Introducing the Old Testament

2. An Introduction to the Old Testament

3. The Books of the Old Testament

4. The Land of Palestine

5. The Old Testament: Inspiration and Revelation

6. The Canon of the Old Testament

7. The Formation of the Canon

This entry was posted in Bible, Hebrew Bible, Old Testament and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to An Introduction to the Old Testament

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    Thanks for this


  2. nicholasv56 says:

    Reblogged this on Averagechristiannet and commented:
    Short introduction to the Old Testament from an OT scholar……….


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