The Old Testament books are divided into:

  1. Books of the law or the Pentateuch or Torah.
  2. Historical books.
  3. Poetic Books
  4. Prophetic books.

Law books or the Pentateuch or Torah

The books of law are


(ii) Exodus

(iii) Leviticus

(iv) Numbers

(v) Deuteronomy.

Moses wrote these books. They contain the law of God as it was given to the people of Israel through Moses.

They also contain the history of the Israelites from creation to the time they entered the Promised Land.

The author Moses is regarded as a lawgiver, teacher and prophet.

Historical books: There are the 12 consecutive books from

(i) Joshua

(ii) Judges

(iii) Ruth

(iv) 1, 2 Samuel

(v) 1, 2 Kings

(vi)1, 2 Chronicles

(vii) Ezra

(viii) Nehemiah

(ix) Esther.

These 12 books record the history of the Israelites. They also contain information about the life and achievements of some prophets, for example, the life history of Elisha and Elijah. Exercise 1 – Go through the 12 books and check page by page the names of other prophets.

Poetic Books

The books are poetic in nature.

The poetic books contain wise sayings, songs, and prayers.


The poetic books are (1) Psalms which was written by David

(ii) Proverbs

(iii) Ecclesiastes

(iv) Song of Solomon written by Solomon and

(v) Job.

Prophetic books

These are divided into major and minor prophets.

A prophet is a messenger of God, or God’s spokesperson. A prophet is a mouthpiece of God.

Prophets pass information and messages from God to the people. They are messengers from God.

Their messages from God concern the future.

Five Major Prophetic Books

  1. The major prophetic books are by

(i) Isaiah

(ii) Jeremiah

(iii) Lamentations

(iv) Ezekiel and

(v) Daniel

. The books are named after the prophets who prophesied and probably wrote them.

Jeremiah wrote lamentations. These prophets are called Major Prophets because they cover a longer period of time.

Their prophecies are long, and they prophesied over a long period of time.

  1. Minor Prophets.

There are 12 books of

(1) Hosea

(2 Joel

(3) Amos

(4) Obadiah

(5) Jonah

(6) Micah

(7) Nahum

(8) Habakkuk

(9) Zephaniah

(10) Haggai

(11) Zechariah and

(12) Malachi.

These books are by Minor Prophets who are said to have prophesied over a shorter period of time if you compare them with the Major Prophets.

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