A Closer Look At the Old Testament

Although Christians and Jews consider the Old Testament of the Bible as both the word of God and history, these religious sects differ markedly in their views of the significance of the Bible and its interpretations. Judaism holds that the Bible is composed only of the Old Testament. This Hebrew Bible is both the primary instructive text for a moral life, and the record of God’s historical promise to the Jews first expressed in the covenant with Abraham wherein the Jews became God’s chosen people. 

Differing from the Jewish view, Christians hold that the New Testament is the extension of the covenant with Abraham. For Christians, God promised to send “His only Son,” Jesus Christ, as the Messiah, a descendant of Abraham, who would redeem humanity. Interestingly, the Christian Bible’s Old Testament is longer than the Jewish version because the Christians who edited this part of the Bible added some works and separated certain works into two different sections. 

Also, Christian groups consider specific texts that are not included in the Hebrew Bible as belonging to the list of sacred books. Thus, the Old Testament of the Christian Bible has more books than the Hebrew Bible. This Christian Bible has 39 books in its Old Testament. 

One reason the Christian Old Testament has more books than the Hebrew canon of 24 books is the fact that Christian editors and groups have added specific texts not found in the Hebrew Bible because they consider them canonical. There have also been particular works divided into two sections. 

In addition, there are various Christian groups with differences in what they believe are canonical texts that are not in the Hebrew Bible. Nevertheless, most Protestant churches have 39 books in the Old Testament of the Bible while Roman Catholics have seven more, with 46 books.

Many theologians and scholars consider the Bible not only a work of the teachings of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, but they also value it as a work that has recorded the history of man. Indeed, it has played a decisive role in the culture of the Western world, and it has been the subject of intensive and critical study, assuming essential roles in the theologies of Judaism and Christianity.

Published by glenndukeraustralia

Glenn Duker is a lawyer and man of faith living in Australia.

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