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Humanities:  Introduction to the Old Testament - Book Selection

Before launching into "Introduction to the Old Testament," you must select which biblical books that you will read. The State of Florida does not require students to read the entire Old Testament nor does the state specify individual Old Testament books as necessary. However, it is reasonable to accomplish most (if not all) of the entire Old Testament over this one-year course. Students must read a sample of each major category of writing.

My goal when teaching a survey of the Old Testament is to expose the student to each major style of writing and to books focused upon various segments of Old Testament biblical history. Upon completion of a survey, each student should have a broad understanding of the major characters, events, concepts, and literary forms of the Old Testament.

The chart below sequences the Old Testament books according to a traditional Western table of contents, as is used by Balancing the Sword. I've marked select books as "Primary" if I would certainly include the book if I were teaching you personally. If time permitted, I would add to the primary books those marked as "Secondary." Ideally, you will read the entire Old Testament. I gave favoritism towards

  • books which include major characters not substantially addressed elsewhere,
  • books which target transitional periods of history,
  • books which covered large spans of history or give clearer historical perspective,
  • books which give representation to each literary form and timeframe, and
  • books which are heavily quoted by New Testament writers.

This prioritizing of the biblical books is somewhat subjective.

Book BTS Page Guidance General Literary Form

The Law

Before National Israel

1 Genesis 1 Primary Historical Narrative and Genealogy

Israel's Wandering before Their Settlement

2 Exodus 21 Primary Historical Narrative and Statutory Code

3 Leviticus 39 Secondary Historical Narrative and Statutory Code

4 Numbers 52 Primary Historical Narrative and Enumeration

5 Deuteronomy 70 Secondary Historical Narrative and Statutory Code

The Writings

Era of the Judges

6 Joshua 84 Secondary Historical Narrative and Enumeration

7 Judges 97 Primary Historical Narrative

8 Ruth 107
Historical Narrative

Era of the Monarchies – Preexilic Focus

9 1 Samuel 109 Primary Historical Narrative

10 2 Samuel 125
Historical Narrative

11 1 Kings 137
Historical Narrative

12 2 Kings 153
Historical Narrative

Era of the Monarchies – Preexilic Focus – Summation of Genesis to Exile

13 1 Chronicles 166 Primary Historical Narrative and Genealogy

14 2 Chronicles 176 Primary Historical Narrative

Era of the Governors – Postexilic Focus

15 Ezra 191 Primary Historical Narrative and Enumeration

16 Nehemiah 196
Historical Narrative and Enumeration

17 Esther 201 Secondary Historical Narrative

Poetic Prose

18 Job 206 Secondary Poetic Dialogue

19 Psalms 216 Primary Lyrical Poetry

20 Proverbs 245 Primary Proverbial Poetry

21 Ecclesiastes 253
Proverbial Poetry

22 Song of Solomon 257 Secondary Lyrical Poetry

The Prophets

Preexilic Major Prophets

23 Isaiah 261 Primary Poetic Oracles

24 Jeremiah 282 Secondary Poetic Oracles and Historical Narrative

Postexilic Major Prophets

25 Lamentations 304
Poetic Oracles

26 Ezekiel 306 Secondary Poetic Oracles and
Historical Narrative

27 Daniel 327 Primary Historical Narrative

Preexilic Minor Prophets

28 Hosea 335 Primary Poetic Oracles

29 Joel 338
Poetic Oracles

30 Amos 340 Secondary Poetic Oracles

31 Obadiah 342
Poetic Oracles

32 Jonah 344 Primary Historical Narrative

33 Micah 346
Poetic Oracles

34 Nahum 349
Poetic Oracles

35 Habakkuk 350 Secondary Poetic Oracles and Lyrical Prophetic Poetry

36 Zephaniah 351
Poetic Oracles

Postexilic Minor Prophets

37 Haggai 352 Primary Historical Narrative

38 Zechariah 353 Secondary Poetic Oracles

39 Malachi 358 Primary Poetic Oracles

Create your reading schedule or course itinerary now: BTS Reading Planner software. You may wish to reference the sample reading plan for this course.

How to determine when your school year should start and stop.

Return to Course Description.

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