The Old Testament is the first testament of the Christian Scriptures. The early Christian church mainly read the Septuagint (abbreviated “LXX”), and the Christian book order is based on this early translation.
In contrast, contemporary Jews use an alternative book order and no longer use several books that are part of the LXX, including the book of 1 Maccabees which contains the origins of Hanukkah.
The Septuagint is an early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The word septugaginta is Latin for the number 70, and so it is commonly abbreviated with the equivalent Roman numerals (LXX). This is the Bible that the apostles and most early Christians read, and is the main Bible that the New Testament authors quoted from. The Septuagint contains additional books (and different content in several books) than the later Hebrew canon used by many Protestant Christians today. The Eastern Orthodox Church (and other Byzantine Christian churches) considers the LXX to be canonical Scripture, along with its longer canon (called the “Apocrypha” by Protestant Christians, and a subset of which is called the “Deuterocanon” by Roman Catholics). Learn more….
The Jewish canon is divided into three sections:
- Torah (Law)
- Nevi'im (Prophets)
- Nevi'im Rishonim (Former Prophets)
- Nevi'im Aharonim (Latter Prophets)
- Tere Asar (Twelve Prophets)
- Kethuvim (Writings)
The first letter of each of these main sections was combined to form the word “Tanakh,” which refers to the entire Hebrew Bible.
This site follows the book order of the LXX, which is divided into four sections:
- Wisdom & Poetry
The Prophets are further divided into Minor and Major prophets in the LXX.
Chapter divisions generally were not introduced to biblical texts until the 13th century, and verse divisions in the 16th century. Also, Jewish and Christian divisions don’t always align, nor do those used in academic / source texts.
I generally follow the LXX versification for the Old Testament, but will also reference the Hebrew Bible versification, and strive to make it clear which is followed in references. At times, source texts may use different versification from both of these, and I will cite whatever text I am referencing.
Donald Alfred Hagner, The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012), 15.