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Summary of Books of the Old Testament: 1-3
Posted In: Religion Articles  5/30/12
By: Yona Williams

In the Old Testament, there are many different books that illustrate the stories and teachings of the Bible. There are a total of 66 books in the Bible – 39 of which are associated with the Old Testament. In this article, you are introduced to the books of the Bible – starting with the first book – the Book of Genesis.

Book of Genesis

It's appropriate that the first book in the Bible is called Genesis since the word translates into 'beginnings.' Most people typically believe that it is Moses that wrote the Book of Genesis. The stories that unfold deal with the start of the universe, the beginning of the planet Earth, as well as the beginning of humankind, human civilization, sin, the Jewish race, and God's plan for the salvation of all humankind.

There are 50 chapters in the Book of Genesis. One of the most significant tales of the book deals with how people were created and lived in a perfect environment. They had restrictions in order to continue living in this perfect state, but they disobeyed God. Genesis explains how sin began and how God treated evil. One family is the focus of the book and it involves Abraham. Creation and death are important themes expressed within the Book of Genesis.

Book of Exodus

Many believe that Moses also wrote the Book of Exodus, which tells the story of how Moses (even though he felt he was not qualified enough to lead) obeyed God's call to leadership. He wanted Moses to lead the Hebrew people out of slavery from the Egyptians. The story also mentions how God gave His people the Law of Moses, which includes the Ten Commandments.

The Book of Exodus is composed of 40 chapters. This is where you will find the tale of how Israel became a nation. It shows the Lord as the redeemer (in the eyes of the Hebrews), as he ends their suffering as slaves. The laws that the Lord creates for redeemed people to live by are mentioned in Exodus. In regards to the exodus of the Hebrew people, the Bible is the only account that exists. There are no references to the event in any other written record and no archeological evidence to date that backs up the story.  Other themes touched upon in the Book of Exodus include plagues, redemption, and the tabernacle.

Book of Leviticus

The laws, regulations, and commandments concerning sacrifices to God are highlighted in the third book of the Bible. In the Book of Leviticus, other topics include the priesthood, ceremonial purity, and laws that the people of Israel were expected to observe, including certain dietary restrictions. Moses wrote the Book of Leviticus between 1440 and 1400 BC. A few verses to highlight the themes of Leviticus include:
"He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him." (Leviticus 1:4)

"For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." (Leviticus 17:11)


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