The Old Testament
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Orientation to the Old Testament
- It is easier to understand the Old Testament after you become comfortable with its parts and with how those parts are organized and relate to each other. How those parts relate to the whole is discussed (at more length than will fit on this page) at Organization of the Old Testament, as well as Five Books of Moses (Genesis - Deuteronomy).
Time, place, character, and action
- The Old Testament tells the history of the House of Israel for about a thousand years. Genesis serves as a prologue to explain the origin of the House of Israel and its special covenant relationship with God. The history recounted in Exodus through Nehemiah and Malachi likely begins about 1450 BC and ends about 425 BC. A chronology of Jewish history in Old Testament times is found at Historical Overview of the Old Testament.
- A description of the geography and climate of the land of Israel, including links to maps and pictures, is found at Physical Land of Canaan.
- Twenty locations in ancient Israel of especial importance are discussed at Places in Ancient Israel.
- A primer on the Twelve Tribes of Israel is found at Twelve Tribes of Israel.
- The nations surrounding Israel are discussed at Israel's Old Testament Neighbors.
- An important topic in the Old Testament is the covenants that God makes both with the House of Israel at large and with individuals. These covenants are addressed at Old Testament Covenants.
- The Old Testament prescribes and often refers to a large number of fasts, feasts, sacrifices, offerings, and other observances that are unfamiliar to non-Jews. These are addressed at Religious Observances in the Bible.
Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in the Old Testament include:
This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the "edit" link to edit or add content to this section. →
Translations and Lexicons.
Commentary: LDS journals and online libraries.
- Blog links:
- What is the Old Testament (Jim F., 2010)
- Understanding the Old Testament (Jim F., 2010)
- Studying the Old Testament (Jim F., 2010)
- Why Reading the OT is Sometimes so Difficult (Jim F., 2010)
- Twelve volume 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.
- This page takes its historical facts from Historical Overview of the Old Testament and relies upon that page's documentation.
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