top of page

Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)

Learning to use smartphone

Kid Explanation

Each story in it has its own cool history. For the Hebrew Scriptures (the ones before Jesus), the Masoretes in the 9th century CE were like language masterminds. They put together the basis for Hebrew scripture translations and added vowels to Hebrew! The oldest version of the Hebrew Scripture stories in Greek (which is not the same language as Hebrew) is called the Septuagint.

Fast forward to the 20th century (way back in the old days of the 1900s) – The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in caves near the Dead Sea. They're like ancient time capsules with biblical texts that match pretty closely with what the Masoretes had.

So, that's a bit about the epic history of the Hebrew Scriptures – the backbone of our Bible adventures!

History of Hebrew Scriptures

Different copies of scripture were passed around from place to place. There was a group of Jews in Tiberias and Jerusalem. They were known as the Masoretes and in the 9th century CE they put together what is now the primary basis of Hebrew scripture translations. (These included the Tanak which is the additional explanation for Jewish writings.) They even added vowels to the Hebrew language.  

The oldest version of the Hebrew Scriptures in Greek is called the Septuagint.

Between 1947 and 1956 CE, 900 documents were discovered in caves next to the Dead Sea. These manuscripts, The Dead Sea Scrolls, generally date between 150 BCE and 70 CE.  Many of these scrolls included biblical texts. These texts, even though much earlier than the Masoretes, almost matched what had been used.

Girl Holding BIble


The 17 Historical Books are:

Torah/Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy,

Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel,

2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, & Esther

The 5 Poetical Books are:

Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs (or Solomon)

The 17 Prophetic Books are:

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi

Hebrew Scripture

Why do I call it the Hebrew Scriptures and not the Old Testament?

Growing up, I learned that labeling someone else's religion as "old" can be seen as negative in our society. Plus, understanding the Christian Scriptures requires appreciating the significance of the Jewish texts. It's like having a dynamic duo – the Christian Scriptures and Jewish texts teaming up to bring us an incredible story of faith and wisdom!

Tidbit: Find a place in your house to write one scripture a week. 

(Whiteboard? Lunch Box Post-it? Dry-Erase it on a Bathroom Mirror? Post it in the Car Console?)

Here is another one to get you thinking... 

But God's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
(Micah 6:8, The Message Version/Paraphrase)

  • Where is Micah in the Bible?

  • Micah was a prophet. What does it mean to be a prophet? 

  • What does this mean to you?

Random Facts for Fun!

  • The Hebrew Scriptures has 929 chapters.

  • The longest word in the Bible is Isaiah 8:1 “Maher-shalal-hash baz.”

  • The shortest verse in the Hebrew Scriptures is 1 Chronicles 1:25.

  • The middle verse in the Bible is Psalm 97:8.

  • The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117.

  • The longest book in the Bible is Psalms.

  • The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119.

bottom of page