The Bible that Jews and Christians share is not the same in all respects. The order of the Hebrew scriptures—what Christians often call the Old Testament—varies in Jewish and Christians Bibles. The chart at right shows the differences. The Jewish Bible consists of three major sections: the Torah, or Pentateuch (the Five Books of Moses). Nevi’im the Prophets; and Ketuvim, the, Writing. The Prophets (Nevi’im) are divided into Former Prophets, consisting of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings; and the Latter Prophets (the literary prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Twelve Minor Prophets).

Bible scholar David Noel Freed-man calls the books of the Hebrew Bible from Genesis through Kings the Primary History. It tells the story of God’s promise of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people, their conquest of that land and their subsequent loss of it.

The Christian Bible basically follows the same order as the Jewish Bible from the beginning (Genesis) through the end of the Primary History (through the Former Prophets, i.e. Kings, in Jewish tradition). The only difference up to this point is that in Christian Bibles, Ruth is inserted after Judges.

After the Primary History, however, there are major differences. The most important is that the literary prophets (the Latter Prophets in Jewish tradition) are placed at the end of the Old Testament in Christian Bibles.

Other differences are shown in the chart.

The Jewish Bible The Christian Old Testament
Torah—Pentateuch Pentateuch
Genesis Genesis
Exodus Exodus
Leviticus Leviticus
Numbers Numbers
Deuteronomy Deuteronomy
Nevi’im—The Prophets
Former Prophets Historical Books
Joshua Joshua
Judges Judges
1 & 2 Samuel 1 & 2 Samuel
1 & 2 Kings 1 & 2 Kings
1 & 2 Kings
1 & 2 Chronicles
Ezra and Nehemiah
Other Writings
Song of Solomon
Letter Prophets Literary Prophets
Isaiah Isaiah
Jeremiah Jeremiah
Ezekiel Ezekiel
The Twelve Minor Prophets The Twelve Minor Prophets
Hosea Hosea
Joel Joel
Amos Amos
Obadiah Obadiah
Jonah Jonah
Micah Micah
Nahum Nahum
Habakkuk Habakkuk
Zephaniah Zephaniah
Haggai Haggai
Zechariah Zechariah
Malachi Malachi
Ketuvim—The Writings
The Five Megillot (Scrolls)
Song of Songs
Ezra and Nehemiah
1&2 Chronicles