RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
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The Old Testament
What does the Old Testament contain?
Many people see the Old Testament as one of the greatest collections of books ever written. Containing 39 books, it forms the first section of the Bible. As well as making up the largest part of the Christian Bible, the Old Testament also holds special authority for Jews and Muslims.
The amazing stories of the Old Testament heroes, such as Moses, Joseph and David have even been made into films. The first five books of the Old Testament are known as the Pentateuch. These books are also the most important writings of Judaism, where they are also known as the Torah. Exodus is in the Pentateuch and famously contains the Ten Commandments.
One ancient tradition claims that Moses wrote these books and they are seen as a guide to how God wants His people to live. The Old Testament includes different genres of writing: history, law, poetry, proverbs, drama and prophecy. They show how great God is and how important God’s people are to Him. They describe the covenant relationship he has with them - that He would be their God, providing prosperity and protection, as they lived by His good laws and showed the rest of the world how to live fully and fairly.
The Old Testament contains different types of writing, including:
As a result, many people enjoy reading, it is so varied in what it offers.
Ultimately, the Old Testament is full of wisdom and instruction on how people should live a life that honours God. It was mostly written in the Hebrew language, the language of the original Jewish audience, although a small portion was written in Aramaic.