Here’s my attempt to sum up the contents of the Old Testament books on one page.

The Pentateuch: Covenant People

  • Genesis: Creation of a Covenant People
  • Exodus: Redemption of a Covenant People
  • Leviticus: Worship of a Covenant People
  • Numbers: Chastisement of a Covenant People
  • Deuteronomy: Renewal of a Covenant People

The Historical Books: Redemptive History

  • Joshua: Rewarding History
  • Judges: Rebellious History
  • Ruth: Redeemer’s History
  • 1&2 Samuel: Royal History 1 – The Beginning
  • 1&2 Kings: Royal History 2 – The End
  • 1&2 Chronicles: Review of History
  • Ezra & Nehemiah: Restoration History
  • Esther: Ruler over History

The Poetic Books: Wisdom for Time and Eternity

  • Job: Wisdom for Suffering
  • Psalms: Wisdom for Worshipping
  • Proverbs: Wisdom for Living
  • Ecclesiastes: Wisdom for Thinking
  • Song of Solomon: Wisdom for Loving

The Prophetic Books: Threat and Promise*

  • Obadiah: Vengeance & Victory
  • Joel: God Requires and Responds to Repentance
  • Amos: The Lord Roars and Restores
  • Hosea: A Faithful God and a Faithless People
  • Jonah: Great Sea, Great City, Great God
  • Isaiah: Trust God not Man
  • Micah: Punishment and Pardon
  • Nahum: The Judge, Verdict & Sentence
  • Zephaniah: Look within, Look around, Look ahead
  • Habakkuk: Human Complaints and Divine Responses
  • Jeremiah: From Old to New Covenant
  • Lamentations: Repentance in hope of restoration
  • Ezekiel: The Glory Departs and Returns
  • Daniel: Godless Kingdoms and God’s Kingdom
  • Haggai: The People’s Work and God’s Work
  • Zechariah: Israel’s Return and God’s Return
  • Malachi: Priests and People Sin Against Love

* I’ve taken the prophets in chronological rather than canonical order.

Now see if you can sum up all that in one “Twitter -length” sentence! I’ll give you my summary once I see your ideas.

Update #1: Sharp eyes have noticed that I’ve missed out Jeremiah and Joshua. That’s because my students are completing assignments on these books and I want them to do some thinking!

Update#2: OK, I give in, I’ve put the titles for Joshua and Jeremiah in as well. And see below for my summary of the OT.

  • Brian Kelley

    My tweetable length overview:

    Promised redemption delivered despite difficulties, what it teaches and promises


  • Robert Murphy

    All the more reason to follow the LXX and call 1 Sam – 2 Kings one four part book and not two two-part books. Dorsey’s outline is validated!

  • Cornelius VanKempen

    We ruin everything and need the God-Man to make crooked things straight.

  • Matthew Seymour

    Looks great. I think you may have missed out Joshua! I only noticed it because were working through that in our Sunday evening sermons.

    • David Murray

      Well spotted Matthew. My students are doing assignments on Joshua and Jeremiah, and I didn’t want to give them any help!

  • Reuben Huffman

    Neat. Really neat. Thanks for this concise, ‘big-picture’ view, rightly dividing the Word of God. Any chance of a typo on Song of Solomon’s tagline?…I’m thinking ‘Wisdom for Loving’ would fit just as well and not steal from Proverbs’.

    • David Murray

      Thanks Reuben. Changed that typo.

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  • Ron

    God’s people, their story, their blessings,and their eternal future.

  • Alastair Henderson

    Through acts of creation, leadership, chastisement and redemption, God shows a rebellious world that he is merciful, the Lord of all, and the saviour of His people.

  • Le Gallois

    Did you mean “Song of Solomon: Wisdom for LOving” ?

    • Le Gallois

      Oops ! My browser didn’t refresh.. Sorry folks.

  • David Murray

    Thanks for all the suggested summaries of the OT. I’ll share with my class next week. My summary tries to incorporate the four main headings: “God covenants to redeem His people through Christ with a wise use of threat and promise.”

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  • Steven King

    The old informs the new…follow Israel – Love Jesus more.

  • James
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  • Dave Leland

    Excellent! Now how ’bout the NT books next?

    • David Murray

      I was waiting for that. But I’m not ready for it! How about you do it yourself?

  • James Cuénod

    That looks awesome. I recently spent a lot of time preparing a sermon from Judges and my criticism of your breakdown is that I don’t think Judges belongs in the historical books (and I would make associated changes). I would go with the Hebrew categorisation.

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  • Chris Ashton

    Thanks David. For a twitter-able summary I can’t go past Mark Dever’s headings in “The Message of the Old Testament…

    OT=God’s history of faithfulness, God’s passion for holiness and God’s promise of salvation.

    (I’m in the process of moving so my copy is packed away, but I think I have it right!)

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