Understanding the Chronological Order of the Old Testament Books

The Bible is sorted by genre rather than historical order, based on law books, history, poetry, prophecy, gospels, and letters. I help you understand the chronological order of the Old Testament books.

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Old Testament books chronological order
Old Testament books chronological order

THE OLD TESTAMENT TIMELINE

For those of you feeling like there’s no way you can ever make sense of the Bible, I challenge you to look at it with a new perspective.

So where should you start?

Let’s begin with this little fact that blew my mind when I first found out:

The books of the Bible aren’t presented in chronological order.

Yes, you read that right. The Bible is completely out of order.

Why?

Because when it was compiled, the books were sorted by genre rather than historical order. These groups are based on:

And that’s just the Old Testament.

Look at the Bible as a collection of connected documents that tell the same stories in a different way. Some stories are told as poetry (Psalms), others as circumstantial rules (Leviticus), while others repeat the same story from different viewpoints (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

Old Testament books chronological order

LEARN ABOUT THE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS

I’ve created a printable that will walk you through the process in this Old and New Testament Summary and then you can add on the rest of the books of the Bible as you go.

Here are a few tips on the Old Testament books before we dive in:

  • No one is exactly sure when Job was written, but most agree it was probably before the exodus from Egypt.
  • Exodus through Deuteronomy are all books during Moses’ life
  • The story of Ruth occurred during the time of the judges
  • 1 and 2 Chronicles mirrors a lot of what is written in the books of Kings and Samuel, also covering the details of the Kingdom split into Israel and Judah
  • The Israelites in both kingdoms were eventually captured by Assyrians, then the Babylonians, and then allowed to return home when they were taken over by the Persians.
  • After the exile, they restore Jerusalem and then there were 400 more years of silence before the New Testament began.

To help make sense and simplify the organization of events in the Old Testament, here’s the printable to cover the main connections between each book of the Bible. You can print it from my shop below: 

Old Testament books chronological order

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So a few years ago, I made this Old and New Testament Summary Printable, and now I’m working my way through each book of the Bible! To get the rest of the printables, check out my Timeline Bundles for the best deal:

For more posts on Bible Study, check out: 

Keep learning, friend! You’ve got this! 

Old Testament books chronological order

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