How the Old Testament Came Together

The Old Testament Scriptures record the process of collecting its books. From the beginning of the written Law, Moses gave the Law to the priests to care for it (Deut. 31:9). God commanded that the Book of the Law be placed in the Ark of the Covenant for which the Levites oversaw (Deut. 31:9, 26). From Moses on, books were added to the Law as they were written by inspired men. The book of Joshua records Joshua writing in “the Book of the Law of God” and adding his inspired words to the Law of God (Josh. 24:26). Even unto the writing of Chronicles, the Book of Kings was written into the Law of the Lord (2 Chron. 35:26-27), and the Book of Kings reads that the Chronicles were  added to the Law of God (2 Kings 23:28).

The Old Testament also records that the Law was preserved through the centuries. Even until the reign of Jehoshaphat, the Law was being taught in all the cities by the prophets and by the Levites (2 Chron. 17:9). The Law was found in the keep of the Levites and read before King Josiah and all Israel before Israel’s captivity (2 Chron. 34:17-21, 2 Kings 22:8-16, 23:2-3, 21-28). Then even further to the time of Israel’s restoration, Ezra is described as a priest and the scribe of the Law of God (Ezra 7:11-12), and he returned from Babylonian captivity and set his heart on the study of the law of the Lord (Ezra 7:10). The Book of Nehemiah also records Ezra as being the scribe of the Law and reading it to the remnant who had returned from captivity (Neh. 8:1). Clearly, the Law was kept and copied throughout the centuries from Moses to Ezra, which is over a millennium. Only prejudice would discount the reliability of the scriptures affirmed by the Septuagint, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and more.

Unto the 1st century, the New Testament writings confirm the existence of the written Law of Moses. For which, there was no debate over what Scriptures were inspired. Jesus confirmed the Old Testament collection by mentioning its three divisions excluding the addition of the Apocrypha, which was added 2000 years later. (Apocrypha means rejected, “hidden away”.) Jesus said, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Jesus was clearly using all of the Scriptures for He also said, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). Jesus had no doubt that God oversaw and protected the Scriptures. Lastly, as a scholarly man explained regarding the collection of the books of the Bible, “If you prove the Book, then you prove the Collection.” He was saying that the numerous evidences proving that the Bible came from God proves to us that God oversaw and keeps His Book from a state of distortion and corruption.

See also “How the New Testament Came Together“.

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]
This entry was posted in Christian, Church of Christ, Scriptures and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to How the Old Testament Came Together

  1. Pingback: Faith in How the New Testament was Formed | Seeing God's Breath

  2. Jov,

    Thank you. I guess it takes coming through college and into the real world to get this “you must be an expert” and have a degree to know anything on a specific subject.


  3. jov says:

    Personally, as far as qualifications go, I know this: I have a degree in computer systems and admin. I know alot of people with various SW and HW certifications (of which I elected not to pursue) . The same goes for people I knew in medical community (which I previously was a part of). I can tell you that many of those good people haven’t got a clue. Nothing against them or their certificates, but they are/were so book-smart, that they are/were idiots in the real world. The application and the knowledge never quite lined up. And when it didn’t they fell back on their textbooks, or quoted someone else. The same can be said of anyone with ANY kind of degree. A degree is something that you pay for. You’re given the subject matter, which is written opinion or research, upon someone elses opinion on top of someone elses research, speculation or hypothesis — but in the end, you really only paid for the paper that says you were taught “how” to pass all the exams, and were shaped by the injection of — and for the aligning to — the instructors’ own veiws. Give me someone with wisdom, common sense, and the ability to uncover truth wherever it leads him … anyday.


  4. Erik says:

    OK, for the sake of answering your questions- which ones haven’t I answered? By the way, I certainly hope that you do not think that taking 5 classes qualifies you to denounce evolution. Come back with a doctorate in biology and then start denouncing it; otherwise, I’m dropping the issue since you can’t seem to understand how unqualified you are.


  5. Scott says:

    I was hoping that you would have explain yourself and answered some of these questions. I have no further comments except that I had more than 2 college classes in science. I have 2 in Zoology, 2 in Physics, and 1 in Physiology.


  6. Erik says:

    This’ll be my last comment, just reiteration. I am a Catholic-Christian and I do not accept the Bible as the perfect, inerrant “word of God.” Any book that claims that women need to “learn at home and in silence” does not come from God, in my opinion. But the Bible is open to a world of different interpretations- such as your interpretation of the Genesis 1 account. It is your interpretation of the Bible that causes problems, not the Bible itself. Your interpretation of Genesis 1 is directly opposed to modern science. A 6,000 year old earth is more than improbable.

    One problem you have IMO is that you view so many things as exclusive. What do you mean I accept evolution and the Jesus Seminar “over” the Church and the Church “over” the Bible? I accept all of them. By the way, regarding the Orthodox, I accept the Church which means that I accept the sacraments, which the Orthodox have. It’s not a choice of “Oh the Catholic Church is more right then the Orthodox,” but of geography. You are showing your ignorance of Catholic/Orthodox theology here. Except for maybe sedevacantists or older Orthodox, the Church of today realizes that the sacraments are what matters, not the label “Catholic” or “Orthodox.” They are the same Church, after all; just currently separated.

    What don’t you understand about the fact that I accept the Jesus Seminar, Bible, Church, and science? They each compliment each other and aren’t opposed. The only way these would oppose each other is if one adopted your interpretation of the Bible (which science, the Jesus Seminar, and common sense disproves). When you do not hold rigidly to the Bible but is open many different interpretations, your faith deepens by leaps and bounds.

    Regarding evolution- I never said that I can’t “understand” it, I just say that I am unqualified to decry it. And you are dead wrong about the Catholic Church believing in a “6 day creation.” Your quotation of the Catechism, taken way out of context, was not regarding Creation but of the necessity of taking a day off. If you want to know the paragraphs which relate to evolution, go to 341, 159, and 283. While the Catholic Church does not take it upon herself to teach evolution (it is not a scientific institution), the Church sees no contradiction between evolution (or any science) and God. Perhaps you should read this speech given by the late Holy Father John Paul II- and you will understand more fully the relationship between evolution, science, and the Church.

    My understanding does not agree with Jesus? Then by all means, let me study more so that I more fully become like Christ. And do not tell me what I believe and what I do not believe. I DO believe that the message of Jesus has meaning and that we should not forsake the Bible or the gospels. That’s been my point all along.

    How is God calling me? God beckons all of his creation unto himself, myself included. Perhaps one day you will realize that God calls us to himself, not to a specific interpretation of the Bible.


Comments Wanted:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s