Genesis. Circa ???? - 1680BC

Creation. God creates the Universe and all in it including man and woman.

Main characters:- Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

Message for our present times:- Go into any garden. Look at the grass. Look under any large stone and see the insect life which lives there. In all these things we are seeing God’s creation.

Exodus. Circa 1280BC

God works the ten miracles which allow the Israelites to leave Egypt. Then there was the great miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. Moses receives the Ten. Commandments.

Main character:- Moses.

Message for our present times:- Obey the Ten Commandments.

Leviticus. Circa 1270BC.

This book explains the Rites, Ceremonies of the Levites who are chosen to be the Priests. It also contains rules regarding Feast Days, Cleanliess & Infectious Diseases.

Main Character:- Aaron.

Message for our present time:- Respect and Obey the Holy Father, Bishops and Priests.

Numbers. circa 1290BC.

This book covers thirty-eight years in the history of Israel. The title comes from the census (numbering) of those old enough for military service.

Main character:- Moses.

Message for our present times:- Patience when times are hard

Deuteronomy. circa 1260BC.

This book records Moses’ farewell to Israel. The word ‘Deuteronomy signifies a ‘second law’. The book repeats the ordinances given on Mount Sinai with some other precepts not expressed before. The laws recorded in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers are brought together and applied specifically to the settled life in Canaan which is about to begin.

Main characters:- Moses and Joshua.

Message for our present times:- Renew our faithfulness to the Ten Commandments and The Church.

Joshua. circa 1240BC.

The book is named after Moses’ successor. It narrates how, aided by God, Joshua, with the people of Israel, entered and conquered the Promised Land which was then divided by lot amongst the tribes.

Main character:- Joshua. Message for our present times:- God will look after us if we remain faithful to him. Judges. circa 1220 - 1070BC. This book contains the history of what passed under the Government of Judges who ruled Israel before they had Kings. Main characters:- Deborah & Samson.

Message for our present time:- Respect the Law.

Ruth. circa 950BC.

A beautiful story which took place during the time of the Judges. It describes how personal faith and love remained strong among the ordinary people. It tells of the ancestors of David which in turn is the line of Joseph, Mary & Jesus.

Main characters:- Ruth, Noemi and Booz.

Message for our present time:- Faithfulness.

First & Second Books of Samuel. 1105 - 970BC.

These books, (also known as The First and The Second Book of Kings), provide history of Israel from the end of the Judges to the last years of King David, the nations second and greatest king. The Israelites want to have a king. The twelve tribes acted individually, there was no cohesion (e.g. in times of battle), which a King would give them. Samuel explained the disadvantages of having a King but the people insist and God grants their wish.

Main characters:- Samuel, Saul & David.

Message for our present times:- Determination in adversity.

The First Book of Kings. 972 - 852BC.

(Also known as the Third Book of Kings.) Four centuries of Israelite history are covered by the next two books. They take us from the end of David’s reign, through Solomon’s reign and the rift between Israel and Judah to the fall of Israel and the destruction of Judah.

Main characters:- Solomon, Four kings of Judah and Seven Kings of Israel.

Message for our present times:- If we keep faith with God then He will keep faith with us. (Too often the Jews disobeyed.)

The Second Book of Kings. 852 - 586BC.

(Also known as the Fourth Book of Kings.) Continues the story of the decline of Judah and Israel under their kings.

Main characters:- Sixteen Kings of Judah and Twelve Kings of Israel.

Message for our present times:- As above.

The First & Second Book of Chronicles. 515BC.

These two books contain a summary of sacred history from Adam to the Babylonian exile in 536BC. The books were intended for those who returned after the exile to rebuild Jerusalem. They needed to be reminded that prosperity and well-being depended absolutely on faithfulness to God. Idolatry and neglect of God’s law always has and always will result in judgement and disaster.

Main characters:- All the characters from previous Books.

Message for our present time:- Perseverance in obeying God’s laws.

The Book of Ezra. 440BC.

The Jews are allowed to return to their lands and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Later Ezra, a wise man and a teacher, also returns. The Jews had started to intermarry with local people. Ezra stops this intermarrying.

Main character:- Ezra.

Message for our present time:- Obedience.

The Book of Nehemiah. 430BC.

This book is a continuation of the Book of Ezra. Nehemiah, who was the king of Persia’s cupbearer, is allowed to return to Jerusalem to help with the rebuilding. The achievements of Ezra and Nehemiah are notable. Without their leadership it is doubtful whether a distinctive Jewish religion could have survived.

Main characters:- Ezra and Nehemiah.

Message for our times:- The necessity for strong leadership.

Book of Tobias. Thought to be 200 – 180BC

Unwavering faith in God enables Tobias to be healed from blindness and his son is saved from an unpleasant death.

Main characters:- Tobias and Archangel Raphael.

Message for our present times:- Accepting the word of God.

Book of Judith.

During the reign of Manaseh 697 – 642BC The Israelites are surrounded by the evil Holofernes. Judith, by her sublime faith, saves her people. A story of great heroism.

Main characters:- Judith and Holofernes.

Message for our times:- Spiritual courage.

The Book of Esther. 473BC.

(Some scholars suggest as late as 136BC.) Esther, an Israelite, is in captivity. She is made a Queen of the King of Persia. She knows of a plot to kill all of her people. With great courage she approaches the king and tells him of the plot. Her courage is rewarded and he listens to her plea. Thus she saves her people from annihilation.

Main characters:- Esther, King Ahasuers, Mordecai & Haman.

Message for our times:- Fasting is an acceptable prayer.

The Book of Job. Written between 972 & 586BC. possibly referring to 2200BC.

This book describes how sufferings here on earth can be used to increase our merit and enhance God’s glory. After examining the information which the writing contains some Biblical experts think that the writer may have been referring to a time even before Abraham and that Job may have been Jobab the son of Joktan. (See Genesis 10:25-26.)

Main character:- Job.

Message for our present times:- Patience in suffering.

The Book of Psalms.

Many of the psalms are believed to have been written by King David. They are prophetic and also relevant to our times. From the cross Jesus spoke the opening words of Psalm 22.

Message for our times:- A variety of messages depending on the particular Psalms.

The Book of Proverbs.

This is a book of wise sayings, an oriental textbook, schooling young people in wise and right living, in what was right and wrong. ‘Proverbs’ apply the principles of God’s teaching to the whole of life, to relationships, home, work, justice, decisions, attitudes, reactions, everything we do and say and even think.

Message for our times:- Ever relevant sayings.

The Book of Ecclesiates. 250BC.

This book is called ‘Ecclesiates’ or ‘The ‘Preacher’ because in it Solomon is represented as an excellent preacher, setting forth the vanity of the things of this world: to withdraw the hearts and affections of men from such empty joys.

Message for our times:- Warning of our vanities.

The Canticle of Canticles.

This poem depicts the love-union between God and his people using the description of a Bridegroom and Bride.

Message for our times:- A story of God’s love for us.

The Book of Wisdom.

The author is unknown but represents Solomon, the wise man of Israel, discoursing on widsom, both divine and human.

Message for our times:- Messages of Wisdom.

The Book of Ecclesiasticus.

This Book was customarily read in the Latin Church for the instructions of the catechumens. It was written in about 200BC by a native of Jerusalem called Jesus.

Message for our times:- Instructions in the Commandments

The Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Michah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah & Malachi. 862BC - 420BC.

Some of the prophets lived in the time of the kings before the destruction of Jerusalem and the time of exile. They prophesied what was to come if the Israelites would not return to the worship of the one true God. Daniel and Nahum prophesied during their time in exile. Haggai and Zechariah prophesied after the return from exile. Malachi prophesied about four Hundred years before Christ.

Message for our times:- As the words of these prophets were relevant to the Old Testament so now we should listen to God’s word in the New Testament and messages brought to us by Our Lady at Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje etc.

The First Book of Machabees. 167BC - 134BC.

The Books of Machabees are so called because they contain the history of the people of God under the command of Judas Machabeus and his brethren. The Books tell of the persecution of the Jews from 175BC to 135BC.

Main characters:- Mattathias, Judas, Eleazar & Jonathan.

Message for our times:- Courage to stand up for our faith.

The Second Book of Machabees. 167BC - 162BC.

The Second Book is not a continuation of the history contained in the first book. It relates many of the same facts and adds others missing in the first book concerning the state of the Jews during persecution.

Main characters:- Judas, Eleazar & Antiochus.

Message for our times:- Courage in adversity.