The 10 Best Old Testament Books

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This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in February of 2018. The Old Testament is an important text for a lot of people for a wide variety of reasons. Whether your interest is based on faith and worship, historical curiosity, or educational, one or more of the books on our list will get you up to date on the most relevant knowledge regarding one of the most influential collections of all time, and give you plenty to think about. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction

2. The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction

3. Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament

Editor's Notes

June 11, 2020:

No matter your denomination, it's very probable that you've encountered and discussed the New Testament much more than the Old Testament in your faith. On top of that, many preachers avoid pulling from the Old Testament because they feel it is outdated and difficult to expound upon, or else are unsure about how to handle it correctly. So once you decide to learn more, volumes like the ones on this list are crucial to getting a deeper understanding of the text. They work well in conjunction with study or amplified bibles for extra clarification.

We wanted to touch on a range of needs, so you'll find accessible introductions like The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction and A Survey of the Old Testament as well as critical tomes like The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction and On the Reliability of the Old Testament.

We brought on a handful of new additions today, including A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament. We felt this would be more inclusive than the previous How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament, which was geared primarily toward practicing pastors. A Biblical-Theological Introduction is gospel-centered, goes much further, and is just as helpful for students as it is for teachers and leaders.

So much of the Bible can be analyzed using personal interpretation, so any text that you encounter could be accused of bias depending on your denomination and the writer's slant. Rather than go into reading one of these selections worrying about that, it's best to do your research on the authors so you can isolate their opinions when they shine through and use them to inform your own perspectives and knowledge.

This can be tricky when you're a beginner, but an openness and curiosity paired with supplementary research on opposing viewpoints can be extremely helpful. For our list, we did our best to source as fair treatments as possible, written by respected scholars with extensive experience in various fields. Still, additions like A Catholic Introduction to the Bible will naturally give that particular perspective, while some cursory knowledge on the author of Women of the Old Testament will help you understand why she references beliefs particular to the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

Special Honors

BibleProject BibleProject is a nonprofit studio that produces short-form, fully animated Bible videos and other resources to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere. They create free videos, podcasts, articles, illustrations, posters, and more to help you on your learning journey. You can enjoy dozens of shorts dedicated to The Old Testament. bibleproject.com

4. A Catholic Introduction to the Bible

5. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

6. A Survey of the Old Testament

7. The Bible Unearthed

8. On the Reliability of the Old Testament

9. Women of the Old Testament

10. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament


Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated on June 16, 2020 by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.


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