Does the Christian Old Testament include exactly the same books that are in the Jewish Bible (called the Tanakh in Judaism)? Are there any differences between the Christian Old Testament and the Jewish Bible?


3 Answers 3


The Christian Old Testament is the Jewish Bible.

They are the same books, but in a different order. Some Christian churches also add the deuterocanonical books, which are not held as scripture by the Jewish Bible.


The term "testament" can also be translated as "pact" or "covenant". The notion of a coming new covenant is a completely Jewish one, as it first appears in the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 59.21; Jeremiah 31.31, 32.40; Ezekiel 37.26). Jesus, the Messiah, established this new covenant through his death at his last Passover with his disciples (Mark 14.24; Luke 22.20; Hebrews 8.8, 10.16-17). Thus, the term "New Testament" refers to the scriptural writings inspired by God under this new covenant. Those Jews who reject Jesus as the Messiah obviously do not believe that a new covenant has been established and so reject the validity of the New Testament as well as the term "Old Testament" for the Tanakh.

This link offers a good explanation of the difference between the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Old Testament in terms of the order of the books, which are the same for both. The author prefers the order in the latter based on its symmetry, but argues that both were probably in existence during the first century, when the discussions and arguments were taking place between Jesus (and subsequently, his apostles) and the Jewish religious leaders.

  • 2
    Welcome to Christianity.SE! As much information as this answer provides, very little of it really answers the question, which is about whether the Christian Old Testament has exactly the same books as the Jewish Bible. Providing a link to an answer is not sufficient for an answer here. The information that answers the question must be in the answer itself. If you can edit this to focus on answering the question asked, it might become a good answer. See: What makes a good supported answer? Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 15:25

The Old Testament is based on the Jewish Bible with often the same books. (The Catholic Church uses variations in books compared to the Protestant groups, and it all overlaps with but isn't identical to the Jewish inclusions.)

However more importantly, the translations for Christian versions (aka Old Testament) include translations that would not be considered accurate in Judaism. Therefore while one can see the same title and say it's the same book, it's not entirely the same book in content as it comes over into English.

The term Old Testament was invented by an early Christian (I'm not recalling his name), whose goal was to say that Judaism was defunct and their texts were "old" and "superseded." It's part of the whole anti-Judaism theme that ran through parts of Christianity's implementation over the years. (So from a Jewish perspective it's considered very negative to refer to their texts as "the Old Testament.") This is why some of those differences in translation exist, and why it's not even intended to be "the same" books entirely.

  • Hi and welcome! Your answer could be greatly improved by including citations in order to show this is not merely your personal opinion. Please refer to our help centre for further info on our site guidelines. Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 8:16
  • This answer is marginally useful. It's a mix of a few on-topic statements with various off-topic perspectives and opinions. The question is about whether the books of the Christian Old Testament are the same as those of the Jewish Bible. Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 15:54
  • @LeeWoofenden - I've edited to clarify why the statements are relevant to the question of whether the books are the same. Going beyond the titles, the contents are different and that impacts whether they are the same. I took out one statment that I don't see as relevant.
    – curls
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 19:56
  • Although now that I read the answer below mine, I see why I had that statement included that new testament is not a Jewish concept. It's not and that answer is depending on Christian translations (and interpretations based on different translations) to come to the idea.
    – curls
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 19:58
  • I've made a few more edits to streamline the language. I'd suggest cutting the whole last paragraph, which seems to me to devolve into commentary rather than directly answering the question. The question is really about whether the books in the Christian Old Testament are the same ones as are in the Jewish Tanakh. Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 23:20

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