What is the Tanak?

What is the Tanak?

Question: What is the Tanak? 

Answer: The Tanak is another phrase to describe the Bible books Genesis through 2 Chronicles in Jewish Bibles, or Genesis through Malachi in Christian Bibles. Both the Jewish Bibles and the Christian Bibles have the same 39 books, just the order is different.

Tanak is an acronym, TNK standing for Torah (first five books of Moses), the Nevi’im (the Prophets, containing 21 books of the Bible such as IsaiahJeremiahMicah, etc.), and Ketuvim (the Writings, containing 13 books such as Psalms, Proverbs, Ruth, Esther, etc.). Thus the Hebrew scriptures are divided into three sections, the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings.

Interestingly 1 & 2 Kings is placed with The Prophets, while 1 & 2 Chronicles is placed with The Writings, even though it is written very similarly to 1 & 2 Kings, and they overlap in what is being written about. The book of Daniel, which is a mix of historical stories and prophecies, is placed with The Writings.

Speaking about dividing the scriptures into different sections, it is common in some circles to divide the Bible into two sections, old and new testaments. This is very inaccurate. Old gives the impression of passing away, not as useful as it used to be. Nothing could be further from the truth regarding the TaNaK. It is convenient at times to divide the Bible into different sections, such as 66 different books. Or as: Torah, Prophets, Writings, Gospels, Acts, Letters, Revelation, or as First Part and Second Part, but never as Old and New.

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