Explore the Old Testament

Explore the Old Testament

In this section, you can explore the Old Testament – one story at a time. Below, you’ll find 100 key stories from the Old Testament, brought together into six groups. This collection will grow over time, so you might have to be patient if your favourite story isn’t featured just yet!

I. Stories from Genesis

The Hospitality of Abraham / Sister Petra Clare / Our Lady of Lourdes, Wanstead

I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Acts 7:32)
Genesis is a book of beginnings. It explains how God created the universe and the first humans within it. It describes how they betrayed his trust and how sin took hold in the world. But it also gives hope. From Genesis, we learn about the life-changing promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their families.

1The Creation of the WorldGenesis 1:1-31
2The Creation of Adam and EveGenesis 2:1-25
3The Temptation and FallGenesis 3:1-24
4The First GospelGenesis 3:14-19
5Abel is murderedGenesis 4:1-16
6Noah’s ArkGenesis 6:9 – 8:19
7The Covenant with NoahGenesis 8:20 – 9:17
8The Call of AbramGenesis 12:1-9
9Abram meets MelchizedekGenesis 14:1-24
10The Hospitality of AbrahamGenesis 18:1-15
11Sarah the mother of IsaacGenesis 21:1-7
12Abraham sacrifices IsaacGenesis 22:1-19
13Isaac, God’s faithful servantGenesis 26:1-33
14Rebekah at the wellGenesis 24:1-67
15Jacob takes Esau’s birthrightGenesis 27:1-45
16Jacob’s LadderGenesis 28:10-22
17Rachel the shepherdessGenesis 29:1-30
18Joseph is betrayed by his brothersGenesis 37:1-36
19Joseph’s life in EgyptGenesis 39:1 – 45:28
20The Death of JosephGenesis 50:22-26

II. Stories of the Exodus

Moses receives the Law / Heywood Sumner / St Agatha’s, Portsmouth

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Exodus 20:2)
The book of Exodus – and most of the book of Numbers – tells the story of how the Israelites left Egypt for the Promised Land. It describes how Moses led them out of slavery, how he received the Law of God on Mount Sinai and tells of the survival of the people for forty years in the wilderness.

21The Early Life of MosesExodus 1:1-2:25
22Moses at the Burning BushExodus 3:1-15
23The Plagues of EgyptExodus 7:14 – 12:34
24The PassoverExodus 12:21-28
25The Crossing of the Red SeaExodus 14:1-21
26Miriam celebrates the ExodusExodus 15:1-21
27The Miracle of the MannaExodus 16:1-36
28Moses receives the LawExodus 20:1-21
29The Ark of the CovenantExodus 25:1-22
30Aaron is appointed high priestSirach 45:6-22
31Moses sends out Twelve SpiesNumbers 13:1-33
32Moses strikes the rockNumbers 20:1-13
33Moses raises the bronze serpentNumbers 21:4-9
34Moses appoints Joshua as leaderDeuteronomy 31:1-8
35Moses dies on the mountainDeuteronomy 34:1-12

III. The Story of Israel

Queen Esther is crowned / John Francis Bentley / St Mary of the Angels, Notting Hill

“You have granted that your people, Israel, will be your own people forever, and you, O Lord, will be their God.” (1 Chronicles 17:22)
The history of Israel as a nation began after the conquest of the Promised Land. We learn of the establishment of the royal family, the building of the Temple of Jerusalem and then the division of the country into two states (Judah and Israel). The Bible also covers the destruction of Jerusalem, the exile of the Jews in Babylon and their eventual return to their homeland.

36Balaam foresees a starNumbers 22:1 – 24:25
37Joshua crosses the JordanJoshua 3:1- 4:24
38Deborah judges IsraelJudges 4:4-10
39Gideon and his fleeceJudges 6:1-40
40Samson removes the gates of GazaJudges 16:1-3
41Ruth meets her husband BoazRuth 2:1-23
42Hannah commits Samuel to God1 Samuel 1:1-28; 2:18-21
43Samuel judges Israel1 Samuel 7:1-17
44David defeats Goliath1 Samuel 17:1-54
45Abigail acts as peacemaker1 Samuel 25:1-42
46David becomes king2 Samuel 5:1-3
47King David’s affair with Bathsheba2 Samuel 11:1-12:15
48Rizpah mourns her crucified sons2 Samuel 21:1-14
49Bathsheba, the mother of King Solomon1 Kings 1:1-2:19
50King Solomon asks for wisdom1 Kings 3:1-15
51The Temple of Solomon2 Chronicles 3:1-7:10
52The Visit of the Queen of Sheba1 Kings 10:1-13
53The Proverbs of SolomonProverbs 1:1-7
54Elijah prophesies to Israel1 Kings 17:1-24
55The Call of Elisha1 Kings 19:9-21
56Elijah is taken up to heaven2 Kings 2:1-13
57The Repentance of King Manasseh2 Chronicles 33:1-20
58King Josiah the Reformer2 Chronicles 34 and 35
59King Hezekiah’s recoveryIsaiah 38:1-20
60Zerubbabel rebuilds the TempleEzra 3:1-13
61Nehemiah rebuilds JerusalemNehemiah 2:1-20
62St Raphael travels with TobiasTobit 4:1-2; 5:1-22
63Queen Esther protects the JewsEsther 8:1-8
64Judith beheads HolofernesJudith 13:1-20
65The Martyrs of the Maccabees2 Maccabees 7:1-42
66The Patience of JobJob 1:1 – 2:13
67The Three Holy YouthsDaniel 3:1-97
68St Gabriel the ArchangelDaniel 9:20-27
69St Michael the ArchangelDaniel 12:1
70The Trial of SusannaDaniel 13:1-64

IV. The Prophets

Daniel in the Lion’s Den / Hardmans / St Mary’s, Blackheath

Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)
In the Old Testament, there are sixteen prophetic books. In the name of God, the prophets called on the people to repent, warned them about future upheavals and spoke up for the poor and marginalised. They foretold a new era, when God would make a new covenant with his people and there would be blessings for all nations.

71The Prophet IsaiahIsaiah 60:1-22
72The Prophet JeremiahJeremiah 31:1-40
73The Prophet EzekielEzekiel 36:24-28
74Daniel in the Lion’s DenDaniel 6:1-25
75The Twelve ProphetsSirach 49:10
76Jonah and the WhaleJonah 2:1-10
77Haggai’s Prophecy of the TempleHaggai 2:1-9
78Amos foresees a global faithAmos 9:11-15
79Joel foretells the Holy SpiritJoel 2:28-29
80Malachi foretells the MassMalachi 1:10-11

V. Prophecies of the Messiah

The Jesse Tree / Dom Charles Norris / Our Lady of Fatima, Harlow

“Then, beginning with Moses and going through all the Prophets, he interpreted for them all the passages from the Scriptures that pertained to him.” (Luke 24:27)
The ancient rulers and prophets of Israel spoke of the coming of the Messiah, a great leader who would come to restore God’s kingdom. Building on this, the New Testament shines a light on the various coded references to Christ’s life, death and resurrection that are found throughout the Old Testament.

81The Jesse TreeIsaiah 11:1-9
82The Virgin BirthIsaiah 7:1-17
83The Birth in BethlehemMicah 5:1-5
84The Stay in EgyptHosea 11:1-4
85The Arrival of a Great ProphetDeuteronomy 18:13-22
86The Suffering ServantIsaiah 52:13-53:12
87The CrucifixionPsalm 22:1-18
88The Death of God’s SonWisdom 2:12-20
89The Piercing of the MessiahZechariah 12:10-14
90The Resurrection of the MessiahPsalm 16:9-11

VI. Sacred songs

King David the Psalmist / Joseph Aloysius Pippet / Sacred Heart, Caterham

“I will sing forever of the Lord’s kindness; with my lips I will proclaim your faithfulness throughout the generations.” (Psalm 89:1)
Some of the most famous figures of the Old Testament – such as Moses, David and Solomon – were songwriters. As a result, many of the great events of Israel’s history are celebrated in song. The Psalms in particular, as the hymnbook used in the Temple of Jerusalem, include many heartfelt songs of salvation.

91The Song of MosesExodus 15:1-22
92The Song of DeborahJudges 5:1-31
93The Song of JudithJudith 15:15-16:17
94The Prayer of HabakkukHabakkuk 3:1-15
95The Psalms of DavidPsalm 45:1-17
96The Seven Penitential Psalms6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130; 143
97The Song of SongsSong of Songs 3:11 – 4:8
98The SanctusIsaiah 6:1-8
99The LamentationsLamentations 4:20
100The Song of CreationDaniel 3:51-90