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

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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.

1 The Creation of the World Genesis 1:1-31
2 The Creation of Adam and Eve Genesis 2:1-25
3 The Temptation and Fall Genesis 3:1-24
4 The First Gospel Genesis 3:14-19
5 Abel is murdered Genesis 4:1-16
6 Noah’s Ark Genesis 6:9 – 8:19
7 The Covenant with Noah Genesis 8:20 – 9:17
8 The Call of Abram Genesis 12:1-9
9 Abram meets Melchizedek Genesis 14:1-24
10 The Hospitality of Abraham Genesis 18:1-15
11 Sarah the mother of Isaac Genesis 21:1-7
12 Abraham sacrifices Isaac Genesis 22:1-19
13 Isaac, God’s faithful servant Genesis 26:1-33
14 Rebekah at the well Genesis 24:1-67
15 Jacob takes Esau’s birthright Genesis 27:1-45
16 Jacob’s Ladder Genesis 28:10-22
17 Rachel the shepherdess Genesis 29:1-30
18 Joseph is betrayed by his brothers Genesis 37:1-36
19 Joseph’s life in Egypt Genesis 39:1 – 45:28
20 The Death of Joseph Genesis 50:22-26

II. Stories of the Exodus

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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.

21 The Early Life of Moses Exodus 1:1-2:25
22 Moses at the Burning Bush Exodus 3:1-15
23 The Plagues of Egypt Exodus 7:14 – 12:34
24 The Passover Exodus 12:21-28
25 The Crossing of the Red Sea Exodus 14:1-21
26 Miriam celebrates the Exodus Exodus 15:1-21
27 The Miracle of the Manna Exodus 16:1-36
28 Moses receives the Law Exodus 20:1-21
29 The Ark of the Covenant Exodus 25:1-22
30 Aaron is appointed high priest Sirach 45:6-22
31 Moses sends out Twelve Spies Numbers 13:1-33
32 Moses strikes the rock Numbers 20:1-13
33 Moses raises the bronze serpent Numbers 21:4-9
34 Moses appoints Joshua as leader Deuteronomy 31:1-8
35 Moses dies on the mountain Deuteronomy 34:1-12

III. The Story of Israel

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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.

36 Balaam foresees a star Numbers 22:1 – 24:25
37 Joshua crosses the Jordan Joshua 3:1- 4:24
38 Deborah judges Israel Judges 4:4-10
39 Gideon and his fleece Judges 6:1-40
40 Samson removes the gates of Gaza Judges 16:1-3
41 Ruth meets her husband Boaz Ruth 2:1-23
42 Hannah commits Samuel to God 1 Samuel 1:1-28; 2:18-21
43 Samuel judges Israel 1 Samuel 7:1-17
44 David defeats Goliath 1 Samuel 17:1-54
45 Jonathan’s friendship with David 1 Samuel 18:1-5
46 Abigail acts as peacemaker 1 Samuel 25:1-42
47 David becomes king 2 Samuel 5:1-3
48 King David’s affair with Bathsheba 2 Samuel 11:1-12:15
49 Rizpah mourns her crucified sons 2 Samuel 21:1-14
50 Bathsheba, the mother of King Solomon 1 Kings 1:1-2:19
51 King Solomon asks for wisdom 1 Kings 3:1-15
52 The Temple of Solomon 2 Chronicles 3:1-7:10
53 The Visit of the Queen of Sheba 1 Kings 10:1-13
54 The Proverbs of Solomon Proverbs 1:1-7
55 Elijah prophesies to Israel 1 Kings 17-19
56 The Call of Elisha 1 Kings 19:9-21
57 Elijah is taken up to heaven 2 Kings 2:1-13
58 King Josiah the Reformer 2 Chronicles 34 and 35
59 King Hezekiah’s recovery Isaiah 38:1-20
60 Zerubbabel rebuilds the Temple Ezra 3:1-13
61 Nehemiah rebuilds Jerusalem Nehemiah 2:1-20
62 St Raphael travels with Tobias Tobit 4:1-2; 5:1-22
63 Queen Esther protects the Jews Esther 8:1-8
64 Judith slays Holofernes Judith 13:1-20
65 The Martyrs of the Maccabees 2 Maccabees 7:1-42
66 The Patience of Job Job 1:1 – 2:13
67 The Three Holy Youths Daniel 3:1-97
68 St Gabriel the Archangel Daniel 9:20-27
69 St Michael the Archangel Daniel 12:1
70 The Trial of Susanna Daniel 13:1-64

IV. The Prophets

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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.

71 The Prophet Isaiah Isaiah 60:1-22
72 The Prophet Jeremiah Jeremiah 31:1-40
73 The Prophet Ezekiel Ezekiel 36:24-28
74 Daniel in the Lion’s Den Daniel 6:1-25
75 The Twelve Prophets Sirach 49:10
76 Jonah and the Whale Jonah 2:1-10
77 Haggai’s prophecy of the Temple Haggai 2:1-9
78 Amos foresees a global faith Amos 9:11-15
79 Joel foretells the Holy Spirit Joel 2:28-29
80 Malachi foretells the Mass Malachi 1:10-11

V. Prophecies of the Messiah

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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.

81 The Jesse Tree Isaiah 11:1-9
82 The Virgin Birth Isaiah 7:1-17
83 The Birth in Bethlehem Micah 5:1-5
84 The Stay in Egypt Hosea 11:1-4
85 The Arrival of a Great Prophet Deuteronomy 18:13-22
86 The Suffering Servant Isaiah 52:13-53:12
87 The Crucifixion Psalm 22:1-18
88 The Death of God’s Son Wisdom 2:12-20
89 The Piercing of the Messiah Zechariah 12:10-14
90 The Resurrection of the Messiah Psalm 16:9-11

VI. Sacred songs

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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.

91 The Song of Moses Exodus 15:1-22
92 The Song of Deborah Judges 5:1-31
93 The Song of Judith Judith 15:15-16:17
94 The Prayer of Habakkuk Habakkuk 3:1-15
95 The Psalms of David Psalm 45:1-17
96 The Seven Penitential Psalms 6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130; 143
97 The Song of Songs Song of Songs 3:11 – 4:8
98 The Sanctus Isaiah 6:1-8
99 The Lamentations Lamentations 3:1-66
100 The Song of Creation Daniel 3:51-90