The Three Divisions of the Old Testament
May 01, 2014
The following is taken from Alan Newton’s unfinished book:
The Spirit of God versus The Religion of Man
The Hebrew word used by Judaism to refer to these ancient “biblical” messages from the patriarchs is “Tah-NahK.” This word is a combination of the first letters of each word used to describe the three categories that all of the Old Testament writings are placed into.
The first category of writings is “Torah”, and is comprised of the first five books of the Old Testament. “Torah” is the Hebrew word we translate into English as “Law.” These first five books are also sometimes referred to simply as “Moses”. Moses is recognized by most, if not all, serious students of scripture as the original writer of these first five books. The other prominent ‘name’ for the first five books is “Pentateuch”, based on the Greek word for ‘five’.
The second category of Old Testament writings is referred to as “Nevieem”, or Prophets. The Hebrew word “Na-Vee” is the word we translate as ‘prophet’ and the word means to percolate, or bubble up from within. An effective word picture to illustrate “Na-Vee” is an artesian well. Artesian wells bring water to the surface by an unknown or unobserved force or energy. “Nevieem” is the plural of “Na-Vee.” All of the messages to us from the prophets are called “Nevieem”.
The third category of writings is referred to as “Ketah-veem”, which comes from the Hebrew word “Ke-Tav” which is used to refer to writing, inscribing or engraving. “Ketah-veem” is the plural of “Ke-Tav,” and includes all of the writings of poetry and history that are not included in “Torah” or “Nevieem”. The Psalms, Proverbs and histories are categorized as “Keta-veem”.
From the first letters of these three categories we get “Tah-NahK’”. This word is not used in the Old Testament scriptures, but it is the word coined and used by Judaism to refer to the collection of manuscripts and writings that Christianity refers to as the Old Testament.
All of this lengthy illustration by this writer to explain “Tah-NahK” you can find in any number of Biblical study books, or Biblical Hebrew explanations. What is not so easy to discern is that each of these three categories are actually Spiritual understandings and insights that must be recognized if one is going to appreciate the uniqueness of Hebrew Scripture, and the sole motivation for this book you are reading. God is Spirit, Jesus tells us, and so God speaks to us in Spirit. The carnal thinking of the mind of man cannot comprehend the Spiritual communications from the Word of God. God is Spirit, and so the Word of God must be understood as a Spirit message rather than an intellectual or natural communication.
Dr. Stephen Jones