An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 7 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 247 of 297
books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if
occasion be, willingly to die for them' (Apion, Bk. 1. Par. 8).
Here is the testimony of a man who most evidently expresses his deep
conviction, and not his own only, but that of the national mind as well.  We
draw attention, moreover, to the fact that this man, who would sooner die
than add to, or take away from the sacred Scriptures, declares that the
Hebrew canon consists of twenty-two books only.  Most readers are aware that
the English Old Testament contains thirty-nine books, but this is because the
twelve minor prophets are reckoned separately, and double books like 1 and 2
Chronicles are counted as two.  In the Hebrew canon Ruth is reckoned with
Judges, Nehemiah with Ezra, Lamentations with Jeremiah, and as we have said,
the twelve minor prophets are treated as one.
Some reader may object that The Companion Bible gives in Appendix 1 a
list of twenty-four books of the Old Testament, but this is only true if Ruth
and Lamentations be considered as separate books.  Josephus and others deal
with the books as they were associated together, and the placing of Ruth and
Lamentations with larger books makes the difference.
We would supplement Josephus by one or two other authorities of high
Origen enumerates the books of the Old Testament and says the Hebrew
canonical books number 'two and twenty, according to the number of the
(Hebrew) Alphabet'.
Athanasius says in his synopsis: 'Our whole Scripture is divinely
inspired, and hath books not infinite in number, but finite, and
comprehended in a certain canon.  The canonical books of the Old
Testament are two and twenty, equal in number to the Hebrew letters'.
Cyril Of Jerusalem says, 'Read the divine Scriptures, the two and
twenty books'.
We could quote others, but what has been cited is surely sufficient.
The interested reader will find further confirmation in the writings of
Hilary, Nazianzen, Epiphanius, Rufinus, Gregory the Great, and Jerome.  The
value of this testimony will be better understood when we have reviewed the
canon of the New Testament.
Perhaps it would be well, seeing that we have referred to The Companion
Bible, Appendix 1, to show that the structural arrangement suggested there
remains practically unchanged.  We will, therefore, repeat the Prophets and
the Psalms with the necessary adjustment.
The Prophets
The Lord of all the earth, etc.
Judges and
Israel forsaking and returning to God.
Man's king rejected.
Decline and fall under the kings.
Final blessing under God's king.
Jeremiah and
Human kings rejected.
God forsaking Israel and