Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups:
'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Your Bible Version is the KJV
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Version Selector Up Arrow
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Version Selector Up Arrow

Follow the Blue Letter Bible on:



Or subscribe to our Newsletter:

Printable Page
The Blue Letter Bible
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV

Advanced Options

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval
Search KJV

Line-By-Line Order:
Line-By-Line Verse-ReferenceVerse-Reference
Line-By-Line Reference-VerseReference-Verse
Line-By-Line Separate LineSeparate Line
Line-By-Line Verse OnlyVerse Only
Line-By-Line Reference OnlyReference Only
Reference Delimiters:
No Reference DelimitersNone — Jhn 1:1 KJV
Square Reference DelimitersSquare — [Jhn 1:1 KJV]
Curly Reference DelimitersCurly — {Jhn 1:1 KJV}
Parenthesis Reference DelimitersParens — (Jhn 1:1 KJV)
Paragraph Order:
Paragraph Verse-ReferenceVerse-Reference
Paragraph Reference-VerseReference-Verse
Paragraph Reference-OnlyReference-Only
Number Delimiters:*
No Verse NumbersNo Number
No Verse DelimetersNo Delimiter — 15
Square Verse DelimitersSquare — [15]
Curly Verse DelimitersCurly — {15}
Parenthesis Verse DelimitersParens — (15)
Other Options:
Abbreviate BooksAbbreviate Books
Use SBL Abbrev.Use SBL Abbrev.
En dash not HyphenEn dash not Hyphen
Quotes Around VersesQuotes Around Verses
Remove Square BracketsRemove Square Brackets
Sort CanonicallySort Canonically

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect

Connect on Facebook Connect on Twitter Connect on Instagram Connect on Pinterest Connect on YouTube

Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

Don Stewart :: What Criteria Were Used to Recognize Which Books Belonged in the Old Testament?

Choose a new font size and typeface

Customize your font sizeIncrease your font sizeDecrease your font sizeReturn to default font size

Choose a Bible text color
Read the Bible in blackRead the Bible in dark blueRead the Bible in blue

Customize your text type
Arial font
Trebuchet MS font
Georgia font
Times New Roman font

Customize your Hebrew text type
SBL Hebrew font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Customize your Greek text type
Gentium font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Close font preferences
Don Stewart

What were the criteria that were used to recognize which books were given by divine revelation and belonged in the Old Testament? There is no simple answer to this question because no criteria are listed in the Old Testament. However the following criteria were most likely used.

1. Did The Writer Claim Divine Inspiration?

Did the book indicate God was speaking through the writer? The various writers of the Old Testament books believed that God was speaking through them. For example, we read.

And God spoke all these words (Exodus 20:1).

We read that God spoke to Joshua.

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide (Joshua 1:1).

Isaiah the prophet claimed to receive God's Word.

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1).

The consistent testimony of almost all of the Old Testament books is that God actually spoke through the writers.

Was Each Book Written As To Be Scripture?

There is the point of view that says that each Old Testament book was written for the express purpose of being a divine standard of faith and practice. Each writer believed that he was divinely inspired of God and thus wrote under that belief. While this may be correct, it is not possible to prove since we do not have sufficient evidence to back this up.

2. Was The Author A Genuine Prophet Of God?

Was the human author recognized as a spokesman of God, that is, was he a prophet or did he have the prophetic gift? As a prophet the person would have the ability to speak and write with God's authority. God had said through Moses.

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command (Deuteronomy 18:18).

Later in Book of Deuteronomy we read that the writings of the prophet Moses were considered to be Scripture.

When Moses had finished writing down in a book the words of this law to the very end, Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, "Take this book of the law and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God; let it remain there as a witness against you" (Deuteronomy 31:24-26).

Samuel the prophet wrote things in a book.

Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship; and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the LORD. Then Samuel sent all the people back to their homes (1 Samuel 10:25).

Did Every Book Have Prophetic Endorsement?

It has been argued that while not every book was actually written by a prophet, each book may have had some sort of prophetic endorsement behind it. Although this may be true it cannot be proven in the case of some of the Old Testament books. These include: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.

3. Did The Writings Agree With Previous Doctrine?

This test would compare the teachings of any new writing with the teaching of the already accepted books. Since God cannot contradict Himself, if the book under consideration was found to be contradictory with the previous accepted writings, then it would automatically be rejected. However the reverse is not necessarily true. Merely because a book is orthodox and agrees with previous doctrine does not make it Holy Scripture.

4. Was The Book Accepted As Authoritative?

The fact that the people of God accepted the books as authoritative is another indication of their divine inspiration. The people believed these Old Testament books had God's authority behind them. Later prophets acknowledged earlier prophets. For a book to be considered Scripture, there must have been continuous acceptance by the people of God. However it must be remembered that the books were not given authority by the people of God - they already possessed divine authority when written.

5. Did The Writing Survive Through Time?

The fact that a book survived for long ages also says something about it. Each of these ancient works was slowly copied by hand on material that was perishable. For a work to survive over a long period of time it had to be copied and recopied. The fact that this was done shows that it was highly valued.


While we do not know the exact criteria used to determine which books were revealed by God and accepted by the people, there are certain things that the Old Testament says that gives us some ideas as to why they were accepted. A book that claimed to be divinely inspired, written by a man of God and contained teaching that was consistent with what God had already revealed, and was accepted by the people of God, were the minimal criteria to have the book being accepted. All of the current Old Testament books meet these criteria.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


Verse Tools Arrow
Login to your account

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval


Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

[ Cancel ]← Login to Your Account

Passwords should have at least 6 characters.
Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Error: That Email / Username is not registered

Enter Your Email or UsernameUsername or Email Address


← Return to Login

Close LoginCLOSE
Tap to Close