the first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch–a word that means “five books.” They are also known as the books of the law because they contain the laws and instructions God gave Moses for the people of Israel, except for the last chapter of Deuteronomy which tells about Moses death.
The word Genesis means “beginning.” The book of Genesis is about many beginnings–the beginning of the universe, the beginning of man and woman, the beginning of human sin, and the beginning of God’s promises of salvation. Genesis tells us about God’s special people and his plan for their lives. We learn about Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph and his brothers.
The word Exodus means “going out.” Exodus continues the story of God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel. It tells how God called Moses to lead the people out of slavery in Egypt to the promised land of Canaan. Through the miracles of the ten plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea, God showed his people that he was more powerful than any Egyptian Pharaoh.
While the people of Israel were traveling in the desert, God gave them a set of rules to follow, including the Ten Commandments. God continually reminded his people that they would be a great nation if they loved and worshiped only him and obeyed his laws.
Leviticus means “about the Levites.” The Levites were God’s priests, and the book of Leviticus contains many of the rules they needed to do there work–rules for worshiping God and for making sacrifices. In Leviticus 11:45 God says, “Be holy, because I am holy.” The rules God gave Israel in the book of Leviticus helped the people live holy lives.
Numbers gets its name from the two accounts in the chapters 1 and 26 of the numberings or countings of the people of Israel. The rest of the book tells about the 38 years of wandering in the desert. God’s continual care for his people is shown throughout the book of Numbers. He miraculously supplied them with water, manna, and quails. He continued to love and forgive the people even when they complained, grumbled, and rebelled against him
Deuteronomy means “second law.” After forty years the Israelites were about to enter the promised land of Canaan, Before they did, Moses wanted to remind them about all that God had done for them and about the laws they much continue to obey as God’s chosen people. He also emphasized that they must also teach there children to love and obey God. Deuteronomy ends with the renewal of God’s covenant with Israel (Chapter 29), Joshua’s appointment to be the new leader (chapter 31), and Moses death (chapter 34).