You might have studied them when you were in youth conferences as a teenager. You might have no idea.

But the subject of the Old and New Testament is one of strange dichotomy. The Bible is an important text. From Nietzsche’s criticism of the New Testament and lauding of the Old, to nearly everyone else’s favoritism for the altruistic side of the New Testament over the harshness of the Old, It’s been hotly contested for two millennia.

In this article, we’re giving you a brief history of both texts. How much do you remember about those youth ministry conferences? Which one do you like more? Do you like the love your neighbor message or the realistic God message more? Continue reading to learn more about the differences between the New and Old Testaments.


The earliest material associated with the Old Testament is the only source of Israel and Judah. The earliest material dates back to the 12th century BC and the Old Testament is similar to the Hebrew Bible. Its primary variance is the order of the books.

In the Old Testament, the Book of Malachi is last. In the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Chronicles is placed last. The Greek translation of the Bible forms the Orthodox churches’ Bible as well as the Eastern Old Testament.

The Latin translation of the Bible is known as the Vetus Latina and it formed the ealy basis for Old Testaments in Western churches. It was later replaced by Jerome’s Vulgate and Protestant churches typically follow the Biblia Herbraica Stuttgartensia.

The first known record of the New Testament is dated from around 117 and 138 AD and the original texts were written by various authors in Koine Greek. These books were later made into a single volume and they consist of a 27-canon set.

Differences In Style and Content

The core books of the New Testament are the gospels. These are the four narrative portions of Jesus’s life and death. These are followed by the Apostles ministries which were letters written by various authors. Finally, the New Testament contains the Apocalyptic Prophecy. All of the New Testament focuses on the life of Christ, his teachings, and the prophecy for the end of the world.

Differences In Teaching

The Old Testament is the root of the Judeo-Christian faith. It discusses creation, the exodus of Israelites, and the Ten Commandments given to Moses. It also discusses stories such as Abraham and contains significant, real-life stories and historical accounts. This text teaches people about the nature of God through various historical accounts.

The New Testament focuses almost exclusively on the teachings of Jesus and the Christian church. Stories are narrated from the point of view of Jesus’s followers and the function of the New Testament is to teach people to follow his example.

What Are the Differences?

Here is a brief overview of the various differences between the Old and New Testament:

Languages: The Old Testament was written in Hebrew with some books such as Daniel and Ezra being written in Aramaic. The New Testament was originally written in Greek.

Publication Period: The books of the Bible are neither chronological nor in their original order. But it’s clear the Old Testament was written before the books of the New Testament.

Size and content: The Old Testament contains around 39 books and has a vocabulary of around 5,800 words. It contains 2/3 of the content for the entire Bible. The New Testament consists of 27 books with a vocabulary of 4,800. words and contributes around a third of the Bible.

Final Thoughts

While the messages and content are substantially different, the New and Old Testament contain an undeniable connective thread. Both books complement each other and create a backbone for religion.