By “sacred scripture” are to be understood those books written by the holy Prophets and
Apostles under the action of the Holy Spirit; therefore they are called “divinely inspired” They
are divided into books of the Old Testament and the books of the New Testament.
The Church recognizes 38 books of the Old Testament. After the example of the Old Testament
Church (Although the Church in the strict sense was established only at the coming of Christ (see
Matt.16:18), there was in a certain sense a “Church” in the Old Testament also, composed of all those who looked
with hope to the coming of the Messiah. After the death of Christ on the Cross, when He descended into hell and
“preached unto the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19), He brought up the righteous ones of the Old Testament with
Him into Paradise, and to this day the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast days of the Old Testament Forefathers,
Patriarchs, and prophets as equal to the saints of New Testament.), several of these books are joined to form
a single book, bringing the number to twenty-two books, according to the number of letters in the
Hebrew alphabet. (The 22 “canonical” books of the Old Testament are: 1. Genesis, 2. Exodus, 3. Leviticus, 4.
Numbers, 5. Deuteronomy, 6. Joshua, 7. Judges and Ruth considered as one, 8. First and Second Kings (called First
and Second Samuel in the King James Version), 9. Third and Fourth Kings (First and Second Kings in the KJV), 10.
First and Second Paralipomena (First and Second Chronicles in the KJV), 11. First Esdras (Ezra) and Nehemiah, 12.
Esther, 13. Job, 14. Psalms, 15. Proverbs, 16. Ecclesiastes, 17. The Song of Songs, 18. Isaiah, 19. Jeremiah, 20.
Ezekiel, 21. Daniel, 22. The Twelve Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk,
Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). This is the list given by St. John Damascene in the Exact Exposition of the
Christian Faith, p. 375) These books, which were entered at some time into the Hebrew canon, are
called “canonical.” (The word “canonical” here has a specialized meaning with reference to the books of Scripture,
and thus must be distinguished from the more usual use of the word in the Orthodox Church, where it refers not
to the “canon” of Scripture, but to “canons” or laws proclaimed at church councils. In the latter sense, “canonical”
means “in accordance with the Church's canons.” But in the former, restricted sense, “canonical” means only “included
in the Hebrew canon,” and “non-canonical” means only “not included in the Hebrew canon” (but still accepted
by the Church as Scripture). In the Protestant world the “non-canonical” books of the Old Testament are
commonly called the “Apocrypha,” often with a pejorative connotation, even though they were included in the earliest
printings of the King James Version, and a law of 1615 in England even forbade the Bible to be printed without