Jewish, Christian and Islamic Scriptures

Description Of scriptures / books

The Quran mentions various scriptures including

Torah (Arabic: Tawrah)
a book which was communicated by God to Moses on Mount Sinai in 1280 BCE over the course of 40 days

Injeel / Gospels
Injeel is likely wisdom given to Jesus which was later likely written by his apostles and became known as the Gospels

Psalms (Arabic: Zabuur)
given to David

a book which was communicated by God via the Holy Spirit Gabriel to Muhammad gradually from 610 CE when Muhammad was 40 years old until his death in 632 CE. The first revelation came when Muhammad was in a cave called Hira on the mountain Jabal Al-Noor near Mecca.

What scriptures Jews, Christians, and Muslims follow

Jews follow the Jewish Bible. The Jewish Bible is also called the Tanakh which includes the Torah.

Christians follow the Christian Bible. The Christian Bible consists of 2 parts: Old TestamentNew TestamentThe Old Testament includes the Jewish Bible / Tanakh and, depending on Christian denomination, some other books. The New Testament includes various books including the Injeel (Gospels).

Muslims follow the Quran.


The Torah is part of the Jewish Tanakh. The Tanakh is also the Christian Old Testament. Tanakh is an acronym of the first Hebrew letter of the 3 subdivisions of the Masoretic texts which are

  • Torah (which means “teachings”, also known as the 5 Books of Moses or Pentateuch)
  • Nevi’im (which means “prophets”)
  • Ketuvim (which means “writings”)

As such, Tanakh is often spelled as TaNaKh. Tanakh is also called “mikra” which means “that which is read”.

The 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments are a set of principles followed by Jews and Christians. They appear twice in the Torah. They were also written on stone tablets which Moses had when he came down from spending 40 days on Mt. Sinai.

  1. You shall have no other Gods but me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
  4. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
  5. Respect your father and mother.
  6. You must not commit murder.
  7. You must not commit adultery.
  8. You must not steal.
  9. You must not give false evidence against your neighbor.
  10. You must not be envious of your neighbor’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbor.

The 613 Commandments

There have been many attempts to codify and enumerate the commandments contained in the Torah. The most popular enumeration is the 613 Commandments by Maimonides.


The Tanakh was mostly written in Hebrew. Following is the list of books in each subdivision of the Tanakh.

Torah (teaching) – 5 books

  1. Genesis
  2. Exodus
  3. Leviticus
  4. Numbers
  5. Deuteronomy

Nevi’im (prophets) – 8 books

  • The former prophets
    1. Joshua
    2. Judges
    3. Samuel
    4. Kings
  • Latter Prophets
    1. Isaiah
    2. Jeremiah
    3. Ezekiel
  • 12 Minor Prophets (considered one book)
    1. Hosea
    2. Joel
    3. Amos
    4. Obadiah
    5. Jonah
    6. Micah
    7. Nahum
    8. Habakkuk
    9. Zephaniah
    10. Haggai
    11. Zechariah
    12. Malachi

Ketuvim (writings) – 11 books

  • Poetic books
    1. Psalms
    2. Book of Proverbs
    3. Book of Job
  • Five Scrolls
    1. Song of Songs or Song of Solomon (Passover)
    2. Book of Ruth
    3. Lamentations
    4. Ecclesiastes
    5. Book of Esther
  • Other Books
    1. Book of Daniel
    2. Book of Ezra—Book of Nehemiah
    3. Chronicles

Old Testament

The Old Testament is the first part of the Christian Bible and mostly matches the Jewish Bible. It was written by various authors over a period of centuries.

New Testament

The New Testament is the second of two parts of the Christian Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. It was written in Greek and completed before 120 AD. The books in the New Testament consist of 4 parts as follows.

Gospels (good news / glad tidings) – 4 books
Narratives of the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus

  1. The Gospel of Matthew
    Ascribed to the Apostle Matthew. This gospel begins with a genealogy of Jesus and a story of his birth that includes a visit from magi and a flight into Egypt, and it ends with the commissioning of the disciples by the resurrected Jesus.
  2. The Gospel of Mark
    Ascribed to Mark the Evangelist. This gospel begins with the preaching of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus.
  3. The Gospel of Luke
    Ascribed to Luke the Evangelist, who was not one of the Twelve Apostles, but was mentioned as a companion of the Apostle Paul and as a physician.[17] This gospel begins with parallel stories of the birth and childhood of John the Baptist and Jesus and ends with appearances of the resurrected Jesus and his ascension into heaven.
  4. The Gospel of John
    Ascribed to John the Apostle. This gospel begins with a philosophical prologue and ends with appearances of the resurrected Jesus. It is about Jesus’s miracles.

Acts of the Apostles
A narrative of the apostles’ ministry and activity after Christ’s death and resurrection, from which point it resumes and functions as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke.

Epistles– 21 letters
21 letters, often called “epistles” from Greek “epistole”, written by various authors, and consisting of Christian doctrine, counsel, instruction, and conflict resolution;

Apocalypse (The Book of Revelation)
A book of prophecy, containing some instructions to seven local congregations of Asia Minor, but mostly containing prophetical symbology, about the end times.

Earliest Jewish Bible (Tanakh) manuscript

The Aleppo Codex (c. 920 CE) and Leningrad Codex (c. 1008 CE) were the oldest Hebrew language manuscripts of the Tanakh. In 1947 CE the finding of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran pushed the manuscript history of the Tanakh back a millennium from the two earliest complete codices. Before this discovery, the earliest extant manuscripts of the Old Testament were in Greek in manuscripts such as Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. Out of the roughly 800 manuscripts found at Qumran, 220 are from the Tanakh. Every book of the Tanakh is represented except for the Book of Esther; however, most are fragmentary. Notably, there are two scrolls of the Book of Isaiah, one complete (1QIsa), and one around 75% complete (1QIsb). These manuscripts generally date between 150 BCE to 70 CE.

Earliest Christian Old and New Testament manuscript

There are two manuscripts that are considered to be the oldest.

Codex Vaticanus (The Vatican Book)

Text: Old and New Testament
Date: c. 300–325
Script: Greek
Found: At the Vatican
It lacks most of the book of Genesis, Hebrews 9:14 to the end, the Pastoral Epistles, and the book of Revelation.

Codex Sinaticus (The Sinai Book)

Text: Old and New Testament
Date: c. 330–360
Script: Greek
Found: In Sinai in1844 at St. Catherine’s Monastery
About half of the Old Testament survived along with a complete New Testament. A digital copy is available online at

Earliest Quran manuscript

One of the earliest Quran manuscripts is the Birmingham manuscript. It only contains parts of chapters 18 and 20. It was radiocarbon dated to 568 and 645. For comparison, prophet Muhammad lived from 570 to 632. Following is a part of the Birmingham manuscript on the right and the equivalent 21st century Quran on the left. The text matches almost perfectly.

However, notice also that the Birmingham manuscript doesn’t include short vowel markings or harakaat.

The 7 Laws of Noah (Noahide Laws)

These are a set of laws which, according to the Jewish Talmud, were given to Noah’s three sons for all of humanity (Children of Noah). They are similar to the 10 Commandments.

Quran: the last scripture (book)

Since prophets get scriptures (books) and Muhammad was the last prophet, therefore the Quran, which is the scripture (book) given to Muhammad must be the last scripture (book).

Like “Islam” which is an Arabic word that means “Submission”, the word “Quran” is an Arabic word that means “reading” or “recitation.” Based on Arabic grammar, some may argue that it means intense or continuous reading / recitation.

Oral tradition

Islamic Hadeeth

Many Muslims believe that the Quran must be supplemented by the hadeeth or oral sayings / tradition of the prophet Muhammad.

Ḥadīth is the Arabic word for speech, report, account, narrative. Unlike the Qur’an, not all Muslims believe Ahadith accounts (or at least not all ahadith) are divine revelation, and ahadith were not written down by Muhammad’s followers immediately after his death but several generations later (at least 200 years later) when they were collected, collated and compiled into a great corpus of Islamic literature. A small minority of Muslims called Quranists reject all Ḥadīth.

Oral Torah and the Jewish Talmud

Similarly, Jews believe that the Torah consists of two parts, the written Torah which makes up the 5 Books of Moses, and the oral Torah which are sayings of Moses.

According to Jewish tradition, the Oral Torah was passed down orally in an unbroken chain from generation to generation until its contents were finally committed to writing following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE when Jewish civilization was faced with an existential threat.

The major repositories of the Oral Torah are the Mishnah, compiled between 200–220 CE by Rabbi Yehudah haNasi, and the Gemara, a series of running commentaries and debates concerning the Mishnah, which together are the Talmud, the preeminent text of Rabbinic Judaism. In fact, two “versions” of the Talmud exist: one produced in Jerusalem c. 300–350 CE (the Jerusalem Talmud), and second, more extensive Talmud compiled in Babylonia and published c. 450–500 CE (the Babylonian Talmud).

Not all Jews recognize the Talmud.

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