The Old Testament is generally divided into 4 sections.
Historical Books (Joshua-Esther)
Wisdom and Poetry (Job-Song of Songs)
The Old Testament is ultimately a book about God and how He has interacted with humanity and how He promises to do so moving forward. The Old Testament starts in Genesis with creation. God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them. Then we follow the story of God and his chosen people.
Starting with one couple (Abraham and Sarah), God, over several generations, develops a people group that will eventually be known as the Israelites. While they were in slavery, God calls them out to the nation of Israel, a place to call home. We follow their story from slavery to redemption with a world of events in between.
The Pentateuch, meaning “law,” was given to the Israelites through their first leader, Moses. Here, we can see the rules and regulations God gave the people (and us) for living God-honoring lives. It is here that we see things like the 10 commandments come into place (Exodus 20).
The Historical Books give us an in-depth look at some of the heroes of the faith. People like Samson, Samuel, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther are all highlighted in this section. We get a close up picture of how these men and women served God. But the Historical books give us the bad things as well. We see evil kings, and the people of Israel start to turn their backs on God.
The Wisdom and Poetry section serves as a break in the historical account of the Old Testament. Books like Psalms, Proverbs, and others give readers practical ways to live a life full of wisdom and in a close relationship with God. The Psalms especially walk us through almost every human emotion possible and how God can enter all those emotions with us to give us comfort and a sense of direction.
Lastly, we have the Prophets which are broken up into the Major and Minor prophets. The Major Prophets are much longer books, while the Minor Prophets are much shorter. Each prophet had a unique message from God, but each revolved around restoration for people who come to God and destruction for people that ignore Him.
Eventually, God’s people are exiled because they stopped listening to God. Once God got their attention again, he restored them to their homeland of Israel. But God had further restoration in mind.
Throughout the Old Testament, a Savior or Messiah is talked about. It would be through this Messiah that complete restoration would take place. Many characters showed pieces of what that Savior would be like, but the true Savior would pull it all together and be even more than what the people expected.
That Savior is Jesus, and his birth marks the beginning of the New Testament.
God is the Creator
God's love for his people
God's restoration & forgiveness