Recently a friend asked the question: Can you help me understand further the way in which you all have decided to group the books (Neviy''iym, Trei Asar, etc.) and their chronology, please ... even just a basic explanation?
This is a very good question and when we decided on the order, we considered many things.
First, as to the Old Testament, we elected to follow the order of the Tanakh, rather than the Roman Tradition found in the typical bible which had placed many books out of order (such as Ezra and Nehemiah, who discuss the building of the second temple, before Psalms which predated the first temple). We found the Tanakh order – Torah, Neveyim, Ketuviym, hence the acronym TaNaKh – to be much more persuasive and accurate.
Thereafter, after having elected to include Cepher Yovheliym (Jubilees) and Cepher Chanoch (Enoch) because of their inclusion in the Dead Sea Scrolls, we debated about the placement of these books together with the Cepher Yashar (Jasher) – all of which set forth content that is contemporary with the Pentateuch. Technically, Enoch should have been the first book, but instead, we placed these books after the Pentateuch and before Yahusha (Joshua).
Then we included the Apocrypha in the order found in the 1526 Canonized version of the RCC, the 1535 Coverdale, the 1560 Geneva, and the 1611 KJV-AV, but we added Baruk Sheniy (2 Baruk) to follow Baruk Ri’shon (1 Baruk). We also moved the additional books associated with the book of Daniy’el (Daniel) such as Tephillah Azaryahu (the Prayer of Azariah), Shushanah (Susanna), and Ba’al (Bel) and the Dragon to accompany Daniy’el, which we determined to be a Second Temple era book. Those books which were conspicuously gathered around the second temple we moved into a section called Second Temple Writings, which include Divrei Hayamiym Ri’shon and Sheniy (1 and 2 Chronicles), which traditionally end the Tanakh, 1 Ezra (Ezra), 2 Ezra (Nehemiah), which in the Tanakh is gathered as one book called Ezra v’Nechemiah, 3 Ezra (also called 1 Esdras) and 4 Ezra (also called 2 Esdras, 4 Esdras and even 5 Esdras), and then finished the OT with the four books of the Makkabiym (Maccabees), which is consistent with the Apocrypha.
As to the New Testament, we began with the three gospels known as the Synoptic Gospels, i.e. Mattithyahu (Matthew), Marqus (Mark), and Luqas (Luke). We would have included Yochanon (John) in this collection, but we elected to join all of the writings of Yochanon in one group, and to end the NT with Yochanon’s writing of the Revelation of Yahusha HaMashiach.
Following the three Synoptic Gospels we included the book of Ma’asiym (Acts), and then the writings of eye witnesses – Ya’aqov (James), Kepha (Peter) and Yahudah (Jude), then the writings of Pa’al (Paul) as they were written chronologically, which we determined by comparing the writings to his journeys as set forth in the book of Ma’asiym (Acts).