The name 'Hebrew Bible' refers to the books recognised as scripture by Jews. These are the same as those recognised as Old Testament books by Protestant Christians, but in a different order; also, four books regarded each as a single book in the Hebrew Bible are divided into two in Christian bibles: Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Ezra-Nehemiah. The name comes from the fact that the books are nearly all written in Hebrew, except that half of Daniel (2-7) is in Aramaic, as are some parts of Ezra, one verse in Jeremiah, and one word in Genesis.

The books of the Hebrew Bible are arranged as follows:
The Torah or Law: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
The Prophets:
The Former Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings.
The Latter Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve (i.e., the 'minor prophets' from Hosea to Malachi)
The Writings: these are not in the same order in all editions of the Hebrew Bible, but they always begin with the Psalms, followed by Job and Proverbs in either order; then come the 'five Megilloth (scrolls)' in various orders: Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes or Qoheleth, Lamentations, Esther; then Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles.

The Hebrew Bible is also known as 'Tanakh' from the initial letters in Hebrew of Torah, Prophets (Nebi'im), and Writings (Ketuvim).

Many scholars use the term 'Hebrew Bible' in place of 'Old Testament' because biblical scholarship is an enterprise shared by Christians and Jews, and 'Old Testament' is a specifically Christian term which goes with 'New Testament,' and may be held to imply that the New Testament supersedes the Old. Jewish scholars often simply call it the Bible. But strictly speaking 'Hebrew Bible' and 'Old Testament' do not mean the same thing, because particularly for Catholic and Orthodox Christians the Old Testament includes books that are not part of the Hebrew Bible, which Protestants call the Apocrypha and Catholics the deuterocanonical books.