This may be a close to (or beyond) the edge of “on topic” for BioLogos. But I think there are subtle implications for the way we approach scripture.
What we call the Old Testament has more or less the same contents as the “Hebrew Bible”. (The precise contents are not the topic of this question. Let’s not divert into “apocryphal” or deuterocanonical details.) But the order of the books in our OT has been changed from the order in the three-volume Hebrew Bible: Torah/Law; Nevi’im/Prophets; Ketuvim/Writings.
How did the Christian church end up with this very different ordering of what is, essentially, the same material? At what point in the transmission of the collection did this difference arise?
Even as a lay reader, I find the fresh juxtapositions of the Hebrew Bible’s ordering quite revealing. For instance “Ruth” ends up very close to “Ezra-Nehemiah”, and the sharp contrast of their almost diametrically opposed viewpoints emerges more strongly from this proximity. If we, in our debates about origins could more clearly see scripture arguing with itself, I suspect it might help us to read it as the “lively oracles”.
And the separation of “Chronicles” from “Samuel-Kings”, and its (frequent) Ketuvim placement as the final word of the entire collection also allows us to read it afresh, with its political, post-exilic, glossing; for us, we might more clearly see the re-creation of the eternal word when in a new societal context.
So by what process did our OT end up in this different ordering?