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All Scriptures are written with the inspiration of the Spirit of God or are the breath of God. They are also described as Holy Books (መጽሀፍ ቅዱስ) containing the word of God (ፍትሀ ነገስት- Fiteha Negest Art. 2). Illustration that Holy Books are the breath of God or are written by the inspiration of the Spirit of God; the Apostle St. Paul states in 2 Tim. 3:17 “all Scripture is God- breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Saint Cyril of Alexandria also wrote that “Holy Books are the breath of God” (Faith of Fathers 78:67). Hence, all that is written in the Scriptures is the absolute truth. Nothing can be added or deducted from it. It can neither be modified nor changed. It was written by Holy Men guided by the Spirit of God. (2Pet. 1:2, Mt. 5:18, Lk, 16:17).

It is written that there were times when the Lord either revealed himself, made his voice heard or acted through the one that he willed and commanded “write down these words” (Ex. 34:27; Deut. 31:19; Isa. 8:1).

81 are the Old Testament and New Testament books which have been accepted as canonical books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as listed here-under.


A. Old Testament Books


Books of Law (the 5 Books of Moses)

  1. Genesis

  2. Exodus

  3. Leviticus

  4. Numbers

  5. Deuteronomy


Books of History

6. Joshua

7. Judges

8. Ruth

9. 1st  and 2nd  Samuel

10. 1st  and 2nd  Kings

11. 1st  and 2nd  Chronicles (2nd Chronicles includes the  prayer of Manasseh)

12. Jubilee

13. Enoch

14. Ezra

15. Nehemiah

16. Ezra Sutuel and 2nd Ezra

17. Tobit

18. Judith

19. Esther

20. 1st  Meqabeyan

21. 2nd  and 3rd  Meqabeyan

22. Joseph Ben Guriyon


Books of Songs and Wisdom

  1. Job

  2. Psalms

  3. Proverbs

  4. Tegsats (Reproof)

  5. Wisdom of Solomon

  6. Ecclesiastes

  7. Song of Songs

  8. Sirach


Books of Prophecy

  1. Isaiah

  2. Jeremiah (including Lamentations, the Remainder of Jeremiah, and Baruch)

  3. Ezekiel

  4. Daniel

  5. Hosea

  6. Joel

  7. Amos

  8. Obadiah

  9. Jonah

  10. Micah

  11. Nahum

  12. Habakkuk

  13. Zephaniah

  14. Haggai

  15. Zechariah

  16. Malachi




B. Books of the New Testament


  1. Matthew

  2. Mark

  3. Luke

  4. John



5. Acts


Epistles of Paul:

6. Romans  

7. 1st  Corinthians  

8. 2nd  Corinthians

9. Galatians

10. Ephesians

11. Philippians

12. Colossians

13. 1st  Thessalonians

14. 2nd  Thessalonians

15. 1st  Timothy

16. 2nd  Timothy

17. Titus

18. Philemon

19. Hebrews


Other Epistles

20. James (Jacob)

21. 1st  Peter

22. 2nd  Peter

23. 1st  John

24. 2nd  John

25. 3rd  John

26. Jude



27. Revelation of John


Books of Church Order

28. The Order of Zion

29. Commandment (Te’ezaz)

30. “Gitzew”

31. Abtils

32. 1st Books of Covenant

33. 2nd  Books of Covenant

34. Clement

35. Didascalia

Total ................35

Books of the Old Testament 46

Books of the New Testament     35

 Grand Total... 81

Even though there are variations in the number of Scriptures, the above are the 81 Accepted by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and are cited in the interpretation of the “Fetha Negest”.


c. St. Yared Hymnal Books

In addition, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has other books written by Holy Fathers based on the Old and New Testaments expanding the theological education and prayer; books on the hymns and chants of St. Yared and other related books.

St. Yared, an Ethiopian great scholar and hymnologist rose to prominence by A.D. 505 (Ethiopian Calendar). St. Yared is well known throughout the world for his incomparable knowledge, mastery and composition of hymns and as a prolific “Qene- ቅኔ” scholar.

St. Yared has four hymnal books:

  1. Digua - ድጓ

  2. Zimare- ዝማሬ

  3. Mewasit- መዋሲት

  4. Miraf - ምዕራፍ


He was also an authority on the interpretation of the Old and the New Testaments. St Yared carefully chose prayers and hymns from his books and bible, harmonized and arranged them in such a way that they can be prayed and sang in the four seasons of fall (መፀው - Met͟sewi), Spring (ፀደይ - T͟sedey), Summer (በጋ - Bega) and Winter (ክረምት - Kiremiti) with all the beauty and passion he graced them with.

He also classified his hymns into three namely:

  1. Geez-ግዕዝ

  2. Izel- ዕዝል

  3. Araray- አራራይ


St. Yared prepared his hymnal works and notations between 540-560 A.D. (E.C.). He spent 11 years teaching throughout the northern parts of the country. Later on, he retreated into one of the monasteries in the northern mountains and spent his last year as a hermit.


d. Books written by other Church fathers

Over and above these, there are also books written by other Church fathers and other works of translation. Besides, the Church has also in its repository books attesting the miracles, purity and Holiness of the blessed Virgin and also the act, suffering martyrdom and miracles of Saints, Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs.   Few examples of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo books

  1. Faith of the Fathers (Haimanote Abew - ሀይማኖተ አበው)

  2. Feth Negest (The Book of Law of Kings)

  3. Tsome Digua” (Hymn of Fast)

  4. The suffering of  Our Lord and Savior Eyesus Christos- Gibrehimamat - ግብረ ህማማት

  5. Book of  Liturgy- መጽሀፈ ቅዳሴ- mets’ihafe k’idase

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