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Synopsis of the Books of the Bible
(Each Book of the Bible Outlined and Introduced In a Concise Article)
Edited By Dr Terry W. Preslar Copyright (C) 2007. Terry W. Preslar All rights reserved.
“...when thou comest, bring with thee...the books, but especially the parchments. (2 Tim. 4:13) Psalms 107:2 S É S Romans 12:1-2
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The Home Bible Study Library Synopsis of the Books of the Bible
(Each Book of the Bible Outlined and Introduced In a Concise Article) Table of Contents (A Brief Thematic Outline of the whole Bible)
Inspiration Inerrancy The Preservation of the Bible The Canon Methods of Study
The Old Testament
The Books of the Pentateuch Genesis – Describes the creation; gives the history of the old world, and of the steps taken by God toward the formation of theocracy. Exodus – The history of Israel's departure from Egypt; the giving of the law; the tabernacle. Leviticus – The ceremonial law. Numbers – The census of the people; the story of the wanderings in the wilderness. Deuteronomy – The law rehearsed; the death of Moses. The History Books of the O.T. Joshua – The story of the conquest and partition of Canaan. Judges – The history of the nation from Joshua to Samson. Ruth – The story of the ancestors of the royal family of Judah 1 Samuel – The story of the nation during the judgeship of Samuel and the reign of Saul. 2 Samuel – Story of the reign of David. 1 and 2 Kings – The books of Kings contains the history of the nation from David's death and Solomon's accession to the destruction of the kingdom of Judah and the desolation of Jerusalem, with a supplemental notice of the liberation of Jehoiachin from his prison at Babylon, twenty-six years later; they comprehend the whole time of the Israelitish monarchy, exclusive of the reigns of Saul and David. 1 and 2 Chronicles – are so called as being the record made by the appointed historiographers of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel; they are the official histories of those kingdoms. Ezra – The story of the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, and of the rebuilding of the temple. Nehemiah – A further account of the rebuilding of the temple and city, and of the obstacles encountered and overcome. Esther – The story of a Jewess who becomes queen of Persia and saves the Jewish people from destruction. The Poetical Books of the O.T. Job – The story of the trials and patience of a holy man of Edom. Psalms – A collection of sacred poems intended for use in the worship of Jehovah. Chiefly the productions of David. Proverbs – The wise sayings of Solomon. Ecclesiastes – A poem respecting the vanity of earthly things. Solomon's Song – An allegory relating to the church.
The Books of Prophecy of the O.T. Isaiah – Prophecies respecting Christ and his kingdom. Jeremiah – Prophecies announcing the captivity of Judah, its sufferings, and the final overthrow of its enemies. Lamentations – The utterance of Jeremiah's sorrow upon the capture of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. Ezekiel – Messages of warning and comfort to the Jews in their captivity. Daniel – A narrative of some of the occurrences of the captivity, and a series of prophecies concerning Christ. Hosea – Prophecies relating to Christ and the latter days. Joel – Prediction of woes upon Judah, and of the favor with which God will receive the penitent people. Amos – Prediction that Israel and other neighboring nations will be punished by conquerors from the north, and of the fulfillment of the Messiah's kingdom. Obadiah – Prediction of the desolation of Edom. Jonah – Prophecies relating to Nineveh. Micah – Predictions relating to the invasions of Shalmaneser and Sennacherib, the Babylonish captivity, the establishment of a theocratic kingdom in Jerusalem, and the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem. Nahum – Prediction of the downfall of Assyria. Habakkuk – A prediction of the doom of the Chaldeans. Zephaniah – A prediction of the overthrow of Judah for its idolatry and wickedness. Haggai – Prophecies concerning the rebuilding of the temple. Zechariah – Prophecies relating to the rebuilding of the temple and the Messiah. Malachi – Prophecies relating to the calling of the Gentiles and the coming of Christ. Between the Testaments Comparing the Old and New Testaments The Principal Writers of the N.T.
The New Testament
Biographical Books of the N.T. Gospel of Matthew – A brief history of the life of Christ as the Messianic King. Gospel of Mark – A brief history of the life of Christ as the Servant, supplying some incidents omitted by Matthew. Gospel of Luke – The history of the life of Christ as the Divine Man, with especial reference to his most important acts and discourses. Gospel of John – The life of Christ as the Son Of God, giving important discourses not related by the other evangelists. Historical Book of the N.T. Acts of the Apostles – The history of the labors of the apostles and of the foundation of the Christian Church. Pauline Epistles Epistle to the Romans – A treatise by Paul on the doctrine of justification by Christ. First Epistle to the Corinthians – A letter from Paul to the Corinthians, correcting errors into which they had fallen. Second Epistle to the Corinthians – Paul confirms his disciples in their faith, and vindicates his own character. Epistle to the Galatians – Paul maintains that we are justified by faith, and not by rites. Epistle to the Ephesians – A treatise by Paul on the power of divine grace. Epistle to the Philippians – Paul sets forth the beauty of Christian kindness. Epistle to the Colossians – Paul warns his disciples against errors, and exhorts to certain
duties. First Epistle to the Thessalonians – Paul exhorts his disciples to continue in the faith and in holy conversation. Second Epistle to the Thessalonians – Paul corrects an error concerning the speedy coming of Christ the second time. First and Second Epistles to Timothy – Paul instructs Timothy in the duty of a pastor, and encourages him in the work of the ministry. Epistle to Titus – Paul encourages Titus in the performance of his ministerial duties. Epistle to Philemon – An appeal to a converted master to receive a converted escaped slave with kindness. Epistle to Hebrews – The writer maintains that Christ is the substance of the ceremonial law. The General Epistles (or Non-Pauline Epistles) Epistle of James – A treatise on the efficacy of faith united with good works. First and Second Epistles of Peter – Exhortations to a Christian life, with various warnings and predictions. First Epistle of John – Respecting the person of our Lord, and an exhortation to Christian love and conduct. Second Epistle of John – John warns a converted lady against false teachers. Third Epistle of John – A letter to Gaius, praising him for his hospitality. Epistle of Jude – Warnings against deceivers. N.T. Prophecy The Revelation – The future of the Church foretold.
About the Electronic Text
The Home Bible Study Library Synopsis of the Books of the Bible
(Each Book of the Bible Outlined and Introduced In a Concise Article)
The word “Bible” (the name of the sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity) is derived from the Greek word biblia (the books). The word “Testament” means covenant or agreement. The Bible, in our common English version (AV 1611), has an average readability of 5.63 grade level. The Bible is divided into two major sections–the Old and the New Testaments. The Old Testament (the Hebrew scriptures) contains 39 books, which are grouped in five sections: the Law, History, Writings (the Poetry or Wisdom books); the Prophets (the major and minor). The Old Testament describes man’s creation and fall and contains the record of God’s preparations for and prophecies of the coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ. The N.T. contains the accounts of Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection, return to Heaven, and the teachings of Christ’s followers, as well as prophecies of the future. The Christian scriptures contains a total of 66 books; 39 books in the Old Testament (which is the Hebrew Bible) and 27 in the New Testament. However, the Roman Catholic church recognizes several additional Hebrew writings as part of their Old Testament. These books are called the Apocrypha (sometime refereed to as the so-called “Lost Books”) are thought, by Bible believing students, to be of inferior quality and not exhibiting clear inspiration. For those who accept them they are regarded as the source of divine revelation and of prescriptions and prohibitions for moral living. A casual reading of this material shows why they are not included in the Canon of most Bible Believers. This is not a denial of their existence but a rejection of their place in the Canon of Holy Scripture. The Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, excluding the Apocrypha, is accepted as sacred by both Jews and Christians. The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church each accept parts of the Apocrypha as sacred, while Jews and Protestants do not. The New Testament is accepted as sacred only by Christians. But to those who are faithful, the Bible is bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, life to the dying and hope to the hopeless. Its pages are filled with the answer to all questions imagined, all problems encountered, all battles fought and every gainsayer’s doubts.
The word “Inspiration” means “God-breathed.” (Job 32:8; 2 Tim.3:16). “Inspiration” means to inhale air, and the Bible claims that its words were breathed in by Almighty God through chosen men of old. The term “inspiration” is used twice in Scripture (Job 32:8; 2 Tim. 3:16). In the N.T. it is the key term selected by God to describe the nature of the Bible. There are basically three views regarding inspiration: (1) The humanistic view of inspiration: The Bible is inspired only in the sense that great human writings, such as those of Shakespeare, are inspired. (2) The partial view of inspiration. Some believe the Bible is inspired in those matters not affecting science, but that there are historical and scientific errors in the Bible. (3) The perfect view of inspiration: The Bible is perfectly inspired and contains no error. It is this latter view that is supported by the Bible itself. The Bible claims to be the perfect, inspired Word of God.
Beyond Inspiration is the quality of “Inerrancy.” This mans that the Bible is without error throughout. This term is used to further describe the inspiration of Scripture. The Bible was given to man from God and has been preserved from error in recording and transmission. [See Bible, Inspiration, Preservation.] It can also be said that the Bible is INFALLIBLE. That is, not subject to error. This is often used to describe the -1-
Bible. (“...For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psa. 119:89).
The Preservation of the Bible
The “Preservation” of the Bible refers to the fact of the plenary, verbal, Divine inspiration of the sixty-six canonical books of the Old and the New Testaments (from Genesis to Revelation) in the original languages, and in their consequent infallibility and Inerrancy of all matters of which they speak (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Thes. 2:13). We believe that the Texts which are the closest to the original autographs of the Bible are the Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text for the O.T., and the Traditional Received Greek Text for the N.T. underlying the King James Version (as found in The Greek Text Underlying the English Authorized Version of 1611, edited by F.H.A. Sharivner, as published by the Trinitarian Bible Society in 1976). We believe that the King James Version (or Authorized Version) of the English Bible is a true, faithful, and accurate translation of these two providentially preserved Texts [the Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text and the Received Greek Text], which in our time has no equal among all of the other English Translations. The translators did such a fine job in their translation task that we can without apology hold up the Authorized Version of 1611 and say, “This is the Word of God!” while at the same time realizing that, in some verses, we must go back to the underlying original language Texts for complete clarity, and also compare Scripture with Scripture. Bible inspiration, Inerrancy and preservation are supremely important. “The undermining or destroying of either doctrine renders the others meaningless. If the Bible is not verbally, plenarily, and inerranly inspired, and if inspiration does not extend to all matters of which the Bible speaks, it does not matter if the Bible has been preserved or how it has been preserved. It also follows that if the Bible has not been preserved it does not matter how it was inspired.” (“Position Statement on Bible Preservation,” Dean Burgon Society, approved July 29, 1982). These three modern witnesses stand as never-dying monuments to the mighty Book of GOD. Under these three well supported works of GOD’S Sovereignty it is sure that we have a perfect Bible in the AV 1611. Read here the testimony to the Bible’s perfection. “This volume is the writing of the living God: Each letter was penned with an Almighty finger; each word in it dropped from the everlasting lips; each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit. Albeit, that Moses was employed to write his histories with his fiery pen, God guided that pen. It may be that David touched his harp and let sweet Psalms of melody drop from his fingers, but God moved his hands over the living strings of his golden harp. It may be that Solomon sang canticles of love, or gave forth words of consummate wisdom, but God directed his lips and made the preacher eloquent. If I follow the thundering Nahum, when his horses plough the waters, or Habakkuk, when he sees the tents of Cushan in affliction; if I read Malachi, when the earth is burning like an oven; if I turn to the smooth page of John, who tells of love, or the rugged, fiery chapters of Peter, who speaks of fire devouring God’s enemies; if I turn to Jude, who launches forth anathemas upon the foes of God – everywhere I find God speaking. It is God’s voice, not man’s; the words are God’s words, the words of the Eternal, the Invisible, the Almighty, the Jehovah of this earth” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon).
The whole BIBLE was described as The Divine Library by St. Jerome. Any in-depth study of this subject would be outside the scope of this work and would need to have the attention of many pages. We only have space for an overlay treatment here. The word “canon” comes from the Greek word which means “rule,” “standard,” or “principle.” When used of the BIBLE the canon refers to those books which are accepted as having satisfactorily met the standard requirements expected of such books. The O.T. and the N.T. contains books which have met the requirements of 1) Inspiration, 2) Inerrancy and 3) Preservation. Without going into a very deep subject, let it be said only that there were many writings in the Bible times that could not stand the test of these three stipulations. The Canon is closed which means there is no more revelation to become Scripture. A book’s “Canonicity” is a its right to be included in the Biblical Canon because God has determined it so. (Psa. -2-
Methods of Study
There are, of course, a number of ways one may approach the study of the Bible. I have listed 24 Bible Study Methods Below. Each one has its place in the process of the study of the Bible. 1. Devotional Method – Select a short portion of your Bible and prayerfully meditate on it until the Holy Spirit shows you a way to apply the truth to your life. Write out a personal application. 2. Chapter Summary Method – Read a chapter of a Bible book through at least five times. Then write down a summary of the central thoughts you find in it. 3. Character Quality Method – Choose a character quality you would like to work on in your life and study what the Bible says about it. 4. Thematic Method – Select a Bible theme to study. Then think of three or five questions you would like to have answered about that theme. Next, study all the references you can find on your theme and record the answers to your questions. 5. Biographical Method – Select a Bible character and research all the verses about that person in order to study his life and characteristics. Make notes on his attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses. Then apply what you have learned to your own life. 6. Topical Method – A study of the Bible according to its many topics and doctrines. Collect and compare all the verses you can find on a particular topic. Organize your conclusions into an outline that you can share with another person. 7. Word Study Method – Study the important words of the Bible. Find out how many times a word occurs in Scripture and how it is used. Find out the original meaning of the word. 8. Book Background Method – Study how history, geography, culture, science, and politics affected what happened in Bible times. Use Bible reference books to increase your understanding of the Word. 9. Book Survey Method – Survey an entire book of the Bible by reading it through several times to get a general overview of its contents. Study the background of the book and make notes on its contents. 10. Chapter Analysis Method – Master the contents of a chapter of a book of the Bible by taking an in-depth look at each verse in that chapter. Tear each verse apart word by word, observing every detail. 11. Book Synthesis Method – Summarize the contents and main themes of a book of the Bible after you have read it through several times. Make an outline of the book. This method is done after you have used a Book Survey Method and the Chapter Analysis Method on every chapter of that book. 12. Analytical (Verse-by-Verse Analysis) Method – The process of viewing the Bible verse by verse to get an in-depth understanding. This means to place or put together various parts or elements to make up a whole. Select one passage of Scripture and examine it in detail by asking questions, finding cross-references, and paraphrasing each verse. Record a possible application of each verse you study. 13. Synthetic Approach – An overview of the Bible as a whole to provide a grasp of the overall message. The synthetic or overview approach is extremely helpful for the beginning student or for those who have never undertaken such a study. Through the synthetic approach, we are not only able to grasp the big picture or see the whole forest, but such an overview will help in understanding the details later on in one’s study of the Bible. 14. Geographical Approach – Studying the Bible based on Bible lands, geography, countries, mountains, rivers, seas, climates, etc. 15. Cultural Approach – Refers to distinctive characteristics of a racial, religious, or social group. It is people – the way they live, the way they think, the way they act. 16. Historical Approach – The Bible is not a history book. But it is a book that tells “His Story.” It is -3-
a book of past events that have historical significance and in many cases, a future impact. 17. Doctrinal Approach – There are many doctrines contained in the Word: Sin, God, man, Holy Spirit, baptism, eternal judgment, etc. Any of these could be studied in detail. 18. Practical Approach – The study of practical application of biblical truths into the life of the believer, such as how to be a husband, father, wife, or mother; how to pray; etc. (One of the best ways to study.) 19. Topological Approach – A study of the many pictures or types found in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, that portray the truth of the New Testament. The study of types, shadows, and antitypes. God uses these devices as models for imitation or warning. 20. Opposite Study – Study love/fear, timidity/fearfulness, and compare them. 21. Memory Verse Method – Memorize a verse of Scripture and apply it into your daily life. Very good for children. 22. Comparison of Translation Method – This approach need only compare the Hebrew and Greek with the AV 1611 rendering. Gather the reading and compare them. Include the Hebrew and Greek meanings, grammar and idiom. Draw a position on the text from this work. 23. Character Method – Study a biblical character. Read verses of Scripture about them. Note their strong points, failures, purposes, accomplishments, etc. (Also called the Biographical Method.) 24. Four-step Method – A simple and easy way to study: A. Observation – What do I see? B. Interpretation – What does it mean? C. Revelation – What is God saying to me? D. Application – What difference does it make to me and how can I apply it to my life? This study follows the Synthetic Approach. We are calling this a Synopsis or Short Survey because this study is more of a nutshell approach to the books of the Old and New Testaments. The goal is to give the reader key terms, verses, themes or purposes of each of the books along with a brief description of the content.
The Old Testament
The Old Testament is the first portion of the Christian Bible or the Hebrew Bible. It contains 39 Books; 929 Chapters; 23,144 Verses; and 610,577 Words. In its origin it was written mostly in Hebrew, but some (Daniel and Ezekial) in Aramaic (or Chaldee, as it is sometimes called). This division of the Bible is divided into 5 portions that are traditionally called : 1) The Pentateuch (the five books of Moses), 2) The Historical Books, 3) The Poetical Books, 4) The Major Prophetical Books, and 5) The Minor Prophetical Books. The number, order, and names of the books vary between Jews and Christians and between Catholics and Protestants. The earliest books of the Old Testament were first collected from older sources around 1000 BC. The Hebrew text, called the Masora, was adopted about AD 100. The modern Old Testament was established as official canon by the end of the 2nd century AD. The Roman Catholic Old Testament differs from the Old Testament of the early church and of Protestant churches in that several “inter-testamental” and apocryphal books are added, such as 1 and 2 Maccabees. The authorship of the Old Testament is complex in that it was written over a long period of time. The 39 books of the Old Testament are logically divided into four major sections: A. Law – (five books: Gen. -Deut.) Called the Pentateuch (five-fold book) containing the Law of Moses and about 2500 years of history from creation to the death of Moses. B. History – (12 books: Joshua -Esther) giving the history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. C. Poetry – (five books: Job -Song of Solomon) that are primarily books of devotion and exhortation. These books are sometimes called "wisdom books" or “wisdom literature.” D. Prophecy – (17 books: Isaiah -Malachi) which contains much of the history before, during and after -4-
the captivity as well as predictions concerning God's impending judgment and the coming Messiah. This section is usually divided into the Major Prophets (Isaiah-Daniel) and the Minor Prophets (Hosea-Malachi). This division is based upon the length of the books.
A Synopsis of the Books of the Old Testament
I- The Pentateuch: Moses is the human author (John 7:19). The word Pentateuch is derived from two Greek words, pente (five) and teuchos (volume), thus a five-volume book. These five books are referred to as the "Book of the Law of Moses" (Neh. 8:1) , and "the Book of the Law of Jehovah" (Neh. 9:3). The first five books of the Bible are sometimes called the Pentateuch which means “five books.” They are also known as the books of the law because they contain the laws and instruction given by the Lord through Moses to the people of Israel. These books were written by Moses, except for the last portion of Deuteronomy because it tells about the death of Moses. These five books lay the foundation for the coming of Christ in that here God chooses and brings into being the nation of Israel. As God’s chosen people, Israel became the custodians of the Old Testament, the recipients of the covenants of promise, and the channel of Messiah (Rom. 3:2; 9:1-5). Genesis, The Book of; First book of Moses – The book of Beginnings; "origin," "source," or "beginning." The first of the sacred books in the Old Testament; so called from the title given to it in the Greek versions of the Old Testament, signifying "the book of a generation," or production of all things. Genesis deals with history from the creation to the death of Joseph. The book of Genesis is the history of certain individuals which gives a foundation for the beginning of creation. It is a recording of generations of people and it gives the Bible unity. Genesis gives us a look at the start of all creation! It looks at the beginning of the world, man and woman, sin, the beginnings of the different nations and civilization. It promises deliverance to the people. It shows the fall of man and promises the a redeemer to save mankind. Moses wrote it during 1450 to 1410 BC. The themes of the book are: First section: Chapters 1-11: The creation of the world – Disobedience of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from Eden – The murder of Abel and the birth of Seth – Genealogy of the antediluvian patriarchs – The deluge – The building of the tower of Babel – The confusion of language – The line of decent from Shem to Abram. Second Section: Chapters 12-36: The call of Abraham – The destruction of Sodom – The birth of Isaac – Jacob’s plot to secure the blessing – His flight to Padan Aram – His wives and children – His struggle by the brook Jabbok – Descendants of Esau. Third Section: Chapters 37-50: Joseph sold into captivity – His elevation in Egypt – His meetings with his brothers – The migration of Jacob and his sons to Egypt – Death of Jacob and Joseph. (50 Chapters; 1,533 Verses; 38,267 Words; Average Readability – 5.10 grade level). Exodus, The Book of – A departure. In the Bible this usually refers to Israel's departure from Egypt and is the title of the book which records this event. This book continues the history at the point that Genesis left off. It starts with Israel in bondage in Egypt and ends with the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The book of Exodus gives, as its main lesson deliverance of the people from Egypt. It is the God’s promise being fulfilled from Genesis 15. The nation of Israel is born in this book. The order of law is established and ritualistic worship is originated in this book. God is shown as the universal control of all things. He is redeemer and judge of all people including His enemies. He will always be there and he will never fail. The birth and rescue of Moses are given in Exodus and Moses is called to lead the people across the Red Sea. The story of the Then Commandments and the manna can also found in this book. The tabernacle of Idol worship and the Golden are spoke of in Exodus also. -5-
The themes of the book are: First Section: Chapters 1-18: The oppression of Jacob’s Descendants by Pharaoh – The birth of Moses – His adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter – His flight to Midian – His commission to deliver his people – The ten plagues – The departure of the Israelites – The drowning of the Egyptians in the Red sea – Second Section: Chapters 20-40: The promulgation of the law on Sinai – The making of the golden calf – Directions for the construction of the Tabernacle. (40 Chapters; 1,213 Verses; 32,692 Words; Average Readability – 6.22 grade level). Leviticus, The Book of – The third book of the Pentateuch; so called in the Vulgate, after the LXX., because it treats chiefly of the Levitical service. The name Leviticus is actually an adjective, meaning the "Levitical" (book) .It is taken from the name Levi, the priestly tribe. Thus, the book contains mostly ceremonial laws for priests and the people. Some brief historical sections are included. It was written while Israel was at Mt. Sinai apparently during the month between the completion of the tabernacle (Ex. 40:17) and the departure from Mt. Sinai (Num. 1:1; 10:11). This was in 1445 B.C. The book of the Levites. This book relates to the holiness of God and God’s conditions for fellowshipping with Him. The sinful life of man is revealed in this book along with a revealing of atonement and the provision given to man to come before God. This is a book of sacrifice, holiness, priesthood and atonement. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-7: Laws regulating the offering of sacrifices – chapters 8-10: The consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood – chapters 11-16: Ceremonial laws, the dietary laws, and directions for the treatment of lepers and other afflicted persons – chapters 1727: laws of marriage, feast and fasts, and regulation of various problems of social life. (27 Chapters; 859 Verses; 24,546 Words; Average Readability – 6.59 grade level). Numbers, The Book of – The fourth book of the Bible; part of the Pentateuch written by Moses. The book gets its name from the fact that it records the two censuses or numberings of Israel. It gives an account of Israel's wilderness wanderings from Sinai to Moab. Numbers takes up where Exodus leaves off. The book covers a time span of about 39 years (cf. Num. 1:1; 33:38; and Deut. 1:3). This would be about 1445-1407 B.C. Here we find the walk of faith being introduced. The people of God must begin to trust in God to fulfill His promises to them. This book shows the seriousness of staying away from a life of sin. It also gives the census of the people. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-10: The census – The order of march – The celebration of the second Passover, and the departure from Sinai – chapters 11-14: Arrival at the borders of Canaan – The commission of the spies – The panic of the people, and their punishment. Chapters 15-19: Proclamation of further laws and the record of journeys – Chapters 20-25: Second approach to the borders of Canaan – The transgression of Moses and Aaron, and the narrative of Balaam. Chapters 26-36: The new census – Further laws, and the death of Aaron. (36 Chapters; 1,288 Verses; 32,902 Words; Average Readability – 7.31 grade level). Deuteronomy, The name Deuteronomy means "Second Law" (or "The Law Repeated"). The fifth book of the Pentateuch, so called by the Greeks, because in it Moses recapitulates what he had ordained in the preceding books. The book consists of three extended addresses by Moses (chapter 1-30), followed by certain closing words and events (chapters 31-34). Many of the laws were of a social, civil, and political nature such as Israel would need when they entered the “promised land.” It contains the three closing message of Moses to his people. This book contains the messages of Moses during the last years of his life. It shows the power structure of Israel after her establishment. It gives a historical counting and stresses the main provisions, curses, blessings and desires of the covenant between God and man. Jesus used quotes from the book of Deuteronomy to oppose Satan. He also used quotes from this book to give a summary of the Law. Many other books in the New Testament quote from this book also. The Ten Commandments are spoken of in this book. False prophets and seers are spoken of also. -6-
The makeup of the book is that of three farewell addresses of Moses: First: Chapters 1-4: On the deliverance from Egypt and the forty years’ wandering. Second. Chapters 5-26: Restatement, exposition and expansion of the law – Third: Chapters 27-30: Directions for the preservation of the law, and solemn appeals and warnings. Chapters 31-34: The song of Moses – His last blessing and death. (34 Chapters; 959 Verses; 28,461 Words; Average Readability – 7.01 grade level). II. History: As previously mentioned, the Old Testament can be divided into five basic sections with each providing a specific focus with regard to the person to Christ. With Joshua through Esther, we come to the second group of twelve books that deals with the history of the nation of Israel. These books cover the life of the nation from their possession of the land down to the two deportations and loss of the land because of unbelief and disobedience. Covering about 800 years of Israel’s history, these twelve books tell about the conquering and possession of Canaan, the reigns of the judges, the establishment of kings, the division of Israel into the northern and Southern Kingdoms, the fall of the Northern Kingdom to Assyria, the exile of the Southern Kingdom into Babylon, and the return to Jerusalem under the leadership of men like Nehemiah and Ezra. This section, from Joshua to Esther is the "heart of Hebrew History." It shows the building of a great nation, its downfall through sin, and finally the return and restoration of the Jews from captivity. Joshua, The Book of – This book contains the narrative of all these transactions, and was written by Joshua himself, or under his direction, B. C. 1427. From Josh. 24:27 on, was of course added by a later hand; but all was done under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16). This book is named after its principle character, Joshua. It begins with the events after the death of Moses, tells of the invasion and conquest of Canaan, the division of the land and ends with the death of Joshua. It is evident that Joshua himself is the author. This book gives a description of the conquest and division of Canaan. It is full of writings pertaining to prostitution, sacrificing of children and the immoral structure of the religious system. The book of Joshua also shows the faithfulness of God toward Israel. It stresses the importance of the written law of God. “This book of law shall not depart from your mouth...” Joshua 1:8. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-12: The charge of Joshua – The crossing of the Jordan – The fall of Jericho – Various battles and sieges. Chapters 13-22: The division of the land among the tribes – Assignment of Levitical cities of refuge – return of the eastern tribes. Chapters 23-24: Joshua’s farewell address – Pledge of the people to fidelity – Joshua’s death and burial.(24 Chapters: 658 Verses; 18,858; Average Readability – 7.62 grade level) Judges, The Book of – This book contains the annals of the times in which Israel was ruled by judges, and is often referred to in the New Testament and other parts of the Bible. This book is the account of 15 of these judges who ruled in Israel over a period of about 300 years. It begins with the history after the death of Joshua and ends with the death of Samson. The events in the last few chapters (17-21) occurred long before most of the events recorded previously in the book. This book tells of repeated cycles of history in Israel. The cycles are as follows: (1) Israel goes into idolatry; (2) Servitude to foreign nations; (3) Sorrow and supplications; and finally, (4) God sends a judge (deliverer) to save them. Judges 21:25 most aptly characterizes the entire book of Judges; "In those days there was no King of Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Samuel is thought to be the human author. The book of Judges stands in stark contrast to Joshua. There, an obedient people conquered the land through trust in the power of God. But in Judges, a disobedient and idolatrous people are frequently defeated because of their rebellion against God. In seven distinct cycles of sin, Judges shows how the nation has set aside God’s law and in its place “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (21:25). Result: corruption from within and oppression from without. From time to time God raises up military champions to throw off the yoke of bondage and restore the nation to pure worship. But all too soon the “sin cycle” begins again as the nation’s spiritual temperature grows -7-
steadily colder. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1: A list of conquered and unconquered districts. Chapters 2-5: The people delivered from the oppression of their enemies by Othniel, Deborah and Barak. Chapters 6-8: The exploits og Gideon. Chapters 9-12: Jephthah’s victories and his vow. Chapters 13-16: The history of Samson. Chapters 17-21: Two specimen instances of moral decadence. (21 chapters: 618 verses: 18,971 words; Average Readability – 6.73 grade level) Ruth, the Book of – This is a beautiful love story that occurred at the same time as Judges. Ruth, a Moabitess, who having returned with her mother-in-law Naomi to Judea, probably about the time of Gideon, soon afterwards married Boaz, a kinsman of Naomi. From this marriage descended David, and through him our Saviour Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5). The Book of Ruth contains this history, told in a most simple and affecting manner. The author is unknown but it was probably written in the time of David. Besides showing God's marvelous grace in accepting gentiles into the chosen nation of Israel, the book is important in that it traces the chosen line of Abraham's descendants down from Judah's son Perez through David the king. (Ruth 4:18-20). The object of the writer, no doubt, was to trace the genealogy of king David and tell of God’s Providential Sovereignty. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: Elimelech and Naomi in Moab – Death of Elimelech and his two sons – Naomi, with Ruth, her daughter-in-law, go to Bethlehem. Chapters 2-3: Ruth receives kindness from Boaz. Chapter 4: Ruth married to Boaz, becomes great-grandmother of David. (4 chapters: 85 verses: 2,578 words; Average Readability – 5.08 grade level) 1 Samuel , the Book of – The Biographies of three important persons are in this book: Samuel, the last judge and first great prophet in Israel, anoints the first king. Though Saul’s physical credentials are impressive, his indifferent heart attitude toward God results in the kingdom being taken away from his family. In his place Samuel anoints young David as the king-elect. David becomes a growing threat to the insanely jealous Saul, eventually fleeing to the wilderness for his very life. But God’s hand of protection is clearly upon David, even as God’s hand of judgment is being felt by Saul and his family. Foolishly consulting a medium at En Dor, Saul hears his own doom pronounced. True to the prophet’s word, Saul and his sons are killed the next day in combat. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-7: The birth and dedication of Samuel – God’s revelation to him – The Israelites defeated by the Philistines – Death of Eli and his sons. Chapters 8-10: The demand for a king and the appointment of Saul. Chapters 11-15: Saul’s disobedience and God’s rejection of him. Chapters 16-31: The anointing of David – David’s victory over Goliath – Saul’s jealousy of David – Saul’s pursuit of him – The death of Samuel and suicide of Saul. (31 chapters: 810 verses: 25,061 words; Average Readability – 6.04 grade level) 2 Samuel , the Book of – This book is the account of the reign of King David. These two books both get their names from Samuel the prophet, who is the principal character in the first book and who anointed Saul and David. Soon after the death of Saul, David the king-elect becomes monarch first over Judah (where he reigns with Hebron as his capital for seven and one-half years) and finally over all Israel (where he makes Jerusalem his capital and reigns for thirty-three years). Thus, Second Samuel chronicles the forty-year reign of the man who lived at the halfway point between Abraham and Christ – about 1000 B.C. David’s triumphs bring the nation to the very zenith of its power. But his dual sins of adultery and murder bring personal and national chastening from the Lord. Throughout his life, David seeks God zealously and confesses his sins promptly – actions befitting the one called by God “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22). The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-4: Consolidation of all Israel under David. Chapters 510: David’ wars and victories. Chapters 11-12: David’s heinous sin. Chapters 13-20: The conspiracy of Absalom – David’s flight – Defeat and death of Absalom – David’s return to Jerusalem. Chapters 21-24: A Psalm of David – The numbering of the people – Pestilence as a punishment. (24 chapters: 695 verses: 20,612 words; Average Readability – 6.15 grade level) 1 Kings , the Book of – This book begins with the account of David's old age, and ends shortly after the -8-
death of King Ahab. It includes the reign of Solomon (chs 2-11), the account of the civil war which divided Israel north and south (chs 12-16) and the ministry of Elijah (chs 17-22). The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-2: Death of David and the accession of Solomon. Chapters 3-7: The building of the Temple. Chapter 8: Solomon’s apostasy and death. Chapters 9-11: Solomon’s wealth and power – Visit of the Queen of Sheba – Solomon’s apostasy and death. Chapter 12: Rejection by Rehoboam of the petition of ten tribes for remission of burdens – They revolt and make Jeroboam king. Chapters 13-16: Histoy of the two kingdoms in alternate passages. Chapters 17-22: Ahab, king of Israel, with Jezebel, his wife, establish the worship of Baal – Elijah’s protest – A drought in answer to Elijah’s prayer – The challenge of Elijah to Baal’s priests at Carmel – Death of Ahab. (22 chapters: 816 verses: 24,524 words; Average Readability – 6.86 grade level). 2 Kings , the Book of – 2 Kings begins with Ahab's son Ahaziah and ends with the Babylonian captivity of Judah. Thus, 2 Kings brings us almost down to the end of O.T. history. Here we find the ministries of Elijah (chs 1-2) and Elisha (chs 2-9), and history of the divided kingdom. There were only wicked kings in the north (chs 9-17) and these people were taken captive by Assyria in 722 BC. In the south there were a few good kings, but these people too went into captivity in Babylon in 606 (chs 18-25). The purpose of these two books is to demonstrate, on the basis of Israel's history, that the welfare of the nation ultimately depended upon the faithfulness of the people in regard to the covenant with Jehovah. Furthermore, this record was to set forth those events which were important from the stand point of God and His scheme of redemption. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-6: Translation of Elijah – Succession of Elisha – The healing of Naaman – Various acts of Elisha. Chapters 7-17: Closing events of the history of the Northern kingdom – The deportation of its people to Assyria. Chapters 18-25: religious reform in the southern kingdom under Hezekiah and Josiah – Jerusalem besieged and captured – The beginning of the captivity in Babylon. (25 chapters: 719 verses: 23,532 words; Average Readability – 7.00 grade level). 1 Chronicles, The Book of – The books of First and Second Chronicles cover the same period of Jewish history described in Second Samuel through Second Kings but the perspective of Chronicles is different. These books are no mere repetition of the same material, but rather are a divine editorial on the history of God’s people. While Second Samuel and Kings give political history of Israel and Judah, Chronicles gives a religious history of the Davidic dynasty of Judah. The former were written from a prophetic and moral viewpoint, the latter from a priestly and spiritual perspective. The Book of First Chronicles begins with the royal line of David, then traces the spiritual significance of David’s righteous reign. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-9: Genealogy of the returned exiles traced back to Adam. Chapters 10-29: The history of the southern kingdom from the death of Saul to the death of David – David’s preparation for the building of the Temple – The arrangement and appointments of the Levites for the Temple services. (29 chapters: 942 verses: 20,369 words; Average Readability – 6.53 grade level). 2 Chronicles, The Book of – The Book of Second Chronicles parallels First and Second Kings but virtually ignores the northern kingdom of Israel because of its false worship and refusal to acknowledge the temple in Jerusalem. Chronicles focuses on those kings who pattern their life and reign after that of godly king David. It gives extended treatment to such zealous reformers as Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah. The temple and temple worship are central throughout the book, as befitting a nation whose worship of God is central to its very survival. The book begins with Solomon’s glorious temple, and concludes with Cyrus’ edict to rebuild the temple more than four hundred years later! The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-9: The accession of Solomon – Building, furnishing and dedication of the Temple. Chapters 10-28: History of the southern kingdom to the death of Ahaz. Chapters 29-36: Hezekiah restores the worship of God – Repair of the Temple under Josiah – The -9-
finding of the book of law – Death of Josiah – The burning of the Temple – The captivity. (36 chapters: 822 verses: 26,074 words; Average Readability – 8.14 grade level) Ezra, The Book of – Ezra continues the Old Testament narrative of Second Chronicles by showing how God fulfilled His promise to return His people to the Land of Promise after seventy years of exile. Israel’s “second exodus,” this one from Babylonia, is less impressive than the Egyptian bondage because only a remnant choose to leave. Ezra relates the story of two returns from Babylonia, the first led by Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple (chs. 1-6), and the second under the leadership of Ezra to rebuild the spiritual condition of the people (chs. 7-10). Sandwiched between these two accounts is a gap of nearly six decades during which Esther lives and rules as queen in Persia. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1- 4: Cyrus invites the exiles to return to Palestine – His offer accepted by 42,360 persons with there servants – Their genealogy by families – The beginning of the rebuilding of the Temple. Chapters 5-6: Resumption of the building after an interval of fifteen years – The new Temple dedicated – Chapters 7-10: The return of a second band of exiles under Ezra – Social reforms instituted. (10 chapters: 280 verses: 7,441 words; Average Readability – 8.19 grade level). Nehemiah, The Book of – Nehemiah, contemporary of Ezra and cupbearer to the king in the Persian palace, leads the third and last return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. His concern for the welfare of Jerusalem and its inhabitants prompts him to take bold action. Granted permission to return to his homeland, Nehemiah challenges his countrymen to arise and rebuild the shattered walls of Jerusalem. In spite of opposition from without and abuse from within, the task is completed in only fifty-two days – a feat which even the enemies of Israel must attribute to God’s enabling. By contrast, the task of reviving and reforming the people of God within those rebuilt walls demands years of Nehemiah’s godly life and leadership. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1,2: Nehemiah’s commission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem – His return and examination of the ruins. Chapters 3 – 6: Opposition of the enemy – Measures for defence – Completion of the work. Chapters 7 – 13: Promulgation of the law – reorganization of the Government – A solemn fast observed. – Stern measures against offenders. (13 chapters: 406 verses: 10,483 words; Average Readability – 7.78 grade level) Esther, The Book of – The story of Esther’s life fits between chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra, between the first return led by Zerubbabel and the second return lid by Ezra. It provides the only biblical portrait of the vast majority of Jews who chose to remain in Persia rather than return to Palestine after the Exile. God’s hand of providence and protection on behalf of His people is evident throughout the book, though His name does not appear once! Haman’s plot which brings grave danger to the Jews (chs. 1–4) is countered by the courage of beautiful Esther and the counsel of her wise cousin Mordecai, resulting in a great deliverance (chapters 5-10). The Feast of Purim becomes an annual reminder of God’s faithfulness on behalf of His people. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-2: The fall of Vashti and the elevation of Esther. Chapters 3,4: The plot of Haman to exterminate the Jews – Mordecai’s demand on Esther to thwart it. Chapters 5-7: Esther’s denunciation of Haman to the King – Hman hanged. Chapters 8-10: Permission granted the Jews to defend themselves – The slaughter of their enemies – The institution of Purim. (10 chapters: 167 verses: 5,637 words; Average Readability – 8.25 grade level) III- The Poetical Books – Until recently, not many people knew that fully one-third of the Hebrew Bible was written in poetry. This became more obvious when poetic sections were set off from prose sections in some English translations. In fact, there are only five Old Testament books that appear to have no poetry: Leviticus, Ruth, Ezra, Haggai, and Malachi. The books classed as poetical are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations (although it is included with the “prophetic” books). The term “poetical” is not to be taken as implying fancifulness or unreality, but as relating to form only. They are the books of the human -10-
experiences of the people of God under the various exercises of earthly life; but those experiences are, apart from the mere external setting, wrought in them by the Spirit, interpreted to us by the Spirit, and written by holy men of God as they were moved by the Spirit. While this is true of all these books, the Psalms included, the latter have also a prophetic character. The Hebrew poetic form is peculiar, and demands a word of explanation. Rhythm is not achieved by the repetition of similar sounds, as in rhymed verse; nor by rhythmic accent as in blank verse, but by repetition of ideas. This is called parallelism; e.g. “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble.” (Psa. 9:9) Parallelism is called synonymous when the thought is identical, as in the above instance; antithetic when the primary and secondary thoughts are in contrast; e.g. “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: But the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psa. 1:6); and synthetic when the thought is developed or enriched by the parallel; e.g. “And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; Yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.” (Job 11:18) Under this method the Poetical Books are epic, lyric, and dramatic, and supply examples of literary expression unmatched in uninspired literature. The five books now known as the poetical books serve as a hinge which links the past of the historical books to the future of the prophetical books. These books explore the experiential present and emphasize a life-style of godliness. Unlike the Pentateuch and twelve historical books, the poetical books do not advance the story of the nation Israel. Instead, they delve deeply into crucial questions about pain, God, wisdom, life, and love – all in the present tense. In this section of the Old Testament, there are five books: Job, The Book of – The Book of Job begins in heaven with a conversation between God and Satan, then moves to earth for a detailed look at the life of an ancient patriarch named Job. Overnight, Job’s blessings dissolve into heartaches as he seers the loss is health, wealth, family, and status. Left in turmoil over his sudden change of fortune, Job seeks an answer to the question, “Why?” Four human counselors are unable to provide the insight Job desperately needs. Finally it remains Jehovah to teach Job some valuable lessons on the sovereignty of God and the need for complete trust in the Lord to is constantly at work behind the scenes. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1 – 3: The character and wealth of Job – God gives the accuser permission to test tis fidelity by affliction – Job’s loss of property and of children and of health – Arrival of his three friends – His lament over his misery. Chapters 4 – 31: Speeches of the three friends to show that calamity is always a punishment for sin – Each speech elicits an answer from Job protesting his integrity. Chapters 32 – 37: A speech of Elihu presenting his theory of affliction. Chapters 38 – 41: God interposes to reprove men who criticize his government. Chapter 42: Job’s submission – God accepts it – Reproves the three friends – Restoration of Job’s prosperity. (42 chapters: 1,070 verses: 10,102 words; Average Readability – 4.27 grade level) Psalms, The Book of – The Book of Psalms (from a Greek word meaning “a song sung to the accompaniment of a plucked instrument”) was written and compiled over a period of perhaps a thousand years: from the time of Moses (Psa. 90) to the time of the return from exile (Psa. 126). The book was used as the temple hymn book of the Kingdom Period, and stands as the longest, most oftquoted, most diverse book of the Old Testament. The themes of the book are found to be a combination of five books, each ending with a doxology. The First Book: Psalms 1 – 41, attributed chiefly to the authorship of David. The Second Book, by, or for, the sons of Korah, singers in the Temple service. The Third Book: Psalms 73 – 89, by, or for, Asaph, another musical leader. The Fourth Book. Psalms 90 – 106, chiefly anonymous, belonging to the period preceding the captivity. The Fifth Book: Psalms 107 – 150, used by the returned exiles, including the marching songs, or songs of degrees, or ascents, chanted by the pilgrims going to Jerusalem to the annual feasts. (150 in Number: 2,461 verses: 43,743 words; Average Readability – 3.91 grade level) Proverbs, The Book of – Proverbs is perhaps the most practical book in the Old Testament because it -11-
teaches wisdom (lit., “skillful living”) in the multiple aspects of everyday life. In short pithy statements, maxims, and stories, Solomon and other contributors set forth about nine hundred proverbs – inspired precepts dealing with wisdom and folly, pride and humility, justice and vengeance, laziness and work, poverty and wealth, friends and neighbors, love and lust, anger and strife, masters and servants, life and death. These maxims are not theoretical but practical; they are easily memorized, timeless truths that touch on every facet of human relationships. Reading a proverb takes only a few seconds; applying a proverb can take a lifetime! The themes of the book are: Chapters 1 – 9: A eulogy of wisdom – Its value as a preservative and guide to young men – Its application to daily life. Chapters 10 –21:sisconnected wise sayings. Chapters 22 – 24: Words of the wise or proverbs in use. Chapters 25 – 29: Proverbs collected in the reign of Hezekiah attributed to Solomon. Chapters 30 – 31: Appendix of the words of Agur and Lemuel, and an acrostic poem on the good woman. (31 chapters: 915 verses: 15,043 words; Average Readability – 3.91 grade level) Ecclesiastes, The Book of – Ecclesiastes is a profound book recording an intense search by the Preacher (traditionally understood to be Solomon) for meaning and satisfaction in life – in spite of the inequities inconsistencies, and seeming absurdities of life on earth. The key word in Ecclesiastes is vanity, the futile emptiness of trying to make sense out of life apart from God. Looked at “under the sun” (8:17), Life’s pursuits lead only to frustration. Power, prestige, pleasure – nothing can fill the God-shaped void in man’s life – except God Himself But seen from His perspective, life becomes meaningful and fulfilling Skepticism and despair melt away when each day is viewed as a gift from God.1 The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: The prologue – Statement of the problem to be solved – A study of the philosophy of life – The preacher’s disappointment. Chapter 2: Happiness sought in pleasure, and in the accumulation of wealth. Chapter 3: Appropriate seasons for everything – Death the common lot. Chapters 4 – 11: The supremacy of God – His plans inscrutable – Incomprehensible anomalies in life – The best plan, a moderate enjoyment of life. Chapters 12: A poetic picture of old age – The general conclusion that in fearing God and keeping his commandments, is the best result attained. (12 chapters: 222 verses: 5,584 words; Average Readability – 3.91 grade level; Average Readability – 4.51 grade level) Song of Solomon, The Book of – Song of Solomon is a love song written by Solomon (1:1) and abounding in metaphors and oriental imagery. Historically, it depicts the wooing and wedding of a shepherdess by King Solomon, and the joys and heartaches of wedded love. Allegorically, it pictures Israel as God’s espoused bride (see Hosea 2:19–20), and the church as the bride of Christ. As human life finds its highest fulfillment in the love of man and woman, so spiritual life finds its highest fulfillment in the love of God for His people and Christ for His church. The book is arranged like scenes in a drama with three main speakers: the bride (Shulamite), the king (Solomon), and a chorus (daughters of Jerusalem). The themes of the book are: Chapters 1,2: The lament of the bride over her absent Lord – Her tempters to unfaithfulness reproved. Chapters 3: Her recollection of past enjoyment in her Lord’s presence. Chapters 4, 5: Her longing for the Lord and her search for him. Chapters 6, 7: A eulogy of the bride’s beauty and fidelity. Chapter 8: The joy of reunion. (8 chapters: 117 verses: words; Average Readability – 4.37 grade level) IV- Prophecy – The seventeen prophetical books comprise about one-fourth of Scripture and are crucial from a theological and historical point of view. Yet their message and meaning evade more people than any other section of the Bible, principally because of neglect. The Old Testament contains the seventeen inspired writings of sixteen of the Hebrew prophets; four of whom, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel are called the Major (greater) prophets and the other twelve the minor prophets and Christ, who is the Spirit of prophecy and the object of the entire Bible. -12-
Respecting the true chronological order of the prophets, there is, in some cases, great diversity of opinion among Bible scholars. Below is given the arrangement as they are presented in the Hebrew Bible and our common version. 1. Isaiah, wrote near the death of Uzziah king of Judah, and the beginning of the reign of Jotham, B. C. 758, to the reign of Manasseh, B. C. 697. 2. Jeremiah, wrote in the thirteenth year of Josiah king of Judah, B. C. 628. Jeremiah continued to prophesy under Shallum, Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah, to the taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, B. C. 588. It is supposed he died two years afterwards in Egypt. 3. Ezekiel, carried captive to Babylon with Jeconiah king of Judah, 598 B. C. He began to prophesy about B. C. 590; and continued, under Nebuchadnezzar, till fourteen years, after the final capture of Jerusalem B. C. 588. 4. Daniel, taken into Chaldea while young, B. C. 606, the fourth year of Jehoiadim king of Judah. He prophesied in Babylon to the end of the captivity and probably finished about 534 B. C. 5. Hosea, served under Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and under Jeroboam II And his successors, kings of Israel. From about 785 to 725 B. C. 6. Joel, served under Uzziah king of Judah, nearly 800 B. C., before Amos and Hosea came upon the stage. 7. Amos, wrote under Uzziah king of Judah, and during the latter years of Jeroboam II, king of Israel. About 787 B. C. 8. Obadiah, wrote near the fall and captivity of Jerusalem, B. C. 588, and before the desolation of Idumaea. 9. Jonah, wrote during the reign of Jeroboam III, king of Israel, which commenced 825 B. C.; or perhaps as early as Joash, the predecessor of Jeroboam. 10. Micah, served under Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Jotham began to reign B. C. 758, and Hezekiah died B. C. 697. Thus Micah was contemporary with Isaiah. 11. Nahum, wrote in the latter part of the reign of Hezekiah, and after the expedition of Sennacherib. Between 710 and 700 B. C. 12. Habakkuk, served in Judah, near the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, about 610 B. C., and before the coming of Nebuchadnezzar. 13. Zephaniah, wrote soon after the beginning of the reign of Josiah, and before the destruction of Nineveh. About B. C. 630. 14. Haggai, returned from the captivity B. C. 536, and prophesied in the second year of Darius son of Hystaspes, B. C. 520. 15. Zechariah, prophesied in Judea at the same time as Haggai, B. C. 520, and seems to have continued after him. 16. Malachi is supposed to have prophesied about 416 B. C., in the latter part of the administration of Nehemiah at Jerusalem. 17. Christ, of whom all the prophets bore witness (Luke 24:27,44; Acts 10:43; 1 Peter 1:10-11), is eminently THE PROPHET of his church in all ages (Deut. 18:15-19; Acts 3:22-24), revealing to them, by his inspired servants, by himself, and by his Spirit, all we know of God and immortality. There is a great diversity and individuality among the prophets ranging from the sophistication of Isaiah to the simplicity of Amos. Their personalities, backgrounds, interests, and writing styles vary widely, but they shared a common conviction, courage, and commitment. They wrote from the ninth to the fifth centuries b.c. and spanned God’s program from their day to the new heaven and new earth. Of the seventeen prophetic books, twelve were preexilic, two were exilic, and three were post-exilic. Isaiah, The Book of – Isaiah, the “Mount Everest of Hebrew prophecy,” resembles the Bible in miniature. Its first thirty-nine chapters correspond to the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and stress the righteousness, holiness, and justice of God. The prophet announces judgment upon -13-
immoral and idolatrous people beginning why Judah, then Judah’s neighboring nations, and finally the whole world. Surely there is cause to groan under God’s chastening hand. But the last twenty, seven chapters correspond to the twenty-seven books of the New Testament and portray God’s glory, compassion, and undeserved favor. Messiah will come as a Savior to bear a cross and as a Sovereign to wear a crown. Therefore, “ ‘Comfort, yes comfort My people!’ says your God” (40:1). The themes of the book are: Chapters 1 – 12: The prophet’s commission to warn his people – Their sins and the judgments impending. Chapters 13 – 23: The future punishment of Israel’s foes: Babylon, Syria, Moab, Egypt, Persia. Chapters 24 – 27: The general judgment of the nations – Predication of the return to their own land of people composing the chastened remnant of Israel and Judah. Chapters 28 –35: An arraignment of both kingdoms – A protest against relying on the help of Egypt for deliverance from Assyria. Chapters 36 – 39: The Assyrian invasion of Judea – Hezekiah’s recovery from illness – Visitors from Babylon. Chapters 40 – 48: Words of comfort for the afflicted people – The captives may surely look forward to restoration. Chapters 49 – 57: The triumph of the suffering servant of God – Messiah’s glory and power. Chapters 58 – 66: A vision of the kingdom re-established under the messiah – Its prosperity and happiness. (66 chapters: 1,292 verses: 37.044 words; Average Readability – 5.35 grade level) Jeremiah, The Book of – Jeremiah is the autobiography of one of Judah’s greatest prophets during the nation’s darkest days. Apostasy, idolatry, perverted worship, moral decay – these were the conditions under which Jeremiah lived and ministered. An avalanche of judgment is coming, and Jeremiah is called to proclaim that message faithfully for forty years. In response to his sermons, the tender prophet of God experiences intense sorrows at the hands of his countrymen: opposition, beatings, isolation, imprisonment. But though rejected and persecuted, Jeremiah lives to see many of his prophecies come true. The Babylonian army arrives; vengeance falls; and God’s holiness and justice are vindicated, though it breaks the prophet’s heart. Thus he is called the “weeping prophet.” The themes of the book are: Chapters 1 –6: The prophet’s call – The message intrusted to him. Chapters 7 – 10: A call to repentance – Lament over the approaching desolation of Judaea. Chapters 11 – 13: Discourses of warning delivered during a tour through the land. Chapters 14 – 17: A prophecy of drought. Chapters 18 – 20: Parables of the potter and his work. Chapters 21 – 23: Objections addressed to the king and his officers. Chapters 30 – 31: Promises of return from Babylon. Chapters 32 – 45: The prophet imprisoned – Prophecy of the capture of Jerusalem – The Prophet’s manuscript burned – Accused of treachery – The city taken – Jeremiah taken to Egypt. Chapters 46 – 52: prophecies against the Philistines, the Moabites, the Ammonites and Babylon – The sacking and destruction of Jerusalem. (52 chapters: 1,364 verses: 42,659 words; Average Readability – 6.60 grade level) Lamentations, The Book of – Lamentations, perhaps the saddest book of the Old Testament, is penned by the mourning prophet Jeremiah after the fall of Jerusalem. In five “dirges of death,” Jeremiah expresses the horror and helplessness of seeing the Jews’ proudest city reduced to rubble. Defeat, slaughter, and ruination – the horrors so long promised and so frequently ignored – now fall from the hands of the brutal Babylonians. And yet, even as the prophet’s heart breaks, he pauses to proclaim a ringing testimony of deep faith in the goodness and mercy of God. Though the present is bleak with judgment, the future sparkles with the promise of renewal and restoration – a promise as regain arts the dawn. Indeed, “Great is Your faithfulness” (3:23). The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: The loneliness of the land. Chapter 2: Lament over the ruined palaces. Chapter 3: The relation of God to the calamity. Chapter 4: The culmination of the horrors of the siege. Chapter 5: A dirge on the desolation – A prayer for the restoration. (5 chapters: 154 verses: 3,415 words; Average Readability – 4.78 grade level) Ezekiel, The Book of – Ezekiel prophesies among the Jewish exiles in Babylon during the last days of Judah’s decline and downfall. His ministry is in some ways similar to that of his older contemporary, -14-
Jeremiah. But while Jeremiah delivers a chilling message of destruction in Jerusalem, Ezekiel brings a warming message of reconstruction in Babylon. Jeremiah is a man of tears; Ezekiel is a man of visions. And those visions stretch from horror to hope; from condemnation upon Judah’s faithless leaders and godless foes, to consolation regarding Judah’s future. Through it all, mankind would see the glory of Israel’s sovereign God, and “they shall know that I am the Lord” (6:10). The themes of the book are: Chapters 1 –14: Various types of the destruction of Jerusalem – Warnings of its desolation. Chapters 15-19: Parables of the vine, the abandoned child, and the lion’s whelps. Chapters 20-24: The certainty of the approaching Judgment – Parables of the sword and the boiling pot. Chapters 25-32: The doom of the Gentile nations – The punishment of Tyre – Of Egypt. Chapters 33-48: A message of mercy – A promise of restoration – The vision of dry bones – Of the temple rebuilt – Of the glories of the reorganized kingdom. (48 chapters: 1,273 verses: 39,407 words; Average Readability – 6.29 grade level) Daniel, The Book of – Daniel, sometimes referred to as the “Apocalypse of the Old Testament,” presents a majestic sweep of prophetic history. The Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans will come and go, but God will establish His people forever. Nowhere is this theme more apparent than in hte life of Daniel, a young God-fearing Jew transplanted from his homeland and raise in Babylonia. His adventures – and those of his friends – in the palace, the fiery furnace, and the lion’s den show that even during the Exile God has not forgotten His chosen nation. And through Daniel, god provides dreams – and interpretations of dreams – designed to convince Jew and Gentile alike that wisdom and power belong to Him alone! The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: The dietary test of the students. Chapter 2: The interpretation of the King’s dream of the great image. Chapter 3: The deliverance of the three Jews from the fiery furnace. Chapter 4: The king’s dream of the tree and its interpretation. Chapter 5: Belshazzar’s feast and the handwriting on the wall. Chapter 6: Daniel’s deliverance from the den of lions. Chapter 7: Daniel’s vision of the four beasts. Chapter 8: The vision of the he-goat. Chapter 9: The revelations of the angel. Chapters 10-12: The revelation of the time of the end. (12 chapters: 357 verses: 11,606 words; Average Readability – 6.84 grade level) Hosea, The Book of – Hosea is called by God to prophesy during Israel’s last hours, just as Jeremiah would be called years later to prophesy to the crumbling kingdom of Judah. Hosea’s personal tragedy becomes an intense illustration of Israel’s national tragedy. It is a story of one-sided to love and faithfulness – between a prophet and his faithless wife (Hosea and Gomer) and Jehovah and His faithless people. Just as Gomer is married to Hosea, Israel is betrothed to God. In both cases the bride plays the harlot and runs after other lovers. But unconditional love keeps seeking even when it is spurned. In Hosea’s case, that means buying back his wife from the slave market; for Israel i The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-3: The prophet’s domestic sorrow and shame – His effort to redeem his wife. Chapters 4 & 5: The behavior of the wife a type of the unfaithfulness of Israel. Chapters 6-14: An appeal to Israel to return to the Lord – God’s patience with the unfaithful nation – The promise of repentance and pardon. (14 chapters: 197 verses: 5,175 words; Average Readability – 4.71 grade level) Joel, The Book of – Joel uses a recent calamity in the nation of Judah to teach his hearers a prophetic lesson. A locust plague had invaded the land, destroying every green thing in its path. Grapevines were stripped clean; grain fields lay bare; fruit trees stood leafless and unproductive. The devastation was so complete that even grain offerings to God were impossible. Joel uses the locust invasion as the starting point of his sermon. As bad as the locust plague was, it would pale by comparison with what God was about to bring upon His people. An army from the north would come to attack the nation, leaving behind devastation even more complete than that of the locusts. The only hope for Joel’s hearers: heartfelt repentance before that terrible day arrives. The themes of the book are: A plague of locusts, typifying the ravages of invaders – A call to repentance and prayer – A promise of forgiveness, restoration and spiritual blessings. (3 chapters: -15-
73 verses: 2,034 words; Average Readability – 5.54 grade level) Amos, The Book of – Amos prophesied during a period of national optimism in Israel. Business was booming and boundaries were bulging. But below the surface, greed and injustice were festering. Hyprocritical religious motions had replaced true worship, creating a false sense Delete Duplicate security and a growing callousness to God’s disciplining hand. Famine, drought, plagues, death, destruction – nothing could force the people to their knees. Amos, the country-farmer-turned-prophet, lashes out at sin unflinchingly, trying to visualize the nearness of God’s judgment and mobilize the nation to repentance. The nation, like a basket of rotting fruit, stands ripe for judgment because of its hypocrisy and spiritual indifference. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1: The punishment of Israel’s enemies. Chapters 2-6: The story of God’s patience with Israel – His discipline and a warning of further dealing – Persistent sin to be followed by utter destruction. Chapters 7-9: The vision of the plumb-line – Of the basket of summer fruit – The promise of restoration. (9 chapters: 146 verses: 4,217 words; Average Readability – 5.71 grade level) Obadiah, The Book of – This obscure prophet of the southern kingdom directs his brief oracle to the nation of Edom that bordered Judah on the southeast. Edom (descended from Esau) refused to act as his brother’s keeper toward Judah (descended from Jacob). Because they gloated when Jerusalem was invaded, their judgment would be nothing less than total destruction. The book portrays fighting and feuding between twin brothers (Esau and Jacob, Gen. 27) that leads to national enmity between their respective peoples (Edomites and Israelites). In an hour of need when Israel’s enemies were knocking at the gates of Jerusalem, the Edomites came to the aid of the enemy. For their unwillingness to serve as their brothers keep; the Edomites would one day become extinct. Obadiah, an obscure prophet of unknown background, describes how Edom would be “cut off forever” (v. 10), God ’s people would be vindicated and God would be recognized as Judge over all the earth. The theme of the book is: A Denunciation of Edom for exulting over Israel’s calamities. (1 chapter: 21 verses: 670 words; Average Readability – 6.13 grade level) Jonah, The Book of – Nineveh was northeast; Tarshish was west. When God called Jonah to preach repentance to the wicked Ninevites, the prophet knew that God’s mercy might follow. He turned down the assignment and headed for Tarshish instead. But once God had dampened his spirits (by tossing him out of the boat and into the water) and demonstrated His protection (by moving him out of the water and into the fish), Jonah realized God was serious about His command! Nineveh must hear the word of the Lord, and so Jonah goes. But though the preaching is a success, the preacher comes away angry and discouraged, and must learn firsthand of God’s compassion upon sinful men. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1: Jonah directed to preach to Nineveh, evades it and is swallowed by a fish. Chapter 2 : The prophet’s submissive prayer – His deliverance. Chapter 3: The message delivered to Nineveh – The repentance of its people. Chapter 4: The prophet mortified by the failure of his prediction - God reproves him for his inhumanity. (4 chapters: 48 verses, 1,321 words; Average Readability – 5.31 grade level) Micah, The Book of – Micah prophesied during a period of intense social injustice in Judah. False prophets preached for riches, not for righteousness. Princes thrived on cruelty, violence, and corruption. Priests ministered more for greed than for God. Landlords stole from the poor and evicted widows. Judges lusted after bribes. Businessmen used deceitful scales and weights. Sin had infiltrated every segment of society. A word from God was mandatory. Micah enumerates the sins of the nation, sins which will ultimately lead to destruction and captivity. But in the midst of blackness there is hope. A Divine Deliverer will appear and righteousness will prevail. Though justice is now trampled underfoot, it will one day triumph. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-3: The northern and southern kingdoms arraigned for oppression and injustice. Chapters 4-5: A prophecy of the two nations established in righteousness -16-
– The Messiah coming out of Bethlehem to purge the land. Chapters 6-7: The kind of reform needed – A turning to righteousness – The promise of pardon. (7 chapters: 105 verses, 3,153 words; Average Readability – 5.31 grade level) Nahum, The Book of – Nineveh was a city built to last. Surrounded by high walls, fortified with two hundred towers, encircled by a deep moat, it was truly an invincible and impregnable fortress – or so the Ninevites thought! But according to the prophet Nahum, the proud city and its inhabitants would be powerless to stand before God’s coming wrath. In the 150 years since Jonah’s remarkable revival, the people of Nineveh had returned to their defiant, immoral ways. Nahum’s preaching is not a call to repentance (like Jonah’s), but a decree of death for an evil people who have “worn out” the patience of God. The themes of the book are: A prophecy of the downfall of Nineveh -The corrupter of the nations to be destroyed. (3 Chapters; 47 Verses; 1,285 Words; Average Readability – 5.03 grade level). Habakkuk, The Book of – Habakkuk looks at his native Judah, observes the violence and injustice on every hand, and cries out to God with some perplexing questions: Why are the wicked prospering in the midst of God’s people? Why are the righteous beaten down? And why is God seemingly inactive and indifferent in a day of wickedness? God’s reply is even more shocking than the conditions in Judah. God assures His prophet He is doing something. The Chaldeans – a people even more corrupt than God’s chosen nation – are about to descend as God’s rod of chastening. When Habakkuk reacts with shocks and dismay, God patiently instructs His messengers until at last the prophet is able to respond with a psalm of praise: “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (3:18). The themes of the book are: A dialogue between God and the prophet - Destruction impending over the nation - A complaint that the avenger is worse than the victim -A psalm of the coming of Messiah. (3 Chapters; 56 Verses; 1,476 Words; Average Readability – 5.03 grade level). Zephaniah, The Book of – During Judah’s hectic political and religious history, reform would come from time to time. Zephaniah’s forceful prophecy may have been a factor in the reform which occurred during Josiah’s reign – a “revival” which produced outward change but could not remove the inward heart of corruption which characterized the leadership of the nation. Zephaniah hammers home his message repeatedly that the day of the Lord, Judgment Day, is coming when the malignancy of sin will be dealt with. Israel and her gentile neighbors will soon experience the crushing hand of God’s wrath. But after the chastening process is complete, blessing will come in the person of Messiah, who will be the cause for praise and singing. The themes of the book are: The day of the Lord at hand -A day of judgment – Jerusalem to be purged – All nations to be judged – The remnant of Judah to be restored – The glory of the purged nation. (3 Chapters, 53 Verses; 1,617 Words; Average Readability – 5.79 grade level). Haggai, The Book of – With the Babylonian exile now history and a newly returned group of Jews back in the land, the work of rebuilding the temple can begin. But sixteen years after the process is begun, the people have yet to finish the project, for their personal affairs have interfered with God’s business. Haggai preaches a fiery series of sermonettes designed to stir up the nation to finish the temple. He calls the builders to renewed courage in the Lord, renewed holiness in life, and renewed faith in God who controls the future. The themes of the book are: The returned exiles reproached for building their houses and neglecting to rebuild the Temple – Address at the beginning of the work -The new Temple to be sanctified by the coming of the Messiah. (2 Chapters; 38 Verses; 1,131 Words; Average Readability – 6.26 grade level). Zechariah, The Book of – For a dozen years or more, the task of rebuilding the templs has stood half completed. Zechariah is commission by God to encourage the people in the unfinished responsibility. Rather than exhorting tem to action with strong words of rebuke, Zechariah seeks to encourage them to action by reminding them of the future importance of the temple. The temple must be built, for -17-
one day Messiah’s glory will inhabit it. But future blessing is contingent upon present obedience. The people are not merely building a structure; they are building the future. With that as their motivation, they can enter into the building project with wholehearted zeal, for their Messiah is coming! The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-8: Encouragement to the returned exiles – Eight Apocalyptic visions explained by an ange – Symbols of the glory of Messiah's reign. Chapters 9-14: Characteristics of the Millennial kingdom – The ten tribes also to be restored – A fountain to be opened for sin and uncleanness – A previous dispersion – A final and permanent restoration – A universal kingdom – Holiness the watchword of Messiah's rule. (14 Chapters; 211 Verses; 6,444 Words; Average Readability – 5.68 grade level). Malachi, The Book of – Malachi marks the close of Old Testament prophecy, and the beginning of four hundred years of silence between the Old and New Testaments. Having learned little from their captivity, the people soon lapse into many of the same sins that resulted in their exile in the first place: covetousness, idolatry, mixed marriages with pagan people, abuse of the poor, calloused hearts. In a question-and-answer format, Malachi highlights Judah’s hardheartedness and pronounces God’s curse upon all who practice such things. It will remain for John the Baptist – the promised forerunner who would come in the power and spirit of Elijah – to bring a hope-filled message, “Behold! The Lamb of God” (John 1:29). The themes of the book are: The people reproved for being indifferent – The priests for being mercenary – A denunciation of false standards of life – The coming of the messenger predicted – Messiah to sit as a refiner – The remnant observed and registered - To be spared in the day of Judgment - The coming prophet to have the spirit and power of Elijah. (4 Chapters; 55 Verses; 1,782 Words; Average Readability – 5.58 grade level).
Between the Testaments
As the Old Testament closes, the prophet Malachi is dead, the prophet Zechariah is dead, the prophet Haggai is dead – the last three prophets in Israel to whom and through whom came the Word of God. True is the tradition of the Jews that with the death of these three, there came to pass what was foretold by Daniel, “the seventy weeks” of “the sealing up of the vision and the prophecy” among God’s chosen people (Dan. 9:24). These three last prophets of Israel died the same year in which Darius, the king of Persia, died and his kingdom of Persia ended (the fifth century, BC). At the close of the book of Malachi in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel is back again in the land of Palestine after the Babylonian captivity, but they are under the domination of the great world power of that day, Persia and the Medio-Persian empire. In Jerusalem, the temple had been restored, although it was a much smaller building than the one that Solomon had built and decorated in such marvelous glory. Within the temple the line of Aaronic priests was still worshiping and carrying on the sacred rites as they had been ordered to do by the law of Moses. There was a direct line of descendancy in the priesthood that could be traced back to Aaron. But the royal line of David had fallen on evil days. The people knew who the rightful successor to David was, and in the book of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, his name is given to us. It was Zerubbabel, the royal prince, yet there was no king on the throne of Israel, they were a puppet nation, under the domination of Persia. Nevertheless, although they were beset with weakness and formalism as the prophets have shown us, the people were united. There were no political schisms or factions among them, nor were they divided into groups or parties. Now when you open the New Testament to the book of Matthew, you discover an entirely different atmosphere – almost a different world. Rome is now the dominant power of the earth. The Roman legions have spread throughout the length and breadth of the civilized world. The center of power has shifted from the East to the West, to Rome. Palestine is still a puppet state – the Jews never did regain their own -18-
sovereignty – but now there is a king on the throne. But this king is the descendant of Esau instead of Jacob, and his name is Herod the Great. Furthermore, the high priests who now sit in the seat of religious authority in the nation are no longer from the line of Aaron. They cannot trace their descendancy back, rather, they are hired priests to whom the office is sold as political patronage. The temple is still the center of Jewish worship, although the building has been partially destroyed and rebuilt about a half-dozen times since the close of the Old Testament. But now the synagogues that have sprung up in every Jewish city seem to be the center of Jewish life even more than the temple. At this time the people of Israel were split into three major parties. Two of them, the Pharisees and Sadducees, were much more prominent than the third. The smaller group, the Essenes, could hardly be designated as a party. Not long ago, however, they came into great prominence in our time and took on new significance because they had stowed away some documents in caves overlooking the Dead Sea – documents which were brought to light again by the accidental discovery of an Arab shepherd boy and are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Now, what happened in these four hundred so-called “silent” years after the last of the inspired prophets spoke and the first of the New Testament writers began to write? You remember there is a word in Paul’s letter to the Galatians that says, “When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.” (Gal. 4:4) In other words, the time of our Lord’s birth was God’s appointed hour, the moment for which God had been long preparing. Some of the exciting preparations took place during that time of “silence,” however, and you will understand your New Testament much better if you understand something of the historic events during the time between the Testaments. After Malachi had ceased his prophesying and the canon of the Old Testament closed – that is, the number of the books in the Old Testament was fulfilled and the inspired prophets ceased to speak – God allowed a period of time for the teachings of the Old Testament to penetrate throughout the world. During this time, he rearranged the scenes of history, much as a stage crew will rearrange the stage sets after the curtain has fallen, and when the curtain rises again there is an entirely new setting. Jesus was an expert in the Old Testament scriptures (Luke 24:27). The Old Testament pictures Jesus (Heb. 10:7) and sets the stage for Jesus the Messiah (Malachi). God’s word culminates in Jesus (Heb. 1:1-3). At the end of the Old Testament we see in the book of Malachi a people who were lukewarm and argumentative with God (Mal. 1:2, 6; 2:14, 17; 3:13). After the book of Malachi and the canon of the Old Testament closed – that is, the number of the books in the Old Testament was fulfilled and the inspired prophets ceased to speak, there is a 400 year period in history between the Old and New Testaments when God is silent. There is no word from God through a prophet during this time. God allowed a period of time for the teachings of the Old Testament to penetrate throughout the world. During this time, he rearranged the scenes of history, much as a stage crew will rearrange the stage sets after the curtain has fallen, and when the curtain rises again there is an entirely new setting. Many changes in the world environment occur during this 400 year period and in order to understand the New Testament, particularly the Gospels it is necessary to understand some of the changes in history which set the stage for Jesus the Messiah to arrive. Let’s look at this period, but let’s start in 586 B.C. when Nebudchadnezzer overcomes the Southern kingdom of Judah and destroys Jerusalem. 586 B.C. – In 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon defeated the Southern kingdom of Judah and leveled the city of Jerusalem. This marked the beginning of the 70 year captivity of God’s people prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 25). The fall of the Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah respectively were due for the most part to spiritual adultery. God’s people were unfaithful in their worship of Him and adulterated themselves with the surrounding pagan idols which involved immoral rituals of the highest magnitude (Jer. 16:11-21; Hosea 4:12-19; 8:5-14; Amos 5:26-27). For seventy years God’s people were surrounded by pagan religious practices and the result was that they became sick and disgusted with polytheism. They learned that that which they had longed for from a distance and indulged in on the fringe was not so delectable when experienced up close -19-
and on a constant basis for seventy years. History shows that after their Babylonian captivity the Jewish people never again turned to pagan idols and adopted a fanatical monotheistic loyalty (Hosea 14:1-9). 516 B.C. – Around 516 B.C. God’s people were allowed to return to the Promised land and Jerusalem by Cyrus, king of Persia. They returned to the land led by Joshua, Zerrubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 1;6; Neh. 1-2). While the Jews were permitted to return to the Land, many chose to remain in Babylon. Many had established their lives in Babylon (Jer. 29). They had successful businesses and a comfortable lifestyle that they were unwilling to leave. Therefore, only a remnant returned to Israel to rebuild it’s walls and the Temple. Those who were taken into captivity found themselves without a Temple which had been destroyed. Once acclimated they began to worship in local synagogues. The system of synagogues remained in place after the return from captivity as those who chose to remain in Babylon and foreign lands worshiped in synagogues. Indeed, a synagogue was erected wherever 7 Jewish males were present in a community. Those Jews who returned to the Promised Land from the captivity carried with them the newly established synagogue system of worship which was firmly in place by the time of the New Testament. In Luke’s gospel it states Jesus made it a practice to regularly attend synagogue worship services (Luke 4:16). Even as the Son of God, He felt it necessary to be in fellowship regularly. This is a good Christlike practice to follow (Heb. 10:24-25). It was during this period of time that the Hebrew language was supplanted by Greek and Aramaic. Greek was the world language of commerce and culture, while Aramaic was the common language of communication. As the Jews began to depend more and more on the universal language of Greek they began to desire the Old Testament in this common language. 70 Jewish scholars in Alexandria Egypt translated the Old Testament into the Greek of the day and this translation became known as the Septuagint. Those scholars who did the translating were known as scribes. These scribes became the authorities on Old Testament Law and it’s teaching. They became venerated as scholars. They were extremely meticulous in their work. In translating the Bible the scribe would translate one word at a time as opposed to writing a phrase or sentence. When the scribe came to the name of God, they would remove their clothes, bathe, redress in clean clothes, get a new pen and fresh ink and only then would they write the name of God. This would be repeated each time they came to the name of God. As a testament to the accuracy of the scribes and the miraculous preservation of the scriptures by God, in 1948 a Bedouin sheepherder stumbled upon a cave filled with canisters which held manuscripts of the Old Testament. These manuscripts were 1000 years older than any manuscripts previously in existence. When what was found, (known as the Dead Sea Scrolls) was compared to the scrolls in existence they were virtually identical proving the reliability of God’s word in it’s accuracy. 435 B.C. – In about 435 B.C., when the prophet Malachi ceased his writing, the center of world power began to shift from the East to the West. Up to this time, Babylon had been the major world power, but this was soon succeeded by the Medio-Persian empire, as you remember from ancient history. This shift had been predicted by the prophet Daniel, who said that there would rise up a bear who was higher on one side than the other, signifying the division between Media and Persia, with the Persians the predominant ones (Dan. 7:5). 330 B.C. – At the height of the Persian power there arose in the country of Macedonia (which we now know as Greece), north of the Black Sea, a man by the name of Philip of Macedon, who became a leader in his own country. He united the islands of Greece and became their ruler. His son was destined to become one of the great world leaders of all time, Alexander the Great. In 330 B.C. a tremendous battle between the Persians and the Greeks entirely altered the course of history. In that -20-
battle, Alexander, as a young man only twenty years old, led the armies of Greece in victory over the Persians and completely demolished the power of Persia. The center of world power then shifted farther west into Greece, and the Grecian empire was born. Word was brought to the Jews in Jerusalem that the armies were on their way. The high priest at that time, who was a godly old man by the name of Jaddua (who, by the way, is mentioned in the Bible in the book of Nehemiah) took the sacred writings of Daniel the prophet and, accompanied by a host of other priests dressed in white garments, went forth and met Alexander some distance outside the city. 331 B.C. – In 331 B.C. Alexander the Great, on his black horse Beuciphilus and leading his relatively small army, conquered the known world. When Alexander came to Jerusalem he was shown the parts of Daniel where his reign was foretold prophetically and as a result he spared the city and asked for a sacrifice to be offered on his behalf. (Alexander is not mentioned by name in the Old Testament but is represented prophetically as a four headed leopard - Dan. 7:6; a goat with a great horn - Dan. 8:5-9,21; and a mighty king - Dan. 11:3. His invasion of Palestine is referred to in Zec. 9:1-8 and the eventual division of his kingdom is referred to in Dan. 7:6). At age 33 Alexander the Great conquered the world and after his final battle he wept bitterly, “Are there no more worlds for me to conquer?!” His generals in an effort to cheer their depressed leader, held a party at which Alexander became staggeringly drunk. In a drunken stupor he wandered outdoors in a pouring rain and caught a cold. This cold degenerated into pneumonia which claimed the life of young Alexander at age 33. Another world figure also conquered the world with a very different approach at age 33. That Person was Jesus who said, “...But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:25-28). Blaise Pascal wrote, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man that cannot be satisfied by anything but God.” Alexander’s Empire was divided amongst his four generals: Casander was given Europe; Lysemicus was appointed to Asia Minor; Ptolemy received th charge of Egypt and Africa; and Seleucius controlled Syria. The Seleucids and Ptolemies fought continuously in the aftermath and Israel found themselves brutalized in the ensuing wars between these two factions. Israel was caught in the middle. 164 B.C. – The Seleucids won over the Ptolemies and Antiochus Epiphines came to power. Antiochus marched on Jerusalem and upon entering the city defiled the Temple by offering a slaughtered pig on it’s altar and spreading pig’s blood and entrails on the walls and inner parts of the holy of holies in the Temple. This was the “abomination of desolation” foretold by Daniel and was also a precursor to antichrist who will come in the End Times. Antiochus’ actions caused a rebellion amongst the Jews led by Judas Maccabeus. The Maccabean revolt was a guerrilla war which beat back Antiochus. A victory was secured and the Temple regained. When the Temple was cleansed and worship reestablished the candle in the holy place was filled with oil. But what was found was that there was only enough oil for one day and oil was needed for eight days before a new batch could be produced. Miraculously, according to Jewish tradition, on December 15th, 164 B.C., the oil burned for eight days until more oil could be secured. This event is celebrated and commemorated by the holiday of Chanukah. 63 B.C. – The Roman leader Pompeii moved to conquer the Mediterranean region. Upon his conquest of the area, Herod, an Idumean, (i.e. a descendent of Edom, a non-Israelite) was made king of Israel. Herod was 4'4" tall and aspired to do great things to offset his small stature. He engineered the construction of Masada, the great Palace of Herod, and a project of rebuilding the Temple which took 85 years to complete. His work was ornate and extravagant. -21-
When Herod learned of the birth of the Jewish Messiah, in an effort to squash any challenge to his throne he ordered the Slaughter of the Innocents, the murder of all children aged two years and under (Matthew 2:16-18). Despite this savage event, Roman rule created an environment of enforced peace known as Pax Romana. During the 400 years between the Testaments, God was silent in terms of speaking through a prophet. But He was at work! He was preparing the way for His Son. He established an environment where there was a common language conducive to the spread of the gospel. The Roman Pax Romana and infrastructure of roads and highways also aided the spread of the gospel. Greek philosophy had played itself out and the people of the day were searching for truth. Israel was hungry for a word from the LORD which was soon to arrive. What can we learn personally from this period in history? We learn that even though we may be experiencing a silent time in our lives, God is always at work preparing to fulfill His will in our lives. The story is told of five blind men who are brought before an elephant and asked to describe what it is. The first blind man grabs the elephant’s ear and says , “It’s a flag!” The second grabs the elephant’s tale and says, “Why it’s a snake!” The third grabs a leg and says, “Silly, it’s a tree trunk!” The fourth rubs the elephant’s side and says, “My, it ‘s a huge living wall!” The last grabs the elephant’s trunk and proclaims, “No, it’s a firehose!” We often draw false conclusions by assessing things in part rather than in whole. For the Christian, everything boils down to Jesus. The Old and New Testaments come down to Christ: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Gal. 4:4-5) “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Hebrews 1:1-3) History is indeed, HIS - STORY. We are whole in Him. Indeed He was able to say, “He who has seen me, has seen the Father” (John 14:9). There are four gospels to give us a view of Jesus from four different perspectives. It would appear God doesn’t want us to miss this point! We need to know Jesus! The gospel of Matthew is an indispensable link between the testaments because it bridges the Promises of the Old Testament with the Premises and Principles of the New. Let us find the Savior as we study this great gospel.
Comparing the Old and New Testaments
The Bible may be divided into nine basic sections: five for the Old Testament and four for the New, but it should be noted that in each of these, Christ is the hope and underlying theme of all the books of the Bible. On several occasions, Christ claimed that He is the theme of all of Scripture: In Matthew 5:17 He said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” When walking with the disciples on the Emmaus road, Luke tells us that, “...beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27) Later that evening, the Lord spoke to ten of the disciples and regarding that, Luke tells us in Luke 24:4447, “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” In John 5:39-40, when in dialogue with the Jews, Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think -22-
ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” In addition, in Revelation 19:10 we are told that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” In other words, the very nature and purpose of prophecy, and all of Scripture for that matter, is to reveal Jesus Christ. Obviously, due to the fall and need of man, Christ is the theme of both the Old and New Testaments for it is only through Him that we can have both eternal life and life abundantly (John 10:10). In the five divisions of the Old Testament: “Law” is the Foundation for Christ; “History” is the Preparation for Christ; “Poetry” is the Aspiration for Christ; and “Prophecy (both major and minor is the Expectation of Christ. The Old Testament in its five-fold division lays the foundation for the coming of the Messiah (Savior) anticipating Him as Prophet, Priest, and King and as the suffering Savior who must die for man’s sin before He reigns In the four divisions of the New Testament: The Gospels is the Manifestation – Tells the story of the coming of the long-anticipated Savior and His person and work; The History (Acts) is the Propagation – Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Acts proclaims the message of the Savior who has come; The Epistles are Explanation and Application – Develops the full significance of the person and work of Christ and how this should impact the walk of the Christian as Christ’s ambassador in the world; and The Prophecy is the Consummation – Anticipates the end time events and the return of the Lord, His end time reign, and the eternal state. Thereby the Bible has satisfied the overall stated purpose of displaying the Christ for the world to be without excuse. (Rom. 1:20)
The New Testament
The New Testament is the authoritative collection of Christian scriptures. (27 books of the Christian Bible consisting of 260 Chapters , 7,957 Verses and 180,751 Words; which consist of the 4 Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, 21 Epistles, and the Revelation.) They were written in Greek, during the early Christian era. Most scholars believe that the evidence suggests these writings were collected over several centuries after the first apostles died. (They were approved in this order and form by 367 AD). The letters were written by individual apostles and believers. Most were not universal letters but sent to particular churches, such as the Corinthian, Phillipian, and Galatian letters. These churches kept the letters, circulated them among the local believers, and then the letters most likely found their way into the hands of other churches because of their value in teaching and because of the writer’s spiritual leadership. Most scholars agree that it was the Christians who invented the book, or codex in order to maintain the developing Bible. As the number of letters began to accumulate, along with the proliferation of apocryphal letters claiming authority, and during the serious struggle with Marcionism, Christians were forced to begin deciding which letters were authoritative and then to put them together in one book. One of the criteria the early church had for deciding a writing was authoritative was if it was the work of an apostle. But this was not absolute because it was clear that the book of Luke was not written by an apostle, yet it was added to the canon. The greatest concern was whether the writing agreed with the teachings of the first church, the accepted Gospels, and letters of Paul. Some letters, such as Revelations, were not canonized until the 3rd or 4th century. As mentioned above, the New Testament is a book containing letters written to people for a particular purpose and on a particular occasion. Hence, a letter can only he understood by understanding the context in which it was written – not only the spiritual and political world of the first century but also the audience and the peculiar circumstances under which the letter was written. Biographical Books – These four books depict key events in the life of Christ and the foundation of the church. The Old Testament anticipated the person and works of the Lord Jesus in manifold ways, and the hope of the prophets was incarnated in the form of the God-man, the Word who became flesh (John 1:1, 14). -23-
Historical Books – This book tells of the early spread of Christianity. After His resurrection, Christ empowered His apostles to spread the glad tidings of salvation beginning in Jerusalem and reaching to Rome and beyond. Pauline Epistles – The Epistles as a whole develop the seed doctrines in the Gospels and show how they can transform the lives of believers. Paul wrote ten letters to churches and four to individuals as he sought to instruct, correct, and encourage believers throughout the Roman Empire. Paul wanted Christians to base their practice upon the reality of their position in Christ. The General Epistles (or Non-Pauline Epistles) – Peter, John, and James dealt frankly and firmly with a multitude of problems that were creeping into the churches. They pointed to the person and power of the resurrected Christ as the believer’s source of life and godliness. Prophecy – Revelation is a fitting conclusion to the New Testament as it looks ahead to the hope of Christ’s return, the vindication of God’s righteousness, and the culmination of His eternal plan in the new heavens and new earth.
The Principal Writers of the N.T.
In the next series of notes we will deal with the penmen of the N.T. They sometimes are called the authors of the books but in reality they were only the stenographers. As we may see by a look at the N.T.; the text was recorded by two systems. First the words of CHRIST were recorded to make up the bulk of the four “Gospel” accounts, then the narrative of the history of the early church period (The Book of Acts), third we see the exposition of doctrine in the Epistles (Pauline and General Epistles), and last the declaration of the Revelation of JESUS CHRIST. In each style of writing the penman can be seen; but it is easier to see the “AUTHOR” (Heb.12:2 “Looking unto JESUS the author and finisher of our faith...”) Jesus Christ, the Lord (the words of THE WORD, John 1:1) – A large body of the contextual matter of the New Testament comes from the lips of the Saviour himself. Most of this type text is contained in the four portions of the N.T. called the Gospels. These books contain material that is very dear to each Christian and it is no wonder to me that Satan takes it upon himself to attack this portion most violently. Outside the Gospels there are a few other cases of direct quotations from Christ. We read these quotations in: Acts 1:4-5,7-8; 9:4-16 (Paul’s conversion); 11:16; 18:9-10; 20:35; 22:7-21(Paul’s testimony of his conversion); 23:11; 26:14-18 (another report of Paul’s conversion); 1 Cor.11:24-25; Heb.13:5; and in the first three chapters of the Rev. and chapter 22. Many publishers of Bibles have supplied these quotations in red print. The Apostle Peter – No other contributor to the N.T. has so clearly revealed his personality as Peter. He is responsible for two books of the N.T. Cannon. Originally called Simon (Simeon , i.e., “hearing”), a very common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona (Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus (John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably died while he was still young, and he and his brother were brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew, James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in constant fellowship. The Apostle Paul – In the New Testament, the first Christian theologian, New Testament evangelist, outstanding missionary and writer of the early church. He was born Saul in Tarsus of Jewish parents and became a Pharisee and well-educated Roman citizen. En route to Damascus to persecute Christians, he received a vision of Jesus. His conversion to Christianity after Christ’s death made him a zealous disciple. He proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah and was sacrificed to atone for the sins of man. The Apostle John – The Apostle John is one of the most interesting writers of the N.T. To get a view of him -24-
one must see him in his many different personality roles. These roles changed as the years past by for him. There is some controversy as to his true identity; but Bible students and teachers alike have had confidence in the fact that these four personalities are one and the same “John.” I would ask that the reader might search out the refs. given in the next few lines as they apply to our “beloved disciple.” It would be safe to say that the N.T. tells us five times as much about Peter as it does about John. Given this disability; let us try to use what we are given to learn of this contributor to the N.T. In his youth he is John – the unnamed disciple (John 1:14; 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:20-24; 18:15; 19:35; 20:2-8). In his work with JESUS he is John – the BELOVED (1 John 4:19). In his writing we find his in the identity of the writer of the Forth Gospel see John 21:24 with vs20 and 23. John the beloved was the title that came easy for John to apply to himself in his old age looking back over the wonderful years with JESUS as he remembered them and now had tested them – surely he is easily “the BELOVED DISCIPLE. (1 John 4:8) In his ministry with churches he is: John – the Presbyter. At JERUSALEM where Paul meets him in 52 A.D (Gal.2:3-9), at Ephesus in 65 A.D. (Acts 20:29), or on the isle of Patmos in 96 A.D. (Rev. 1:9). There, in his old age, he is John – the REVELATOR: Exiled “...for the word of GOD...”, “...and the testimony of JESUS CHRIST...” it is said that he was more than 100 when he died The Apostle Matthew – According to Mark 2:14 he is the son of Alphaeus who was the son of Mary the wife of Cleophas the sister of the mother of JESUS- Making Matthew a relative of our LORD. (John 19:25) The Apostle Mark – The same person as the one called “John” in some places (Acts 13:5,13)- Called Mark in some places (Acts 15:39) See Acts 12:12, 25. The Disciple Luke – The Physician, wrote the gospel baring his name and the Acts (Phil.24; 2 Tim.4:11; *Col.4:14) The Apostle James – There are four men named James in the New Testament: (1) James, the father of Judas (not Iscariot), is mentioned twice (see Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13) as the father of one of the twelve disciples, but is otherwise completely unknown. (2) James, the son of Alphaeus (see Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), elsewhere called James the Less (Mark 15:40), was one of the twelve disciples. Apart from being listed with the other disciples, this James is completley obscure, and it is doubtful that he is the authoritative figure behind the epistle. Some attempts have been made to identify this James with the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19), but this view is difficult to reconcile with the gospel accounts. (3) James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John (see Matt. 4:21; 10:2; 17:1; Mark 3:17; 10:35; 13:3; Luke 9:54; Acts 1:13), was one of Jesus’ intimate disciples, but his martyrdom by A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2) makes it very unlikely that he wrote this epistle. (4) James, the Lord’s brother (see Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3; Gal. 1:19), was one of the “pillars” in the church in Jerusalem (see Acts 12:17; 15:13–21; 21:18; Gal. 2:9, 12). The most competent critics generally agree in designating as the author of the book of James, the president of the church at Jerusalem, and known as the “Lord's brother.” The Disciple Jude – The brother of James [see James above] The names Judah, Judas, and Jude are all from the same Hebrew and Greek words. The writer of the epistle of Jude (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13; Jude 1).
A Synopsis of the Books of the New Testament
Matthew, The Gospel of – The author of the first Gospel was Matthew. It was written to the Jews relating Christ as the King of the Jews. The date of this book’s writing was about 50-60 A.D. The location of writing was North Israel or Syria. This first Gospel presents Jesus as the Christ, Israel’s messianic King. Jesus’ genealogy, fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, authority, and power are emphasized as His messianic credentials. In spite of His unique words and works, gradually mounting opposition culminates in His crucifixion. But the King left an empty tomb and will come again. -25-
The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-2: Genealogy – Birth of Jesus – Visit of the Magi – Slaughter of the children – The flight into Egypt – Settlement at Nazareth. Chapter 3: The preaching of John the Baptist – Baptism of Jesus. Chapter 4: The temptation in the wilderness – Beginning of the Galilean ministry. Chapters 5-7: The Sermon on the Mount. Chapters 8-9: Miracles and teaching. Chapters 10-12: The commission to the apostles – Further teachings and miracles. Chapter 13: Parables of the kingdom. Chapters 14-15: Murder of John the Baptist – Miracles and teaching. Chapters 16-20: Intimations of approaching death – The transfiguration – The Judean ministry. Chapters 21-25: Final teaching and parables of judgment. Chapters 26-28: The anointing – The last supper – The agony in the garden, the betrayal, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. (28 Chapters; 1,071 Verses; 23,684 Words; Average Readability – 5.60 grade level) Mark, The Gospel of – The second Gospel presents Jesus as the Servant who came to “give His life a ransom for many.” In the beginning of His ministry He was a servant to the multitudes, but as His departure grew near, Jesus concentrated on teaching and ministering to His disciples. A full 37 percent of this gospel is devoted to the events of His last and most important week. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: The Baptist's ministry – The baptism of Jesus – The beginning of his preaching The call of the disciples – Healing of several sick persons. Chapters 2-3: Opposition to Christ's ministry – The ordination of the twelve. Chapters 4-5: Parables of the kingdom – Miracles of healing. Chapters 6-9: Murder of John the Baptist – Feeding the five thousand – A discourse on ceremonial pollution – Miracles of healing. Chapters 10-13: The Judean ministry – A prophetic discourse – The triumphal entry. Chapters 14-16: The trial, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. (16 Chapters; 678 Verses; 15,171 Words; Average Readability – 5.50 grade level). Luke, The Gospel of – The third Gospel presents Jesus as the perfect Son of Man whose mission was “to seek and to save that which was lost.” This lucid historical portrait of Christ traces His advent, activities, admonitions, affliction, and authentication to demonstrate His perfect character and redemptive work. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-3: The birth of John the Baptist – The Birth of Jesus – The visit to Jerusalem – The preaching of John – The hymns of Elizabeth and Mary, the hymn the shepherds heard the angels sing and the hymn of Simeon – The genealogy of Christ traced to Adam. Chapter 4: The temptation – The preaching at Nazareth – Miracles of healing. Chapters 5-9: The Galilean ministry. Chapters 10-I 8: Parables of the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal son, etc. – The sermon on the plain. Chapters 19-21: The public entry into Jerusalem – Prophecies of the end. Chapters 22-23: The trial, crucifixion, etc. Chapter 24: The resurrection. (24 Chapters; 1,151 Verses; 25,944 Words; Average Readability – 5.55 grade level) John, The Gospel of – The fourth Gospel presents Jesus as the eternal Son of God who offered eternal life to all who would believe in Him. John uses a carefully chosen series of seven signs to demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ. Five chapters of this gospel record Jesus’ parting discourse to His disciples only a few hours before His death. After His victorious resurrection, Christ further instructed His men in a number of appearances. The themes of the book are: Chapter I: The pre-existence of Christ and the doctrine of the Incarnate Word – The testimony of John the Baptist. Chapters 2-6: The miracle at Cana – Conversations with Nicodemus and the Woman of Samaria – Miracles and discourse on the Heavenly bread. Chapters 7-12: Disputes with the Pharisees – The healing of the blind man – The parable of the Good Shepherd the raising of Lazarus. Chapters 13-17: The closing discourses to the disciples – The priestly prayer. Chapters I 8-19: Trial and crucifixion. Chapters 20-21: The resurrection and subsequent appearances. (21 Chapters; 879 Verses; 19,099 Words; Average Readability – 4.79 grade level) Acts of the Apostles – There are four gospel accounts, but only one canonical Book of Acts. Thus, this book provides the only historical portrait of the period from the Ascension to the travels and trials of Paul. Acts chronicles some of the key events in the spread of the gospel from Judea to Samaria, Syria, and the rest of the Roman Empire. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-5: The ascension – Descent of the Holy Spirit – The -26-
ingathering at Pentecost – The beginning of apostolic miracles – The death of Ananias and Sapphira – The counsel of Gamaliel. Chapters 6-7: Stephen's arrest and defense and execution. Chapters 8-12: Conversion of Saul of Tarsus – Peter's vision and visit to Cornelius – Peter's deliverance from prison. Chapters 13-28: Paul's three missionary journeys – His arrest – His trial before Felix, Festus and Agrippa – His appeal to Caesar – His journey to Rome – Shipwreck – His preaching in Rome. (28 Chapters; 1,007 Verses; 24.250 Words; Average Readability – 7.0 grade level). Romans, The Epistle of – This most systematic of all the Epistles traces the story of the gospel from condemnation to justification to sanctification to glorification. It explains God’s program for Jews and Gentiles and concludes with practical exhortations for the outworking of righteousness among believers. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-3: Personal greeting and thanksgiving – The vices of the heathen world – The fail¯ure of the Jew to profit by the law. Chapters 4-8: Salvation a free gift. Chapters 9-11: The relation of Christianity to Judaism – God's revelation of himself consistent with his earlier dispensa¯tion. Chapters 12-16: Practical application of the argument to the conditions of daily life Concessions to weak brethren. (16 Chapters; 433 Verses; 9,447 Words; Average Readability – 5.76 grade level) 1 Corinthians, The Epistle of – This epistle of correction and reproof firmly handles the problems of factions, immorality, lawsuits, and abuse of the Lord’s Supper that were destroying the testimony of the Corinthians. Paul also responds to questions raised by the Corinthians on marriage, meat offered to idols, public worship, and the Resurrection. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-4: The factions in the church – Inconsistent because of the essential union in Christ. Chapter 5: The wicked member of the church – How he is to be treated. Chapters 6-14: Paul's answers to seven questions submitted by the Corinthian church – Lawsuits – Marriage – Eating of food that had been offered to idols – Position of women in the church – Spiritual gifts and the use of strange tongues – Doubts and difficulties about the resurrection – The collection of funds for the poor at Jerusalem. Chapter I5: An elaborate argument on the resurrection. Chapter 16: Personal salutations. (16 Chapters; 437 Verses; 9,489 Words; Average Readability – 5.28 grade level). 2 Corinthians, The Epistle of – Paul wrote this very personal letter to defend his apostolic character, call, and credentials in view of a recent rebellion against him that was led by certain false apostles. Paul was comforted by the repentance of the majority but concerned about the unrepentant minority. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-9: Congratulations on the improved condition of the church – The repentant of¯fender to be forgiven and restored – Paul's consecration and his sufferings – Exhortations to purity of life – To liberality. Chapters 10-13: A reply to persons who had disparaged Pau1 – He claims his apostleship – Could boast of his Jewish standing – Has had revelations from God – The thorn in the flesh – Warnings against false teachers. (13 Chapters; 257 Verses; 6,092 Words; Average Readability – 6.60 grade level). Galatians, The Epistle of – This polemic epistle refutes the error of legalism that had suddenly ensnared the churches of Galatia. Paul uses a biographical, theological, and moral argument to demonstrate the superiority of grace over law and magnify the life of liberty over legalism and license. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-4: Warning against teachers who would bring them under the Jewish law of rites and ceremonies – He had good authority for his teaching – His commission from God – Reminder of the decision of the council in Jerusalem – The law can never justify them – The law superseded by Christianity, like Hagar and Ishmael superseded by Sarah and Isaac. Chapters 5-6: An exhortation to fidelity – The true way to overcome sin is to walk in the spirit – The fruits of the flesh and the spirit – Paul's determination to glory in the cross. (6 Chapters; 149 Verses; 3,098 Words; Average Readability – 6.12 grade level). Ephesians, The Epistle of – The first three chapters of Ephesians are one of the most sublime and profound texts in the Bible, because they extol the believer’s position in Christ. The remaining three chapters exhort believers to maintain a spiritual walk that is based upon their spiritual wealth. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-3: A benediction – Thanksgiving to God for the grace -27-
proceeding from the atonement – The Ephesian Christians have in the spirit an assurance of participation – A prayer that they may appreciate it – Jews as well as Gentiles in need of salvation – Both united in a common bond – The privilege of preaching so glorious a Gospel and suffering for it. Chapters 4-6: Consideration of these facts should lead to unity, notwithstanding the diversity of gifts – Diversity necessary because different officers require diverse qualities – All sin to be renounced – Marriage a type of the union of Christ and his church – How to behave in the home and social life – The armor and weapons provided for the Christian. (6 Chapters; 155 Verses; 3.039 Words; Average Readability – 7.16 grade level). Philippians, The Epistle of – In this joyous letter of affection and gratitude for the Philippians, Paul speaks of the latest developments in his imprisonment and urges his readers to a lifestyle of unity, humility, and godliness. He also warns them about the error of legalism. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: The imprisoned apostle grateful for the interest of friends at Philippi – His belief that his suffering would promote the cause of Christ – His danger – He is indifferent to the issue because death would only bring him sooner into the presence of Christ. Chapter 2: An exhortation to unity and unselfishness – The example of Christ. Chapter 3: A warning against false teachers – Like an athlete in a race Paul is striving to attain perfection. Chapter 4: An exhortation to purity – Gratitude for remembrances. (4 Chapters; 104 Verses; 2,202 Words; Average Readability – 6.65 grade level). Colossians, The Epistle of – This may be the most Christocentric epistle in the New Testament, because in it Paul demonstrates the preeminence of Christ in creation, redemption, and the relationships of life. The Christian is complete in Christ and has no need of other systems of speculation or religious observances. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: An expression of joy over the church's fidelity – All blessings flow from Christ. Chapter 2: Christ all-sufficient – Neither obedience to Jewish law nor the practice of asceticism needed. Chapter 3: Love and loyalty to Christ the best security for purity of life. Chapter 4: Exhortation to vigilance and prayer. (4 Chapters; 95 Verses; 1,998 Words; Average Readability – 6.86 grade level). 1 Thessalonians, The Epistle of – The first three chapters give a summary of Paul’s ministry with the Thessalonians. He commends them for their faith and reminds them of his motives and concerns on their behalf. Chapters 4–5 exhort them to purity of life and teach them about the coming of the Lord. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-3: Gratitude for the report of the church's fidelity and courage – It will remember his unselfishness and zeal – Other churches suffer persecution as the Thessalonians do – They were warned that it would be so. Chapters 4-5: An exhortation to purity of life and to love of the brethren – They need not mourn the death of their friends – The dead believer will share with the living in the glory of Christ's second coming. (5 Chapters; 89 Verses; 1,857 Words; Average Readability – 6.35 grade level). 2 Thessalonians, The Epistle of – The Thessalonians were arriving at incorrect conclusions about the day of the Lord and they were becoming anxious about their persecution. Paul explains what must precede this awesome event and exhorts them to remain diligent. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-2: Thanks for the church's continued growth – It must not be disappointed at the delay in the Lord's coming – Certain events must take place first. Chapter 3: An exhortation to patience and prayer – Idleness must be discountenanced – Paul's example. (3 Chapters; 47 Verses; 1,042 Words; Average Readability – 7.55 grade level). 1 Timothy, The Epistle of – This letter is Paul’s leadership manual for his entrusted servant who was put in charge of the work in Ephesus. In it, Paul counsels Timothy on the problems of false teachers, public prayer, the role of women, the requirements for elders and deacons, and miscellaneous duties. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: An exhortation to discourage the discussion of unprofitable questions – A warning against people who insist on the observance of Jewish law – The true function of law – The Gospel a better message. Chapters 2-3: Regulations for public worship – The position of -28-
women in the church – The qualifications of bishops and deacons. Chapters 4-6: Warnings against false teachers – How to deal with special classes in the church. (6 Chapters; 113 Verses; 2,269 Words; Average Readability – 7.17 grade level). 2 Timothy, The Epistle of – Paul’s last letter is a combat manual which is designed to build up and encourage Timothy to boldness and steadfastness in view of the hardships of the spiritual warfare. Paul knew his earthly course was over, and in his last recorded testimony he urges Timothy on. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-2: Thanksgiving for Timothy's fidelity – An assurance that at the end of his life he is not ashamed – His perfect confidence in Christ – An exhortation to consecration and perseverance – To purity and meekness. Chapters 3-4: Certainty of false and hypocritical teachers arising – The Scriptures are a sufficient guide. (4 Chapters; 83 Verses; 1,703 Words; Average Readability – 6.15 grade level) Titus, The Epistle of – Titus was left by Paul in Crete to oversee the work there and appoint elders. This conduct manual lists the requirements for elders and instructs Titus in his duties relative to the various groups in the churches. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: The kind of men Titus is to ordain as bishops and elders – The evils he may expect to confront him in Crete. Chapter 2: The instructions Titus is to give to special classes. Chapter 3: To avoid unprofitable questions and beware of heretics. (3 Chapters; 46 Verses; 921 Words; Average Readability – 7.55 grade level). Philemon, The Epistle of – Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway slave, had become a believer under Paul’s ministry and now he was being sent back to his master with this letter. In it, Paul appeals to Philemon to forgive Onesimus and to regard him no longer as a slave but as a brother in Christ. The theme of the book are: An appeal to a Christian to forgive a runaway slave, who has been converted, and whom Paul sends back. (1 Chapter; 25 Verses; 445 Words; Average Readability – 6.64 grade level). Hebrews, The Epistle of – This beautifully styled epistle was written to demonstrate the superiority of Christ over all that preceded Him. The readers were evidently in danger of slipping back into Judaism because of growing opposition to them as Christians. They needed to mature and become stable in their faith. The author presents the superiority of Christ’s person, priesthood, and power. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-7: The supremacy of Christ – The greatest of all God's messengers – Superior to angels – Superior to Moses – Superior to Aaron – In what respects his priesthood is higher than Aaron's. Chapters 8-10: Christ's a better covenant than any of its predecessors. Chapter 11: The principle of salvation by faith running all through Jewish history – Instances among the patriarchs. Chapters 12-13: The problem of suffering solved – Disciplinary uses of suffering -Practical duties. (13 Chapters; 303 Verses; 6,913 Words; Average Readability – 7.08 grade level). James, The General Epistle of – James wrote this incisive and practical catalog of the characteristics of true faith to exhort his Hebrew-Christian readers to examine the reality of their own faith. If it does not produce a qualitative change in character or control (1–3), its genuineness must be questioned. James also rebukes those who succumb to the pursuit of worldly pleasure and wealth rather than God, and encourages a patient endurance in light of the coming of the Lord. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: The uses of trial -The development of patience -The source of temptation -The traitor in the soul -Futility of creed without conduct -The paradox of a law of liberty – Charity and purity characteristic of the religious man. Chapter 2: Inconsistency of undue deference to rich men -The breaker of one commandment as truly a sinner as the breaker of another – When faith does not produce good works it is spurious. Chapter 3: The control of the tongue. Chapter 4: God ready to supply power for good conduct. Chapter 5: An arraignment of the selfish rich man. (5 Chapters; 108 Verses; 2,309 Words; Average Readability – 5.32 grade level). 1 Peter, The General Epistle of – The recipients of this letter were being maligned for their faith in Christ and needed Peter’s words of comfort and counsel. He begins by giving them a fresh perspective on the riches of their salvation and their need for holy lives. He then encourages them to develop an attitude -29-
of submission in view of their suffering. Undeserved suffering for the name of Christ must be met by an attitude of humble dependence on God. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: A paean of praise to God for the new hope based on the resurrection of Christ – Faith leading to complete salvation -The realization of the vision of the prophets. Chapters 2-4: Characteristics of the life based on the hope – Believers, living stones built into a temple -The stumbling-stone of unbelievers the corner-stone of the church – Patience in suffering -The Christian in the family, in society, and in the state. Chapter 5: An exhortation to purity. (5 Chapters; 105 Verses; 2,482 Words; Average Readability – 7.22 grade level). 2 Peter, The General Epistle of – Unlike First Peter, which dealt with external opposition, Second Peter copes with the problem of internal opposition, in the dangerous form of false teachers who would entice believers into their errors of belief and conduct. Peter counters this peril with an appeal for growth in the true knowledge of Christ as the best way to overcome the seduction of heresy. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: Stages of progress in spiritual life – Anxiety in view of approaching death for the welfare of believers – An assurance of the verity of the Gospel based on personal observation, as, for instance, at the Transfiguration. Chapter 2: A warning against false teachers – The doom of apostates. Chapter 3: The day of judgment inevitable though it be delayed as the deluge was – The life such certainty should produce. (3 Chapters; 61 Verses; 1.559 Words; Average Readability – 7.92 grade level). First John, The General Epistle of – John’s first epistle explores the dimensions of fellowship between redeemed people and God. He is a God of light, and believers must walk in integrity before Him; He is a God of love, and believers must manifest love for one another; and He is a God of life, and believers can be assured of eternal life in Christ. The themes of the book are: Chapter 1: God is 1ight – His children should not live in darkness. Chapters 2, 3: Conduct shows whether a man is born again – Hatred a sign of spiritual darkness. Chapters 4,5: God is love -The loving soul proves its origin -The witness of the Spirit to regeneration. (5 Chapters; 105 Verses; 2,523 Words; Average Readability – 4.95 grade level). Second John, The General Epistle of – This note was written to commend the readers for remaining steadfast in apostolic truth and to remind them to walk in love in obedience to the Lord’s commandment. John also urged them not to show hospitality to any teachers whose doctrine about Christ is unsound. The themes of the book are: A definition of love as a life of practical obedience – A warning against false teachers. (1 Chapter; 13 Verses; 303 Words; Average Readability – 5.76 grade level). Third John, The General Epistle of – John had received a report from the traveling teachers he commissioned, telling of Gaius’ warm hospitality on their behalf. The apostle personally thanks Gaius for his walk in the truth and support of these missionaries, in contrast to Diotrephes, who rejected them and told others to do the same. The themes of the book are: A commendation of hospitality and brotherly kindness – Censure of an offender for unchristian conduct. (1 Chapter; 14 Verses; 299 Words; Average Readability – 4.60 grade level). Jude, The General Epistle of – In spite of its brevity, this is the most intense exposé of false teachers in the New Testament. Jude reveals their conduct and character and makes liberal use of the Old Testament to predict their judgment. On the positive side, Jude encourages his readers to build themselves up in the truth and contend earnestly for the faith. The theme of the book are: A denunciation of unworthy members who had entered the church. (1 Chapter; 25 Verses; 613 Words; Average Readability – 9.11 grade level). The Revelation of Jesus Christ – This most controversial book is the culmination not only of the New Testament but of the Bible as a whole, since it completes the story begun in Genesis. As the only New Testament book that concentrates on prophecy, the Apocalypse has been approached from a number of interpretive directions. The themes of the book are: Chapters 1-3: A prologue describing the circumstances of the revelation -30-
– Messages to seven churches, each beginning with a title of Christ, and an assurance of his knowledge of their condition, and ending with a promise to "him that overcometh." Chapter 4: A vision off our living creatures and four and twenty elders in heaven praising God. Chapters 5-6: The judgments which are to close the long struggle between good and evil in the world – Three series of sevens. called, respectively, seals, trumpets and vials The seventh seal comprises the seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet the seven vials – Two visions of two witnesses who are martyred, and of a sun-crowned woman whose child is persecuted by a dragon and two wild beasts. Chapters 7-20: The doom of the child's enemies. Chapters 21-22: The triumphant issue of all the judgments, the new heaven and the new earth – Christ's speedy coming An invitation to drink of the water of life. (22 Chapters; 404 Verses; 12,000 Words; Average Readability – 6.69 grade level).
The Word of God Is Our Only True Landmark
“Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.” (Deut. 19:14) “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28) “Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.” (Job 24:2)
Thy Word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. (Psa. 119:140) Conclusion
Outsiders are often amazed at how much members of Bible believing and Bible preaching churches seem to “know about the Bible.” Yet, it is possible to talk as if we know a great deal about the Bible without really knowing the text itself – and our real level of understanding of the book of God may not be as full as it appears. We may fail, even after many years, to have an adequate working knowledge of (all the parts of) the Bible. (“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” 1 Cor. 3:1-2). One reason for this may be our failure to read the entire Bible on a regular basis. There is much to be said for having a program which involves our reading the Bible from cover to cover every year. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:12-14). I. What we lose when we do not read the bible completely – There is a need for us to know not only details about certain parts of the Bible, but the Bible as a whole. If we are not careful, our Bible study methods will cause us to lose sight of the forest as we look at the individual trees. Without reading the Bible completely through on a regular basis, it is difficult to have a comprehensive, overall knowledge of the book. Here are some possible consequences when we fail to expose ourselves regularly to the entire Bible. A- We will have less knowledge of the story of the Bible as a whole. B- We will have less knowledge of the theme of the Bible: the strategy of redemption, the plan through which God brought salvation into the world. C- We will have less knowledge of the overall structure of the Bible, how it is put together, arranged, etc. D- We will have less knowledge of the different kinds of literature in the Bible: history, poetry, prophecy, gospels, epistles, etc. -31-
E- We will have less understanding of how the parts of the Bible relate to one another: history relates to the prophets, gospels to the epistles, Acts to the epistles, etc. F- We will have less understanding of how the Old Testament is related to the New Testament, and how knowing the Old Testament helps us understand the New Testament. (The Old Testament presents the New Testament “enfolded” and the New Testament presents the Old Testament “unfolded”.) G- We will have less knowledge of the relationship of individual books to one another. (Luke/Acts, Colossians/Philemon, etc.) H- We will have less knowledge of basic Bible history, the background of the various books, etc. I- We will have less knowledge of the basic contents of each of the books of the Bible. J- We will have less knowledge of the larger context of the Bible. (The impact of the Bible on our daily life.) K- We will have no “framework,” no “pegs” on which to hang our individual bits of Bible knowledge. (Application is absolutely vital.) L- The most serious consequence of failing to acquaint ourselves with the Bible as a whole is that we will not be able to use the Bible skillfully. (“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Eph. 6:17). (“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15). II. The Need for Repeated Exposure to the Entire Text of the Bible – Learning the Bible as a whole is somewhat like brushing a dog’s coat: it is the patient, repeated “going over it” that gets the job done. Repeated reading of the entire Bible is really the only way to remember both the location and the context of passages that we frequently need to use in helping those around us. Repeated reading of the entire Bible is the best way to hold onto our memory work from the Bible. III. Some Suggestions Concerning a Daily Bible Reading Program – We should formulate our daily Bible reading plans with determination — and make sacrifices to keep worldly matters from interfering. A set time each day to accomplish our personal Bible reading is best. There are a number of different Bible reading plans and schedules available. When we “fall behind,” it is probably better simply to get back on track, rather than try to make up all the readings we have missed. Bible reading ought to be accompanied by prayer. We need to pray for: A- An honest and obedient attitude. B- Understanding of the text. (“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Psa. 119:18). C- Help in using what we know to serve others. With the exception of the proper names, the Bible is written with 7th to 8th grade vocabulary. The vital need to read the Bible is largely a forgotten dedication among the saints of our day. It takes just 70 hours and 40 minutes to read the Bible through “at pulpit rate,” and aloud! It takes only 52 hours and 20 minutes to read the Old Testament through, and just 18 hours and 20 minutes to read the New Testament through. The longest book, of the Bible, is Psalms and it will take just 4 hours and 28 minutes to read it through. At a normal rate of reading it will take the average Christian a mere 2 hours and 43 minutes to read the Gospel of Luke. One could read the Bible through in a year by reading less than 12 minutes a day! One can read the Bible comfortably four times a year, by just 48 minutes a day! Give it a test, try reading a number of verses, at pulpit rate, aloud, to yourself. Time yourself and count the words you have read. The number of words in the Bible is about 622,771 in the Old Testament, and 184,590 in the New Testament, for a grand total of 807,361. Some simple math can be done and you will know just how long you need to read your Bible all the way through, aloud at pulpit rate. “...Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ...” (Eph. 3:4) -32-
“Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thes. 5:17-18)
About the Electronic Text of this Christian Bible Study Document
This electronic version of this portion of “The Christian Bible Study Library” has been prepared and published to you in this format to allow all readers to have access to the knowledge of the Bible within practical means. A Copyright for this material is claimed (©2007) to protect the work and arrangement of this data from some who might squander it and discourage more from being produced. All rights are reserved for the reproduction of this document by: Terry W. Preslar through The Fresh Waters Digital Library – PO Box 388 – Mineral Springs, NC 28108. (704)843-3858. The reproduction of this document is allowed under the “fair-use” doctrine of the copyright laws of the USA for academic archival purposes. The Fresh Waters Digital Library is dedicated to the goal of placing these Bible study volumes and many classic documents into the hands of the most humble readers. Technology has become advanced enough to allow the easy and economical publication of this work in the form of an “E-Book.” This is a new method of distribution but a CD-ROM can be made that contains the complete series of books that make up this major project.
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E-Books can be read on your computer or laptop and several types of electronic organizers. To read our books, you simply use the web browser in your PC, Laptop or Mac by using the windows help file reader that comes with windows, the freeware “Adobe Acrobat Reader” or in the case of “HTML” files (The Internet’s native format) your Browser can read many of them. You do not have to be on-line to read your E-Books. This (HTML) is the universal format supported by all web browsers. If you have an organizer or reader with the Windows Mobil operating system, you can load HTML formatted books for reading. You can use a laptop or notebook computer, then you can curl up on your favorite chair or relax in bed, whilst studying and reading your favorite Christian Classic. Alternatively, you can print out the book for reading on paper. We supply a few titles in “HTML” and most of these Special Edition books are in Adobe Acrobat Format (PDF). These files are Adobe Acrobat (.PDF) files and can be viewed with the free Acrobat Reader t h at can b e downl oaded from that web site, installed and used freely. (http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html) This document is distributed by Gospel Publishing & Colportage through The Fresh Waters Digital Library as a ministry of The First Baptist Church of Mineral Springs, North Carolina. For more information on this or other subjects of BIBLE research please call or write: P.O. Box 388 Mineral Springs, N.C. 28108 1(704)843-3858
S É S Romans 12:1-2
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