Bible Survey Course

The following are the notes from the recent Bible Survey Course. My thanks to Rowan for doing the last week from James to Revelation.

The Bible

Basic Information

  • A collection of 66 books
  • The genres are very varied: History, Law, Poetry, Wise sayings, Letters, Gospels
  • Written over a period of more than 1000 years
  • Some authors as yet unknown
  • Early Christians referred to this collection of writings as “Ta Biblia” = “The Books” = “The Bible”
  • Old Testament = 39 Books concerned with a revelation of the One True God Who chose the Hebrews as His Covenant People.
  • New Testament = 27 Books concerned with a revelation of the One True God Who was made flesh in Jesus Christ and Who established a New Covenant People.

 

The Canon of Scripture

  • Jews and Christians both produced far more writings than just these 66 books.
  • Thus both the Jewish community and the Christian community had a process of “measuring” their religious writings to determine which books had attained a spiritual value so high that they should be recognised as the “inspired Word of God”.
  • This “measuring” was called “canonization” – from the Greek word “canon” meaning a “measuring rod”
  • This process of “canonizing” was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
  • For the Old Testament this process happened between the 6th Century BC and the 1st Century AD. Only books that stood the test of time as being of value to faithful Jews were accepted.
  • For the New Testament this process started about 50AD (when Galatians was written):
    • In 180AD Bishop Irenaeus had affirmed the 4 gospels as being the only legitimate gospels;
    • About the same time Tertullian recorded that the 14 letters of Paul were on par with the Hebrew Scriptures;
    • In 300AD Eusebius recorded a list of accepted writings that included the vast majority of the 27 books we have today.
    • In 367AD the current list was given by St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria
    • The Third Council of Carthage 28 August 397AD finally confirmed the 27 books as the canon of the New Testament.

 

Criteria for canonicity

—  Apostolic Origin – attributed to and/or based on the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles (or their closest companions).

—  Universal Acceptance – acknowledged by all major Christian communities in the Mediterranean world (by the end of the fourth century).

—  Liturgical Use – read publicly along with the OT when early Christians gathered for the Lord’s Supper (their weekly worship services).

—  Consistent Message – containing theological ideas compatible with other accepted Christian writings (incl. the divinity and humanity Jesus).

An Unfolding revelation

  • People always receive knowledge in a progressive fashion. (e.g. 1+1=2)
  • The Bible is progressive – it does not present a revelation of God given perfectly in one fell swoop; but rather an unfolding revelation of God over time.
  • The early parts reveal a very primitive understanding of the basics of God but with time God builds on this revelation growing us from basic understanding to a more complete / higher understanding.
  • The highest and perfect revelation of God comes in the person of Jesus Christ – recorded and explained in the New Testament writings.

Inspiration of Scripture

  • To “inspire” = to “breathe in”
  • A person is “inspired” when they are moved or animated by a thought or feeling from a source higher and greater than their own mind or heart.
  • When dealing with Scripture it means that God breathed His Spirit into the author, inspiring him/her with the thoughts which were expressed on paper and/or with the ability to write them.
  • The Bible is 100% the work of human authors and also 100% the work of God.
  • The authors were not puppets or “pens in the hand of God”, rather they used their own minds and logic – see Luke 1:1-4 and John 20:30-31). God used their unique personality and ability to convey His message.
  • The Bible was written by people who were “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21)
  • The Spirit helped them to see God at work in the world and to understand truths about God, he heightened their powers and their ability to express and teach the truths as they saw it through literary forms that they were skilled in; e.g. poetry, letter, parable, sermon, history, etc.
  • The Living God spoke to us through the words of living people.
  • The test of inspiration which the early church applied and which we also need to recognise in the Inspired Bible is that it is powerful and effective in “teaching, rebuking, correcting and encouraging” us towards Godliness (2 Tim. 3:16)
  • The books also had to be written by an apostle or prophet
  • The same Spirit who inspired the writing of the Bible also inspires the reading of the Bible.

 

The Original Languages

  • The Old Testament was written in Hebrew with only 4 passages in Aramaic (Ezra 4:8 – 6:18; Ezra 7:12-26; Daniel 2:4 – 7:28 and Jeremiah 10:11
  • The New Testament was written in Greek – the common, everyday language of the Greco-Roman world of the 1st Century.

 

Manuscript Evidence

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in Israel in the 1940′s and 50′s, provide astounding evidence for the reliability of the ancient transmission of the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries BC
  • Renowned Bible scholar F.F. Bruce declares: “There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament.”
  • Author Ravi Zaccharias declares: “In real terms, the New Testament is easily the best attested ancient writing in terms of the sheer number of documents, the time span between the events and the document, and the variety of documents available to sustain or contradict it. There is nothing in ancient manuscript evidence to match such textual availability and integrity.
  • The manuscript evidence for the New Testament is dramatic, with nearly 25,000 ancient manuscripts discovered and archived so far, at least 5,600 of which are copies and fragments in the original Greek. Some manuscript texts date to the early second and third centuries, with the time between the original autographs and our earliest existing fragment being a remarkably short 40-60 years.

 

The Unifying Theme

  • Christ is the unifying theme of the Bible;
  • The Old Testament predicts and prepares for Him in “type” and prophecy;
  • The New Testament present Him and His Gospel.

Pentateuch

  • The first 5 books of the Bible = “The Law”, “Torah”, Law of Moses, and Pentateuch (meaning “5 scrolls”)

Author of all 5 books

  • Traditionally Moses.
  • Modern thought sees 4 different writing styles in the books of the Pentateuch (1st 5 books of the Bible)
    • Yahwist – uses the name “Yahweh” for God
    • Elohist – uses the name “Elohim” for God
    • Deuteronomic – appears to have added to and revised after the fall of Israel
    • Priestly – Appears to have edited after the Exile
    • Jesus accepted Moses as the author – John 5:46
    • The Pentateuch contains references to Moses’ authorship – Exodus 17:14; 24:4; Deut. 31:24
    • The rest of the Bible also holds Moses as the author – e.g. Joshua 1:7; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; Ezra 6:18, etc.
    • The most Biblical approach is probably to conclude that Moses wrote the Pentateuch but it was possibly edited and re-organised by later writers.

 

Genesis

Name of Book:

“Genesis” = “origins” or “beginnings”

As such it is a book which describes the beginnings of many things, such as the cosmos, humanity, sin, death, the people of God, etc.

Date

From extra-biblical sources it is believed that Solomon began the Temple in 960BC.

1 Kings 6:1 says that Solomon began the Temple in the 480th year after the Exodus.

So the Exodus was in about 1440BC.

Moses thus wrote the Pentateuch at some stage after 1440BC, probably during the 40 years of wandering in the desert.

Main Events

Focus Four Events Four people
Divisions Creation

1:1-2:25

Fall

3:1-5:32

Flood

6:1-9:29

Nations

10:1-11:9

Abraham

11:10-25:8

Isaac

25:9-26:35

Jacob

27:1-36:43

Joseph

37:1-50:2

Topics Beginning of the Human Race Beginning of the Hebrew Race
Place Fertile Crescent (Eden-Haran) Canaan Egypt
Time of events Creation – 2090 BC 193 years

2090 – 1897 BC

93 years

1897 – 1804 BC

                 

 

Theme and Purpose

  • God as the Creator of all that is.
  • Explanation of the beginning of humanity, Sabbath, marriage, sin, sacrifice and salvation, family, civilization, government, nations, and Israel.
  • Explanation of the fallen state of humanity.
  • God’s choice of a nation through whom He would bless all nations.

 

Christ in Genesis

Genesis contains initial Messianic predictions:

  1. 3:15 – the Seed of the woman
  2. 4:25 – from the line of Seth
  3. 12:3; 21:12; 25:23 – the descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
  4. 49:10 – Descendant of the Tribe of Judah
  5. Melchizidek (see Hebrews 7:3)and Joseph serve as types of the Messiah

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  1. God is the Creator of everything that is, was or ever will be.
  2. God desires fellowship with people
  3. God punishes sin
  4. God reaches out with grace to call people home to Himself
  5. God uses even the evil events brought on by sin to further His purpose.

 

Exodus

Name of book

  • Exodus = “exit, departure or going out”
  • Hebrew title = Welleh Shemoth = “These are the names” (1:1)
  • It is the book which describes the liberation of God’s people from slavery in Egypt.

 

Author

  • Exodus has been attributed to Moses since the time of Joshua (Joshua 8:30-32)
  • Malachi (4:4), the disciples (John 1:45) and Paul (Romans 10:5) also attribute it to Moses.
  • Jesus also accepted Moses as the author (Mark 7:10, Mark 12:26, Luke 20:37, John 5:46-47, John 7:19-23)
  • The book of Exodus itself refers to Moses as the author on a few occasions (17:8-14; 20:1-17; 24:4, 7, 12; 31:18; 34:1-27)

 

Date

  • During the 40 year wilderness wandering (1445-1405BC)
  • It is likely that Moses kept a written account of God’s work and words which he then compiled into the books of the Pentateuch.
  • Covers the period from Jacob’s arrival in Egypt (1875BC) to the erection of the Tabernacle 431 years later (1445BC).

 

Main Events

Focus Redemption from Egypt Revelation from God
Divisions Need for redemption

1:1 – 22

Preparation for Redemption

2-4

Redemption

5-14

Preservation of Israel

15-18

Revelation of the Covenant

19-31

Response to Covenant

32-40

Topics Narration of Subjection and Redemption Legislation and Instruction
Place Egypt

1-13

Wilderness

14-18

Mount Sinai

19-40

Time of events 1875 – 1445BC

430 Years

2 months 10 Months
               

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Redemption
  • Deliverance
  • The redemption and deliverance of Israel was accomplished by the shedding of blood and the power of God
  • It reveals God as more powerful than all of Egypt’s gods
  • It portrays the birth of Israel as a nation that would bring God’s rule to earth.

 

Christ in Exodus

It has no direct references to the Messiah but as a whole it is a type of the Messiah

  • Moses (Deut 18:15) was prophet, priest and ruler of Israel, led his people from slavery (a deliverer), a lawgiver and a mediator.
  • The Passover (1 Cor. 5:7)
  • The Exodus was related to baptism (salvation through the waters)
  • The High Priest foreshadows Jesus’ ministry as the Great High Priest!

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  1. God delivers His people from slavery
  2. God guides, protects  and provides for His people
  3. God will be our God … but on His terms, not ours
  4. God is a Holy, Righteous, Gracious, Compassionate and Jealous God

 

Leviticus

Name of Book

  • Leviticus = that which pertains to the Levites
  • Slightly misleading title because it actually contains regulations for the priests which were one division of the Levites.
  • Hebrew title = “wayyiqra” = and He called
  • Talmud refers to Leviticus as “the Law of the priests” and “the Law of the offerings”

Author

  • 56 times in Leviticus it is stated that the Lord gave these laws to Moses.

 

Date

  • The events take place in the first month of the second year that Israel was out of Egypt at Sinai.
  • It is likely that Moses recorded God’s revelations to him at the time and then later finalised the book.

 

Main Events

 

Focus Sacrifice Priestly Mediation
Divisions Laws of approach to God

1-7

Laws of the Priests

8-10

Laws of Purity

11-15

Laws of National Atonement

16

Laws of Sanctification

17-27

Topics Way to God Pleasing God
Place Mount Sinai
Time of events 1444BC

1 month

           

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Holiness (11:45; 19:2)
  • One approaches God on the basis of sacrifice and priestly mediation
  • One can only walk with a holy God in holiness and obedience
  • God’s chosen people must approach Him in a holy manner
  • The book is written as a guide for worship, a law code, and a handbook for holiness

 

Christ in Leviticus

The book is full of types of Christ:

  • The high priest
  • The seven feasts:
    • Passover speaks of the substitutionary death of the Messiah;
    • Unleavened bread speaks of the holy walk of the believer (1 Cor. 5:6-8)
    • First-fruits speaks of the resurrection of Jesus as the first fruits (1 Cor. 15:20-23)
    • Pentecost speaks of the descent of the Holy Spirit
    • Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles speak of events associated with the second coming

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  1. God cannot be approached by sinners without a sacrifice to atone for their sins;
  2. God desires His people to live a holy and separated life.

 

Numbers

Name of Book

  • First given the title Numbers in the Septuagint (“Arithmoi”). This is because the book opens with a census being taken.
  • In Hebrew the title is “Wayeddabber” (“And He said”) or “Bemidbar” (“In the wilderness”)
  • Has also in time past been called “Book of the Journeyings”, “Book of the Murmurings” and “Fourth Book of Moses”

 

Author

  • Moses
  • There are more than 80 claims that “the Lord spoke to Moses”
  • A number of New Testament texts cite events from Numbers and associate them with Moses (e.g. John 3:14; Acts 7; Acts 13; 1 Corinthians 10:1-5; Hebrews 3-4; Jude 11)

 

Date

  • Numbers covers about 39 years (1444 – 1405 BC)

 

Main Events

Focus Old Generation Tragic Transition New Generation Prepared
Divisions Organization of Israel

1-4

Sanctification of Israel

5:1 – 10:10

To Kadesh Barnea

10:11 – 12:15

At Kadesh barnea

13-14

In Wilderness

15-19

En route to Moab

20-25

Re-organization of Israel

26-30

Conquest and Division of Israel

31-36

Topics Order Disorder Re-ordering
Place Mount Sinai Wilderness Plains of Moab
Time of events 20 days 38 years, 3 months, 10 days 8 months
                         

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The consequences of disobedience to a holy God.
  • The Lord disciplines His people, yet remains faithful to His side of the Covenant
  • Displays the patience, holiness, justice, mercy and sovereignty of God towards His people.
  • There are no shortcuts to God’s blessings

 

Christ in Numbers

  • The bronze serpent on the stake (21:4-9; cf. John 3:14)
  • The rock that quenches the people’s thirst (cf. 1 Cor. 10:4)
  • Daily manna pictures the Bread of Life (cf. John 6:31-33)
  • Balaam prophesies the rulership of Christ (24:17)
  • The guidance and presence of Christ are seen in the pillar of fire and cloud.

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  1. God does not accept half-hearted or “second-thought” obedience.
  2. God does not give up on His people, but allows them a second chance – all the while protecting them.

 

Deuteronomy

 

Name of Book

Deuteronomy = “Second Law” = the second statement of the Law of Moses in summary form just before entry into Promised Land

Hebrew title       = “Haddebharim” = The Words

                                = “Mishneh Hattorah” = repetition of the Law

Author

  • Deuteronomy contains 40 claims that Moses wrote it (e.g. 1:1-5; 4:44-46; 29:1; 31:9)
  • Moses obituary in Chapter 34 was probably penned by Joshua

 

Date

  • The events occur entirely on the Plains of Moab due east of Jericho and the Jordan River
  • The book was written at the end of the 40 year period in the desert about 1405 BC

 

Main Events

Focus First Sermon Second Sermon Third Sermon
Divisions Review of History

1:1 – 4:43

10 Commandments

4:44 – 11:32

Additional Laws

12:1 – 26:19

Ratification of Covenant

27-28

Palestinian Covenant

29-30

Handover of Leadership

31-34

Topics What God has done What God expects What God has promised
Place Plains of Moab
Time of events 1 Month

About 1405 BC

             

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The main purpose is to remind Israel of what God has done and said.
  • It is a warning against forgetfulness. They must remember:
    • When they prosper it is thanks to God;
    • When they disobey God He will discipline them
    • It is a call to obedience as a condition to blessing
    • It is a Covenant Renewal Document which follows the same basic structure as ancient middle-eastern treaties:
      • List of the parties (1:1-5)
      • Historical prologue (1:6 – 4:43)
      • Conditions of the Covenant (4:44 – 26:19)
      • Ratification with consequences for keeping or breaking treaty (27-30)
      • Continuity (conditions for maintaining treaty) (31-34)
      • There is a constant emphasis on choice and consequences of such choices.

 

Christ in Deuteronomy

  • Prophecy in 18:15: “The Lord Your God shall raise up a Prophet like me from your midst, from your bretheren. Him shall you hear.” (cf. Acts 7:37)

Unfolding Revelation of God

  1. God requires that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength
  2. God always raises up leaders for His people.

 

Joshua

Name of Book:

Joshua = the name of the central character, the leader of Israel after Moses

Hoshea = “Salvation” in Hebrew. Moses changed his name to Yehoshua = “Yahweh is salvation” (Number 13:16)

Although Joshua is the leader, God is the Conqueror

Author and Date

Joshua is traditionally accepted as the author

  • 24:26, “Then Joshua wrote these words”
  • As an eyewitness he uses “we” and “us” in 5:1 & 6
  • Rahab was still alive when the book was written (6:25)

The events took place between 1405 and 1390BC

 

Main Events

Focus Conquest of Canaan Settlement of Canaan
Divisions Israel Prepared 1:1-5:15 Military Conquest 6:1-13:7 East of Jordan 13:8-33 West of Jordan 14:1-19:51 Religious Settling 20-21 Conditions 22-24
Topics Entering Canaan Conquering Canaan
Place Jordan Canaan
Time of events 1405BC

1 Month

Crossing Jordan =

10 April 1405BC

1405 – 1398 BC

7 years

1398 – 1390BC

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Israel takes possession of the Promised Land
  • Victory and blessing come through obedience and trust in God

 

Christ in Joshua

  • Joshua is a type of Christ (His name Yeshua is the Hebrew of Jesus)
  • He foreshadows Christ “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10)
  • He succeeds Moses and brings the victory Moses couldn’t – Jesus succeeds the Mosaic Law and wins the victory the Law could never win (John 1:17; Romans 8:2-4)
  • Rahab’s scarlet chord portrays safety through the blood of Jesus (Heb 9:19-22)

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  1. 6.        God is faithful to all His promises
  2. 7.        God is holy and righteous in His judgment of the immoral Canaanites

 

Judges

Name of Book:

Judges

Hebrew = “Shophetim” = “judges, rulers, deliverers or saviours”

It is in reference to the series of “judges” who first delivered Israel and then ruled and administered justice in Israel, during the time before the kings ruled.

Author and Date

The author is anonymous but Samuel or one of his contemporaries might have written it (about 1050BC). The Talmud attributes it to Samuel.

Events occurring in the book happen between 1380 – 1045BC

 

Main Events

The Israelites are settled in Canaan, but many enemies remain “to test Israel” (3:1, 4)

In 1:1 – 3:6 the Israelites disobeyed God and settled for living among the locals and even adopted their customs and idolatry.

Then followed 7 Cycles of deliverance. First the Israelites did “what was right in their own eyes” (21:25), they were then under corruption and bondage, then God raised up a deliverer who defeated their enemies and led them back to God … and then the cycle repeated itself.

Cycle Oppressor Years of oppression Deliverer Years of Peace
1: 3:7-11 Mesopotamia 8 Othniel 40
2: 3:12-30 Moabites 18 Ehud 80
3: 4:1 – 5:31 Canaanites 20 Deborah / Barak 40
4: 6:1 – 8:32 Midianties 7 Gideon 40
5: 8:33 – 10:5 Abimilech 3 Tola / Jair 45
6: 10:6 – 12:15 Ammonites 18 Jephthah / Ibzn / Elon / Abdon 6, 7, 10, 8
7: 13:1 – 16:31 Philistines 40 Samson 20

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Tells the story of Israel from the death of Joshua to the time of Samuel
  • Shows how sin and rebellion always lead to suffering and how God continually and patiently forgives and saves His people every time they repent.

 

Christ in Judges

  • Each judge is a saviour and ruler and thus portrays the role of Jesus to both save and rule.
  • Illustrates the need for a righteous king

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  1. Rebellion against God brings devastating consequences.
  2. 2.        Even when God’s people rebel God always responds to their repentance with forgiveness and love.
  3. 3.        God raises up deliverers to save His people.

 

Ruth

Name of Book:

Ruth

Name “Reuit” means “friendship”

Author and Date

The author is anonymous but it must have been written during David’s reign as he is mentioned as a descendant of Ruth.

The events occur at some stage during the rule of the judges.

 

Main Events

Focus Ruth demonstrates love Ruth’s love rewarded
Divisions Ruth stays with Naomi 1:1-1:18 Ruth cares for Naomi 1:19-2:23 Ruth requests Boaz’s redemption

3:1 – 3:18

Boaz redeems Ruth 4:1-22
Topics Ruth and Naomi Ruth and Boaz
  Death of family Family nurture Boaz’s care A new family born
Place Moab Bethlehem Threshing Floor Bethlehem
Time of events About 30 years

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Tells the story of faithfulness to the family and shows an example of a Gentile’s conversion to faith in the God of Israel
  • The theme is redemption (especially by a kinsman-redeemer) and God’s gracious blessing on a faithful remnant in the land.

 

Christ in Ruth

  • The Kinsman-Redeemer (in this instance Boaz) is a type of Christ.
  • The “goel” must be:
    • Related by blood to those he redeems;
    • Able to pay the redemption price;
    • Willing to redeem
    • Free himself

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  1. God is able to reach even the Gentiles and will accept them if they convert to faith in Him.

 

1 &  2 Samuel

Name of Book:

1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were originally a single book (and still are in the Hebrew Scriptures)

They record the ministry of Samuel and his anointing of the first 2 kings of Israel (Saul and davvid)

Author and Date

Traditionally it is Samuel.

Yet Samuel’s death is recorded in 1 Samuel 25:1.

1 Chronicles 29:29 refers to “The Book of Samuel the Seer”, “The Book of Nathan the Prophet”, and “The Book of Gad the Seer”. It is likely that a member of Samuel’s prophetic school used these books to compile the books of 1 and 2 Samuel.

The events recorded in the books occur between 1105BC and 971BC

Main Events

1 Samuel

Focus Samuel Saul
Divisions Eli and Samuel

1:1-3:21

Samuel as Judge

4 – 7

Samuel and Saul

8-12

Reign of Saul

13:1 – 15:9

Saul and David

15:10 – 31:13

Topics Decline of the Judges The Rise of the Kings
  Eli Samuel Saul David
Place Canaan / Israel
Time of events About 94 years

1105BC – 1011BC

             

 

2 Samuel

Focus David’s Triumphs David’s Transgressions David’s Troubles
Divisions Political Triumphs

1-5

Spiritual Triumphs

6-7

Military Triumphs

8-10

Adultery and Murder

11

At Home

12:1-13:36

In Kingdom

13:37-24:25

Topics Obedience Disobedience
  Success Sin Failure
Place Hebron Jerusalem
Time of events About 40 years

1011 – 971 BC

                   

 

Theme and Purpose

  • A prophetically-orientated history of Israel’s early monarchy
  • Samuel aiming to establish a theocratic monarchy. Saul was a failure because the people forced their will in having him anointed.
  • David initially succeeded in allowing God to rule through him.
  • Obedience brings God’s blessings and disobedience His judgment.

 


 

Christ in 1 and 2 Samuel

  • Samuel is a type of Jesus in that he was a prophet, priest and judge who ushers in a new era of God’s Kingdom.
  • David is the earliest and best Old testament portrayals of the Messiah:
    • He is born in Bethlehem
    • Works as a shepherd
    • He is anointed as king by God
    • He rules having initially been persecuted and rejected
    • As a “man after God’s own heart” he rules as Israel’s greatest king.
    • Jesus is specifically identified as the “seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3) and the “Root and Offspring of David” (Rev. 22:16)

 

Unfolding revelation of God

  1. God will rule and reign on earth through an appointed king.
  2. God is the “Lord of Hosts” or “Lord of the Angel Armies” (1 Sam 1:3)
  3. God punishes even His anointed one for his sins – there are no favourites with God.

 

1 & 2 Kings

Name of Book:

1 and 2 Kings

Originally one book but seemingly divided for the Greek translation because Greek needed more scroll space than Hebrew.

Author and Date

Traditionally  the author is Jeremiah.

Clearly the author was both a prophet and an historian as he highlights the dangers of falling away from the Lord (apostasy)

The majority was written before the Babylonian Exile (see 1 Kings 8:8 and 12:19).

The last 2 chapters of 2 Kings was written after the Babylonian Exile (586BC)

The events range from Solomon’s coronation in 971BC to the Babylonian Exile in 586BC

Main Events

1 Kings

Focus United Kingdom Divided Kingdom
Divisions Solomon enthroned

1-2

Rise of Solomon

3-8

Decline of Solomon

9-11

Division of Kingdom to North (Israel) & South (Judah) Reign of Kings in Judah and Israel

(See table)

Topics Kingdom in Tranquillity Kingdom in rebellion
Place Jerusalem Jerusalem / Samaria
Time of events About 40 years

971 – 931BC

About 80 years

931 – 851BC

           

 

2 Kings

Focus Divided Kingdom Surviving Kingdom
Divisions Ministry of Elisha

1:1 – 8:15

Reign of Kings in Israel & Judah

8:16 – 16:20

Fall of Israel

17

Reign of Evil Kings

18-21

Reign of Josiah

22-23

Fall of Judah

24-25

Topics Israel and Judah Judah
Place Israel deported to Assyria Judah Deported to Babylonia
Time of events 131 Years

853 – 722BC

115 Years

715 – 560BC

             

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Record the pivotal events in the lives of the kings and how disobedience and rebellion led to their overthrow
  • To show that the Decline and Collapse of the 2 Kingdoms was due to the failure of God’s people and their rulers to heed the prophetic warnings brought to them.

 

Christ in 1 and 2 Kings

  • Solomon is a type of Christ:
    • Christ Jesus became for us the “wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:30)
    • Solomon’s wealth and glory foreshadow Christ’s coming Kingdom
    • His rulership brings knowledge, peace and worship
    • Jesus later says, “One greater than Solomon is here” (Matt 12:42)
    • God preserves the lineage of David, through whom the Messiah will come

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

God destroys the unfaithful but preserves a remnant of the faithful for Himself.

1&2 Chronicles

Name of Book:

Originally these two were one book.

Original Hebrew name was Dibere Hayyamim (“The Words of the Days”).

It was also historically called “Basileon Iouda” = “The Kings of Judah”

The name Chronicles was only introduced in AD 385 in the Latin Bible.

 

Author and Date

Jewish tradition holds that Ezra the priest was the author.

This is confirmed by the emphasis on the Temple, the priesthood and the kingly line of David.

The closing verses of 2 Chronicles (36:22-23) are repeated with minor changes as the opening verses of Ezra (1:1-3)

Sources mentioned in 1 and 2 Chronicles include:

  • The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah (1 Chr. 9:1)
  • The Annotations on the book of the Kings (2 Chr. 24:27)
  • Chronicles of Samuel the Seer (1 Chr. 29:29)
  • Chronicles of Nathan the prophet (1 Chr. 29:29)
  • Chronicles of Gad the Seer (1 Chr. 29:29)
  • The prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (2 Chron. 9:29)

 

Main Events

1 Chronicles

Focus Royal Line of David Reign of King David
Divisions The genealogies

1-9

David enthroned 10-12 Ark acquired 13-17 Victories of David 18-20 Preparation of Temple

21-27

Last days of David

28-29

Topics Genealogy History
Place Israel
Time of events Thousands of years

(Adam – David)

33 years

1004 – 971 BC

 

2 Chronicles

Focus Reign of Solomon Reign of the Kings of Judah
Divisions Solomon enthroned

1

Temple built

2-7

Glory of his reign

8-9

Division of kingdom

10-13

Reforms

14-35

Fall of Judah in 586BC

36

Topics Temple is constructed Temple is destroyed
Place Judah
Time of events 40 years

971-931BC

About 393 years

931-538BC

             

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The books were written for the people who returned from exile in Babylon.
  • They cover the same period of history as the books of 2 Samuel to 2 Kings. They are written from a priestly perspective as a Godly editorial on the history of the people of God. It is, in a sense, a spiritual history.
  • They trace Israel’s lineage back to Adam and forward to the end of the Babylonian captivity and thereby show God’s faithfulness and continuing purpose for His people.
  • They concentrate on the more positive aspects of the messianic line, the temple and spiritual reforms.
  • They teach that Yahweh is still with His people and that He has a destiny for them. David’s palace may be gone, but David’s line continues!
  • They teach very clearly that the reasons for Israel’s destruction were idolatry, apostasy, intermarriage and disobedience to the Lord!
  • The righteous reigns of Asa, Jehosophat, Joash, Hezekiah and Josiah are central to 2 Chronicles.

 

Christ in 1 & 2 Chronicles

  • David and his line point to the coming Messianic king.
  • The Messianic line continues despite destruction and exile.
  • The temple is a type of Christ – a place where the presence of the Living God dwells (Matthew 12:6; John 2:19; Revelation 21:22)

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  • God is faithful and His sovereign plan and purpose will continue despite humanity’s rebellion. (2 Chr. 36:23)

Ezra

Name of Book:

Ezra is the name of the priestly leader who wrote the book and who led the people of God 22 years after their return to Jeruslaem.

“Ezra” = “Jehovah helps”

Ezra and Nehemiah were originally bound together as one book because they make up a continuous history with Chronicles.

 

Author and Date

  • Ezra is traditionally accepted as the author.
  • Portions of the book are written in the first person from Ezra’s point of view (7:28-9:15)
  • Ezra was a godly man, marked by strong trust in the Lord, moral integrity and grief over sin.
  • He was a contemporary with Nehemiah.
  • Tradition holds that he collected the Old testament books into a unit, founded synagogue form of worship and also founded the Great Synagogue where the canon of Old Testament Scripture was eventually finalised.
  • Ezra probably wrote between 457BC (when the event described in Ezra 7-10 is dated) and 444BC (when Nehemiah arrived).
  • During the period covered by this book Buddha was in India (560-480BC), Confucius was in China (551-479BC) and Socrates was in Greece (470-399BC)

 

 

Main Events

Focus Restoration of the Temple Reformation of the People
Divisions First return to Jerusalem of 49 897 people

1-2

Construction of Temple

3-6

Second return to Jerusalem of 1754 people

7-8

Restoration of the people

9-10

Topics Zerubbabel Ezra
Place Persia to Jerusalem
Time of events 538-516BC 458-457BC
         

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The spiritual, moral and social restoration of the returned Remnant in Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Ezra.
  • The revitalisation of worship and the purification of people.
  • Shows how God can touch even pagan kings to further His purpose, and how He raises up spiritual leaders.
  • Shows God fulfilling the promise of Jeremiah 29:14, “I will bring you back from your captivity.”

 

Christ in Ezra

  • God is keeping the Messianic line alive. Zerubbabel rules as a leader from the Davidic line and is a forefather of Jesus.

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  • God is holy and expects His people to live a holy and separated life.

Time-line of Ezra and Nehemiah

538BC                      516BC                      458BC                                                      444BC                                                      433BC

Zerubbabel and 1st exiles return            Ezra and 2nd exiles return                       Nehemiah and 3rd exiles return             Nehemiah to

                                Temple completed                                                                 and rebuild wall of Jerusalem                                Shushan & back

 

Nehemiah

Name of Book

The book is named after its chief character and author.

It seems to be a compilation of Nehemiah’s personal memoirs.

Author and Date

  • Nehemiah
  • He was cup-bearer to king Artaxerxes 1 of Persia in the city of Susa (Shushan).
  • He returned to Jerusalem and was governor from 444-432BC

 

Main Events

Focus Reconstruction of the Wall Restoration of the People
Divisions Nehemiah returns and prepares to build wall

1-2

Wall is rebuilt

3-7

Covenant renewed with Ezra’s help

8-10

Cleansing of the Covenant community

11-13

Topics Construction Instruction
Place Jerusalem
Time of events 444BC 443-432BC
         

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Nehemiah is concerned mainly with the political and geographical restoration of Judah.
  • Nehemiah established firm civil authority and together with Ezra rebuilt the people spiritually and morally.
  • It shows how God raised up a leader to accomplish a specific task of rebuilding the walls of the City.
  • It also highlights the reaffirmation of the Covenant with God (Nehemiah 9)

 

Christ in Nehemiah

  • Christ is reflected in Nehemiah’s work of restoration.
  • We will later discover that the command of Artaxerxes in Nehemiah 2:1 marks the beginning of Daniel’s 70 weeks (Daniel 9:25-27) – “From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince” (Dan. 9:25)

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  • God raises up ordinary human beings and uses them for His purpose when they will depend completely on Him and obey Him implicitly.

Esther

Name of Book

The book is named after its main character, Esther – a young Jewish lady who becomes queen of Persia.

Her Hebrew name was “Hadassah” (meaning “myrtle”). Her Persian name “Esther” is derived from the Persian word for “star”

Author and Date

  • The events occur in Susa (Shushan) between chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra; i.e. between the time Zerubbabel left for Jerusalem and the time Ezra left for Jerusalem.
  • Either Mordecai or a contemporary of his who was also a Persian Jew.
  • Xerxes (Ahaseurus in Hebrew) is the Greek name of Khshayarsh, king of Persia from 486-464BC.
  • In 483BC he held a feast (1:3) which the historian Herodotus tells us was held to plan a military campaign against Greece.
  • In 479BC he was defeated by Greece in a battle at Salamis and Herodotus tells us that he sought consolation in his harem. This corresponds with events in Esther 2.
  • The events of the rest of the book took place in 473BC (the 12th year of his reign) – see 3:7

 

Main Events

Focus Threat to the Jews Triumph of the Jews
Divisions Esther selected as queen

1:1-2:20

Haman formulates his plot

2:21-3:15

Esther and Mordecai triumph over Haman

4-7

Israel triumphs over her enemies

8-10

Topics Grave danger Great deliverance
Place Persia – citadel of Susa
Time of events 483-473BC
         

Theme and Purpose

  • To record the history of a great deliverance of the Jews in exile.
  • To record the history of the Feast of Purim (9:18-32)
  • To show how God works behind the scenes through ordinary people.

Christ in Ezra

  • Like Christ, Esther puts herself in the place of death to save her people.
  • She also portrays Christ’s work as our Advocate.
  • The devil is trying to wipe out the Messianic line, but God protects it.

Unfolding Revelation of God

  • The fact that God is not once mentioned in Esther reveals how God works behind the scenes and between the lines of human history.

Job

Name of Book

The book is named after its main character, Job.

It is the first of the Poetry books and probably the oldest book in the Bible. It is set in the time of the Patriarchs (Abrahham, Isaac and Jacob).

The Hebrew name is “Iyyob” and means both “persecution” (in Hebrew) and “repentance” (in Arabic)

Author and Date

  • The author is unknown.
  • The cultural background to the book is not Jewish / Hebraic and so a Gentile author is likely.
  • Moses lived in Midian before leading the Exodus and Midian borders on Uz where the events occur (1:1) – it is possible that Moses obtained a scroll or parchment of the book and introduced it to the Hebrews.

 

Main Events

Focus Dilemma of Job Debate of Job Deliverance of Job
Divisions The controversy between God and Satan 1-2 1st Cycle

3-14

2nd Cycle

15-21

3rd Cycle

22-26

Final defence

27-31

Solution of Elihu

32-37

God’s 1st challenge

38-40:5

God’s 2nd challenge

40:6-42:6

Deliverance 42:7-17
Topics Conflict Debate Restoration
Place Heavenly realm Land of Uz (Northern Arabia)
Time of events c. 2000BC
                     

 

Theme and Purpose

  • To seek to answer the question: Why do the righteous suffer if God is loving and all-powerful?
  • It reveals the over-simplified solutions people often offer to this problem.
  • The focus is on what Job learns from his suffering – i.e. that God is Sovereign over all creation.
  • The solution to suffering is to accept that there is not always an answer to the question, “Why?”,  and to hang on to God and to trust Him to take control and see you through.

 

Christ in Job

  • Job acknowledges that here is a Redeemer (19:25-27) and cries out for an Advocate (9:33; 25:4; 33:23)

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  • Job reveals 5 ways God uses suffering in our lives:
    • To humble us (22:29 and Deut. 8:2)
    • To test us (2:3 and Deut. 8:2)
    • To re-arrange our priorities (42:5-6 and Deut. 8:3)
    • To discipline us (5:17 and Deut. 8:5)
    • To prepare us for future blessings (42:10 and Deut. 8:7)
    • It also reveals God as Creator (38-42)
    • It reveals that the earth is floating in space (26:7) and that it is a sphere (22:14)


 

Psalms

Name of Book

“Psalms” = “Songs”

In Hebrew it was known as “Sepher tephillim” = “Book of Praises”

It is the songbook of the Temple and is divided into 5 Books..

Author and Date

50 of the Psalms are by anonymous authors while the other 100 are attributed to different authors (75 by David).

The book was compiled over a period of about 1000 years from Moses (c.1410BC) to Ezra and Nehemiah (430BC).

Content

Book 1 (1-41) 2 (42-72) 3 (73-89) 4 (90-106) 5 (107-150)
Chief Author David David / Korah Asaph Anonymous David / Anonymous
Number of psalms 41 31 17 17 44
Basic content Worship National Interest National Interest Praise Praise
Possible Compiler David Hezekiah or Josiah Hezekiah or Josiah Ezra or Nehemiah Ezra or Nehemiah

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The common theme is worship and that God is worthy of worship because of Who He is, what he has done, and what He will do.

 

Christ in the Psalms

Many Psalms specifically prophesied the life of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

Firstly, they give three specific perspectives on the Christ.

Perspective on Christ The King The Servant The Son of God
Psalms 2, 18, 21, 24, 47, 110, 132 17, 22, 23, 40, 41, 69, 109 8, 16, 19, 40, 102, 118

 

Secondly, He is also directly prophesied as follows:

Psalm Prophecy Fulfilment
2:7 God will declare Him His Son Matt. 3:17
8:6 All things will be put under His feet Hebrews 2:8
16:10 He will be resurrected from the dead Mark 16:6-7
22:1 God will forsake Him Matt. 27:46
22:7-8 He will be scorned and mocked Luke 23:35
22:16 His hands and feet will be pierced John 20:25-27
22:18 Others will gamble for His clothes Matt. 27:35-36
34:20 Not one of His bones will be broken John 19:32-36
35:11 He will be accused by false witnesses Mark 14:57
35:19 He will be hated without cause John 15:25
40:7-8 He will come to do God’s will Hebrews 10:7
41:9 He will be betrayed by a friend Luke 22:47
45:6 His throne will be forever Hebrews 1:8
68:18 He will ascend to God’s right hand Mark 16:19
69:9 Zeal for God’s house will consume Him John 2:17
69:21 He will be given vinegar and gall to drink Matt. 27:34
109:4 He will pray for His enemies Luke 23:34
109:8 His betrayer’s place will be filled by another Acts 1:20
110:1 His enemies will be made subject to Him Matt. 22:44
110:4 He will be a priest like Melchizedek Hebrews 5:6
118:22 He will be  chief cornerstone Matthew 21:42
118:26 He will come in the Name of the Lord Matthew 21:9

 

Proverbs

Name of Book:

The Proverbs of Solomon or “Mishneh Shelomoh” is the original name.

The Latin Bible named it simply Proverbs.

The key word is “wisdom” which means to “live skilfully” or to “live a godly life in an ungodly world”.

Proverbs provides God’s detailed instructions for successful living in the practical affairs of daily life.

 

Author and Date

Solomon authored most of the book but there are also other collections of sayings. It is likely that one of the later prophets collected and compiled the sayings into this book.

1 Kings 4:32 says that Solomon authored 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs. Only about 800 of his proverbs are recorded in this book.

 

Outline

Focus Purpose Youth Solomon Solomon Agur Lemuel
Divisions Purpose and theme

1:1-1:7

Father’s advice

1:8-9:18

First collection of his proverbs

10:1-24:34

Second collection copied by Hezekiah’s men

25:1-29:27

Wise sayings of an otherwise unknown author

30:1-33

Wisdom for leaders and women from a King named Lemuel

31:1-31

Topics Prologue Wise Counsel for godly living
Place Judah
Time of sayings c. 950-700BC

 

Theme and Purpose

The book clearly spells out its purposes:

  1. To impart moral discernment and discretion (1:2a, 3-5)
  2. To develop mental clarity and perception (1:2b, 6)

It’s theme is practical righteousness before God in every area of life.

Some Key proverbs

Reference Wisdom
1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction”
3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
6:9-11 “How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest– and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”
11:15 “He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe.”
18:6 “A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.”
22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
25:17 “Seldom set foot in your neighbour’s house– too much of you, and he will hate you.”
31:10 “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”

Christ in Proverbs

  • Chapter 8 personifies Wisdom and says that this Wisdom is:
    • Divine (8:22-31)
    • The source of life (3:18; 8:35-36)
    • Righteous and moral (8:8-9)
    • Available to all who receive it (8:1-6; 32-35)
    • Colossians 2:3 says that Wisdom became incarnate in Christ.

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  • God has the answer to all of life’s practical problems if only we will ask Him and trust Him.

 

Ecclesiastes

Name of Book:

The Hebrew name is “Qoheleth” and comes from the word “qahal” which means “to convoke an assembly or, to assemble”.

Hence the Greek name is “Ecclesiastes” based on the word “ekklesia” meaning “an assembly, congregation, or church”.

The title thus means “preacher” or “speaker before an assembly”

Author and Date

The “Qoheleth”.

Solomon is traditionally held to be the author.

The author says he is “the son of David, king in Jerusalem” (1:1, 12)

It was written late in his life (about 935BC) when his reign was nearly over.

 

Outline

Focus Thesis: All is Vanity Proof: Life is Vain Counsel: Fear God
Divisions Stating the thesis

1:1-11

Experience proves it

1:12-2:26

Life in this world proves it

3-6

Coping in a wicked world

7-9

Counsel for uncertainties

10:1-12:8

Conclusion

12:9-14

Topics Declaration of vanity Demonstration of vanity Deliverance from vanity
Place “Under the Sun”
Time of events c. 935BC
             

Theme and Purpose

  • The book reports the results of a diligent search for meaning, satisfaction and purpose in life.
  • The Preacher discovers the meaninglessness (“vanity”) of power, popularity, prestige, and pleasure apart from God. All earthly goals when pursued as ends in themselves end in dissatisfaction and frustration. This life apart from God is called “life under the sun”.
  • It concludes that satisfaction, meaning and purpose in this life can only be found in living for God.
  • Wisdom involves seeing life from a divine perspective and trusting God in the face of the apparent futility and purposelessness of life.
  • Life is a daily gift from God and should be enjoyed with gratitude to God.
  • The ultimate conclusion is in 12:13-14: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

 

A Christian Perspective

Life under the Sun Life under the SON
1:9  “nothing new under the sun” 2 Cor. 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation”
1:14 All deeds are vanity under the sun 1 Cor. 15:58 “Be steadfast, immovable, knowing that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”
6:12 Man is mortal under the sun John 3:16 “Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”
8:15 Pleasure is temporary under the sun Phil. 2:13 “It is God who works in you both to will and to act according to His good pleasure.”

Christ in Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes clearly portrays the emptiness of a life without a relationship with the Lord.  Each person has eternity in his heart (3:11) and only Christ can provide ultimate satisfaction, joy and wisdom.

Ecc 12:11  “The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd.” Christ is the Good Shepherd and Source of all wisdom!

Unfolding Revelation of God

Ecclesiastes has a fairly primitive revelation of God:

  • God exists (3:14; 5:2)
  • God is Sovereign and Powerful (6:2; 7:13; 9:1)
  • God is Just (5:8; 8:12-13)

Song of Songs

Name of Book:

The Hebrew name is “Shir hashirim” = “The song of songs”

It is a love song written by Solomon (1:1) and thus also sometimes called “Song of Solomon”.

 

Author and Date

Solomon is traditionally held to be the author.

Solomon is mentioned 7 times and he is identified as the groom.

This is one of the songs referred to in 1 Kings 4:32-33

 

Outline

Focus The beginning of love The broadening of love
Divisions Falling in love

1:1-3:5

United in love

3:6 – 5:1

Passion in love

5:2-7:10

Growing in love

7:11-8:14

Topics Courtship Wedding Passion Progress
Place Israel
Time of events About 1 year

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The Song portrays the purity of human romantic love in courtship and marriage and teaches that physical beauty and sexuality in marriage are gifts from God.
  • It also symbolically portrays Yahweh’s love for His people and His covenant commitment to them.

 

Christ in Song of Songs

Song of Songs illustrates the relationship between God and His people. In the Old Testament Israel was regarded as the Bride of Yahweh (e.g Isaiah 54:5-6; Jeremiah 2:2) and in the New testament the church is the Bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:23-25; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:9). Song of Songs illustrates the former and anticipates the latter.

Unfolding Revelation of God

It reveals the passionate love of God for His people.

The Prophets

Introduction

  • The second division of the Hebrew Bible is the Prophets.
  • The Major Prophets are the writings of the Prophets who wrote long books.
  • The Minor Prophets are short books of prophecy.
  • The books record the ministries of the “nabi” (“prophets”) who were people called and appointed by God to speak His message to the people of God.
  • They spoke on God’s behalf as God gave them revelation through dreams, visions, angels, nature, miracles or an audible voice.

 

Their message

  • While they did foretell future events, their main ministry was that of “forth-telling”; i.e. speaking the living word of God for today!
  • They proclaimed the consequences of specific present-day attitudes and actions and called for repentance and reform to avert future judgment.

 

Four major themes

The prophets had four major themes:

  1. Sin: They exposed the sinful practices of God’s people. Speaking the truth often made them very unpopular;
  2. Repentance: They called people back to God – particularly to the outward observances of His Law – and urged them to trust God;
  3. Judgment: They warned people of the coming judgment – which could only be avoided by repentance.
  4. Messiah: They anticipated the coming Messiah who would deliver God’s people from all their enemies (Acts 10:43)

 

Interpretation

The prophetic writings carry meanings at one or more of the following four levels:

  1. The day of the prophet himself;
  2. The Exile and Return;
  3. The first coming of the Messiah;
  4. The Eternal Messianic Kingdom.

 

 

Isaiah

Name of Book:

The book is named for the prophet whose prophecies are recorded in it – Isaiah.

His name Yeshaiah means “Yahweh is salvation”.

 

Author and Date

Isaiah was from a distinguished Jewish family. His education is revealed by his impressive vocabulary and style.

He had close contact with the royal court but his ministry was not always well-received.

He spent most of his time in Jerusalem.

Talmudic tradition says that his persecutors sawed him in two during the reign of the evil King Manasseh (Hebrews 11:37)

His ministry stretched from 740 – 680BC through the reigns of kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah.

The power of the Assyrian empire was growing during his ministry and he constantly called the kings to trust in Yahweh and not in alliances with foreign kings.

After Israel fell to Assyria in 721BC he warned Judah of judgment by Babylonia (although they had not risen to power yet).

He outlives Hezekiah by a few years and was possibly murdered by Hezekiah’s son Manasseh.

 

Outline

Focus Prophecies of Condemnation

1-35

Historical Interlude

36-39

Prophecies of Comfort

40-66

Divisions Judah

1-12

Nations

13-23

Day of the Lord

24-27

Judgment and blessing

28-35

Hezekiah’s salvation from Assyria

36-37

Hezekiah’s salvation from sickness

38

Hezekiah’s sin

39

Israel’s deliverance

40-48

Israel’s Deliverer

49-57

Israel’s Glorious Future

58-66

Topics Judgment Transition Restoration & Glory
Place                                                                                                    Judah
Time of events 740-680BC
                     

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Chapters 1-39 reveal the path of destruction that humanity’s sin has put us on.
  • Chapters 40-66 reveal that salvation comes from God and not people.
  • Because of the sin of the nation of Judah, they will be overthrown, but God will be faithful to His covenant by preserving a remnant and by raising up a deliverer for them.

Christ in Isaiah

Isaiah often sounds more like a New Testament writer than an Old Testament Prophet.

His Messianic prophecies are numerous and very clear.

He presents Messiah as both King and as Suffering Servant.

Isaiah New Testament Fulfilment
7:14 Matt 1:22-23
9:1-2 Matt 4:12-16
9:6 Luke 2:11; Ephesians 2:14-18
11:1 Luke 3:23, 32; Acts 13: 22-23
11:2 Luke 3:22
28:16 1 Peter 2:4-6
40:3-5 Matt 3:1-3
42:1-4 Matt 12:15-21
42:6 Luke 2:29-32
50:6 Matt 26:67; 27:26, 30
52:14 Philippians 2:7-11
53:3 Luke 23:18; John 1:11; 7:5
53:4-5 Romans 5:6-8
53:7 Matt 27:12-14; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-19
53:9 Matt 27:57-60
53:12 Mark 15:28
61:1 Luke 4:17-19, 21

Unfolding Revelation of God

God is the Supreme Ruler, God of History and the only Saviour. He has a plan for the salvation of the world.

Jeremiah

Name of Book:

The book is named for the prophet whose prophecies are recorded in it – Jeremiah.

His name means “Yahweh Throws”.

 

Author and Date

  • Jeremiah was called in his youth from the priestly city of Anathoth. He spent more than 40 years proclaiming a message of doom and coming judgment to the rebellious and stubborn people of Judah from 627-580BC.
  • His ministry often left him heartbroken by the people’s refusal to listen and also by the bad news he was constantly proclaiming.
  • God commands him not to marry as a prophetic sign that the next generation will not survive. (16:2)
  • His message led to him being threatened in Anathoth, tried for his life by the priests and prophets of Jerusalem, put in stocks, forced to flee from King Jehoiakim, publicly humiliated by the false prophet Hananiah, and thrown into a cistern.
  • Jeremiah dictated his prophecies to the scribe Baruch. After his scroll was destroyed by the king (36) he dictated a more complete version. (36-38) Chapter 52 was probably added by Baruch as an historical ending to the book.
  • There were three stages in Jeremiah’s ministry:
    • 627-605BC – He prophesied while Judah was threatened by Assyria and Egypt;
    • 605-586BC – He proclaimed God’s judgment while Judah was threatened and besieged by Babylon;
    • 586-580BC – he prophesied in Jerusalem and Egypt after Judah’s downfall.
    • It is quite a disjointed book and, without the background, very hard to follow.

Outline

Focus The Call of Jeremiah

1

Prophecies to Judah

2-45

Prophecies to the Gentiles Fall of Jerusalem
Divisions God calls Jeremiah

1

9 Sermons condemning Judah

2-25

The conflicts of Jeremiah

26-29

Future restoration

30-33

Present fall of Jerusalem

34-45

Various gentile nations

46-49

Babylon

50-51

Capture, destruction and exile

52

Topics God’s call Warning Judgment
Place Judah
Time of events 627-580BC
                 

 

Theme and Purpose

  • It is a persistent warning that the time for repentance would soon be over. The people have become so stubborn that they are unyielding and very soon it will be too late!
  • The moral and spiritual causes of their coming judgment were made clear.
  • God’s promise of restoration for a remnant and a New Covenant (31) is central.

 

Christ in Jeremiah

  • Jeremiah portrays the coming Messiah as the Shepherd and the Righteous Branch.
  • Christ will reign and prosper and be called by the name: The Lord our Righteousness!
  • Messiah will inaugurate the New Covenant (31:31-34)
  • The curse on Jahoiachin (also called Jeconiah) meant that no physical descendant would succeed him on the throne (22:28-30). This is why Luke 3:23-38 traces Jesus’ genealogy through Mary’s line (Jesus’ physical parent) to David’s other son, Nathan. Although Joseph (his legal father) was a descendant of Jehoiachin, Jesus was also of the line of david through Mary.

 

Unfolding Revelation of God

  • God is the Soveriegn Creator and Lord of all peoples and nations.
  • His love is holy and His compassion is righteous.
  • He is the Only True God and thus hates idolatry and the immorality it produces.

 

Lamentations

Name of Book:

Lamentations is exactly that – a series of laments over the destruction of Jerusalem.

The Hebrew title is “Ekah!” which means “Ah, how” – the first word in the Hebrew text.

 

Author and Date

  • Jeremiah is believed to have penned these 5 poems shortly after the fall of Jerusalem in 586BC.
  • The 5 chapters are five separated poems. Each poem has 22 verses, except chapter 3 which has 22 sets of 3 verses.
  • In chapters 1,2 & 4 each verse starts with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In a sense Jeremiah is mourning from A-Z. This style was used in funeral dirges.

 

Outline

Focus Poem #1: Destruction of Jerusalem Poem #2:

Anger of Yahweh

Poem #3:

A Prayer for Mercy

Poem #4:

Siege of Jerusalem

Poem #5:

Prayer for Restoration

Divisions and

Topics

Grief and Mourning over the City The Cause of the Destruction Hope proclaimed by the Suffering Prophet Realizations of the Ruined Kingdom A Repentant nation prays
Place Jerusalem
Time of events 740-680BC

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem
  • .Confession of sin and the acknowledgment of God’s righteousness in destroying the City;
  • A brief note of hope in God’s future restoration. (3:22-25)

 

Christ in Lamentations

Christ is typified by the sorrow of Jeremiah over Jerusalem. Jesus too would later weep for Jerusalem and her coming destruction. (Matt 23:37-38)

 Unfolding Revelation of God

  • God is the Righteous Judge who will punish sin.
  • God is also the only hope for salvation.

 

Ezekiel

Name of Book:

Ezekiel – meaning “strengthened by God” – the name of the prophet.

 

Author and Date

  • Ezekiel recorded his prophetic ministry between 592-570BC.
  • In 605BC Nebuchadnezzar carried off exiles, including Daniel. Then in 597BC he once again took exiles (10 000) including Jehoiachin and Ezekiel. In 586 BC the City of Jerusalem was completely destroyed and a third group of exiles was taken.
  • He was 25 years old when he was taken to Babylon in 597BC. He received his prophetic calling when he was 30 (1:1) and ministered until about 570BC, dying in 560BC.
  • By the time he began his ministry Daniel was already quite well known (14:14, 14:20, 28:3). Unlike Daniel, he lived among the Jewish exiles along the Chebar River – a principal colony of Jewish Exiles.

 

Outline

Focus Ezekiel’s Call Judgment on Judah Judgment on Gentiles Restoration of Israel
Divisions and

Topics

1-3

Ezekiel sees God’s glory and is commissioned as a prophet.

4-24

Signs, messages, visions and parables of judgment

25-32

Judgment on the surrounding nations

33-39 Israel’s return 40-48

Restoration of Temple and Land

Place Babylon
Time of events 592-587BC

Before the siege

586BC

During siege

585-570BC

After the siege

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Like many other prophets his two-fold theme was condemnation and consolation.
  • His early ministry to the Jewish exiles in Babylon was similar to Jeremiah, pointing out the sins that would cause the fall of Jerusalem. But when the city fell, he turned to consoling the exiles by assuring them of God’s faithfulness and His covenant promise of future blessing and complete restoration.
  • He places a very strong emphasis on the glory of God, concentrating on the temple with its perversion, destruction and restoration; and on the heavenly glory of God, the departure of God’s glory and the earthly gory of God.
  • God’s greatest concern is that His people should know that He is the Lord.

 

Christ in Ezekiel

  • Christ is depicted as a tender twig that becomes a stately cedar on a mountain (17:22-24)
  • He is the King who has the right to rule (21:26-27)
  • He is the True Shepherd (34:11-31)

 

 Unfolding Revelation of God

  • God ‘s glory is over the heavens and the earth;
  • God breathes spiritual life into His dead people.

Daniel

Name of Book:

Daniel means “God is my Judge” and is the name of the prophet whose ministry is recorded in the book.

 

Author and Date

  • The author is Daniel the prophet.
  • He was exiled to Babylon at age 16 in 605BC and was handpicked for government service. (1:1-7)
  • He became God’s prophetic mouthpiece to the Gentiles and the Jews.
  • Nine of the 12 chapters are concerned with visions and dreams.
  • His ministry stretched from 605BC  until even after Babylon was overcome by the Medes and Persians in 539BC. His prophetic ministry was directed at both his own people, the Jews, and the gentile kings Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar of Babylon, and Darius and Cyrus of Persia.

 

Outline

Focus Daniel’s History God’s prophetic plan for the gentiles God’s prophetic plan for Israel
Divisions and

Topics

1

Daniel’s deportation and rise

2

Neb.’s dream of an Image

3

Fiery Furnace

4

Neb’s vision of a Tree

5

Belshazzar and the writing on the wall

6

Lion’s Den

7 Daniel’s vision of the 4 beasts 8

Daniel’s vision of the Ram and Goat

9

Daniel’s Vision of the 70 Weeks

10-12

Daniel’s vision of Israel’s future

Place Babylonia / Persia
Time of events 605-536BC
                     

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Daniel was written to encourage the exiles about God’s sovereign plan for Israel, both during and after the period of Gentile domination.
  • The “Times of the Gentiles” began with the Babylonian captivity and would continue for many years, but God will establish the Messianic Kingdom  which will last forever.

 

Christ in Daniel

  • Christ is the “Great Stone” who will crush the kingdoms of this world (2:34-35, 44)
  • He is the “Son of Man” who is given dominion by the Ancient of days (7:13-14)
  • He is the Coming Messiah who will be “cut off” (9:25-26)
  • It is likely that Daniel’s vision (10:5-9) was an appearance of Christ (like in Revelation 1:12-16).
  • The vision of 69 weeks (9:25-26) pinpoints the coming of the Messiah. The decree (9:25) took place on 4 March 444BC (Nehemiah 2:1-8). The 69 weeks of 7 years equals 483 years or 173 880 days (using 360-day prophetic years). This takes us to 29 March, 33AD – the date of the Triumphal Entry!!!!!!! (calculated on the basis of the date of Passover in 33AD).
  • Check this by noting that 444BC to 33AD = 476 years. 476 x 365.24219 (days per year) = 173 855 days. Add 25 days for the difference between 4 March and 29 March gives 173 880 days.

 

 Unfolding Revelation of God

  • “The Most High rules over the Kingdoms of men and gives them to whomever he chooses.”
  • God is swiftly bringing to pass a messianic Kingdom that will establish His eternal rule over all humanity.

The Minor Prophets

  • Before the time of Christ these twelve books were joined together on one scroll, known collectively as “The Twelve”.
  • They cover a 400 year span of History moving through the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian Empires.
  • Jonah, Amos and Hosea prophesied to the Northern Kingdom.
  • Obadiah, Joel, Nahum, Micah, Zephaniah and Habakkuk prophesied to the Southern Kingdom.
  • Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were post-exilic prophets.

 

Minor Prophet Essence of Book Biblical Context King Approx. date
 Hosea The unhappy story of Hosea and his faithless wife, Gomer, illustrates the loyal love of God and the spiritual adultery of Israel. Hosea exposes Israel’s sin and contrasts this to God’s faithfulness and holiness. The nation will be judged for her sins but God’s love and faithfulness will one day bring her back and restore her. 2 Kings 14:23- 18:12 Jeroboam II to Hezekiah (Northern Kingdom) 755-715BC
Joel The book looks back at a recent locust plague which had decimated the land and uses it as an image of the far more fearsome day of God’s judgment. The land will be invaded by an army that will make the locusts seem tame by comparison. God calls His people to repent to avert the disaster. Because His people will not repent they will be destroyed, but great blessing and an outpouring of God’s Spirit will follow! 2 Kings 12:1-21 Joash (Southern Kingdom) 835BC
Amos The Northern kingdom was enjoying great prosperity when Amos warned them of coming judgment. He pronounces 8 judgments – first on surrounding nations and then on Israel.  He has 3 sermons which highlight the sins of Israel and call for repentance. Israel rejects his warnings and he then proceeds to portray their coming judgment in a series of 5 visions. He closes his book with a brief word of future hope. 2 Kings 14:23 – 5:7 Jeroboam II

(Northern Kingdom)

760-753BC
Obadiah An obscure prophet of the Southern Kingdom who directs his prophecy at Edom, a neighbouring nation south-east of Judah. Edom (the descendants of Esau) refused to act as his brother’s keeper towards Judah (descended from Jacob) but instead gloated when Jerusalem was invaded. Thus they would be destroyed. 2 Kings 8:16-24 Unsure, but likely Jehoram. See

2 Chron.

 21:16-17

848-841BC
Jonah Probably the best-known Minor Prophet. His prophetic message takes all of one line but the story is as important as the message. He is reluctant to take God’s warning to Nineveh and when, after being swallowed by a great fish, he does deliver it, the people of Nineveh repent and God relents from sending judgment. Jonah then sulks and God has to teach him that God has compassion even on the Gentiles and will forgive them if they repent. 2 Kings 13:10-25;

14:23-29

King of Nineveh.

Jeroboam II was ruling in Israel (North)

760BC
Micah It begins with a word of divine retribution against Judah and Israel because of corruption at every level of society (rulers, prophets, priests, judges, businessmen, and landlords). God’s covenant promises will be fulfilled in the Messianic Kingdom. Judgment will ultimately be followed by forgiveness and restoration. 2 Kings 15:32 – 19:37

2 Chron. 27:1 – 32:23

Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (South) 735-710BC (Contemporary of Isaiah)
Nahum About 125 years after Jonah’s prophecy and Nineveh’s repentance, Nahum predicted the impending destruction of the same city. The citizens had reverted to idolatry and brutality and Assyria (of which Nineveh was the capital) had overthrown the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Despite its apparent invincibility, God would overthrow Nineveh. 2 Kings 21:1-18;

2 Chron. 33:1-20

Manasseh (Southern Kingdom) 664-654BC
Habakkuk Very close to the fall of Jerusalem, Habakkuk asks God why He is not dealing with the wickedness of His people. When God tells him that He is going to use Babylon as a rod of judgment, Habakkuk questions how God can use such a wicked nation. God points to His own Sovereignty and Habakkuk is moved to praise God for His greatness and power! 2 Kings 23:31-24:7

2 Chron. 36:1-8

The early part of Jehoiakim’s reign. 609-605BC
Zephaniah Zephaniah develops the theme of the coming day of the Lord being a day of awesome judgment, followed by unspeakable blessing. He begins with the impending judgment of Judah and broadens this scope to include the gentiles. Judah stands condemned because it refuses to turn to the Lord. A Remnant will exult when God restores His people. 2 Kings 22:1-2;

2 Chron. 34:1-7

Josiah 632-628BC
Haggai After the Babylonian exile, the Jews began rebuilding the temple but then stopped the work while they rebuilt their own homes instead. God’s blessing was thus not present in the land; and so Haggai urged the people to complete the rebuilding of the temple so that the glory of the Lord could return. Ezra 5:1 – 6:15 Zerubbabel 520BC
Zechariah Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai and he also exhorted the Jews to complete the temple because it is so central to their spiritual heritage and also to the coming of the Messiah. His visions, messages and burdens offer some of the clearest messianic prophecies in Scripture. Ezra 5:1-6:15 Zerubabbel 520-480BC
Malachi The spiritual and moral climate of the post-exilic Jews in Jerusalem had grown very cold. Their worship was meaningless and indifferent, and as they grew more distant from God so their lives were characterised by religious and social compromise. He declared that a terrible day of judgment was coming for all who were arrogant evildoers, but that for those who fear the Lord, “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.” Neh. 13:1-31 Governor Nehemiah 432-425BC

 

The New Testament

The Historians, Poets and prophets who wrote the 39 Old Testament books were people who passionately anticipated the fulfilment of Yahweh’s redemptive programme and the coming of the Messiah (God’s anointed One). The New Testament completes the cosmic story (begun in the OT) of God’s plan to bring salvation upon the earth.

The Greek title of the New Testament (He Kaine Diatheke) literally means “The New Covenant”.

A “diatheke” is literally a “last will and testament” – a legally binding blessing that comes into effect upon the death of the testator. THE New Covenant was ratified and brought into effect by the death of the Son of God on the Cross. He bequeathed His relationship with God to us – giving us the right to become children of God … IF we come to God on God’s terms. This redemptive covenant is THE unifying theme of the New Testament; e.g. Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 8:7-13; 9:15-17.

The New Testament is:

  • 27 Books
  • Less than 1/3 the length of the Old
  • Written from about 45-100AD in “Koine” Greek (“common Greek”)

 

The Authors of the New Testament were:

  • Luke – the only Gentile (2 books)
  • Paul (13 books)
  • John (5 books)
  • Peter (2 books)
  • Matthew, Mark, James, Jude (1 each); and
  • The anonymous author of Hebrews (1 book)

 

We can divide the books of the New Testament into three periods:

  1. The lifetime of Christ: Matthew-John;
  2. The expansion of the Church (33-62 AD): Acts, Romans 1&2 Corinthians; Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians; Philemon, James.
  3. The consolidation and growth (62-100 AD): 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, 1 & 2 Peter; 1,2 & 3 John; Jude, Revelation.

 

They are also sometimes divided into:

  1. The History Books: Recording key events in the life of Christ and the early church;
  2. The Pauline Epistles: Develop the doctrines (the seeds of which are in the gospels) of the faith and show how they can transform a life; also Instruction, Correction and Encouragement to local churches
  3. The non-Pauline epistles and Revelation: Deal with local problems churches were facing and point to the person and power of the risen Jesus and the believer’s source of life and godliness. Revelation looks ahead to the unseen spiritual realities of life between 100AD and the day of Christ’s return.

 

The Gospels

 

Title

The Greek word “euagellion” literally means “glad tidings” or “good news”. It referred originally to the good news about Jesus Christ that was proclaimed orally. The same word then later came to be used of the written record of the good news about Jesus.

The word “Gospel” is an English derivative of the ancient Anglo-Saxon word “godspell” which can mean either “God’s story” or “good story”.

Language

The Gospels have come down to us in their original Greek.

There is some theorising that the gospels (especially Matthew) were riginally written in Aramaic; but there is no manuscript evidence for this.

The inhabitants of Israel were primarily bilingual because of their previous occupation by the Greek Empire, but Greek was the common language (especially for writing) and hence was the most suitable “vehicle” for the gospel accounts.

Literary Form

  • There is no counterpart for the Gospel style in any ancient Greek literature.
  • Although they are full of biographical material they are really thematic portraits of the Messiah, being more concerned with presenting a certain aspect or aspects of the truth about Jesus than with writing his life-story.
  • Therefore the first 30 years of His life are more-or-less ignored and in total only about 50 days of His 3 years of ministry are particularly highlighted.
  • By far the greatest emphasis (and thus the most material) is on the final week of Jesus’ life.
  • They were written when the oral witness of the apostles was no longer adequate for a rapidly growing Movement and so they sought to awaken and strengthen faith in Jesus, as well as to correct misconceptions about Him, and to guide believers into a fuller understanding.

 

The Composite Picture of Jesus

Topics Matthew Mark Luke John
Probable date AD 58-68 AD 55-65 AD 60-68 AD 80-90
Place of writing Syrian Antioch or Israel Rome Rome or Greece Ephesus
Original Audience Jews Romans Greeks Universal
Theme Messiah-King Servant-Redeemer Perfect Man Son of God
Picture of Christ

(Ezekiel 1:10; Revelation 4:6-8)

Lion

(Power and authority)

Bull

(Faithful service)

Man

(Wisdom, personality)

Eagle

(Deity)

 

There is also a stark contrast between Matthew, Mark and Luke (known as the “Synoptic Gospels”) and John.

Topic Synoptics John
Portrait of Christ God – Man God- Man
Perspective Historical Theological
Unique material Less unique (Matthew 42%, Mark 7%, Luke 59%) More unique (92%)
Chronology Only 1 Passover mentioned 3 or 4 Passovers mentioned
Geography Galilean ministry Judean ministry
Discourse material More Public More Private
Teaching method Parables Allegories
Teaching Emphasis More on ethical, practical issues More on person of Christ
Relationship to other gospels Complementary Supplementary

 

Matthew

 

Author

  • Matthew the son of Alpheus (Mark 2:14; Acts 1:13)
  • He was a tax collector who readily responded to Jesus’ call to discipleship (9:9-13) and became one of the twelve Apostles.

Date and Setting

  • AD 58-68
  • The early dating is based on phrases like “to this day” (27:8; 28:15) and on the fact that the Temple had not yet been destroyed when Matthew was completed (This occurred in 70AD)

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Matthew is concerned with proving that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. Thus he quotes often from the Old Testament to show Jesus fulfilment of prophecy.
  • It also systematically presents the claims, credentials, authority, and ethical and theological teachings of Jesus. It has been used as a teaching manual since the early years of the Church.

 

Christ in Matthew

In Matthew Jesus is presented as:

  1. Israel’s promised messianic King (1:23; 2:2-6; 3:17; 4:15-17; 21:5-9; 22:44-45; 26:64; 27:11, 27-37)
  2. The King of Heaven (32 times in Matthew and nowhere else in NT)
  3. The fulfilment of the prophets (12:39-40; 13:13-15; 17:5-13)
  4. The Son of Man (24:30)
  5. The Servant of the Lord (12:17-21)
  6. The Son of David (9 times)

 

Contribution to the Bible

  • Matthew stresses the Jewishness of Jesus and develops the theme of the Kingdom. Jewish readers would wonder why this Messiah had not established the kingdom they were expecting.
  • Matthew also shows how the Kingdom includes Gentiles (28:19)
  • 60% of the gospel is the spoken words of Jesus
  • It paints the broad picture of Messiah’s life.

 

Survey

 

Section 1:1-4:11 4:12- 7:29 8 – 10 11:12-16:12 16:13-20:28 20:29-27:66 28
Topic Presentation of the King Proclamation of the King Power of the King Rejection of the King Preparation of Disciples Presentation & Passion of the King Proof of the King
Contents 1. Birth

2. John the baptizer

3. Baptism & temptation

1. Ministry starts

2. Sermon on the Mount

1. Miracles

2. Discipleship explained

3. Power delegated to disciples

1. Towns

2. Pharisees

3. Parables

4. Nazareth, Herod, Scribes, Saducees

1. The King’s Agenda

2. Instructions

1. Triumphal entry

2. Conflicts

3. Rejection

4. 2nd Coming predicted

5. Betrayal and Death

1. Resurrection

2. Appearance

3. Great Commission

Place Bethlehem & Nazareth Galilee Galilee Galilee Judea Jerusalem Jerusalem and Galilee
Time 4BC – 33AD

 


 

Mark

 

Author

  • Mark (also called John-Mark).
  • His mother had a house that was a meeting place for early believers in Jerusalem. (Acts 12:12-16)
  • He was Barnabas’ cousin (Col. 4:10) and possibly led to Jesus by Peter (who called him “my son” in 1 Peter 5:13)
  • He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5), subsequently deserted them (Acts 13:13) and was the cause of a split between Paul and Barnabas on the 2nd missionary journey (Acts 15:36-41). However later Mark and Paul were reconciled (Col. 4:10 and 2 Tim. 4:11).
  • Many suggest that Mark was the young man who fled naked from the Garden of Gethsemane (14:51-52)

 

Date and Setting

  • AD 55-65; It is widely believed to be the first gospel written.
  • It excludes material only of interest to Jewish readers, interprets Aramaic words and uses a few Latin terms (e.g. 4:21; 6:27; 12:14; 15:15-6)
  • It was evidently written to a Roman audience and is believed to have been written in Rome.

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Mark centres on the person and mission of the Son of God as the Servant and Redeemer of all people (10:45).
  • It juxtaposes Jesus’ teaching and miracles to show how they authenticate each other.
  • The miracles demonstrate both the power and compassion of Jesus.

 

Christ in Mark

In Mark Jesus is presented as:

  1. An active, compassionate and obedient Servant of the Lord who constantly ministers to the physical and spiritual needs of people.
  2. Urgent – the distinctive word Mark uses (42 times) is “euthus” which means “immediately” or “straight away”.
  3. Moving towards a goal that is hidden to almost all (sometimes called the “Messianic secret”)
  4. The Son of God (1:1, 11; 3:11; 5:7; 9:7; 13:32; 14:61; 15:39)

 

Contribution to the Bible

  • Mark focuses more on action than words as he shows the Son of God at work and records the most miracles of any of the gospels.
  • His language is filled with broken sentence structure, colloquialisms and extra expressions that might possibly reflect the spoken language of Peter who is Mark’s source of information.
  • He also adds many emotional words that reflect the eye-witness source of his information (1:27; 4:41; 5:40; 6:3; 7:37)
  • He also shows the emotions of Jesus more than the other gospels.

 

Survey

 

Section 1-10

Service

11-16

Sacrifice

Topic Presentation of the Servant

1-2

Opposition to the Servant

2-8

Instruction by the Servant

9-10

Rejection of the Servant

11-15

Resurrection of the Servant

16

Contents 1. Baptism

2. Temptation

3. Miracles

1. Initial opposition

2. Parables

3. Miracles

4. Growing rejection

1. Peter’s confession

2. Cost of discipleship

3. Transfigured

4. Miracles and teaching

1. Triumphal entry

2. Teaching on prayer

3. Opposition

4. Instruction for future

5. The Passion and death of the Servant

1. Resurrection

2. Appearances

3. Ascension and Commission

Place Galilee and Perea Judea and Jerusalem
Time 29 – 33AD

 


 

Luke

Author

  • Luke (Paul’s “beloved physician”);
  • He was a loyal travelling companion of Paul’s to the end (2 Timothy 4:11).
  • He was a Gentile (Colossians 4:10-14)
  • Tradition holds that he was from Syrian Antioch, remained unmarried and died at age 84.

Date and Setting

  • AD60-68.
  • Luke was not an eyewitness but relied on the testimony of eyewitnesses and written sources in his quest to give an “orderly account” (1:1-4)
  • He wrote for the sake of a noble-man (“most excellent”) called “Theophilus” (“Friend of God”) who was probably a patron who sponsored the copying and distribution of the scroll.
  • It was written for gentile readers and thus many Aramaic words are translated into Greek and Jewish customs are explained.

Theme and Purpose

  • Luke clearly states his purpose in 1:3-4 – to write an orderly account so that we can be assured of the certainty of what we believe.
  • It is an accurate, chronological and comprehensive account of Jesus’ life and ministry to stimulate faith in believers and “not-yet” believers / “inquirers”.
  • The theme is Jesus as the Perfect Son of Man who came to “seek and save that which was lost”.
  • Other sub-themes are prayer and the Holy Spirit.

Christ in Luke

In Luke Jesus is presented as:

  1. Fully human
  2. Compassionate with fallen humanity
  3. The One who identified with our plight as sinners in order to carry our sorrows and offer us the priceless gift of salvation.
  4. The One who alone fulfils the Greek ideal of human perfection.

Contribution to the Bible

  • Luke is the longest book in the New Testament and is the most comprehensive gospel;
  • It is written in the most refined Greek in the whole New Testament. It thus has a literary richness and beauty that surpasses any other book.
  • Luke records the 4 beautiful Gospel Hymns known as:
    • The Magnificat (1:46-55)
    • The Benedictus (1:67-79)
    • The Gloria in Excelsis (2:14)
    • The Nunc Dimittis (2:28-32)
    • More than any other gospel, Luke shows the universality of the Gospel that reaches Jews, gentiles, women (!!), Samaritans, poor, rich, respectable, despised, religious, tax collectors and other sundry sinners.

Survey

Section 1:1-4:13 4:14-9:50 9:51-19:27 19:28-24:53
Topic Introduction of the Son of Man Ministry of the Son of Man Rejection of the Son of Man Crucifixion and Resurrection
Contents 1. Introduction to gospel

2. Preceding His birth

3. Birth

4. Childhood

5. Events preceding ministry

1. Acceptance and rejection

2. Miraculous demonstration of his power

3. Explanation of His programme

4. Expansion of His ministry

1. Increasing opposition

2.Instructions for living as His follower

3. Predictions of death and resurrection

1. Sunday: Entry

2. Monday: Temple cleansed

3. Tuesday: Public ministry

4.Thurs:  Passover and arrest

5. Friday: Trials and crucifixion

6. Sat: In the grave

7. The resurrection and ascension

Place Israel Galilee Israel Jerusalem
Time 4BC – 33AD

 

John

 

Author

  • John the “Son of Thunder” (Mark 3:17) and “disciple whom Jesus loved” (13:23 inter alia)
  • A son of Zebedee and Salome (Mark 15:40-41)
  • One of the first disciples called (1:19-51) and an apostle (Luke 6:12-16)
  • A “pillar” of the early church (Gal. 2:9)
  • He went to Ephesus and was eventually exiled to the island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9)

 

Date and Setting

  • AD 80-90.
  • The last of the gospels to be written;
  • John was, as far as we know, the last surviving eye-witness of Jesus.
  • He wrote to all who would read and tried to portray Jesus in intellectual and spiritual terms all could understand.
  • He also wrote in a time of great persecution of Christians.

 

Theme and Purpose

  • John has the clearly stated purpose of helping people to “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that, by believing, you may have life in His name.” (20:31)
  • He wanted them to have intellectual (“believe”) and spiritual (“life in His Name”) conviction about the Son of God.
  • The key word in this gospel is “believe” – an act which requires both knowledge (8:32; 10:38) and will (1:12; 3:19; 7:17)
  • Those who have faith in Jesus receive eternal life. Those who reject Him receive God’s condemnation (3:36; 5:24-29)
  • It is written for evangelism and for building up believers in their understanding.

 

Christ in John

In John, Jesus is presented as:

  1. The Incarnate Son of God (1:1; 8:58; 10:30; 14:9; 20:28); i.e. fully God and fully man
  2. I AM / Yahweh (4:25-26; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5-8)
  3. The bread of life, light of the world, door to the Kingdom, good Shepherd; the Resurrection and the Life; the way, the truth and the life; and the True Vine.
  4. The Word – God who became Flesh (1:1-14)

 

Contribution to the Bible

  • John is the truly theological gospel;
  • It has a simple style and vocabulary but captures some of the most profound theological ideas about Jesus;
  • He uses much parallelism; e.g. light and dark, life and death.
  • He uses metaphors/allegories instead of parables (e.g. the Good Shepherd)
  • His theological / philosophical prologue is a matchless portrayal of the incarnation of God as our Saviour.
  • It is not a history but a theology

 

Survey

 

Section 1:1-18 1:19-4:54 5-12 13-17 18-21
Topic Incarnation Presentation Opposition Preparation of the Disciples Crucifixion and Resurrection
Contents 1. Prologue 1. John the Baptiser

2. Disciples

3. Galilee

4. Judea

5.Samaria

6. Galilee

1. At the feast

2. During Passover

3. At the Feast of Tabernacles

4. At the Feast of Dedication

5. At Bethany

6. At Jerusalem

1. In the Upper Room

2. On the way to the Garden

1. The arrest and trials

2. Crucifixion

3. Death and Burial

4. Resurrection

5. Appearances

Place Israel
Time Three years A few hours A few weeks

 

Acts

Author

  • Luke – the same as the gospel of Luke

Date and Setting

  • AD62
  • Luke does not make mention of Nero’s persecutions (AD64) Paul’s trial (AD68), or the destruction of Jerusalem (AD70)

 

Theme and Purpose

  • It is the historical link between the Gospels and the letters of Paul, telling the history of the earliest days of the followers of Jesus after His ascension.
  • It is a record of the Holy Spirit working through the disciples. It should really be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit, rather than the Acts of the Apostles.
  • It traces the development and growth of the Body of Christ (in one generation) from merely a Jewish movement to a multi-racial Church.

 

Christ in Acts

In Acts Jesus is presented as the Resurrected Lord. The Old Testament, the resurrection, the apostles’ testimony and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit all bear witness that Jesus is both Lord and Messiah! (See Acts 2:22-36; 10:34-43)

He is the only Saviour (Acts 4:12)

Contribution to the Bible

  • It is invaluable as the background to most of the Epistles.
  • Luke includes 80 geographic locations and mentions over 100 people by name in the book of Acts. Many of his historical references which were once challenged by historians have now been proved true by archaeological evidence.
  • There are no less than 24 sermons of the early church recorded in summary form in its 28 chapters.

 

Survey

 

Section 1:1-8:4 8:5-12:25 13-28
Topic Witness in Jerusalem Witness in Judea and Samaria Witness to the Ends of the Earth
Contents 1. Ascension and Pentecost

2. The early life of the church

3. Healings and Miracles

4. Resistance and Persecution

5. Deacons appointed

6. Stephen Martyred

7. Saul persecutes church

1. Philip

2. Saul Converted at Damascus

3. Peter at Lydda, Joppa, Caesarea

4. Antioch

5. Herod blasphemes and dies

1. 1st Missionary Journey

2. Jerusalem Council

3. 2nd Missionary Journey

4. 3rd Missionary Journey

5. Trip in chains to Rome

6. Paul’s witness in Rome

Place Jerusalem Judea and Samaria Mediterranean World
Time AD 33-35 AD 35-48 AD 48-62

 

The Pauline Epistles

 

  • Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote 13 letters to various churches to address specific problems they were facing;
  • The letters are filled with doctrine, but are intended for practical application.

 

Form

The letters follow the typical form of letters of the day:

  1. The sender’s name and office;
  2. The name of the recipient;
  3. A greeting or wish for prosperity (blessing);
  4. The main body of the letter;
  5. A farewell with closing greetings and good wishes (blessing);
  6. The signature

Paul’s letters were much, much longer than regular letters of the day (2 and 3 John and Jude are more standard lengths)

He followed the normal practice of using a scribe to physically write the letters, while writing the concluding lines and signing the letters with his own hand.

He used messengers to carry his letters to their destination and often sent supplementary messages with them. (Eph. 6:21-22; Phil. 2:25-28; Col. 4:7-8)

 

Author

  • Paul the apostle.
  • He was born a Roman citizen in Tarsus of Cilicia (a centre of learning);
  • He may have received a Greek education there (see Acts 17:28);
  • He moved to Jerusalem, learned the trade of tent-making (Acts 18:3) and was educated as a Pharisee under Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3)
  • The story of his conversion is in Acts 9.
  • He spent 3 years in Arabia and Damascus (Gal. 1:17-18) before being introduced to the apostles in Jerusalem by Barnabas (Acts 9:26-30). After 15 days persecution forced him to be sent away (Acts 9:29-30; Gal. 1:18-21)
  • The rest of Paul’s ministry is recorded in Acts.
  • He was imprisoned in Rome (from whence he wrote to Timothy and Titus).
  • The early Church fathers record that Paul was released from prison and travelled to Spain, Crete, Asia, Macedonia and Greece, before again being imprisoned and martyred by Nero in AD67/68.

Books

Paul wrote:

  • Romans
  • 1 and 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 and 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 and 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon

He also wrote other letters that were lost (1 Cor. 5:9; 2 Cor. 10:9-10; Co. 4:16; 2 Thess. 3:17)

 

Romans

Date and Setting

  • Paul wrote in AD 57, evidently while in Corinth, near the end of his 3rd missionary journey (15:19; 16:23 and 1 Cor. 1:14).
  • He wrote to the Church in Rome which had predominantly Gentile, but also Jewish members.
  • He had not yet visited Rome but hoped to do so soon (15:32)
  • There were many believers in Rome and so they met in many different homes (16:1-16)

 

Theme and Purpose

  • To reveal God’s sovereign plan for salvation (1-8);
  • To show how both Jews and Gentiles fit into that plan (9-11);
  • To exhort them to live righteous and harmonious lives (12-16).

 

Survey

Section 1-8 9-11 12-16
Topic The Righteousness of God Jews and gentiles Living God’s righteousness
Contents 1. The need for salvation (1:1-3:20)

2. Justification (3:21-5:21)

3. Life in the Spirit / Sanctification (6-8)

1. Israel elected (9:1-29)

2. Israel rejected (9:30-10:21)

3. Israel to be restored (11)

1. Christian duties (12-13)

2. Christian freedom (14-15)

3. Conclusion (16)

Place Written in Corinth
Time 57AD

 

1 Corinthians

 

Date and Setting

  • When Paul was teaching and preaching in Ephesus (3rd journey) he was disturbed by a report from the household of Chloe in Corinth about quarrels in the Church (1:11). The church sent a delegation of 3 men (16:17) who brought a letter requesting Paul’s judgment on a few issues (7:1). Paul wrote this letter in response (he had previously written a letter which is lost to us today (5:9)).  
  • Paul’s plan to leave Ephesus (16:5-8) indicates the letter was written in AD56.

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The basic theme is the application of Christian principles and practice on an individual and social level.
  • The cross is able to transform our lives and make us different, but the Corinthians were destroying the witness of the Cross by their immorality and disunity. So Paul wrote to correct improper attitudes and conduct.
  • He wrote as their spiritual father (4:14-15)

 

Survey

 

Section 1-4 5-6 7-16
Topic Divisions Fornication Questions
Contents 1. The report of divisions

2. The reasons for their divisions

* Misunderstanding message

* Misunderstanding messenger

3. Correction

1. Discipline

2. Dealing with legal disputes

3. Sexual morality

1. Marriage

2. Food offered to idols

3. Worship and Spiritual Gifts

4. Resurrection

5. Offerings

Place Written in Ephesus
Time AD56

 

2 Corinthians

 

Date and Setting

  • When Paul was teaching and preaching in Ephesus (3rd journey) and expected Timothy to visit Corinth and then report to him (1 Cor. 16:10-11). Apparently Timothy brought news to paul that opposition had arisen against him in Corinth. (It seems that some had maliciously slandered Paul saying that he was fickle, proud, unimpressive, dishonest and unqualified.
  • Paul made a brief and painful visit to Corinth (2 Cor. 2:1; 12:14; 13:1-2)
  • He then returned to Ephesus and wrote a sorrowful letter to them, urging the church to discipline the leader of the opposition (2:1-11; 7:8). Titus carried this letter for Paul and then Paul journeyed to Macedonia to meet Titus on his return trip. (2:12-13; 7:5-16)
  • Titus reported that the majority had repented, but a minority had followed the opponents of Paul (probably Judaizers (10-13)).
  • Paul then wrote 2 Corinthians and sent it with Titus and another brother (8:16-24).

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The major theme is Paul’s defence of his credentials as an apostle and of the philosophy of his ministry.
  • The other theme is generosity in Paul’s collection for the church in Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30; 24:17)

 

Survey

Section 1-7 8-9 10-13
Topic Paul explains his ministry The Collection for Jerusalem Paul’s defence
Contents 1. His reason for writing (1-2)

2. His philosophy of ministry (2-6)

1. The example of the Macedonians (8:1-6)

2. The example of Christ (8:7-9)

3. Practical exhortations (8:10-9:15)

1. He answers his accusers (10:1-18)

2. He defends his apostleship (11:1-12:13)

3. Conclusion

Place Written in Macedonia (possibly Philippi)
Time AD56

 

Galatians

Date and Setting

  • Galatia was a region of Asia Minor, including the towns of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe which Paul had evangelized on his 1st missionary journey (13:13-14:23). The region took its name from the Gauls who settled there in the 3rd century BC.
  • It was written as early as AD49 to “the churches of Galatia” and would have been circulated between them.
  • The Jerusalem visit referred to in Gal. 2:1-10 is the visit of Acts 11:27-30.
  • Paul wrote in response to Judaizers who had visited Galatia wanting to bring the Christians under the Mosaic Law. (1:7; 4:17; 5:2-12; 6:12-13)

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The major theme is to show that justification is by faith in Jesus and not by works of the Law.

 

Survey

Section 1-2 3-4 5-6
Topic The Gospel of Grace Explanation Application
Contents 1. Introduction (1:1-9)

2. The Gospel revealed to Paul (1:10-24)

3. Apostles approve the gospel (2:1-10)

4. Peter rebuked (2:11-21)

1. Faith, not works, is the basis of life in Christ. 1. Love one another

2. Walk in the Spirit

3. Do good to all

4. Conclusion

Place Antioch
Time 49AD

 

Ephesians

Date and Setting

  • Ephesus was a strategic city as the commercial centre of Asia Minor.
  • It was also an important religious centre with a temple to the goddess Artemis (Diana) which was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world (Acts 19:35).
  • At the end of his 2nd missionary journey Paul visited Ephesus and left Priscilla and Aquila behind (Acts 18:18-21)
  • Paul ministered here for nearly 3 years during his 3rd journey (Acts 19; 20:30) and his ministry seriously hurt the magic and idol businesses. This led to an uproar (Acts 19:23-41) which led to Paul leaving for Macedonia. He again met the Ephesian elders on his way back to Jerusalem (20:17-38).
  • This letter to Ephesus was written during Paul’s Roman imprisonment (AD60-62) – see 3:1; 4:1; 6:20 – and the background is in Acts 28:16-31)

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The major theme is the believer’s position in Christ and his responsibility to live in accordance with his heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.

 

Survey

Section 1-3 4-6
Topic The Position of the Believer The Practice of the Believer
Contents 1. Chosen by the Father (1:3-6)

2. Redeemed by the Son (1:7-12)

3. Sealed by the Spirit (1:13-14)

4. Apostolic Prayer for Revelation (1:15-23)

5.Alive to God (2:1-10)

6.One in Christ (2:11-3:13)

1. Unity (4:1-6)

2. Holiness (4:17-5:21)

3. At home and work (5:22-6:9)

4. Spiritual warfare (6:10-224)

Place Written in Rome
Time 60-62AD

 

Philippians

Date and Setting

  • Philippi was a town founded by King Philip of Macedonia (the father of Alexander the Great) in 356BC.
  • Roman Emperor Octavian turned Philippi into a military outpost.
  • There were very few Jews there (not enough to have a synagogue) – see Acts 16:13)
  • Paul visited Philippi in response to a vision of a man calling him to come to Macedonia (Acts 16:6-12) and had a very successful, if brief, ministry there.
  • He visited again on his 3rd journey (Acts 20:1-6)
  • When the Philippians heard that Paul was imprisoned they sent Epaphroditus with help (4:16-18) and Paul then sent this letter back with him (2:25-30) in about 62AD

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The major theme is Pauls’ love and gratitude for the church in Philippi and to exhort them to holiness, unity and joy.
  • It also admonishes against false teaching.
  • The Philippians appear to be deeply loved by Paul.

 

Survey

Section 1 2 3 4
Topic Paul’s circumstances The mind of Christ The knowledge of Christ The peace of Christ
Contents 1. Thanksgiving

2. Imprisonment

1. Humility 1. Have no confidence in the flesh

2. Know and follow Christ

1. Peace with each other

2.Peace with the Lord

3. Inner peace

Place Written in Rome
Time 60-62AD

 

Colossians

Date and Setting

  • Colossae was a minor city about 160 km east of Ephesus which was famous for its glossy black wool.
  • Paul had never visited Colossae and the church was founded by Epaphras (1:4-8; 2:1)
  • He wrote to the Colossians while in Prison in Rome around about AD60-61.
  • The letter was sent with Tychicus and Onesimus (about whom the letter of Philemon was written). See 4:7-9 and Philemon 10-12

 

Theme and Purpose

  • Paul wrote in response to a heresy that was threatening the Colossian church regarding the person of Jesus Christ.
  • Therefore the main theme is Christ – His pre-eminence and sufficiency in all things. The believer is complete in Him and lacks nothing because “in Him the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form.” (2:9); He has “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3).
  • His purpose in writing was to encourage the Colossians to “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast” (1:23) so that they would “grow and bear fruit in the knowledge of Christ.” (1:10)

 

Survey

Section 1:1-14 1:15-2:23 3-4
Topic Introduction The Supremacy of Christ Submission to Christ
Contents Greetings

Thanksgiving

Prayer

Christ is pre-eminent in

1. Creation

2. Redemption

3. The Church

In Christ we are free from

1.Human philosophies

2. Human judgment

3. Human doctrines

1. Our position in Christ

2. Our life in Christ at home, work and in society

Place Written in Rome
Time 57AD

 

1 Thessalonians

Date and Setting

  • Thessalonica was the prominent seaport and capital of the Roman Province of Macedonia.
  • It was within sight of Mount Olympus (home of the Greek Pantheon)
  • It had a sizeable Jewish population and many God-fearing Gentiles who had been attracted by the moral lifestyle and monotheism of Judaism.
  • Paul’s visit to and departure from Thessalonica is recorded in Acts 17:1-10. After Silas and Timothy met Paul in Athens he sent Timothy to Thessalonica, who later rejoined him in Corinth (Acts 18:5). From Corinth Paul wrote to the Thessalonians because Timothy had brought him such a good report of them.
  • Written about 51AD

 

Theme and Purpose

  • To express his thanksgiving at their endurance in the face of persecution;
  • To defend his ministry against slanderous attacks;
  • To encourage and exhort them;
  • To teach on death and the second coming;
  • To give instructions for church life

 

Survey

Section 1-3 4-5
Topic Personal Reflection Instructions
Contents 1. Commendation of their growth in the Lord

2. Reflection on Paul’s ministry to them

3. His longing to see and minister to them

1.Living to please the Lord

2. Death and the second coming

3. Instructions for holy living

Place Written in Corinth
Time 51AD

2 Thessalonians

Date and Setting

  • Probably written a few months after 1 Thessalonians while Paul was still in Corinth (1:1);
  • It is probable that the bearer of the first letter had returned with a report on persecution and false teaching about the Lord’s return, prompting Paul to write this second letter.

Theme and Purpose

  • To applaud their growth in faith;
  • To encourage them in the face of persecution;
  • To correct false teaching about the day of the Lord;
  • To correct laziness which had originated in the false teaching that the end was upon them.

Survey

Section 1 2 3
Topic Encouragement Explanation Exhortation
Contents 1. Thanksgiving for their faith

2. Encouragement in their persecution

1. Falling Away

2. Man of Sin

3. The second coming

1. Wait patiently

2. Work hard

Place Written in Corinth
Time 51AD

 

1 Timothy

Date and Setting

  • It is likely that Paul wrote this letter after being released from prison in Rome, probably while in Philippi.
  • Christianity had, by now, become an illegal religion in the Roman Empire and persecution was rife.
  • Paul wrote this letter to his son in the faith, Timothy, while Timothy was pastoring the church in Ephesus on Paul’s instructions (1:3). As a young man Timothy was facing many practical problems and needed Paul’s input.

Theme and Purpose

  • .The letter is really a leadership manual for Timothy to provide him with guidance in arranging the organization and oversight of the church in Ephesus and the surrounding area.
  • It is an exhortation to be an example to others, to exercise spiritual gifts and to “fight the good fight of faith” (6:12)

Survey

Section 1 2-3 4 5 6
Topic Doctrine Public Worship False Teachers Church Discipline Pastoral Issues
Contents Charge to teach sound doctrine

Fight the good fight

Prayer in worship

Women in worship

Qualities for leaders

Proper behaviour in worship

Conduct yourselves properly in the house of God

Description of false teachers

Oppose them with sound teaching

Work hard in your gifting

Do not neglect your gift

With love

and respect

Care for widows

Care for elders/workers

Do nothing out of favouritism

 

Slaves

Love of money

The rich

Guard what has been entrusted to your care.

Place Philippi
Time 62-63AD

 

2 Timothy

Date and Setting

  • Half of Rome was destroyed by fire in 64AD and Emperor Nero blamed the Christians. On Paul’s return from Spain in about 66AD he was arrested and imprisoned for a second time in Rome.
  • In fear for their lives, the Asian believers did not support Paul (1:15) and no-one supported him at his first defence before Caesar’s court (4:16). Abandoned by almost everyone (4:10-11) Paul was held in a Roman dungeon (4:13), regarded as an “evil-doer” (2:9) and without hope of being acquitted (4:6-8, 17-18).
  • Paul wrote to Timothy from prison as a kind of “last will and testament” to his spiritual son Timothy, imparting his final words of encouragement and wisdom.

Theme and Purpose

  • The letter is a commission to Timothy to faithfully carry on the ministry Paul can no longer fulfil as he knows that he will soon be put to death. (4:6)
  • Remembering that our battle is a spiritual one, Paul encourages Timothy to face the mounting persecution as a spiritual battle, with spiritual armour.
  • He encouraged Timothy to overcome his natural timidity to proclaim the gospel even if it led to suffering.
  • It was also written to summon Timothy and Mark to visit Paul in Rome as soon as possible in order to bring his parchments and his cloak – a Roman prison cell is cold!

Survey

Section 1-2 3-4
Topic Perseverance in present trials Endurance in future trials
Contents Reminders of Timothy’s responsibility to be bold

Characteristics of a faithful minister:

  • Discipleship
  • Single-mindedness
  • Hard work
  • Diligence
  • Holiness
  • Gentleness
The coming Apostasy

Charge to preach the Word

Paul’s approaching death

Place Rome
Time 67AD

 

Titus

Date and Setting

  • As in 1 Timothy, this letter was written by Paul after his first release from prison.
  • He writes to Titus, whom he had left behind in Crete (1:5) to oversee the churches there, after he had visited there following his initial release from prison.
  • Titus was a spiritual son to Paul (1:4) whom Paul saw as his “brother” (2 Cor. 2:13) and his “partner and fellow-worker” (2 Cor. 8:23)
  • The inhabitants of the 156 mile-long island of Crete were notorious for being untruthful and immoral and it seems that Judaizers had also begun to propagate their false teaching on the island (1:10)
  • It seems that Paul’s plan was for Titus to leave Crete in the near future to accompany him to Spain (3:12), but inthe meantime he needed the exhortation of this letter.

Theme and Purpose

  • Much like 1 Timothy, Titus is a manual on church leadership and organization.
  • It is written to establish and strengthen Titus in his authority as an apostolic representative and to use this authority to discipline immoral behaviour, to refute false teachers, and to organise churches correctly.
  • There are also 3 doctrinal sections to stress that proper belief (doctrine) must lead to proper behaviour.

Survey

Section 1 2-3
Topic Appoint elders Put things in Order
Contents Qualification of elders

Rebuking False teachers

Teach sound doctrine

Maintain Good Works

Place Corinth
Time 63AD

 

Philemon

Date and Setting

  • Onesimus, a slave of Philemon (who lived in Colossae) had stolen from his master and run away to Rome. Here he came into contact with Paul and was converted to faith in Jesus. Although he became very useful to Paul in his ministry, they both knew that, as a Christian, Onesimus had to return to his master even though, by law, he could be put to death. So when Paul sent the letter to the Colossians with Tychicus, he also sent Onesimus, bearing the letter we call “Philemon”.
  • It was written (like Colossians) during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment in about 60-61AD.

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The letter is a personal appeal from Paul to Philemon to show Onesimus the same grace and forgiveness that Christ showed him, and to receive him as he would receive Paul.
  • It also serves as an example to other Christian slave-owners as to how they should treat their slaves.
  • Paul takes responsibility to repay Onesimus’ debt to Philemon (18-19.

 

Survey

Section 1
Topic Petition and Promise
Contents Prayer of thanksgiving

Plea for Onesimus

Promise of recompense

Place Rome
Time 60-61AD

 

 

The Non-Pauline Epistles

  • Eight books which make up less than 10% of the New Testament.
  • They add tremendous value by giving us different perspectives on the Christian faith from other early Christian leaders.
  • Five authors were James, Peter, John, Jude and the anonymous author of Hebrews.
  • Only James was written during Paul’s life-time.
  • As Paul predicted, false teaching was rife after his departure and so all of these later works deal firmly with false doctrine.

 

Hebrews

Author

  • There is no external evidence to help us ascertain the author with any certainty. The author was known to the recipients (13:18-24) but, for some reason, the early church was divided over its authorship. Some early writers claim it was Paul, some Barnabas, Luke or Clement, while others chose not to guess.
  • There are many internal signs that Paul was not the author – signs like style, content, form, lack of Hebrew language ability.
  • Origen thus concluded: “Who it was that really wrote the Epistle, God only knows.”
  •  

Date and Setting

  • The recipients of the letter were clearly Jewish (“Hebrew”) Christians, not only because of the title, but also because of the exclusive use of Jewish imagery, references to Jewish religious practices and reliance on Old testament Scriptures as evidence.
  • The majority view is that these were Jews in Rome because the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the “Septuagint”) is quoted from, rather than the Hebrew Scriptures and because of the reference to “those from Italy” (13:24) who were sending greetings – as if they were expats sending their greetings home.
  • It seems probable that they were in danger of lapsing back into Judaism to avoid persecution and so Hebrews emphasizes the superiority of Christ.
  • It is quoted by Clement in 95AD but was probably written before the destruction of Jerusalem as it makes no mention of the ending of the sacrificial system.

 

Theme and Purpose

  • The basic theme is the superiority of Jesus and it thus contains a lot of doctrine.
  • It also exhorts believers to become mature in Christ and put away their spiritual dullness!

Survey

Section 1:1-4:13 4:14-10:18 10:19-13:25
Topic Superiority of Christ’s Person Superiority of Christ’s Work Superiority of the Faith
Contents 1. Over the Prophets (1:1-3)

2. Over the angels (1:4-2:18)

3. Over Moses (3:1-4:13)

1. His Priesthood (4:14-7:28)

2. His Covenant (8:1-13)

3. His Sanctuary and Sacrifice (9:1-10:18)

1. Exhortation to walk by faith (11)

2. Exhortation to endure (12)

3. Exhortation to love (13)

Place Unknown
Time 64-68AD

 

JAMES

AUTHOR:

  • There are at least four men in the New Testament named James.

1. The son of Zebedee and brother of John (Mark 1:19). It is unlikely he is the author since he was martyred under Herod Agrippa I before this epistle was written.

2. There was James the son of Alphaeus (Mark 3:18). It is unlikely that he was the author either and little is known about him.
 

3. There is also James the father of Judas (not Iscariot; Luke 6:16). This James did not figure as an important person in the early church and it is doubtful that he authored the book of James.
 

4. Finally, there is James the older half brother of the Lord (Matt. 13:55; Gal.1:19). Early on he was recognized as the leading Overseer (Elder) of the Judean Church (Acts 12:17; 15:13; Gal.2:1, 9-10, 12), and is commonly regarded as the writer of this Epistle

 TIME PERIOD:
1. It is widely accepted that the book of James was written between A.D. 45 and 48.

James was killed in A.D. 62, so the epistle had to be written before this date.

Also there is no mention of the decisions made at the Jerusalem Council held around A.D. 48 to 49, that James presided over (Acts 15). So this means the epistle had to be written prior to this date.

2. The book of James is probably the earliest of the New Testament writings.
 

THEME AND PURPOSE: The book of James is more of a lecture than a letter, and was obviously prepared for public reading as a sermon to the scattered congregations. James conveyed profound concepts with well-chosen words. His sentences are short, simple, and direct. The author wrote to rebuke the shameful neglect of Christian duties. He insists on faith being the foundation for actions and necessity for faith to be clearly seen through actions.

OUTLINE

 

I. Introduction  1:1

II. Count temptations to be joy  1:2-11

III. Consider a life of righteousness  1:19-27

IV. Do not show partiality  2:1-13 (development of 1:9-11)

V. Works demonstrate faith  2:14-26 (development of 1:22-27)

VI. Beware of the tongue  3:1-12 (development of 1:19-21)

VII. Distinguish heavenly wisdom  3:13-18 (development of 1:5-8)

VIII. God is a jealous God  4:1-10 (development of 1:12-18)

IX. Bring your speech in line with godly views  4:11-17 (development of 1:19-21)

X. Warning to the rich  5:1-6 (development of 1:9-11)

XI. Encouragement to the oppressed  5:7-12 (development of 1:2-4)

XII. Effective prayer  5:13-18 (development of 1:6-8)

XIII. Watching out for others  5:19-20 (development of 1:22-27)
Key Idea:  Faith works

Key Passage:  2:22

Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?

 

Key Lesson:  Practice the Word.

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER

AUTHOR

  • 1 Peter 1:1 identifies the author of the Book of 1 Peter as the apostle Peter.

 

TIME PERIOD

  • About  62AD to 65AD
  • The book of 1 Peter was written probably within a few years of Peter’s death under Nero.

 

THEME AND PURPOSE

 

1 Peter is a letter from Peter to the believers who had been dispersed throughout the ancient world and were under intense persecution. If anyone understood persecution, it was Peter. He was beaten, threatened, punished and jailed for preaching the Word of God. He knew what it took to endure without bitterness, without losing hope and in great faith living an obedient, victorious life. This knowledge of living hope in Jesus was the message and Christ’s example was the one to follow.

OUTLINE

I. Introduction  1:1-2

II. True Grace through Salvation  1:3-25

III. True Grace through Sanctification  2-3

IV. True Grace through Suffering  4

V. True Grace through Serving  5:1-11

VI. Closing  5:12-14
Key Idea:  God’s grace carries us through suffering.

Key Passage:  1:6-8

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

Key Lesson:  Live your position.

 

THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER

AUTHOR

  • 2 Peter 1:1 specifically states that the apostle Peter was the author of 2 Peter. Peter’s authorship of 2 Peter has been challenged more than that of any other book in the New Testament. However, the early church fathers found no good reason to reject it. We find no good reason to reject Peter’s authorship of 2 Peter.

 

TIME PERIOD

  • About  64 A.D.
  • The book of 2 Peter was written probably within a few years of Peter’s death under Nero.

 

THEME AND PURPOSE

 

Peter was alarmed that false teachers were beginning to infiltrate the churches. He called on Christians to grow and become strong in their faith so that they could detect and combat the spreading apostasy. He strongly stressed the authenticity of the Word of God and the sure return of the Lord Jesus.

 

OUTLINE

I. Introduction  1:1-2

II. The True  1:3-21

  1. In Christian Living  1:3-11
    1. Life and godliness are ours now  1:3-4
    2. Life is to be lived with diligence  1:5-11
  2. In Remembering  1:12-15
  3. In the Assurance of the Witness  1:16-21

III. The False  2

  1. The Past Examples  2:1-11
  2. The Present Evil  2:12-22

IV. The End  3

  1. The Words of the Messengers  3:1-4
  2. The Word of the Maker  3:5-7
  3. The Will of the Master  3:8-9
  4. The Waste of the Molecules  3:10-13
  5. The Way of the Mindful  3:14-18


Key Idea:  Be diligent in your Christian life.

Key Passage:  3:18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

 

Key Lesson:  Get to know Jesus Christ.

 

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

AUTHOR

  • 1, 2, and 3 John have from earliest times been attributed to the apostle John, who also wrote the Gospel of John. The content, style, and vocabulary seem to warrant the conclusion that these three epistles were addressed to the same readers as the Gospel of John.

TIME PERIOD

  • The Book of 1 John was likely written between A.D. 85-95.
  • Christian tradition strongly holds that John spent his later years at Ephesus where he wrote the epistles.

 

THEME AND PURPOSE

 

The Book of 1 John seems to be a summary that assumes the readers’ knowledge of the gospel as written by John and offers certainty for their faith in Christ. The first epistle indicates that the readers were confronted with the error of Gnosticism (various belief systems generally united in the teaching that the material cosmos was created by an imperfect god), which became a more serious problem in the second century. As a philosophy of religion it held that matter is evil and spirit is good. The solution to the tension between these two was knowledge, or gnosis, through which man rose from the mundane to the spiritual. In the gospel message, this led to two false theories concerning the person of Christ, Docetism—regarding the human Jesus as a ghost—and Cerinthianism—making Jesus a dual personality, at times human and at times divine. The key purpose of 1 John is to set boundaries on the content of faith and to give believers assurance of their salvation.

 

OUTLINE

I. Introduction  1:1-4

II. The Fellowship of Light  1:5-2:11

III. Interlude of Confidence  2:12-14

IV. Avoid the World’s Evils  2:15-17

V. The Fellowship of Truth  2:18-27

VI. The Fellowship of Righteousness  2:28-3:9

VII. The Fellowship of Love  3:10-24

VIII. The Test of Truth and Error  4:1-6

IX. The Fellowship of Love II  4:7-5:5

X. The Witness of God  5:6-13

XI. Confidence in Prayer  5:14-17

XII. Things we know  5:18-21
Key Idea:  The assurance of salvation.

Key Passage:  5:13

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Key Lesson:  Test truth, follow love.

 

THE SECOND EPISTLE OF JOHN

AUTHOR

  • 1, 2, and 3 John have from earliest times been attributed to the apostle John, who also wrote the Gospel of John. The content, style, and vocabulary seem to warrant the conclusion that these three epistles were addressed to the same readers as the Gospel of John.

TIME PERIOD

  • The Book of 2 John would most likely have been written at about the same time as John’s other letters, 1 and 3 John, between A.D. 85-95.

 

THEME AND PURPOSE

 

The Book of 2 John is an urgent plea that the readers of John’s letter should show their love for God and His son Jesus by obeying the commandment to love each other and live their lives in obedience to the Scriptures. The Book of 2 John is also a strong warning to be on the lookout for deceivers who were going about saying that Christ had not actually risen in the flesh.

 

OUTLINE

I. The Salutation  1-3

  1. True love is based upon truth  1-2
  2. Blessings of God are in truth and love  3

II. Proper Exercise of Truth and Love  4-11

  1. Joy in discovering truth  4
  2. We are commanded to love  5-6
  3. Many are in error   7-9
  4. Don’t share in their error  10-11

III. Final Greetings  12-13


Key Idea:  Love discriminates based upon truth

Key Passage:  verse 8

Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.

Key Lesson:  Love with truth

 

THE THIRD EPISTLE OF JOHN

AUTHOR

  • 1, 2, and 3 John have from earliest times been attributed to the apostle John, who also wrote the Gospel of John. The content, style, and vocabulary seem to warrant the conclusion that these three epistles were addressed to the same readers as the Gospel of John.

TIME PERIOD

  • The Book of 2 John would most likely have been written at about the same time as John’s other letters, 1 and 3 John, between A.D. 85-95.

 

THEME AND PURPOSE

 

John’s purpose in writing this third epistle is threefold. First, he writes to commend and encourage his beloved co-worker, Gaius, in his ministry of hospitality to the itinerant messengers who were going from place to place to preach the Gospel of Christ. Second, he indirectly warns and condemns the behaviour of one Diotrephes, a dictatorial leader who had taken over one of the churches in the province of Asia, and whose behaviour was directly opposed to all that the apostle and his Gospel stood for. Third, he commends the example of Demetrius who was reported as having a good testimony from all.

 

OUTLINE

I. Gaius’ Faithfulness  1-8

II. Diotrephes’ Deceit  9-11

III. Demetrius’ Good Report  12

IV. Closing


Key Idea:  Hospitality is a mark of true spirituality.

Key Passage:  11

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Key Lesson:  Be hospitable.

 

THE EPISTLE OF JUDE

AUTHOR

  • Jude 1 identifies the author of the Book of Jude as Jude, a brother of James. This likely refers to Jesus’ half-brother Jude, as Jesus also had a half-brother named James (Matthew 13:55). Jude likely does not identify himself as a brother of Jesus out of humility and reverence for Christ.

 

TIME PERIOD

  • The Book of Jude is closely related to the book of 2 Peter. The date of authorship for Jude depends on whether Jude used content from 2 Peter, or Peter used content from Jude when writing 2 Peter. The Book of Jude was written somewhere between A.D. 60 and 80.

 

THEME AND PURPOSE

 

The Book of Jude is an important book for us today because it is written for the end times, for the end of the church age. The church age began at the Day of Pentecost. Jude is the only book given entirely to the great apostasy. Jude writes that evil works are the evidence of apostasy. He admonishes us to contend for the faith, for there are tares among the wheat. False prophets are in the church and the saints are in danger. Jude is a small but important book worthy of study, written for the Christian of today.

 

OUTLINE

I. Introduction  vs. 1-2

II. Contend Earnestly for the Faith vs. 3-23

  1. I exhort you to contend  3
  2. Evil men are in the church  4
  3. Past Lessons  5-7
  4. They reject authority  8-11
  5. They defile the church  12-16
  6. Remember the Apostles’ warning  17-19

III. Build yourselves up  20-23

IV. Benediction  24-25


Key Idea:  There will be false Christians

Key Passage:  21

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 

 

Key Lesson:  Contend for the faith

 

 

THE BOOK OF REVELATION

AUTHOR

  • Revelation 1:1,4,9 and 22:8 specifically identify the author of the Book of Revelation as the apostle John.

 

TIME PERIOD

The Book of Revelation was likely written between A.D. 90 and 95.

THEME AND PURPOSE

 

The Revelation of Jesus Christ was given to John by God “to show his servants what must soon take place.” This book is filled with mysteries about things to come. It is the final warning that the world will surely end and judgment will be certain. It gives us a tiny glimpse of heaven and all of the glories awaiting those who keep their robes white. Revelation takes us through the great tribulation with all its woes and the final fire that all unbelievers will face for eternity. The book reiterates the fall of Satan and the doom he and his angels are bound for. We are shown the duties of all creatures and angels of heaven and the promises of the saints that will live forever with Jesus in the New Jerusalem. Like John, we find it hard to describe what we read in the book of Revelation.

 

OUTLINE

I. Introduction  1:1-8

II. The things that were (The vision of Christ)  1:9-20

III. The things that are (The letters to the seven churches)  2-3

IV. The things that are to come  4-22

  1. The Scene in Heaven  4-5
  2. The Seven Seals  6-8:6

MIDPOINT OF TRIBULATION

  1. The Seven Trumpets  8-11
    1. First four trumpets  8
    2. The three woes  9-11

END OF TRIBULATION

  1. Related Events  12-14
    1. The Coming of Satan  12
    2. The Coming of the Antichrist  13:1-10
    3. The Coming of the False Prophet  13:11-18
    4. The View from God’s Eyes  14
      1. The Lamb with the 144,000  14:1-5
      2. The Proclamation of the three angels  14:6-13
      3. The Great Harvest  14:14-20
  2. The Seven Bowls  15-16
  3. Babylon Destroyed  17-18
  4. The End of the Earth  19-20
  5. Eternity  21-22:5

V. Conclusion  22:6-21


Key Idea:  The revealing of Jesus Christ

Key Passage:  16:15

“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

 

Key Lesson:  Be always prepared

 

HEBREWS OUTLINE:

I. Meet the Son 1:1-4

II. Better than Angels 1:5-2:18

  1. Proven by Scripture 1:5-14
  2. [Warning Against Drifting] 2:1-4
  3. Becoming a Man 2:5-18

III. Better than Moses 3-4

  1. Proven by Logic 3:1-6
  2. [Warning Against Unbelief] 3:7-4:13
  3. Invitation to come to the throne 4:14-16

IV. Better than Aaron 5-7

  1. Proven by an Oath 5:1-11
  2.  [Warning Against Apostasy] 5:12-6:8
  3. Confidence in the readers 6:9-12
  4. The Immutability of God’s Promise 6:13-20
  5. Melchizedek and Christ 7

V. Minister of a Better Sanctuary 8-10

  1. Proven by Location and Builder 8:1-6
  2. Based Upon a Better Covenant 8:7-13
  3. The Symbolism of the Old 9:1-10
  4. The Greater Work of the New 9:11-15
  5. The Necessity of Death 9:16-22
  6. The Greatness of the Offering 9:23-28
  7. The Inability of the Old to deal with sin 10:1-4
  8. The Need for a body 10:5-10
  9. The Perfection of His Sacrifice 10:11-18
  10. Our Response 10:19-25
  11. [Warning Against Willfully Sinning] 10:26-31
  12. Persevere 10:32-39

VI. Live by Faith Under a Better Example 11-12

  1. Introduction to Faith 11:1-3
  2. Faith is needed to please God 11:4-7
  3. Faith leads us on a pilgrimage 11:5-16
  4. Faith sees the future 11:17-22
  5. Faith sees Christ 11:23-29
  6. Faith makes people better than this world 11:30-40
  7. So Consider Christ 12:1-4
  8. Don’t be discouraged at chastisement 12:5-13
  9. [Warning Against Defying the work of God] 12:14-29

VII. Live Under the Great Shepherd 13

  1. Live in love 13:1-6
  2. Follow the Great Shepherd 13:7-19
  3. The blessing of the Great Shepherd 13:20-21
  4. Closing words 13:22-25

Key Idea:  Jesus Christ is the Best!

Key Passage:  3:1

Key Lesson:  Follow the example of Jesus in life.

  1. If I could interject an viewpoint in here, I might really have to admit I have changed my brain about this theme. This really is because of for your persuasive words and sound commentary. Thank you for sharing.

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