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Old Testament Overview
“A person will never properly understand the New Testament Scriptures if the Old Testament Scriptures remain a mystery to him.” Paul Benware
What we hope to accomplish today
Better understanding of the Bible as a whole
Where what you’re reading fits in to the big picture
Give you a context for each book and each chapter of each book
Reasons for Old Testament overview
Lost – Zoom out before we zoom in
Looking a little funny – What you eat (carrots)
Lame interpretation – Proper interpretation of the scripture (there is no God)
The Bible is God’s Holy Word
God’s love letter
History of the world
Map for life
God’s plan for salvation
God has always been
God is coming again
Genesis 1-2 Everything is perfect
Genesis 3-Revelation 20 Sin and Death (everything is messed up)
Revelation 21-22 everything is perfect again
*Realizing that most of the Bible fits in to the section of fallen man helps us with our perspective in reading. Man is a sinner and makes bad choises.
Records 4,000yrs of history
Genesis 1-11 covers about 2000 years
Genesis 12-Malchi 4 covers another 2000 years
God’s covenant with His people
For the purpose of producing the savior of the World
Promises of the New Covenant
Law, feast, sacrifice, prophecies
*Genesis-Exodus-Numbers-Joshua-Judges-1 Samuel-2 Samuel-1 Kings-2 Kings-Ezra-Nehemiah gives us the time line for the Old Testament, all the other books in the Old Testament fit into that time line, as seen one the chart.
I. The Old Testament is broken up into 5 major sections.
1. The Pentateuch (Torah, Books of Moses, and the Law)
i. The first 5 books of the Bible (Gen, Ex, Lev, Num, Duet)
12 books in all, covering the history of Israel from the entering in to the promise land. The time of the Judges, the kings, the divided kingdom, the carrying away in to captivity, and the time immediately following the 70 years of bondage in Babylon.
3. Poetry These are the books that were written with a certain literary style. Like poems. Some of the prophets employ these kinds of styles as well, but these books are not written as historical factual recorded accounts, although the events and thing recorded maybe be historical, they were not written in that style like the historical books of the Bible.
v. Song of Solomon
4. Major Prophets We call them that simply because they are larger book that the other prophets. Although Daniel is not as big, its message is. Don’t get me wrong every message that the prophets recorded were extremely important.
5. Minor Prophets Smaller book as far as size, but not in message.
Some to the nations, noth, south, other nations
Genesis (Written by Moses – Theme beginnings)
Genesis is the book of beginning’s (creation, man, marriage, sin, plan for salvation, Abraham covenant, nation of Israel, and so one). Genesis is a foundational book. If you don’t know the story of creation, and the fall of man you will be confused by the rest of the Bible. Jonah got swallowed by a giant fish, survived in the belly 3 days, is that possible? Genesis 1:1, God spoke the world into existence, I would say it’s possible. Why does the Bible record all these tragic events in history, death, war, killing children, sexual perversities? Genesis 3 man has the freedom to choose and through one man’s choice sin entered the world. Now that sin is in the world and man still has freedom to choose, the choices often times are not go, and tragic.
Exodus (Written by Moses – Theme Redemption)
Exodus is a continuation of Genesis. There is a gap of a couple hundred years. Genesis ended with Jacob, Joseph and his family living in Egypt. Exodus pics up the story now that the Jews are slaves in Egypt and deals primarily with the issue of redemption. Redemption: to purchase, or rescue.
Leviticus (Written by Moses – Theme Holiness of God)
Numbers (Written by Moses – Theme Wilderness Wanderings)
It’s called numbers because the Jews are counted at the beginning and at the end of the book. The book is called wilderness wonderings in Hebrew. It’s the stories of the wandering in the wilderness for forty years.
Deuteronomy (Written by Moses – Theme Remembering)
Reminds us that we need to be reminded. It’s a recap of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.
Joshua (Written by Joshua* – Theme Claiming the Promise)
The history of the conquest of the promise land. The Jews claiming what God had already given to them. Battles and dividing up the land are the major parts of the book. Also has direct application to the Spirit fill life of the believer.
Judges (Written by Samuel* – Theme Continued Dependence)
Israel’s up and down history of reliance upon God and repentance upon self. Victory over the enemy, bondage to the enemy.
Ruth (Written by Samuel* – Theme Kinsman Redeemer)
Exodus gave us a picture of Redemption by Yahweh Almighty God. Ruth gives us the picture of redemption by an individual. The two complete the picture of New Testament redemption. Jesus the person, and God all mighty redeeming man kind from sin and death.
1 Samuel (Written by Unknown, maybe Samuel, Nathan, or Gad – Theme the Heart of the kingdom, and of the King)
1 Samuel deals with Israel’s heart as a nation and their rejection of God’s rule. And their desires for a king to rule over them like the other nations, the heart of the first king of Israel, and the heart of the second king.
2 Samuel (Written by Unknown, maybe Nathan or Gad – Theme King David)
1 Kings (Written by Unknown, maybe Jeremiah – Division of the Kingdom)
After David was Salomon. After Solomon was Rehoboam. Rehoboam’s lack of wisdom, and not listening to the elders led to the divide of the kingdom in to two sections North and South; 10 Northern tribes, and two southern tribes. In the Bible the Northern tribes are referred to as Israel, or Ephraim. The Southern tribes are referred to as Judah.
2 Kings (Written by Unknown, maybe Jeremiah – Theme Taken Captive)
This book records the down fall of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms in chapter 17 the Northern captivity, and then at the end of the book the captivity of the Southern Kingdom.
1 Chronicles (Written by Ezra* – Theme King David)
Takes place at the same time as the end of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel.
2 Chronicles (Written by Ezra* – Theme Kings of the South)
Takes place the same time as 1 and 2 Kings. One of the major differences is that Chronicles focuses on the Southern Kingdom only.
Ezra (Written by Ezra* – Theme Return, Rebuilding, Revival)
Deals with the return of Israel from captivity in Babylon, the rebuilding of the temple, and a revival that centers around the Word of God.
Nehemiah (Written by Nehemiah* – Theme Rebuilding the Walls)
The rebuilding of the walls was so that Israel would be protected from their enemies and have freedom to once again worship God freely.
Esther (Written by Unknown – Theme for Such a Time as This)
Esther is an interesting book in that there is no record of God, prayer, worship, or any religious or spiritual this, other than fasting. But in this book we see God working and moving behind the scenes to preserve His people. He does this be putting the right people in the right place at the right time. Remember the goal of the Old Testament is to bring us to a Savior, and God will do whatever it takes to fulfill His promise even if people are not walking directly with Him. He is still in control, and will still accomplish His will.
Job (Written by Unknown – Theme Shhhhh!)
Job is probably the oldest book in human history. Job is a book of conversations: conversations between God and Satan, Job and his wife, Job and his friend, and Job and God. Through out the book Job, his wife, and his three friends say a lot of things concerning all the tragedy that is taking place in Jobs life. What it boils down to is Shhhhh! You don’t know anything, just keep quiet and trust God.
Psalms (Written by various authors, David – Theme Worship)
The Book of Psalms is one giant worship book.
Proverbs (Written by Solomon – Theme Wisdom)
A proverb is a short saying that offers truth and advice. It’s a very practical book, and the main idea fear the Lord
Ecclesiastes (Written by Solomon – Theme Vanity or Emptiness)
Ecclesiastes is about the struggles of finding happiness in anything apart from a relationship with God. It was written by a man who had it all. Solomon had power, wealth, wisdom, and women, but yet none of it satisfied.
Song of Solomon (Written by Solomon – Theme Love)
A love story, that has very wonderful application to the love of God for us.
Isaiah (Written by Isaiah – Theme Come)
Isaiah is written as a warning to the nation, but the whole time God is saying if you will just turn to me I’ll heal you. Chapter one, “Come let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.
Jeremiah (Written by Jeremiah – Theme Backsliding in to Bondage)
Jeremiah warns the people all the way up to being taken captive by king Nebuchadnezzar.
Lamentation (Written by Jeremiah – Theme Death of a Nation)
The weeping prophet weeps for the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the nation.
Ezekiel (Written by Ezekiel – Theme Hope in the midst of the Storm)
It was written during Israel’s captivity, and was a message of correction and hope.
Daniel (Written by Daniel – Theme God Rules over Man)
Daniel time and time again stresses the fact the God raises up a ruler and puts down another, and that the Lord is sovereign over all. Daniel was also written during the 70 years of captivity. There are some great stories in Daniel, and there are some very powerful prophecies. Chapter 9 specifically as it relates to the coming or the Messiah, God’s dealing with Israel, and the end times.
Hosea (Written by Hosea – Theme God’s open arms)
Hosea is a call to repent (to the Northern tribes), to turn from idols and backsliding. God uses the prophet to illustrate this when He tell him to marry a harlot. Then after being married she goes back to the old life, but God says go get her and restore her again. It was to be a picture of God’s relationship with Israel and their adultery, yet how God’s arms are always open to receive His people back.
Joel (Written by Joel – Theme the Day of the Lord)
The results of un-repentance are judgment. Joel includes a prophecy of the out pouring of the Holy Spirit. Peter quotes from Joel on the day of Pentecost.
Amos (Written by Amos – Theme Seek God)
He condemns things that distract God’s people from seeking Him, and warns of coming judgment.
Obadiah (Written by Obadiah – Theme Curse Those Who Curse You)
Obadiah prophesied against Edom (the descendants of Esau). He told of their future destruction. Thus fulfilling the promise God gave to Abraham when He said “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Edom treated Israel very poorly.
Jonah (Written by Jonah – Theme Grace, Mercy, Compassion, and Love)
God’s love even for the most wicked people on the planet. He doesn’t desire that any should perish. Jonah is mentioned in 2 Kings 14
Micah (Written by Micah – Theme Turn and Repent)
Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah.
Nahum (Written by Nahum – Theme the Rest of the Story)
Nahum tells what happened to Nineveh after Jonah. Nahum prophesies of Nineveh’s destruction.
Habakkuk (Written by Habakkuk – Theme Dialog)
Habakkuk was burdened by what was going on around him in Israel, and so he talks to the Lord about it.
Zephaniah (Written by Zephaniah – Theme Woe to You)
Zephaniah prophesies of coming judgment, and future glory.
Haggai (Written by Haggai – Theme Build what Matters)
A divine kick in the pants. The Jews were neglecting the temple by building their own homes.
Zechariah (Written by Zechariah – Theme Present Strength and Future Hope)
Contemporary with Haggai. It’s an encouraging book to those involved in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, and a message of future hope.
Malachi (Written by Malachi – Theme State of a Nation)
Malachi ends the Old Testament with a description of the condition of the nation of Israel.
*With all that has been recorded in the Old Testament the one thing we know for sure by the end is that this nation and the rest of the world desperately need a savior.