Books of the Bible

The Holy Scriptures contain God's love message for humankind. The Old and New Testaments contain 66 books that were written:

  • On three continents.
  • In three languages.
  • By about 40 different people (kings, shepherds, scientists, attorneys, an army general, fishermen, priests, and a physician).
  • Over a period of about 1,500 years.
  • On the most controversial subjects.
  • By people who, in most cases, had never met.
  • By authors whose education and background varied greatly.

The Holy Spirit "moved" upon the Bible writers, maintaining harmony throughout all 66 books (2 Peter 1:21 - "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.") A NEW YOU Ministry offers you the following Book Analysis for your Personal Bible Study. You will find a more exhaustive and comprehensive Book Analysis in literature and on the internet but this outline will give you a quick synopsis which you will find most beneficial. We pray you will receive a deeper, more meaningful study as you view the following links.

To access the following Book Analysis move your mouse over a Bible book, press "s" on your keyboard or right-click your mouse to access pop-up window. Once you are finished press anywhere outside the window to close the window.

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Authorship - The tradition that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, called the Pentateuch, is generally accepted and is sustained by many Bible passages, at least by inference. They were written during the Forty Years of Israel's Wanderings, the first in order being Genesis.

Name - The book is appropriately named Genesis, signifying a book of beginnings. It opens with the fundamental truth that God is; it is monotheistic throughout; it sets forth the claim that all that there is owes its origin to the creative fiat of the One God. It tells of the beginning of the world and numberless planetary bodies, of all life on the earth, of domestic relations, of institutions, of the moral order, of sin and its consequences, of the scheme of redemption, of nations, of the choice of the family from whom the Messianic nation should spring, and of the tribe from which the Messiah would be given to the world.

Purpose and Religious Character - The records of Genesis cover, from a religious point of view, the history of the ages from Creation to Moses. It is not, however, a political history of ancient nations or of the evolutionary and scientific changes in the world or in the progress of the human race during those pre-historic times. It shows how, after man had fallen into sin, God began to give him a religion and to unfold to him his divine purpose and plan of salvation. It is a progressive revelation of the plan of God for the redemption of the human race from sin-a progressive self-revelation of God which culminates in Jesus Christ.

A Divinely-Inspired Book - Moses wrote the book of Genesis, not from traditions and legends borrowed from other ancient peoples, but by divine inspiriation. Its inspiration and character as a divine revelation are authenticated by t he testimony of history and by the witness of Christ. (Matt. 19:46; 24:37-39; Mark 10:4-9; Luke 11:49-51; 17:26-29,32; John 1:5; 7:21-23; 8:44,56)

General Importance - Without Genesis the Bible would be incomplete; the germ of all the truth unfolded in the whole Scripture is found in Genesis. The origin and problem of sin and its effect on man's condition on the earth and in separating him from God, and the divine solutions for these problems are all found in essence in this book. In a very significant sense, the roots of all subsequent revelation are planted deep in Genesis. It enters into the fundamental structure of the New Testament in which it is quoted more than sixty times in seventeen books.

Outline - Genesis falls rather naturally into five chief divisions: I. Creation (1:1-2:25) II. The Fall and Redemption (3:1-4:7) III. History of the Two Distinct Lines of the Race, Cainite and Sethite, to the Flood (4:8-7:24) IV. From the Flood to the Call of Abraham (8:1-11:9) V. From Abraham to the Death of Joseph (11:10-50:26). According to Ussher, the events recorded in Genesis cover a period of 2,315 years.
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Name - This book is a continuation of the First Book of Chronicles. Its chief purpose is similar, although it more strongly recognizes the prophetic element in the religious life of the nation. (See First Chronicles)

Theme - Devoted largely to the affairs of Judah, it refers to the Northern Kingdom only when its affairs are closely related to those of Judah. The building of the temple by Solomon and the vital place that this institution held in the religious interest of Judah is given much attention. Revivals of true religion began at the house of God and were reinforced by the destruction of idols; but the worthlessness of mere ritualism was strongly urged.

Outline - Second Chronicles falls into eighteen divisions, each one covering the reign of one of the kings from Solomon to the captivities, supplying a record, first, of the division of David's kingdom under Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Reviewing a period of more than 400 years, the history of both kingdoms was a growing apostasy, broken temporarily in Judah by reformations under five notable kings: Asa (14-16); Jehoshaphat (17:1-19); Joash (24); Hezekiah (29-32); and Josiah (34,35).

According to Ussher, the events recorded in Second Chronicles cover a period of 427 years.

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Name - The name of this book is taken from its leading character, Daniel. It was probably written by the prophet himself, although some think it may have been it may have been composed by one of his companions. Others consider the arrangement of the contents in book form as late as 166 B.C. Daniel is not only the chief personage of the historical section of the book, but the author of its prophecies.

Theme - Like Ezekiel, Daniel had been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and held in Babylon along with the others. That he was of royal, or princely, descent is definitely stated in the book (1:6). Because of his rank and comeliness, and especially for his superior brilliance, Daniel was trained for court services under Nebuchadnezzar's directions. In the midst of political corruption, immoral practices, and gross pagan idolatries, Daniel lived a life of singular piety and usefulness. He faithfully served the kings of an alien people who held Israel in captivity; but even in these services his ministrations concerned future developments and national changes in which Israel's destinies were involved. Most important, however, is Daniel's work as a "seer" of Jehovah, distinguished as one who "dreams" and "sees visions" with prophetic elements concerning future events.

The four great world-empires embraced in Daniel's prophecies were: The Babylonian Empire, 625 to 536 B.C., the nation of Israel's captivity; the Persian Empire, 536 to 330 B.C., the nation of Israel's restoration; the Grecian Empire, which subdued the whole Persian world as well as other countries; and the Roman Empire, coming to its world-conquest through the breaking up of the Grecian Empire.

Outline - Daniel may be divided into four main sections: I. Daniel's History to the Second Year of Nebuchadnezzar (1:1-21) II. Interpretations of Nebuchadnezzar's Dreams (2:1-4:37) III. Daniel's Personal History under Belshazzar and Darius (5:1-6:28) IV. Daniel's Visions and Interpretations (7:1-12:13)

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Name - This second book of the Pentateuch, written by Moses, is called Exodus, signifying "going-out", or "departure," because it records the history of Israel's departure from Egypt and the journey to the Promised Land. It marks a new epoch in God's dealing with his chosen people, the descendants of Abraham. Up to this point, God had dealt with them, on the basis of the Abraham Covenant, as families and tribes; now, he begins their nationalization under the Mosaic Covenant, establishes a theocracy in which he himself is ruler, and dwells among them.

Purpose - The aim of the book is to give an account of the first stage in the fulfillment of the promises made to the Patriarchs with reference to the place and nationalization of Israel as the depository of a revealed religion, and as the nation through which a Messiah should be given to the world.

Theme - The Book of Exodus tells the story of Israel's redemption from Egyptian bondage and sets forth God's plan of redemption for all mankind. Its theme is Redemption, accomplished only through the grace and power of God, by means of a Deliverer, and under the cover of blood. It lays down the fundamental truth that redemption is essential to right relations with a holy God, and that even a redeemed person cannot maintain fellowship with God without constant cleansing from defilement. Since right relationship with God through His redemptive grace and appointed blood sacrifice must find expression in worship, fellowship, service, holy living, and obedience to the Divine will, the book includes the account of the giving of the Law, the establishment of the priesthood, a system of sacrifices, and divinely appointed regulations for holiness in conduct. In the Law, God's just demands upon His people were set forth; in actual experience, the Israelites transgressed the Law and were convicted by the Law of their sins. In the priesthood and sacrifice, a way of forgiveness was provided for a guilty people. Thus in essence, Exodus is prophetic of Christ. (See Galations)

Outline - A simple analysis divides Exodus into three chief divisions: I. Israel in Egypt (1:1-12:36) II. Israel's Journey to Sinai (12:37-18) III. Israel at Sinai (19-40)

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Name - Ezra is the first of the postexilic books, the others being Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. It takes its name from the Jewish patriot who exercised a profound influence upon the religious and civic life of the remnant of Jews who returned to Palestine under the edict of Cyrus. The traditional view is that it was written by Ezra; quite certainly he was the author of the last four chapters (7-10), if not the entire book. It is immediately connected with the closing records of the Second Book of Chronicles and covers the history of the Jews in Palestine over a period variously estimated from 80 to 110 years.

Theme - Ezra relates the story of the return of a group of Babylonian exiles under Zerubbabel soon after the decree of Cyrus granting this permission in 536 B.C., and of the laying of the foundation of the new temple. Subsequently, in 458 B.C., Ezra himself led a second expedition of Jews to Palestine, and under his leadership the law and ritual of worship was revived. Still later, a third expedition returned to Jerusalem under Nehemiah. Ezra's chief object in going to Jerusalem was to bring about a religious reformation and to re-establish the Mosaic institutions; he was imminently successful in both.

Outline - The Book falls into two chief divisions: I. From the Decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C. to the Dedication of the New Temple in 515 B.C. (1:1-6:22) (A period of about sixty years is passed over in silence.) II. The Ministry of Ezra beginning in 458 B.C. (7:1-10:44)

According to Ussher, the events recorded in Ezra cover a period of 80 years.

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Name - It should be noted here that the order of arrangement of the Prophetical Books in our English Bible is not chronological. Hosea, the author of this prophecy, belongs to the period of Israel's history from 786 to 726 B.C. He was a prophet of the Northern Kingdom, contemporaneous with Amos, and a contemporary of Isaiah and Micah in Judah. Hosea's ministry embraced the period of Assyria's first captivity of the eastern tribes of Northern Israel, and although his recorded ministry concluded in 726 B.C., he may have lived to see the fulfilment of his prophecies concerning the complete overthrow of Northern Israel by the Assyrian conquest.

Theme - Hosea began his ministry as a prophet during the reign of Jeroboam II, and he laboured during the time of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in Judah. Northern Israel was prosperous during the early part of his work; Syria and Moab had been conquered and the borders of the nation greatly extended; domestic affairs and foreign commerce were both in their most advanced stages. Spiritually, however, there was decay: luxury ate at the heart of the nation; immorality and injustice were rampant; idolatry gripped the whole land. Hence, the message of Hosea inferred that Israel was Jehovah's adulterous wife, disowned and repudiated, but still loved with an undying affection and destined to be purified and restored. In style and expression, Hosea is metaphorical and figurative, filled with emotional colouring and variety of thought, and intense in sentiments of genuine love.

Outline - The book falls rather naturally into three parts: I. Israel's Sin Illustrated by the Tragedy of Hosea's Wife (1-3) II. Israel's Sin and Punishment (4-13:8) III. The Ultimate Blessing and Glory of Israel's Restoration (13:9-14:9)

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Name - The nature of this third book of the Pentateuch, written by Moses, is suggested by the name; it has to do with the Levites and priests. The rabbis called it "The Law of the Priest" and "The Law of Offerings"; it deals with the services of the sanctuary as administered by the Levites.

Connection with Former Books - Leviticus is really a continuation of the book of Exodus, containing the Sinaitic legislation from the time of the completion of the Tabernacle; it elaborates and unfolds what had been written in the preceding book. Based on the promise of redemption and its unfolding revelations found in Genesis, and on the divine processes of redemption given in the book of Exodus, Leviticus gives the details for the accomplishment of these spiritual attainments. Herein is expounded the place of sacrifice as an atonement for sin and God's acceptance of a sacrifice, a type of sacrifice of Christ, instead of the death of the sinner.

Purpose - The purpose of Leviticus is five-fold: To show that God is holy, and man is sinful; to show how God maintains his holiness and exposes the sinfulness of man; to show how sinful man may have access to a holy God; to provide a manual of law and worship for Israel; and to transform Israel into a holy nation. The key word of Leviticus is "Holiness," which occurs 87 times in the book. In contrast with God's holiness and His required holiness of His people, words for sin and uncleanness in various forms appear 194 times, showing the need of atonement and cleansing. "Blood-offering" as the basis of atonement and means of cleansing is referred to 89 times. Two notable passages emphasize the central truth of this book, namely, 10:10 and 19:2.

Outline - In the main, Leviticus may be outlined by five divisions: I. The Law of Sacrifices (1:1-6:7) II. The Law of Priests (6:8-10:20) III. The Law of Purity (11-22) IV. The Law of Jehovah's Feasts (23) V. Special Laws, Instructions, and Warnings (24-27)

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Name - This book is a sequel to the Book of Ezra; the two constituted one book in the Jewish canon. The chief personage of the book is Nehemiah who came from Babylon to Jerusalem about 446 B.C., thirteen or fourteen years after Ezra's expedition, as the leader of the third expedition.

Theme - The Book of Nehemiah is largely a personal narrative relating the work accomplished by the nobleman for whom it is named. Nehemiah was appointed governor of Palestine by Artaxerxes, and in this official capacity led in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and in making significant reforms. He was joined in his reforms by Ezra, and these two illustrious souls worked in close cooperation.

Outline - A simple analysis in eight principle divisions follows: I. Nehemiah's Journey to Jerusalem (1:1-2:20) II. The Rebuilding of the Wall (3:1-6:19) III. The Taking of a General Census (7:1-73) IV. The Renewal of the Covenant and Religious Revival (8:1-11:36) V. The Census of the Priests and Levites (12:1-26) VI. The Dedication of the Rebuilt Wall (12:27-43) VII. The Restoration of Temple Worship (12:44-47) VIII. The Second Tenure of Service as Governor; The Effectuation of Additional Reforms (13:1-31)

According to Ussher, the records of Nehemiah cover eleven years. Considering the fact of Nehemiah's governorship of Palestine was interrupted by a return to Babylon and that he later resumed his duties in Jerusalem, Ussher's calculation appears somewhat short.

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Name - Nothing is known of the author of this book, except what may be gathered from the prophecy; from this source we learn that he was commissioned to prophesy to Judah, probably during the reign of Amaziah in Judah and of Joash in the Northern Kingdom. His familiarity with the Temple and its services has led to the idea that he was of priestly descent. It seems certain that he was among the earlier writing prophets; in fact he is regarded by some as the earliest.

Theme - Joel wrote his prophecy at a time when natural calamities had fallen upon Western Asia: successive plagues of insects, particularly, one of locusts; and a severe drought blighting Palestine and surrounding countries (Ch. 2:23,25). Joel interprets these plagues as tokens of divine chastenings for the sins of the nation and calls upon the people to repent. He further takes these plagues as an occasion for certain prophecies concerning the destruction of Israel, her restoration, and the certainty of God's judgments upon the whole world.

Even as a prophet of divine judgment against sin, Joel's message is filled with optimism and promises of triumph of the righteous. The ultimate hope of mankind is in the Messianic kingdom, and his great distinctive prophecy relates to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church of Christ fulfilled on the first Pentecost after the crucifixion and resurrection of the Saviour.

Outline - The book may be divided into three main sections: I. The Plague of Insects and Drought (1) II. The Day of the Lord with Its Judgments and Blessings (2:1-3:8) III. Retrospect of the Day of the Lord (3:9-21)

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Name - This fourth book of the Pentateuch, written by Moses, takes its name from the enumerations of Israel at Sinai and at Moab.

Relation to Former Books - Historically, the book takes up the story of Israel's journey from Egypt to the border of Canaan where they deflected at Kadesh-barnea and refused to enter the Land of Promise. It then continues with their wanderings in the wilderness for thirty-eight (some say forty) years under the judgement of God, until all the nation twenty years of age and older had died, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, and a new generation grew up and was developed. While the book is a history of more than thirty-eight years, comparatively little is recorded of those weary, disciplinary wanderings; the greater portion of the record deals with the happenings of the last year. It brings Israel to Kadesh-barnea for the second time, thence to Moab east of the Jordan.

Subject - The central idea of the book is service; associated with this thought is that of walk, involved in journeyings. The whole purpose of the enumerations is that of service in the wars ahead. The key phrase, "all that are able to go forth to war," appears fourteen times in the first chapter. In the incidents recorded, emphasis is placed upon the disciplinary judgements of God for Israel's lack of faith and courage and for violations of His laws. It was a period when Israel learned the lessons that were calculated to have a steadying influence upon the future life of the nation. The book is of superlative value in illustrations and types that refer to Christ and the Christian experience, and is rich in Messianic material.

Outline - Numbers may be advantageously considered under five chief divisions: I. Preparations for Departure from Sinai (1:1-10:10) II. Journey from Sinai to Kadesh-barnea (10:11-12:16) III. The Sojourn at Kadesh-barnea (13:1-19:22) IV. Wilderness Wanderings (20:1-33:49) V. Closing Instructions (33:50-36:13)

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Name - This book takes its name from its principal character, a Jewish maiden who became the queen of a Persian king, designated Ahasuerus in the story and usually identified with Xerxes the Great. The most generally accepted date is about 56 years after the first return of Babylonian exiles to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel in 536 B.C. or about 480 B.C.

Theme - The religious significance of the narrative is God's providential watch over dispersed Israel. Here it must be remembered that a very small remnant of the Jews returned to Palestine, whereas the mass of the nation preferred the ease and luxury in places scattered throughout the great Persian Empire.

Although the Book of Esther has no connection with other books of the Bible, the events recorded most probably took place following the records given in the first six chapters of Ezra and belong in the silent period between the sixth and seventh chapters of that book. The book is pre-eminently religious, even though the name of God does not appear in it. Divine Providence is more conspicuous in Esther than in any other book in the Bible. Despite the fact the people of Israel did not heed the call for return to their native land, they were not forsaken by Jehovah. From a historical point of view, the book supplies much information with reference to the state of the dispersed Jews in post-exilic times and gives the origin of the Feast of Purim.

Outline - For simple study, the book may be divided into seven parts: I. The Story of Queen Vashti (1:1-22) II. Esther Made Queen (2:1-23) III. The Conspiracy of Haman (3:1-15) IV. The Deliverance of the Jews from Destruction by Esther's Courage and Skill (4:1-7:10) V. Punishment of the Enemies of the Jews and the Advancement of Mordecai (8:1-9:19) VI. The Establishment of Purim (9:20-32) VII. Mordecai Made Great (10)

According to Ussher, the events recorded in Esther covered a period of twelve years.

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Name - The author of this prophecy was a native of the town of Tekoa in Judah, but he was called by God to prophesy especially to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He was of remote and humble birth, a shepherd and dresser of sycamore fig trees, and wholly lacking in training in the prophetic schools. His qualifications for ministry of prophecy were wholly of God, and he boldly asserted that his message was solely of divine inspiration. Although this message was directed mainly to the Northern Kingdom, in concerned the "whole house of Jacob"; it is world-wide in its scope and Messianic in its future perspective.

Theme - It was during the reign of Uzziah in Judah and Jeroboam II in the Northern Kingdom that Amos laboured and wrote. Material prosperity prevailed in both kingdoms, especially in Northern Israel, and reached its zenith of outward greatness and glory under Jeroboam II. Yet, social evils swept the whole country; the rich oppressed the poor; luxury and extravagance and profligacy were universal; and true religion was at its lowest ebb.

In the midst of these distressing moral and religious apostasies, Amos stands out as a "prophet of righteousness"; he magnifies Jehovah as the one true God, all-wise, all-powerful, omnipresent, righteous, merciful, whose favour can be secured only by forsaking sin and practising righteousness. He solemnly warns Israel that destruction of the nation is inevitable because of her sins, and within fifty years those prophecies were literally fulfilled.

Outline - Amos has four main parts: I. Judgments on Countries and Cities Surrounding Israel (1:1-2:3) II. Judgments on Judah and Israel (2:4-16) III. Jehovah's Controversy with the House of Jacob (3:1-9:10) IV. Promised Restoration and the Messianic Kingdom (9:11-15)

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Name - The title of this fifth book of Pentateuch, written by Moses, is from the Greek term which signifies a second or repeated law. The book contains the final words of Moses, delivered most probably during the last seven days of his life. This message of Moses was given to Israel in view of the impending entrance to their covenanted possession, a possession for which the nation had striven through forty years of wilderness wanderings. Although the Decalogue is repeated, and other distinct phases of Mosaic legislation found in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers are reasserted, these addresses of Moses consist of an application of the Law, with elucidations and additional instructions.

Authorship - Although modern criticism maintains that Deuteronomy is of later origin than the previous four books, the unity of the Pentateuch is generally admitted. The fact that Moses was its author is distinctly declared (31:19), and the New Testament expressly states that it is the work of Moses (Matt. 19:7,8; Mark 10:2-9; Acts 3:22; 7:37). The style is more emotional and oratorical than the other four books, and its tone is more spiritual and ethical; but this does not argue against Mosaic authorship. These facts are due to the circumstances, occasion, and purpose of the utterances recorded. The account of the death of Moses, of course, was added by another hand, but this does not discredit the Mosaic authorship of the balance of the material.

Occasion and Purpose - The crisis facing Israel in the occupation of idolatrous and corrupted Canaan was quite certainly the occasion of these addresses of Moses. Supreme emphasis upon the inflexible and exacting nature of God's Law constituted the purpose. The key in the whole series of instruction is found in chapters 28 to 30:9.

Outline - Moses' farewell message is usually divided on the basis of three addresses; but, topically, seven divisions are better: I. Summary of Israel's History in the Wilderness (1:1-3:29) II. A Restatement of the Law with Exhortations and Warnings (4:1-11:32) III. Sundry Laws and Instructions with Warnings and Predictions (12:1-27:26) IV. Significant Prophecies Summarizing the History of Israel to the Second Advent of Christ Embracing the Notable Covenant (28:1-30:20) V. Farewell Counsels to Priests, Levites, and Joshua (31) VI. The Song of Moses and the Pronouncements of Blessings on the Twelve Tribes (32-33) VII. Death of Moses (34)

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Name - The title of this book is taken from its chief character or hero, Job, whose name is commonly accepted as meaning "persecuted." In the Jewish canon, the book is grouped with the wisdom literature, but it stands alone, having no connection whatever with any other book in the Bible. It treats, however, of human problems and throws divine light upon the solution of those problems in perfect harmony with the teachings of all the books of the Bible.

Canonicity and Authenticity of the Book - The traditional and conservative attitude toward the Book of Job is that its chief character was a living personage and the dramatized events and speeches actually took place in real life. Criticisms which regard the book as legendary and its characters as fictional are worthy of little consideration. Ezekial, who lived and prophesied 600 B.C., refers to Job as a historical figure (Ezek. 14:18-20), as does James in New Testament writings (James 5:11). The book itself delineates the righteous character of Job; from his speeches may be gleaned many brilliant diamonds which reveal him to be a man of transparent integrity, purity, humility, and faith.

Character and Purpose of the Book - The literary quality of Job is most excellent and thoroughly Semitic. The prologue (Chs. 1 - 3:2) and the epilogue (Ch. 42:7-17) are prose; all the rest is poetry of the loftiest character. Couched in dramatic and poetic imagery, many of the sublimest truths of divine revelation sparkle like nuggets of gold; they have been the comfort of millions of hearts for many centuries and the source of spiritual edification for multiplied thousands.

Date and Authorship - It appears quite certain that the Book of Job is the oldest composition in the Scriptures. It was written, undoubtedly, before the giving of the Law since no reference whatsoever is made to the Law. The book belongs to the patriarchal age and throws remarkable light on the philosophic breadth and intellectual culture of that period of history. Although the authorship cannot be determined with certainty, the most acceptable theory is that Job composed the book and that it was incorporated in the sacred writings of the Hebrews by Moses.

Scope and Value of the Book - Five questions of universal interest are raised and discussed: (1) Is there any goodness among men that is unselfish and unmercenary? (2) Why do the righteous suffer and why does sin go unpunished? (3) Does God really care for and protect those who fear him? (4) Are adversity and afflictions tokens of wickedness in the life of those who suffer? (5) Are mercy and pity qualities of God?

Five solutions to the problems of human suffering are presented: (1) Suffering is a test of character and is abundantly rewarded when rightly endured. (2) Suffering is always a punishment for sin - the erroneous solution by Job's three friends. (3) Suffering is the result of sin, but not necessarily of the sin of the sufferer; it is disciplinary and beneficent for God's children - Elihu's solution. (4) Suffering is not a token of wickedness, though a source of perplexity - the implication in Job's speeches. (5) Both goodness and evil are filled with mystery beyond the comprehension of man; man's proper attitude is that of submission and faith - the solution given in God's speeches to Job. Full compensation awaits the true child of God, and complete and final triumph over Satan and all materialistic foes are assured the faithful servant of God.

Outline - The Book of Job may be divided into seven parts: I. Prologue (1:1-2:8) II. Job and His Wife (2:9,10) III. Job and His Three Friends (2:11-31:40) IV. Job and Elihu (32:1-37:24) V. Jehovah and Job (38:1-41:34) VI. Job's Final Answer (42:1-6) VII. Epilogue (42:7-17)

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Name - Nothing is known of the author of this brief book of prophecy, except what may be gathered from his writing; nor have we any information as to the place and time of his writing. Some authorities place it during the reign of the wicked Athaliah in Judah and at an earlier date that of Joel. It appears more probable, however, that it was written after the fall of Jerusalem and that the references to the gloating and cruelty of the Edomites toward Judah were historical; whereas, the predictions of the destruction of Edom were genuinely prophetic. This would suggest the date of writing at about 585 B.C. and would mean that Obadiah was a contemporary of Jeremiah. There are numerous other Obadiahs mentioned in the Bible, but very little is recorded of any of them.

Theme - Although the burden of the prophet is the judgment of God upon the Edomites, he faithfully maintains the love of God for disciplined and humiliated Israel, and predicts the establishment of a new Judahite Kingdom with Jerusalem as its centre and the ultimate inclusion of Edom in the Messianic kingdom.

Outline - Though brief, the book may best be considered in four parts: I. Edom's Humiliation and Punishment (Vrs. 1-9) II. The Crowning Sin of Edom (Vrs. 10-14) III. Guilt of the Nations; Edom's Visitation in the Day of the Lord (Vrs. 15,16) IV. Judah's Restoration and Edom's Inclusion in the Future Kingdom (Vrs. 17-21)

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Name - This book takes its name from the events recorded in the life of its leading character, Joshua, who was the divinely-chosen successor of Moses as leader of Israel. He was also the commander in charge of Israel's armies in the conquest of Canaan. This is the first of the twelve books of history in the Old Testament, including those from Joshua to Esther.

Connection with Preceding Books - This book continues the historical data of Deuteronomy and completes the story of Israel's redemption. Exodus tells of Israel's deliverance out of bondage, whereas the book of Joshua gives the story of the second phase of the nation's redemption in its settlement of the Promised Land (Deut. 6:23). Moses' position as God's representative of the theocracy set up at Sinai is perpetuated in Joshua. Redemption for Israel in the possession of Canaan is wrought by the power of God under the leadership of a divinely-appointed representative and under blood, even as was redemption in deliverance from bondage.

Authorship - The book was written either by Joshua himself toward the close of his life, or it was wholly written shortly after his death by some other author from documents penned by Joshua. The account of his death was added by a later compiler.

Purpose of the Book - The book was written to describe the settlement of Israel in Canaan according to God's promise. It shows how God punished the sin and godlessness of nations in the destruction of the Canaanites, and it sets forth the unceasing conflict between the forces of God and the powers of evil.

Outline - The book falls naturally into four main sections: I. The Crossing of the Jordan and the Conquest of Canaan (1-12) II. The Division of Canaan among the Twelve Tribes and the Special Provision Made for the Levites (13-21) III. An Occasion of Discord and Its Solution (22) IV. Joshua's Last Counsels and Death (23-24). Joshua was 80 years old when he assumed leadership of Israel. He died at the age of 110; thus, the book covers a period of 30 years.

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Name - The title of this collection of 150 Hebrew poems is derived from the name used in the Greek Septuagint, Psalmoi, rendered "Psalms." In the ancient Hebrew the title was sepher tehillim, signifying "book of praises." This collection formed a part of the Jewish canon, almost identical with our present book, as early as the third century B.C. and was intended to include all the psalmody of Israel's history.

Authorship - This book is commonly referred to as the "Psalms of David." Out of the 150 Psalms, however, only 73 are accredited to David; but this is by far a larger number than those ascribed to any other author. David was also responsible for the earlier collection of Psalms for liturgical purposes in the services of the sanctuary. Other authors specifically mentioned are Moses, Solomon, Asaph and sons of Asaph, sons of Korah, Heman, Ethan, and a Babylonian captive. Approximately, fifty psalms are anonymous. What is known as "Imprecatory Psalms" are the cries of the oppressed for justice. They represent the righteous desire for vengeance upon foes. In their literal meaning, the spirit of Christianity frowns upon their use, but they were appropriate for the spirit of the age and the conditions of Israel when written.

Period - The period of the composition of the Book of Psalms extends from the days of Moses to the Babylonian Exile, or even later. An example of this is found in the fact that Psalm 90 was written by Moses. Many of the anonymous psalms were probably written during the earlier history of Israel.

Theme - An elementary fact is that this collection of 150 psalms constituted the inspired prayer-and-praise book of Israel. They are, indeed, revelations of divine truth, written not abstractly, but in the terms of human experience. They are filled with spiritual truths wrought into the emotions, aspirations, sufferings, hopes, and faith of individual authors, and often expressive of these experiences by Israel as a people.

Inasmuch as circumstances and experiences out of which they were wrought were representative of the common experiences of God's people throughout all time, the Book of Psalms is really an inexhaustible treasure of religion. No book of the Bible speaks more directly, more comprehensively, and with greater spiritual fervour and power to modern religious life than this marvellous ancient Hebrew hymnbook. It is loved, used, and revered by Christendom universally. Within these holy poems every element of revealed religion is found: law, history, prophecy, penitence, repentance, faith, forgiveness, redemption, justification, sanctification - all with the dominant elements of praise and prayer. From their holy utterances, men have always found spiritual communion with God, aspiration, faith, hope, and assurance.

Outline - The Book of Psalms is in five different divisions: I. Psalms 1 to 41: all Davidic except the first, which is introductory and anonymous. II. Psalms 42 to 72: some 18 ascribed to David; the others to various authors. III. Psalms 73 to 89: ascribed very largely to Asaph; both historical and liturgical. IV. Psalms 90 to 106: mostly anonymous; one ascribed to Moses; three ascribed to David. V. Psalms 107 to 150; the period of Babylonian captivity and later.

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Name - Though rightly classified among the books of prophecy, Jonah differs from other prophetical books in that it is a narrative; it tells us of the experiences and work of Jonah, but relates little of his utterances.

Theme - This book's prophetic elements are largely symbolized in Jonah's attitude toward the Gentile world: his unwillingness to testify to a heathen city, his anger that God spared it, and his reactions to the experiences through which God dealt with him. Typically, Jonah foreshadows the nation of Israel dispersed from its own land among the nations of the world: a trouble to the Gentiles, and yet witnessing to them; a byword and an outcast among them, but miraculously preserved; and a turning to their Jehovah-Saviour in their ultimate distress, finding deliverance, and afterwards becoming missionaries to the Gentiles.

In his personal ministry and experiences, Jonah exemplifies Christ as the Sent One, raised from the dead, and carrying salvation to the Gentile world. Jonah belonged to the Northern Kingdom of Israel and is once referred to as the prophet who predicted to Jeroboam II his triumph over Syria (2 Kings 14:25). He belongs, therefore, among the earlier prophets of the Old Testament. The historicity of Jonah's life and experiences are vouched for by Jesus Christ himself, and his preservation in the great fish is given as a sign of Christ's own entombment and resurrection (Matt. 12:39-41).

Outline - The chapter divisions form an excellent basis of analysis: I. The Prophet's Commission, Disobedience, and Punishment (1) II. The Prophet's Prayer and Rescue (2) III. Jonah's Second Commission (3) IV. Jonah's Anger at Nineveh's Salvation and God's Mercy to Him (4)

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Name and Character of the Book - This second of the historical books of the Old Testament takes its name from the exploits of the thirteen men raised up by God to deliver Israel from the oppressions of alien peoples - oppressions brought upon them as punishment for their apostasies and idolatries. Through these men, God continued his personal government of the nation. The records of the book, however, are fragmentary without chronological order, and the work of some of these leaders may have been contemporaneous, as least in part.

Condition of the Nation - Following the death of Joshua, Israel's national life continued over a long period without being centrally organized, and the people were falling constantly into idolatry and suffering under the iron heel of heathen nations. The book records seven apostasies, seven periods of servitude to seven nations, and seven deliverances. It also proves explanations and interpretations of these dealings of God with Israel and other significant events. Key phrases are "The children of Israel again did evil in the eyes of the Lord"; and "The Lord sold them into the hands of the oppressor." The key verse is "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (17:6); whereas, the key word is "confusion."

Period Covered - We are told in 1Kings 6:1 that the time from the Exodus to the building of the Temple in the fourth year of Solomon was 480 years. On the other hand, the periods of 40 years in the wilderness, 40 years in the reign of Saul, 40 years for the reign of David, 24 years covering the life of Joshua after entering Canaan, and 4 years in Solomon's reign total 148 years. If 148 is subtracted from 480, we have 332 years as the period of Judges, including Samuel's long term of service. Ussher gives this period as 305 years.

Outline - The book may be divided into four sections: I. The Conquest to the Judges (1:1-3:6) II. The Judges and Their Work (3:7-16) III. The Idolatry of Micah (17-18) IV. The Crime of Gibeah (19-21)

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Name - In the Hebrew, this book is designated by the mere word mishle, meaning "The Proverbs"; the fuller title is "Proverbs of Solomon," with the words, "the Son of David, King of Israel," added. The captions of certain sections, covering about two thirds of the book, ascribe their authorship to Solomon. The other one third is attributed to authors about whom we have no other information; two appendices are headed with "Words of the Wise." Elsewhere, we are told that Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs (1 Ki. 4:30-32); quite evidently this collection contains a great number of them.

Theme - The use of sententious sayings, noted for brevity and detachment, which spring out of the wit and insight of the common people is typical of all Orientals. The collection of Proverbs, however, which forms a part of the Hebrew canon of the Scriptures, is different in the fact that they are thoroughly religious and consist in the application of divine wisdom to the peculiar needs and conditions of the people of the age in which they were written.

The theology of the Proverbs is monotheism; the ethics and righteousness exalted and demanded fit perfectly into the Mosaic law and into the lofty teachings of the prophets and psalmists. Nowhere is there the slightest taint of irreverence, atheism, or even of skepticism; belief in Jehovah, faith in his revealed religion, with confidence in his wise and just dealings with mankind, are everywhere urged. The book is wholly free of philosophy, in the Greek sense, and is completely devoid of speculation and theory.

Outline - While the book is not a unity and does not lend itself to analysis, it may be considered in six parts: I. Counsels to Sons (1-7) II. The Praise of Wisdom (8-9) III. The Folly of Sin Exposed (10-19) IV. General Warnings and Instructions (20-29) V. Proverbs of Agur (30) VI. The Proverbs of King Lemuel (31)

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Name - The author of this prophecy was a countryman of Judah, having his home at Gath, a former city of the Philistines which was brought under the control of Judah by Uzziah's conquest. Although Micah was a resident of Judah, his prophesies related largely to the Northern Kingdom. He was a contemporary Isaiah and prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in Judah, and Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea in the Northern Kingdom.

Theme - Micah's ministry differed from that of Isaiah in that he was of the common people and deeply sympathized with them in the social wrongs imposed upon them; whereas, Isaiah was of the nobility and directed his prophesies to the capital city and to the political issues of the times. His labours began about 740 B.C. and continued to about 700 B.C.; hence, he lived and prophesied during the evil times of the closing years of the Northern Kingdom and witnessed the complete overthrow of that nation by Assyria.

The great truths of Micah's prophecy cover the destruction of the Northern Kingdom; the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple; the captivity of Judah in Babylon; the restoration of Judah; the coming of the Messiah, and the time and place of his birth.

Outline - Micah may be divided into four main sections: I. The Impending Calamity (1) II. The Sins Which Brought on the Calamity (2-3) III. The Promised Restoration and Blessings (4-5) IV. God's Controversy with Israel (6-7)

According to Ussher, Micah's ministry covered a period of forty years.
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Name - This lovely story takes its name from the young Moabitish widow, Ruth, who became the wife of Boaz, ancestor of David and of Jesus. Ruth gave up her religion and became a proselyte to the Hebrew faith. As a result, she is honoured by being mentioned in the genealogy of the Saviour (Matt. 1:5).

Period - Historically, the book belongs within the early period of the Judges, and it fittingly describes the domestic and pastoral life of devout Israelites of the turbulent era.

Theme - In the characters of this narrative, Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth, the beauties of Christian virtue and faith are delineated; and the power of true religion to overcome the most adverse circumstances in life is demonstrated. As a consequence of trust in Israel's God and adherence to the principles of righteousness, a heathen woman, without childhood training and true religious environment, became glorious in character and renowned in history.

Outline - Ruth is regarded as a type of the Gentile church of Christ and her experiences are compared to that of a Christian under the analysis: I. Ruth Declining (1) II. Ruth Serving (2) III. Ruth Resting (3) IV. Ruth Rewarded (4)

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Name - The title of this book is a transliteration of the Greek word meaning "Preacher." This term was employed in the Septuagint for the rendering of the Hebrew word Koheleth, meaning "Assembler" or "Preacher." The Koheleth of the book is said to be the "king over Israel in Jerusalem" (1:12); this indicates that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes.

Theme - The author assumes the role of a sage at the head of a college, or congregation of inquiring students, and presents a series of discourses and observations on the problems of life. In reality, the book is a dramatic biography of the author, with extracts drawn from his own weaknesses and failures, interspersed with profound aphorisms.

Isolated statements in the book are agnostic in sentiment, but they appear as the author's presentation of the other side of the question under debate, and are, in the ultimate, an argument against agnosticism. The writer recognizes a supreme personal Deity, accepts the Genesis story of creation and the fall of man under sin, affirms the fundamentals of the Mosaic law, and emphasizes the duty of reverential worship of God. He stresses a man's duty to fear God, to obey the divine laws, and to do justice to his fellow man. Man's privilege to enjoy in a temperate, decent, and legitimate manner, the good things of life is fundamental in the philosophy of the author. All life is of God, and he who fears God will faithfully serve God and humanity, utilizing life for his future eternal security.

Outline - The book may be conveniently considered in four divisions: I. Statement and Proof of the Theme that All Life is Vanity (1:1-3:22) II. The Theme Unfolded in the Light of Human Sufferings (4:1-10:20) III. Ways and Means of Overcoming the Vanities of Life by Supreme Recognition of God and His Laws (11:1-12:12) IV. The Sublime Conclusion (12:13,14)

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Author - The author of this prophecy was a native of Elkhosh, apparently in the territory of Northern Israel. The Northern Kingdom, however, had already fallen to the Assyrians, and Nahum seems to have escaped into Judah. He writes, therefore, as a prophet of the Southern Kingdom.

Theme - The theme of his prophecy is the approaching fall of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, which had held a pre-eminent place among the nations for centuries and was noted for its cruelties and barbarities upon conquered peoples. Differences of opinion prevail as to the date of Nahum's prophecy, some placing it in the reign of Hezekiah, or between 720 and 698 B.C. The fact that he refers to the fall of Thebes in Egypt, which took place under Assyria in 664., and the burden of his prophecy being the fall of Nineveh, which occurred in 607 B.C., seems to fix definitely the time of his writings between these two dates. The unsuccessful attack of Cyaxares on Nineveh in 623 B.C. was probably the occasion of Nahum's prophecy, rather than the unsuccessful war of Assyria against Hezekiah. Quite certainly, however, Assyria's cruelties in the conquest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the destructive raids in Judah moved the prophet to declare God's judgment against the nation.

In style, Nahum is bold, fervid, and eloquent; dealing only with the judgment of God against Nineveh, he says nothing of the sins of Judah. In doctrine, he emphasizes the sovereignty of God over the world and the demand for personal and national righteousness. He emphasizes vengeance and mercy as the two-fold manifestation of divine holiness, one resulting in the destruction of the wicked, the other in the salvation of the righteous.

Outline - The analysis is simple: I. The Doom of Nineveh Pronounced (1) II. The Siege and Fall of Nineveh Predicted (2) III. The Sins for Which Nineveh is Doomed (3)

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Name - In the Hebrew canon, the two books of Samuel appear as one, commonly known as "The First Book of Kings." The name Samuel is ascribed to the fact that the personal history, ministrations as judge, prophet, and priest, and the work of Samuel in the transition period in which a king was set up are related in the early part of this book. Samuel was the last of the judges and the associate of his predecessor Eli over a period of years.

Theme - The book records the failure of the priesthood under Eli and of the judges in Samuel's attempt to make the office hereditary. In his prophecies, Samuel was both faithful and conspicuous, and this phase of his work took precedence over his priesthood; hence, he is the beginning of a long line of prophets in Israel who became the spokesmen of God. Notable in this respect was his establishment of the schools of the prophets. Most outstanding in the events of his career, however, was the founding of the monarchy under the reign of King Saul.

Prominent Truths - Prominent truths of the book cover the purpose of God in making Israel a theocratic nation, not to be altered even in the setting up of a monarchy; the sovereignty of God over Israel and other nations; and "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."

Outline - Historically, the book is a continuation of Judges and Ruth: I. The Story of Samuel to the Death of Eli (1:1-4:22) II. From the Death of Eli to the Demand for a King (5:1-8:22) III. The Reign of Saul to the Anointing of Young David (9:1-15:35) IV. From the Call of David to the Death of Saul (16:1-31:13).

According to Ussher, the events of First Samuel cover a period of 115 years.

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Name - The full title of this poetic book is "The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's"; it is also called "Solomon's Song"; and by some it is designated "Canticles" which means Song of Songs. In the Hebrew canon it is placed among the Wisdom Books which hold a prominent place in the services of the synagogue. It was regarded by ancient Jews as the choicest of songs, a song of the highest quality. To them it was a call to purity of life, a summons to return to monogamy in the marriage relation as ordained of God.

Theme - Allegorically the song was regarded as a history of Israel's temptations to forsake Jehovah for false lovers, and of the faithfulness to Jehovah required by their divine choice as God's peculiar people. It was customary to read the poem on the eighth day of the festival of the Passover.

Although the poem may be given beautiful and truth-enforcing allegorical interpretations, there are no justifiable reasons for rejecting the Song as both literal and historical. Unless marriage is to be relegated to a state of unholiness and the affinities of conjugal love to the plane of impurity and sin, then the poem must be accepted as a glorification of true and constant love against all the allurements to infidelity.

Indeed, the poem is an ethical treatise of tremendous and permanent value, and has a significant religious import in sanctifying and elevating the mutual affinities in marriage ordained of God in Eden and commended throughout his word. In structure, the book is a lyric poem, touched with the dramatic spirit. It is part dialogue and part monologue, with three principal characters: the Shulamite maiden; her shepherd lover; King Solomon; and the ladies of the king's court who are secondary characters.

Outline - The book may be divided into four main divisions as follows: I. The Bride and Bridegroom and the King's First Attempt to Deflect the Shulamite (1:1-2:7) II. The King's Second Unsuccessful Effort to Win the Affection of the Faithful Bride (2:8-5:8) III. The King's Third Attempt to Win the Shulamite and Her Persistent Fidelity to Her Lover (5:9-8:4) IV. The Triumph of True Conjugal Love (8:5-14)

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Name - Nothing is known of Habakkuk, except what may be gathered from his prophecy. Rabbinical writers tell us that he was of the tribe of Levi, and it appears likely that he was connected with the temple music. It is evident that he prophesied during the closing period of the kingdom of Judah, probably as a contemporary of Jeremiah. Some place his labours in the closing years of Josiah's reign; others, in the reign of Jehoiakim. Quite certainly, he lived and prophesied between the years 628 and 608 B.C., a time of political and moral crisis.

Theme - The burden of Habakkuk's prophecy is the menace to the national existence of Judah by the rapid growth of the Chaldean Empire, which attained a place of supremacy upon the fall of Assyria, and by the defeat of the Egyptians at Carchemish in 605 B.C. Habakkuk was called by God to set forth the divine will and purpose in the rising power of the Chaldeans and their relationship to God's chosen people, and to foretell the fall of this great power and the significance of that event to Israel's future history. He reveals the character of Jehovah in terms of the highest spirituality. To him, the vindication of the holiness of Jehovah was more important than the escape of Israel from chastisement. Both idolatry and pantheism are judged and condemned. His style is poetical and profuse in imagery; his prophecy takes the form of a dialogue between himself and the Divine Ruler.

Outline - The book may be divided into five main sections: I. The Prophet's Perplexity as He Views the Sins of Israel and God's Silence (1:1-4) II. Jehovah's Answer to the Prophet's Perplexity (1:5-11) III. The Prophet's Testimony to Jehovah (1:12-2:1) IV. The Vision of Five Destructive Woes (2:2-20) V. The Psalm of Triumphant Confidence in Jehovah and His Providence (3)

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Name - This book is a continuation of the First Book of Samuel, which accounts for the fact that it is called Samuel, although it does not relate to the priest and prophet by this name. The traditional view is that Samuel wrote the first 24 chapters of First Samuel, and the remaining part of that book and the records of the Second Book were written by the prophets Nathan and Gad.

Theme - This book records the events of David's reign, and it marks the restoration of order and prosperity in Israel through the enthroning of God's anointed king, chosen, as God had ordained, from the royal tribe of Judah. Saul who had failed and had been rejected by God was of the tribe of Benjamin. In the choice of David, God set up the royal family through whom the Messiah should be given to the world (2Samuel 7:8-17; Acts 13:22,23). The book is a record of notable achievements by the great kind; of sins by both king and people; of God's judgments; of repentance, forgiveness, and restoration; of triumphant faith and righteousness. Among the important events was the establishment of Israel's political centre in Jerusalem and her religious centre in Zion (2Samuel 5:6-12; 6:1-17).

Outline - Historically, the book may be divided into four chief sections: I. From the Death of Saul to the Anointing of David as King of Judah (1:1-1:27) II. From the Setting up of David's Reign in Hebron to His Establishment as King over All Israel (2:1-5:25) III. From the Establishment of the Capital at Jerusalem to the Rebellion of Absalom (6:1-14:33) IV. From the Restoration of David after the Rebellion of Absalom to the Purchase of the Temple Site (15:1-24:25)

According to Ussher, the events of the Second Book of Samuel cover a period of 38 years.

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Name - As in the case of all the prophetical books of the Old Testament, Isaiah takes its name from the author. Isaiah was, indeed, the highest in rank of all the writing prophets, and his writings hold a place of pre-eminence in the Bible. Although he lived in Jerusalem and prophesied especially to the Southern Kingdom, he was in many respects a world-prophet, and many of his prophetical sayings related to future events, extending into the Messianic era. He is often referred to as the "Messianic Prophet," and his prophecies have been called the "bridge between the Old and New Covenants."

Theme - Isaiah began his prophecies during the closing days of the reign of Uzziah and continued, over a period of more than sixty years, though the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah. He was a man of powerful intellect, great integrity, and remarkable force of character; he was a preacher of righteousness, a seer of superior insight, a statesman and patriot of superlative ability and loyalty, and, withal, one of the greatest men of Biblical history.

This remarkable man of God came upon the scene at a time when Judah was in a state of moral and religious decline; her downward course had been greatly accentuated by the powerful influence of the wicked Jezebel of the Northern Kingdom whose daughter, Athaliah, was married to Jehoshaphat's son and successor. During the reign of Ahaz, Judah sank into the lowest depths of apostasy and idolatry, out of which she was raised by Hezekiah, the pious son of Ahaz. Isaiah denounced the sins of his time, exposed the emptiness of religious formality and the perfunctoriness of sacrificial offerings and sacerdotal rites, and greatly aided the good king Hezekiah in his reforms.

The visions and prophesies of Isaiah may be summarized under seven great themes: (1) Warnings against the sins of his own people and the prediction of divine judgement in captivity. (2) Prophecies of the return of Israel from captivity. (3) Prophesies concerning the coming of the Messiah. (4) The blessings of the Messianic reign to extend to the Gentiles. (5) Judgments of God upon the nations with emphasis on certain judgments issuing from the Messianic reign. (6) The reign of the Messiah in his kingdom. (7) Prophesies of the new heavens and the new earth.

Outline - The prophesy of Isaiah falls into two main divisions: I. Teachings and Predictions Looking toward the Captivities (1:1-39:8) II. Teachings and Predictions Looking beyond the Captivities (40:1-66:24)

In the first division, there are five sections: I. Discourses Concerning Judah and Israel (1-12) II. Prophesies against Foreign Nations (13-23) III. Judgment of the World and the Triumph of God's People (24-27) IV. Judah's Relation to Egypt and Assyria (28-32) V. Great Deliverance of Jerusalem (33-39)

In the second division, there are three sections: I. God's Preparation for Certain Deliverances (40-48) II. Deliverance through Jehovah's Servant, the Messiah (49-57) III. Restoration of Zion and the Messianic Kingdom (58-66)

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Author - The author of this prophecy was a descendant of King Hezekiah and a contemporary with Jeremiah in the early part of the latter's ministry. The date of his prophecy was during the reign of Josiah about 630 B.C.

Following the reign of Hezekiah, Judah lapsed into idolatry and moral degeneracy; during the reign of Manasseh, spirituality was almost completely drowned by the grossest forms of idolatry. These sins are denounced by Zephaniah, and he contributed much to the temporary revival under Josiah. Zephaniah recognized the temporary character of any reforms wrought under Josiah, pointed out the moral delinquencies which inevitably result in the downfall of the nation, and interpreted the coming invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar as a figure of the great day of the Lord. His prophecy is Messianic in its predictions concerning the judgment of God upon the nations, followed by the blessings of the Messianic kingdom.

Outline - In analysing Zephaniah, four divisions are suggested: I. The Coming Invasion of Nebuchadnezzar (1:1-2:3) II. Predictions of Divine Judgment upon Evil Nations (2:4-15) III. The Moral State of Israel for Which the Judgment of Captivity Was Inevitable (3:1-7) IV. Further Judgment of the Nations to Be Followed by the Messianic Kingdom Blessings (3:8-20)

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Name - The two books of Kings, like the books of Samuel, were originally one book in the Hebrew canon. In the present arrangement, the First Book of Kings is really the third in the series; it continues the history of the monarchy from the Second Book of Samuel. The title of the two books is derived from the fact that they provide a history of the Kings of Israel from David through Solomon. The history is continued through Judah and the Northern Kingdom (after the disruption), and then to the end of both.

Theme - The First Book of Kings furnishes a record of David's death, Solomon's reign and death, the division of the kingdom under Rehoboam and Jeroboam, the history of the two kingdoms to the reign of Jehoram over Judah, and Ahaziah over the Northern Kingdom. The history is too brief to be a biography of the kings; it was not intended as such. Although political in many respects, it is really a theocratic history, a retrospective survey of Israel's history under theocratic government; and it is more religious than political. It is the story of unceasing conflicts, largely represented in the kings: between faith and unbelief, between the worship of Jehovah and the worship of Baal, between national righteousness and national wickedness. Throughout the period covered by the two books of Kings, prophets were the spokesmen of God, the real saviours of the nation in times of crisis. The marvellous ministry of Elijah in the Northern Kingdom, filled with supernatural events, is covered in First Kings. Other prophets of a less conspicuous stature were active during the time covered by this book.

Outline - A simplified analysis of the book is as follows: I. Last Days of David (1:1-2:11) II. Solomon's Reign to the Dedication of the Temple (2:12-8:66) III. Solomon's Continued Reign and Apostasies (9:1-11:43) IV. The Kingdom Divided; Judah under Rehoboam; Israel under Jeroboam (12:1-14:31) V. The Two Kingdoms to the Accession of Ahab in Northern Israel (15:1-16:27-8) VI. The Wicked Reign of Ahab; and Contemporaneous Kings, Asa and Jehoshaphat, in Judah (16:29-22:40) VII. From Jehoshaphat to the Accession of Jehoram to Judah, to the Reign of Ahaziah over Northern Israel (22:41-53)

According to Ussher, the events of First Kings cover 118 years.

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Author - The prophet Jeremiah is ranked second among the prophetical writers of the Old Testament. His ministry began about sixty years after the death of Isaiah, 626 B.C., and lasted until after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The prophets Zephaniah and Habbakkuk were contemporaries of his early ministry and Daniel of his later. He was of priestly descent and was called by God to the prophetic office when only about twenty years of age.

Jeremiah was of a sensitive nature, mild, timid, and inclined to melancholy; but, withal, he was bold and courageous in his denunciations of the sins and apostasies of his nation, and in the pronouncements of divine judgments certain to result in the downfall of Judah. Since he was devoutly religious and patriotic, Jeremiah was deeply pained by the sins of Israel and the inevitable overthrow of the nation. For this reason, he is often referred to as the "weeping prophet."

Theme - King Josiah undertook to stem the apostasies and idolatry of Judah, and in his reforms he had the support and aid of Jeremiah. After the death of Josiah, Judah was hastened to her doom of Babylonian captivity by her continued downward course of evil and by the entanglements with foreign powers. Jeremiah was greatly concerned with all these matters, and much of his ministry was closely related to the fast-moving events in the decadent life of Assyria, the rising power of Babylon, and the rivalries between Egypt and Babylon as they affected Judah. His activities, counsels, and prophecies in these international affairs brought down upon Jeremiah the opposition and deadly persecution of kings and princes.

Jeremiah envisioned the Messianic blessings in which the covenant of grace would bring to man a new heart with God's word written thereon. His vision includes: the Babylonian captivity; the return after seventy years; the world-wide dispersion; the final restoration of Israel; the Messianic age; and the day of judgment on the Gentile powers and on unbelieving Israel. After the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah continued his ministry with the remnant of Jew left in Palestine and later fled to Egypt with a group of refugees, where he probably died during the time of the Babylonian captivity.

Outline - Since the book of Jeremiah is composed principally of sketches of biography, history, and prophesy without chronological order, its analysis is somewhat difficult. The following outline may be helpful: I. The Prophet's Call (1) II. Calls to Repentance and Prophecies to the Time of the First Captivity (2-22) III. Promises and Prophecies of Restoration (23-33) IV. Prophecies in General (34-36) V. His Ministry from the Accession of Zedekiah to the Captivity (37-39) VI. Prophecies in Judah after the Captivity (40-42) VII. The Prophet in Egypt (43-44) VIII. Miscellaneous Prophecies (45-52)

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Name - Haggai is the first of the three postexilic prophets. He was born in Babylon during the seventy years' captivity of Judah and was one of those who returned with Zerubbabel in the first expedition under the decree of Cyrus, king of Persia. His sphere of labour belongs within the scope of the Historical Books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Theme - The background of his prophecy is the fall of Babylon and the supremacy of the great Medo-Persia Empire. Cyrus, in conformity to the purpose and previously announced prophecy of Jehovah, issued a decree in 536 B.C. directing the Jews of his country to return to their native land for the re-establishment of their national institutions and the rebuilding of the temple. The first expedition under Zerubbabel began at once the rebuilding of the temple, but the work was stopped by opposition and interference from hostile neighbours. Permission for the renewal of the work was given after a lapse of sixteen years in 520 B.C.

Haggai began his prophetic ministry to admonish and encourage the Jewish remnant in the completion of the temple. Some four years later he was joined in his prophetic labours by Zechariah. During the interruption in the reconstruction of the temple, the Jewish remnant had become indifferent and Haggai's work was essential in reviving their zeal and stimulating their faith.

Outline - The divisions of the book, indicated by the words, "Came the word of the Lord by Haggai," are as follows: I. The Conditions Which Elicited the Prophecy (1:1,2) II. God's Displeasure Because of the Interruption in Building the Temple (1:3-15) III. The New Temple Compared to Solomon's Temple; The Messianic-Age Temple (2:1-9) IV. Blessings of Temple Services; Necessity for Cleansing and Chastenings (2:10-19) V. The Final Victory (2:20-23)

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Name - This book continues the history of the First Book of Kings. No significance can be discovered in the division of this history into two books, and the point at which the break is made has no special meaning. (See First Kings)

Theme - The history of the Northern Kingdom is carried forward from the point left off by First Kings to its destruction and the captivity of its people by Assyria in 722 B.C.: a history of idolatry, wickedness, internal feuds and bloodshed, and constant decline, with few instances of religious revival and prosperity. The history of Judah is continued from the point left off by First Kings to the Babylonian captivity. It is marked by periods of great apostasy and sufferings, but it is distinguished by outstanding revivals and realignments with God under the reign of a few notably good kings. The religious emphasis is even more strongly found in this book; in both the Northern Kingdom and in Judah, the prophets wrote and spoke the messages of Jehovah. In the Northern Kingdom the translation of Elijah is recorded, and the work of his successor Elisha plays an important role. Amos and Hosea were other prophets of the Northern Kingdom; among the prophets of Judah were Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah.

Outline - An analysis of the Second Book of Kings indicates the following divisions: I. The Closing Years and Translation of Elijah (1:1-2:11) II. The Ministry of Elisha, Elijah's Successor, to the Anointing of Jehu (2:12-9:10) III. Jehu's Reign in Northern Israel (9:11-10:36) IV. The Reigns of Athaliah and Jehoash in Judah (11:1-12:21) V. The Closing Ministry of Elisha under the Reigns of Jehoahaz and Joash in Israel (13:1-25) VI. From the Death of Elisha to the Close of the Northern Kingdom (14:1-17:41) VII. From Hezekiah to the Captivity of Judah (18:1-25:30)

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Name - The title given to this book means mournful, or plaintive poems, and it formerly belonged to the Book of Jeremiah, representing the sorrows of the prophet when the calamities which he had predicted befell his people.

Theme - Jeremiah suffered deeply with Judah in the judgments which he had announced, and for which he was despised and persecuted. In his sufferings he wept over the people, but out of his weeping he pointed them to a star of hope. That these poems were written shortly after the fall of Jerusalem is evident. They give expression to the passionate feelings of a patriot standing in the midst of the ruins of the capital city of his nation, shaken by the desolation which he views.

Structure - There are five independent poems in the book arranged in five chapters. Poems 1, 2, and 4 each contain twenty-two acrostic verses - each succeeding verse beginning with the corresponding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Poem 3 is also acrostic, but each letter is repeated three times as the initial letter of three successive lines, making a total of sixty-six verses. Although chapter 5 is not acrostic, it likewise contains twenty-two verses to correspond in length with the three poems mentioned previously.

In the poems which have sixty-six verses, each verse has only one third as many poetic measures as are found in the verses of the poems with only twenty-two letters. This then results in the same number of measures in all the five chapters.

Outline - These five poems may be entitled: I. The Misery of Jerusalem II. The Cause of the People's Suffering III. The Basis of Hope IV. The Past and Present of Israel V. The Final Appeal for Restoration

Throughout the poems, the following emphatic lessons on sin stand out: (1) Sin will certainly be punished. (2) Sin is an offense and source of grief to God. (3) God will triumph over sin. (4) Sin blinds men to their highest interest. (5) Sin turns men against their best friends. (6) Sin destroys nations as well as individuals. Even more emphatic are the sublime lessons on love: Love does not blind the prophet of God to the faults of those loved; but it does lead to an effort to win the sinner. Moreover, love does not desert those whose sins bring upon them the chastisements and punishments of God.

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Name - Zechariah is the second of the postexilic prophets; like Haggai, he was a member of the first expedition of Babylonian exiles who returned to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel. He was a priest, but his priestly functions appear to have been subordinated to his prophetic ministry.

Mention is made of Zechariah's ministry in the Historical Book of Ezra (Ezra 5:1; 6:14), and tells us himself that he prophesied in the years 520 and 518 B.C. (1:1,7; 7:1). The time of the writing of the first eight chapters was during the construction of the temple; whereas, the remaining chapters nine to fourteen appear to have been written at a much later time, after a probable lapse of thirty years.

Theme - Zechariah differs greatly, however, from Haggai in his methods of approach to the problems among the remnant Jews of Palestine; he makes large use of the earlier prophets, especially Jeremiah. His prophecy is distinguished for the symbolic character of its visions; for the richness of Messianic predictions found in the second part; and for the prominence of angelic ministrations in his intercourse with Jehovah. He encourages the people to repent and reform, discusses the fast days and feasts observed during the days of captivity, utters strong denunciations of contemporary nations, promises prosperity to Israel when obedient to God, and makes distinct predictions concerning Christ and the Messianic kingdom.

Outline - The book falls into three broad and comprehensive sections: I. Symbolic Visions Encouraging the Completion of the Temple (1:1-6:15) II. The Requirement of the Law; Restoration and Enlargement of Israel (7-8) III. The Messiah Rejected; The Messiah Triumphant (9-14)

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Name - The two books of Chronicles, like First and Second Kings, are but one book in the Hebrew canon; together they furnish a history of Israel from the death of Saul to the captives. In the Septuagint they are called Paraleipomena, signifying "things omitted," which indicates they were written to supplement the books of Kings. The original title implies diaries, journals, or annals, and the name "Chronicles" was first given by Jerome.

Period - The books of Chronicles were written quite evidently soon after the Babylonian captivity, as specific reference is made to the prophet Jeremiah and to the restoration by Cyrus. They are distinguished from the two books of Kings in a fuller history of Judah and in the omission of many details. The chronological tables begin with Adam and continue down to the return of the Jews to Palestine after the Babylonian Exile.

Purpose - The purpose of the Chronicles is distinctly religious. Special stress is laid on the genealogies, rank, and order of the priests and Levites, and upon the perpetuation and continuity of the Davidic dynasty to the time of Israel's restoration. These books, therefore, have significant value in the Messianic lineage from the tribe of Judah through the house of David. Emphasis is also placed on the care God manifested toward his chosen people, with conspicuous consideration for the kings who faithfully served Jehovah and overthrew idolatry. Prominence is given to the priestly spirit instead of the prophetic element.

Outline - A simple analysis of First Chronicles may be shown as follows: I. Official Genealogies (1:1-9:44) II. From the Death of Saul to the Accession of David (10:1-12:40) III. The Reign of David (13:1-29:30)

Ussher calculates the period covered by First Chronicles, excluding the genealogies (1-9), at 41 years.

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Name - Ezekiel, the author of this prophecy, was of priestly descent; he was among those carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar during the reign of Jehoichin, 597 B.C., about eight years after Daniel had been removed to Babylon as a prisoner. As a youth in Jerusalem, Ezekiel grew up under the influence and, most probably, under the instructions of the prophet Jeremiah; it is also quite likely that he was acquainted with the work of the prophet Zephaniah.

The Nature of His Prophecy - Like Daniel and the Apostle John, Ezekiel wrote his prophecy out of the Jewish national homeland; like theirs, his prophecy follows the method of symbol and vision. Pre-exilic prophets had directed their prophecies either to Judah or to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, even though many of their utterances were world-wide in scope; the message of Ezekiel is the voice of Jehovah to "the whole house of Israel." He speaks, not in plain and positive utterances and predictions, but in visions. He deals with existing facts and conditions and with future events in allegories, parables, and similitudes. Though writing on the banks of Chebar, he is transported in his prophetic visions into the scenes of Jerusalem as they were then and as they should be in future history.

In his spiritual illumination, Ezekiel often lived in unborn centuries embracing the closing years of the Old Testament dispensation, and throughout the New Testament era to the consummation and triumph of the Messianic kingdom. The immediate purpose of Ezekiel's prophecies was to keep before the generation of Jews carried into exile, and to those born while the exile continued, the national sins which had brought these calamities upon the nation (Ezek. 14:22,23). It was Ezekiel who sustained the faith of dispersed Israel by the prediction of national restoration and the glory of the Davidic dynasty in the coming of the Messiah. In his teachings, he laid special emphasis upon such matters as justice, morality, and spiritual religion. The doctrines of repentance and forgiveness are stressed, and the necessity for a new heart is given pre-eminence.

Outline - The book may be divided into five chief sections: I. Ezekiel's Call (1-3) II. The Destruction of Jerusalem Foretold (4-24) III. Prophecies against Foreign Nations (25-32) IV. The Restoration of Judah (33-39) V. Messianic Times (40-48)

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Name - Malachi is the last of the postexilic prophets, as well as the last book of the Old Testament canon. Nothing is known of the author, except what may be gleaned from this prophecy. He was evidently closely associated with Ezra and Nehemiah in their religious and civil reforms and vehemently denounced the same sins condemned by them. The date of his prophecy was from seventy-five to one hundred years after Haggai and Zechariah, or from 430 to 420 B.C.

Theme - While the book of Malachi deals largely with the conditions of the times in which he lived and wrote, it has many distinctive prophetic elements. The temple had been rebuilt; the walls of Jerusalem had been restored; and temple services had been fully re-established. Yet, the spiritual state of the remnant Jews in Palestine had greatly deteriorated: the people had become selfish and sensual; religion had degenerated into formalisms and liturgies; even priests had grown corrupt. The reforms effected by Nehemiah during the first tenure of office were largely forgotten during his absence, and on his return from Babylon he found priests lax in teaching the Law, even as they were in observing it themselves. The people offered their poorest instead of their best to the Lord; tithes were withheld; intermarriage of Jews with heathen women had become common. With all these apostasis, the prophet Malachi deals.

The style of Malachi is peculiar. It is argumentative in form, strongly polemical. The author follows the art of attracting attention by introducing objections to the truths presented, and then replying to the objections with emphatic additions to his original statement.

Outline - Malachi may be divided into four main sections: I. Jehovah's Love for Israel (1:1-5) II. Rebuke of the Sins of the Priests (1:6-2:9) III. The Sins of the People Denounced (2:10-3:18) IV. The Day of the Lord; Messianic Prophecies (4:1-6)

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The Writer - The early church unanimously ascribed this Gospel to the Apostle Matthew, also called Levi. He refers to himself as "the publican," which may indicate his feeling of humility for having been exalted by his Saviour from such a low estate to the distinguished rank of an apostle. He was not conspicuous among the apostles, either during the ministry of Christ or in the early work of the church; but he appears to have been especially well qualified for writing this first "Memoir of the Life and Teachings of the Christ." His familiarity with the Jewish Scriptures and his earnest and ready acceptance of Jesus' invitation to discipleship are clearly an evidence of his cherished hope and expectation of the Messiah. His position prior to his conversion to Christ, as a tax collector in Capernaum, required that he be thoroughly versed in both the Aramaic and Greek languages - a qualification of primary importance for writing a gospel especially for Jewish readers.

Importance - According to the earlier traditions, this Gospel was placed first in the order of the four "Memoirs" for two reasons: It was first in the date of composition. The date of writing is placed by some as early as A.D. 37; present-day scholarship, however, ascertains the date in the vicinity of A.D. 60 to 64. Secondly, this Gospel was regarded as first in importance in early Christian history because the predominant element among the early Christians was Jewish. Early Christian history strongly indicates that Matthew first wrote a "Memoir of the Life and Teachings of Christ" in the Aramaic, or spoken Hebrew of Palestine. Later, then, he wrote his gospel in Greek as handed down to us in ancient manuscripts. The Aramaic edition was probably written as early as A.D. 37; the Greek edition, at a later date, probably about A.D. 60.

Purpose and Need - It is now generally agreed that each of the four writers of the Gospel of Christ wrote to meet a definite need: that each formed a purpose for his "Memoir" under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and selected from the life, ministry, and teachings of the Saviour, the materials which best fitted the need and the purpose in mind. Matthew wrote his Gospel especially for Jewish readers, presenting Jesus as verily the Messiah of Old Testament prophecies. The Greek term "kingdom of heaven" occurs 33 times, and the term "kingdom of God" 4 times, a total of 37 in all. Jesus is called the "Son of David" 9 times, whereas this title is used only 3 times in Mark, 3 times in Luke, and not once in John. Matthew quotes from the Old Testament about 65 times; he makes 35 references to the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies in Christ without quoting specific references.

During the first 15 years after Christ's ascension, converts to Christianity were confined largely to the Jews. Two serious problems prevailed among these Christian Jews: First, they were bitterly persecuted, and needed confirmation in the fundamentals of Christ's redemptive mission and teachings; second, they found it difficult to completely renounce Judaism and its rites and formalisms. To meet these needs, Matthew wrote his Gospel. His Gospel recognizes, however, the truth the Jesus Christ is God's appointed Redeemer for all mankind, and that the saving ministry of God's kingdom is to be extended to all the world.

Outline - For a general, but comprehensive, outline of Matthew's Gospel the following will be helpful: I. Birth and Old Testament Qualifications of the Messiah (1) II. Jesus' Messianic Office Recognized (2) III. Initiation and Preparation for Messianic Work (3:1-4:11) IV. Messianic Ministry to Israel (4:12-16:20) V. Messianic Ministry Leading toward Calvary (16:21-20:34) VI. Israel's Rejection of the Messiah; the Messiah's Rejection of Israel (21-23) VII. The Messiah's Predictions to His Followers (24-25) VIII. Death, Triumph, and Commission (26-28)

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Name - Ephesians is one of Paul's four "Prison Epistles," the others being Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon. Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon appear to have been written in close conjunction: they are similar in doctrinal content; they were all dispatched to their destination by Tychicus; and their probable date was A.D. 60. The Pauline authorship and its authenticity are fully sustained by early tradition, by its general use in the churches, and by the leaders of Christianity. The close similarity of Ephesians to Colossians is probably due to the fact that the letter to Colosse was written immediately before Ephesians.

Theme - Ephesus was the capital of pro-consular Asia and the great political, commercial, and religious centre of Asia. Paul laid the foundation for the church when he was there for a short time on his return trip from his second missionary journey; he also spent three years in the city on his third missionary tour. It was the first of the seven churches of Asia to which the special letters to The Revelation were directed, and it was the city in which John the Apostle resided in the closing days of his life.

Although the Epistle is addressed to the church at Ephesus in many ancient manuscripts, the two oldest extant manuscripts do not have the name Ephesus. For this reason, and because of the lack of personal greetings or other statements of a personal nature, many think the Epistle was not written exclusively for the church at Ephesus.

The theme of the Epistle is the Church, Christ's Spiritual Body. The real object of the apostle is to set forth God's purpose in summing up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth.

Outline - This theme and chief purpose are simply set forth in the analysis which follows: I. The Doctrinal Section (1:1-3:21) II. The Practical Section (4:1-6:24)

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Name - In our English Bibles the Epistle to the Hebrews is credited to Paul, but in the original manuscripts it is anonymous. The authorship, therefore, has been in controversy from the earliest times. The reference to Timothy (13:23), the affinities in language and thought between Hebrews and the recognized Pauline Epistles, and the centrality of the person and work of Christ all point to Paul as the author; but the style and vocabulary of Hebrews are not distinctly consistent in every respect with Paul's other writings. These arguments against the Pauline authorship are not conclusive, however, and they might be explained by the fact that this Epistle was written to a different type of readers and for a different purpose from any of Paul's known Epistles.

Theme - This Epistle makes no reference to Gentiles; in fact, it gives prominence to Abraham, indicating that those to whom it was written were physical descendants of this patriarch. Persecutions and losses of property had greatly tested the faith of these Hebrew believers. Increasing Jewish and Roman conflicts led many of them to wonder if they should not return to a patriotic support of Judaistic institutions and the Temple. Such were the occasions for the writing of this Epistle. Yet, the author shows that Judaism had come to an end through the fulfilment by Christ of the whole purpose of the law, and that Christ is "better" than angels, than Moses, than Joshua, than Aaron; and the New Covenant supersedes the Mosaic Covenant.

Outline - The purpose and scope of the Epistle can best be presented by a comprehensive analysis: I. Introduction (1:1-4) II. The Superiority of the Son to Angels (1:5-2:18) III. The Superiority of the Son to Moses and Joshua (3-4) IV. The Nature and Scope of Christ's High Priesthood (5-7) V. The Ministry of Christ as High Priest (8:1-10:18) VI. The Superior Blessings of Christianity (10:19-12:29) VII. Practical Social and Religious Duties (13)

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Name - The writer of this Gospel was not an apostle, but he was closely associated with the apostles, especially Peter and, in later life, with Paul and Barnabas. Mark was the son of one of the Marys who was numbered among the devout women disciples of Jesus and in whose home the early Church assembled. He is variously designated as John, whose surname was Mark (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37); John only (Acts 13:5, 13); Mark only (Acts 15:39); and in later writings always as Marcus or Mark (Colossians 4:10; 2Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24; 1Peter 5:13). Tradition places his conversion under the ministry of Jesus, but even if this is true, he was greatly influenced by the Apostle Peter and is reported as an "interpreter of Peter's preaching."

Theme - It is quite generally accepted that Mark's Gospel was produced from information received from Peter; it may be spoken of as "Peter's Gospel" written by Mark. It is quite generally agreed that he refers to himself in the account of the youth who fled in the garden at the time of Christ's arrest. This indicates his personal association with Jesus, at least in the closing days of his life. It also appears certain that the "upper room" in which Jesus kept the Passover with His disciples was in the home of Mark's mother. His intimacy with Peter, his labours with Paul and his cousin Barnabas, and his evident Roman training and characteristics fitted him to write the "Memoir of the Life and Teachings of Christ" especially adapted to the needs of Gentile readers throughout the Roman world. He presents Jesus as the mighty worker, as the divine, humanly incarnate, and all-powerful Saviour, as the incarnate Son of God in the form of a servant. Mark's Gospel is distinguished for vividness and detail, for activity and energy, for supernatural power over disease, nature, and demons, as well as for amazing and wonderful features - distinguishing marks adapted to the Roman mind.

Date of Writing - Various dates from A.D. 57 to A.D. 63 have been suggested for the writing of Mark's Gospel. Early writers suggest that it was written by Mark while in Rome during Paul's imprisonment, and at the request of Roman Christians as a means of preserving the teaching of the Apostle Peter. It is thought that this was Peter's method of carrying out his pledge given in 2 Peter 1:13-15. The many graphic details enumerated in Mark's Gospel clearly point to an eyewitness of the events described and an earwitness to the utterances recorded; that witness was either Mark himself or the Apostle Peter who acted as Mark's informant.

Outline - The following, though brief, outline will be helpful: I. Initiation and Preparation of the Messiah for His Public Ministry (1:1-13) II. Ministry of the Messiah in Galilee (1:14 - 7:23) III. The Ministry of the Messiah North and East of Galilee (7:24 - 9:50) IV. The Ministry of the Messiah en Route to Jerusalem (10) V. The Ministry of the Messiah in Jerusalem (11 - 13) VI. The Obedience of the Messiah (14 - 15) VII. The Triumph of the Messiah in His Resurrection, Commission, and Ascension (16)

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Name - This Epistle was written most probably near the close of Paul's first imprisonment in Rome, A.D. 61. The immediate occasion was a visit of Epaphroditus from Philippi with a generous gift for the apostle and a plan to return to his home city.

Theme - The church in Philippi had been founded by Paul on his second missionary journey, and the work had been carried on after Paul's departure by Luke; Paul then joined Luke on his third missionary journey. Throughout all of Paul's trials and sufferings, the Philippian church was loyal and devoted to him, and it twice sent him contributions while he was at Thessalonica. Quite apparently, a gift was also sent to him while at Corinth.

We can, therefore, appreciate the fact that this is a letter rather than a treatise, that it is filled with tender affection and unfeigned joy. These elements are evident throughout the analysis which follows:

Outline - Paul's Thanksgiving and Prayer (1:1-12) II. Information Concerning Paul's Personal Circumstances (1:13-26) III. Exhortations to Unity, Humility, and Consistency (1:27-2:18) IV. The Apostle's Plan for the Future (2:19-30) V. Warnings Against Heresies of Judaism and Antinomianism (3:1-4:1) VI. An Appeal for Reconciliation (4:2-3) VII. An Exhortation to Rejoice and Pray (4:4-9) VIII. A Grateful Acknowledgment of the Gift Received (4:10-23)

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Name - This Epistle is addressed to "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad"; it is truly a Jewish book, even more so than Matthew, Hebrews, and the Apocalypse, but the author introduces himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ," and refers to "the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1:1; 2:1). He is, therefore, quite evidently a Jewish Christian, and his Epistle is intended for the dispersed Jewish Christians.

There are four who bore the name James mentioned in the New Testament, but it is quite generally agreed that it was James referred to as the Lord's brother (Matt. 13:55) who wrote this Epistle. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, James became a disciple and was honoured by the appearance of the risen Christ.

Theme - As a patriotic Jew, and at the same time a devout Christian, James seeks to counsel his Jewish Christian brethren with respect to the privations, sufferings, and characteristic needs in which they are living.

Outline - The following outline sets forth the purpose of the Epistle: I. The Right Attitude toward Trials and Tests (1:1-18) II. Exhortation to Receive the Word (1:19-27) III. Exhortation to Impartiality (2:1-13) IV. Inadequacy of Faith without Works (2:14-26) V. Warnings Against Sins of the Tongue (3:1-12) VI. Admonition with Reference to False and True Wisdom (3:13-18) VII. Rebukes for Worldliness and Pride (4:1-10) VIII. Considerateness toward Their Brethren (4:11, 12) IX. Rebukes of Unchristian Conduct (4:13-5:6) X. Exhortation to Patience (5:7-12) XI. Proper Conduct in Affliction (5:13-18) XII. Proper Treatment of an Erring Brother (5:19,20)

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Name - Luke, the writer of this Gospel, is referred to by Paul as "the beloved physician" (Col. 4:14). He was the writer also of the Acts of the Apostles and a companion of Paul in many of his missionary labours. In his letter to Philemon, Paul speaks of Luke as his "fellow labourer." It appears from the context of the fourth chapter of Colossians that Luke was not of the circumcision, which would indicate that he was a Gentile, probably a Greek from Antioch in Syria, although it has been suggested that his home was in Philippi. Despite the fact that Luke journeyed with Paul in Rome, he does not appear to have remained with him throughout his imprisonment; he was with him, however, during the second Roman imprisonment. The date of Luke's writing was evidently during Paul's imprisonment at Caesarea, prior to the writing of the Acts which is most satisfactorily placed at A.D. 61. These considerations then place the date of Luke's Gospel at about A.D. 58.

Theme - Luke was not an apostle and his Gospel was written from information gathered from reliable sources and recorded under the direction of the Holy Spirit. During Paul's two years of imprisonment at Caesarea, Luke gathered much information from some of the original apostles, from many Jerusalem Christians, and from Christ's mother and brothers.

As a result of Paul's missionary labours and through the witnessing of dispersed Christians from Jerusalem, many Greeks had been converted to Christianity, and many more were interested in the Gospel of Christ. It was to meet this demand that Luke wrote his Gospel. In its literary qualities, it is superior to all the other Gospels; it is the Gospel with a world outlook and represents Christ as "A light to lighten the Gentiles." Luke's cosmopolitanism is seen in his frequent mention of the publicans, the sinners, and the rich; yet, he did not fail to mention the more respectable in his many references to the poor. Luke emphasizes the humanity of Christ, perfect and ideal as sought by the Greeks, but divine in origin, character, and perfection. Luke alone quotes the universality of the mission of Christ from Isaiah; he alone traces the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Adam.

Outline - Presenting Jesus Christ as the world's Redeemer, Luke's Gospel may be outlined as follows: I. Introduction (1:1-4) II. Annunciation to Zacharias and Birth of the Redeemer's Forerunner (1:5-80) III. Birth and Childhood of the Redeemer (2) IV. External and Internal Preparations of the Redeemer (3:1-4:13) V. The Redeemer's Early Ministry in Galilee (4:14-7:50) VI. The Redeemer's Later Ministry in Galilee (8:1-9:6) VII. The Redeemer's Withdrawal into Gentile Regions (9:7-50) VIII. The Redeemer's Later Judean and Perean Ministry (9:51-19:28) IX. The Redeemer's Closing Ministry in Jerusalem (19:29-21:38) X. The Redeemer's Betrayal, Trial, and Death (22-23) XI. The Redeemer's Resurrection, Appearances, and Ascension (24)

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Name - The Epistle to the Colossians sets forth the dignity of Christ, the Head of the church; whereas, Ephesians presents the sublimity of the church, the Body of Christ. The two letters were written about the middle of Paul's two-year imprisonment in Rome, probably in A.D. 60.

Theme - We have no record of a visit to the city by Paul himself, but he regarded all the churches of Asia as his own parish; and he was deeply touched during his imprisonment at Rome when news came to him that grievous errors had crept into the church at Colosse. A heretical teacher, quite evidently of considerable ability, had injected into the church an old Eastern dogma that all matter is evil, and its source also evil; grounded in this heresy, several gross errors had become common. To correct this condition, Paul wrote this Epistle to the church and directed that it be read in other neighbouring churches. He refutes all the dangerous errors now threatening the life of the church by the noblest of all forms of controversy.

Outline - Following the Introduction, the Epistle may be divided into four main sections in which these various heresies are refuted by counter truths: I. The Doctrinal Section (1:1-2:3) II. The Polemical Section (2:4-3:4) III. The Practical Section (3:5-4:6) IV. The Personal Section (4:7-18)

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Name - The authenticity and Petrine authorship of the Epistle are abundantly sustained by the early traditions of the church and by frequent references among the early Christian writers. The writer calls himself "Peter" (1:1); he exhibits throughout the Epistle personal familiarity with Christ and His teachings, claiming to have been a "witness of the sufferings of Christ" (5:1).

Theme - Peter addresses this Epistle to "the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (1:1), which might appear to refer to Jewish Christians; but he does not include, as James did, the twelve tribes, and several statements in the contents clearly indicate that he did not have in mind exclusively, or even primarily, Jewish Christians. What he meant was that those addressed were Christians dispersed among the heathens, chiefly Gentile converts.

The date of this Epistle cannot be determined, but it should be noted that it was written after the churches were well organized under elders (5:1), at a time when various types of persecution were common in the territory where the churches addressed were located, and during a period when some were being charged with disloyalty to the state (2:13-17).

Outline - The purpose of this Epistle is clearly set forth in the following simple analysis: I. The Certainty of the Future Inheritance (1:1-12) II. A Befitting Personal Relation of Christians toward God and Man (1:13-2:10) III. A Befitting Social and Domestic Life for a Christian (2:11-3:12) IV. The Befitting Christian Attitude toward Suffering (3:13-4:6) V. The Befitting Christian Conduct in the Light of Life's End (4:7-19) VI. Befitting Relation between Elders and the Congregation (5:1-11) VII. Conclusion (5:12-4-14)

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Name- The evidence that the Apostle John wrote this Gospel is unanswerable. Even though it was published long after the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it was universally accepted by the Christian writers of the second and third centuries in its Johanean authorship and divine authority. Quotations from the Old Testament and references to the fulfilment of Jewish prophecies clearly indicate that the writer was a Christian. His Jewish racial identity is further attested by the manner in which he centres much of Christ's teachings around the great feasts of Israel, particularly the Passover.

It is also clear the writer was a contemporary of the events and persons mentioned in narration; and that he was familiar with the whole land of Palestine and the scenes of Christ's ministry, as well as the city of Jerusalem and the temple. Many of John's sayings and all his quotations of Christ's words clearly suggest that he was an apostle - an eyewitness of the things recorded and an earwitness of the teachings of Christ quoted. Frequent reference to the other apostles by name eliminates all of them from authorship. One specific statement in which no name is mentioned points unmistakably to John (21:20, 24); the manner in which John introduces himself also indicates that he is the writer (13:23, 25)

Purpose - John's purpose in writing this Gospel was to supplement the records of the three older Gospels, not to correct any deficiencies in them. Never in a single instance does he disagree with the events and truths found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The aim of the Gospel is directly spiritual, and its purpose, and its purpose is that men may have spiritual life through faith in the Christ revealed therein. The symbolic words used of Christ are also profoundly spiritual, such as the Word, the Truth, the Way, the Light, the Life, the Bread of Life, and the Good Shepherd. The Gospel is distinguished by its stress upon believe. This word and its cognates appear about 100 times; reference to God as Father is given 122 times; love and its cognates appear 57 times. Thus, it will be seen how deeply spiritual this Gospel really is.

Outline - Considering John's Gospel as a testimony to Jesus as the Christ, the following simple outline will be helpful: I. The Testimony of the Essential Deity of Christ (1:1-5) II. The Testimony of Divine Incarnation (1:6-18) III. The Testimony of His Public Ministry (1:19-12:50) IV. The Testimony of His Private Ministry to His Disciples (13-17) V. The Testimony and Glorification of His Passion (18-19) VI. The Testimony of His Resurrection, Power, and Glory (20-21)


Name - This Epistle was written by the Apostle Paul from Corinth shortly after his departure from Thessalonica. It is the earliest of the Pauline Epistles, most probably A.D. 50 or 51, and was followed soon afterwards by a second letter to the same church.

Theme - In Luke's account of Paul's work in Thessalonica, we are told that he reasoned in the synagogue three Sabbaths, but the result of his ministry in the city clearly indicates that he remained there for a much longer period (Acts 17:1-10). After leaving Thessalonica, Paul visited Berea, thence to Athens, and on to Corinth. He appears to have sent Timothy back to Thessalonica, and when Timothy later rejoined Paul at Corinth, he brought disquieting news from Thessalonica. Many had misunderstood the teachings of Paul in his presentation of Jesus as King and expected his return at once. This led to serious abuses and much disorder. Timothy reported also the continued intensity of persecution, outside opposition to Paul, and the return of some converts to heathen impurities; but he cheered the heart of the apostle with news that many were loyal to the faith and yearned for the return of Paul.

These reports of Timothy formed the occasion for the writing of this Epistle and had much influence in suggesting the contents. His purpose was sixfold: To commend them for their faith; to defend himself against the charges of his enemies; to strengthen the bonds between himself and the Thessalonian church; to urge upon them moral purity, brotherly love, and a diligent discharge of their secular work; to correct their erroneous ideas about the Lord's return; and to encourage a spirit of watchfulness, considerateness, and faithfulness in their Christian duties. The doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ is prominent throughout, and the several distinct phases of the Epistle centre in and radiate from this doctrine.

Outline - In a simple analysis, four main divisions are suggested: I. The Ideal Spiritual State of the Church (1) II. Paul's Personal Character and Ministry in Thessalonica (2:1-16) III. Paul's Continued Interest in the Church (2:17-3:13) IV. Exhortations and Doctrines (4-5)

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Name - Although there are similarities in this Epistle of Peter to his first letter, it is evident that the purpose and theme are different. In the First Epistle, emphasis is placed on suffering, and the theme is consolation; in the Second Epistle, the emphasis is on false teachers and teachings, and the purpose is warning. This Epistle has much in common with Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy and appears to have been written about the same date. Both writers show an awareness of an approaching matrydom; both manifest a spirit of sustained confidence and joyfulness in suffering; both foresee an apostasy and warn against it.

Theme - Peter wrote at a time when incipient agnosticism was creeping in among the Christians. Paul had dealt with this heresy in Colossians, but it had become even more active. Although the churches to whom both of Peter's Epistles were directed had been founded by the Apostle Paul, it appears that Peter had visited among them and perhaps laboured for them during Paul's imprisonment at Caesarea and at Rome (3:14-16).

This Epistle presents the sanest and most successful method of defeating error - that of growth in Christian character and faithful adherence to the truth. To this end, Peter urges a patient expectation of the Lord's return and warns against being carried away by false doctrines which he severely denounces.

Outline - These purposes of the Epistle will be observed in the following simple outline: I. Introduction (1:1-4) II. Exhortations to Develop the Christian Graces (1:5-11) III. Peter's Authority Grounded in the Scriptures (1:12-21) IV. Warnings against False Teachers (2) V. Admonitions in the Light of Christ's Second Coming (3)

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Name - The fact that Luke was the writer of this book and that he wrote it after his gospel had been completed is clearly indicated in the opening verse. The testimony of early Christian writers universally confirms this claim. It is also quite evident that the book was in common use among the churches of the second and third centuries of Christianity. Many writers refer to it in a very definite manner, and many others quote from it.

Theme - In this book, Luke continues the elements of historical narrative given in his Gospel. In the one, he sets forth the work of the Lord Jesus in his redemptive labours and teachings, concluding with accounts of his sacrificial death, his resurrection and instructions to his followers, and his ascension to the right hand of God. Taking up the narrative at that point, Luke sets forth the continuing redemptive work of the risen Christ through the administration of the Holy Spirit and by the followers of Christ. He tells of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church, furnishes information of the growth of Christianity in Jerusalem, of the dispersion of the disciples into various outlying countries, and their continued ministry of the gospel.

Purpose - The Book of Acts, like the four Gospels, grew out of some very definite situations in the early church. There was need for proof concerning the activities and teachings of the leaders in the church, for evidence that the Christian movement was one movement whether the believers were Jews, proselytes, Samaritans, Grecians, or Gentiles in general. It is especially necessary to set forth the truth that Jewish and Gentile believers enter the kingdom of God upon the common ground of faith, that in Christ there is no difference, that men and women of every race and nation must enter into perfect brotherhood and fellowship in the church.

Period - Acts covers the history of Christianity from the ascension of Christ to Paul's imprisonment at Rome, closing with the record of his two years' imprisonment, and prior to his release and fourth missionary journey. The account covers a period of about 32 years. It was probably written during Paul's first Roman imprisonment, or about A.D. 60-61.

Outline - A simple analysis of the book is as follows: I. A Repetition of the Account of Christ's Ascension and Commission to the Church (1:1-11) II. The Enduement of the Church for Its Gospel Witnessing (1:12-2:47) III. The Gathering of Disciples in Jerusalem (3:1-8:1a) IV. The Evangelization of Judaea, Samaria, and Surrounding Provinces (8:1b-40) V. The Conversion and Early Ministry of Paul (9:1-31) VI. Peter's Ministry to the Gentiles (9:32-11:30) VII. Persecutions by Civil Authorities (12) VIII. Paul's Call and First Missionary Tour (13-14) IX. The Jerusalem Council and the Victory for Religious Freedom (15:1-35) X. Paul's Second Missionary Tour (15:36-18:22) XI. Paul's Third Missionary Tour (18:23-21:16) XII. The Arrest and Trial of Paul in Jerusalem (21:17-23:30) XIII. The Imprisonment of Paul in Caesarea (23:31-26:32) XIV. Paul's Voyage to Rome (27:1-28:15) XV. Paul's Imprisonment in Rome (28:16-31)


Name - This Epistle of Paul has much in common with the First Epistle, especially in its teachings on the Second Coming of Christ; but there are differences, particularly in its predictions of the coming of the man of lawlessness.

Theme - The conditions which prompted the writing of the First Epistle had been augmented by a confused and perplexing doctrine on the "day of the Lord." This confusion came about as a result of an identification of "the day of the Lord" with the Second Coming of Christ; whereas, the New Testament distinguishes two phases of Christ's Second Coming: his coming to raise the dead in Christ and to change living believers so that both could be gathered up with him; and his coming to judge the ungodly and destroy the man of lawlessness. The correct reading of 2 Thessalonians 2:2 is "the day of the Lord," not the "day of Christ," in which Paul explains that certain things must take place before the "day of the Lord" can come (2:3-12).

Purpose - The purpose of this Second Epistle may be set out under five simple statements: (1) To comfort the Thessalonians in their persecutions (1:4-10) (2) To point out the truth that even though the coming of Christ to gather his church unto himself is imminent, the "day of the Lord" will not come until the apostasy has set in and the man of lawlessness has been revealed (2:1-10); (3) To exhort the Thessalonians to steadfastness and strict adherence to the truths he had taught them, both in person and by letter (2:13-3:5); (4) To admonish the disorderly and idle to a confident way of life (3:6-15); and (5) To give them a token by which they might distinguish his Epistles from those of forgers (3:17).

Outline - This fivefold purpose may be set out in two main sections: I. Consolation and Doctrine (1-2) II. Exhortations and Apostolic Commands (3)

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Name - The earliest Christian traditions ascribe this Epistle to the Apostle John. The author represents himself as an eyewitness of Christ, and the style and doctrinal teachings of the Epistle are similar to those of the Gospel of John. Differences in the vocabulary and in linguistic characteristics of the two books are explained on the grounds of differences in purpose. The Epistle was quite certainly written long after the destruction of Jerusalem, most probably between A.D. 85 and 90. It was evidently intended for the churches of Asia and surrounding provinces.

Theme - John wrote to meet the doctrinal and practical needs of the Christians for whom the letter was intended, and he wrote in the most intimate terms - a sort of family letter to the house-hold of faith. The world is shut out, and he talks to his brethren as "little children" in the intimacy of a "father." Even though this First Epistle is chiefly didactic and controversial, it is tender, sympathetic, and affectionate. It leads its readers into the inner family circle of redemption and places emphasis upon the truth that even in faults, errors, and sins, God's children are secure with "Jesus Christ, the righteous, as an advocate with the Father."

Purpose - Specifically, John seems to have had four great purposes in mind when writing this Epistle: 1. To enhance both the joy of his readers and his own. 2. To keep his readers from sin. 3. To strengthen their assurance of salvation. 4. To warn them against error.

Outline - These four main purposes stand out in detail in the following analysis: I. The Reality of Christ's Incarnation (1:1-4) II. The Practical Aspects of the Question of Sin (1:5-2:6) III. Emphasis on the New Commandment for Love (2:7-11) IV. The Christian Requirement for Complete Separation from the World (2:12-17) V. Warnings against Heretical Teachings (2:18-29) VI. Admonitions to Consistent Christian Living (3:1-12) VII. Test of Salvation (3:13-24) VIII. Ways of Distinguishing between the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error (4:1-6) IX. An Entreaty for the Practise of Brotherly Love (4:7-21) X. The Logical Outward Working of Faith in Christ (5:1-12) XI. Assurance for Believers (5:13-17) XII. A Summary of the Things a Believer Really Knows (5:18-21)

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Name - In the order of its appearance in the New Testament, Romans is the first of thirteen Epistles written by the Apostle Paul; but it was not the first in the order of composition. It is quite certain that the two Epistles to the church at Thessalonica, the two to the church at Corinth, and probably the Epistle to the Galatians were all written prior to the writing of the Epistle to the Romans. It was evidently written from Corinth about A.D. 56 during Paul's third visit to that city. This conclusion is sustained by reference to his plans to proceed at once to Jerusalem with the contribution for the brethren which he had stressed in his earlier letters to Corinth.

Purpose - The occasion and purpose of this Epistle may be gleaned from certain statements and the general tone of the teachings of the contents. The personal occasion was Paul's passion for world-wide gospel evangelism, prompted by his desire to visit Rome, the most important centre. The more general occasion was the need of the scattered groups of Christians in Rome for doctrinal instruction. Paul was justifiably fearful that Judaizing teachers and influences might reach Rome and deflect the believers of that imperial city from the fundamentals of Christ's gospel. The departure of his friend Phoebe to Rome presented the opportunity for sending a letter to the Christians of that city. Moved by his deep passionate missionary zeal, prompted by the conditions already reviewed, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul gave to Christianity this greatest of all his Epistles, if not, indeed, the greatest book of the New Testament.

Outline - The Epistle to the Romans may be outlined by following the detailed order of Paul's purpose: I. The Teaching of the Fundamental Doctrines of Salvation (1-8) II. The Explaining of the Unbelief of Israel (9-11) III. The Clarifying of the Practical Duties of Christians (12) IV. The Expounding of the Superlative Character of Love (13) V. The Enjoining of Christian Forbearance (14:1-15:13) VI. The Presenting of Paul's Purposes and Plans (15:14-33) VII. The Commendation of Phoebe and Greetings to Friends (16:1-27)

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Name - Four of Paul's Epistles were written to individuals: two to Timothy, one to Titus, and one to Philemon. The first three have been called pastoral, but Philemon is strictly personal. That there were two imprisonments of Paul in Rome is now a well established probability, the first lasting two years and the second some five years, ending in his martyrdom. He appears to have been released from the first imprisonment without a formal trial, the charges against him being so flimsy that even Nero would not seriously consider them. The First Epistle to Timothy was written during the interval between his two imprisonments, most probably after he spent about one year in his travels and work in the East and about two years in Spain.

Theme - Timothy had been converted under Paul's ministry at Lystra during his first missionary journey, and, after his ordination to the ministry, he became the apostle's assistant on his second missionary journey. After Paul's release from his first imprisonment in Rome, Timothy was quite certainly with him in his travels and labours in the East; and when Paul departed for Spain, Timothy took up the work in Ephesus and other churches of Asia as Paul's apostolic representative. When Paul returned from Spain, he was delayed in his plans to go immediately to Ephesus, and because of this delay he wrote his "faithful son in the gospel" this First Epistle.

In the meantime, the predictions of the coming of false teachers into Ephesus made by Paul in his address at Miletus had come to pass; Hellenic philosophy had become blended with Oriental theosophy; and Jewish superstition and Persian speculation combined with the thirst for wisdom in Asia Minor all created the worst type of agnostic heresies. Hymenaeus, Alexander, and Philetus were sowing seeds of error in the very heart of the Church at Ephesus.

Outline - In order to correct the above errors, Paul wrote Timothy with four main purposes in mind which may well serve as an outline for this Epistle: I. The Refutation of False Teachers (1) II. The Divine Order of the Sexes (2) III. The Instruction of Ministers in the Church (3) IV. Diligence in the Performance of Ministerial Duties (4-6)

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Name - This is a brief, friendly, personal letter addressed to the "elect lady" by the Apostle John in which he uses the title "elder." Since it is of a private character, it was not so widely circulated in early times as John's First Epistle; but its authenticity and authorship are fully sustained by Christian traditions and early uses.

Theme - Various views have been suggested as to the meaning of "the elect lady and her children"; but it appears that these terms were not employed allegorically. The persons addressed were quite certainly some influential lady and her family somewhere within the circle of John's labours. The purpose of the apostle was to warn these friends against certain false teachers, and he expresses his appreciation of their loyalty in the opening verses.

Outline - The following outline is a simple analysis: I. Appreciation of Loyalty (Vrs. 1-4) II. Entreaty to Walk in Love and Keep the Commandments (Vrs. 5, 6) III. Warnings against Deceivers (Vrs. 7-9) IV. Restrictions with Reference to Hospitality to False Teachers (Vrs. 10, 11) V. Plans for an Early Visit (Vrs. 12) VI. Greetings (Vrs.13)

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Name - Like the Epistle to the Romans, this letter of Paul was written when he was at the height of his career and under the pressure of intense emotions and great travail of heart. Although it exhibits a similar grasp upon the great fundamental doctrines of the New Testament - the doctrines of sin, law, works, redemption, faith, justification, adoption, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, and the Resurrection - it deals more specifically with the life and problems of a primitive local church.

Theme - Paul's relation to the church at Corinth is narrated in Acts 18:1-18. Here he was joined by Silas and Timothy and established one of the strongest missions of his second missionary tour. It was a church made up almost entirely of Gentiles, many of whom were converted from the rankest pagan religions and practises. Corinth itself was a wealthy and wicked city of more than 400,000 population, the most important city of that part of Europe, and it was strategically located as a centre for evangelistic activities for all of Greece and bordering states. The occasion for this Epistle grew out of the fact that the membership of the Corinthian church was marked by social and economic differences. Many were steeped in pagan vices, and the Grecian tendencies to factionalism permeated the church.

Outline - A working outline for this Epistle may be stated by setting forth the purpose for which it was written: I. To Rebuke the Party Spirit (1-4) II. To Enjoin Proper Discipline for Gross Immoralities (5) III. To Reprove the Church for Turning to Pagan Courts with Personal Grievances (6) IV. To Answer Questions Concerning Marriage and Divorce (7) V. To Settle Controversies Concerning the Eating of Food Offered to Idols (8-10) VI. To Correct Certain Disorders with Reference to the Behaviour of Women in Church (11) VII. To Give Instructions Concerning Spiritual Gifts (12-14) VIII. To Refute Those Who Argued against the Resurrection of the Dead (15) IX. To Urge Participation in the Collection for the Poor Saints (16:1-4) X. To Inform and Commend Certain Fellow Workers (16:5-24)

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Name - This Epistle to Timothy was written by Paul from his prison in Rome, shortly before his martyrdom in A.D. 68. Paul had been re-arrested and imprisoned the second time in Rome as one of the victims of Nero's violent and murderous persecutions of the church; this time he was accused solely on the grounds of his leadership in Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. Facing certain death, Paul writes to his most intimate friend and fellow-workman this deeply personal letter, only incidentally pastoral and less doctrinal than the other two Pastoral Epistles. It is a personal message on mingled gloom and glory in which Paul rejoices at the prospect of soon seeing the Lord to whom he was so devoted in genuine affection and service.

Theme - Timothy had apparently given up his work in Ephesus, and Tychicus had been sent by Paul to take up the work in that city (2Timothy 4:12). In requesting that Timothy come to Rome, Paul felt impelled to encourage him in the fight against false teachers and to fortify him for the increased responsibilities to come.

Outline - The contents of this Epistle may be outlined as follows: I. Salutation (1:1-3) II. The Appeal for Faithfulness and Endurance (1:4-2:13) III. Instructions Concerning Private and Ministerial Conduct (2:14-26) IV. Warnings Concerning Grievous Times to Come ((3:1-9) V. Encouragement to Faithfulness (3:10-17) VI. An Exhortation for Faithful Preaching of the Truth (4:1-8) VII. Greetings and Conclusions (4:9-22)

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Name - The Third Epistle of John is also a private letter, and, as in the case of the Second Epistle, it was not widely circulated in early times because of its nature. It is thoroughly Johanine in character and gives instructions on a vital matter of early Christian history; thus, it has a significant place in Holy Scripture.

Theme - We have no way of identifying the "Gaius" addressed; it could have been Gaius of Macedonia, a companion of Paul on his second missionary journey (Acts 19:29); Gaius of Derbe (Acts 20:4); Gaius of Corinth, Paul's host while in that city (Rom. 16:23; 1Cor. 1:14); or some other Gaius.

The Gaius to whom John writes was a member of some church to which John had sent itinerant ministers; but, Diotrephes, apparently an influential member of that church and one who had assumed unusual and unchristian ecclesiastical authority, has spoken against the apostle and refused to receive the ministers sent. His chief reason seems to have been selfish ambition for pre-eminence and rule. This undue assumption caused John to emphasize the importance of "standing for the Truth."

Outline - The analysis is simple: I. Salutation (Vrs. 1-4) II. Commendation of Gaius (Vrs. 5, 6a) III. Encouragements for a Continuation of the Christian Attitude (Vrs. 6b-8) IV. Complaint against the Domineering Diotrephes (Vrs.9, 10) V. Commendation of Demetrius (Vrs. 11, 12) VI. Hope for an Early Visit to Gaius (Vrs. 13,14)

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Name - It appears quite evident from certain passages in both First and Second Corinthians that much communication took place between Paul and the church, and that the two letters that have come down to us are only some of the series. Paul was intensely interested in the work of the Corinthian church and received with mixed emotions the reports of reactions to his communications. Further, he endured much perplexity , anxiety, and grief because of the prevailing conditions.

Theme - The immediate occasion of this Second Epistle was the report Paul received from Titus who met him in Macedonia, following Paul's departure from Ephesus, as well as his short stay in Troas. The report of Titus had some favourable news. The majority of the church was again loyal to Paul and discipline of the immoral offender had been administered; but factionalisms continued, and there was still a rebellious minority.

With this background we can understand why this Epistle contains so much that is intensely personal, and why it is made up largely of explanation, defence, protestation, appeal, reproach, and threatening, permeated with a subdued pathos and blended with subtle irony. It is, indeed, the most biographical of all Paul's Epistles; it sheds more light upon his personal character, inner emotions, trials, hardships, and sufferings than any other section of the New Testament. The doctrinal and practical elements are largely incidental and subordinate to the personal element.

Outline - The Epistle is an excellent unity and lends itself to a simple analysis: I. Personal Concerns of the Apostle (1:1-2:13) II. The Glory of the Gospel and Its Ministry (2:14-6:10) III. The Appeal for Separation and for Complete Reconciliation with the Apostle (6:11-7:16) IV. Directions for the Collection for the Poor Saints at Jerusalem (8-9) V. The Vindication of His Own Apostolic Authority (10:1-13:10) VI. Closing Salutations (13:11-14)

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Name - This Pastoral Epistle, third in the order of our New Testament, but second in composition, deals less with the problems of church organization than First Timothy. Although it contains a good deal that is personal, it is largely official in its character.

Theme- Titus was a Greek converted from rank heathenism under Paul's ministry. His home was probably in Antioch of Syria, and although he is not mentioned by name in Acts, he evidently accompanied Paul and Barnabus to the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:2). Several years later we find Titus acting as a messenger of Paul in carrying the First Epistle to the Corinthians and in organizing the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. He was also the bearer of Second Corinthians, but nothing more is known of him until he joins Paul in a missionary journey to Crete where he left to continue the work on that island as Paul's apostolic representative. Paul wrote this Epistle of instructions to guide Titus in his task and to encourage him in the opposition he would meet from false teachers.

Outline - The purpose of the Epistle is set forth in this simple analysis: I. Salutation (1:1-4) II. Instructions on Church Organization (1:5-9) III. Directions for Meeting Cretan Heresies (1:10-16) IV. Regulations for Domestic Relations (2:1-10) V. Provisions for the True Christian Life (2:11-15) VI. Truths Concerning Christian Citizenship (3:1, 2) VII. Reasons for Living the Godly Life (3:3-8) VIII. Methods for Dealing with Heretics (3:9-11) IX. Paul's Personal Plans for the Future and Concluding Greetings (3:12-15)

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Name - The writer of this Epistle calls himself “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James” (1:1). Evidently, the James referred to is the author of the Epistle bearing that name, and a brother of Jesus; this, then, makes this Jude a brother of Jesus. Like the other brothers of Jesus, Jude did not believe in the Saviour until after His death and resurrection (John 7:3-8); but he is found among the disciples in the assembly after Christ’s ascension (Acts 1:14). He is indirectly referred to by Paul (1Cor 9:5), and it has been inferred that his missionary labours were confined to the Jews.

Theme - Like Peter in his Second Epistle, Jude deals primarily with the false teachers that had crept in among the believers. The Epistle is truly general and was probably intended for Christians of every race and nationality. Its theme is contending for the faith, and it warns against both apostasies and false teachings which go hand in hand.

Outline - The following analysis comprehends this theme and the purpose of the writer: I. Salutation (Vrs. 1, 2) II. Admonition to Contend for Faith (Vrs. 3, 4) III. God’s Judgment against the Wicked Sustained by Historical Proof (Vrs. 5-7) IV. Denunciation of False Teachers (Vrs. 8-13) V. Assurances that God Will Judge the Wicked (Vrs. 14-19) VI. Exhortation to Spiritual Growth and Evangelism (Vrs. 20-23) VII. Doxology (Vrs. 24, 25)

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Name - Twelve of the Pauline Epistles were addressed to individual churches or to individuals. Some of these letters were quite certainly circulated to other churches, but this Epistle is addressed to a group of churches, designated "the churches of Galatia." Differences of opinion prevail as to the significance of the term, Galatia; some regard it as an ethnological term embracing only what is known as Northern Galatia, occupied largely by Gauls who migrated into that region in 278-277 B.C. Others consider the term to embrace the whole Roman province of Galatia, which included at that time, parts of Phrygia, Pisidia, Lycaonia, and Isauria. In designating the Christians to whom this Epistle was written as "Galatians," Paul most probably used the term in a provincial, not in an ethnological sense, as is commonly done in New Testament writings.

Theme - The background and occasion for this Epistle can be traced quite readily. The churches mentioned were established by Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary tour, and Paul visited them again on the second missionary journey accompanied by Silas. Believing that the churches were well established in the faith, Paul and his companions entered larger fields of missionary service, and no return visit was made over a long period of years. During this protracted absence, Judaizing teachers from Palestine came into Southern Galatia and not only deflected the churches from the true faith of the gospel, but violently attacked the apostleship and ministry of Paul. Paul then wrote this impassioned and indignant letter of protest against the heresies and heretics troubling the churches of Galatia.

Outline - A simple outline of the purpose and plan of the Epistle sets forth also a comprehensive analysis: I. Paul Vindicates Himself and His Gospel (1:1-2:21) II. The Defence of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith (3-4) III. Application of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith to Christian Conduct (5:1-6:10) IV. Warnings against Judaizers and Conclusion (6:11-18)

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Name - This Epistle to Philemon is a private letter, the only one of its kind preserved in the writings of the Apostle Paul. It belongs among the Prison Epistles of Paul's first imprisonment in Rome and is closely associated with the Epistle to the Colossians. The date of writing is probably A.D. 60.

Theme- Philemon was a resident of Colosse, apparently a wealthy slave owner who had been converted under Paul's ministry. The letter concerns Oneismus, a run-away slave of Philemon, who had been converted through the ministry of Paul in Rome and had become on of his co-labourers in that city.

Onesimus had not only escaped from Philemon, but apparently was guilty of some sort of fraud. His repentance and salvation, therefore, required that he return to make restitution. Paul's purpose in writing this letter was to bring about complete reconciliation between Philemon and Onesimus and to promote the future Christian growth and usefulness of both.

Outline - This simple outline sets forth the contents of the letter: I. Salutation (Vrs. 1-3) II. Thanksgiving for Philemon (Vrs. 4-7) III. The Entreaty for Onesimus (Vrs. 8-21) IV. A Statement of the Apostle's Affairs; Greetings and Benediction (Vrs. 22-25)

Listen to Historical background by H.M.S.Richards Jr.


Name - According to the opening statements in this book, it purports to be “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” signified by the angel of God “unto his servant John.” This book belongs to the type of literature that is known as apocalyptic in which the predictive element is prominent; the symbols employed are arbitrary, and the visions become the vehicle of the message. This type of prophecy was common in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah; the significance of some of the visions given in these earlier books is regarded as closely related to those given in the Book of the Revelation.

Theme - A background to this Revelation by John lies in the fact that he settled in Ephesus in A.D. 69 or 70, and he had charge of a number of churches in Asia. More important is the fact, however, that John wrote at the direct command of the Lord Jesus Himself (1:10, 13). The needs of the church in the day of fierce persecution and of the church at all times were doubtless behind the Lord’s command for the writing of this book. The purpose of the book is by the Holy Spirit himself declared to be: “to shew unto his servants the things that must shortly come to pass” (1:1).

Outline - The book may be divided into seven sections: I. Introduction (1:1-11) II. The Self-Revelation of Christ (1:12-20) III. Christ and the Church (2-3) IV. Christ and the Great Tribulation (4-19) V. Christ and the Millennial Reign (20) VI. Christ and the Eternal State (21:1-22:5) VII. Conclusion (22:6-21)