The Books of the Bible Summary Part I

Scripture Reading: I Peter 2:1-10

Genesis talks about God, and the rest of the Bible talks about how God deals with His sheep.

Now we’re going to start diving into the two major sections of the Bible, the Old and New Testament, starting with an Old Testament Summary!

As mentioned before, the Old Testament consists of 39 books, beginning with the Book of Genesis.

Genesis tells the story of the creation of the world and everything in it including the heavens and the earth, the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve. It also tells the story of the fall of man into sin, and the consequences of the fall which is separation from God, our Creator and source of eternal life. God waited until someone like Noah came in the picture. He destroyed everything and started again with Noah and seven other people.

However, in the next few pages we are let in on the beginning of God’s redemption plan for humanity, which includes God creating a separate nation for Himself, often referred to as His chosen people. These chosen people are the Hebrews, later known as the Israelites, or the

Jews.

This story begins somewhere around 1800 BC when God makes a covenant with a man named Abraham to make his descendants a great nation. These people are to be blessed by God so that they can be a blessing to all the nations of the world.

The Book of Genesis tells how some of the first descendants of Abraham migrated to Egypt to escape a famine in their own land. After many generations (and approximately 400 years) the descendants had grown to over 2 million people, but they had become enslaved to the greatest kingdom at that time, the Egyptians.

The enslaved Hebrews cried out to God for help, looking forward to the day when God would rescue them from slavery.

Hearing the people’s cry, God sent a leader and prophet named Moses to lead the Hebrews out of slavery and into the Promised Land.

During this time God gave Moses the Ten Commandments which Christians to this day still base their spiritual and moral life upon.

All of this is covered in the Book of Exodus, The Law, the Wilderness, and the Promised Land. God, then established His covenant with the people of Israel through the giving of the Law. The Law served as a binding agreement between God and His people. The requirements of the Law were designed to set apart the Israelites as God’s chosen people, protecting them and leading them on the path towards righteous living. The book of Numbers has much to offer. When you get a chance, please read it.

Despite God revealing Himself through miraculous signs and wonders, the Israelites turned away from God and lapsed into idolatry and sin again-and-again, delaying their journey into the Promised Land. After 40 years of wandering around in the desert God rosed up another leader, Joshua, who was called to lead this new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land. With Joshua’s leadership the Israelites finally crossed the Jordan, and then conquered the land of Canaan and entered the Promised Land.Much of this is covered in the Book of Joshua,Judges, and Kings. However, once Israel was an established nation, the Israelites begins a nasty cycle of abandoning God and falling captive to oppressive nations. Once again, they found themselves crying out to God for help and to be rescued. Despite the people’s disobedience, God saves His people again-and-again using “heroes” called Judges. Job and Ruth was doing the period of the judges. The judges provided council and leadership to the people of Israel and delivered them from their oppressors. There were many judges.

All of this is covered in the Book of Judges.Up until this point, the nation of Israel did not have an earthly king like the nations around them. Furthermore, God did not want them to have a king, and instead encouraged them to lean on Him as their Ruler and King.

However, despite God’s warning that a king would only lead to oppression and mistreatment, the people of Israel demanded a king, to which the Lord obliged.

The books of 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and1 & 2 Chronicles cover the kings of Israel including Israel’s first king, King Saul, and Israel’s greatest king, King David. Under the reign of King David and his son, King Solomon, Israel reached its peak of power and prosperity. However, at the end of King Solomon’s reign, the downfall of Israel began.

The once great nation of Israel split into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Judah in the South and the Kingdom of Israel in the North. It was also during this time that the Temple, which was established during King Solomon’s reign, was destroyed. Samuel was a judge and a prophet.

The Prophets

Now let’s move on to discussing the largest bulk of the Old Testament, the writings of the prophets. The prophets were anointed by God to give warnings and future prophecy to the people of Israel. These warnings were often consequences the Israelites would face if they continued to sin against God, and against one another.

The Old Testament has two major sections for these prophets:

The major prophets, and the minor prophets.

The term “major and minor prophets” does not mean some prophets were more important than others, but instead is referring to the length of the book.

God used the prophets to lead the Israelites away from sin and back on the path of righteousness.

A large portion of the Old Testament is written by the prophets. Many of these prophets predicted and foresaw the coming Messiah (which means “anointed one”), who was prophesied to be the long-awaited Savior and liberator of the Jewish people.

What’s important to note when reading the Bible is the writers made no attempt to hide the sins and failings of the Israelites. Throughout the Old Testament you’ll read really messed up stories of murder, adultery, incest, idol worship, and more.

These stories aren’t to be used for moral justification but are instead meant to show the depravity of humanity without Jesus at the center.

The world is lost, broken, and devoid of hope when we don’t have the Way, the Truth, and the Life (aka Jesus) on the throne of our hearts.

So, this Old Testament summary is really a story of God redemption plan to eliminate sin and death and restore all of humanity to Himself. His plan begins by singling out the Israelites (God’s chosen people) from all the nations of the world and giving them His Law.

However, because of man’s inability to follow the Law, much of the Old Testament showcases how the Israelites continually fall back into sin and oppression, despite God revealing Himself through miraculous signs and wonders.

Throughout the Old Testament we see that the Israelites are in need of a savior, and by the end we are left in suspense anticipating the coming of the promised Messiah. The One who will free the Israelites from captivity once-and-for all and set up a new kingdom from which He will rule and reign.

400 Years of Silence

Dun, dun, dun, the 400 years of silence. After the last book in the Old Testament (the Book of Malachi) God’s messengers, aka the prophets, grow silent.

Between the Old Testament and the New Testament, there is a time lapse of 400 years where God is silent and did not send any prophets to speak to His people. Many scholars refer to this period of time as the “intertestamental period”.

However, during these 400 years the Israelites continued to hold onto the promise that God would one day send a Savior, the Messiah, to deliver them out of bondage and captivity, and into freedom.

now let’s move on to the New Testament summary! The major things to take note of here as we enter into the Gospel of Matthew (New Testament) is the change in the political atmosphere from where we left off in the Book of Malachi (Old Testament).

At this point in history Israel has lost its power as a nation and Rome and Greece are the leading nations in culture, influence, and religion with the Roman Empire being the most powerful nation in the known world.

In addition to that, Israel is once again living under foreign oppression after having been invaded by the Romans and subjected to Roman rule.

So, this is the socio-economic climate in Israel when Jesus comes upon the scene in the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The New Testament begins with the 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) which recount the story of Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection.

Although exact dates are unknown, what we do know is Jesus was born around 6 and 4 BC in Bethlehem and was destined from birth to fulfill the role of the promised Messiah, or Christ.

The Messiah was prophesied to be a great leader of Israel, freeing the Israelites from Roman oppression and captivity, and establishing a new kingdom under His rule and domain.

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