Overview of Bible book-by-book

This page is in preparation! This is a very brief outline of the bible – preparation began July 2011, so it is taking quite some time to complete. Numbers in parenthesis indicate the verse for the particular item discussed. The following were recently added Numbers, 1 Peter, 3 John, Luke, Exodus, and Matthew.

Title: "Beginnings", or the book of Origin thus 'Genesis' in English versions; also is the book of the generations: Adam to Joseph.

Place in bible: Old Testament, first book of the Bible, first book of the Law, Torah or Pentateuch (from the Latin - because the law has five books)

Author: Moses for Israel and the world

Date: Written perhaps in about 1500 BC, concerning the period beginning c.4000 BC - c.1800 BC

Genre: Historical narrative, legal (part of the Law of Moses) giving the fundamental laws of life & death, sin and marriage.

Written to: the Children of Israel, and the whole world.

Main idea: God the creator, created the heavens and the earth, perfect, followed by the consequence of sin, then God intervening in the fallen work, and the beginning of God's redemption of a remnant of people, through a chosen people, Israel.

Application to Christians: Genesis speaks to the fundamentals of Christian doctrine, making eleven contributions to Theology Proper. It speaks of the one triune God as a living God, and therefore He is not an idol (which is deaf and dumb), includes thirteen names of God, who is our creator and who has revealed Himself (we only know what He has revealed). Genesis sets out the prophecy of first coming of the Son – as the Seed of a woman, (and also a Seed of Abraham and the Seed of Judah). Genesis tells about the creation and constitution of humans and their responsibilities, along with the fall (sin) of man (Adam) – and the results of sin (corruption of the world) where personally sin leads to death, and thus the foundational requirement for a Saviour, which is found in the Messiah, Jesus Chris. The basis of our salvation is faith; Genesis speaks of both faith and grace. Genesis is required to understand the Doctrine of Israel so there is no attempt to usurp what God has covenanted to His people - Israel is not the Church, however, currently Jews if they accept Yeshua as their saviour through faith are added to the Church. Note also that for a reader of the New Testament, 200 or more quotes from from Genesis with 165 passages quoted verbatum, most from the first eleven chapter - the chapters the world and many chuches ignore wilfully redact


Arno Gaebelein[1] divided Genesis into 12 sections and this appears to be a beautiful way to do it as the number twelve does have some connection with man. He used the following divisions:

  1. The Creation
  2. The Generations of the Heavens and the Earth - see Gen 2:4
  3. The Generations of Adam - Gen 5
  4. The Generations of Noah - Gen 6-9
  5. The Generations of Sons of Noah - Gen 10
  6. The Generations of Shem - Gen 11:10
  7. The Generations of Terah - Gen 11:27 - from this point onward Genesis deals with one family - the family from Terah - Abram and his descendants.
  8. The Generations of Ishmael - Gen 25:12
  9. The Generations of Isaac - Gen 25:19
  10. The Generations of Esau - Gen 36
  11. The Generations of son's of Esau - Gen 36:9
  12. The Generations of Jacob - Gen 37-50

Key verse: Genesis 1:1

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (1:1)

Key events/themes:

The creation of the world (1-2)

The creation of humans (2)

The sin of Adam leading to the fall of all of mankind until Jesus Christ (3)

The almost destruction of all humans because of their sin, with the family of Noah being saved (6-9)

The dispersion of humans due to their disobedience to God, the arise of languages (10-11)

The covenant of God to all people through Abraham (12, 15 & 17)

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the beginnings of the chosen people

Israel in the land of Egypt with Joseph

Key words:


This is the generations of... meaning what became of a person or their generation. These are: 1) What became (Toldot) of creation, 2) Toldot of Adam, 3) Toldot of Noah, 4) Toldot of Noah's sons, 5) Toldot of Shem, 6) Toldot of Terah, 7) Toldot of Ishmael, 8) Toldot of Isaac, 9) Toldot of Esau, 11) Toldot of the Father of the Edomites, 12) Toldot of Jacob, i.e. Joseph.

Key prophecies: (These are but a few)

Promise that the Son of God would crush Satan (Chapter 3 cf Isaiah 53)

Covenant between God and Noah, on behalf of all mankind - the world would not be destroyed by flood (9)

The covenant of God to Abraham that the descendants of Abraham - Israel would be a great nation and a blessing to all people, fulfilled in Jesus Christ the Son of God (12, 18, 22, 26).

Jesus Christ would be of the Lion of the Tribe of Israel, who would hold the kingdom for all time (49)

Key characters: God (Elohim, plural), Adam (2), Noah (5), Abram (11) renamed Abraham (renamed 17), Melchisedec, king of Salem (14) Sari (11) renamed Sarah (17), Isaac (17), Jacob (25) renamed Israel (32), Joseph (30), twelve tribes of Israel

Key Places: Eden (2), River Tigris (2), Mount Moriah (22), Salem (14) (ancient Jerusalem ), Canaan (person 9 - also cursed, land 11), Egypt (12)


[1] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros , USA , pp 15

Reference: Ariel's Bible Commentary The Book of Genesis. A.G. Fruchtenbaum, Ariel Ministeries, USA 2009

Title: Exodus, from the Greek to mean "way out" (as named by the Septuagint) reflecting the main story of the book- the translocation of the children of Israel out from Egypt. In Hebrew it has the name "these are the names" (We'elleh Shemoth) or just "names" (Shemoth) arising from the first two words of the book.

Place in bible: Old Testament, second book of the Bible, second book of the Law, Torah or Pentateuch (from the Latin - because the law has five books).

Author: Written by Moses for Children of Israel and the gentiles (Exodus 24:4, 34:27) and completed by the time Israel entered into Canaan (Joshua 1:8), an authorship ascribed by Our Lord, himself (Mark 12:26).    

Date: Written perhaps prior to 1440-1495 BC, concerning the period beginning from the death of Joseph to the erection and dedication of the Tabernacle in the Sinai, a period of 145 years, perhaps from 1526 BC (purported date of Moses' birth) to 1446 BC.

Genre: Historical narrative, legal (part of the Law of Moses) giving a number of the ordinances, including the Ten Commandments (chapter 20), that make up the Mosaic Law especially those pertaining to the Tabernacle and it use as a place of worship. Chapters 21 - 24 are the Book of the Covenant - focusing on relationships; Israel with Jehovah and Israelites with one another.

Written to: for the chidren of Israel

Main idea: The main emphasis of this book is 1) salvation - that is, redemption, being the historical narrative of the birth of the nation of Israel, its enslavement by the Egyptians, followed by the wonderful redemptive power of God being displayed in his saving of Israel found in the Passover and the destruction of the Egyptian army at the Red Sea and 2) Covenant - (of the suzerainity kind[1]). The book follows on from the narrative of Genesis with Israel's enslavement, redemption (exodus) and their disobedience (rebellion) contrasted with God's wonderful grace at Mt Sinai. The book finishes with God tabernacling with his Chosen People - the Shekinah glory of Jehovah filling the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38).

Only the first three months of forty years spent in the Wilderness are narrated in this book.

Application to Christians: This book illustrates to Christians the meaning of what being redeemed of the Lord means (Isaiah 62:12, 1 Peter 1:18, 19). It shows that it is Lord Jehovah, alone, that saves an individual from the slavey and power of sin, where 'Egypt' is a picture of the world and its sin.

Divisions: Arno Gaebelein divides the book into two divisions which corresponds to God's two great announcements to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:8); 1) "I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians", and 2) "And to bring them up out of the land unto a good land flowing with milk and honey".[2]

  1. Israel's deliverance out of the hands of the Egyptians
    1. The house of bondage (1:1-22)
    2. Moses the chosen deliverer (2-4:28)
    3. Moses and Aaron in Egypt (4:29-7:13)
    4. The Nine Plagues; the Tenth judgment announced (7:14-11:10)
    5. Redemption by blood: The Passover and the Law of the Firstborn (12-13:16)
    6. Redemption by Jehovah (13:7-14:31)
    7. The Song of Redemption (15:1-21)
  2. The journey towards the Promised Land. Israel at Sinai
    1. Troubles in the Wilderness and God's response (15:22-18:27)
    2. God meets Moses at Sinai: The Covenant and the Law (19-24:18)
    3. The Tabernacle and the Priesthood (25-31:18)
    4. Israel's sin and rebellion (32:1-35)
    5. Moses' intercession and its results (33-34:35)
    6. The Building of the Tabernacle (35-39:43)
    7. Setting up the Tabernacle: The Finished Work and the Glory of God (40:1-38)

Key verse: Chapter 6:5-8

And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.
Therefore say to the children of Israel :"I am the Lord;

I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians,
I will rescue you from their bondage, and
I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
I will take you as My people, and
I will be your God. Then you shall know that
I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (8) And
I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord .'"

Key events/themes: The book is narrative, so the following are a mere sketch of some important events.


The Children of Israel find themselves in bondage to the Egyptians, which is intensified as Jehovah orchestrates the extraction of His people from Egypt. It is a picture of all people prior to salvation under the power and guilt of sin.

Satan seeks to destroy Israel

Pharaoh became terrified of the Children of Israel who had enlarged their clan by many orders of magnitude, and sort to destroy them by killing all male babies, a device used previously and in the millennia to come (viz. Herald the Great - Matt 2:16).


Moses is born, saved from death from Pharaoh's command and meets the great I Am in a burning bush, whereby he is instructed as the chosen leader of Israel. Moses choses to follow Jehovah but vacillates when instructed to deal with Pharaoh.

God deals with Pharaoh

Nine plagues are played out, the tenth to follow: 1. Water turned into blood; 2. Frogs; 3. Lice; 4. Flies; 5. Animal plague/disease; 6. Boils; 7. Hail; 8. Locusts; 9. Darkness (see Psalm 105:26-36).


The 10th plague - Death or Salvation; God, as opposed to Pharaoh, kills all the firstborn (animal and human) who do not shield beneath the blood of a freshly killed kid or lamb, placed prominently on the door lintels. A bag had to packed, all leaven (yeast) disposed of, and as much as could be borrowed, borrowed from the Egyptians (chapters 11-13). The Passover is redemption by blood and a picture (or type) of what Jesus Christ would accomplish (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Escape from Egypt

The Israelites on the night the Angel passed over the houses with blood on the door lintels are urged by Pharaoh to leave. They face the Red Sea and are pursed by the Egyptian army (chapter 14). The Red Sea opens up (a miracle by Jehovah), the Israelites pass over the Red Sea on dry ground, followed by the Egyptian pursuers who are drowned.

Meeting at Mt Sinai

The children of Israel gather at Mt Sinai, and God gives Moses the Covenant Law, including the ten commandments and instructions on building the tabernacle 'face to face' on the mountain (Exodus 33:11). Moses enters the glory of God on Mt Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights, but the people only see smoke and cloud and feel the earth tremble with a loud noise (chapter 19). But Aaron at the urging of the people rebel against God and fall into the degradation of idolatry involving nakedness, drunkenness and dancing before a calf made of gold (chapter 35). Punishment eschews; and after Moses intercedes (Ex. 32:11), God does not reduce Israel one person - Moses (Ex 32:10) - demonstrating the meekness of Moses.


Key words:

I AM, I am the LORD

The salient words of the Lord God (I AM WHO I AM), repeated by Jesus Christ (John 8:58), the name Jehovah (YWHH) provided to Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3:13), emphasising who His relationship with His people – the Lord (17 times).


Out of all of the books of the Pentateuch, to go and serve, or make, or tell the people to name a few dominates.  Nine times "leg My people go" is uttered – but it takes until the death of the firstborn Egyptians for Pharaoh to respond: "go, serve the LORD as you have said." (Ex 12:31).


For the latter section of the Book, 'make' becomes the dominate verb – Moses received divine instructions on how to build the tabernacle and it's furnishings; and the people were instructed to make these as instructed (Ex 25:8, 9). In Hebrew Halak, הָלַךְ, typically; to walk or move forward, on or up et.

Key prophecies: Although the Book of Exodus does not contain prophecies in the sense of the great prophets (except God sets out for before Moses what will happen in the near future as he prepares then leads the people out of Egypt), in itself the book is prophetic, setting out how and why Jehovah will save His people enslaved to sin, with an everlasting redemption, of those who believe in him. The exodus looks forward to Christ becoming our Passover lamb:

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.  (1 Corinthians 5:7)

Key characters:

The book commences with the names of the children of Israel who went down to Egypt, and whose families greatly multiplied.

Moses (Mosheh)

Meaning son or brought forth (from the water - chapter 2), being a child cursed by Pharaoh, and brought up in the house of Pharaoh's childless daughter, after being found floating in a basket in the River Nile were the princess bathed; a miracle of God. He was the son of Amram (son of Levi) and Jochebed (a name derived from Jehovah).

He clearly had much contact with his mother, at least, but lived in the trappings of the wealthy court, which included an extensive education and army service (Egypt was in conflict with Ethiopia at the time, thus learning leadership.) In a 40 year period of exile he married the daughter of Reuel, priest of Midian and became the father of Gershom and Eliezer.

The rest of the story is too long to include here, none the less, he was obedient to God's call although suffering hardship (Hebrews 11:23-28), and notably he gathered and led the Israelites to the promised land. His sin in the Wilderness of Zin prevented is entry to Canaan (Numbers 20:12), but God gives him a view of the land from Mount Nebo (Deuteronomy 34). Moses was distinguished for his meekness and patience, and "he endured as seeing him (Yahweh) who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:23-29)


A name meaning 'mountain of strength' was the older brother of Moses (by three years) and more articulate, but less faithful and more easily swayed by public opinion was made the first high priest, showing the depth of his repentance and faith in Jehovah after the golden calf incident (chapter 32). He died before entering the Promised Land, showing the fallibility and weakness of the Aaronic Priesthood.


Much older (by 12-15 years, being a 'maid' at Moses's birth) sister of Moses, who had the gift of prophecy but due to jealousy of Moses and her ambition to succeed Moses (after all she was the elder), sinned grievously before God. Repentance saved her but marked her for life, dying on the 40th year of exodus.


Father-in-law of Moses, priest of Midian (Exodus 3:1) and who worship Yahweh (Exodus 18:12), oldest son of Reuel, whose advice Moses took in setting up a primitive hierarchical government for Israel (chapter 18).

Chapter 6 provides some family trees, but some other persons mentioned include:

Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah - chief artisan of tabernacle (Exodus 31:2) who worked alongside Aholiab who also was an artisan (Exodus 36:1)

Joshua, the son of Nun first mentioned Exodus 17:9 - see Joshua fifth book of the Bible

Sons of Moses: Gershom (for he said, "I have been a stranger in a foreign land") and Eliezer ("The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh").

Key Places:


Epitomises the world that enslaves occupants to sin, for which there is no rest or escape except through the blood of Christ, who had enslaved the Israelites for economic purposes - cheap labour.

Sinai or Horeb

The "Mountain of God" where Moses first met Yahweh in the burning bush, then received the ordinances of God including the tablets of Ten Commandments from the top of Mt Sinai. Horeb is the whole mountain range of which Sinai is one peak (Horeb means dried up).


Israel spent 38 years wondering in the wilderness plus spent one year at Mt Sinai (followed by a year moving to the Promised Land). The wilderness, so called, lies on a limestone plateau of the Sinaitic Peninsula. On the east is the by the valley of the Arabah, which runs from the Dead Sea (Mt Hermon), to the head of the eastern branch of the Red Sea and includes Gulf of Akabah. On the south and south west are the granite mountains of Horeb and Mount Sinai and, on the north, the Mediterranean Sea and the mountainous region south of Judea. At the time the wilderness was not a barren desert but a place where herds could find sufficient grasses to survive.


[1] More specifically this is a Conditional Suzerainty Covenant - or more widely known as the Mosaic Covenant. Its purpose was the basis of the dispensation of "Law" which ended at the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. A Suzeranity treaty is between a greater party (i.e. a king or God) and a lesser party (i.e. a vassal or servant). In this type of covenant, the suzerain defines all of the stipulations

[2] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros , USA

Title: Leviticus from the class of Israelites who are priests (Levitikon in Latin)- the Levites, being one of books of the bible forgotten by Christians. In Hebrew it is called "And He called".

Place in bible: Old Testament, third book of Bible, third book of the Law, Torah or Pentateuch (from the Latin - because the law has five books).

Author: Written by Moses for Israel and the world (as verse 1 of chapter 1 indicates).

Date: Written perhaps approximately 1490-1495 BC (the Jews may give a later date): between the first day of the month and the twentieth day of the second month, in the 2nd year after the exodus.

Genre: Mainly legal (part of the Law of Moses) giving part of the laws pertaining to the holiness of God, and fellowship with Him: including loving one's neighbour, ceremonial sacrifices, cleanness law along with social obligations and the rules of the priests, including the Great High Priest.

Written to: the Children of Israel (Jews) of the Old Testament

Main idea: The book emphasises the Holiness of God (holiness is mentioned 90 times) - and thus the sinfulness of sin. However, the law, in particular those pertaining to sacrifice was a "shadow of things to come" (Heb. 10:1-4) because the offerings could not take away the guilt of sin (Hebrews 9:14). Overall, this book's main idea cannot be understood in this day of grace without first reading the Epistle to the Hebrews. It has a myriad of types that characterise the Lord Jesus Christ in terms of his Sacrifice, his Office and the office of the Great High Priest. Its main idea relates to the outcomes of redemption, seen in Exodus - "holiness unto the Lord", that is "sanctification".

Application to Christians: That God is Holy should be the founding driver a Christian's conduct; all follows from the holiness of our Creator. In contrast, humans are sinful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). How sinful, and by what measure do we measure this? The death of God's only Beloved son sets out before us the impossibility of humans stepping out of sin into holiness; that gives measure of our sinfulness. In this, the Book of Leviticus helps: the law of 613 ordnances allows a contrast to be drawn before the Holy God and human sinfulness. It is the law that allows a human to perceive (a little) of the sinfulness of his heart; where there is law, there is accountability and thus punishment (Roman 4:15); where there is law there is no excuse - humans know what is sinful (Romans 5:13; Romans 7:7). Thus to understand, and to be able to worship God the Father, Leviticus helps us appreciate the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I would say that it is impossible to fully appreciate the Cross without the Law - all Christians need to be familiar with the Old Testament Law, reading alongside it the Letter to the Romans, and the Letter to the Hebrews. The principle of Leviticus applies to Christians; the Jew had to know how to differentiate between clean and unclean (Lev 10:10, 11); the Christian must discern between sin and righteousness. Furthermore a Christian must be holy (Romans 6:19; Ephesians 1:4; Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 1:15).


  1. The offerings and the foundation of holiness
    1. The Burnt Offering (Lev 1:1-17)
    2. The Meal (grain) Offering (Lev 2:1-16)
    3. The Peace Offering (Lev 3:1-17)
    4. The Sin Offering (Lev 4:1-35; Lev 5:1-13)
    5. The Trespass Offering (Lev 5:14-19; Lev 6:1-7)
    6. The Laws of the Offerings (Lev 6:8-30; Lev 7:1-38)
  2. The priesthood and the results of holiness
    1. Aaron and His Sons and Their Consecration (Lev 8:1-36)
    2. The Functions of the Priesthood Exercised (Lev 9:1-24)
    3. Nadab and Abihu: The False Worship and its Results (Lev 10:1-20)
  3. Holiness demanded
    1. The Clean and the Unclean (Lev 11:1-47)
    2. Childbirth Law. Inherited Sin (Lev 12:1-8)
    3. Type of Indwelling Sin (Lev 13:1-59)
    4. The Cleansing of the Leper (Lev 14:1-57)
    5. Concerning Issues: Man's Weakness and Defilement (Lev 15:1-33)
  4. The Day of Atonement: in the holiest
    1. The Day of Atonement (Lev 16:1-34)
    2. The Testimony Concerning the Blood (Lev 17:1-16
  5. Practical holiness in daily life
    1. In Relationships (Lev 18:1-30)
    2. In daily duties (Lev 19:1-37)
    3. Warnings against particular sins and their penalty (Lev 20:1-27)
    4. Laws for the Priests (Lev 21:1-24; Lev 22:1-33)
  6. The Seven Feasts of Jehovah; timing and activities
    1. The Feasts (Lev 23:1-44)
    2. Priestly Duties; the Light and the Shewbread (Lev 24:1-9)
    3. Blasphemy: Israel's Sin Foreshadowed (Lev 24:10-23)
    4. The Sabbatic Year and the Year of Jubilee (Lev 25:1-55)
    5. The Blessings and the Curse: Israel's History (Lev 26:1-46)
  7. Vows and devotion
    1. Vows, dedications, sign off by Jehovah (Lev 27:1-34)

Key verse: Leviticus 19:1-2

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.  (Leviticus 19:1-2) (This precept is repeated throughout the book)

Key events/themes:

Aaron and his sons consecrated

Chapter 8 & 9 sets out how Aaron and his sons where set apart for the role of High Priest and priests respectively. Aaron is a type of Christ and His sons typify those who are called into the priesthood in their Christian profession. We find the offering accepted and His Shekhinah glory appears before all the people (Lev 8:23, 24) with the Lord consumed with fire the offering.

Nadab and Abihu sin and die

Chapter 10 outlines the sin of Aaron's two sons which consisted of taking strange fire, which Jehovah had not commanded; most likely it was fire they produced themselves, instead of taking the fire from off the altar (Lev 16:12). The seriousness of the sin – to directly disobey God is emphasised by their death shortly after at the hand of God, as is the immutable holiness of God. This sin was never repeated.

Key words:


God (Hebrew Elohim: אלהם)) his book is from God and about God; it is God speaking through Moses. God (48 verses),


 (Hebrew Yahweh or Jehovah: יהוה) often as Lord or Jehovah God or the Lord (or Jehovah) your God being the full attribute of the godhead.


Holiness if God and belongs to God (Isaiah 6:3) and He alone is holy (Revelation The essence of Leviticus is the Holiness of God; the word holy is mentioned 96 times in 78 verses,

Clean & unclean

Understanding what is clean (and how to become clean) is essential for understanding holiness; in this Leviticus makes most clear - either clean or unclean is found in 135 verses.


A key to understanding this book is to grasp the meaning of atonement and propitiation (Hebrews 2:17); it is by the atoning blood of Christ that our sins are covered, and it is the propitiatory value of Christ's shed blood that God's wrath turned from us (Romans 3:25). Atonement can be found in 45 verses.


Fire is the means by which consumption of the sacrifice is made; and epitomises the complete destruction of the sacrifice to its elemental core; in the same manner stain of sin must be removed totally or order to be holy. Fire is mentioned in 71 verses.


This book sets out the essential sacrifices to atone for sin - found in 44 verses.

Key prophecies: This is Law thus prophecies and not mentioned, as such.

Key characters:


Mentioned as the author (Lev 1:1) and 87 other times.

Sons of Aaron

(Nadab and Abihu) were wicked and were destroyed by God (Lev 10) after offering  fire; i.e. they did not follow the prescribed ordinance of God and thus were punished. Instead of taking fire from off of the altar of burnt offering, as it ought to have been, they lit the fire elsewhere using their own effort. It was God who provided the original fire (Lev 9:24); as it is not man'ss effort that can offer an efficacious sacrifice.

Key Places: None mentioned

Title: Numbers; this book takes the English translation of the Greek word "Numbers", because the people are "numbered" twice in the book. The Hebrew title is "Be-Midbar" meaning "in the wilderness".

Place in bible: Old Testament, fourth book of the Bible, fourth book of the Law, Torah or Pentateuch (from the Latin - because the law has five books).

Author: Moses (see verse 1), but in essence it contains words spoken by Jehovah to Moses while in the wilderness of Sinai, especially while in the tent of meeting, on the first of the second month, in the second year after their departure from the land of Egypt (JND).

Date: c. 1490 BC[1], some say a little later 1445-1405 BC[2]

Genre: Historical narrative of the children of Israel's journey in the Wilderness, legal (part of the Law of Moses) with various ordinances pertaining to Sabbaths, and ceremony. Most of the events of the Book of Numbers take place in the wilderness, between the second and fortieth years of the wandering of the Israelites.

Written to: the Children of Israel (Jews) of the Old Testament.

Main idea: The people are gathered around the Tabernacle and numbered; hence Jehovah's chosen people are gathered around Jehovah, who is at the centre. The book concerns trials (wilderness journey) and emphasises service (that of the Levites) - it narrates the preparation of the people to conquer the land of Canaan, and shows the wickedness of the human heart as the children complain, bicker and revolt as they leave slavery of Egypt and move, albeit very slowly to the Promised land.

Like the other books of the Pentateuch, this book does not stand alone and needs to be read with at least Exodus and Deuteronomy.

Application to Christians: It relates to Christians because it speaks of our life in the present evil age.  The Book of Numbers teaches this current generation to learn from the faithlessness of the previous generation. Of importance to Christians, this book offers a powerful testimony of God's patience and grace through both the rebellious and the obedient generations of His people. It shows how God disciplines the stubborn, but He does not abandon His covenant.


  1. The preparation for the journey from Mt Sinai to the plains of Moab (1-10)
    1. Census at Sinai
    2. The camp put into order, various ordinances proclaimed
    3. Preparations for departure
    4. Various ordinances including Passover
    5. The silver trumpets
  2. The journey started and the people's unbelief, failure and punishment (10-21)
    1. Travel from Sinai to Kadesh
    2. Additional ordinances including those pertaining to unintentional sin
    3. Rebellion against Moses
    4. Various laws
    5. Rebellion of Korah
    6. The Priesthood, Red Heifer
    7. More rebellion against God
  3. Events in the plains of Moab and facing the land (22-36)
    1. Balaam
    2. The Sin of Israel with the women of Moab
    3. Israel Numbered the second time
    4. The Death of Moses
    5. Various ordinances
    6. War
    7. Division of the land in regard Reuben, Gad, Half-Manasseh
    8. Instructions for taking the land
    9. Cities of refuge
    10. The Inheritance of land

Key verse: Numbers 6:24-26

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

The parables of Balaam (Chapters 22-24).

Key events/themes: In the order they are presented in the book

  • Census at Sinai
  • The camp is arranged
  • Preparations for departure are made
  • Travel from Sinai to Kadesh
  • Rebellion against Moses after the people complain about the food
  • The Rebellion of Miriam and Aaron – Miriam is made leprous,
  • Spies are sent into the land of Canaan; most return terrified, except Caleb. This resulted in a rebellion by the people who wanted to return to Egypt due to their unbelief
  • Korah (a Levite) and certain followers rebels (which God deals with) and the children of Israel complain and God responds with a plague that kills many.
  • The staff of Aaron bud to demonstrate that he has been authenticated by God of Aaron's priesthood.
  • Moses is debarred from entering the promised land because he disobeys God at Meribah
  • The children rebelled again (and again) against God who in one case caused snakes to bite the people and who died. Moses makes a bronze snake, which if bitten people gaze upon, they are healed.
  • Balaam, a gentile heathen magician, used of God to encourage the Children of Israel, is led astray and is convinced by the King of Moab to put a curse on the Children instead, giving in due to pride and lust. The Moabite king wanted Balaam to stir up terror so his army could defeat the Children of Israel. God deals with Balaam by having a donkey speak to him.
  • Israel sins by taking women of Moab and having sexual relations with them; some further transgress and worship their Baal gods. These are put to death.
  • Israel numbered the second time at the end of the 40 years spent in the wilderness.
  • Moses dies after God shows him the Promised Land from Mount Nebo: Joshua succeeds Moses as lead.
  • War against the Midianites (whom Gideon had also to deal with)
  • Division of the land in regard Reuben, Gad, Half-Manasseh
  • The inheritance of land

Key words:


The Children of Israel find themselves in bondage to the Egyptians, which is intensified as Jehovah orchestrates their extraction. It is a picture of all people prior to salvation under the power and guilt of sin.


The Children of Israel were numbered twice – once prior to entering the promised land, and 40 years later. This word is found in about 108 verses, more 5 times more often than the next book (1 Chronicles).

Key prophecies: The parables of Balaam (Chapters 22-24). His fourth parable is a prophecy of the coming Messianic Kingdom (Num 24:17).

Perhaps not in the sense of other major prophecies but God foretells two events due to sin.

1) The Children of Israel were told they would spend 40 years in the wilderness due to their lack of faith in God's ability to protect them when they took the Promised Land (Num 14:26-39), and

2) Mose's sin at the waters of Meribah resulted in   God rejecting his entrance to the promised land – he only saw it from afar (Num 20:8-13; Deut 34).

Key characters:


Moses' brother, and the high priest of Children of Israel, but his life is overshadowed by the rebellion of Korah and the Levites.


The son of Beor, was a man with the gift of prophecy, a gift he used for hire. He was hired by Israel's enemies to curse God's people. When he disobeyed God, God uses a donkey to correct him put him in his place (Num 22:28).


The son of Beor, was a man of some rank among the Midianites. He lived at Pethor in Mesopotamia. It is evident that he had some knowledge of the true God, and it was held that he whom he blessed was blessed, and he whom he cursed was cursed (Num 22:6).


The son of Jephunneh, a servant of God (Num 14:24) who with Joshua withstood those that threatened the plan of God to take the Children of Israel into the Promised land (Num 32:12).


Aaron's son, who takes his place when Aaron died (Num 20:26), but mostly he was an administrator. His main role was to conduct the census, and after the conquest of Canaan by Joshua, he took part in the distribution of the land.


The son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim, and the spy who knew the Children of Israel could take the Promised Land from the Canaanites, and was chosen by Jehovah to succeed Moses (Deut. 31:14; Deut. 31:23.)


Son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi. He was leader of the rebellion against his cousins, Moses and Aaron, in the wilderness. God punished rebellion by causing his and his followers to die using an earthquake and flames of fire.


The prophet (Hosea 12:13) and leader of the Children of Israel; was born at Goshen, in Egypt, brought up in the house of a princes, daughter of the Pharaoh (Exodus 2:10), elevated to lead the Children by God at the burning bush (Exodus 3), but he refused to be called the son of the Pharaoh (Hebrews 11:24). God considered him more meek than any man (Numbers 12:3) and a man of faith (Hebrews 11:23-29). In regard the relation between Jehovah and Moses, Jehovah writes: "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" (Numbers 12:6-8)

Key Places:


Or Meribah Kadesh, a place on the south-eastern border of Palestine (i.e. Israel). It was from here that Moses sent "twelve spies" to spy the land. God send the Children of Israel on a 38 year wilderness sojourn after they rejected the land. The second time they were in Kadesh Miriam died and was buried.

Mt Sinai

In the Horeb mountain range (some believe Horeb is in the Sinai mountain range). The exact Mt Sinai is unknown, currently believed to be in the southern centre of the Sinai Peninsula,

Wilderness of Sinai

The great central limestone plateau of the Sinaitic Peninsula bordered, on the east, by the valley of the Arabah, which runs from the Dead Sea, to the head of the eastern branch of the Red Sea. On the south and south west, were the granite mountains of Sinai and, on the north, the Mediterranean Sea and the mountainous region south of Judea`. It is called the Desert of Paran, and Badiet et-Tih, which means "Desert of the Wandering".[3]


[1] Walter Scott (1879) Handbook of the Bible Old Testament, Edinburgh

[2] Josh McDowell

[3] Smith Smith's Bible Dictionary 1863; public domain.

Title: Deuteronomy from the Greek and taken from Chapter 17:18 but as Arno Gaebelein points out the translation is incorrect - this book is not a 'second" law but a repetition of the law, hence it can be called "Ellech hadebarim" ("The words") which are the first few words of the book, else "Mishneh Torah" as Jews use, meaning the "Repetition or Review of the Law"; review is perhaps the best description.

Place in bible: Old Testament, fifth book of the Bible, fifth book of the Law, Torah or Pentateuch (from the Latin - because the law has five books).

Author: Moses, as a prophet (Deut. 18:15), wrote the majority of this book, but clearly did not write the last chapter, as it was written after he died and the Lord had buried his body. The notion that Moses did not write this book is false. See also Deut. 31:24, 32:46.

Date: The exact time and place when the words of this book were given is stated in the first few verses of the Book:

These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain opposite Suph, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab. It came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them.

The speeches of Moses took place in the few weeks leading up to entry to the Promised Land: Canaan. If Israel crossed into Canaan in 1406 B.C. then around this time. The Jews give an earlier date.

Genre: Overall the book is Law, but it also contains prophecy, and sets out a treaty between Jehovah and God's chosen people, Israel (Deut 6:13-15). The essence is similar to a marriage contract. The book is a series of speeches by Moses as prophet that reiterates the Law of Moses to the people of Israel and concludes the Pentateuch i.e. Torah.

Written to: the Children of Israel of the Old Testament (See Deut 1:1)

Main idea: This book is the covenant between Israel and Jehovah in relation to Israel being in the Land of Canaan. It is not a mere repetition of the Law but rather we find a distinct writing of the law, where obedience to Jehovah and His Word in love and godly fear is soundly encouraged, and God will establish the Children of Israel in Canaan. The book emphasis Jehovah as being the one and only God; that He is sovereign and rules Israel, as a model for all other nations. The book sets out the blessings of obedience and the dangers of disobedience to Jehovah [Yahweh].


The book's structure is chiastic[1] which at the beginning examines the past and at the end examines the future. Below is Arno Gaebelein's outline[2] with the chiastic frames.

A. Outer frame - retrospective

1.    The first discourse of Moses and retrospect.

a.    Introduction (1:1-5): indicates the author (Moses, place and occasion of the speeches)
b.    From Horeb to Kadesh (1:6-46): The immediate past history of the Children of Israel.
c.    After the Forty Years: Conflict and Conquest (2-3)

B. Inner frame - Exhortation

"Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you.

d.    Exhortation that Jehovah is God (4:1-40): gives the exhortation to Israel to keep the commands, statues and judgements of Jehovah.
e.    The Three Cities of Refuge (4:41-43)

2.    The exposition of the Law and the statutes, exhortations and warnings, blessing and curse "And now this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel" (4:44).

a.    The Proclamation of the Decalogue (4:44-5:33)
b.    The First Commandment and What it Involves (6:1-25)
c.    The Possession of the Land and Their Separation (7:1-26)
d.    Thou Shalt Remember! Provision and Warning (8:20)
e.    Warning Against Self-Righteousness and Their Previous Failures (9-10:11)
f.     Jehovah's Love and His Requirements of His People (10:12-22)
g.    Israel 's Responsibility: The Blessing and the Curse (11:1-32)

C. Core: Main clauses of covenant:

These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. (12:1)

h.    The Place of Worship (12:1-32)
i.     Warning Against False Prophets and Their Punishment (13:1-18)
j.     The Children of God and Their Separation (14:1-29)
k.    The Year of Release and Liberation Of Hebrew Slaves (15:1-18)
l.     The Firstlings and the Three Feasts (15:19-16:17)
m.  Justice and the Choice of a King (16:18-17:20)
n.    The Rights of the Priests and Levites, the True and the False Prophet (18:1-22)
o.    Laws for Israel in the Land (19:1-21)
p.    Concerning Future Wars (20:1-20)
q.    The Expiation of an Uncertain Murder and Various Instructions (21:1-23)
r.    Against Inhumanity and Different Violations, False Testimony and Sins of Adultery (22:1-30)
s.    The Congregation of Jehovah: Its Constitution and Holiness (23:1-25)
t.    Concerning Divorce and Laws of Mercy (24:1-22)
u.    Various Laws and Responsibilities (25:1-19)
v.    First Fruits and Prayer (26:1-19)

C. Inner frame - Ceremony on crossing, recalling the blessings and curses

w.   The Memorial of the Law at Mount Ebal, Gerizim, and Ebal (27:1-26)
x.    The Blessing and the Curse (28:1-68)
y.    The Repetition of the Covenant and the Restated Curse (29:1-29)
z.    The Dispersion and the Return: The Final Appeal (30:1-20).

A. Outer frame - looking forward to the future

3.    The final words of Moses and the Vision of the Future

a.    Moses' final charge, the written law delivered, and Jehovah's word to Moses (31:1-30)
b.    The Song of Moses (32:1-43)
c.    The Blessing of Moses (32:43-33:29)
d.    The Death of Moses (34:1-12)

Key verse: [4]:

For the Jew (6:4) (The shama from the first word in Hebrew)

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!

שׁמע ישׂראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד׃

For the Christian 6:5, as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 22:37, mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

For Israel (30:19-20)

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

Key events/themes:

See the outline above which includes history, law, exhortation and prophecy.

Key words:

The Name of the Lord

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome (10:17a)

The Lord Your God or Lord God, that is, Jehovah or Yehwah; 279 times in 239 verses (out of 959 verses) KJV.


You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (4:2)

Command: usually as "I command you" 41 times in 40 verses

Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. (8:1)

Obey: the voice of Jehovah or the commandments: 22 verses

Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God. (12:28)

"You shall" some ordinance or command: 339 times in 270 verses

You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (4:2)

Blessings and cursings

Blessings: the outcome of obedience (51 times)

Curses: the outcome of disobedience (35 times)

"Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; (11:26-27)

The Law

Law (26 times), often as 'this book of the law' (9 times), statutes (29 times), commandments (43 times) and judgments (33 times).


Hear: mainly related to hearing what Jehovah has to say to Israel (e.g. Deut. 6:4)

Key prophecies:

The prophecies pertain to Israel and her relationship with Jehovah being dependent upon her obedience to the ordinances and commands of the God.[3]

The Messiah: (Deut 18:15,19), a prophecy repeated from Mount Sinai, and in this book, renewed.

He would be a prophet (c.f. Matthew 21:11, John 4:19, John 6:14, 12:48-50)

He would speak with the authority of God (John 12:48-50)

Those that do not listen to him will be judged (John 12:48-50)

The Messiah would be worshiped by angles (proving his divinity) (Luke 2:13-14)

Israel would cease to obey God (Deut 31:16-21), and due to the failure of children of Israel to obey the commands, statutes and judgements of God, the curses of Deuteronomy would fall upon them. This is why they were dispersed around the world for 2000 years and all nations have hated them.

Prophecy of the tribes of Israel (Deut 33): a blessing because of the manifestations of Jehovah in glory which will occur when Jehovah returns. It describes the blessings of Israel in their land.

Key characters:

Few people are mentioned in the Book of Deuteronomy.


Moses, was a servant of the Lord God most High; considered to the greatest leader and ruler of Israel, ruling from the Exodus until their arrival at the promised land. His name means "brought forth" since he was saved from death when his mother floated him in the Nile in a small boat, and was found by the pharaoh's daughter. He was a Levite, ruler (but not king) and a prophet, an educated man, trained in the house of pharaoh, but also humble and a servant, working 40 years for his father-in-law, as a shepherd. God considered Moses very humble - "more than all men who were on the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3)

Joshua the son of Nun

Joshua's birth name was Hoshea but changed on demonstrating faith in the ability of Jehovah of saving Israel. His name means "he will save us". He is first mentioned in Exodus 17:9, and was a eventually a commander and leader of Israel, and from whom the sixth book of the Bible is named.


Joshua's contemporary, Son of Hezron, a spy that went with Joshua and 10 others to the Land of Canaan and agreed with Joshua that with Jehovah's help Israel could take the land. He became a commander under Joshua and due to his effort he was given a part with the Tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:13).

Ok king of Bashan

An Amorite king of Bashan, ruler over 60 towns, located in an impregnable part of the land - Argob (3:4, 3:13,14), a rock island, defeated by Israel

Sihon king of Bashan

King of the Amorites

Key Places:

The land is the key blessing - rather than being wanderers in the wilderness they would become possessor of land, if they obey Jehovah.

Three cities of refuge

Three cities of refuge were set aside for people who had accidently killed someone, where they could obtain refuge from the avenging families of the dead (4:41-49) - Bezer in the wilderness, Ramoth in Gilead, Golan in Bashan.

Mount Gerizim

The mountain on which Israel were to place the blessings of God (11:29)

Mount Ebal

The mountain on which Israel were to place the cursings of God (11:29)

The Land

The land Israel was to possess was: "from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory." (11:24)

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them. (30:19,20)



[1] The writings have a concentric structure - essentially a core with "book ends" either side - on this case two sets.

[2] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros , USA , pp 164

[3] Some have interpreted various ordinance as prophecy, such as the nature by which Jesus Christ would die, when rather than a prophecy they are ordnances that were complied with (whether intentionally or unintentionally) e.g. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 which deals with hanging a man on a tree if he curses God, and must be buried the same day.

[4] Not all books of the Bible can be characterised by a single verse, the purpose of the longer books is often much greater than what a fewn verses can contain.

Title: Joshua, The Book of Joshua, the son of Nun, the disciple of Moses, the first book to bear as its title a name of a person because it was written by him (Joshua 24:26).

Place in bible: Old Testament, sixth book of the Bible, considered to be the first book of the "former Prophets" by the Jews (Zechariah refers to the former Prophets three times in his prophecy.)

Author: Joshua the son Nun (24:26), whose name was originally Oshea (or Hoshea) (Numbers 13:8), which Moses changed to Jehoshua or Joshua (that is, "God's salvation").

Date: Approximately 1400 - 1450 before Christ (BC). Many seem to indicate the crossing of Jordan was closer to 1400 BC than later.

Genre: Historical narrative, but has a dispensational aspect for Israel, and speaks to Christians of their walk in this world.

Written to: the Children of Israel.

Main idea: This is a connecting book between Israel born as a nation and wandering for 40 years in the wilderness, and Israel in the Promised Land. The relationship between God and his People is epitomised: God's covenant and their obedience based on the relationship between God and his people (Chapter 24).

This book bears the name of Joshua, because it is about him and his actions in the land of Canaan. It tells the story of Israel doing what she should have done immediately after departing from Egypt, that is, crossing the Jordan into Canaan and taking the land, since God would have fought their battles, as promised. The book shows the power of God and the outcomes of the one who obeys the Lord.

Although an Old Testament book, it is rich in encouragement for Christians, their walk with the Lord, and their conflict with the world. In it Joshua, represents Christ ('Jesus' is the Greek of the Hebrew 'Joshua'), as the one who leads his people by the Holy Spirit and his power and of God who dwells in the midst of this people (Matthew 18:20 etc).

Arno Gaebelein[1] divides the book into three:

A. The entrance of the people into Canaan and the conflicts.

1. The entrance commanded and success promised (1:1-18)
2. The spies and Rahab's faith (2:1-24)
3. The passage of Jordan (3:1-17)
4. The memorial stones (4:1-24)
5. At Gilgal (5:1-15)
6. The fall of Jericho (6:1-27)
7. Achan's sin and Israel's defeat (7:1-26)
8. The overthrow of Ai (8:1-35)
9. The Gibeonites and their victory (9:1-27)
10. The victorious conquest (10-12)

B. The division of the land

1. Instructions given: the two and a half tribes (13:1-33)
2. Caleb's request and inheritance (14:1-15)
3. The portion of Judah (15:1-63)
4. The portion of Ephraim (16:1-10)
5. The portion of Manasseh (17:1-18)
6. The portion of the Rest of the Tribes (18-19)
7. The cities of refuge (20:1-9)
8. The portion of the Levites (21:1-45)

C. The final words of Joshua and the epilogue.

1. The two and a half tribes (22:1-34)
2. Joshua's two addresses (23:1-24:28)
3. The epilogue (24:29-33)

Key verse: Joshua 24:14

"Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

"Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. Joshua 1:2-4

Key events/themes:

The two spies and Rahab's faith (2:1-24)

The crossing of the Jordan led by the Levites (3:1-17)

The memorial stones laid at the crossing as a reminder of God's grace (4:1-24)

Circumcising the men (at a place God called Gilgal 5:9), the first Passover in Canaan at Gibeath-haaraloth (5:1-12)

Joshua meets the commander of the Lord's army (Christ) (5:13-15)

The fall of Jericho (6:1-27)

Achan's sin and Israel's defeat (7:1-26)

The overthrow of Ai (8:1-35)

The Gibeonites and their victory (9:1-27)

The land is divided among the people of Israel, by tribe (13 - 21)

Key prophecies:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:8-9

Key characters:


a contempary of Joshua, also forsaw that Israel could take Canaan, since they had God on their side. He was a faithful man and is commended: "My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit, and hath followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land where unto he went, and his seed shall possess it." Numbers 14:24. Some suggest he was not of the children of Israel, but was given a placed it by Joshua (hence God) (15:13).


 God's name as Jehovah is repeated 229 times in 173 verses (out of 618 in total) (God 73 times in 63 verses)

Joshua, son of Nun

 a commander of Israel was born when Moses escaped to Midian for 20 years. He came to the attention of Moses when he returned, and became his assistant (Exodus 24:13, Numbers 11:28). He also worked for a time in the tent of meeting (Exodus 33:11), and was one of the spies (with Caleb) who urged Moses to take the land. Due to disbelief, ten spies convince Israel that they could not take the land and God punished them by delaying their entry by 40 years – and in this time a whole generation died. Moses died prior to crossing the Jordan and God made Joshua commander of Israel. Joshua, like Joseph has very little to tarnish his record, learning to obey as a young man, he follows the Lord unceasingly.


Aaron's third son, a priest who helped Joshua divide the land (14:1).


A prostitute who ran an inn that was located in the wall of the city of Jericho. She may have been a manufacturer of fine clothes, having flax drying on the roof, under which she hid the spies of Joshua. By her faith in the Lord God Jehovah and her unnerving desire to serve him, she was saved along with her father, mother and brothers. "By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies." Hebrews 11:3. She entered the lineage of Jesus by marrying Salmon who fathered Boaz, the husband of Ruth, who became David's great grandfather. (Matthew 1:5)

Key Places:


The first defeat of Israel due to the sin of Achan, which involved taking spoils from Jericho which God had cursed.


Destroyed by the hand of God, utilising the priests and the whole tribe of Israel, and cursed by God (6:26).


The LORD said to Joshua, "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day." (5:9), where the first Passover was celebrated and renewed the rite of circumcision performed.

Mount Gerizim

The mount of blessing (Deuteronomy 11:29), in contrast to Mount Ebal, perhaps Mount Moriah, the place Abraham offered Isaac where half the children of Israel met (8:33)

Mount Ebal

The mount of cursing (Deuteronomy 11:29), upon which the curse of the law was read (8:33), written (8:32) and where an alter was built by Joshua (8:30) as commanded by Moses (Deuteronomy 27:4)


[1] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros, USA, pp 15

Title: Judges, The Book of Judges, in Hebrew Sepher Shoftim, in full: the Book of the Judges of the Children of Israel.

Place in bible: Old Testament, seventh book in the Bible, and second book of the "former Prophets" (Zechariah refers to the "former Prophets" three times in his prophecy.)

Author: The author is unknown; some suggest King Hezekiah and others Ezra; but the Jewish writers generally agree that it was written by Samuel.

Date: Before the time of David, since Samuel and Psalms appear to quote from this Book. Since Samuel is the most plausible author, then 1050 - 1000 BC or thereabouts.

Genre: Historical narrative and prophecy containing Israel's history after the occupation of the promised land and the death of Joshua up to Samuel, covering about 320 years.

Written to: the Children of Israel.

Main idea: One of the saddest books in the Bible covering 320 years of Israel's history and her departure from the Lord and His ordnances, in a series of cycles of declension, followed by chastisement, and restoration due to God's patience and mercy. The cycles are described in Judges 2:16 - 23.  It contains evidence of the absolute total depravity of mankind.

Note that the book is not in chronological order: sections 1 and 2 follow the book of Joshua in sequence, but section 3 is an appendix that raises issues that occurred during the times of section 2.

The book can be divided into three divisions (according to Arno Gaebelein)

1.      The Introduction (1:1-3:10 and 3:12) giving a summary of the book of Joshua

  1. Israel 's failure in intermingling with Canaanites (1:1-36)
  2. The Angel at Bochim and the history of the entire Book (2:1-3:4)

2.      The Main Text (3:11-16:31), discussing the five great judges, Abimelech (Judges), and providing less detail for a few minor Judges

  1. The sin of idolatry and Othniel (3:5-11)
  2. Second declension: Under Moab: Ehud and Shamgar (3:12-31)
  3. Third declension: Under Jabin: Deborah and Barak (4:1-5:16)
  4. Fourth declension: Under Midian: Gideon, Tola and Jair (6:1-10:5)
  5. Fifth declension: Under the Philistines and Ammon: Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon and Abdon (10:6-12:15)
  6. Sixth declension: Under the Philistines: Samson (13-16)

3.      The Appendices (17:1-21:25), giving two stories set in the time of the Judges, but not discussing the Judges themselves.

  1. Micah's idolatry and its punishment (17-18)
  2. Israel 's moral condition and the War on Benjamin (19-21)

Key verse: Judges 17:6 and 21:25

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.


Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.  Judges 2:16

Key events/themes:

The book contains a rich narrative that covers 320 years of Israel history focusing on her disobedience to Jehovah and his precepts. The most well renowned events pertain to Deborah, Gideon and Samson. An alternative way to describe the book is through the cycles of bondage and deliverance as shown in the table below.

Years of Bondage
Judge (12 in all)
Deliverance & rest
(1) Othniel
(2) Ehud (3) Shamgar
(4) Deborah & Barak
(5) Gideon (6) Tola (7) Jair
(8) Jephthah (9), Ibazn (10) Elon (11) Abdon
(12) Samson

Key prophecies:  

Deborah was a prophet (Jdg. 4:4) whose prophecies can be found in chapters 4:1 - 5:31.

Key characters: (A few important people)


A general under Deborah, from the tribe of Napthtali, defeated Sisera the commander of the army of Canaanite King Jabin of Hazor at the Battle of Kishon near Mt Tabor. Barak's name appears in the Hebrew chapter 11 hall of the faithful (Hebrews 11:32)


A prophetess, and wife of Lipidoth who lived under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim, and most likely of the tribe of Ephraim. Her disposition as a prophetess was used by Jehovah to judge the Children of Israel for 40 years, the only female ruler found in the lineage of Israel.


The son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin, the second judge of the Israelites, although he not called a judge but a deliverer, in the same way God raised up Othniel (Jdg 3:9). He destroyed Eglon, the king of the Moabites, who had occupied the place of Jericho (city of palm trees). He was ambidextrous, thus using his left hand with a conceived weapon, managed to kill Eglon (Jdg 3:22)


Youngest son of Joash, from near Shechem, a family and town of no distinction, was called upon by the Angel of the Lord to fight for Him. Gideon destroyed the altar of Baal with much valour, but needed to use a fleece of wool to test God's word twice. He raised an army of 32,000, which God made him reduce to 300 using two methods, the final being a test of how the men drank from the stream emanating from the well of Harod, and using the 300 routed the Midianite army. He took revenge on the men of Succoth and Penuel for not giving his army bread and he killed the Midianite kings Zebah and Zalmunna as revenge for the killing of his brothers. Unfortunately, in his weakness he made a gold ephod that led the people into idolatry. Gideon's name appears in the Hebrew chapter 11 hall of the faithful (Hebrews 11:32).


Son of Gilead, by a prostitute who was driven out of his father's house by his half-brothers, but became a warrior and might man of valour. In some ways he emulated David, gathering together a collection of "worthless men" (Jdg 11:3) and grew strong and skilled in defending the land from enemies. Jehovah used him when he became captain of the Gileadite army, who routed the Ammonites. His unfortunate rash vow prior to battle cost his daughter's life. Jephthah's name appears in the Hebrew chapter 11 hall of the faithful (Hebrews 11:32).


Wife of Heber the Kenite who killed the general of Israel's enemy by driving a tent peg through his head; few times in scripture do we read of women entering a battle.


Son of Kenaz and younger brother of Caleb became the first of judge of the Israelites. He was a commander and warrior, and was given Caleb's daughter Achsah as wife for defeating Kirjath Sepher (Jdg 1:12,13). He judged for 40 years.


Son of Manoah who was from the town of Zorah in the tribe of Dan whose birth was miraculous and prophesied by an Angel of the Lord. Jehovah required him to deal with the Philistines who were troubling the Israelites due to their idolatry. It was commanded by Jehovah that he did not cut his hair, did not drink alcoholic beverages nor eat any unclean thing (Jge 13:5). He was fatally attracted to Philistine women, marrying a woman of Timnath who betrayed his riddle to the Philistines, and who subsequently was killed by the Philistines (Jdg 15:6). Later Delilah, a Philistine prostitute, also betrayed Sampson, leading to his imprisonment, blindness and subsequent revenge on the Philistines. He judged for 20 years. Samson's name appears in the Hebrew chapter 11 hall of the faithful (Hebrews 11:32)

Key Places:

The Book is rich in place names as the Children of Israel wrestled with their enemies because they had not driven them from the land as the Lord had commanded (e.g. Jdg. 1:19, 1:32, 2:2 etc).

Title: The Book of Ruth, Megilath Ruth in Hebrew i.e. Scroll of Ruth. One of two books in the Bible named after woman, the other being Esther.

Place in bible: Old Testament, eighth book in the Bible, part of the Writings and one of five of the Five Scrolls.[1]

Author: The author is not named in this book or any other. The genealogy provided includes David's name, indicating it could have been David, Samuel or someone after. This author disagrees that it was written post exile.

Date: The book mentions David, so clearly it was witten after he was born; noting the period written about was "in the days of the Judges" which commenced after the death of Joshua approximately 1375 B.C. until Saul was crowned king of Israel in 1050 B.C.[2]

Genre: Historical narrative; legal discourse by example, traditionally read at the Feast of Pentecost. It is essentially a love story; concerns romance/marriage, destitution, redemption and finally romance/marriage (technically; romance and anti-romance, tragedy and comedy, that is, happiness[3]).

Written to: the Children of Israel.

Main idea: The book can be divided into four sections by chapter. Chuck Missler provides a useful summary of each chapter in terms of love[4].

Chapter 1: Prologue, death and destitution (1:1-22): Love's resolve; Ruth cleaves to Naomi.[4]

1.1 Prologue: death of Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion. (1:1-5)
1.2 Naomi returns home bitter with Ruth, but Orpah returns to her people (1:6-18)
1.3 Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem (1:19-22)

Chapter 2: Ruth meets Boaz, Naomi's relative, in the grain field (2:1-23): Love's response: Ruth gleans and provides food to Naomi.

2.1 Ruth works the field of Boaz, gleaning for grain (2:1-17)
2.2 Naomi blesses Boaz and Ruth instructed by Naomi (2:18-23)

Chapter 3: Naomi instructs Ruth of how to gain Boaz for her husband (3:1-18): Love's request: Ruth seeks Boaz as a kingsman-redeemer

3.1 Naomi instructs Ruth (3:1-5)
3.2 Ruth petitions marriage, inviting Boaz to become her kinsman-redeemer (3:6-15)
3.3 Ruth reports to Naomi (3:16-18)

Chapter 4: Boaz executes the law and he becomes the kinsman-redeemer; epilogue containing the off-spring of Boaz and Ruth (4:1-22): Love's reward: Redemption of both land for Naomi and a bride for Boaz.

4.1 Boaz with the town's rulers and transacts the redemption (4:1-12)
4.2 Marriage between Boaz and Ruth and a son is born to Naomi (4:13-17)
4.3 Epilogue genealogy (4:18-22)

Application to Christians: We, like Ruth, are foreigners to the commonwealth of Jehovah, but have been redeemed by the Son of God, to become his Bride. This book is highly relevant to Christians and should be read prior to reading both the Gospels and Revelation.

Note that Ruth did not replace Naomi, where Ruth represents gentiles and Naomi represents Israel; the Church and Israel are two different classes - the Church has never, and will never replace Israel! A Christian accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Lord God of Israel, as Ruth did; "your God will be my God".

The kinsman-redeemer pays all debts, and takes Ruth to be his wife. Jesus Christ pays in full our debt and redeems us from the curse of the law, which is death, with an outstretched hand (1 Peter 1:17-19).

A Christian is a beneficiary of the kinsman-redeemer (Jesus Christ); where the Church is the Bride of Christ, and we inherit as a first-born son inherits.

Key verse: Ruth 4:9,10

And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, from the hand of Naomi. Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day." Ruth 4:9-10

Key events/themes:

The redemption by Boaz: the redeemer had had to meet three conditions:

1.    He had to be a near kinsman.

2.    He had to be able to perform.

3.    He had to be willing because it was optional. If he chose not to, he had to give her his shoe, a symbol of shame; he had failed to do the kinsman's part.

Key words:

Gleaning is mentioned in 10 verses. Ruth a stranger gleans in order to obtain food, a right of the poor in harvest and vintage (Leviticus 19:9-10)

Redeem mentioned 8 times in 2 verses, forms the crux of the story: which is a process of purchasing back forfeited inheritance who had sold land due to poverty. Jesus Christ redeems, saving us from being disinherited forever - we become the children of God, the Father.

Key prophecies:  There are no prophecies.

Key characters:


Means puny or pining one, the son of Elimelech and Naomi


Means God is my king, the husband of Naomi. (Interesting name during the time of the judges because they had no king)


Means unhealthy, the son of Elimelech and Naomi


Means pleasant, the mother of Ruth, who wanted to change or name to Mara meaning bitterness.


Meaning fawn, the wife of Chilion, a Moabites, who returned to her people when Naomi returned to the land of Israel.


Meaning friend, beauty or desirable, the wife of Mahlon, and daughter-in-law of Naomi

Key Places:

Bethlehem: where Boaz came from (Ruth 2:4) is in Judah, and where Jesus Christ was born, a descendent of Boaz through King David as prophesied by Micah (5:2).

Moab:  the people arising from the incestuous offspring of the union between Lot and his eldest daughter. The Moabites refused passage of Israel through her land, and but sold bread and water. Israelites were forbidden to marry Moabites.


[1] The Five Scrolls are the Song of Songs, the Book of Ruth, the Book of Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and the Book of Esther, grouped together in Jewish tradition, but placed after Judges in the Christian Bible being in chronological order: Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. Ruth 1:1.

[2] Endless debate about dates is not helpful - the Bible uses relative dates, hence we can learn that Ruth lived in the time of the Judges when "every man did was right in his own eyes". An exact date would add nothing to this understanding!

[3] Note that comedy in the technical sense is not about making someone laugh, but is an uplifting and joyous time; tragedies deals with individuals that suffer some great fall or setback, the comedy is the opposite: individuals enjoy some great benefit or uplifting.

[4] Chuck Missler (2002) Learn the Bible in 24 Hours, Thomas Nelson, Tennessee USA, pp 73.

Title: First Samuel, The First Book of Samuel in the Christian Bible.

Place in bible: Old Testament, ninth book of the Bible. In the Hebrew text, both books of Samuel appear as one, as do the books of the Kings, and belong to the 'Former Prophets". Thus the Jews class the books of Samuel as writings of the Prophets.

Author: Although the book is about Samuel (which in Hebrew means 'heard of God'), it cannot be entirely written by Samuel , the last of the Judges before the Children of Israel usurped God and made Saul their king, because many events (those after chapter 25) transpired after his death. He did write some it as 1 Samuel 10:25 explains: Then Samuel explained to the people the behaviour of royalty, and wrote it in a book and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. (See also 1 Chronicles 29:29). The Chronicles passage indicates that Nathan the Prophet and Gad the Seer wrote the remainder of this book and the next two.

Date: c. 1100 -1050 BC[1]. (Apostates propose much later dates)

Genre: Historical narrative of Samuel, Saul and David belonging with Joshua, Judges and Kings.

Written to: the Israel and Judah.

Main idea: It narrates the history of the last judge of Israel (13th), Samuel, followed by the choosing of a King by the people based on outward appearance, and his failure, followed by the choosing of a king by God based on his heart, and his success.

1 Samuel commences where Judges left off, and finishes with David being rescued by God from a false and defenceless situation.  Although David is the anointed one of Israel, Saul rules almost the entire book of Samuel, but we find Saul and his son's being buried in the final chapter, killed by Israel's main enemy, the Philistines.

This book contrasts those that are wicked and are judged by God and those that obey the voice of God; faithlessness and faithfulness.


Arno Gaebelein divides the book into three divisions[2]:

I. Samuel the Prophet and Judge

1. The birth and Childhood of Samuel (1:1-28)
2. Hannah's Prophetic Song (2:1-10)
3. The Failure of Eli and His Sons (2:12-36)
4. Samuel's Call and Prophetic Ministry (3:1-21)
5. The Judgment of Eli and his Sons--Ichabod (4:1-22)
6. The Ark in the hands of Philistines and Its Return (5:1-7:2)
7. The Return unto Jehovah and the Deliverance (7:3-14)
8. Samuel Exercising His Office and His Failure (7:15-8:3)

II. King Saul- His Reign and Rejection

1. The King Demanded (8:4-22)
2. The Story of Saul and His Anointing (9:1-10:16)
3. The Open Acclamation of Saul as King (10:17-27)
4. The King's First Victory: the Kingdom Renewed at Gilgal (11:1-15)
5. Samuel's Witness and Warning (12:1-25)
6. The First Failure of Saul and Its Results (13:1-23)
7. Jonathan's Heroic Deed of Faith (14:1-52)
8. War with Amalek: Saul's Disobedience and Rejection (15:1-35)

III. David, the King After God's Heart- His Exile and Suffering

1. David Anointed King and the Departure of the Spirit from Saul (16:1-23)
2. David and Goliath (17:1-58)
3. Jonathan and David and Saul's jealousy (18:1-30)
4. Saul's Renewed Attempt and David's Escape (19:1-24)
5. Jonathan Protects David and Their Separation (20:1-42)
6. David's Varied Experiences (21-27)
7. Saul and the Witch at Endor (28:1-25)
8. David and Achish and Ziklag Destroyed and Avenged (29-30)
9. The Death of Saul (31:1-13)

Key verse: 1 Samuel 15:22

So Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Key events/themes:

Birth of Samuel to Hannah, and the giving of Samuel to God to serve Him in the House of God (Chapter 1)

Eli, a Levite and high priest, along with his family are rejected by the Lord, due to the disobedience of his sons, which mimics the events of Israel two generations after David; who in contrast is a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22).

Israel demands a king, like their neighbours and Saul is made king (Chapter 8 - 10).

David is chosen of God to be king, as a young man (Chapter 16)

David kills Goliath demonstrating the power of God working through his servant (Chapter 17)

David, due to hunger eats the holy bread of the tabernacle, for which he is not punished (noting the theme of obedience vs sacrifice or earthly worship) (Chapter 21). Jesus comments on this (Luke chapter 6: 1-5); on which J.C. Ryle writes - the passage demonstrates what excessive importance hypocrites attach to trifles.[3]

David the anointed leader of Israel (1 Sam 16:13), abstains from murdering his enemy (Chapter 24, 26) who is set on killing David out of jealousy (1 Sam 18:6f).

Saul is judged and rejected for disobedience by Yahweh (1 Sam 15:23). From the actions of Saul we see the Lord wants obedience over sacrifice (Hebrews 10). Indeed Saul is so far from the Lord, that he seeks Samuel through a Medium (Chapter 28), but judged by God he is killed in battle (Chapter 31).

Key prophecies:

The prophecy of Samuel: The evil sons of Eli would die and the house of Eli destroyed (Chapter 3)

Key characters:


Youngest son of Jessie, a shepherd of sheep when he is first mentioned in 1 Sam 16, who was born in Bethlehem. David, is a type of Messiah, the king of Israel who saves them from their enemies and establishes a throne in Jerusalem, on which the Messiah will rule. Yahweh makes an everlasting Covenant with David (2 Sam 7:11-16) giving the throne of Israel to him for ever.


A high priest whose failure to keep his family in order mimics the state of Israel under the judges - each man did what was right in his own eyes.


The mother of Samuel (Chapter 1), whose piety overcame the pain of being childless, and prays earnestly to the Lord who responds. She gives up her only child (and son) for the Lord's work - he works in the tabernacle, which is rewarded by the Holy Spirit, having a book of the Canon named after him.


Last judge of Israel (Chapter 7), and widely known prophet (1 Sam 3:20, 21), the son of Elkanah and Hanna, born in Ephraim, dedicated by his mother (1 Sam 2:1-11) to the office of a Nazarite at 12 year of age (as tradition has it), before the people demanded (Chapter 8), and God allowed them to replace Samuel with Saul, as king (Chapter 9).


A tall and handsome man, whose heart was not with the LORD, a prophet (1 Sam 10:10) and who the people made king chosen because of his looks (Chapter 10) (contrast with the choosing of David - the Lord examined his heart 1 Sam 16:7). He did evil in the sight of the Lord and was rejected; proclaiming sacrifice was more important than obedience. For this reason alone the Lord rejected him.

Sons of Eli

The sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas were evil and caused the people to rise up against the governmental system of the day, demanding a king. The Lord killed them in battle against the Philistines when the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant (Chapter 4), as 'a man of God', had prophesied (Chapter 2).


A faithful servant of the Lord suffered domestic violence from her husband Nabal. Abagail understood the position of David who blesses her when she responds, in contrast to her husband, to David and his men's needs. God judges Nabal for his evil and Abagail becomes David's wife. We see the contrast here of Nabal, at peace and David hungry, hunted and in need. Abigail's faith saves David due to her appreciation of who David was.

Key Places:


The place of David's origin (1 Sam 17:12), one of the oldest towns in the land of Israel, and where the Lord Jesus Christ was born as was his ancestor, Ruth.

Valley of Elah

Place where Israel and the Philistine arrayed themselves for battle, and where David killed Goliath.



[1] Halley's Bible Handbook, Zonderman, USA

[2] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros , USA , pp 237,8

[3] J.C. Ryle (1976 reprint) Expository Thoughts on the Gospels Luke. James Clarke & Co, UK, p 159, I relation to Luke 6: 1-5

Title: Second Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel in the Christian Bible.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 10th book of the Bible, also the Second of the Book of the Kings, since it narrates the story of the David. In the Hebrew text, both books of Samuel appear as one, as do the books of the Kings, and belong to the 'Former Prophets". Thus the Jews class the books of Samuel as writings of the Prophets.

Author: Second Samuel may have been written by David. The Chronicle's passage indicates that Nathan the Prophet and Gad the Seer wrote the remainder of this book and the next two.

Date: c.970 BC[1]. (Apostates propose much later dates)

Genre: Historical narrative belonging with Joshua, Judges and Kings.

Written to: Israel and Judah.

Main idea: It narrates the history of King David after Saul's death, the establishment of the Davidic kingdom (which will have no end), his reign over all Israel, commencing with his reign of Judah. The book may not be in historic order with the last four chapters forming an appendix of the deeds of the king and his victories and failures.

Second Samuel records the sin of David, God's discipline and David's restoration, showing the judgement, mercy and grace of God, to a man after God's own heart.  It demonstrates the sinfulness of sin, the abhorrence God places on sin, and what grace is. The book shows that peace and prosperity becomes a snare to mankind, and even the most trustworthy disciple can be tempted to sin.

The book closes with the atoning sacrifice that appeases God, whose wrath had been kindled due to the pride of David and who in response (after a dialogue with David) caused a plague to breakout. Through grace is David saved, as are we.


Arno Gaebelein divides the book into four divisions[2]:

I. David king of Judah and the events of his reign

1. David's Lamentation for Saul and Jonathan (1:1-2)
2. David Anointed King over Judah (2:1-7)
3. Abner's Revolt and the War which Followed (2:8-32)
4. Abner's Deeds and End (3:1-39)
5. The Death of Ish-bosheth (4:1-12)

II. David king over all Israel and the events of his reign

1. David Anointed King Over All Israel (5:1-5)
2. David's Conquest of Zion and Victory over the Philistines (5:6-25)
3. The Ark Brought to Zion (6:1-23)
4. The Lord's Promise to David and the Covenant (7:1-29)
5. The Extension of His Kingdom (8:1-18)
6. David and Mephibosheth (9:1-13)
7. The War with Ammon and Syria (10:1-19)

III. David's sin, chastisements and restoration

1. David's great sin of adultery with Bath-sheba (11:1-27)
2. The Message of God and David's Confession. The Beginning of the Chastisements (12:1-31)
3. Further Chastisement: Amnon, Tamar and Absalom (13:1-39)
4. David and Absalom (14:1-33)
5. Absalom's Conspiracy and David's Flight (15:1-37)
6. The Sorrows and Testings of the King (16:1-23)
7. Absalom, Ahitophel and Hushai (17:1-29)
8. The Civil War and Absalom's Death (18:1-33)
9. The Return of the King (19:1-43)
10. The Revolt of Sheba (20:1-26)

IV. The appendix to the history of David

1. The Famine and the Wars with the Philistines (21:1-22)
2. David's Song of Deliverance (22:1-51)
3. The Last Words of David and the Record of the Mighty Men (23:1-39)
4. David's Failure: the Altar on the Threshing Floor of Araunah (24:1-25)

Key verse:

No particular key verse, except perhaps 2 Samuel 7:12-16 - see key prophecies, above.

Key events/themes:

The key events follow the divisions of the book. The following are a few of note.

  • David is made King after being usurped by Ishbosheth for two years, as king over Judah and Israel (1 - 3).
  • The Ark of the Convent is brought into Jerusalem, and David danced before the Ark during its journey (6).
  • Jehovah makes a convent with David and his decedents (7).
  • David subdued the Philistines, which lasted until the end of Solomon's reign.
  • David seduces Bathsheba who becomes pregnant, but the child dies because David had her husband killed in battle. The judgement upon David included having adversaries for the rest of his life - some from his own family (11, 12).
  • Amnon rapes Tamar (the beginning of sorrows for David subsequent to his adultery with Bathsheba), and is murdered by his brother Absalom (13)
  • Absalom tries to usurp the crown but is killed by David's men.
  • David undertake a census of Israel, against the Lord's will, and is punished by Jehovah (24).
  • David seeks to build a temple for Jehovah, but is denied by God, however, purchases the land to do so (24) - which Solomon undertakes after David's death.

Key prophecies: The Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7)

"When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." ' " 7:12-16

Key characters:


The son of Ner, cousin of King Saul, commander-in-chief and very astute politician. His marriage to Saul's concubine was the beginning of his downfall, seen as a threat by Ishbosheth, who was set up as king by Abner, then joined David (chapter 3), who showed favour, but was murdered by Joab, much to David's consternation (Chapter 3).


Third son of David and usurper to the throne, and murder, killing his brother Amnon for raping his sister. He was subsequently killed in battle (against David's wishes) after having sexual intercourse with David's concubines while conspiring to take the crown, and requiring David to flee Jerusalem.


The daughter of Ammiel, wife of Uriah the Hittite (11:3) whom David committed adultery with and who become pregnant. The child died soon after birth much to the grief of both parents. David then sent Uriah sent into the heart of battle and who subsequently died, and David marries Bathsheba. Jehovah then judges David and Bathsheba (their family would rise up against them, and David had to fight for the rest of his life 12:11) - their child dies, (11, 12), but the Lord comforted Bathsheba and she subsequently bore Solomon, the successor to David as King of Israel.


Youngest son of Jessie, a shepherd of sheep when he is first mentioned in 1 Sam 16, who was born in Bethlehem. David, is a type of Messiah, the king of Israel who saves them from their enemies and establishes a throne in Jerusalem, on which the Messiah will rule. Yahweh makes an everlasting Covenant with David (2 Sam 7:11-16) giving the throne of Israel to him for ever.


Youngest of Saul's sons, reigned two years over Israel, as King Saul's legitimate successor. He was murdered by two soldiers.  


David's nephew, the son of David's sister Zeruiah a commander of David's servants and later commander-in-chief (18:6), who joined in Absalom's rebellion. David's son Abner killed Joab's youngest brother, and revenges this when Abner is brought into favour by David, by killing him. He successfully brought Absalom into David's favour, who later rebelled, setting out to usurp the throne. When David replaced Joab as command-in-chief with Amasa (19) he kills him (20).


Saul's crippled grandson, son of Jonathan, who had a miserable life, losing both father and grandfather in wars at 5 years of age, and suffering the loss of his legs from childhood. David, to show kindness to Saul's house, brought Mephibosheth into his own house and treated him as a son. Further misadventure through mis-representation caused by Ziba occurred later in life.

Key Places:

Jerusalem is mentioned 30 times in 2 Samuel and was the place where David reigned over Israel and Judah 33 years (5:5) and near which David purchased the field in order that a permanent temple be built (24:18-25) which was carried by Solomon (see 1 Kings).



[1] Which is approximately the end of David's reign

[2] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros , USA , pp 259.

Title: Esther, the Book of Esther; (meaning a star), to Jews the Volume of Esther i.e. megillath Esther (shortened to The Volume).

Place in bible: Old Testament, 17th book of the Bible, part of The Writings, and in particular the Five Scrolls, and is read yearly by the Jews at the Purim feast on 14th and 15th Adar, (See the 9th chapter), the second and final book named after a woman (c.f. Ruth).

Author: The author of this book is not given. Traditionally Ezra is ascribed the authorship although many suggest Mordecai, such as Josephus. Other authors have been suggested but Mordecai or Ezra is most likely.

Date:  The events of the book took place during the reign of Ahasuerus (485 to 464 BC). The events mentioned in Esther therefore happened between Ezra chapter 6 and chapter 7 and hence the presumption of Ezra as author.

Genre: Historical narrative of certain events, that were to be remembered by the Jews, which could have resulted in the annihilation of the people of God, but through God's providence He saves His people, noting that the Jews did not recognise God by name, and God does not reveal His glory to the Jews, who are His people, in this book. The book does not mention or even allude to God or His providence, although it is clearly evident.

Written to: the Jews of the Old and New Testament (Esther 9:20).

Main idea: The providence of God toward His people who have remained in exile (King Cyrus of Persia had allowed the Jews to return to their homeland freely) rather than return home to the Promised Land, who are hated by pagans, and wish them utterly destroyed. God's people could not be recognised as such, assimilating themselves into the heathen ways of the pagan world, hence Jehovah was unknown to them, and He hid himself from them, so although His glory is not evident at this time but His work is; noting that God's work is not (nor can it ever be) hidden.

Application to Christians: Christians often avoid this book or read it merely has a good 'story'. It contains salient reminders to Christians and provides insight, through its types, of the work of Christ. It reminds Christians that God's providence is always present - coincidences do not occur. Vashti is the gentile wife who wants to be equal to her husband the King, fails to display her beauty to the world, and is rejected; Esther succeeds Vashti; a Jewess over all gentiles, and epitomises the one who honours and obeys, for it is the Jewess that will be the bride of the King on this earth; Haman the gentile is evil and seeks to oppress and destroy the Jews and is cut out, and Mordecai, the Jew, initially despised (though celebrated by the King) and rejected, but finally celebrated, is a type of Saviour. The types relate to this world; it is not a heavenly picture - Esther needs to be read with Romans 11.


I. Chapters 1-3: The plot to destroy the Jews

Chapter 1            Ahasuerus rejects Vashti, the pagan Queen, whose beauty she refuses to show

Chapter 2            Ahasuerus makes Esther, a Jewish orphan, Queen

Chapter 3            Haman promoted and his plan to destroy all the Jews on the 13th day of the twelfth month (Est 3:13), a date chose by lot.

II. Chapters 4-10: God's providence saves the Jews

Chapter 4            Mordecai advises Esther and Esther responds

Chapter 5            Esther's banquet and Haman's preparation

Chapter 6            Ahasuerus has Haman publically honour Mordecai, for saving the King

Chapter 7            Esther plead for her people, Haman's fall and execution

Chapter 8:1-9:16 The Jews' vengeance

Chapter 9:17-32 Institution of the Purim feast to celebrate the salvation of the Jews

Chapter 10          Epilogue

Key verse: No key verse - the narrative needs to be read in its entirety.

Key events/themes:

Unfortunately, the world does not recognise, nor do they want the people of God. An evil prime minister (Haman) plots to annihilate the Jews, but through a set of God directed events, a Jewish orphan becomes queen to King Ahasuerus instead of the vain Persian queen, Vashti (representing the world). Hadassah, known to the Persians as Esther, is beautiful, intelligent and obedient to Mordecai. She was also brave, facing death (Est 4:11) rather than seeing her people killed, and petitions the King to let the Jews go. The subplot is about the wisdom of Mordecai, the cousin of Esther, who was his ward, and his treatment under the treacherous Haman. The feast of Purim (named after the method Haman used to choose the date for the destruction of the Jews) is instigated by Mordecai (Est 9:20-22) and authorised by Esther (Est 9:29,32).

Note three feasts:

1.       Feast of Ahasuerus at which Vashti is rejected due to disobedience (Est 1)

2.       Feast of Esther at which Haman is rejected by the King and executed (Est 7)

3.       Feast of Purim where the salvation of the Jews from the wicked Haman is remembered (Est 9)

Key words: None outstanding

Key prophecies:

The Prophecy of the fall of Haman by his wife: When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him, "If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him." (6:13)

Key characters:


King of Persia, mostly likely Xerxes in Greek history. Note that the name, like Pharaoh is a general one indicating kingship.


A beautiful Jewess from the tribe of Benjamin, whose Persian name 'Esther' means star, was called Hadas'sah (myrtle) by her parents, the daughter of Abihail, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite, both of whom had died, and was cared for by her cousin Mordecai.


An Amalekite, whom God rejected due to their disobedience (1 Sam 15), who was chief minister for the King, and who was hanged for trifling with the Queen (Est 7:8), although God use the occasion to save His people, whom Haman had orchestrated to have killed.


A Jew and cousin of Esther who was his ward, a Persian name, being an exile of Israel living in Shushan (Babylon). He was the chief minister of the King and orchestrated the salvation of the Jews using Esher as the messenger.


Queen of Ahasuerus, who refuses to come to the King, and be displayed in all her beauty, and after the rulers of Persia advised the King, boldly, to dismiss her, she is thrown out, which became the first step in God's providence to secure His people.

Key Places:

Shu'shan (Susa): Where the palace of King Ahasuerus, king of Persia lived, the capital of Elam most likely a province lying south of Assyria and east of Persia.

Title: Job, The Book of Job or the Writings of Job.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 18th book of the Bible, placed in the third section of the Hebrew Bible, the Kethubim, known as the Writings (Hagiographa) along with the other poetical books (The Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon and Lamentations) but in the Christian Bible, Job is immediately before The Psalms etc.)

Author: Unknown

Date: Disputed by the liberals - it is definitely one of the oldest, if not, the oldest book of the Bible - the Hebrew style attests to this fact.

Genre: Poetry (noting that its form is Hebrew so not typical of that we understand to be poetic); being a great dramatic poem offering moral instruction of the soul, based on the true story of Job - it is not the imagination of an ancient writer!

Written to: all people.

Main idea: The main idea handled in the book is the moral government of God at the level of the soul, concerning His righteousness in a world with sufferings; and in particular reconciling the suffering of a just and godly man with the God' righteousness. It examines how one can understand the authority of evil undertakings, including persecution, in light of the goodness of God (outside the revelation of the grace of Christ Jesus). It speaks of how a believer can walk righteously (uprightly) when evil is all around and affliction crushes all and furthermore, how one can trust God despite the adversity.

The book shows the true nature of Satan contrasted with God, with God being the centre of all action. The true lesson of Job can only come from God - his friends are fruitless, and in the end the book demonstrates the tender mercies of a gracious God.  Overall, the book concerns a gentile, and the suffering of his soul.

Application to Christians: The book answers three great questions:

  1. Why do the godly suffer?
  2. How can their suffering be reconciled with the righteousness of God?
  3. If God is love and He loves His saints why have does evil affect them, spiritually, physically and mentally?

It does this by answering two questions:

  1. Will a person fear God for nothing? (Job 1:9)
  2. Where can wisdom be found (for without wisdom the 3 questions in purview cannot be answered) (Job 28:12, 20 - answer in v. 28)

A Christian learns from this book that wisdom can only be gained from God, in the absolute silence of all human voices - for no human can offer anything of value (although used of God - thus compare Elihu with those of the other three men). And in developing wisdom a person will answer the first question "yes" - one does and will fear God without benefits. We do so because we are God's creation; and in this we see God places all humans on trial in this book - Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. (Job 38:3). Suffering occurs because of sin; the extent of suffering attests to the sinfulness of sin. It is in this we can appreciate the extent of God's grace by offering His Son, once for all, for our sins (Hebrews 10:12).


  1. The Introduction (Job 1:1-5)
  2. The controversy between God and Satan and the results (Job 1:6-22; Job 2:1-10)
  3. The controversy between Job and his friends
    1. First series of controversies: the friend's arrival (Job 2:11-13)
    2. Second series of controversies: Eliphaz's address (Job 15:1-35)
    3. Third series of controversies Eliphaz's address (Job 22:1-30)
    4. The testimony of Elihu (Job 32:1-22; Job 33:1-33; Job 34:1-37; Job 35:1-16; Job 36:1-33; Job 37:1-24)
    5. God's testimony and controversy with Job (Job 38:1-41; Job 39:1-30; Job 40:1-24; Job 41:1-34)
    6. The confession of Job (Job 42:1-6)
  4. The epilogue and Job's restoration and blessing (Job 42:7)

Key verse: Job 42:2-5

"I (Job) know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?'

Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, 'I will question you, and you shall answer Me.'

"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You."

Key events/themes: The wisdom of God versus that of humans

Key characters:


Clings to his faith in God, but his self-justification was his downfall - only God can justify through the blood of Jesus Christ. Job needed to learn that suffering was justice and mercy allowing him to understand fully the sinfulness of sin. In this the sovereign God reigns and in Him Job must put his trust.


A native of Teman, in Idumea, more calm than the next two friends of Job, but spoke error, not speaking right of God (Job 42:7-9)


"Son of contention, disputant" a Shuhite who spoke in error, not speaking right of God.


A friend of Job who also spoke in error and likewise not speaking right of God


Is young and enthusiastic, and unlike the other three men, provides some insight to Job's problem - God will judge the world, and here and now he providentially and morally controls all its matters.

Title: Ecclesiastes, the title is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew for "preacher" הֶלֶת‎‎קֹ (Qoheleth)

Place in bible: Old Testament, 21st book of the Bible, part of the Writings of the Hebrew Bible being one of five books of the scrolls, read by the Jews at Sukkot ie Feast of Tabernacles.

Author: King Solomon, third king of Israel, the last king before the nation split into Israel and Judah; "The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem." (Ecc. 1:12)

Date: c. 970 - 930 BC

Genre: Wisdom literature, "is practical direction for obtaining substantial wholeness out of the brokenness of natural life" and "is concerned with the application of truth (from creation and the Law) to daily life and choices" David Malick[1].

Written to: all people.

Main idea: The problem Solomon could not solve was; given everything that a man could do, whether in material possession or in intellect, why live? Because, whether rich or poor, fool or wise, happy or sad we all die. Furthermore, no-one will remember you (Ecc. 2:16). This is however resolved partially in chapter 12: "Remember now your creator" and in verse 13 of the same chapter "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is man's all".

Application to Christians: Life could be considered meaningless if we merely lived and died with no effect on anything or anyone. But because we can live and die and rise again to be with Christ life has all meaning. We live for the creator to do the purpose of the creator and merely pleasing Him gives us purpose. The meaning in our life comes about as we do the commands of God, love him, love others as he loved us and we go about telling others of that love. We will have eternal purpose when we tell the gospel of Christ.

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water"  John 7:37, 38 (KJV). This solves the crux of the question posed by Ecclesiastes and provides all Christians with an assurance of their salvation.

Key verse: question - Ecclesiastes 1:3, answer - Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

The book answers the question: "what profit [gain] hath a man of all his labour which he taketh [toils] under the sun?" (1:3) with the answer; Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. (12:13)

Key events/themes:

Part I: chapters 1-6

1. Prologue and searching begins: (1-2)

2. The results of the search: (3-4)

3. Exhortations on different vanities and conclusions: (5-6)

Part II: chapters 7-12

1. Good advice of the natural man, discouragement and failure: (7-9:12)

2.  Praise of wisdom and philosophy, the final word and the great conclusion: (9:13-12)

Key prophecies: There are no direct prophecies.

Key characters:

The Preacher who is King Solomon (Chapter 1:1)

Key Places:

Earth, heaven.

The heart of a man.


[1] David Malick, An Introduction to The Book of Ecclesiastes;

Title: Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs (Latin and Greek versions) or Shir ha-Shirim in Hebrew.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 22nd book of the Bible, the 3rd book of Solomon, but in the Hebrew Scriptures it is the first book of the Megillot[1] of the Writings (Hagiographa).

Author: King Solomon, Son of David

Date: Mid-10th century BC, or around 970 to 931 BC.

Genre: Poetry written by two people - a bride and bridegroom, along with some others, that form a conversation about their love for each other, and how love grows with time. It is one of the few pieces in Scripture where a woman is given voice.[2]

Written to: all people (although Jewish in nature).

Main idea: A Bridegroom and his Bride describe love; physical, mental and emotional, which includes the physical, sexual and mental attributes that arouses them and gives them pleasure filling each with delight, warmth and pleasure. It demonstrates God's law in relation to the fidelity of marriage - they only have eyes for each other; male and female as God created them. It is noteworthy that Solomon who had 1000 wives found satisfaction in one only wife - a poor simple shepherd girl (SoS 1:18), whom he gave his whole heart.

This book describes with great delicacy the beauty of the female body, a reason why many have found it difficult to read - which stems from the failure to separate the ancient notion that sex was sinful[3], and the fact God has given sexual drive to humans to be enjoyed in a marriage relationship. And it is in this that the framework for the poem is constructed - the framework of marriage of a man to a woman.

This Book's imagery is not unique in Scripture - Psalm 45:1-17 and Psalm 72:1-20 have the same imagery. A glimpse of the language is given here - Shulamite speaks of her Bridegroom:

"O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret places of the cliff, Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely." Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes. My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds his flock among the lilies. Until the day breaks And the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, And be like a gazelle Or a young stag Upon the mountains of Bether.

(Song of Solomon 2:14-17)

Some indicate that the book allegorises the love of Christ for his People - the Godly Remnant. The narrative is full of symbolism in relation to love of a male (Solomon) and his bride (Shulamite SoS 6:13). Some have described the book as erotic literature - this is wrong and far from the truth - eroticism is about sexual arousal, with no regard to love of sacrifice (agape); this book is all about love which includes the adoration of the beauty of being sexual. For this reason many Christians (and Jews) have failed to either read or appreciate this book - it is a text book for all married couples, and should be studied.


  1. Chapter 1 - chapter 2:1-7 Certainty of Love
  2. Chapter 2:8-17 - chapter 3:1-5 Search for Love
  3. Chapter 3:6-11 - chapter 5:1 Fellowship of Love
  4. Chapter 5:2-16 - chapter 6:1-9 Restoration of Love
  5. Chapter 6:10-13 - chapter 8:1-4 Testimony of Love
  6. Chapter 8:5-14 Perfection or Love

Application to Christians: That the principle allegory is the love of Messiah for the remnant Israel, does not exclude the wider application of Christ's love for the Church, who loved to the extent he laid down his life for her (Ephesians 5:25) - displaying fully the purpose and extent of love (agape). Marriage is a symbol of the love of Messiah for the remnant of His people Israel, and the love of Christ as Bridegroom for his Church, the bride. Both pictures are displayed in the Song of Solomon.

The book also speaks of the human body, as God created it, in physical terms along with its purpose, including the purpose of sexual pleasure, which takes placed within the auspices of agape love. It displays the pleasure God had in creating the human form and finding it 'good'. In relation to the woman's breasts, the book is explicit; in other aspects the meaning is buried in metaphors.

Unlike the world in its sinful pursuit of sexual pleasure without love, Song of Solomon displays the true nature of love between a bride and groom in which sex is an integral part. The metaphors are Hebrew to the core and there is much debate as to their meaning. Anyone with a knowledge of Shakespeare will comprehend the breath of language that can describe sexual pleasure.

Key verse: Song of Solomon 2:1-4

I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys. Like a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters. Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, So is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, And his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.

Words of importance

Love                Used 72 times in 58 verses, is the essence of the Book - (30 love)

My Beloved     Used by either the Bride or Bridegroom 25 times in 23 verses

Behold             To mean to gaze at for some period - to consider and ponder (9 times)

Your                The focus of the narrative is always on the other person; love is outward, never inward (60 times + you 49 times), else My Beloved (see above)

Key events/themes:

The theme is marriage, the event if a life of togetherness in love.

Key characters:

The Groom     Solomon

The Bride        Shulamite

The watchman           

Daughters of Jerusalem        



[1] Consists of Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther.

[2] Others include Ruth, Mary, and Elizabeth, while the book of Esther is about Queen Esther.

[3] Sexual intercourse outside of marriage is sinful, and under the Mosaic law punishable. When a married person has sex with someone not his or her spouse it is call adultery (and grounds for divorce), and between unmarried people is called fornication.

[4] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros , USA

Title: Daniel, the Book of Daniel.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 27th book of the Bible, a major prophet (part of the third section of the Hebrew Bible). Note that the apostates deny this Book, yet Our Lord quotes from it freely.

Author: Daniel, an Israelite in exile from Jerusalem, taken to Babylon.

Date: The date is easily calculated - the first verse states the historic context: "third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah" (Dan 1:1), hence commences in 605 B.C. and ends about 536 B.C. (the 3rd year of Cyrus - Dan 10:1).

Genre: Prophecy, mainly to Gentiles, hence its use of Aramaic rather than Hebrew for the greatest portion where gentile kingdoms are dealt with, i.e. chapters 2 - 7.

Written to: Jews and Gentiles including the Church.

Main idea: The Book 1) Encourages the Tribe of Judah, taken into captivity, that God is sovereign, and 2) shows the sovereignty of God to all peoples, in particular in the rise and fall of the Gentile dominions of the earth.

At a personal level this book is about enduring during a time of discipline achieved through the encouragement of Jehovah, who has all under control.

Application to Christians: Both the narrative and prophecy of Daniel teaches Christians how to live, behave and walk in the time of the gentiles, living in the land of the enemy (since Christians have their citinzenship in heaven). The book givess confidence in Jehovah's faithfulness to His people. Even under tyrannical rulers, God is in control - the rule of God will overcome all rulers. It provides an insight into the times to come.


The Book needs to be careful studied for its form is unfamiliar to western readers. The majority of the Book is the form of an X - called a chiasm. The central portion is written in Aramaic, being to gentiles. The X comes from the correspondence in the chapters: Chapter 2 with 7, 3 with 6 and 4 with 5. This section is 'book-ended' with chapter 1, 8-10, which are written in Hebrew. Hence Chapter 2 cannot be read without reading Chapter 7 etc.

The book can also be divided into two sections - I. The historical events of Babylon at the time of Daniel, and II. The prophecies of Daniel

I. Narrative: Daniel In Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, And Historical Events

Chapter 1      The disciple of God against his people: Daniel and his companions in Babylon

Beginning of Aramaic

Chapter 2      The Great Prophetic Dream of Nebuchadnezzar - Gentile History climaxing with God as ruler

Chapter 3      An attack on the faithful of God - fiery furnace

Chapter 4      Revelation to a gentile king - Nebuchadnezzar

Chapter 5      Revelation to a gentile king - Belchazzar

Chapter 6  An attack on one who is faithful of God - lion's den

II Prophetic - the Prophecies of Daniel

Chapter 7      The Night Visions of Daniel - Gentile History climaxing with God (The Ancient of Days) ruling

End of Aramaic narrative

Chapter 8  The Vision of the Ram and the He-Goat: Persia and Greece

Chapter 9  The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks: Jewish History until the Second Coming of Christ

Chapter 10 Daniel is prepared for the final prophecy seen as a vision

Chapter 11 The Wars of Ptolemies and Seleucidae prophesied and the Coming Events of the End

Chapter 12 The Great Tribulation and Israel's Deliverance

Key verse: Note that this book is part prophetic and part narrative; all provide evidence of the sovereignty of God.

Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. Daniel 2:20-21

A verse of importance from a Gentile

And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, "What have You done?" Daniel 4:34-35

Key events/themes:

The key events relate to men of God who stood by their faith, whatever the consequence:

  1. Attempted forced idolatry and the casting of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego into the furnace and their survival (chapter 3).
  2. The fall of Darius as prophesied by God, who announced his fall in writing on the wall of the banqueting hall, which was interpreted by Daniel (chapter 5).
  3. The attempted forced idolatry on Daniel ordered not to pray to God, accepting the fate of being thrown to the lions, but spared by God (chapter 6).

The other narratives surround the various prophecies that were foretold, and Daniel's state of mind (e.g. Chapter 10).

Key words:

Most High God

The acknowledgment of the supremacy of Jehovah above all other gods, in particular "your God (the God of Daniel) is God of gods" Dan 2:47, thus dealing with the polytheistic gentiles who did not know the Lord God Most High. Used 14 times in 13 verses.


God (Elohim)

Mentioned 59 times in 52 verses (out of 12 chapters and 357 verses), as Most High God, God of heaven, God of gods, Son of God, Holy God, God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, Spirit of God, the living God, Jehovah (i.e. Yahweh) God, Jehovah My God, Jehovah Our God, God of his fathers. The idol gods of Babylon are mentioned 22 times.

Key prophecies:

Sequence of kingdoms of this world, from the time of Babylon to the second coming of the Messiah: Babylon, Medes and Persia, Greece, Rome. The strength of each kingdom is given.


Chapter 2: First dream of Nebuchadnezzar - the image of different metals

The fall of Nebuchadnezzar, his humiliation, acknowledgement of the God of Heaven, and return to power.


Chapter 4: Second dream of Nebuchadnezzar - the tree.

The fall of Babylon under the Medes and Persians


Chapter 5: Handwriting on the wall.

Prophecy of the kingdoms of this world seen as four beasts - expansion of the prophecy from chapter 2.


Chapter 7: Daniel's visions of four beasts, the little horn and the ten kingdoms.

The coming Messiah represented as the Ancient of Days, who is the Judge and will rule the earth; the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.


Chapter 7: Daniel's vision of the coming and the reign of the Messiah.

The prophecy of Persia and Greece where Greece overthrows the Medes and Persians, the division of the Greek empire and its downfall. The prophecy looks further than just the immediate time - (Dan 8:23-25) but to the Last Days referenced as 'latter time'.


Chapter 8: Daniel's vision of the Ram and Goat.

The seventy weeks determined for the Jews; referred to as the 'seventy Weeks of Daniel'. The 70 weeks is portrayed in three parts; 1) Seven weeks for rebuilding of Jerusalem, 2) 62 weeks - the time from the rebuilt Jerusalem to the death of the Messiah, and 3) one week - the tribulation of the Jewish people and judgements of the whole earth.


Chapter 9:24-37 Daniels prophecy after his pray and confession for the sins of Israel (9:1-23).

Prophecies of the wars of Ptolemies and Seleucidae, the wars in the Last Days.


Chapter 11

Prophecy of the Great Tribulation - "the End Time", the deliverance of Israel.


Chapter 12

Key characters:


Meaning, God is my judge, renamed Belteshazzar (keeper of Bel's treasures) by the Babylonians, an Israelite taken into exile by the Babylonians at a young age


Meaning, God is gracious to me, renamed Shadrach (king's messenger) by the Babylonians


Meaning he who is as God, renamed Meshach (of Shach a goddess) by the Babylonians


Meaning (God is my help) renamed Abed-Nego (servant of Nego) by the Babylonians


The ruler of Babylon, greatest of all the Babylonian kings, who took Jerusalem in the 3rd year of Jehoiakim. He was the son of Nabopolassar, the founder of the Babylonian empire.


The final king of Babylon, a man of sensuality, profanity and idolatry, felled by God using the Medes and Persians.


A Medo-Persian King over the realm of the Chaldaeans.

Key Places:

Note the four empires have not ceased to exist; in various forms and without any real world influence they all exist today.

Babylonian empire

Head of gold (chapter 2), like a lion with eagles wings (chapter 7)[1]

Media and Persian empires

Chest and arms of silver (chapter 2), like a bear, raised up on one side, with three ribs in its mouth (chapter 7), represented as ram with two unequal horns[2] (Chapter 8).

Greek empire

The thighs of bronze (chapter 2), like leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back and had four heads (chapter 7), represented as a he-goat (chapter 8)

Roman empire

Legs of iron and feet of iron and clay (chapter 2), a terrifying beast with teeth of iron, with 10 horns, another one arises and replaces three (chapter 7), representing 10 kings (Dan 7:24), followed by the beast who puts down three kings.

Alternative attribution of the symbols to powers

There is a growing move to represent the fourth kingdom, or at least its toes, as the Islamic state; not as a uniformed state, but one divided, represented by the ten toes, strong but brittle. This presumes the literacy of the place names in Revelation 14:8 etc., hence Babylon is the place in Iraq not an analogy for Rome (there are good arguments why this must be the case). However, few commentators have followed this trend thus far. There is no space to elaborate here.


[1] Note that the lion represents Babylon in the book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 4:7; 49:19; 50:17), and eagles symbolize Babylonian armies (Jeremiah 49:22).

[2] The shorter horn represents the weaker of the pair; Media and the longer Persia. The combined two are found within the ram itself.

Title: Hosea, The Book of Hosea, the son of Beeri.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 28th book of the Bible,1st book of the minor prophets (although not the first minor prophet to be written[1]).

Author: Hosea the son of Beeri (verse 1:1).

Date: Hosea prophesised in "in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel" (1:2); sixty years in all, from approximately 786 BC to approximately 722 BC.

Genre: Prophecy to Israel that announced the captivity and dispersal of Israel, due to her idolatry, immorality and unrepentant state, which was God's judgement; but the prophecy includes allusions to mercy, a prophecy yet to be fulfilled, when Israel will acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and live in peace in the Land of Israel.

Written to: Israel.

Main idea: This book is mainly made up of one long monologue (10 chapters) of woe pronounced by God (note the absence of "thus says the Lord (Yahweh)". The aspect of the writing is that of God speaking, using short clipped sentences, without any embellishments. The book outlines the absolute unfaithfulness Israel, their awful immorality and unceasing adultery (that is idolatry) trumped by their belief of their own righteousness, interwoven with the outline of the punishment that Jehovah requires to be meted out on her. However, the book is more than just a monologue. Hosea was required by Jehovah to put himself in the same position that He was in regard Israel, and suffer the same emotional and intellectual abuse of a spouse that leaves and openly commits adultery and shows love to many other men.

In contrast the prophet highlights the compassion of Jehovah and His love for His people, and shows the glorious place for the remanent of Israel, that Paul speaks of in Romans, who quotes Hosea (Romans 9:27, 11:5). In some ways it highlights Christendom that has mostly turned her back on God, replacing the truth with the idol of self, and commits adultery with material wealth, yet a small remnant remain, who will be saved.

The book can be seen as three sections:

  1. A wife that has sexual relations with multiple men- a picture/metaphor for Israel (Hosea 1-3).
  2. Contrast of the wife as Israel, a sinful people, who deserve judgement (4-13:8), judgements proclaimed.
  3. The glories of the remnant who believe in the Lord (13:9 - 14:9)

Key verse: Hosea 13:4 NKJV

Yet I am the LORD your God Ever since the land of Egypt, And you shall know no God but Me; For there is no saviour besides Me.

The verse's key is the first word - it connects back and makes the reader want to find out why God had to declare himself in such away. It is obvious that Israel had swapped God for a stone, worshiping baals rather than Jehovah. The verse is true; it gives the one fact all need to know - there is no saviour besides God. All will die; all humans need to present God with a sacrifice to deal with sin. No sacrifice is suitable, except that of the perfect Lamb, this being the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was obedient, unlike Israel. Contrast this verse with Romans 10:8-11.

But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME." Romans 10:8-11 NKJV

Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days. Hosea 3:5 NKJV

Key events/themes:

1:2-5 Hosea marries Goma, a prostitute, which is a picture of the corrupt and adulterous Israel, and something Hosea, a man of God, would have found repugnant. Jezreel, a son, is born to them.

1:6-7 Lo-Ruhamah is born, named by God, meaning "not having obtained mercy", but is later contrasted with the fact a remnant remains to whom mercy will be given.

1:8-9 Lo-Ammi is born[2], named by God, meaning "not my people", which Israel had become - they preferred a god made of stone, not one He who saved them from Egypt and protected them in the wilderness and gave them Canaan.

1:10-11 A glimpse of the future glory of Israel, when they become "my people".

2:1-5 The moral state of Gomer

2:6-18 How the immoral Gomer is to be punished.

2:14-23 The blessings of a relationship with a wife whose betrothal vows are upheld.

3 The history of Israel, past, present and future

4 Jehovah's judgement remarks

5. Judgement of Israel's leaders; priests, people & royal house

6:1-3 Blessings of returning to the Lord

6:4-11 Ephraim and Judah: Jehovah pours out His heart as a father would for sinful and wayward children

7 The depth of human depravity among Israel

8 - 9:9 Judgement of Israel

9:10 - 11:11 Israel, once beloved, guilty, rebuked and punished contrasted with the mercy of God

11:12-13 Ephraim's indictment and judgement

14 Redemption of repenting sinners

Key words:

Mercy (1:6, 1:7, 2:1, 2:4, 2:19, 2:23, 4:1, 6:6, 10:12, 12:6, 14:3)

The import of "mercy" is found in 6:6 "For I desire mercy and not sacrifice". Indeed mercy and truth go together (4:1). Those that acknowledge God will have mercy shown them (2:23 - read also Romans 9-11).

Knowledge (4:1, 4:6, 5:15, 6:3, 6:6, 8:4)

The land of Israel, including all tribes and foreigners had no knowledge of God. They had failed the most basic law: "Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren." Deuteronomy 4:9 NKJV

In their lack of knowledge - they did not know God, and did not comprehend their sin (5:15).

Knowledge is more desirable than offerings - see also Psalm 40:6-8 and Hebrews 10:8.

Key prophecies:  

This is very important Book for understanding why Israel is in the state she is in today (2014) and needs to be read with at least Romans chapters 9-11. It outlines marriage (pictured by Hosea and Gomer, unfaithfulness (much of the monologue in the second section), and prophesises the "devorce" where Israel is dispersed.

Israel has rejected God, and God has rejected Israel (as per Deuteronomy). The time will come when a remnant will believe in God:

Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they shall say, 'You are my God!' " Hosea 2:23 NKJV

Key characters:


Second son of Joseph, the patriarch, who receives the blessing of the first born, whose name means "for God had made him fruitful in the land of his affliction; in the prophecies represents 10 tribes of Israel - the northern kingdom (Judah the other two).


The daughter of Diblaim a prostitute who continued her prostitution even though married to Hosea.  Her name means "completion or ripeness" - one full of wickedness


The prophet who wrote the book, name means salvation, and many believe was an Israelite (rather than of Judah). He ministered for 60 years which is quite remarkable given the hostility towards prophets, and shows the protective power of God. On God's orders marries a prostitute.


Eldest son of Hosea and Gomer, meaning 'seed" or "to scatter" - is also a place name where Jehu massacred the house of Ahab and where Armageddon will take place.


The fourth son of Jacob by Leah and means "praise", and who led the family and is blessed with everlasting the throne of David (1 Kings 8:25 etc).


Son of Gomer meaning "not my people". The father is not stated by the parable; it is likely a man other than Hosea (see 2:1 - 4).


Daughter of Gomer, meaning "not having obtained mercy".

Key Places:

Israel, both the land and the tribes collectively: where Ephraim represents 10 tribes and Judah the other 2 tribes.

As the history is recounted in the oracles, many placenames of Israel are recalled, which with their poignant meaning or past history tells the story and contrasts Israel & Judah's state of unfaithfulness with the faithful merciful God. These include (but not limited to):

Beth Avon (4:15) means house of nothingness, Gilgal (4:15, 9:15, 12:11) the first encampment by Josuah,  Mizpah (5:11) a place in Gilead meaning "hill of testimony" where the first Passover was kept (Joshua 5:1), Samaria (7:1, 8:5, 8:6, 10:5, 10:7, 13:16) meaning "watch tower" and who failed (8:5) etc. along with nations such as Egypt  which epitomises all things worldly.


[1] Note the adjective 'minor' has no bearing on the severity of the situation that the prophet deals with; indeed the entire national of Israel is prophesised to be sent into exile until 1948 when a small recovery commenced, by a so called 'minor prophet'. The 'minor' relates to its word length compared with the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. 

[2] It is never quite stated whether the children are Hosea's or of strangers Goma had sexual relations with: Hosea states in his righteous anger aroused due to her gross immorality: "I will not have mercy on her children, For they are the children of harlotry" Hosea 2:4 NKJV.

Title: Joel, The Book of Joel, the son of Pethuel.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 29th book of the Bible, 2nd book of the Minor Prophets[1].

Author: Joel the son of Pethuel (1:1). The name means 'Jehovah is my God' (or Jehovah is whom I worship), however, there is nothing else known about this prophet

Date: Perhaps written during the reign of Joash (8th King of Judah) 870-865 B.C. but not outside of 890 - 840 (2 Kings 13:10). Amos quotes Joel, who prophesied in the middle of the 8th Century before Christ which gives some idea of when it was written. Gaebelein gives a number of sound reasons for an early date for Joel.[2]

Genre: Prophecy concerning Judah but God in dealing with Judah uses the opportunity to judge the nations (Joel 3:12).

Written to: Israel, Judah (and gentiles - Joel 3:1-26)

Main idea: Joel covers an enormous period of time, from the time of Joash (King of Judah B.C. 884) with Judah in apostasy and oppressed by their enemies, through to the glorious Day of Jehovah, with the Messiah ruling from Mount Zion (Joel 3:16) and Israel worshipping their God in a land of plenty (Joel 2:19). The principal theme is the "Day of Jehovah", whereby God raises the awareness of the impending coming of this great and terrible day by causing massive scarcity of food through locus plagues (Joel 1:4) that had stripped the land bear, along with drought (and bushfires burning the crops Joel 1:19). This great calamity leads to the repentance of the people (Joel 2:12-14) and they call upon His name who comes and delivers them. The second chapter delivers the wonderful prophecy of blessings yet to be fulfilled: God comes into the centre of His people, and he prospers and protects them.

The key divisions mark out the key events.

  1. The plague of locusts destroys the land (1:1 - 1:12)
  2. The people are called to repentance, and destruction ensues (1:13 - 1:20)
  3. The Day of Jehovah (The LORD), peoples response required (2:1 - 2:17)
  4. Restoration of the people, those who call upon the name of the Lord are saved (2:18 - 2:32)
  5. The Lord judges the nations (3:1 - 3:16)
  6. Judah is restored, the establishment of the Messianic kingdom: Christ rules from Jerusalem. (3:17 - 21).

Application to Christians: The Church escapes the tribulation, being taken up into heaven prior to the commencement (John 14:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10), thus this prophecy does not pertain to Christians. It is however a prophecy of hope - judgement against those that hate God, and blessings for the believer.

Key verse:

"Day of the Lord" (5 times); chapters 1:15, 2:1-2, 10-11, 30-31, and 3:14-16.

Key events/themes:

The key events and themes follow the main divisions of the book (see above).

Title: Obadiah, Book of Obadiah or The Prophecy of Obadiah.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 31st book of the Bible, 4th book of the Minor Prophets, Old Testament (and its shortest book).

Author: Obadiah, whose name means 'servant of Jehovah"; nothing else is known about him.

Date: Since the prophecy predates the fall of Jerusalem, and Obadiah is not a prophet of the captivity, nor of the immediate post-exile group (given the book is placed 4th in the Minor Prophets by the Jewish sages), he is one of the very first minor prophets[1]. The book was written when Judah and Jerusalem were being attacked by their enemies. Many dispute this date, noting Obadiah is quoted by Jeremiah and Joel, thus predates these. Note that liberals do not accept prophecy thus will always place prophecy as occurring after the event.

Genre: Prophecy concerning the fall of Edom - both near present future and Last Days.

Written to: the Children of Israel and the Edomites (children of Esau)

Main idea: God will avenge Israel of the enmity from the Edomites, and God will restore Israel. Edom hated Israel (Ezekiel 35), the favoured son (Ps 137:7), and was against Jerusalem (Psalm 83), a hatred that arose from him despising the inheritance Jehovah had promised Abraham through his line (see the Eight Covenants of God), which had been rewarded the younger brother (Genesis 12 & 25). The prophecy concerns Jehovah's judgement of Edom's wickedness.

Edom, despised his birthright (Genesis 25:34) and hence the promises of God, and in his wickedness set about revolting against Judah and becoming independent (2 Kings 8:20-29, 2 Chronicles 21:8-20[2]. See also Joel 3:19 and Amos 1:11) in about 848 BC. Details of Edom's hatred for Jerusalem is enlarged upon in this prophecy along with the prophecy of his utter destruction. We see this hatred in action when Edom unites with Babylon as enemies of Jerusalem (Psalm 137) when it was sacked in 585 BC. However, the Obadiah looks further forward when Gentiles will again attack Jerusalem and Jehovah revenges his anger against Edom, leaving it utterly desolate, when they attempt to take advantage of the attack being undertaken by other nations. It is in Edom that the armies of the nations will be assembled in the last days at Bozrah (i.e. Petra) (Isaiah 34 and 63) and will be judged in no uncertain terms - see in particular Isaiah 34:5-6.

Prophecy outline:

  1. Edom is humiliated and prophecy of destruction (Obadiah 1:1-9).
  2. Reasoning set out: Edom's sin against Israel (Obadiah 1:10-14).
  3. The day of the Lord and the Kingdom of Jehovah: the restoration of Israel (Obadiah 1:15-21).

Application to Christians: God is patient and long suffering, however, he will revenge those that hate him and his people, and punish those that are wicked and full of iniquity. This can only be if one does not accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Yeshua), who died for the sin of all (1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 2:24, 25).

Key verse: Obadiah 1:15

For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.

Key words:

Day of the Lord

The first time this is mentioned

Jehovah (Yahweh)

Mentioned 7 times in 6 verses


The typical description of Edom

Key prophecies:

Edom's total destruction

Obadiah 1:5-9

Destruction of the pride of Edom

Obadiah 1:2-4

Day of the Lord declared

Obadiah 1:15

Israel returns to the land

Obadiah 1:19-20

The Messianic Kingdom of God established

Obadiah 1:21

Key characters:

Esau (Edomites)

Esau the oldest son of Isaac and Rebekah, despised his birthright to become a father of a great nation, inherit land and be a spiritual blessing to all nations, thus despising God to the extent God hated him (Malachi 1:2, 3), and called him a fornicator and profane person (Hebrews 12:16). He sold his birthright to his younger brother for a meal (Genesis 25), as prophesied (25:23).

Key Places:


The place where the children of Esau settled: south of the Dead Sea, and occupying modern day southern Jordan, stretching as far south as modern day Eilat (Elath).


[1] The term 'minor' is not to denigrate his position nor his prophecy, but rather the word 'minor' has been used to describe the length of the book. All small prophetic books are group as one book in the Hebrew Bible, and all large prophetic books, such as Isaiah, stand alone.

[2] This occurred on about 845 B.C., when Jehoram was king of Judah and Jerusalem was sacked by the Philistines and the Arabians with the help of the Edomites (2 Chr. 21:16-17). Some dispute this and say the prophecies refers to the sacking of Jerusalem (mentioned in verses 10-14) in 586 BC; although the word is prophetic not retrospective.

Title: Jonah, The Book of Jonah, although some versions use "The Prophet Jonah".

Place in bible: Old Testament, 32nd book of the Bible, 5th book of the Minor Prophets, Old Testament (and its shortest book).

Author: Jonah, the son of Amittai (1:1), see also 2 Kings 14:25.

Date:  Jonah lived in the time of Jeroboam II (793-753 BC), king of Israel (2 Kings 14) which places the time of the events. In general it must have been written between 8th  and 3rd centuries BC.

Genre: Historical narrative, the book is neither an allegory nor a parable, but a narrative of three events in the life of Jonah. The events in this book are true - one cannot possibly believe the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead after being killed by crucifixion if one cannot believe Jonah was resurrected from the belly of a great fish. Jesus himself draw this analogy; see Matthew 12:39,40; 16:3, 4.

Written to: Jews and Gentiles.

Main idea: God's grace is sufficient for all - his mercy is not limited to the children of Israel but is extended to all nations. Even the most wicked of nations (See Nahum to understand the depth and breadth of Nineveh's "great wickedness") who repent can be forgiven by God. This the prophet Jeremiah expounds:
If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. Jeremiah 18:7-8.

This concept is of utmost importance in understanding the character of God. He is not capricious as some would have, but full of grace and mercy, extending to providing a propitiation for our sin[1]; the Lord Jesus Christ. The main idea also fits with concept of Romans 9 - 11; in order for God to draw his people Israel back to himself, that they might obey and be a blessing to all nations, the gentiles will have the good news [gospel] preached to them and they will respond [see the Book of Acts - Cornelius is the archetype of the gentile saved]:

But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, "I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry." Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me." But of Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people." Romans 10:19-21.

Jonah does not want to deal with the enemies of Israel although God does. God is a righteous judge; He gives time for repentance, which Nineveh had (After about 120 years they fell back to their old wicked ways, did not repent and was wiped from the face of the earth as Nahum prophesied) (Nahum 2:13). The attitude prevails right through the Bible. However, the Jews hated anyone who was accepted by the Lord God Jehovah (Yahweh), and persecuted the Christians most harshly.

Divisions - by chapter

Chapter 1: Jonah is commanded by God to go to Nineveh, a command he disobeys, and consequences ensues.

Chapter 2: Jonah prays from the fish's belly (2:1) and God delivers him, safely on dry ground.

Chapter 3: Jonah obeys God, Nineveh repents and God saves the city.

Chapter 4: Jonah is very disappointed with God's mercy towards the repentant city; God responds to Jonah with a practical illustration, in that God provides a plant that shaded Jonah which is killed by a worm.

Key verse: 4:11

And should not I [Lord Jehovah - see 4:10] spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Key events/themes:

1: Jonah is commanded by Jehovah [Yahweh] to go to Nineveh and preach against its "great wickedness" (1:1). But Jonah flees in the opposite direction on a boat to Tarshish, a place in Spain (most likely).

2: God prevents Jonah from reaching Tarshish by stirring up a great storm; the mariners throw Jonah overboard to prevent all hands being lost, and Jonah is swallowed by a "great fish" for three days and three nights.

3. Jonah is resurrected, and is returned to dry ground by the fish, alive. Jonah goes to Nineveh and speaks God's word; the city repents and Jonah is grieved.

Key characters:

Jonah - A prophet of the Lord, who could not bring himself to speak to gentiles who had and would persecute the Jews, knowing that the grace of God would abound if they repented.

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalms 145:8-9

Key Places:


According to Fausset[2] "Tartessus (as Asshur became Athur, Bashan, Batanoea), a Phoenician city South of Spain; the portion of Spain known to the Hebrew Psalmist (Psalm 72:10)."


The capital of the ancient kingdom and empire of Assyria from Sennacherib's time on, on the east bank of the Tigris opposite modern Mosul, Iraq. The Bible indicates that Nineveh was established in Mesopotamia in the days of Nimrod (Genesis 10:10-12).

[1] Easton's Bible Study states: Christ is "the propitiation," because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations [due to our sin] he expiated our guilt [in full], covered it, by the vicarious punishment which he endured.

[2] Fausset's Bible Dictionary by A.R. Fassett (1821 - 1910): available on line from many web sites.

Title: Habakkuk, the Book of Habakkuk.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 35th book of the Bible, 8th book of the Minor Prophets.

Author: Habakkuk (verse 1), from the Hebrew root that means "full embrace", otherwise we know nothing about him; placing the word of God above the need to tell others about himself.

Date: The prophecy (cf. Habakkuk 1:6) provides the period in which this book was written: not long before the Babylonian siege and capture of Jerusalem, as punishment for the sin of the house of Judah. The prophecy occurs during the reign of Josiah (640 - 622 B.C) and before Nineveh was destroyed in 612 BC.

Genre: This book is a unique prophecy, where the prophet speaks to God and not to people or a nation. The Hebrew is carefully crafted with exquisite structure - and given much of the narrative is directly spoken by God, this is unsurprising. Furthermore, the prophecy does not deliver a direct message, but rather it is a reasoning of a problem - which was a great burden to Habakkuk (1:1). The last chapter is a prayer - and prophecy. Overall this prophecy is a dialogue between God and Habakkuk.

Written to: the House of Judah.

Main idea: The burden of Habakkuk is a question he could not answer: "Why do You [Lord God Jehovah] look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?"  (Habakkuk 1:13b). In this the prophet raises the question of why the Lord is taking so long to judge the wicked. He makes four points

  1. Sin will be divinely punished, at some time
  2. Sin destroys, because sin carries with itself the seeds of its own self destruction
  3. The just shall live by faith
  4. Injustice will be remedied at the Second Coming of the Messiah

The book is in three parts:

  1. Introduction (1:1)
  2. The Burden of Habakkuk (1:2-2:20)
  3. The prayer of Habakkuk (3)

The prophecy is told in response to five questions:

  1. O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? (1:2)
  2. Are You not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? (1:12)
  3. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he? (1:13)
  4. Why do You make men like fish of the sea, Like creeping things that have no ruler over them? (1:14)
  5. They take up all of them with a hook, They catch them in their net, And gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their dragnet; Because by them their share is sumptuous And their food plentiful. Shall they therefore empty their net, and continue to slay nations without pity? (1:15-17)

God responds with:

  1. A statement (1:1-5)
  2. Five woes
    1. A woe to the greedy who accumulate wealth that is not theirs to have
    2. A woe upon those that practice covetousness
    3. A woe upon those that use terry to build a city
    4. A woe those that sexually abuse others after making them drunk
    5. A woe to those that worship idols

The three part prayer makes up chapter 3 answering these challenges, commencing with God's role in Judah's history, followed by their Babylonian exile and dispersion, and finally the period just before the Messiah deals with their enemies and the remnant of His people are saved. The prayer was written to be sung.

Application to Christians: The key message is that God is to be worshiped because He is God not because he blesses those that are faithful to him (3:17-19).

Amongst Christians waiting for the Lord (and those who want God to fix all their ills) there is a certain impatience because the Lord is biding His time. This Book illustrates the sovereignty of God and the means by which He can and will deal with those that oppose Him - but the timing and means is solely His remit. God has a plan - in the case of Judah, the Babylonians were raised up to deal with the wickedness (and in the last days Babylon is again mentioned). This plan was executed in God's time and His manner demonstrating perfectly a theophany. This prophecy also clearly shows that the wicked will be dealt with, justly - all that await this day know that the God of Justice will deal with His enemies. 

This raises the obvious question: are you saved or will you be judged as thee wicked will be at the great day of judgement?

Much rubbish has been written about Habakkuk in relation to Christians - the book is overly Jewish - dealing with the House of Judah. The church is not in purview in this prophecy - for instance the last chapter is not about, nor can be construed as a Christian revival!

Key verse: Habakkuk 2:4

"Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith."

The Book of Habakkuk is quoted by Paul in Romans (1:17), Galatians (3:11) and Hebrews (10:37-38) showing the relevance to Jewish Christians. Its theme is relevant for all Christians today.

Key events/themes: The theme is faithfulness and righteousness; in particular that God is faithful in exercising His justice and thus is righteous. These values are independent upon time and means by which He exercises it. 

The key event spoken of is prophecy is the desolation of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the exile and dispersion of the Israelites in order to deal with their wickedness and violence and injustice. The future glory is also in purview in the last few verses.

Key words:

Lord, God

The Lord speaks - indeed answers the question of Habakkuk in Chapter 2; Lord is mentioned in 11 verses and God in 5

Wickedness, violence, transgression etc

Those that oppose God many verses


The pronouncement of judgement on the wicked, five times

Key prophecies:  

  1. A warning to Judah of its coming judgment at the hands of the Babylonians (Chaldea), and
  2. The comfort of Judah concerning Babylon's ultimate destruction.

Title: Zephaniah, The Book of Zephaniah, although some Bibles add the words "the prophet".

Place in bible: Old Testament, 36th book of the Bible, 9th of the 12 Minor Prophets.

Author: The authorship is given in verse one of chapter one: "Zephaniah the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah." His name means 'Jehovah hides' - as Zephaniah must have been hidden from the atrocity of King Manasseh.

Date: The date is given in the first verse: "in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah". Since he also assumes the Temple is in use, it can also be assumed he prophesied during Josiah's reform which took place in Josiah's 12-18th year of reign, say 630 to 625 BC, but before Nineveh had fallen (612 BC) (see Zeph. 2:13).

Genre: Prophecy focused on the LORD's coming and His great day, extending beyond Judah including the surrounding nations: "And he [Yahweh] will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, and he will make Nineveh a desolation, a dry waste like the desert. "The prophecy has a close range vision - in that it has been fulfilled, and a long range in that the LORD's coming is still pending

The Day of the Lord (Jehovah, i.e. Yahweh) is mentioned seven times in six verses. (1:7, 1:8, 1:14, 1:18, 2:2, 2:3), but also mentioned in 1:10 and 3:8.

Written to: the House of Judah and Gentiles

Main idea: The main idea needs to be contextualised within the political climate of the time: for as with any great reformation, that moves the spirituality of a people towards God, there comes the eventual declension away from God - this happened to Judah, reformed by Josiah, but who fell away to apostasy. She would end in apostasy, be taken captive and eventually be scattered to the four corners of the world (see Isaiah 11:12), because she would not deal with her idols - it was easier to worship stone than the true living God.

The main idea is that "God acts in sovereign grace when man has failed in his responsibility" in that God announces judgement, and then exhorts repentance.

The book has three chapters, but in essence is one prophecy

Application to Christians: Repentance is required by all people, else God will judge you. Jesus Christ speaks of the wrath to come (Matthew 3:7), and Paul announced to the world:

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. (Acts 17:31).

What will surprise some so called Christians is that, like Judah, they will be judged because their faith is of themselves, not God - they worship idols of self, money, position, status etc. Jesus Christ said: repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47).

Repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Key verse: 2:3 & 3:5

Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD's anger. (2:3)

The LORD is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails, But the unjust knows no shame. (3:5)

Key events/themes: The great day of the Lord (1:14), the day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress (1:15).

Key prophecies:

The Day of the Lord (1:14 - 18).

Judgement of the Philistines (2:4 - 7), Moab and Ammon (2:8 - 10) and other nations (2:11 - 15).

A pure language

"For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him with one accord. (Zephaniah 3:9)

Key characters:


Key Places:

The Temple, Jerusalem


Key reference: Reflections on Zephaniah (FA Blair)

Title: Haggai, the Book of Haggai.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 37th book of the Bible, 10th of the 12 Minor Prophets.

Author: Haggai which means to 'keep a feast', or perhaps literally 'festival' or' merry', a returnee of the Jewish exiles who returned under Zerubbabel, who was the head of the people.

Date: The date is fixed by Haggai in verse 1 of chapter 1 being the second year of Darius, that is, Hystaspes; which, according to Bishop Usher, was 519 B.C. or in the 65th Olympiad which is about 520 B.C.; and about seventeen or eighteen years after the proclamation of Cyrus for the Jews to return to their own land which was 534 B.C, and appears to write from Jerusalem.

Genre: Prophecy of the restoration of Judah who had been taken captive by the Babylonians for 70 years. The restoration (as did the captivity) did not occur in one action, but a series of returns of groups of people. The first return consisted of 42,360 people (Ezra 2:64) which included Haggai.

Written to: the House of Judah.

Main idea: This book needs to be read with Ezra, who was part of the second return from captivity and who deals with the spiritual drought of the people. The principle issue at the time was the first group of returnees were expected to re-build the Temple, but they had become complacent. There had been some opposition, but in essence their focus was elsewhere. However, although God's grace had orchestrated the return, the people needed to build the temple and re-establish their worship of God - at their peril - the alternative was assimilation into the pagan culture of the day and eternal separation from God. That is, the focus of the hearts of the people needed to be God centred - hence the need for a temple. Haggis's task was to revive the spirit of the flagging people in order they return to diligently rebuild the temple and to place their confidence in God in the face of opposition. The prophecy is really about the exercise of faith - their hearts needed to believe God and trust in Him.

The book essentially has five addresses in two chapters.

Application to Christians: The prophecy was required because the people wanted to live at ease but God required their diligence and their trust whatever the opposition. We require a believing heart and a faith of action. Even from the ruin state we are in we can see the blessings of God. Christians must lean of God for their support and strength.

God knows his own, and his own need to keep themselves pure. Being assimilated into the world is not an option.

Christians are considered 'living stones' and are being built into a spiritual house. This requires diligence and a trust in God. (1 Peter 2:4-5).

Key verse: 1:4

"Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this [Temple or House of God] house lies in ruins"?

Key prophecies:

I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, everyone by the sword of his brother. (Haggai 2:21b, 22 ESV)

The Persian monarchy was destroyed by Alexander the great, but this prophecy speaks of the time when God will establish his kingdom, as spoke of by Daniel (2:22),

Key characters:

The Lord of Hosts (1:2, 1:5, 1:7, 1:14, 2:4)

The tribe of Judah in Jerusalem returned from captivity

Key Places:

The Temple, Jerusalem


Key reference: The Message of Haggai (FA Blair)

Title: Zechariah, The Book of Zechariah.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 38th book of the Bible, 11th of the 12 Minor Prophets.

Author: The author is named in the first verse as Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, a captive who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem, and was a contemporary of Haggai. The name Zechariah means one whom Jehovah remembers which was a fairly common name at the time.

Date: At the time of the rebuilding of the temple, then the last portion some time later commencing in approximately 518 BC.

Genre: Prophecy including apocalyptic prophecy, speaking about the coming Messianic Kingdom noting the book is arranged in a chiasm (as is Daniel).

Written to: The Houses of Israel and Judah

Main idea: One needs to read 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles to fully appreciate the context of the Book of Zechariah.  The main idea is repentance with encouragement to follow the precepts of God. It however does not contain the rebukes that Haggai contains, but rather it concerns the restoration of Israel from a very close position to one beyond the horizon where we find the Messianic Kingdom, which is preceded by the rejection of Christ and the repentance of the remnant who will look upon him whom they have pieced (chapter 12).

FA Blair in part, sums the main idea up as[1]:

Zechariah touches the past history of Israel, but gives in greater detail the future events from the return of the remnant to the end. He sets out a complete picture of the happenings which are consequent on the rejection of the Messiah by the Jews, reaching right on to the days of ultimate blessing when Jehovah in the Person of the Messiah makes Jerusalem His dwelling-place, and reigns there in righteousness and peace, bringing blessing to Israel and to all the world through them...

The occasion of all this prophecy was not a time of great outward revival, or when God was changing the government of the world and preparing to own Israel publicly. It was when a disheartened and self-occupied remnant of the people whom God in grace had brought back to the land, were roused a little from their self-absorption to do the work of the LORD, that there might be a testimony to His name in the world from His recognized centre. Although a Gentile power still ruled, and Jerusalem was a ruinous heap, and the house of the LORD was scarcely habitable, yet the Spirit of the LORD remained with them. The Spirit of God by the mouth of the prophet was not ashamed to reveal to the feeble remnant the whole counsels of God concerning Israel and His earthly government, when their hearts had been made responsive to His word. He fully announces the glory of Zion in the day when the Messiah reigns there.

Application to Christians: Of the minor prophets, Zechariah has more to say about the Messiah (Yeshua - Jesus Christ) than any other.

  1. He speaks of Christ as "the Branch", a title conferred on the Messiah by Isaiah (4;2) and Jeremiah (23:5). Zechariah speaks of Him twice under this title in chapters 3 and 4 and once in chapter 6.
  2. The crowning of the Messiah as King-Priest is found in the sixth chapter, when the prophet is commanded by Jehovah to order the crowning of the high-priest, symbolical of our Christ, who will be crowned King-Priest.
  3. Zechariah 9:9-10 prophesies Christ's entrance into Jerusalem - the passage has a much longer horizon extending to the coming Messianic Kingdom when all Israel's enemies will be defeated.
  4. The Messiah is spoken of as the Shepherd, and the price of His betrayal being the thirty pieces of silver, quoted in the New Testament; Zechariah 11:12-13 and Matthew 27:9-10.
  5. Zechariah 12:10 records the future death of Christ on the cross, and that He is the pierced One, on whom they shall look, on account of whom they shall yet mourn - ushering in the full restoration of Israel (See John 19:1-42, and Revelation 1:1-20.)
  6. Zechariah 13:7 relates to further sufferings of Christ - the sword is to awake 'against the Man', who is the 'Companion of Jehovah'; that sword is to smite Him and the sheep would be scattered, which is exactly what happened.
  7. Zechariah describes Christ as coming for the salvation of His waiting people (the remnant), and that His feet in that day shall stand on the Mount of Olives (14:4). He was last seen standing on the Mount of Olives, with the promise of His return 'in like manner' (Acts 1:11)


One can divide Zechariah into four parts

  1. Introduction (1:1-6)
  2. The eight visions - all of symbolic character (1:7 - 6:15)
  3. An answer to a query (7 & 8)
  4. Prophecy from Alexander the Great to the Messianic Kingdom, with a focus on the restoration of Judah, and the Davidic Kingdom (9 - 14)

Arno Gaebelein has three divisions;[2]

  1. Eight Visions Encouraging the Rebuilding of the Temple, Chapters 1-6 including the introduction
    1. The horseman among the myrtle trees, 1:7-17.
    2. The four horns and four carpenters, 1:18-21.
    3. The man with the measuring line, Ch. 2.
    4. Joshua, the High Priest, and Satan, Ch. 3.
    5. The Golden Candlestick, Ch. 4.
    6. The Flying Roll 5:1-4.
    7. The woman and basket, also called a ephah, 5:5-11
    8. The four war chariots, 6:1-8.
    9. Appendix: Joshua crowned as a type of Christ, 6:9-15.
  2. Requirement of the Law and the Restoration and Enlargement of Israel, Chapters 7-8.
    1. Obedience better than fasting. 7:1-7.
    2. Disobedience the source of all their past misery, 7:8-14 end.
    3. The restoration and enlargement which prefigure Christ "The Jew," Ch.8.
  3. Visions of the Messianic Kingdom. Chapters 9-14.
    1. The Messianic King, Ch. 9-10.
    2. The rejected Shepherd, Ch. 11.
    3. The restored and penitent people, Ch. 12-13.
    4. The divine sovereignty, Ch. 14.

Key verse: Note that this book is prophetic; all provide evidence of the sovereignty of God.

The future

And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be "The LORD is one," And His name one. Zechariah 14:9

This complements the Law: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!" Deuteronomy 6:4

From a contemporary point of view

"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem." Zechariah 12:2

The reality of this verse is played out in the Media each and every day - Jerusalem occupies the minds of very many all the time.

Key events/themes: The possession of Judah as the inheritance of Jehovah in the Holy Land, meaning that Israel will be restored to the Land that Jehovah has declared as being His. (2:12).

Key words:


The prophetic term for the Messiah: In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing For those of Israel who have escaped. Isaiah 4:2


The house of Israel, the remnant who will return to the Lord - the chosen people of God. In reality it is Jerusalem - "the city of God's mercies on earth." Note that Zion is not the Church (the church does not distinguish Jew from gentile), but represents the Messianic chosen people.

Key prophecies: (there are more within the Book)

1. The Vision of the Man upon the Red Horse Among the Myrtles (Zech 1:7-17)

The providential government of God while the Babylonian empire was in power - the man is Alexander the Great.

2. The Four Horns and the Four Smiths (Zech 1:18-21)

The four horns represent the four kingdoms holding sway on the earth while Israel and Judah are reckoned Lo-ammi (not my people) (Hosea 1:9)

3. The Man with the Measuring Line (Chapter 2)

In all her trouble, Jerusalem is not forgotten: the angel of the Lord sends a man to announce the future blessing for Jerusalem.

4. The Vision concerning the Cleansing of the High-Priest (Chapter 3)

Joshua, the representative of the people; Christ the Messiah is the root and the off-spring of David, will come being the promised Christ the Branch, with the perfect government of Jehovah set up in Jerusalem.

5. The Vision of the Candlestick with the Two Olive Trees (Chapter 4)

Encouragement for Zerubbabel that the temple would not only be started, but completed - and shows God knows the beginning from the ending.  Zerubbabel is a type of the 'true Governor' who will finish the work He begins.

6. The Vision of the Flying Roll (Zech 5:1-4)

The vision highlights the evil that besets Judah (the mat has the dimensions of the holy place in the tabernacle) and shows the judgement of Israel in the last days.

7. The Woman and the basket (Zech 5:5-11)

Again the prophecy concerns the wickedness of the people in the Holy Land, which will be done away with: two evil systems that developed will be judged - apostate Jewry under the Antichrist and the apostate Christendom who will follow the beast will be joined together to oppose the coming Messianic Kingdom; God will destroy both.

8. The Vision of the Four Chariots (Zech 6:1-8)

The world's empires are in view in this prophecy; God governed through them.  The four coloured horses symbolize the four empires known in the world, Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman.

9. Future blessings of Israel (Zech 8)

The fasts will someday be turned into feasts of gladness for the house of Judah

10. The Messianic King (Zech 9-10)

Christ will rule from Jerusalem in the restored Kingdom as promised in the Davidic covenant.

11. The rejected Messiah portrayed as the Shepherd (Zech 11)

Israel doomed after rejecting her Saviour - "I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of this land". Prophecy covers the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD

12. The death of the Messiah and the scattering of the people (Zech 13)

Christ is struck down - the Shepherd is killed and the flock (Israel) is scattered. God will judge them - 2/3 will be killed. The remnant will be 'tried' and restored.

13. Israel restored (Zech 12-13)

Davidic kingdom restoration after the sheep were scattered when Israel rejected her Christ.

14. The coming Day of the Lord (Zech 14)

The final judgement of the nations at Jerusalem and their total destruction, the restoration of the remnant of Israel, the rearrangement of the landscape and the worship of the King by all people. Israel will no longer have enemies.



[1]Blair, Frederick The Word Came to Zechariah (1948)

[2] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros, USA, 736-757 (Also online at ) Accessed 2 July 2017.

Title: Malachi, the Bookg of Malachi.

Place in bible: Old Testament, 39th book of the Bible, 12th of the 12 Minor Prophets and thus the final book of the Minor Prophets (Neviim) and last of the Old Testament. It is the last prophetic voice for nearly 400 years, after which we see John the Baptist (prophesied in 3:1) followed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Author: Malachi a prophet of the Lord; we know nothing more. The word Malachi means "my messenger".

Date: The exact date is unknown, although it was during the captivity that the prophecy was written, and certainly after Haggai and Zechariah since the temple is finished and priestly worship commenced. The time is mostly likely after Nehemiah, since the reform of temple worship had been abused, perhaps 420 BC.

Genre: Prophecy against the children of Israel , announcing the impending coming of the Messiah and alludes to the final judgement.

Written to: the House of Israel (Malachi 1:1)

Main idea: Malachi looks at the state of the people after their return from their captivity at Babylon where their worship did not now glorify Him. The Prophet's heart was filled with sorrow because the people and priests were unaware of their departure from their first zeal, and they were indifferent to his rebuke though he was a prophet of God. The book shows the great insensitivity of the people for Jehovah (Yahweh) and their lack of understanding that their deeds were wicked - there were beholden to formalism that was without merit and idolatrous (they had robbed God, but did not recognise it 3:8) - and they failed to honour God (e.g. 1:6). Malachi also sees the chosen remnant (3:16-18) - they are His; his precious jewels. (3:17).

The moral condition of the Jews in the time of Malachi is the moral condition of the so-call Christians in this age. The Church is dead, they have no need of the councils of God, yet there remains a small number, a remnant who are faithful to God, which are His jewels.

Key verse: (4:4-6)

4 "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

6 And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

Key prophecies:

John the Baptist "Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," Says the Lord of hosts. (3:1)

Coming of Elijah the prophet

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (4:5-6).

Compare with:

"And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist." (Matthew 17:10-13).

Judgement at final day

"For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven (perhaps climate change - see also Deuteronomy 32:22, Revelation 16:9) And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the Lord of hosts (4:1)


[1] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros , USA , pp 738

Title: The Gospel According to Matthew, or simply Matthew's Gospel

Place in bible: New Testament (first book), 40th book of the Bible, first of the four Gospels.

Author: Matthew son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14), a tax collector, also known as Levi and one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ.

Date: Written in about 65 A.D., and covers the period of Jesus Christ from his baptism to his resurrection.

Genre: Gospel written to demonstrate to Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah all Israel was waiting for. Matthew, like Luke, records many of the parables of Jesus and five of Jesus' discourses. The Gospel is topical and therefore includes large blocks of teaching interspersed with the narrative.[1]

Written to: Jewish Christians, in particular.

Main idea: Matthew wrote to the Jews in order to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was and is their Messiah thus the gospel concerns the King of the Jews, who fulfils the prophecies of the Old Testament. The Gospel characterises Christ as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham (Matt 1:1, 2 etc.), therefore connected to the promises of Israel. The Gospel also presents Christ as Saviour - Immanuel (Matt. 1:23).  

Matthew contains the great discourses of Jesus including the Sermon on the Mount and the Olivet Discourse. Matthew (like Luke) records two major groups of parables (amongst others): the parables of God's Kingdom Program - nine parables and the parables of the Olivet Discourse - six parables.

The Gospel is law orientated and demonstrates the Messiah came to fulfil the prophecies of the Old Testament - 11 times Matthew indicates certain action where undertaken to fulfil what was spoken of in the Old Testament.

The rejection of the Messiah is very clear in Matthew (chapter 12 (its leaders), chapter 27:15-23 (its people)) as is the instruction to Israel to evangelise the world (Matt 28:19, 20) which links with 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel in Revelation 7:4. The rejection of Messiah is linked to God tearing of the veil (curtain) of the temple into two (Matt 27:51) and the opening up a new and living way to Himself (Hebrews 10:20).

In the style of the Jews, who had issues with writing and saying the names of God Matthew more than any other refers to the Kingdom of Heaven rather than the Kingdom of God.

Application to Christians: The context of this Gospel must be viewed through a dispensational lens - the Jews in their place and the gentiles in theirs. [2],[3] The gospel establishes Jesus is the Messiah, linking the Old Testament to the New Testament, and the Church Age which would include believers from all races (Matt 16:18; Eph 2:11-22) along with the prophecy that believers will be taken to heaven before the final seven years of judgement of this world (Matt 24:36-42; Luke 21:34-36 etc.). Indeed the general character of the church (in which the visible church on earth would have believers and non-believers is found in Matthew.

Matthew tells us that Jesus is Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt 16:16).

For Christians Matthew says that a believer should; turn to God in the time of temptation, repent, take you your cross and follow Jesus, let nothing stop you believing in Christ - not friends nor family, show compassion, be humble, walk the talk, labour to store treasure in heaven, not earth, believe like a child, know and beleiver Christ is alive and he will be with us forever (Matt 28:20).

The true interpreter of the Law is given in Matthew as Jesus: with Jesus summing up the entire law with two commands (Matt 22:37-30). Christians do not live under the law; Jesus is the perfect fulfiller of the law (Matt 5:17) - but Christians seek to obey their God the Father in love.

The gospel gives a reason for the fall of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews and sets out the sign which the Jews requested (Matt 12:38) and will see (Matt 24:3) which is not required by the church (Matt 16:4).


Division I: The King and the Offer of His Kingdom (1-12)

  1. The King - evidenced by the genealogy, proving royal descent, Jesus is Messiah
  2. The Kingdom - thirty three times in 32 versus the Kingdom of Heaven is mentioned (and not other gospel)
  3. The King and the Kingdom is rejected

Division II: The King rejected along with His Kingdom, Death and Resurrection (13-28)

  1. The rejection of His Earthly People and their Judgment
  2. The mysteries of the Kingdom of the Heaven
  3. The Church
  4. The Mount of Olivet Discourse

Matthew also has five (long) discourses:

  1. Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7)
  2. Missionary Discourse (Matt 10)
  3. Parabolic Discourse (Matt 13: 1-53)
  4. Discourse on the Church (Matt 18)
  5. Olivet Discourse (Matt 24; 25) or the Discourse on the End Times

Key verse: [4]

Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Matt 16:16-17).

Six times Jesus says "follow me": 'Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."' (Matt 16:24)

Key words:

Kingdom (56 times):

A kingdom requires 1) a right to rule, 2) a rule, 3) a realm to be ruled, and the function of 4) kingship, i.e. a throne and king.

The Messiah (Jesus) is not of this realm, but of heaven, but will return to earth at his Second Coming (Matt. 3:1-2, Matt. 4:17, Matt 10:5-7). Daniel noted that the God of heaven will set up a kingdom never to be destroyed (Daniel 2:44).

Kingdom of heaven (33 times):

Can only by interpreted by understanding the dispensation of the time. Jesus uses parables to explain the mysteries of this kingdom; where mystery means otherwise unknown truths.

Key prophecies:

In general the gospels speak of the fulfilment of the prophecies, but the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24 & 25) is the greatest of the prophecies of Jesus, which foretells the destruction of the temple along with various matters which will come to pass in the last days and the coming Kingdom.

  1. The destruction of the temple foretold (Matt 24:1-2)
  2. The questions of the disciples (Matt 24:3)
  3. The end of the age; events preceding his coming (Matt 24:4-14)
  4. The great tribulation and what will happen (Matt 24:15-26)
  5. The visible and glorious return of the Messiah (Matt 24:27-31)
  6. The exhortations of the Messiah (Matt 24:32-44)
  7. Exhortation to be watching, ready and working (Matt 24:43-25:30)
  8. Judgement of the Gentiles (Matt 25:31-46)


[1] Matthew is topical, Mark and Luke are chronological, and John

[2] Replacement theology (where there is a theory that the Church is now Israel - usually believing it will receive the blessings, either literally but more usually mystically - called allegorical interpretation, but not the cursing as outlined in the Law e.g. Deuteronomy 27 etc.) has no place in God's governance and in fact, like the Pharisees in Matthew 12 says God lies, because Nation Israel will not be blessed according to the promises of God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David.

[3] A Christian will severely distort the truth if they do not adhere to this rule - whether parable, miracle or narrative; none of these will make sense if the dispensational context is not firmly secured.

[4] In the instance of Gospel, it is nearly impossible to characterise the book by a single verse.

Title: The Gospel According to Mark, or simply Mark's Gospel

Place in bible: New Testament (second book), 41th book of the Bible, second of the four Gospels.

Author: The evangelist John Mark (who was not an apostle like Matthew or John) - see Acts 12:12. Some have disputed this; nonetheless the book takes the name of the author.

Date: Written in about 65 A.D., and covers the period of Jesus Christ from his baptism to his resurrection.

Genre: Gospel with the active service of Christ in the good news as a servant in focus. The book is a narrative of the life of Jesus Christ as an active and obedient servant (Zechariah 3:8), written notably for Gentiles. Given this, there is no mention of his birth or lineage.  It is supposed the book was written for the Romans.

Written to: the Jewish Christians in particular and the whole world.

Main idea: Zechariah announced the Branch and Saviour of the world was to be 'The Servant', whose characteristics are expanded upon by Paul in the Epistle to the Philippines 2:7 - being the obedient one, and Son of God. Mark's Gospel speaks about the prophets who prophesied concerning the coming Messiah, from Malachi 3:1 and as told by Isaiah 40:3. Overall the Gospel of Mark establishes Jesus Christ as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.

It speaks deliberately to both Jews and Gentiles. The narrative tells us what Jesus did rather than what Jesus said, unlike John's gospel - it is important to remember who Jesus is speaking to or about when reading this gospel. The symbolism is important. For example, the sea which represents the Gentile nations is mentioned in 15 versus. Jesus goes to the borders of Tyre and Sidon - two places that had been prophesied about and that were gentile - and heals a Greek, Syrophenician woman commenting particularly about her faith. In particular the woman, an enemy of Israel, knows her place before the Messiah, and finds his grace.

Being servant focused, the gospel is about the other person: for whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. (Mark 8:35).  Christ is announced as the Son of God (1:1) and it ends with a gentiles recognising this fact; "Truly this man was the Son of God" (15:39). The only others to recognise him as the Son of God were the demons, who Jesus demanded to remain silent to this fact (3:12).  It is only in Mark we hear Jesus refer to his father as "Abba, Father" (Mark 14:36), yet Mark does not recount the use of the term "father" any other time - unlike John's more than 100 references to God the Father.

On the other hand Mark presents Our Lord as the Son of Man (14 verses), a title Jesus uses of himself (Mark 2:10, 2:28, 8:38, 9:31, 10:33, 10:45, 13:26, 13:34, 14:21, 14:41, 14:62).  Indeed the narrative of Jesus's betrayal and crucifixion uses the term Son of Man three times in chapter 14, which is alluded to in the Old Testament - Daniel 7:13-14.

Application to Christians: This Gospel has direct application to all people both Jew and Gentile; thus applicable to all peoples. This gospel is short and concise, an ideal book to study the life and works of Jesus Christ. Mark presents the Messiah in three ways - the king, the servant and as one hidden from the unbeliever. The mystery of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11) is revealed to some, commencing his work "preaching the kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14), revealing the gospel in term of the Messianic Kingdom (Mark 10:15, 11:19 etc.).


Arno Gaebelein divides the book into four[1]:

Part I. The Servant; who He is and how He came. Chapter 1:1-13.

Part II. The Servant's work; not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Chapter 1.14-10:52.

Part III. The Servant in Jerusalem. Presented as King and rejected. Chapter 11-13.

Part IV. Giving His Life a ransom for many. Chapter 14-15:47.

Part V. The Servant Highly exalted. Risen and Ascended; His commission to His servants and working with them. Chapter 16.

Key verse: Chapter 10:45

But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Mark 10:42-45

Key events/themes:

The gospel is sown by the Lord, and the seed springs up and grows in the believer, without any action by the sower; showing how the gospel will spread across the world without the king being present. On harvest the sower (Jesus Christ, the Messiah) returns. Only Mark tells the parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29)

Key words:


The gospel is short and is developed by short and concise description of events. Four hundred and sixty (460) times in the KJV does the sentence commence with "and" even for Greek is a very high count, but shows the continuous nature of the narrative in the Gospel of Mark.


Used (36 times), straight away (KJV). The Book concentrates on the action of Jesus, rather than what he did, as in John's gospel


In 16 verses is the kingdom mentioned, being the Messianic Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14, 15, 10:15 etc.) Indeed in this gospel Jesus begins his ministry by preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God; where Christ testifies that the time has been fulfilled; there was no need for any further prophecy on the subject - God was going to set up His kingdom, and therefore the Jews should repent (Mark 1:15, 6:12) and receive the good news,


In 8 verses is the gospel mentioned; as something Jesus preached (Mark 1:14), something all should heed, and thus should repent (Mark 1:15), something for all nations (Mark 13:10, 14:9, 16:15)

Key prophecies:

The Book is not prophetic in the sense of the Old Testament, but rather a testimony of the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament. Indeed Jesus goes further, and rebukes the leaders of Israel because they looked for a sign of the coming Messiah - Mark 8:12.

Key characters:

Mark is very particular about naming people, including the following

The Lord Jesus Christ

 Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, Teacher or Rabbi, Prophet, Lord or Master, Son of David, King of the Jews or Israel.


 Five of the great prophets of the Old Testament; Moses, Abiathar, David, Elijah & Isaiah.

People of prominence

 at the time including John the Baptist, Herod Antipas, Herod Philip – Tetrarch, Herodias, Pilate, Barabbas.

Jesus Family

 Mary, James, Joses, Judas, Simon, sisters of Jesus, Mary mother of James the Less

The twelve apostles

 Simon Peter (Peter), James (the son of Zebedee), John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (the son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot

Other disciples

 Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, a blind, Jairus, a synagogue ruler, Joseph of Arimathea, Levi, son of Alphaeus, a tax collector, Mary Magdalene, Salome, woman at the tomb, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, Simon the Leper.


 A number of anonymous individuals, Jewish groups such as Pharisees, Sadducees etc. are mentioned.

Key Places:

Judea and Environs

Jordan River (1:5, 9)

Idumea - or "beyond Jordan (3:8; 10:1),

Judea, as a region (3:8; 10:1; 13:4)

Jericho (10:46)


Bethsaida (6:45; 8:22)

Caesarea Philippi (8:27)

Capernaum (1:21; 2:1; 9:33)

Galilee, as a region (1:14, 39; 9:30; 14:28; 16:7; etc.)

Nazareth, Jesus' hometown (1:9, 24; 10:47; 14:67; 16:6), and its synagogue (6:1-6)

Sea of Galilee and its shores (1:16; 2:13; 3:7; 4:1, 35; etc.)

Outside of Israel

Decapolis a district with 10 cities (5:20; 7:31)

Gadarene region (5:1)

Tyre & Sidon (3:8; 7:24, 31)

"The other side" of the Sea of Galilee (4:35; 5:1, 21; 6:45; 8:13)

Near and In Jerusalem

Bethphage (11:1), and a nearby village (11:2)

Bethany (11:1-12; 14:3), the house of Simon the Leper (11:3)

Gethsemane (14:32)

Golgotha of Place of the Skull (15:22)

Jerusalem (3:8; 7:1; 10:32; chapters 11 - 16), including:

the temple (11:11, 15, 27; 12:35)

the treasury (12:41)

the "upper room" (14:13-15)

the High Priest's house (14:53)

the praetorium or Roman Governor's residence (15:1-20)

Mount of Olives (11:1; 13:3; 14:26)

The Tomb, where Jesus was buried (15:46-47; 16:1-8)


[1] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros, USA, pp 15

Title: The Gospel According to Luke, or Luke's Gospel; more usually Luke.

Place in bible: New Testament (third book), 42nd book of the Bible, third of the four Gospel books of the Bible.

Author: Luke (Lucanus usually shortened to Lucas) a gentile physician (Colossians 4:14) and evangelist, and fellow helper of Paul (e.g. 2 Tim 4:11) who also authored The Acts of the Apostles (Acts).

Date: Around AD 50 and 60, and in any case before 63 or 64.

Genre: Gospel, commencing as a letter to a friend, however, in essence it is a synoptic gospel of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, written to a single person, Theophilus a Greek leader, narrated by an eye witness who gathered the information and as guided by the Holy Spirit so wrote (Luke 1:1-4).

Written to: Theophilus a Greek (1:1) in particular and by extension to Gentiles (and the whole world).

Main idea: The work is by a gentile[1] to a gentile, written under divine instruction. Luke focuses on Christ Jesus as the perfect man - the Son of Man (e.g. Luke 5:24 and twenty five other occasions), his moral perfection & glory and as saviour of man in the context of the history of man (Luke 1:71; 2:11 etc.). As summarised in Hebrews 5:1-2, Christ is displayed in Luke in his full humanity, as our high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled and separate from sinners. It provides evidence Christ has authority (Luke 4:6) over all things.[2]

Overall the gospel covers the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ - it finishes with the saints 'praising and blessing God'.

We see in Luke 3:6 the summation of the work of Christ: 'all flesh [humans] shall see the salvation of God'.  The gospel has a focus on the kingdom of God, mentioned specifically in 32 verses.

Although from a gentile point of view, Luke does not lose sight of the fact Jesus came for his own - and recites the parable of the great Banquet, where the master seeks the Jews first then the Gentiles, which accords with the instructions given to his disciples in relation to the order in which to evangelise the world (Acts 1:8; Romans 1:16)

The gospel records much more detail around Jesus' birth than the other gospels, such as having no room in the inn, his first resting place in a manger, his first 12 years and time in the temple, along with the details of John's birth, Gabriel's visit to Mary and the announcement of the coming birth of Christ, and the praise of the two women and Zacharias. Luke also focuses on prayer - that fact Jesus prayed often (e.g. Luke 3:21; 5:16; 6:12, 13), including individuals (e.g. Luke 22:32) along with others (Luke 1:13) along with the importance of pray (e.g. Luke 18:11; 21:36).

We see in great detail Jesus' arrest, false accusations, and trial, Jesus being delivered by the Jews to the Gentiles who crucified him, followed by his resurrection and appearance to his disciples. We see at his resurrection that fulfilment of prophecy which all must recall: "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." (Luke 24:7).

Luke is not a re-write of Matthew and Mark, nor as some apostates say, from a lost manuscript; but rather he writes as he saw and heard. Arno Gaebelein lists 58 additional items not mentioned in any of the other Gospels[3].

Note the genealogy in chapter 3: it is not the same as Matthew's and this is not a mistake (nor a reason to suppose the Bible is untrue). Luke's genealogy starts at Mary - or Miriam as she would have been called in Hebrew - by naming her husband in keeping with Jewish rules for writing genealogies[4] and moves down (rather than up) the generations and proves a physical relationship between the Son of Man and Adam and thus God. This is in contrast to Matthew who proves the Jewishness and relatedness of Jesus to David by starting with Abraham and David (Matt 1:1) but also proving Joseph could not be Jesus' father, for if he was, Jesus would have no right to the thrown since he was a descendent of Jeconiah and no descendent of Jeconiah would never occupy the thrown (Jer. 22:24). We see that Mary was a descendent of Nathan, David's son, and not a descendent of Jeconiah. We are also told that Jesus will hold the throne of David by divine appointment - recorded by Luke 1:32, information provided to Mary by an Angel of the Lord.

Application to Christians: Of the Synoptic Gospels, this Gospel is most relevant to Christians; especially those that are not Jews because it is written by a gentile for a gentile. The book sets out the moral character of the kingdom of God - it is to be sought by all (Luke 12:31), requires diligence and (Luke 9:62) whereby a Christian carries out the workmanship of our Lord (Ephesians 2:10). This kingdom is his and we are assured of this being won by the cross and being delivered to him by his Father, and not the Devil, who attempted to do so (Luke 4:5).[5]

In the lead-up to his arrest, trial and crucifixion, we see grace - Jesus instantly goes to the servant of the high priest whose ear Peter had lopped off and heals it, although he is a false accuser.

We also see Yeshua - the Messiah as the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3) - recorded by Luke only to be in such distress that his sweat was as it were 'great drops of blood' (Luke 22:44), reminding every believer of the cost of our sins that Christ paid with his own body, alluded to by the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:12-24).


  1. The Birth and Childhood. Chapter 1-2:52.
  2. The Beginnings of His Ministry. Chapter 3-4:13.
  3. The Ministry in Galilee. Chapter 4:14-9:50.
  4. The Journey to Jerusalem. Chapter 9:51-19:27.
  5. In Jerusalem. Chapter 19:28-21:38.
  6. His Rejection, Suffering and Death. Chapter 22-23.
  7. His Resurrection and Ascension. Chapter 24

Key verse: For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)

Key events/themes:

Birth and life of John the Baptist

Luke gives a detailed outline of the birth of John the Baptist, which leads into the pregnancy of Mary and the birth of Jesus, along with the response of those living in the district (shepherds).


The parables play an important role in the gospels - a message to the disciples undecipherable by the non-followers of Christ (Matt 13:10-17). Of the approximately 40 parables, 28 are in Luke of which 15 are unique to Luke.

Riches and poverty

Stewardship of material possessions is explored; he contrasts only four of the beatitudes with four woes against the rich and well fed. The book begins with the narrative of simple poor people, not the rich nor the rulers. The story of Zacchaeus shows that forgiveness is available for a rich sinner who seeks Christ.

Key words:


God (θεου) is mentioned 125 Times in 117 Verses (10% of verses), more than any other Gospel

It came to pass (KJV)

Translated in the KJV from the Greek και εγενετο, many more times than Matthew, a clause Mark tends not to use, and John simply does not. In other versions often "and while…" or "and when…" is used.

Jesus, Lord

The name of Jesus is mentioned fewer times than all other Gospels, although a longer book, however, Luke uses the term 'Lord' (supreme one) more often than the other gospels.

Kingdom of God

Found 33 times: this is the spiritual kingdom of God and comprises all who have been born again. This Jesus explains to Nicodemus in John 3:3 - Except one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. It is therefore not the messianic kingdom which will be ruled by the Messiah nor is it a kingdom that is the church for it existed prior to the church from Adam until now. It exists in the hearts of all believers; thus Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col 1:13).

Power, Authority

Luke has an interest in the power and/or authority of Jesus and those around him and the exercise of that authority for good or evil. The story of the Ruler who responds to Jesus as a man with authority, is the disciple Jesus would have us be (Luke 7:2-10).

Key prophecies:

The last days - what the period will be like

The wrath of God comes to the earth - none will care: "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all." (Luke 17:26-27).

The righteous are rescued from the wrath of God: "It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all." (Luke 17:28-29)

Key characters:

John the Baptist

The greatest of all the Old Testament prophets (Matt 11:11). Luke provides some details his birth and his interaction with Jesus, but little else.


Cousin of Mary and mother of John the Baptist mentioned by no other gospel writer.

Mary the mother of Christ

As a virgin, conceived and bore the Lord Jesus Christ, a doctrine forsaken by many, but fundamental in the doctrine of the incarnation of the Son of God, along with fulfilling the prophecy of his supernatural conception found in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14). Christ was both human and deity (John 1:1). Luke includes the words and thoughts of Mary, more than any other gospel.

Lazarus the beggar

The story of Lazarus the beggar, who was faithful to God and the rich man, an un-believer, is not a parable but a true story; it illustrates the coming unbelief of this world along wiyh the nature of Hades & Paradise (Luke 16:19-31). The doctrine drawn from this discourse entails the everlasting punishment of the wicked in Hell along with the fundamental fact that salvation is by faith alone.


An upright man; "in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless" and the father of John the Baptist, whose wife was Elizabeth

Key Places:   It is interesting to see the interest Luke had in Jerusalem and in particular the interaction of Jesus with this city of scribes and rulers (e.g. Luke 9:51). He just about mentions Jerusalem more times than the other three put together. Like Matthew Luke includes Jesus' lament for Jerusalem (Luke 13:31-35).


[1] This does not mean he did not know Scripture; Luke quotes the Old Testament 30 times in 24 chapters, from Greek (Septuagint) and Hebrew versions. The fact he constructs a genealogy testifies to the fact Lue knows the Jews.

[2] The approach of Luke is totally different to the way John shows the authority of Christ - where it is always Jesus explaining his authority in John.

[3] Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros, USA

[4] A further proof of this is that Matthew names Joseph's father as Jacob (Matt 1:16); the father of Mary (Miriam) was Heli (Eli in some versions).

[5] Note that the order of the temptation in Luke does not correspond to that in Matthew. This is not an error - Matthew gives a chronological order; Luke gives an anthropogenic order related to Body, Soul and Spirit. For humans the lust of youth needs to be combated, then the lust of the eyes as one earns and desires wealth and status and in old age appeasing the pride of life needs to be put to rest.

Title: The Gospel According to John, or more usually John's Gospel

Place in bible: New Testament (fourth book), 43rd book of the Bible, fourth of the Four Gospel books of the Bible.

Author: The Apostle John, an eye witness of the life of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:1, 2), the son of Zebedee and Salome, the brother of James the greater, a disciple of Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah.

Date: Dating this book is not altogether clear. Various attempts have been made, often to bolster human preconceived ideas. Most likely the book was written prior to The Revelation (also written by the Apostle John) perhaps around the year 90 AD.

Genre: Gospel of unique character, in that it is not a synoptic gospel, that is, is not an historic record of Jesus' life, but rather, it extracts concise excerpts from the life of Jesus Christ, in order to show that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (20:31).

Written to: the all people, in particular gentiles.

Main idea: The main idea conveyed is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and over all the book concerns salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

It is hard to divide the book into sections, although there are three clear sections, with the second being some 15 chapters, or most of the book.

Division I: 1:1 - 2:22 The Son of God, the Eternal Word, is Glory is made manifest

Division II: 2:23 - 17 Jesus Christ, the Son of God; eternal life

Division III: 18 - 21 Jesus Christ lays down his life for the sheep, that he may take it up again

Key verse: Chapter 20:30, 31

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Key events/themes:

Chapter 1

Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, the Light of the World, come to save His own, but was rejected; indeed, come to save the world, not condemn it. He made it possible to become a child of God.

Chapter 2

The first sign is performed demonstrating although he was born of a woman he was the Son of God. He afterward threw the thieves and robbers out from the temple.

Chapter 3

The essence of salvation is in new birth, and the old has to be done away with; the corrupt is to be replaced by the incorruptible, not by the hands of man, but by the resurrection of the Son of Man. If you believe in Christ you will be saved. Christ came to save, He will return sometime soon to condemn.

Chapter 4

Christ also revealed he was far greater than the Jew's forefathers - for Christ came to provide an everlasting spring of living water, which if drunk will render a person thirstless. Eventually both Jew and Gentile will worship the Lord, not in a temple made of earthly hands but in the Spirit and truth.

Chapter 5

The wickedness of the Jews is exposed, for although outwardly pure, their hearts were corrupt. Jesus also presents abundant evidence - a fourfold testimony - when three would have sufficed - that he was the Son of God. Jesus came to do His fathers will.

The chapter shows that a person believing the words of Jesus will pass from death into life.

Chapter 6

Only by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus will you have life. That is, only by believing the words of Jesus and obeying his precepts will you know Jesus. Only through the Holy Spirit will you be sustained.

Chapter 7

The words of Jesus are of the Father. Be-careful about unspiritual advisers - if one thirsts, go to Jesus, for nothing else will satisfy. The wicked attempt to persecute Christ.

Chapter 8

The wages of sin is death - and everyone deserves death, for all have sinned. Jesus states "I am the light of the world" and darkness is in every one's heart, until he or she has been reborn. Christ is able to free us from slavery of sin, and bring us into the light. Chapter 8 also tells us emphatically that before Abraham was, I AM meaning that Jesus was indeed God.

Chapter 9

A theme in the gospel is light and darkness, epitomised by blindness and sightedness demonstrated in the miracle of the restored site of a blind man. The newly sighted blind man is contrasted with the blind Pharisees, who could not see they required salvation, and hence were metaphorically as blind as this man was when he was born.

Chapter 10

The chapter introduces us to Christ the Good Shepherd and to the concept that there is one way to heaven. There is no use trying any other route except through the Father, for all others will fail. This Shepherd loves his flock so much that he is willing to lay down his life for them.

Chapter 11

Introduces us to two themes: 1) Christ was truly man with all human emotions - he had friends who he grieved when they suffered, and thus shows the true perspective of the ravages of sin, and, 2) Christ was truly the resurrection and life.

Chapter 12

Jesus triumphantly rides into Jerusalem: all in all Christ came to glorify His Father - this should be our chief end: to bring glory to the Father.

Chapter 13

A new command is given, demonstrated amply by Jesus who washes the feet of his disciples - the master is the servant of all.

Chapter 14

The discourse of Jesus continues with a new theme, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). This chapter details again the fact that we have the Holy Spirit as our Counsellor, our Helper, and our Friend.

Chapter 15

Believers are grafted onto a new vine. The mystery of the Church is not yet revealed, but this is the core essence of this chapter. Abide in Christ and he will abide in you. This is contrasted with the hatred of the world, firstly for God, then for believers.

Chapter 16

Jesus came forth from the Father to overcome the world which he did, through overcoming death. Jesus also gives hope to all - he is gone for a little while but he will be back soon - in the between time the Holy Spirit will be a witness to believers. He encourages his disciples.

Chapter 17

The prayer of Christ the Advocate (1 John 2:1) to his Father on the eve of his crucifixion. Surely Christ glorified God, and the Father will glorify the Son. The mystery of the church is unveiled a little- the unity that epitomises the bride waiting for her bridegroom and the fact there is no Jew or Gentile, servant or free in the Church - we are all one in Christ.

Chapter 18

Scripture is fulfilled to the letter - Christ was falsely accused, arrested and handed over to be crucified. He was truly a bond-servant, for there was no legion of angels called to save Him (Matthew 26:53).

Chapter 19

Christ became sin for our sake; He came to his own, but his own knew him not. Mankind crucified the king. Christ finished the work that His father had sent him to do - to bear the sins of many (Hebrews 9:28).

Chapter 20

Christ arose; death could not hold him down and he appears first to his disciples then to many others. The purpose of the book is revealed (30, 31).

Chapter 21

Not only did Christ arise as a man, truly the Son of Man, but he ensured that we would know.

Key words:


Occurs 17 times in 12 versus, always concerning the believer abiding in Christ, e.g. John 15:5


Jesus 6 times speaks of either the new commandment or the commandments. The new commandment was to love one another as Christ had love us e.g. John 13:34, 15:12.


The gospel of John is very much about life (light), in contrast to death (darkness). It is mentioned in 39 verses, 47 times, e.g. John 17:3)


Occurs in 20 verses and when spoken of by Christ is agap鬠(the love that lays down a life) else phile󠨡 friend - see John 21 - discourse between Christ and Simon Peter).


Occurs in 18 verses - as part of the evidence of Christ's divinity he did many signs and wonders (John 4:48), so many, John writes, that they could not be written in the book (John 20:30).


John demonstrates the divinity of Christ, therefore evokes a number of witnesses, nonetheleast, Christ himself and his Father. Eighteen verses speak of his witnesses e.g. John 1:17 where he comes as the light.

Key prophecies:  

This books is not prophetic in the sense that we see in some Old Testament books, but rather, it is the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Messiah, the Son of God. Throughout the book Jesus prophecies his own death and resurrection in order to add weight to the over whelming evidence he was the Son of God, e.g. John 2:19.

Key characters:

John the Baptist


Son of Zacharias and Elisabeth (tribe of Aaron), the greatest prophet according to Jesus (Luke 7:28), and forerunner to the Messiah (John 1:19-28. He preached and baptised under the banner of repentance (Matt 3:1, Mark 1:4) and heralded Jesus Christ (John 1:29). Due to the jealousy of Herodias, the wife of the brother of Herod Antipas, whom he had taken for his own, John was beheaded.


Men chosen by Jesus, in whom the Holy Spirit would work mightily to testify to the fact the Jesus Christ was the Son of God (John 14:26; John 15:26-27; John 16:13-14).


A member of the ruling class and secret believer - who comes to Jesus in the night (chapter 3), who clearly was an enquirer of the truth, but timid. However, in John we see his growth so by chapter 7 he is remonstrating with the bigoted crowd. Finally we find him boldly and publicly caring for the body of Jesus (19:39), where John notes his spiritual growth. 


A friend of Jesus and brother or Mary and Martha (John 11:1) who dies, and is raised by Jesus four days later (John 11:38-44).

Woman of Samaria

An adulteress, but with an open heart, comes to an understanding and conviction that Christ is the Messiah, unlike the Jews, who ought to have believed; yet this Samarian woman, despised by the Jews, believes. This is a forerunner of the make up of the church (See Romans 9-11).

Man with illness for 38 years

Many of John's characters are not names, but form part of the narrative that provides evidence of the Messiah-ship of Jesus. This man had no way to enter the Pool of Bethesda, because he was crippled with no friends, and thus was not be healed. (this alone speaks to us of our responsibilities towards others less fortunate)Jesus heals him on the Sabbath, being the Lord of the Sabbath, much to the wrath of the Pharisees (chapter 5).

Man born blind

He was blind because Adam had sinned, not because he had been punished due to some particular sin he had committed (John 9:3-5); Jesus heals him on the Sabbath, for which the Pharisees persecute him (chapter 9).

Key Places:


A small town not far from Capernaum which was on the Sea of Galilee. Four times Cana is mentioned, the first time when Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine. Nathaniel, a disciple, came from Cana.


The most populous and prosperous town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee mentioned five times in John. Jesus spent a lot of time in Capernaum along with his disciples. (Much of the ruins can be seen today).


A province of Palestine, an area in the north eastern region of Israel that was centred on the Sea of Galilee. The area can be divide into Lower Galilee and Upper Galilee - which was also called the Galilee of the Gentiles. Jesus spent much of his ministry in Galilee.

Jerusalem (Zion)

The centre of religious fervour - but without knowledge of Jehovah. As required by law, Jesus went to Jerusalem three times a year, the final time for Passover and his crucifixion. The city is mentioned 14 times in John.


Compared with Samaria, Judea was a dangerous place for Jesus, and he avoided the area (John 7:1). The area was west of the Jordan and south of Samaria.


Samaria a city, sat on a mountain, which became desolate, in accordance to prophecy (2 Kings 21:13, Micah 1:6) due to idol worship. But they slowly moved away from idol worship, built a temple on Mount Gerizim, and learnt the rudiments of Jehovah, enough for the woman at the well to understand who Jesus was. Samaritans were ostracised by Jews, and lay somewhere between Judea (Jews) and Galilee (Gentiles) physically and spiritually. John mentions them seven times.


Title: The Acts of the Apostles, or more usually, just The Acts.

Place in bible: New Testament, 44th book of the Bible, fifth book of the New Testament, and rightly belongs with the gospels.

Author: Luke a gentile doctor, the Apostle who wrote Luke's Gospel known to Paul as "the beloved physician." Colossians 4:14

Date: Perhaps around AD 60 - 62 as per Acts .

Genre: Historical narrative of the commencement of the Church and the spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem to the nations; it is a continuation of the gospel writings, in particular the Gospel of Luke and thus is said to narrate the commencement of the 'Church age'.

Written to: O'Theophilus, by Luke, but included in the Cannon of Scripture for all people, in particular Christians.

Main idea: Acts provides the key to understanding the revealing of the mystery[1] of the Church by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:32; Colossians 1:26) and the spread of the gospel commencing with the command of Jesus (Acts 1:8) along with Romans 1:16. Luke records the spread of the gospel first to the Jew, then the Gentile, starting in (1) Jerusalem, then (2) in all Judaea, and (3) in Samaria, followed by its movement (4) unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). The vehicle for the gospel was the apostles as enabled by the Holy Spirit, which Luke reports upon. The book contains 24 sermons or addresses by Peter and Paul giving details of how the early church approached delivering the gospel and dealing with internal issues in particular involving Jewish religious law. Overall this book:

  1. Completes the gospel of Luke
  2. Gives a defence for the gospel of Jesus Christ: Christianity
  3. Sets out the precepts of the Church, articulated in detail in the Letters to the Colossians and Ephesians.

Application to Christians: Acts needs to be read by Christians. Although often forsaken both by preachers and Christians it is often misused to support spurious doctrines. This book cannot be used to establish doctrines of Christianity; the book has no such purpose. Notwithstanding it provides insights into all aspects of systematic theology and puts into practice the basic doctrines found elsewhere in the Bible. For instance 16 times it identifies Jesus Christ as the Messiah, deals with creation, sin and salvation along with identifying Satan as the one who provided for Ananias to lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11) to name a few. It also has warning for the local church and to those that take the gospel to the unsaved; both of which are highly relevant today (Acts 20:29).


  1. Witness to Jerusalem.
    1. The Holy Spirit is sent, and the Church is formed.
    2. The offer to the Jews and its rejection. Chapter 1-7.
  2. The witness to Samaria.
    1. Saul's conversion and Peter's witness in Caesarea. Chapter 8-12.
  3. The witness to the Gentile
    1. Paul's ministry to the Gentiles and persecution. Chapter 13-28.

Spread of the gospel from east to west:

  1. Gospel goes out to mainstream Judaism - Jerusalem (1.8-6.7)

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith (Acs 6:7)

  1. Gospel goes out to beyond the city of Jerusalem - Judea & Samaria (6.8-9.31)

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. (Acts 9:31)

  1. Gospel reaches the Gentiles - Lydda & Joppa (9.32-12.25)

The word of God increased and multiplied. (Acts 12:24)

  1. Gospel reaches the Gentiles - Asia minor (modern day Turkey) (13.1-16.5)

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. (Acts 16:6)

  1. Gospel reaches the Gentiles - Europe (16.6-19.20)

So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. (Acts 19:20)

  1. Gospel reaches the Gentiles - Rome (19.21-28.31)

He [Paul] lived there [Rome] two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28:30-31)

Key verse: Acts 1:7, 8

He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:7-8)

Key events/themes: The book is an historic narrative covering a large range of events leading to the revealing of the church, with the principal theme of the spread of the gospel.

Key words:


More than in any other book of the Bible (35 verses): Acts is about preaching the gospel, in particular, preaching Jesus Christ as the Christ our Saviour (Acts 5:42).

Spirit (Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Lord)

The gospel is preached by men (e.g. Acts 14:15), but it is the Holy Spirit who "will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13; Acts 1:8) and will "convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:18), and thus will lead a person to Christ. The early church were led every way by the Holy Spirit.


The Apostles were witness to the birth, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; this is an important attribute in authenticating the veracity of the gospel (mentioned 20 times).


Used 21 times; but never to mean the church. Replacement theology is not supported by the Book of the Acts but in every case 'Israel' refers to nation Israel


Used in 19 verses in relation to the baptism by the Holy Spirit or with water. Baptism is a sign one has changed ones association. Note that water baptism cannot spiritually save a person; only faith in Christ can save a person.

Key prophecies: The Book of Acts contains few prophecies, but a salient reminder to all Christians that evil wolves will enter the church and bring destruction (Act 20:29)

Key characters: (only a few are mentioned here)


A disciple of Jesus, a fisherman, and leader of the early church, preaching the first gospel message in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41). He, holding the keys of the church, given to him by Jesus Christ, opened the door of the Church, first the Jews in Jerusalem, then to believers in Judah, Samaria then the Gentiles believers as instructed by Jesus Christ (Matt 16:19).[2]


Named Saul he persecuted the church (Acts 7:58) until convicted by Christ himself (Acts 9:1-31), who renamed him Paul and sent him to the Gentiles to preach the gospel (Acts 13:46, 47; Romans 15:16). A Pharisee born in Tarsus, and a free Roman citizen (Acts 22:27), authored the greatest of the Christian treatise: Romans (and perhaps Hebrews). He undertook four large missionary journeys taking the gospel deal into Europe and Asia Minor.


A Roman gentile centurion, of the Italian cohort, stationed in Caesarea etc., a man full of good works (who gave generously) (Acts 10:1 etc.). With his household, he was baptized by Peter, becoming the first fruits of the Gentile world.


The first Christian martyr, a man of "full of faith and power, who did great wonders and signs among the people" (Acts 6:8), the first of seven deacons of the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-7), whose death was orchestrated by Saul, who later became Paul (of Tarsus).

Key Places: Too many to list here: a good commentary of the Bible will provide this information; however Acts focus on activities in Jerusalem and Antioch in particular.


[1] The word 'mystery' from the Greek, musterion (μυστήριο) means 'secret' or 'hidden' or 'concealed' derived from the main idea of being silent about an idea. The union of Christ and the church is such "a great mystery". When used in the Bible it has nothing to do with a "piece of fiction", a more modern usage, and in common language today.

[2] Peter was not the first pope of the Church; this is foolishness at best and apostasy at worse. The keys of the kingdom were provided to Peter and Peter (Matt 16:19) only (the keys cannot be transferred to other generations) in order to admit various groups into the Kingdom, commencing with the Jews in Jerusalem at Pentecost. In chapter 8 we see the Samaritans believed, but were not yet sealed with the Holy Spirit, bringing them into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). This occurred at the behest of Peter, who with John, prayed this might be so (Acts 8:14-16) and thus turning the key for the second time to admit a new group of people. Once the door of a new group was opened, it stayed opened. In chapter 10, Peter opens the door for the gentiles. See for more about Peter and his role in the early church.

Title: Romans, The Epistle [Letter] to the Romans.

Place in bible: New Testament, 45th book of the Bible, first letter by Apostle Paul, written to the Christians in Rome.

Author: The Apostle Paul, who considered himself a bond servant of Jesus Christ, and was set apart to the Gospel (Rom. 1:1), written to Roman believers, from Corinth. The letter was written by a scribe or amanuensis called Tertius (Rom16:22), and delivered to the church by Phoebe (Rom 16:1).

Date: AD 57

Genre: Epistle or letter - Doctrinal and instructional; some say, forms the centrality of the gospel, and is certainly the greatest treatise of the righteousness of God.


Written to: the church in Rome (1:7).

Main idea: God is righteous. The book is the doctrinal foundation of Christianity, outlining the gospel of God, which due to His righteousness provided a propitiation to deal with sin, and hence redemption for those who believe, thus saving sinners from death, without anything on the part of the sinner that can be done.

Application to Christians: This letter contains the foundational truths of Christianity outlining the gospel for both Jew and Gentile, that salvation is only obtainable by faith by which God's righteousness is revealed (Rom 1:17). As a book in the Canon it is unrivalled in clarity and importance; no Christian seeking maturity can go without this Letter to Gentile Christians, no new Christian seeking understanding can by-pass it. It should be read in its entity - every part is connected to another; it forms a whole.


The book can be divided into three divisions and seven parts:

Doctrine of salvation

  1. Salutation (1:1-17)
  2. Sin (1:18-3:20)
  3. Salvation (3:21-5:21)
  4. Sanctification (6-8)

The sovereignty of God, or proof God can be trusted

  1. Sovereignty (9-11)

Exhortation and conclusion

  1. Service (12:1-15:13)
  2. Conclusion (15:14-16:27)

Key verse: Romans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Key events/themes: The key theme is the righteousness of God.

Only God is righteous (Rom 3:10) and His judgements/degrees are righteous (Rom 1:32, 2:5).

People who are considered righteous by God, have had that righteousness imputed to them by God, though faith (Rom. 1:17, 4:4, 5, 4:22-26). Righteousness cannot be attained by working/doing for God, but by confessing Christ with your mouth and believing Christ was raised from the dead (Rom. 10:9, 10; 14:11). Righteousness is available to all who believe (Rom 10:13).

God demonstrated His righteousness through Jesus Christ's death on the cross (Rom. 3:25) and His righteousness is manifested in the one who believes in Jesus Christ (Rom 3:21, 22; 5:17).

A practical demonstration of God's righteousness is with His chosen people Israel, thought to be abandon by God or substituted by the church. But God's righteousness will not fail (Rom 9:6); although it looks as if Israel is abandoned, He will save Israel (chapters 9-11), because He cannot go back on his promises to Abraham (Rom 11:29) (nor any other). This alone provides the proof to the Gentiles, that if we believe Christ rose from the dead, we will be saved - there is nothing else to do, and we can trust God in this, because He will save Israel.

Fundamentally, the letter to the Romans outlines the Gospel of Christ: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." (1:16) Where the Gospel is a declaration and revelation of salvation by Christ, through faith, not under law.

Key words:

Believe (20 verses)

The essence of the satisfying God is through faith in Him and believing in your heart the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead (9:10).

"And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (4:22-25)

Christ 68 verses

As Christ, Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Son Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:1)

Faith 35 verses (40 times)

Faith is the essence of the claiming the gospel - Israel failed because they did not use faith but works to approach God. Gentiles (and Jews) are being saved and can be saved if they believe in Christ Jesus. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." (3:28)

Justification 16 verses (17 times)

Justification arises from the Old Testament and quoted in Romans (the just shall live by his faith Habakkuk (2:4). One requires justification if one is to be imputed righteous - the converse is one remains in condemnation. Justification is the declaration that a person is righteous. "But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness" (4:5)

Law 52 verses (78 times)

There is a great contrast between the law that can only show how sinful sin is (3:20) and therefore cannot save you (3:28) and grace that brings salvation (5:17 etc). "For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law" (2:12).

Grace 20 verses (24 times)

It is not of ourselves that we are saved, but it is God's grace - free gift to us - that we can be saved. By grace we are no-longer subject to sin.

For a Christian "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (6:14)

Peace 10 verses

Romans contrasts sin as causing our enmity with God (eg 5:10) and righteousness that leads to peace with God. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:1).

Righteousness 34 verses (43 times)

The key element of the book of Romans is that God is righteous (1:17). "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets" (3:21)

Unrighteousness 6 verses

Unrighteousness is the domain of Satan and humans. "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!" (9:14)

Key prophecies:

Israel will be restored when the time of the gentiles are fulfilled (11:25) and they acknowledge Christ as Saviour (10:9,10; 11:5, 11:24 etc). There will be a time when the gentiles will cease from being saved (11:25) and after that the end time will befall the earth.

Key characters:


The first Christian in Asia (16:5)


In this book, Paul outlines his Jewishness (9:1-5) and the weakness of the flesh that befalls us all - we do the things we don"t want to do, and not the things we ought (7).


Delivered the letter (16:1), who was a servant of the Lord, of the church at Cencheeae (Acts 18:18), a deaconess, with the role to minister to the women of the church.

Key Places:

Israel: Mentioned in 12 verses, and is the nation of Israel consisting of the small remnant (9:27, 11:5 ) that will confess with their mouths and believe with their heart the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead (10:9,10, 14:11).

Title: The First Letter (or Epistle) to the Corinthians or The First Letter to the Church at Corinth, or simply 1st Corinthians.

Place in bible: New Testament, 46th book of the Bible, the second letter of the Apostle Paul.

Author: The Apostle Paul who writes to the whole church at Corinth (verse 1:1, 2), written from Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:8) (not Philippi as some versions of the Bible state).

Date: About 55, although some say 59.

Genre: Letter of admonishment due to gross immorality and divisions in the church. The letter is the most concise instruction to individuals and local church on Christian conduct at individual level and church level.

Written to: the church in Corinth and thus Christians (gentiles mainly)

Main idea: A holy life must take instruction from the Holy Spirit and thus Christians must follow His command; overall the letter instructs Christians in a precise manner how to conduct themselves under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and on how the church is to conduct herself - both inwardly and corporately. For instance it provides instruction on the manner and method the Lord's supper is to be conducted, provides instruction for dealing with back-slidden un-repentant Christians and deals with sexual immorality, to name a few. The letter's starting point is viewing a believer as a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19) - and thus our inward and external life must reflect this.

Divisions as inidcated by Gaebelein have merit;

I. The local church and the world. Separation and testimony. Chapters 1-10

1. What grace has done and the assurance which grace gives. Chapter 1:1-9.

2. Contrasts. Chapter 1:10-4.

3. Individual failures. Chapters 5-6.

4. Concerning the sexual relationship of man and woman & marriage. Chapter 7.

5. Concerning meats offered to idols. Liberty governed by love. Chapter 8.

6. The humility of Paul - example. Chapter 9.

7. Concluding warnings and exhortations. Chapter 10.

II. The Church as the body of Christ. Chapters 11-14

1. The headship of Christ and of man. The Lord's Supper. Chapter 11.

2. The Body and the members of the Body. Chapter 12.

3. The need and superiority of love. Chapter 13.

4. Prophecy and speaking with tongues. Chapter 14.

III. Resurrection and the hope of the Church. Conclusions. Chapters 15-16

1. The doctrine of resurrection and the hope of the Church. Chapter 15.

2. Instructions and greetings. Chapter 16.

Application to Christians: The entire book is applicable to Christians - more so today than ever because the admonishments are needed more than ever today due to the immorality that pervades all levels of Christian and church life. Ten times Paul uses the phrase "do you not know" all related to the doctrine of Christianity, and all refer to the fundamental truth: "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? " (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Paul highlights many moral imperatives of a Christians in an assembly (local congregation), these include:

  • stop activities that cause schisms and divisions;
  • keep to the Scripture and avoid the philosophy of man (wisdom of man) - doing so brings the simplicity of the Gospel into contempt;
  • sexual misconduct and fornication is not allowed and if it occurs it must dealt with by the whole assembly;
  • marriage is the intuition in which couples can (and should) have sex; each couple should be saved, and if not, only the unsaved can instigate divorce;
  • keep from idolatry, and all appearances of it;
  • pastors of the church must be supported by the members;
  • the Lord's supper is a solemn affair - avoid conduct that brings it into disrepute;
  • spiritual gift are not evidence of salvation but rather given for the edification and building up of the assembly;
  • the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is fundamental to the gospel (and to all of nature);
  • the assembly must care for poor saints;

Key verse: 1 Corinthians 15:57-58.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Key events/themes: The letter does not speak of events, except that of bodily resurrection in the last days (1 Cor. 15).

Thematically the letter concerns the holy conduct of Christians and their relationships with saints in the local assembly (church). Indeed, this book is most practical in this aspect, and brings the practical application of: "But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Tit 3:4, 5).

Key themes are:

  1. Church divisions and remedy
    1. Denominations
    2. Lawsuits
    3. The church as a body and the need for each to perform his or her role for the benefit of all
    4. Sexual immorality of individuals defiling the church
    5. The proper place for spiritual gifts, abuse of spiritual gifts; building up the local assembly (church)
    6. Orderly meetings of the local assembly: Lord' Supper, head coverings, roles
  2. Sin
    1. The body as the temple of the Holy Spirit
    2. Sexual immorality including incest
    3. Idolatry
    4. Dealing with sin in the church: the need and method of discipline by the local assembly
    5. Self-centeredness and Paul's example of forgoing his rights
  3. The Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian
    1. The role of the Holy Spirit
    2. Being led by the Holy Spirit
    3. Eating food offer to idols
  4. Marriage
    1. Sex - importance and place
    2. Divorce
    3. Unmarried people and their role
  5. Believing and living the gospel; in particular the resurrection of Christ and its importance to all of mankind's salvation
    1. The death and resurrection of Christ
    2. Impact of Christ's resurrection on death
    3. The resurrection of believers to life
    4. The Lords Super
  6. The goal, mission and vision of a Christian
    1. Imitators of Christ, led by the Holy Spirit
    2. Role of individuals in life of a local church
    3. Love its purpose and manner

Key words:


The local assembly is in view in this letter - 21 times Paul speaks about the church. The purpose of a Christian is to be part of the local assembly - and it is the local assembly that reflects the character of God to the world.


Sin and death are linked, and metaphors - "the sting of death is sin" (15:45), used in 8 verses. The gospel speaks of how this last enemy has been voided by Jesus Christ (15:26f).

Do not

A book of moral teaching uses the phrase 'do not' in 30 verses - indicating the depth to which these Christians had failed the truth. Indeed the word do is used in 66 verses and should in 14 verses, illustrating the instructive manner in which this letter is written.

Do you not know (know ye not KJV)

Readers are to recall their former teaching to remember certain facts that impinge the life of a Christian (10 verses).

Flee, put aside, put on

Use frequently to abstain from immoral things and to do moral things

Idolatry and idols

Paul is concerned about Christians that replace God with anything, whether wealth (and coveting), sex or objects - all being idolatry. He urges "flee from idolatry" (10:14) (12 verses).

Leaven, sin

Since the letter is an instruction for moral living, Paul uses the metaphor leaven 3 times and sin explicitly in in six verses


The opposite of death is used in 10 verses- Christians 'should live from the gospel" (9:14), and life comes m Christ.


No other letter refers to woman as does 1 Corinthians (17 verses), with both 'man' and 'woman' mentioned in 8 verses

Key prophecies: There are no prophecies in this letter, but the letter affirms the prophecy of Christ Jesus, who rose from the dead, defeating death (1 Cor. 15:26, 54-56) and speaks of Christ raising those that have died, either to everlasting life with him, or to hell (chapter 15).

Key characters: This letter is not about people, but mentions some such as Sosthenes (1:1), Apollos (1:12, 16:12), Timothy (16:10), Stephanans (16:15), Fortunatus, Acharicus (16:17), Aquila & Priscilla (16:19).

Key Places: This letter is not about places but mentions some places Paul has been to and wants to go to, including Macedonia and Ephesus.

Title: Galatians, The Epistle [Letter] to the Galatians.

Place in bible: New Testament, 48th book of the Bible, the fourth letter of the Apostle Paul.

Author: The Apostle Paul, who considered himself an apostle appointed by Christ Jesus (1:1), and thus by divine authority authored this letter to the churches at Galatia. He had visited Galatia where he had preached the gospel (Acts 16:6), and sometime later re-visited them in order strength them (Acts 18:23).

Date: The date is unsure - it was not written from Rome as some contend, but more likely from Ephesus (Acts 19).

Genre: A letter of admonishment written to Christians, in order to deal with those who wanted to add the Law of Moses to the Gospel of Christ.

Written to: the church in Galatia, and thus Christians (Jews mainly)

Main idea: The Gospel of Christ requires only belief in the Lord Jesus Christ - no additional knowledge or action is required. The Galatians were denying the grace of God by introducing the rites of Judaism, such as the need for circumcision, (see also Acts 15:1), into their gospel Since grace it a favour, it cannot be earned by 'doing' anything, least of all performing rites such as circumcision.

Application to Christians: The letter is written to Christians (churches of Galatia ), and is as applicable to day as it was on the day it was written. Too many churches introduce additional actions (e.g. giving up vices in order to be saved such as smoking) rites (e.g. speaking in tongues), notions, ideas (e.g. purgatory) and errant knowledge (e.g. Lordship Salvation) into Christ's gospel making it of non-effect. The 'new gospel', 'kingdom now', and 'Lordship salvation' along with any form of legalism and dogma of orthodoxy all render the simple gospel of sola scripture impotent, leading to churches being full of unregenerate people destined to hell. The Catholic Church has always epitomised the error of the Galatian churches, but most modern churches of this country also are incapable of preaching or teaching the gospel, due failure to preach salvation by faith alone, being the grace of Christ. Christ Jesus reminded the Jews of their abject failure to preach the truth thus:

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Matthew 23:15

The book emphasises that it is by faith alone one is justified, and the law taught the need for justification by grace, for humans can never be made right through the law. Overall, letter teaches that the law can never justify - we cannot reach God by any effort of our selves.

[K]nowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. Galatians 2:16


  •   Paul defends his apostolic authority (1-2), hence his authority to admonish the wayward Galatians - see 3:1, 3.
  •   The defence of the truth of the Gospel, contrasting law with grace (3-4).
  •   How a believer should walk, being one who is justified by faith, and therefore is no longer under the Law of Moses, and thus by grace should be walking according to the Holy Spirit.

Key verse: Chapter 1:6-7

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:6-7

The Book concerns itself with evil men who have perverted the Gospel with elements that renders it in-operative. Essentially the letter concerns the doctrine of Grace and its practical aspects found in having faith in Christ Jesus - which does not require the law, or any additional knowledge. The efficacy of Christ's crucifixion is not linked in anyway to what humans can do!

Key events/themes:

The letter concerns the doctrine of Christ, rather than entering into narrative of events.

Key words:


Found in 19 verses and is the key verb of the letter - faith with works produces a false gospel leading to its ineffectiveness. This is not a new doctrine, but rather, quoting the Old Testament: 'no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."' (Gal. 3:11)


Paul highlights the wretched weakness of humans by referring to them as flesh (15 verses) which is incapable of producing 'good' under law; the reason why salvation only comes by faith alone through grace. Flesh is the person, rather than the actual body; and is thus the carnal person or natural person.


The law (25 verses) cannot produce righteousness, but rather it was given to teach why we need to be justified by the blood of Christ. The law cannot justify us, but rather it was our teacher (tutor) to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24).


One third of the book is practical (e.g. 5:1 'stand firm', 5:16 'walk in the spirit')- we need to learn that all dogmas are false leading to hell, but also the doctrine of Christ needs to be applied. In this Paul uses the word 'live' (six verses) - to live by faith (2:20, 3:11), live to God (2:19) and to live in the [Holy] Spirit.


The Jews were very concerned about the promises of God, which they tied to keeping of the Law. Paul shows that the promises (10 verses) of God looked beyond the Law to the Messiah (3:16, 3:19, 3:22), the perfect keeper of the Law (Hebrews 7:28).

Note also the contrasts used: "crucified" applies to Christ who was crucified (3:1) contrasted with "I" who must crucify the flesh.

Key prophecies:


Key characters:

The book is about the doctrine of the Gospel of Christ, rather than a letter about people.

God Mentioned in 30 verses, the giver of the promises.

Christ The promised seed (36 verses) in whom the efficacy of the gospel rests (Romans 1:16). Christ is our redeemer (3:13), the one in whom we believe (3:22, 3:27) and who is our justifier (2:16, 17) and in whom we live (2:20).

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Key Places:

Not relevant

Title: Ephesians, The Epistle [Letter} to the church at Ephesus (verse 1), also known as "Pros Ephesious".

Place in bible: New Testament, 49th book of the Bible, the fifth letter of the Apostle Paul, written to Christians in general and those of the Church of Ephesus[1] in particular.

Author: The Apostle Paul, who also wrote at the same time to Philemon and church at Colossi: the letter was taken to Ephesus by Tychicus (See Eph 6:21; Acts 20:4).

Date: Between 61 and 62 A.D, written from Rome evidenced by the fact he was a prisoner (Eph. 3:1; 4:1; 6:20).

Genre: A letter to a group of people, a letter of encouragement to Christians.

Written to: the church in Ephesus and thus Christians (gentiles mainly)

Main idea: The redemption of sinners by the work of Christ alone and the revelation of the body of Christ called the church (which was a mystery) with the elevation of Christ to the highest possible position. Followed by an exhortation of how one should conduct his or her life as a Christian (believer).

The book essentially speaks of the believer's wealth given us, as an inheritance (Eph 1:11) and our responsibility to live according to this wealth.


The book can be seen as two contrasting halves

Chapters 1 - 3
Chapter 4 - 6
Our relationship with God   
Our responsibility towards God
Our Position
Our Practice
Our Privileges
Our Responsibility
Correct Belief
Correct Practice

The book can be divided into two divisions

I. The grand work of God - the redemption of sinners

  1. The work of the Godhead
  2. God's grand work and its purpose (Eph 2:1-10)
  3. The Mystery of the Church now made Known (Eph 2:11-3:21)

II. How a believer should conduct his or her life in a practical manner (walking worthy)

  1. Walking worthy of the calling (Eph 4:1-6)
  2. The purpose of ministry (Eph 4:7-16)
  3. Walking in holiness and righteousness (Eph 4:17-5:21)
  4. Exhortations to servants and masters (Eph 6:5-9)
  5. Conclusion (Eph 6:21-24)

Key verse: Ephesians 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Why? In Him [the Lord Jesus Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Eph 1:7)

How? But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 2:4-8

Note that "grace" is used seven times in this book

Key events/themes: Being a letter it outlines some key events rather than narrates them:

  • Christ died for all sinners (gospel of salvation), reconciling Jews and Gentiles to himself, and dealing with the gulf or wall of separation between God and us (Eph 2:11-14 etc).
  • Redemptive work of Christ (e.g. Eph 1:7)
  • Sealing with the Holy Spirit (Eph1:13)
  • Mystery made known - Gentiles would be fellow heirs with Jews (Eph 3:2-7)
  • The Church made known - (e.g. Eph 1:22)
  • Establishment of the Church - (e.g. Eph 5:23b; 5:24; 5:27)
  • Prayer Eph 1:16; 6:18

Key prophecies: Does not provide future prophecies but speaks of the fulfilment of the prophecies of the OT where the mystery of the Church is revealed.

Key characters:

The pre-eminence of Christ is shown by the remarkable number of times His title "Christ" is used:

Christ is mentioned 42 times, 7 times as Lord Jesus Christ, 12 as Jesus Christ of which 7 is Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus once, Lord Jesus once.

Paul the author

Tychicus (Eph 6:21) who carried the letter from Paul to Ephesus

Key Places: Ephesus

Eastons' Revised Bible Dictionary States:

Ephesus is was the capital of proconsular Asia, which was the western part of Asia Minor. It was colonized principally from Athens. In the time of the Romans it bore the title of "the first and greatest metropolis of Asia." It was distinguished for the Temple of Diana, who there had her chief shrine; and for its theatre, which was the largest in the world, capable of containing 50,000 spectators.

Many Jews took up their residence in this city, and here the seeds of the gospel were sown immediately after Pentecost

At the close of his second missionary journey (about A.D. 51) when Paul was returning from Greece to Syria Act 18:18-21 he first visited this city. He remained, however, for only a short time, as he was hastening to keep the feast, probably of Pentecost, at Jerusalem; but he left Aquila and Priscilla behind him to carry on the work of spreading the gospel. During his third missionary journey Paul reached Ephesus from the "upper coasts" Acts 19:1 i.e., from the inland parts of Asia Minor, and tarried here for about three years; and so successful and abundant were his labours that "all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks" Acts 19:10.

Probably during this period the seven churches of the Apocalypse were founded, not by Paul's personal labours, but by missionaries whom he may have sent out from Ephesus, and by the influence of converts returning to their homes. On his return from his journey, Paul touched at Miletus, some 30 miles south of Ephesus Act 20:15 and sending for the presbyters of Ephesus to meet him there, he delivered to them that touching farewell charge which is recorded in Act 20:18-35.

A part of the site of this once famous city is now occupied by a small Turkish village, Ayasaluk, which is regarded as a corruption of the two Greek words, hagios theologos; i.e., "the holy divine."


[1] Easton's Revised Bible Dictionary: Ephesus: The capital of proconsular Asia, which was the western-part of Asia Minor. " - see last paragraph.

Title: Phillians, The Epistle [Letter] to the Church at Philippi [1], also known as "Pros Philippesious".

Place in bible: New Testament, 50th book of the Bible, the sixth letter of the Aposle Paul, written to Christians in general and those of the Church of Philippi (which was a Roman Colony (Acts 16:12) in particular (A church planted by Paul, with Silas and Timothy).

Author: Paul with Timothy (verse 1), however, since it is written in the first person singular e.g.: "I implore Euodia" or "I implore Syntyche" (4:2); it is clearly Paul speaking. The letter is not apostolic in nature, in that Paul is not presented as an Apostle unlike some other letters e.g.: 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians or Timothy, but as a servant of Christ along with Timothy (1:1).

Date: Some date the letter at 61-63 A.D, written from Rome when he was a prisoner (testified by the early church fathers: Polycarp, Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria) and Acts 28:30,31.

Genre: A letter to a Church

Written to: the church in Philippi and thus Christians (gentiles mainly)

Main idea: The main idea of the book is the experience of one who walks in the power of the Spirit of God. In doing so it assumes the reader knows what salvation is (that is the reader is saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ), and indeed, has experienced some of this walk: pressing forward, being the principal idea. It is interesting to note that the word sin or sins cannot be found in this book - the Christian is viewed in his state of salvation, and it does not enter into salvation as an act of grace, since a true believer knows that his sins are put away for ever - blotted out before God. It also does not speak of justification, peace with God, or indeed the assurance of salvation - this is assumed knowledge - hence the need to read Ephesians and Colossians first before this letter. It does however speak of joy: t he words "joy" and "rejoicing" are used eighteen times in the epistle. Hence the Epistle sets out the real experience of a Christian, along with his or her resources notably the Spirit of God (3:3), or as Paul puts in 1:1 the Spirit of Jesus Christ (??e?µat?? ???s??? ???st???.).


The book is divided into four chapters which fits the content (Per Arno Gaebelein).

Chapter 1.       Christ, the controlling principle of the believer's life

Chapter 2.       Christ, the believer's pattern or model

Chapter 3.       Christ, the object and the goal

Chapter 4.       Christ the believer's strength, sufficient for all circumstances.

Key verse: Philippians 3:8-11

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Phil 3:8-11

Paul counts those things of the world as rubbish (3:8), and encourages the believers of Philippi to also see and seek Christ; from whence Paul obtains his joy. That is Paul's communion with God is what gives him joy - not the things of this world. This letter speaks of the Christian in his or her journey through life, a true Christian experience, as they press on toward Christ Jesus in glory. It articulates the life of a Christian as epitomised by the actions of the Christians in Philippi and of Paul. The Christians had saved and given aid to Paul for his temporal needs (e.g. 4:16, 17), and Paul ministers to their spiritual needs encouraging them in their walk with the Lord:

Key events/themes: This is a letter of exhortation not one of narrative or events - however it does some indicate key events in the life of a Christian:

Prayer and remembrance of brothers and sisters in Christ eg Phil 1:2, 1:4, 1:9, 1:19 and 4:6 - prayer for others, the church and for himself (who is in prison).

Press forward of strive for Christ eg Phil 3:14, 3:17

Rejoice or be joyful - the attitude of a Christian living in Christ eg Phil 1:25, 2:18, 3:1 (commend), Phil 4:4 (command).

Beware of those that use religion to gain access to the hearts of believers and tear them apart live dogs (Phil 3:2).

The giving and receiving of gifts by Paul while in ministry eg Phil 4:16.

Christ, who left is place in heaven, to come to this world as a bondservant, who died for our sins on the cross, and who God exalted above all and eventually every living thing will need to acknowledge this eg 2:5-11.

Key prophecies:

Does not provide future prophecies but articulates people who live within the fulfilled prophecies of the mystery of the OT - the Church.

Key characters: The Lord Jesus Christ which sets the tone of the letter - one needs to know Christ to fully understand what Paul writes. Jesus Christ is mentioned 10 times, Christ Jesus 10, Jesus 2, Christ 17, God 23 times in 22 verses, Lord 15 times, God our/the Father 3

Key Places: Philippi



[1] Easton's Revised Bible Dictionary: Philippi Formerly Crenides, "the fountain," the capital of the province of Macedonia. It stood near the head of the Sea, about 8 miles north-west of Kavalla. It is now a ruined village, called Philibedjik. Philip of Macedonia fortified the old Thracian town of Crenides, and called it after his own name Philippi (B.C. 359) In the time of the Emperor Augustus this city became a Roman colony, i.e., a military settlement of Roman soldiers, there planted for the purpose of controlling the district recently conquered. It was a "miniature Rome ," under the municipal law of Rome, and governed by military officers, called duumviri, who were appointed directly from Rome. Having been providentially guided thither, here Paul and his companion Silas preached the gospel and formed the first church in Europe.

Title: Colossians, The Epistle [Letter] to the church at Colossae, also known as "Pros Colossaeis".

Place in bible: New Testament, 51st book of the Bible, the seventh letter of the Aposle Paul, written to Christians in general and those of the Church of Colossae (Col 1:2) and Laodicea.

Author: The Apostle Paul (See Col 1:1, 4:18), with Timothy (1:1), who also wrote at the same time to Philemon and the church at Ephesus: this letter was taken to Colossae by Tychicus (Col 4:7).

Date: The letter was written during Paul's imprisonment in Rome in 61 or 62 AD after being visited by Epaphras (Col 1:7) who brought good and bad tidings of the church.

Genre: A letter to a group of people, a letter of 1) doctrine of the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, 2) encouragement to Christians.

Written to: the church in Colossae and thus Christians (gentiles mainly)

Main idea: This letter to the Colossians is a counterpart to the Letter to the Ephesians. Ephesians has a focus on the body of Christ, the Church. The letter sets out clearly and unambiguously that:

  1. Christ is God as he claimed to be - e.g. John 14:6, 10:33-38 etc, and,
  2. Christ is true Divinity (Col 2:9) because "in him dwells the fulness of the Godhead". This is more than what Romans 1 verse 20 has to say, where Paul indicates Christ revealed the divine nature of the Godhead to all of creation. In Colossians, it is the essence and nature of the Godhead revealed in Christ, not merely the attributes (perfections) of the divinity revealed.

Colossians has a focus on the head of the Church, Christ. In essence the letter covers four points.

  1. The supremacy and majesty of Christ (1:13 etc.)
  2. The absurdity of the false teaching that attempted to add various notions to the perfect Godhead, in particular mysticism, asceticism[8] and Judaism, which is also known as Gnosticism, where an 'additional mystical knowledge' is combined with the gospel.
  3. Encouragement to the Church at Colossae (or Colosse) and Laodicea
  4. The return of Onesimus (4:9), of whom the letter to Philemon is written (Philemon 1:10) - some suggest Philemon was a Colossian.


1. The person of Christ, his glory and work

a. Salutation Col 1:1-2
b. Thanks giving and Prayer Col 1:3-12
c. The Supremacy of Christ Jesus, the head of creation Col 1:13-18
d. The work of reconciliation and ministry: reconciliation of all things, and reconciliation of believers (Col 1:19 - 29)

2. The Mystery of the Father and of Christ, warnings

a. The mystery of God (Col 2:1-8)
b. Completeness in Christ (Col 2:9-15)
c. Warnings and exhortations (Col 2:16-23)

3. Being Christ like: living as risen with Christ

a. Life hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:1-4)
b. The old man and the new man (Col 3:5-11)
c. Showing forth Christ in conduct (Col 3:12-17)
d. Conducting relationships properly (Col 3:18-4:1)

4. Final greetings

a. Prayer and ministry (Col 4:2-4)
b. Walk in wisdom (Col 4:5-6)
c. The fellowship of the saints in their service (Col 4:7-17)
d. Salutation (Col 4:18)

Key verse: Colossians 2:6-10

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

The crux to Gnosticism is to know that we are complete in Christ because Christ is all in all. All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ; there is no need for any other, whether spiritual or mystical. "This we have received, being taught for there is no other gospel." Note the verse gives the Son his full title - Christ Jesus the Lord. We are, to the exclusion of all others, walk in Him. There is no need for any other - our roots are in him, he nourishes us, he builds us up, and he has confirmed our faith. In all this we are to walk with thankfulness. The gospel is the good news - there is no need for any other, else it would not be good at all; and in any case we will be amply rewarded in heaven (3:24).

Key events/themes:

The key theme is the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ: "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead (?e?t?t??) bodily" (2:9). In relation to the believer, it examines a Christian risen with Christ; who has his or her hope laid up in heaven, with affections on things above not on things of this earth. And there lay a grave danger that the things of this earth, namely false doctrine, earthy philosophy and deceit, were about to shipwreck (e.g. 1 Timothy 1:19) the faith of the Colossians and Laodiceans. The things of this word died when a Christian accepted Christ.

Key words:

The book is full of imperatives: "Beware" (Col 2:8), "Let", "Continue", "Walk"

Christ: Since the book portraits the supremacy of Christ, His name is mentioned in 24 out of 95 verses; as the Lord Jesus Christ in three verses, Jesus Christ in 6 verses and the Lord Jesus in one verse, never as "Jesus".

Heaven (or "above") compared with earth: earth has no future, for it is wicked (Col 3:5); heaven is the place a believers mind needs to be (Col 3:2).

Let: no one judge you; no one cheat you; the peace of God rule; let your speech always be with peace.

Key prophecies:  

None except the Book is heaven looking. Eg Col 3:24 assumes the coming of Christ, for it indicates our reward may not be evident on this earth, indeed will be absent, but will be compensated by the reward in heaven.

Key characters:

Christ Jesus the Lord: mentioned in 24 out of the 95 verses. The letter shows that Christ is superior in all ways (see also Hebrews for a similar theme). It gives the fullest understanding of the perfection, beauty and place of Christ in the Godhead and his work.


A member of Philemon's family, perhaps a son (Col 4:17).


Referred by Paul as "my fellow prisoner" (Col 4:10), is a native of Thessalonica, and companion of Paul, a missionary of Christ.


Probably the contracted form of Demachus or Demetrius (Fausset), a fellow missionary with Paul, Mark and Luke (Col 4:14). He left Paul, returning to Thessalonica, rather than staying and helping Paul on his missionary journeys (2 Timothy 4:8).


A servant of Christ (missionary) who works with Paul, and indeed, is imprisoned with Paul (Philemon 1:23), whose father was Greek, and mother, Eunice, was Jewish and grand-mother, Lois, both Christian and who taught him the scriptures. (Col 1:7, 4:12)


A "useful" (after his name) slave who, after robbing his master Philemon at Colossae, fled to  Rome, where he was converted by the apostle Paul, who sent him back to his Philemon (see this epistle for the details) (Col 4:9).


A believer who had a house church in his home (Col 4:15), a disciple of Christ living in Laodicea. Some suggest this person was a woman.


An apostle of Jesus Christ, a missionary to the Gentiles, a Jew, taught by the Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), a Pharisee, who was converted by Christ, by an encounter with the Lord. A full account of his genealogy is given by Paul in Romans 11:1, Philippians 3:9 and 2 Cor 11:23-28.


A young Christian church leader and close friend of Paul's who was given the task of dealing with the troubled church at Ephesus (COl 1:1).


A true friend and companion of Paul, who went with him on his missionary journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem (Col 4:7). He was in Rome with Paul and was sent to Ephesus (2 Tim 4:12).

Key Places:


Easton's Revised Bible Dictionary: Colossae, a city of Phrygia, on the Lycus, which is a tributary of the Maeander. It was about 19 kilometres above Laodicea, and near the great road that ran from Ephesus to the Euphrates, and was consequently of some mercantile importance.


Easton's Revised Bible Dictionary: The city that lay on the confines of Phrygia and Lydia, about 40 miles east of Ephesus (Rev 3:14), on the banks of the Lycus. It was originally called Diospolis and then Rhoas, but afterwards Laodicea, from Laodice, the wife of Antiochus II., king of Syria, who rebuilt it. It was one of the most important and flourishing cities of Asia Minor. At a very early period it became one of the chief seats of Christianity but is now a deserted place, called by the Turks Eski-hissar or "old castle."

Title: First Thessalonians, The First Epistle [Letter] to the Thessalonians.

Place in bible: New Testament, 52nd book of the Bible, the eighth letter of the Aposle Paul, written to the church at Thessalonica from Corinth (not Athens as some Bibles add, erroneously), and most likely the first Epistle from the Apostle Paul.

Author: The Apostle Paul along with two helpers, Silvanus, and content (1 Thes. 1:1).

Date: Approximately 50 or 51

Genre: A letter to a church to encourage, instruct and exhort believers in the face of persecution and false information.

Written to: the church of the Thessolonians (1:1) and thus Christians (gentiles mainly)

Main idea: The main idea is encouragement.
Encouragement because Paul and others have the Thessalonian Christians in their prayers, because they have been a witness to many (1:8); encouraged to walk in a manner worthy of God (2:12), to be imitators of God; encouragement in persecution (2:14-16); encouraged by Paul's longing to see them; encouraged because of the good report from content of them (3); encouragement to abstain from immorality, but to be holy, (4:1-12); encouraged because Christ will return for his Church and take believers to be with Him (4:13-18) - they would not pass through the Tribulation; encouraged in the knowledge of the Day of the Lord - as Christians they live in light not in darkness whom Christ in the Day of the Lord will overcome (5) and finally encouraged in the practical day to day living as children of God.

Key divisions - by chapter

  1. Salutation and thanksgiving for the faith of the church of at Thessalonica
  2. The ministry of Paul and the response of the Christians in Thessalonica
  3. Encouragement and comfort in time of affliction
  4. Pleasing God, walking separately, the rapture (taking away) of the church to be with Christ
  5. The Day of the Lord, and encouragement to walk pleasing to God

Key verse: 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Key events/themes: these typically follow the chapters

  1. Encouragement
  2. Rapture
  3. Day of the Lord

Key words:

Lord, God, Father

40 times in 30 verses, noting God is also referred to by pronoun as well

Jesus, Christ, son

32 times in 18 verses: Jesus Christ 9 times, Christ Jesus 2 times, Lord Jesus 12 times, 8 as Lord Jesus Christ


7 times in 6 verses: meaning those that have died (1 Thess 4:13, 4:14, 4:15), those that slumber and do not recognise the signs of the times (1 Thess. 5:7, 5:10)

night vs day, dark vs light, awake vs asleep

Night vs day (1 Thess. 2:9, 3:10, 5:2, 5:5), light vs darkness (1 Thess. 5:5), sleep vs awake (1 Thess. 5:6, 5:10).

To indicate the difference between believers, saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and those that are lost - heathen - and separated from God.

Key prophecies:

  1. The physical return of Christ: 1:9-10, 2:19-20, 3:13, 4:13-18, 5:1-11.
  2. The taking away (or catching up) of believers from this earth (rapture) prior to the coming wrath of God falling on this world (4:14-18, see also John 14:1-3). This overlays what Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15) - the resurrection of the saints involves changing of our corruptible body to a new body, incorruptible. It is important to note that church saints are saved by grace - there is no further judgement, hence they escape the Tribulation. The seven stages of the rapture are (4:16 - 17):

    1. The Lord will descend from the Heaven of heavens
    2. There is a shout - like one from a military commander
    3. And with the voice of the archangel
    4. With the trump of God - as used to summon soldiers to battle.
    5. The dead in Christ shall rise first - Christians that have died (not Old Testament Saints, who rise prior to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom)
    6. Believers who are a live rise next
    7. Church believers meet the Lord in the air, and will be forever with the Lord
  3. The Day of the Lord, when Christ comes to judge Israel and the Nations for rejecting the Son of God (5:1-11).

    1. Comes or creeps upon the world unseen (like a thief in the night) (5:2)
    2. Arises when the world believes they are at peace (5:3)
    3. War and environmental catastrophe will occur suddenly; there will be no way to escape (5:3)
    4. It is a time of darkness - no spiritual discernment will occur (5:4-5)
    5. The world will be asleep to the way of the Lord (5:6-7) - there will be bi faith or love or hope of salvation (5:8)
    6. The day is for wrath (5:9), but not for the church saints - who have been taken to heaven.

Key characters:

Not applicable

Key Places:

The Church at Thessalonica: a town of Macedonia on the Thermaic Gulf (Gulf of Salonika), originally called Therma. It was made a capital of a Macedonian area by the Romans and eventually became the principal city of the area. It was a port connected commercially with Asia Minor. Thessaloniki is apparently the second largest city in Greece currently.

Title: Second Thessalonians, The Second Epistle [Letter] to the Thessalonians

Place in bible: New Testament, 53rd book of the Bible, the ninth letter of the Aposle Paul, written to the church at Thessalonica.

Author: The Apostle Paul along with two helpers, Silvanus, and Timothy (2 Thes. 1:1).

Date: Approximately A.D. 51

Genre: A letter to a church to encourage, instruct and exhort believers in the face of persecution and false information.

Written to: the church of the Thessolonians (1:1) and thus Christians (gentiles mainly)

Main idea: Encouragement with truth - the Thessalonians were being persecuted, in part through acting upon wrong teaching, leading them to believe the second coming of Christ was upon them or had past. Some believed this lie and forsook all work and business assuming they would be taken by Christ very soon - relying upon charity.  That Christ had not returned had to be appreciated - one waits for his coming - not in idleness, but standing firm (2 Thess 2:15), getting on with life - avoiding idleness (2 Thess 3) which leads to disorderly conduct (2:37, 11), and working for a living (2 Thess 3:7-12), in particular working for ones own food (3:12).


  1. Salutation, faith, the righteous justice of God
  2. The coming of the Antichrist - evidence that the rapture has not occurred
  3. Thanksgiving, prayer, encouragement and benediction.

Key verse: 2 Thessalonians 2:3a

Let no one deceive you in any way

Title: First Timothy, The First Epistle [Letter] to Timonthy.

Place in bible: New Testament, 54th book of the Bible, part of the Pastoral Epistles (which were written to men in charge of various churches), written to Timothy who was at the Church of Ephesus.

Author: The Apostle Paul (1 Tim), although the writer (amanuensis) may have been Luke or some similar calibre man: but some contend that the words & grammar are not typical of Paul, although the personal details are Paul's.

Date: This has been disputed, but between his first and final imprisonment (unlike 2 Timothy which is written from goal), perhaps AD 62-63

Genre: A personal letter to Timothy (1 Tim 1:2), although written to be read by the Christians in the church at Ephesus - a letter of instruction and warning.

Written to: Timothy, and church at Ephesus, and thus Christians (gentiles mainly)

Main idea: Paul writes to Timothy, to strength him and encourages him in godly leadership in the face of internal strife (Judaisers) - to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:11-12); so Paul urges Timothy, giving him apostolic authority, to deal with heretics in the church at Ephesus, to rebuke them and if needed to remove false teachers.


The book can be divided into five:

1. Basic instructions concerning sound doctrine and motivation to fight it (Chapter 1)

2. Direction for prayer, direction for roles of women (Chapter 2)

3. The house of God, and instructions for its leaders (Chapter 3)

4. Recognising false teachers and apostasy (Chapter 4)

5. Exhortations on matters of money, authority, order and commitment (Chapter 5)

Key verse: Chapter 1 verse 19

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Supported by

1 Timothy 1:3

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia--remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine

1 Timothy 1:18 - 20

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Key events/themes:

The general theme is sound doctrine, touching on what people say and what people do with their time and money.

Timothy charged to stay in Ephesus to stop false teaching (1 Tim 1:3; 1:18) and to deal with men like Hymenaeus and Alexander.

Paul instructs on prayer and the role of women in the church, giving the reason women do not have authority (1 Tim 2:13-15)

Church leadership was the biggest issue; Paul provides a comprehensive list of qualifications of elders and deacons (1 Tim 3:1-12).

There is a theme of how one should conduct oneself in the house of God, noting that at the last times some will leave the faith (1 Tim 4:1-3), but a Christian will practice the true doctrine (1 Tim 4:16).

Churches with people who are not busy and are therefore idle and prone to gossip, and in the case of the church at Ephesus these were the widows, Paul warns Timothy to deal with (5:3-16). Indeed following in chapter 6 and prior in chapter 1 Paul warns against idle chatter, conversations that are envious, evil etc. There is a constant theme that the speech of a Christian must be Godly at all times (1 Tim 6:6)

Leaders in the church are important people, but must adhere to sound doctrine and rule well (1 Tim 5:17f)

Relationships must reflect the character of godliness, whether employer or employee (slave) (1 Tim 6:1-2).

A second important theme is money - those working need to be paid the appropriate wage, and the love of money is contrary to sound doctrine.

Key prophecies: The book has no prophecies, although the letter confirms the prophecy of Jesus and Paul:

Jesus states: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." Matthew 7:15 NKJV

Paul stated when in Ephesus: "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." Acts 20:29-30 NKJV

Key characters:

The Apostle Paul who writes to Timothy as if he is a son: 1:2 "To Timothy, a true son".

Timothy a young Christian man, whose father was Greek and mother was Jewish (Acts 16:1) left by Paul to deal with false teaching in the church at Ephesus. Timothy was taught by his grandmother and mother who evidently were Christian; "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." (2 Timothy 1:5).

Hymenaeus and Alexander are two men who were teaching a false gospel and whom Paul turned over to Satan to be disciplined

Key Places:

The Church at Ephesus


[1] Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Title: Second Timothy, The Second Epistle [Letter] to Timothy

Place in bible: New Testament, 55th book of the Bible, part of the Pastoral Epistles (which were written to men in charge of various churches), written to Timothy who was at the Church of Ephesus.

Author: The Apostle Paul (2 Tim 1:1), although the writer (amanuensis) may have been Luke (2 Tim 4: 11) "Only Luke is with me") or some similar calibre man: as some contend that the words & grammar are not typical of Paul, although the personal details are Paul's.

Date: It is supposed by some that this letter was written about 65-67 AD; and most believe it was in this decade, at least. It is definitely towards the end of Paul's life because he is in prison in Rome and waiting to die (2 Tim 1:6; 2:9).

Genre: A personal letter to Timothy (2 Tim 1:1), exhorting him to be strong in the faith - having a tough job to do, and in this it is different from the first letter - it's more personal. However, the book like the first and champions the doctrine of Jesus Christ - exhorting Timothy to deal with false doctrine; nothing else must be allowed to substitute it.

Written to: Timothy, and church at Ephesus, and thus Christians (gentiles mainly)

Main idea: The main idea is encouragement so Timothy will be confident of the reward at the end because he has fought the good fight ). (2 Tim 4:7) Timothy is timid and has the difficult job of dealing with false doctrine in the Church at Ephesus, and his mentor, Paul is in goal in Rome. The letter is full of contrasts which give rise to a stark vision and realisation that following Christ is one of separation - good from evil, truth from lies, light from darkness. In particular it contrasts the triumph of Paul (I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race), who writes from prison, but who has been successfully done the will of the Lord, with those that are ungodly and have deserted the Lord. (Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some 2 Tim 2:17, 18).


This book can be divided into five divisions

1.      Salutation by Paul to Timothy (2 Tim 1:1, 2)

2.      An exhortation and encouragement to hold fast (2 Tim 1:3 - 1:18)

3.      An exhortation to be strong in endurance in the time of conflict (have stamina) (2 Tim 2:1 - 26)

4.      Exhortation to be faithful in the last days which will be full of peril (2 Tim 3:1 - 4:8)

5.      The last words of the Apostle Paul, with greetings to friends (2 Tim 4:8 - 4-22).

Key verse: 2 Timothye 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

1 Timothy 1:13

Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 4:7

And then you will be able to say I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Supported by

2 Timothy 3:16, 17

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 4:1,2

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching.

Key events/themes:

Suffering: for which Paul is not ashamed (2 Tim 1:12), suffering requires endurance, knowing that the preaching of the gospel will lead the elect to come to the saving knowledge of Christ (2 Tim 2:8-12), Persecution will occur to all those that love Christ Jesus (3:12).

Loyalty to God: loyalty in suffering (chapter 1), loyalty in service (chapter 2), loyalty in the days of apostasy (chapter 2 to 4:5), loyalty of the servants of God (chapter 4: 6 - 22), and in particular Paul himself.

False Teachers: Our basis of our knowledge of God, the gospel and the way in which we ought to conduct ourselves, is on the Bible (2 Tim 2:15, 3:16); endless arguments are useless and will lead to some turning away from the truth, the minutia is to be put aside. (2:15,16); our approval is before God, not men (2 Tim 2:15).

Faithfulness in: fulfilling duties (2:14), handing the gospel truthfully (2 Tim 2:14), conducting oneself (2 Tim 2:20-23) and in carrying out duties in the church (2 Tim 2:24-26) - which applies to all Christians everywhere

The Coming Apostasy (Chapter 3:1-17) - The modern worldly church is described by "having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power" (2 Tim 3:5).

The Bible is our teacher, rod and correcting agent (2 Tim 3:16,17) - we must continue in the Bible - don't deviate from it.

Final glory - there is a crown of righteousness laid up for the ones obedient to God - which are those that love his appearing (2 Tim 4:8), and for this Paul has fought the good fight and finished the race, being an encouragement to Timothy and us.

Key prophecies: The book has no prophecies, although the letter confirms the prophecy of Jesus and Paul:

Key characters:


A Jew and coppersmith of Ephesus who took a prominent part in the uproar raised there by the preaching of Paul doing Paul much harm. Paul asks that the Lord repay him according to his works and warns Timothy to be beware of him, for he greatly resisted Paul's words (4:14).

All the brethren

Sent their greetings to Timothy (4:21) - these a probably local Roman Christians, given that three of the names in the list are Latin.


A native of Pontus, by occupation a tent-maker, whom Paul met on his first visit to Corinth (Acts 18:20) whose wife was Priscilla. A friend of Paul to be greeted by Timothy (4: 19)


A Christian of Troas, where Paul had left his cloak, books and parchments. (4:13)


Sent her greetings to Timothy (4:21)


Perhaps a disciple of Jesus himself, departed for Galatia (4:10).


Forsook Paul, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica (4:10). A companion and fellow-labourer of Paul during his first imprisonment at Rome (Philemon 1:24 Colossians 4:14)


A companion of Paul at Ephesus, who was sent by him along with Timothy into Macedonia (Acts 19:22). He lived in Corinth (4:20)


Sent his greetings to Timothy (4:21)


Timothy's mother (1:5)


Turned away from Paul (1:15)


Taught false doctrine, uttered profane and idle babblings, words that spread like cancer, overthrowing the faith of some, an ungodly man who strayed from the truth (2:16, 17)


As he resisted Moses, so did he resist the truth, a man of corrupt mind, disapproved concerning the faith and will progress no further, for his folly was manifest to all (3:8,9).


As he resisted Moses, so did he resist the truth, a man of corrupt mind, disapproved concerning the faith and will progress no further, for his folly was manifest to all (3:8,9).


Sent his greetings to Timothy (4:21)


Timothy's grandmother, genuine faith first dwelt in her (1:5)


A biblical author who was with Paul at the penning of 2 Timothy (4:11)


A disciple who was useful to Paul in Ministry; Timothy was instructed to bring him to Paul (4:11b)


A seaside town of Ionia were Trophimus lay sick (4:20)


A Christian who often refreshed Paul and was not ashamed of his imprisonment. (1:16, 4:19)


Taught false doctrine, uttered profane and idle babblings, words that spread like cancer, overthrowing the faith of some, an ungodly man who strayed from the truth (2:16, 17)


Turned away from Paul (1:15)


Friend of Paul to be greeted by Timothy (4: 19)


Sent his greetings to Timothy (4:21)


A young Christian man, whose father was Greek and mother was Jewish (Acts 16:1) left by Paul to deal with false teaching in the church at Ephesus. Timothy was taught by his grandmother and mother who evidently were Christian. "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." (2 Tim 1:5)


A companion of Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, and who accompanied them to the council at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-3, Acts 15:2). Here he departed for Dalmatia - the reason is not given (4:10).


Ephesian who accompanied Paul during a part of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:4 21:29) and was with Paul in Jerusalem, Paul left him in Miletus because he was sick (4:20).


A Christian, and "faithful minister in the Lord" (Ephesians 6:21,22) who Paul sent to Ephesus (4:12).

Key Places:

Asia (1:15)

Proconsular Asia, a Roman province which embraced the western parts of Asia Minor, and of which Ephesus was the capital (Easton)

Rome (1:17)

Where Paul was being held prisoner

Antioch (3:11)

A city in Syria about 26 kilometres from the Mediterranean, and approximately 480 kilometres north of Jerusalem. It ranked third, after Rome and Alexandria, in importance, of the cities of the Roman empire. A place were Paul was persecuted and afflicted (3:11)

Iconium (3:11)

Capital of ancient Lycaonia.

Lystra (3:11)

A town of Lycaonia, in Asia Minor,

Dalmatia (4:10)

A mountainous country on the eastern shore of the Adriatic, a part of the Roman province of Illyricum (Easton).

Galatia (4:10)

The Roman province of Galatia may be roughly described as the central region of the peninsula of Asia Minor (Smith).

Thessalonica (4:10

A large and populous city on the Thermaic bay. It was the capital of one of the four Roman districts of Macedonia (Easton).

Ephesus (4:12)

Where Timothy was told to stay and deal with false doctrine, the capital of proconsular Asia, which was the western part of Asia Minor

Troas (4:13)

A city on the coast of Mysia, in the north-west of Asia Minor, named after ancient Troy (Easton)

Miletus (4:20)

A seaport town and the ancient capital of Ionia, about 36 miles south of Ephesus (Easton).

Corith (4:20)

A Grecian city 77 kilometres west of Athens.

Title: Titus, The Epistle [Letter] to Titus.

Place in bible: New Testament, 56th book of the Bible, part of the Pastoral Epistles (which were written to men in charge of various churches), written to Titus who was at the Church in Crete.

Author: The Apostle Paul (Titus 1:1)

Date: Perhaps A.D. 62 or 63

Genre: A personal letter to Titus (Titus 1:4) although written to be read by the Christians in the church at Crete - a letter of instruction and warning.

Written to: Titus and the Christians of Crete (1:5) (gentiles mainly)

Main idea: The Pastoral epistles (Timothy and Titus) have a focus on departure from the faith, as taught by Paul, with the introduction of false doctrine by Judaisers, although less evident in Titus. The main idea is that truth must be according to godliness, and the manifestation of godly walking is fruit emphasised in this book as being good works (3:14). Overall the Epistle is one of practical guidance to a pastor of a church whose leaders are anything but good or godly.

The book can be considered in three divisions - each being one chapter:

  1. Reasonings and instructions to Titus and warnings
  2. Sound doctrine (See verse 2:1)
  3. Dealing with false teachers and the avoiding worldliness

Paul gives Titus the apostolic authority to rebuke false doctrine (related in part, if not in the most, to the re-introduction of elements of the law) ungodly living and passion for things of the world (2:15) in order to bring the church back to the truth.

Key verse: Chapter 1:9 An instruction to church leaders.

Hold[ing] fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

The basis of a Christian's doctrine (that is, the basic rules that describe the relationship of humans with God), is the Scripture. Departing from Scripture departs from truth, causing the Church to fall into apostasy. This is especially so for the church's leaders, hence Paul devotes one whole chapter to the qualifications of believers and in particular leaders or churches.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7-8 ESV

Key events/themes:


There is a God ordained structure of authority in this world, which all need to be subject to. This is manifest in the conduct of Christians: all are to show humility, in order that the Church might conduct itself in a manner that does not bring the word of God into disrepute highlighting the aspect to loving one another and loving that which is good, e.g. 1:8, 2:2, 2:4 & 3:4. The opposite to godliness is worldliness (2:12), lawlessness (2:14), being quarrelsome (3:2), led astray by passions & pleasures (3:3) etc.


Godliness requires acknowledgment of the truth (1:1). Failure to keep the truth needs to be rebuked sharply. Nothing is more dangerous to an assembly (congregation) than the introduction of untruthful or false elements - whether in prayer, sermons, devotions etc. and often missed, in the songs that are sung (1:13). Often these are subtle unobservable at first, but eventually one moves from using the Bible as the guide to all church conversations to using it when convenient, if at all.

In Titus 3:10,11 Paul sets out the procedure to deal with false teachers who are warped and sinful (3:11) in order to cleanse the church of false doctrine.

They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.  Titus 1:16 NKJV.


The conduct of a Christian is one of love, but also one that loves good: 1:8, 2:2, 2:4, 3:4 and as an example 3:15.


Paul alludes to works at least seven times - like the Letter of James - it is what we do and how we behave that manifests the love of God in us.

See also 2:7 - good works; 2:14 zealous for good works, 3:1 be ready for every good work; maintain good works 3:8; and again in 3:14.

Paul is careful to show that we are not saved by works but by grace: "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" Titus 3:5 NKJV

Key prophecies:  

None evidence: this book is a subsequence of the fulfilment of prophecies that were foretold concerning the coming of the Messiah, who brings grace.

Key characters:

Titus The letter was written to Titus, which was to be read to the church. Titus was a Greek convert of the apostle Paul (Titus 1:4; Galatians 2:3). He accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to attend the Jerusalem council that examined the issue of the Jewish law and Gentiles (Acts 15:1-41).

Key Places:

Crete The Epistle shows that Titus was in the island of Crete, and the letter pertains to the church on the Island. Paul had visited the island with Titus, and Titus remained behind when Paul continued on in his journey to Rome (Acts 27).

Title: Philemon, The Epistle [Letter] to Philemon.

Place in bible: New Testament, 57th book of the Bible, a letter of the Apostle Paul.

Author: The Apostle Paul, and delivered to Philemon by Onesimus. Paul also wrote at the same time letters to the church at Ephesus and Colossae (which were delivered by Tychicus).

Date: During the imprisonment of Paul in 61 or 62 AD.

Genre: A personal letter (or epistle) addressed to Philemon, and members of the assembly (congregation) in his house, a gentile believer in Jesus Christ, who lived in Colossae (Colossians 4:9), who had a church in his house (1:2).

Written to: Philemon, a Christian.

Main idea: The action of love within an assembly (congregation). The book shows how to action love, giving instructions and explaining reasons why one needs to forgive the one who was once lost (Onesimus) and in this case, a slave who had run away and stolen (from Philemon), and like all unsaved (as we once were), was once unprofitable, but is now saved and is now profitable (the meaning of Onesimus's name), and indeed, "not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved" (1:16). Paul puts in action his own command and is willing to pay for any loss Philemon has suffered due to Onesimus (18).

The book demonstrations how one puts into action the following command to love:

"Beloved let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (1 John 4:7, 8).

Key verse: Philemon 6

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."

Love is evidenced by what we say, and how we say it - the "how" needs to be seasoned with salt, because although our words (the "what") may be truthful, grace must abound - undeserved favour must flow through us as it flowed to us from the source, Jesus Christ.

Note also a believer is to be accepted "in full" or "forever" (?p??? meaning to receive in full) - verse 15. That is, acceptance is not negotiable; God accepts us through the blood of Christ Jesus - the acceptance will never need to be negotiated again - we are saved in full because our debt has been paid in full. The Greek indicates "having in full by separating or letting go of something else".

Key events/themes:

1 - 3:
Paul greets Philemon and fellow believers, indicating he is in prison.
4 - 7:
Paul recognises the faith and love found in Philemon, and his ministry.
8 - 21:
Paul appeals to Philemon (he commands Philemon, "in boldness") for the sake of love (9) and for the sake of Onesimus (10), "who once was unprofitable to you, but now is profitable to you and to me."
22 - 15:
Paul greets fellow Christians with Philemon and concludes the letter

Key prophecies:

None given: it is a book of exhortation - the practicalities of putting love into action.

Key characters:

A female believer in Colossae; without evidence is supposed by some as the wife of Philemon
A member of Philemon's household, probably a son, also mentioned in Colossians 4:17.
A fellow prisoner of Paul, and a believer
Means "profitable" a slave[1] who ran away from the believer Philemon, steeling perhaps money, but in any case something from him, and going to Rome in order to enjoy the delights of that once great city. Somehow he is saved and meets up with Paul (or perhaps the words of Paul brought him to the saving knowledge of Jesus Chris). Paul encourages him to return to Philemon with this letter.
Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke:
Fellow Christian workers of Paul

Key Places:

Paul writes from a Roman prison. Philemon is from Colossae.


[1] Note that slavery was not unethical or immoral, as was the case in England and America, and today with the sex slavery. It was not based on being captured as the African Negros were and deported, or due to race, but by birth.

Title: Hebrews, The Epistle to the Hebrews; or simply "To Hebrews" but usually simply Hebrews. There is no evidence that the title needs the Apostle Paul's name attached to it as found in the King James version.

Place in bible: New Testament, 58th book of the Bible, a letter written to Christians who were Hebrews (i.e. Jews).

Author: Many will say "no-one knows" but the early Church fathers and many today, including this author, ascribe the text to the Apostle Paul, written from prison.

Date: Certainly written before 70 AD, perhaps in AD 61-63.

Genre: A letter to a group of people; a technical and legal argument or treatise, (quotes many times from the Old Testament Law), an exhortation - see Chapters 13 onward.

Written to: Jewish Christians

Main idea: That Jesus Christ is superior to all, and hence Judaism had been superseded by Christianity - that is, following the Law was to be substituted for following Christ in grace who is the saviour of Jew and Gentile.

It is one of the two great treatises of the New Testament, the other being Paul's writing to the Romans. It speaks to Christians who within a few short years have been extracted from 1500 years of Judaism, based on the Law, and where the temple was still standing and operating causing a dilemma - how do they reconcile the work of Christ with the ongoing system of priesthood and sacrifice. Halley suggests it was to prepare Jews for the fall of Jerusalem, because the physical elements of the law were to be destroyed, no-longer needed, because Christ was far superior.


The book can be divided into four sections (The following according to A Gaebelein):

1. Christ, the Son of God and His Glory (1:1 to 2:4)

2. Christ, the Son of Man, His glory and His salvation (2:5 to 4:13)

3. Christ as priest in the heavenly Sanctuary (4:14 - 10)

4. Instructions to Christians and exhortations (11 - 13).

Key verse: Hebrews 10:5-10

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, 'sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'" When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), then he added, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Key events/themes:

Seven main ideas can be found in the Book of Hebrews.

  1. The old Law and Prophecies were a foreshadow of the things to come: the substance of the new is found in the New Covenant.
  2. The old was a shadow of the new, meaning the old needs to be put aside and new taken hold of - put on - a hard undertaking for Jews
  3. The shadows (things practiced in Old Testament times) were types of the new, the new anti-types of the old; the old prefigured the real, the real has now come.
  4. Judaism was good, but Christ is far better: we see the word or idea of 'better' (or superior) is used 12 times. Note that that author is not disparaging of the old, but shows the new is far better. Comparison is made of Christ and his work to angels, Moses, Aaron (The High Priest who could not sit down) and The Law (Noting that chapter 11 is for exhortation). Compare this with the mount of transfiguration - Christ is compared with Moses (i.e. the Law) and the Elijah (the Prophets) but these were to be superseded by Christ (This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him).
  5. The Law is shown not to be incomplete but the new is perfect - perfected in Christ.
  6. Ordinances are temporary but the new covenant is eternal; the earthly sanctuary (where men stood) is contrasted to Christ seated in his.
  7. The conditional promises of the Old Testament are contrasted with the unconditional promises of the New Covenant. The old and new are contrasted, with the perfectness of Christ emphasised. This he does with the emphasis on the Heavenlies (16 times in 15 verses) - noting that the Law emphasises the earthly.

Key prophecies: In essence the Epistle is a prophecy in the author writes with authority what God has spoken - revealing fully the mystery of Christ the Saviour of all.

Key characters:

Aaron 5:4, 7:11, 9:4

Jacob 11:21

Abel 11:4

Jephthah 11:32

Abraham 11 times in chapters 2, 6, 7 & 11

Jesus Christ 15 times

Abraham 11:8

Lord 15 times

Angels (13 times in 12 verses) eg chapters
1, 2 & 13

Melchizedek (king of Salem) 8 times in chapters 5, 6 & 7

Barack 11:32

Moses 11:23

David 11:32

Noah 11:7

Egyptians 11:29

Rahab 11:31

Enoch 11:5

Samson 11:32

Gideon 11:32

Samuel 11:32

God 78 times in 72 verses (but not Saviour)

Sarah 11:11

Isaac 11:20

The prophet 11:32

Key Places:

Earth: 7 times in 6 verses

God's house: 3:2, 3:5, 3:6

Heaven(s): 9 - 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11 & 12

House of Israel: 8:8

House of Judah: 8:8

Mt Zion & Jerusalem: 12:22

Salem: 7:1

The Holy Place and Most Holy: chapter 9

The place of rest: chapter 4



Title: James, The Epistle [Letter] of James

Place in bible: New Testament, 59th book of the Bible.

Author: The Apostle James (James 1:1).

Date: Approximately after 45 A.D., based on James's understanding of the church - that is prior to the full realization of the church as the body of Christ and its unity.

Genre: 'General letter', however, this letter fits the 'wisdom' literature model, but could be considered a series of sermons. The letter speaks to the individual using a range of literary devices - e.g. rhetorical questions; James 2:3-7 etc. or an imaginary interlocutor; James 2:18-20 etc. James provides practical 'what to do' and 'what not to do' with examples in order for a Christian to demonstrate his or her faith.

Written to: the early Church - Christians

Main idea: It is a letter to Jewish believers in Christ to encourage them in their practical outcome of faith. The writer does not focus on doctrine but rather on the practical application of the faith in Jesus Christ. It in some ways re-iterates the teachings of Jesus; for example see James 1: 5, 6, 2:8, 5:9, 1. Confusion has arisen because of the distinct difference in presentation of this letter than those of Paul. The character is Jewish; for instance James uses the term synagogue, not assembly (2:2) [1] and the law is prominent. But it does not, as some would have, suggest that one is saved by one's works - on the contrary, it assumes the reader is saved, and in order to please God and demonstrate his or her faith in the saviour, one needs to walk and act in a particular way, so he sets out what one ought do and warns against certain actions that are sinful and displeasing to God.

Application to Christians: The letter of James is fully applicable to Christians - it was written to Christians and is just as applicable today as it was in the day it was written. Just because the early Christians were not fully aware of the nature of the church - yet to be revealed by the Holy Spirit through Paul - does not make this letter any less important or less applicable than any other letter of the New Testament. Further, just because the recipients were Jews does not make the letter unimportant for non-Jewish Christians - the doctrine of Christianity does not know the boundary between Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11).  Indeed this letter will aid a Christian in seeking and implementing wisdom (James 1:5, 3:13, 3:15, 17).

Divisions: [2]

  1. Trials and the exercise of faith
    1. Trials and the power of faith (1:1-4)
    2. The resources of faith (1:5-8)
    3. The realization of faith (1:9-11)
    4. The conquest of faith (1:12-15)
    5. The result of faith (1:16-27)
  2. Faith and works
    1. The faith of Christ with respect to persons (2:1-5)
    2. The royal law (2:6-13)
    3. Faith must be manifested by works (2:14-26)
  3. The evils of the tongue corrected
    1. The tongue and its work (3:1-12)
    2. The wisdom which is earthly and the wisdom that is from above (3:13-18)
  4. Further exhortations to right living
    1. Fighting's and worldliness rebuked (4:1-6)
    2. The Godly walk (4:7-17)
  5. The coming of the lord and the life of faith
    1. The oppression by the rich and their coming doom (5:1-6)
    2. Be patient unto the coming of the Lord (5:7-12)
    3. The prayers of faith and the life of faith (5:13-20)

Key verse: James 1:22

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves

The practical nature of James is demonstrated in this verse - we are not only to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (2:1), but we are to act in a manner that demonstrates this faith. He does this by saying what a Christian should do, and compares it with what a Christ should not do.

James 1:22 is followed up with 2:14-16 - where deeds are the evidence of Faith, as seen in Abraham.

Key events/themes:

This letter is one of instruction and encouragement.

Key words:

Do not

Sixteen times in 12 verses - provides instruction of what a Christian does not do


16 times in 12 verses - Faith is a key element that James focuses on. He commences with the fact that faith needs to be tested, but further on, he wants you to show your faith in what you do.

God, Jesus, Lord

James writes in order that a Christian may please God who is mentioned 17 times,  but alluded to as Lawmaker (1), Lord Jesus Christ (2) and Lord (13)


James uses the word 'let' often (14 verses) - it a method to suggest


Six times - the practical aspect of reliance on God


16 times in 12 verses - the faith in Jesus Christ by a Christian is evidenced by the way that person behaves: the way they respond to situations, to stresses of life, the way the talk, their patience (1:3, 4, 5:10), contentment etc.

Key prophecies:

None mentioned.

Key characters:

Uses Abraham as an example of a man whose deeds demonstrated his faith (James 2:23).

Key Places:

Does not mention places.


[1] The Greek is συναγωγὴν and should be rendered synagogue rather than assembly as some Bible translations do, e.g. KJV and NKJV.

[2] Arno Gaebelein, The Epistle of James,  available on < > (Accessed 17 November 2017)

Title: First Peter, The First Epistle [Letter] of Peter.

Place in bible: New Testament, 60th book of the Bible.

Author: The Apostle Peter - 1 Peter 1:1, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ

Date: Approximately 64 - 65 AD at the time Nero was persecuting Christians.

Genre: A letter to a Church to encourage, instruct and exhort the believers in the face of persecution. In essence Simon Peter is carrying out the Lord's command to him: "and when you have returned to; me (converted), strengthen your brethren" (Luke 22:32).

Written to: the Church, Jewish Christians of the diaspora in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (Modern western Turkey), written from Babylon.[1]

Main idea: Stand firm in troubling situations is the main idea of this book (e.g. 1 Peter 3:14); because we are "kept by the power of God through faith for salvation" (1 Peter 1:5), the living stone (1 Peter 2:4). Peter covers the essence of Christianity; outlining the principal truths: faith, holiness, sanctification, righteousness in the light of the grace of God.

Outline according to Arno Clement Gaebelein:

  1. The suffering of believers and exhortation to holy living (1:1-21)
  1. The blessings and privileges of all believers (1:22-2:10)
  1. Christ the pattern for Christian living (2:11-3:9)
  1. The comfort in the midst of trials and suffering (3:10-4)
  1. Instructions to Church leaders, the congregation concerning service and conflict (5)

Application to Christians: The book is to Jewish Christians but it is applicable in its entirety to all Christians of today. Peter contrasts the suffering and glory in a believer's life, and acknowledges the suffering Christians were experiencing at the time, who were being severely persecuted. The motif of suffering is strong in this Epistle: there no masking or denying the existence of suffering (or trials) that believers face, then and today; and Peter sets out to remind these followers of Christ to set their hope on the living hope (1 Peter 1:3) grace of Jesus Christ. The Letter provides practical advice for Christian living, church leaders (elders) and member of the congregation.

Key verse: 1 Peter 5:10

May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

Key events/themes: None

Key words:


The letter is to encourage suffering Jews who have been rejected by their own people because they believe in the Messiah, that is Yeshua. In 18 verses Peter speaks of suffering - contrasting the inevitable suffering because of association with Christ (e.g. 1 Peter 2:19) with the suffering of Christ (e.g. 1 Peter 2:23), but warning against suffering due to sin (1 Peter 4:15). This is contrasted with the glories to come, which we have seen of Christ.


Six times; contrasting Peters name (stone), Christians being living stones, that make up the building (church body) and the Stone (more like rock), being Christ Jesus who is the foundation of the Church. Nothing can prevail against her.

Jesus, Christ, Lord & Spirit

The Letter constantly references the Godhead; we are blessed through Christ who suffered for us, and we will suffer but the Lord knows; the grace afforded us by Christ is made know to us by the Holy Spirit, who rests upon (indwells) each one of us.


Suffering is in the flesh (7 times), which will be done away: those saved will be given a new body. It is the flesh that sins (e.g. lusts 1 Peter 4:2), and suffers because of it. We are not to live as to the flesh but in the spirit according to God's ways (1 Peter 4:6).

Key prophecies: None

Key characters:

Simon Peter

The Apostle of Jesus Christ, the Son of Jonas, given the name Cephas by Christ, meaning stone. He walked on water then sunk when he took eyes away from Christ and looked at the huge waves; he denied Christ three times, and yet was the first to acknowledge that Christ, was the son of the living God (Matt. 16:16). He spoke the first sermon of Christ's Salvation at Pentecost (Acts 2). It is to Peter that the keys of heaven were given and three times he exercises the keys to allow, first the Jews in Jerusalem to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and enter the kingdom (Acts 2:38), then the Samaritans (Acts 8:14-17), and finally the Gentiles (Acts 10:34-44).

Silvanus (or Silas)

A faithful servant of Christ, and leader of the Church in Jerusalem.


[1] There are some who choose to ignore the written word and promulgate a lie that Peter was in Rome not Babylon. This aligns with Catholic mysticism concerning the keys of heaven being handed down from Peter to the pope; Peter had, but the end of Acts unlocked the kingdom to all who believe in Christ, evidence by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all believers (Acts 2:4; 11:15-17). Once opened, the doors remained open for Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles.

Title: First John, The First Epistle [Letter] of John.

Place in bible: New Testament, 62nd book of the Bible, first of three letters by the Apostle John

Author: The Apostle John

Date: The letter does not give a date, but many assume and it is reasonable, give a date of about 90 AD noting that 1 John 2:18 is not a reference to the fall of Jerusalem but rather the issue of apostasy that had befallen the church, imposed by those that oppose Christ, whom John refers to as antichrists.

Genre: A letter of persuasion (and encouragement) to Christians - "to you who believe" (1 John 5:13) written by a witness of Jesus Christ, in order to encourage them in their walk with the Lord, so their "joy may be full" (1 John 1:4), and to ensure believers know they have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

Written to: the Church - Christians

Main idea: John writes to those who believe on the Son of God (1 John 5:13) - Christians - and who have eternal life which was manifested in the Lord Jesus, and which is imparted to all who believe on the Son of God and which establishes fellowship with the Father and the Son. 

The letter is less about the life, which the believer in Christ has, that is, eternal life given to him or her, and more about how such a life will demonstrate the life and characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ. It also provides encouragement of confidence we have in our Saviour.


  1. Prelude - an evidence based account of the gospel of Jesus Christ (1:1-4)
  2. Testing for light and darkness (1:5-2:17)
  3. Error and truth - those that oppose Christ, (2:18-27)
  4. Righteousness and love as demonstrated by the children of God (2:28-3:18)
  5. By this we know (3:19-5:13)
  6. Purpose statement - conclusion (5:14-21)

John is repetitious "I write to you" and "By this you will" etc. His words appear to sing from the pages: I write to you - children, fathers, and young ones.

Application to Christians: The letter is written to believers as it remind the reader a number of aspects of their life:

  1. Christ came as a man - flesh and evidence by John himself (e.g. 1 John 4:2)
  2. True believers love as Christ loved (e.g. 1 John 3:16)
  3. True believers do not deliberately sin (e.g.1 John 3:4), and if one sins, he has an advocate before the Father
  4. Believers have confidence in God who love them (e.g. 1 John 2:28, 3:32, 5:14)
  5. Christians, because they trusting in Christ have eternal life (e.g. 1 John 1:2, 2:25, 5:20).

Key verse: 1 John1:4; 1 John 5:13

And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (1 John1:4)

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.(1 John 5:13)

Key characters:

The Antichrist

In the letters of John one must differentiate between his use of the term antichrist(s) (1 John 2:22), being any person that opposes or denies Christ - which are all believers, and the Antichrist, the great deluder and false Messiah that will come in the last days (1 John 4:3, Daniel 7:7-27, Revelation 13:1-8 etc.).

Title: Second John, The Second Epistle [Letter] of John.

Place in bible: New Testament, 63rd book of the Bible, second of three letters by the Apostle John.

Author: The Apostle John, as per, Irenaeus, the disciple of the Lord.

Date: The letter does not give a date, but many assume and it is reasonable, give a date of about 90 AD

Genre: A letter appears to be written to a single person, a Christian woman (2 John 1:2) and member of the church, which the woman is either a member of, or meets in her house.

Written to: a lady and Christian and her children (1:1) and probably the whole church.

Main idea: This short book focuses on truth because false prophets were entering assemblies and preaching that Christ did not come as a human (2 John 1:7) - did not become 'incarnate'. Truth has to do with obedience to God's command to love one another - (2 John 1:6) where the true is rendered impotent if one does not believe Christ "came in the flesh"; for if Christ did not come in the flesh (he did so because he loved us John 3:16), our sins have not been paid in full by the blood of Christ upon the cross. The letter reminds us of this fundamental doctrine - those that deny this doctrine is lost and essentially antichrists (2 John 1:7, 10).

Application to Christians: The entire letter is as relevant today as it was in the day it was written - apostasy has ravaged our churches and many antichrists are in charge of almost all of Christendom. The false doctrine of Christ not coming in the flesh one of the fundamental flaws in the modern age church - it is utterly impotent in preaching the gospel for this reason.

Confusions: Verse 8 (2 John 1:8) has caused confusion. Salvation is by grace alone. We do not, and indeed are incapable of supporting our salvation with works. Thus salvation is not sustained by works - salvation is sustained by the advocacy before the Father by Christ Jesus. Christians however do work for one of many rewards the Father will provide based on the work God has set before us - alluded to as gold, silver and precious metals. If one does not the work of God, that one will lose his or her reward - for the wood, hay and stubble, representing the things we do of this world, will be burnt up (1 Corinthians 3:12, 2 Timothy 2:20). Our salvation cannot be lost.

Key verse: 2 John 1:7, 8

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for [our reward], but that we may receive a full reward.

Key events/themes: Not applicable

Key words:


The letter concerns truth, and in particular the incarnation of Jesus Christ - in four verses John uses the word truth.

Key prophecies:  None

Key characters: None

Title: Third John, The Third Epistle [Letter] of John.

Place in bible: New Testament, 64th of the Bible, third of three letters by the Apostle John.

Author: The Apostle John (there is absolutely no doubt about this whatever the liberal apostates might write)

Date: The letter does not give a date, but many assume and it is reasonable, to date this letter at about 90 - 100 AD

Genre: A letter from an old man (Apostle John) to another man, a close friend Gaius (3 John 1:1) to encourage him in the truth.

Written to: Gaius (1:1)

Main idea: This short letter was written to;

  1. encourage and commend Gaius in his stand against Diotrephes, a Judaizer,
  2. tell Gaius that he will deal with Diotrephes when he visits the church and,
  3. commend the good testimony of Demetrius to Gaius.

Application to Christians: A Christian must only trade in truth - which is found in Jesus Christ. The short letter contrasts truth which brought Demetrius a "good testimony" or report - he was doing a good job, with Diotrephes, who was an egotist. This speaks to Christians; we are under grace, and ego (self) has not part in our life. A Christian does not seek "pre-eminence" but rather like Demetrius, just getting on with the work that the Father has set that individual to do - be it a 'silent, and often unseen", worker or a "public facing worker". In all cases we must always deal in truth - in this day and age this is much more important, because the Wicked One has ensured truth has little meaning - truth can mean many things to a non-Christian; to a Christian, the Bible is the Canon or measuring rod that provides the only source of truth (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Key verse:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth (3 John 1:4)

Key events/themes: Not applicable

Key words:


Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6). In the New Testament it denotes the doctrine of Christ called "the truth of the gospel".

Key prophecies:  None

Key characters:


A man forever to be known as an opposer of the true gospel of Christ (3 John 1:9), a Judaizer who opposed the work of Christ and the truth.


If this is the man spoken of in Acts 19:24, a silversmith who made models of the heathen temple and statues of Artemis (Diana) and had complained bitterly about the conversions to Christianity, he now is a completely changed man; evidence of the power of the gospel leading to rebirth.


A Christian of Asia Minor probably from one of the local churches, but probably not the Gaius who was hospitable to Paul (Rome 16:23) who was Macedonian.

Title: Jude, The Epistle [Letter] of Jude

Place in bible: New Testament, 65th and penultimate book of the Bible

Author: Jesus' disciple (servant or bondservant of Jesus Christ - verse 1), Jude, the brother of James and thus the half-brother of Jesus Christ.

Date: Approximately perhaps as early as 65 and as late as 90 (but certainly not after Judas the brother of Christ had died as some would have).

Genre: A general or letter (general in that it is not addressed to a particular church) of warning to (Jewish) Christians to encourage them - which has particular pertinence in these last days of abject apostasy in the churches.

Written to: the early Church and specifically to Christians

Main idea: Evil has crept unnoticed into our churches and Christians must therefore contend the more earnestly for the truth (the faith). This is more than just being vigilant - Christians must be active against apostasy occurring in the local church. Recurring examples are given to emphasize the breadth and depth of apostates that will take control of the church

Verses 3-4 convey the main purpose of this short letter - and in summary the whole states that it does not matter how wicked this world becomes (and multiple examples of apostasy and pure evil are given), or how dark our circumstances are, Christians will be preserved in Christ Jesus, as members of the body - but during this time we are to 'content earnestly for the faith'.

Application to Christians: This book is highly relevant to Christians today, being the end of the age, full of evil and wickedness of every kind, much unthinkable only a decade or so ago. The letter warns Christians of the evil that will come, but God's righteousness will lead to the judgement (v. 15) of those that promote and promulgate evil and wickedness (e.g. sexual immorality - v. 7), but those in Christ Jesus will be saved to his glory and exceeding joy (Jude 1:24-25). Note in particular Jude sets forth the truth:

  • Truth is to be "contended" for (3)
  • Truth is identified as "the faith" (3)
  • Truth is "once for all delivered" (3)
  • Truth is identified with the "grace of our God" (4)


  1. The issue - evil in the church (1-4)
  2. The evidence - how evil is manifested (5-16)
  3. The solution - preventing evil entering the church (17-25)

Key verse: Jude 3-4

Which gives the purpose of the letter

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:3-4)

The antecedent to verse 3 is found in verse 4 - apostasy in the church commences unnoticed and goes unnoticed although, as the examples Jude provides can be extremely wicked.

Of note is the Doxology in verses 24, 25 and provides the encouragement needed in the current age of darkness: "His own are being kept in the evil days with which the age closes. They are the preserved in Jesus Christ kept for Him." (Gaebelein).

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Saviour, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)

Key events/themes: The key theme is apostasy in the last days and the need for believers (saints) to remain actively opposed to it in the church.

Key words:

  • The Christian
    • But you - verse 20 - Jude provides encouragement on how to deal with the enemy

  • Of the apostate and worldly church
    • Lewdness - meaning ignorant and unlearned, viciousness (v. 18)
    • Deny Jesus Christ (v. 4)
    • Defile the flesh, or defile by the (v. 7, 8 & 23)
    • Reject authority (v. 8)
    • Gone after monetary gain (profit from the poor), greedy (v. 11)
    • Sexual immorality, sensual people (v. 7, 19)
    • Intent on causing divisions (v. 19)
    • Without the Holy Spirit - thus proof of their unsaved status (v. 19)
    • Flesh - strange or defiled flesh (homosexuality & sexual immorality), (1:7, 8, 23)
    • Walking according to their own ungodly lusts (v. 16, 18)
    • Brute beasts (v. 10)
    • Of speaking
      • Speak evil (v. 8)
      • Speak about what they know nothing (v. 10)
      • Disputed, reviling, rebuking (v. 9)
      • Mouth greedy and swelling words (v. 11, 16)
      • Flattering people for (unfair) advantage (v. 16)
      • Mockers (v. 18)
      • Grumblers & Complainers (v. 16)

Key prophecies: That of Enoch[1] (Jude 1:14-15) announcing the return of Christ with His saints to execute judgement upon those who opposed God - these being unbelievers. The purpose of the judgement Jude also annunciates - to convict them of their ungodly deeds (v. 15). When the Messiah comes, he will be followed by a number of armies - see Matthew 16:27, Revelation 19:14 etc. Jude describes one of these armies. Note however although Christ leads his saints into battle, the saints do not fight (Isaiah 63:1-6; Christ himself defeats his foes).

Sodom and Gomorrah is a type (picture) pertaining to the coming punishment resulting from the judgement of Christ upon the world - God's vengeance will be eternal fire (Verse 7). Indeed Sodom and Gomorrah is 'set forth as an example' for all to observe and take note of.

Key characters:

Angels (v. 6)

Angels are rightly called messengers (αγγελους – ang'el-osang'el-os in Greek), created by God, and who do His bidding. Due to pride, Satan fell taking one third of all heavenly angels with him. It is these angels that Jude 1:6 refers to (See also Revelation 12:4 where 'stars' refer to angels). Angels were forbidden to have sexual intercourse with humans, but some fallen angels did, which in part, led to the instigation of the flood in Noah's time.

Enoch (v. 14)

As verse 14 points out, Enoch is the seventh generation from Adam, a prophet that foretells the coming of Christ in the last days. Enoch lived in the incredibly evil times just before the flood - so evil were these days that God sought to destroy the world, but found Noah who was faithful and saved him and his family (Hebrews 11:7). Enoch himself was faithful and walked with the Lord - he did not die, but rather God took him to be with himself (Genesis 5:17-24).

Cain (v. 11)

A murder (Genesis 4) who loved himself more than God, hated truth, and is a picture of religious but unsaved evil person.

Balaam (v. 11)

The archetypical religious but unrighteous person who places wealth and self- gratification above self-sacrifice and godliness. This person is unsaved but is very religious: he preaches a prosperity gospel.

Israel (v. 5)

The exodus of Israel from Egypt is held up as an example of God's action against those that do not believe - those that did not believe (and do not believe in Christ Jesus) will be destroyed (Jude 1:5) just as those Israelites who did not believe God would conquer Canaan.

Michael the Archangel (v. 9)

The prince of angels is mentioned, as an example of how one acts with integrity and impunity before God. Michael the archangel does not accuse the Devil by bring reviling accusations against him - it is only the place of God to judge and execute judgement (Psa. 9:8, 75:2, Jer. 23:5, Matt. 7:1 etc.). Christians must discern good from evil, and can ascertain if a saint is not demonstrating godliness (See James), but a Christian cannot ascertain the true heart of any individual for only God can see into the heart.

Key Places:

Sodom and Gomorrah

Evil cities occupied by homosexuals and those that practiced all kinds of sexual immorality, and consequently destroyed by God (v. 7, Genesis 19). The names of these towns have become a by-word for the archetype of justice God will exercise on those that pervert what God has called natural and normal and right and holy (e.g. Isaiah 3:9, Jeremiah 23:14 etc.


[1] The importance of Enoch; Gaebelein noted that he represents prophetically the true Church living at the close of the age, bearing witness to the coming of the Lord, and waiting in faith for the promised translation. The Spirit of God mentions Enoch for this purpose and for our encouragement. Gaebelein A.C. (1970 revised 1985) Gaebelein's Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, Loizeaux Bros , USA

Title: The Revelation or more rightly "The revelation of Jesus Christ", of shorten to Revelation. It is never "Revelations" being a revelation of Christ Jesus. In Greek: ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ i.e. Revelation - John

Place in bible: New Testament, 66th, and final book of the Canon, the final book of Prophecy, the only book where the reader or hearer of the book is promised a blessing (Rev 1:3).

Author: The Apostle John, who is writing from the island of Patmos (1:9).

Date: Irenaeus[1] dates the book AD 95. This Book does not concerned about the events in AD 70 whatever liberal commentators might say.

Genre: Direct speech from the Holy Spirit to John, letters to seven churches of Asia, prophecy through direct speech and visions seen and recorded by John.

Written to: all people, in particular the unsaved of Israel and of the Nations. It commence with letters to the seven churches in Asia, named in chapters 2 and 3- more properly Asia Minor (Revelation 1:4).

Main idea: The text deals with the current state of seven churches of Asia, warning and encouraging them to remain faithful to Him; reveals God's final dealings with his people - Israel, the Church and the gentiles at the last days when He judges Israel then the whole, and in particular the Antichrist. Essentially it deals with the revelation Jesus made to John and sets out the exact chronological order of many of the prophecies outlined in the Old Testament. Indeed there is little new material in Revelation 4-22, except the dates and times of the various prophetic events.


I The things which thou hast seen : Jesus Christ in Heaven (1)

II The things which are: The churches (2,3) - letters to the seven churches

III The things hereafter (4:1)

Key verse: Revelation 1:17

Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (1:17)

"Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." (5:5)

Key events/themes:

1 Jesus Christ, the Son of Man

2,3 History of the seven churches of Asia: the prophecy of all churches

4,5 Rapture of the church, the scene in Heaven, the exaltation of Messiah

6-8:5 Opening of the seven seals - judgement

7 Between the sixth and seventh seal: a parenthetical vision

8:6-11:18 The sounding of the seven trumpets, woe 1 and 2, two witnesses

10-11:14 Between the sixth and seventh trumpets: parenthetical visions

11:19-13 Satan's Power, signs

14 The Power of God over evil powers: grace and judgment

15-16 The Seven Angels having seven plagues and the vials of wrath

16:13-16 Between the Sixth and Seventh vial, parenthetical vision

16-18 The Great Harlot, Babylon , and her judgment

19-20:6 The Manifestation of the King and the Millennium

20:7-22:5 After the thousand years and the vision of the new heaven and earth

22:6-21 The final messages

Key prophecies: (Too many to list here - a good place to start is with Arnold Fruchtenbaum charts of Revelation <> accessed 6 November 2021).

Key characters: (where first mentioned)

Jesus Christ:

Alpha and the Omega (1)

Beginning and the ending (1)

Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David (4)

The Lamb (5:8)

Christ (11:10)

Faithful and True (19:11)

King of Kings and Lord of Lords (19:16)

The Churches (up to and including chapter 3)

Lord God Almighty (4:8 etc)

Apostle John (referred to as "I" - e.g. "After these things I looked")

12,000 each of the tribes of Israel (7) i.e. Israel (21:12)

The Nations (7:9)

Two witnesses (11) who die and come back to life

The woman who gave birth to a man child (12)

Michael and his angels (12:7) - indeed many angels are mentioned

The beast with 10 horns and 7 heads, from the sea (13:1)

Another beast 2 horns like a lamb, spoke like a dragon, from out of the earth, whose number is 666 (13:11)

Key Places: (where first mentioned)

Island of Patmos[2] (1), Churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea (2,3), Heaven - (4,22 etc), Abyss (9), Great lake of fire (20:10), whose king was "Hebrew = Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon" (9:11), Mount Zion (14:1), The Temple (11, 15:2), Babylon (14:8 etc), Armageddon (16:16), The great prostitute (17), New Heaven and New Earth (21,22)



[1] Irenaeus (ca. 125-202) was the Bishop of Lyons, and a great advocate of the truth, a true early father of the Church. He spent much of his energy refuting the Gnostics whose false teachings nearly destroyed some churches. It is believed that the teacher of Irenaeus was taught by the Apostle John.

[2] Wikipedia states: is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. One of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese complex, it has a population of 2,984 and an area of 34.05 km2.

Last update: 10 January 2023

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