HOME BIBLE STUDY #2 - Major Divisions and Books of the Bible



Introduction - The Old and New Testaments

The Bible (Gk. biblia, lit. books or the books) is a book comprising many books. These books are grouped into two major divisions called the Old Testament and the New Testament, lit. covenant. The Old Testament covers the historical period from the Creation to the time before Christ, i.e. thousands of years. The New Testament covers the period of time from Christ to approximately 100 years after His death.


Books of the Old Testament - 5 Major Divisions


1) Pentateuch (Five-Volumed Book), or Law, or Torah (5 Books)


BOOK

AUTHOR

TIME and LOCATION

MAJOR DIVISIONS

MAJOR THEMES

Genesis

Moses

Creation to Mesopotamia to Egypt

to 1446 BC

Primeval History (1:1 - 11:26)

creation, the fall and the flood

Patriarchal History (11:27 - 50:26)

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph

Story of election

Story of faith

Promise

Covenant faithfulness

Exodus

Moses

Egypt to Canaan

1446 BC

Deliverance/Redemption

oppression, Moses, exodus, wanderings

Covenant at Sinai

decalogue, the covenant, worship, the tabernacle

Covenant of redemption

God’s name, attributes, law

Theology of worship (641 laws, not burdensome, holiness)


Leviticus

Moses

Mt. Sinai

1446 BC

Laws and Regulations

Offerings,Priestly Office

Worship

Moral Law

Festivals

Blessins and Curses

Holiness Codes

Numbers

Moses

Mt. Sinai to Canaan

1446 to 1406 BC

Preparation to leave for Canaan

Israel at Kadesh - 12 Spies

Kadesh to Moab

Israel’s rebellion, wanderings


Deuteronomy

Moses

Before enterning Canaan

1406 BC

Moses’ Instruction (1-33)

Covenant Stipulations

Curses and Blessings

Moses’ Death (34)

Repetition of the Law

Love the Lord your God



2) History (12 Books)


BOOK

AUTHOR

TIME and LOCATION

MAJOR DIVISIONS

MAJOR THEMES

Joshua

Joshua ?

1400-1375 BC

Conquering the land (1-12)

Crossing Jordan

Destruction of Jericho

Achan punished

Amorites defeated

Dividing the land (13-22)

Joshua’s farewell & death (23-24)

God’s people to Promised Land


Judges

?

1375-1050 BC

Israelites did not possess all the land (1,2)

God sent judges (3-16)

Israelites did not keep God’s laws (17-21)

Disobedience

Defeat

Deliverance


Ruth

?

1375-1050 BC

Story of Ruth (1-4)

Faithfulness

1 Samuel

?

1100-1010 BC

Samuel-last of the judges (1-8)

Saul-Israel’s first king (9-15)

David-a new king is chosen (16-31)

Transition of leadership from judges to kings

2 Samuel

?

1010-970 BC

David’s rise-king and ruler (1-10)

David’s fall-sin &problems (11-20)

David’s last days (21-24)

David’s reign over Judah & then over whole nation of Israel

1 Kings

Jeremiah?

970-853 BC

Reign of Solomon (1-8)

Division of kingdom (11-16)

Reign of King Ahab (17-22)

Israel divided into two kingdoms

2 Kings

Jeremiah?

850-586 BC

Ministries of Elijah &Elisha (1-9)

Last days of Israel (10-17)

Last days of Judah (18-25)

Ministry of Elisha

Fall of Judah

1 Chronicles

Ezra

1010-970 BC

Another look at Jewish history

Saul

David

Nathan

Solomon

God’s faithfulness to the Jews


2 Chronicles

Ezra

970-538 BC

Reign of Solomon (1-9)

Rulers of Judah (10-35)

Babylonian captivity (36)

Fall of Jerusalem

God’s plan

Ezra

Ezra

540-458 BC

Return under Shehbazzar (1-6)

Temple rebuilt

Return under Ezra(7-10)

God’s laws taught

God’s people return to their land


Nehemiah

Ezra

Nehemiah

458-432 BC

Return under Nehemiah (1-13)

Wall of Jerusalem rebuilt

God’s people settle in their land

Esther

?

460 BC

Esther becomes queen and saves her people from being destroyed

God saves his people




Chronological Overview - Review


1446BC Exodus

1010 Begin Davidic Dynasty

931 Colapse of United Empire

722 Collapse of Northern Kingdom (Israel)

701 Hezekiah - builds tunnel during Sennarcherib seige

621 Josiah discovers scroll - Major Reforms

609 Death of Josiah

605 Babylonians invade Jerusalem after defeating Egypt

597 Second Exile

586 Jerusalem destroyed - Third Exile

Babylonians defeated by Persians (Cyrus)

538 First return under Zerrubabel (Ezra 1-6)

458 Second return under Ezra

444 Third return under Nehemiah (wall built in 52 days)


3) Wisdom Literature (Poetry) (5 Books)


BOOK

AUTHOR

TIME and LOCATION

MAJOR DIVISIONS

MAJOR THEMES

Job

Unknown




Unknown

1-2 Prologue - the Lord gives, the Lord takes

3-31 three cycles of debate / discussion - Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophai

32-37 Elihu speech

38-41 Yahweh speeches

42 Epilogue

- questioning the human ability to understand the ways of God

- humility

- sometimes things happen to teach us

- there are limits to human wisdom

Psalms

Various

David, Asaph,

Others

Various (some sayings found in other ANE writings

5 Major Books

1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106, 107-150

Possibly to correspond to the 5 books of Moses

Five Major Types:

1) Complaint or Lament (6, 22)

invocation, complaint, plea, condemnation of enemy, statement of confidence, confession of sin, vow, blessing expected

2) Thanksgiving (30, 107, Jonah 2)

call to thanks, account of trouble, praise, promise (of sacrifice), blessings experienced

3) Royal or Enthronement (2, 21, 45, 93)

God as King or psalm for the king, king is the “son” of God

4) Wisdom or Instruction (1, 19, 119)

generally: do good and prosper, do evil and God will judge

5) Hymn of Praise (146-150)

arises out of personal deliverance

Proverbs

Solomon (1-29)

Agur (30),

Lemuel (31)

10th cent BC?

compiled after Hezekiah?

1-9: in defence of wisdom

10-32:8 proverbs of Solomon

23:17-24:22 words of the wise (close to Egyptian collection)

24:23-34 more words of the wise

25-29 proverbs of solomon

30 words of Agur (Arabic)

31 words of Lemuel (Arabic)

- how does God work in the world and how do we respond

- deuteronomistic principle - benefits of following, tragedy if not

- certitudes

- philosophical wisdom

- sum total of what can be known is the fear of Yahweh

- the fool, the sluggard, the friend, the family

Ecclesiastes

Uncertain, possibly Solomon



10th cent BC?

(none)

- all is vanity - futility

- all is to be enjoyed

- cannot know the full answer

- remeber God in your youth

- be faithful, heed His instuctions

Song of Songs, Song of Solomon

Solomon?



10th cent BC

(none)

- a love song

- an allegory of the love relationship between God and Israel, or Christ and the Church



4) Major Prophets (5 Books)


prophet - someone who speaks for God

prophecy - a message spoken as instructed by God, either forthtelling or foretelling laws, instructions, events

early examples - Moses (Dt 34) - “presence” and “power” of God - “face-to-face”

Saul (1 Sam 10, 19), Nathan (2 Sam 13), Elijah and Elisha (1 Kg 17; 2 Kg 2)

divisions - pre-exilic (8th cent - Assyrians, 7th cent - Babylonians), exilic (6th cent - Babylonian), post-exilic (6th to 5th cent - Persian)


BOOK

AUTHOR

TIME and LOCATION

MAJOR DIVISIONS

MAJOR THEMES

Isaiah

Isaiah

pre-exilic

northern kingdom

1 - 35 - oracles of judgement and hope

36 - 39 - historical narrative

40 - 66 - book of consolation

1:5 consequences of foresaking Yahweh

2 - 4 - pending “day of the Lord”

5 - 6 Ahaz invaded - “in whom do you place your trust”

10 - 11 restoration

servant songs (49:1-6, 53) - Israel, Jacob, Jesus

Jeremiah

Jeremiah

pre-exilic to exilic (627 - 586)

northern kingdom

2 - offences

3 - 4:4 - call to return

7 - false security

11:15; 14:11; 15:1 doubt of return - God tells Jer. to stop praying - judgement is inevitable

18 - 29 - judgement

30 - 33 - restoration, consoltation


Lamentations

Jeremiah

586


Jeremiah weeping over destroyed Jerusalem

Ezekial

Ezekial

early exilic

605, 597, 586

30th year -> 575?

1 - 24 - message “toward Jerusalem”

25 - 32 - oracles against the nations

33 - 48 - exile and restoration

Ezekial is a priest -> concerned with holiness

8 - indictment - glory has departed

exile allegories - 17 (eagles); 23 (two sisters); 24 (cooking pot)


Daniel

Daniel



apocalyptic a.o.t. prophetic



5) Minor Prophets (Book of the Twelve) (12 Books)


BOOK

AUTHOR

TIME and LOCATION

MAJOR DIVISIONS

MAJOR THEMES

Hosea

Hosea

pre-exilic

northern kingdom

1 - 3 - prophet’s unfaithful family

4 - 12 - Israel on trial

prophet’s family as a sign and symbol of unfaithful Israel and faithful God

Joel

Joel

exilic (probably)


describing the day of “Yahweh”

restoration

“day of Yahweh” for the nations

Amos

Amos

pre-exilic

northern kingdom

1:1 - superscription

1:2 - 2:5 - oracles against the nations

2:6 - 9:15 - oracles against Israel

7 - 8 - divine mercy and justice

impending judgement

Obadiah

Obadiah




Jonah

Jonah

pre-exilic

Ninevah


God’s mercy on all nations

Micah

Micah

pre-exilic

northern kingdom

(similar to Isaiah)

charge of injustice (2:1-2; 6:9-16) and penalty

call to repentance

hope of restoration (4:1-5, 7:8-20)

Nahum

Nahum




Habbakuk

Habbakuk




Zephaniah

Zephaniah




Haggai

Haggai

early post-exilic

Darius (520 BC)


people have wrong priorities

future glorious temple

holiness required of people and priests

Zacheriah

Zacheriah

post-exilic



Malachi

Malachi

post-exilic

5th cent (?)


responds to expectations fo Haggai

“God does not love Israel?” - No - “Israel does not love God”, esp priests

- misunderstanding of the law

marital infidelity

judgement and restoration

vindications of the righteous

conclusion - “keep the law”




Ref: BIBLE_2 Date: 11/25/00 Page 5 of 5.