Tag: Bible Essentials

Leviticus Essentials

Leviticus Essentials

The message

The holy God makes his people holy, calls them to be holy, and provides atonement through blood when they are not.

Storyline

When Christ died on the cross for sinners, there was no longer any need for the Levitical system of blood sacrifice. Indeed, Leviticus was pointing toward this ultimate sacrifice all along, though the Israelites were not yet ready to hear about Jesus’ atoning death. They needed first to understand the requirements of a holy God, the depth of their waywardness, and their desperate need for a Savior. They would also, one day, come to understand that salvation extended to all the peoples of the earth—a revelation made emphatically at Pentecost in Acts 2.

It is important to understand that key elements of the moral teaching in Leviticus are timeless; as applicable today as they were then—for instance, regarding the sanctity of marriage, the demands of justice, and the call for compassion. Today, as in Moses’ time, those who would walk with God must agree with Him about what constitutes sin and repent of that sin. But now we trust in the death and resurrection of Christ, and not the slaughter of animals, to cover that sin and free us from judgment.

KEYS TO LEVITICUS

Key Word: Holiness—Leviticus centers on the concept of the holiness of God and how an unholy people can acceptably approach Him and then remain in continued fellowship. The way to God is only through blood sacrifice, and the walk with God is only through obedience to His laws.

Key Verses: Leviticus 17:11; 20:7, 8—“‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul’” (17:11).

“Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the LORD who sanctifies you” (20:7, 8).

Key Chapter: Leviticus 16—The Day of Atonement (“Yom Kippur”) was the most important single day in the Hebrew calendar as it was the only day the high priest entered into the Most Holy Place to “make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (16:30).

KEY THEMES

Holy priests

God permitted only certain people to work in the tabernacle. These people were priests, Aaron’s descendants (Numbers 3:10), to offer sacrifices and Levites, Levi’s descendants, to assist them (Numbers 3:5-9). Priests, ordained for their work (8:1-9:24), stood between sinful people and holy God.

Christ alone is now our High Priest (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-5:10; 10:19-23) and so we need no other. All Christians are now priests (eg 1 Peter 2:4-10).

Holy sacrifices

What made these sacrifices different was that they were not people’s gifts to the gods (like in other religions), but God’s gift to them (17:11). This was God’s way of dealing with sin. Adam and Eve had tried to hide sin (Genesis 3:7-11); sacrifice brought it into the open.

The sinner killed the sacrifice himself (eg 1:3-5; 3:1-2), underlining that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The priest then took its blood to the altar (eg 1:5; 3:2) to “make atonement” (eg 1:4; 4:20). The Hebrew word means “to cover”. It is only as sins are covered or dealt with that sinners can approach a Holy God and become “at one” with him.

Sacrifices were always:

Animals (eg 1:2; 4:3), substituting for humans through the laying-on of hands (eg 1:4) Male (eg 1:3; 4:3), underlining the cost because males, with their breeding potential, were more valuable Perfect (eg 1:3; 4:3), reflecting God’s perfection and that only the best was good enough.

The inadequacy of these sacrifices, however, was shown by the Day of Atonement (16:1-34) when atonement was made for the nation’s sins. The high priest killed one goat, sprinkling its blood on the ark in the Most Holy Place (which he could enter only once a year), and then laid hands on a second goat, confessing the people’s sins and sending it into the desert. Through these two aspects – wiping away and sending away – the assurance of God’s forgiveness was declared.

Holy living

Much of Leviticus concerns the way that God wanted his people to live – different (the meaning of “holy”) from those around. No area of life was exempt – worship, health, work, sex, attitudes, justice, business – all expressions of the command to “love your neighbour as yourself” (19:18)

Key Doctrines in Leviticus

Sacrifice —God required sacrifices from the people to atone for sin (1:3,9–13; 16:3; 17:8; 19:5; Exodus 29:34; Deuteronomy 16:5–6; Judges 11:31; Psalm 66:13–15; Matthew 5:23–24; Romans 8:3; 12:1; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2)

Holiness —the attribute that encapsulates God’s perfect character; Israel was called to be holy as God is holy (11:44–45; 19:2; 20:7, 26; 21:6–8; Exodus 6:7; 19:6; Psalm 22:3; 99:5; Isaiah 41:14–16; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:14–16)

Offerings —forms of worship to God, to give expression of the penitent and thankful heart (1:1–17; 2:1–16; 3:1–17; 4:1–5:13; 5:14–6:7; Genesis 4:4–5; Deuteronomy 16:10; 1 Kings 18:33–40; Job 42:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Timothy 4:6)

Israel as God’s holy nation —the people through whom Christ would enter the world (26:42–46; Genesis 15:12–21; Exodus 19:5–6; 2 Samuel 7:13; 23:5; Hebrews 8:6–13)

God’s Character in Leviticus

God is accessible —16:12–15

God is glorious —9:6,23

God is holy —11:44–45

God is wrathful —10:2

Christ in Leviticus

God’s explicit instructions about offerings within Leviticus point towards the final substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. Because the sacrifices of the people represented only temporary removal of Israel’s sins, they needed to be repeated continually. Jesus lived a perfect life on earth and presented Himself as the final sacrifice for all humankind. In contrast to the Old Testament Passover feast celebrated annually, believers constantly celebrate the “feast” of the new Passover—Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Key Words in Leviticus

Offering: Hebrew qorban —2:3; 4:35; 6:18; 7:14,33; 9:4; 10:14—this Hebrew word is derived from the verb “to bring near” and literally means “that which one brings near to God.” The fact that the Israelites could approach to present their gifts to God reveals His mercy. Even though the people were sinful and rebellious, God instituted a sacrificial system in which they could reconcile themselves to Him. The sacrifices foreshadowed Jesus’ death on the cross, the ultimate offering, the offering that ended the need for any others. Through Christ’s sacrificial death, we have once for all been reconciled to God (Hebrews 10:10–18). An appropriate response to Jesus’ death for us is to offer our lives as living sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1).

Memorial Portion: Hebrew ‘azkarah —2:2,9,16; 5:12; 6:15; 23:24; 24:7—a memorial portion of a grain offering was a representative portion burnt on the altar in place of the whole amount. The rest was a gift to the priest, to support him in his ministry. The word for memorial portion is related to the Hebrew verb zakar , which means “to remember.” It signifies the worshiper’s remembering of God’s gracious character and generosity, especially God’s remembering and blessing of the worshiper.

Blood: Hebrew dam —1:5; 3:17; 4:7; 8:15; 9:9; 16:18; 17:10; 20:11—related to the Hebrew word ‘adom , which means “red” (Genesis 25:30) and refers to blood. This may be the blood of animals (Exodus 23:18) or human beings (Genesis 4:10). The word blood may also represent a person’s guilt, as in the phrase “his blood shall be upon him”; that is, he is responsible for his own guilt (20:9). The Old Testament equates life with blood (Genesis 9:4; Deuteronomy 12:23), which vividly illustrates the sanctity of human life (Genesis 9:6). According to the New Testament, “without shedding of blood there is no remission” of sin (Hebrews 9:22). Thus the emphasis on blood in the Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the blood that Christ would shed, i.e., the life that He would give on our behalf (Romans 5:9; 1 Corinthians 11:25–26).

Jubilee: Hebrew yobel —25:9,12,30,40,54; 27:18,24—literally means “ram” or “ram’s horn” (Exodus 19:13; Joshua 6:5). The term is associated with the Year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25:10 and Numbers 36:4. The fiftieth year was a “jubilee” year for the Hebrews, marked by the blowing of a trumpet (25:9). During that year, the Israelites were instructed to practice freedom and liberty: debts were canceled; slaves were freed; the land rested; family property was redeemed (25:10–17). The fact that Jesus quoted Isaiah 48:8,9 seems to indicate that Jesus equated His earthly ministry with the principles of the Year of Jubilee (Luke 4:18–19).

Teaching Outline

I.

HOW TO MAKE OFFERINGS

1–10

A. The Sacrifices Required

1–7

B. The Priests Ordained

8–10

II.

HOW TO KEEP RITUALLY CLEAN

11–15

III.

HOW TO MAKE ATONEMENT FOR ALL

16

IV.

HOW TO LIVE HOLY LIVES

17–22

A. Rules for Everyone

17–20

B. Rules for Priests

21–22

V.

HOW TO WORSHIP GOD

23–27

A. Celebrating His Presence

23:1–24:9

B. Serving His Purposes

24:10–27:34

Genesis Essentials Lesson Notes

Genesis Essentials Lesson Notes

Naturally we begin the Bible Essentials with Genesis…

 

Storyline

When God rebuked Satan in Genesis 3:15, He outlined the plot of the entire rest of the Bible: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Indeed, the devil would fight against Eve’s descendants; but one of them, Jesus of Nazareth, would deal him a fatal blow by defeating sin and death on the cross. Because Genesis encapsulates many foundational truths, it is not surprising that many New Testament books reference this book in some way. For example, Jesus, Paul, and the author of Hebrews draw from the Bible’s opening book to give the basis for marriage (Matthew 19:4–5), explain humanity’s fallen condition (Romans 5:12), and provide examples of walking by faith (Hebrews 11). And key salvation-related concepts like sin, covenant, sacrifice, judgment, mercy, and obedience all have their origins in this book.

 

Key Concepts

  • The covenant is God’s program of revelation.
  • The focus of creation is the establishment and maintenance of order and operation.
  • The stories in the Bible are stories about God.”

 

Essential Verses

“Genesis 1:28: Be fruitful and increase in number.

Genesis 12:3: All peoples on earth will be blessed through you [Abraham].

Genesis 50:20: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish . . . the saving of many lives.”

 

Central Chapter

Genesis 15—Central to all of Scripture is the Abrahamic covenant, which is given in 12:1–3 and ratified in 15:1–21. Israel receives three specific promises: (1) the promise of a great land—“from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates” (15:18); (2) the promise of a great nation—“and I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth” (13:16); and (3) the promise of a great blessing—“I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (12:2).

 

Key Teachings

  • God established and maintains order in the cosmos.
  • God overcomes obstacles to carry out his purposes.
  • God reveals himself to his people.
  • God’s grace exceeds all logic.

 

KEY THEMES

God

The Bible’s opening verse focuses us on God – eternal (21:33), unique (1 Timothy 1:17), all-powerful, creating everything from nothing (Hebrews 11:3). However, he is no mere force or power, but personal, making humans in his image (1:26-27) for relationship with him (2:7-24). As Genesis unfolds, we see that he is also gracious (12:1-3), caring (16:7-16), sovereign (50:20), and yet he judges sin (3:23; 6:7; 11:8; 19:23-29).

Humanity

Although made on the same day as animals, humans are distinct and superior, reflected in their separate creation (1:24-26), dominion over the animal world (1:28), and creation in God’s image (1:26-27) – an image reflected fully and equally in both sexes.

Creation

Creation is “good” (1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31) and to be enjoyed, but not to the exclusion of its creator, nor by being made into god (Exodus 20:4-5). As God’s stewards, humanity is to care for creation on his behalf (1:28; 2:15; 9:1-3; Psalm 8:3-8; 115:16).

Sin

Adam and Eve’s disobedience had widespread consequences, affecting relationship with God (3:8-10), one another (3:7,12), and creation itself (3:17-19), yet excusing its guilt by hiding and explaining things away (3:7-13). Their sin spread deeply into their descendants (eg 4:1-8) and the rest of humanity (6:1-6) so that “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (8:21). The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Covenant

While covenants (solemn, unbreakable contracts between two parties) were common, biblical covenants were distinct by being entirely at God’s initiative. So all Abraham could do when God made covenant with him was stand by and watch (15:1-21). Only after it was made could he respond. God made covenants with his people at key times (eg 9:8-17; 15:9-21; 17:1-27; 19:3-8), but the prophets looked forward to a new covenant, written in people’s hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 37:25-27), which the New Testament says happened through Jesus (Matthew 26:26-28; Hebrews 9:15-28).

Election

Election is God’s gracious and sovereign calling of people for his greater purpose. In Genesis he chooses Israel through Abraham (12:1-3; 15:1-18; 17:1-16) rather than another nation, Isaac rather than Ishmael (17:19-21; Romans 9:6-9), Jacob rather than Esau (25:23; 27:1-40; Romans 9:10-16). This choice isn’t out of favoritism, but love (Deuteronomy 7:7-8), in order to bring about his bigger salvation purposes. Those chosen can therefore never be proud (Romans chapters 9-11), and even those not chosen can still find blessing, as Ishmael (21:17-20) and Esau (36:6-8) discovered.

 

Doctrines in Genesis

Most of the central teachings of Christianity have their roots in the Book of Genesis.

God the Father —the authority of God in creation (1:1–31 Psalm 103:19; 145:8–9; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; 4:6)

God the Son —the agent of God in creation (1:1 3:15 18:1 John 1:1–3; 10:30; 14:9; Philippians 2:5–8; Colossians 1:15–17; Hebrews 1:2)

God the Holy Spirit —the presence of God in creation (1:2; 6:3; Matthew 1:18; John 3:5–7)

God as one yet three —the Trinity (1:1,26; 3:22; 11:7; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5–7; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

Human beings —created in Christ’s image yet fallen into sin and needing a Savior (1:26; 2:4–25; 9:6; Isaiah 43:7; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; James 3:9; Revelation 4:11)

Sin (the Fall) —the infection of all creation with sin by rebellion toward God (2:16–17; 3:1–19; John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1–3; 1 Timothy 2:13–14; 1 John 1:8)

Redemption —the rescue from sin and restoration accomplished by Christ on the cross (3:15; 48:16; John 8:44; 10:15; Romans 3:24–25; 16:20; 1 Peter 2:24)

Covenant —God establishes relationships and makes promises (15:1–20; 17:10–11; Numbers 25:10–13; Deuteronomy 4:25–31; 30:1–9; 2 Samuel 23:5; 1 Chronicles 16:15–18; Jeremiah 30:11; 32:40; 46:27–28; Amos 9:8; Luke 1:67–75; Hebrews 6:13–18)

Promise —God commits Himself into the future (12:1–3; 26:3–4; 28:14; Acts 2:39; Galatians 3:16; Hebrews 8:6)

Satan —the original rebel among God’s creatures (3:1–15; Isaiah 14:13–14; Matthew 4:3–10; 2 Corinthians 11:3,14; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 12:9; 20:2)

Angels—special beings created to serve God (3:24; 18:1–8; 28:12; Luke 2:9–14; Hebrews 1:6–7,14; 2:6–7; Revelation 5:11–14)

Revelation —Natural revelation occurs as God indirectly communicates through what He has made (1:1–2:25; Romans 1:19,20). Special revelation occurs when God directly communicates Himself as well as otherwise unknowable truth (2:15–17; 3:8–19; 12:1–3; 18:1–8; 32:24–32; Deuteronomy 18:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:1–4; 1 Peter 1:10–12)

Israel —Jacob’s God-given name that became the name of the nation he fathered; inheritors of God’s covenant with Abraham (32:28; 35:10; Deuteronomy 28:15–68; Isaiah 65:17–25; Jeremiah 31:31–34; Ezekiel 37:21–28; Zechariah 8:1–17; Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1–29)

Judgment —God’s righteous response to sin (3; 6; 7; 11:1–9; 15:14, 18:16– 19:29; Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 1:9; Matthew 12:36–37; Romans 1:18–2:16; 2 Peter 2:5–6)

Blessing —a special benefit or a hope-filled statement to someone about their life (1:28; 9:1; 12:1–3; 14:18–20; 27:1–40; 48:1–20; Numbers 6:24–27; Deuteronomy 11:26–27; Psalm 3:8; Malachi 3:10; Matthew 5:3–11; 1 Peter 3:9)

 

God’s Character in Genesis

Many of God’s character traits are first revealed in Genesis.

God is the Creator —1:1–31

God is faithful (keeps promises) —12:3,7; 26:3–4; 28:14; 32:9,12

God is just —18:25

God is long-suffering —6:3

God is loving —24:12

God is merciful —19:16,19

God is omnipotent —17:1

God is powerful —18:14

God is provident —8:22; 24:12–14,48,56; 28:20–21; 45:5–7; 48:15; 50:20

God is truthful —3:4–5; 24:27; 32:10

God is wrathful —7:21–23; 11:8; 19:24–25

 

 

 

Christ Revealed in Genesis

The preexistent Christ, the living Word, is evident throughout the Book of Genesis…

The preincarnate Jesus was present at creation (John 1:3). Genesis 3:15 anticipates Jesus’ ministry, suggesting that the “Seed” of the woman who will bruise the serpent’s (Satan’s) head is Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16). Melchizedek is the mysterious king-priest of Genesis 14 (Heb. 6:20). The greatest revelation of Christ in Genesis is found in God’s establishment of His covenant with Abraham (chs. 15; 17). Jesus is the major fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, a truth Paul explains in detail in Galatians. Much of the Bible is built upon the Abrahamic covenant and Christ’s fulfillment of it. In Genesis 22:2, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac at God’s command bears a startling similarity to the crucial New Testament truth of God’s willingness to sacrifice His only Son for the sins of the world. Finally, Jacob’s blessing upon Judah anticipates the coming of “Shiloh” to be identified as the Messiah: “And to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (49:10).

 

 

CONTENT OUTLINE OF GENESIS

  1. Primeval Events (1:1–11:32)
  2. Creation Overview (1:1–2:3)
  3. Creation Detail (2:4–4:26)
  4. Creation of man, woman (2:4–25)
  5. Temptation and Fall (3:1–7)
  6. Impact of sin (3:8–4:26)
  7. On Adam, Eve (3:8–24)
  8. On their offspring (4:1–18)
  9. On society (4:19–26)
  10. Man’s Early History (5:1–11:32)
  11. Adam to Noah (5:1–32)
  12. Corruption of the race (6:1–8)
  13. Noah’s survival of the Flood (6:9–8:22)
  14. God’s covenant with Noah (9:1–17)
  15. The curse on Canaan (9:18–29)
  16. Nations springing from Noah’s sons (10:1–32)
  17. Origin of languages (11:1–9)
  18. From Shem to Abram (11:10–32)
  19. Patriarchal Narratives (12:1–50:26)
  20. The Story of Abraham (12:1–25:18)
  21. Making of the Covenant (12:1–15:21)
  22. Provision of the promised seed, and tests of Abraham’s faith (16:1–22:19)
  23. Transmission of the promises to Isaac (22:20–25:11)
  24. The history of Ishmael (25:12–18)
  25. The Story of Jacob (25:19–35:29)
  26. Transmission of the blessing to Jacob rather than Esau (25:19–28:22)
  27. Jacob’s sojourn in Paddan Aram (29:1–30:43)
  28. Jacob’s return (31–35)
  29. The History of Esau (36:1–37:1)
  30. The Story of Joseph (37:2–50:26)
  31. Joseph sold to Egypt (37:2–36)
  32. Corruption of Judah (38:1–30)
  33. Rise of Joseph in Egypt (39:1–41:57)
  34. The move to Egypt (42:1–47:31)
  35. The Covenant story to be continued (48:1–50:26)

 

 

Introducing the Bible Essentials Series

Introducing the Bible Essentials Series

Introducing the Bible Essentials Series

As we transition into 2021 and the Bible Essentials Series, I want to provide some background as well as structural/organizational materials for you to better understand the Bible.

Let’s begin with some introductory material adapted from What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta Mears, Halley’s Bible Handbook, Wilmington’s Bible Handbook, the NKJV Open Bible, the Essential Bible Companion, athe the Bible Reader’s Companion.

 

The Old Testament is an account of a nation (the Jewish nation). The New Testament is an account of a man (the Son of man). The nation was founded and nurtured of God in order to bring the man into the world (see Genesis 12:1–3).

God Himself became a man so that we might know what to think of when we think of God (see John 1:14; 14:9). His appearance on the earth is the central event of all history. The Old Testament sets the stage for it. The New Testament describes it.

As a man, Christ lived the most perfect life ever known. He was kind, tender, gentle, patient and sympathetic. He loved people. He worked marvelous miracles to feed the hungry. Multitudes—weary, pain ridden and heartsick—came to Him, and He gave them rest (see Matthew 11:28–30). It is said that if all the deeds of kindness that He did “should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25).

Then He died—to take away the sin of the world and to become the Savior of men.

Then He rose from the dead. He is alive today. He is not merely a historical character but a living person—this is the most important fact of history and the most vital force in the world today. And He promises eternal life to all who come to Him.

The whole Bible is built around the story of Christ and His promise of life everlasting to all. It was written only that we might believe and understand, know and love, and follow Him.

Apart from any theory of inspiration or any theory of how the Bible books came to their present form or how much the text may have suffered in passing through the hands of editors and copyists or what is historical and what may be poetical—assume that the Bible is just what it appears to be. Accept the books as we have them in our Bible; study them to know their contents. You will find a unity of thought that indicates that one mind inspired the writing of the whole series of books, that it bears on its face the stamp of its author, and that it is in every sense the Word of God.

 

Old Testament—Principal Places

There are 12 principal places around which the history of the Old Testament is written:

  1. Eden (Genesis 1–3)
  2. Ararat (Genesis 8:4)
  3. Babel (Genesis 11:1–11)
  4. Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:28–12:3)
  5. Canaan (with Abraham) (Genesis 12:4–7)
  6. Egypt (with Joseph) (Genesis 37–45, especially 41:41)
  7. Sinai (Exodus 19:16–20:21)
  8. Wilderness (Numbers 14:26–35)
  9. Canaan (with Joshua) (Joshua 1:1–9)
  10. Assyria (captivity of Israel) (2 Kings 18:9–12)
  11. Babylon (captivity of Judah) (2 Kings 24:11–16)
  12. Canaan (the land of Israel—return of the exiles) (Ezra 1:1–2:70)

As you build the story of the Bible around these places, you see the whole history in chronological order.

Old Testament—Principal Facts

Still another way to think through the Bible is by following the great facts in order:

  1. Creation (Genesis 1:1–2:3)
  2. Fall of man (Genesis 3)
  3. Flood (Genesis 6–9)
  4. Babel (Genesis 11:1–9)
  5. Call of Abraham (Genesis 11:10–12:3)
  6. Descent into Egypt (Genesis 46–47)
  7. Exodus (Exodus 7–12)
  8. Passover (Exodus 12)
  9. Giving of the Law (Exodus 19–24)
  10. Wilderness wanderings (Numbers 13–14)
  11. Conquest of the Promised Land (Joshua 11)
  12. Dark ages of the Chosen People (Judges)
  13. Anointing of Saul as king (1 Samuel 9:27–10:1)
  14. Golden age of Israelites under David and Solomon—united kingdom (2 Samuel 5:4–5; 1 Kings 10:6–8)
  15. The divided kingdom—Israel and Judah (1 Kings 12:26–33)
  16. The captivity in Assyria and Babylon (2 Kings 17; 25)
  17. The return from exile (Ezra)

New Testament—Principal Facts

  1. Early life of Christ (Matthew 1:18–2:23; Luke 1–2)
  2. Ministry of Christ (Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
  3. Church in Jerusalem (Acts 1–2)
  4. Church extending to the Gentiles (Acts 10–11; 13–20)
  5. Church in all the world (Romans 10–11, 15; Ephesians 1:22–23)

Principal Biblical Periods

  1. Period of the patriarchs to Moses (Genesis)
  2. The godly line—leading events
  3. Creation
  4. Fall
  5. Flood
  6. Dispersion
  7. The chosen family—leading events
  8. Call of Abraham
  9. Descent into Egypt; bondage
  10. Period of great leaders: Moses to Saul (Exodus to Samuel)
  11. Exodus from Egypt
  12. Wandering in wilderness
  13. Conquest of Canaan
  14. Rule of judges

III.  Period of the kings: Saul to the captivities (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, the prophetical books)

  1. The united kingdom
  2. Saul
  3. David
  4. Solomon
  5. The divided kingdom
  6. Judah
  7. Israel
  8. Period of foreign rulers: captivities to Christ (Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel)
  9. Captivity of Israel
  10. Captivity of Judah
  11. Christ (Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
  12. The Church (Acts and the Epistles)
  13. In Jerusalem
  14. To the Gentiles
  15. In all the world

 

Principles and Helps for Bible Study

Accept the Bible just as it is, for exactly what it claims to be. Pin your faith to the Bible. It is God’s Word. It will never let you down. For us human beings, it is the rock of ages. Trust its teachings, and be happy forever.

 

Read your Bible with an open mind. ­Don’t try to straitjacket all its passages into the mold of a few pet doctrines. And ­don’t read into its passages ideas that are not there. But try to search out fairly and honestly the main teachings and lessons of each passage.  Ultimately, the text says what the text says. We need to look at the cultural context, genre, word choices, etc. Our search is to understand the Bible in similar fashion to how the original readers would have understood it.

 

Keep a pencil at hand. It is a good thing, as we read, to mark passages. Mark texts that resonate with you and passages that challenge you to grow in your faith.  Reread passages you have marked. In time a well-marked Bible will become very dear to us, as the day draws near for us to meet the Author.

 

Habitual, systematic reading of the Bible is what counts. Occasional or spasmodic reading does not mean much. Unless we have some sort of system to follow, and hold to it with resolute determination, the chances are that we will not read the Bible very much at all. Our inner life, like our body, needs its daily food.

 

Try to set a certain time each day for whatever reading plan you are following. Otherwise it is  likely that one would neglect or forget to read the Bible.

 

The particular time of day does not greatly matter. The important thing is that we choose a time that best fits in with our daily round of work, and that we try to stick with it and not be discouraged if now and then our routine is broken by things beyond our control.

Memorize favorite verses. Thoroughly memorize them and repeat them often to yourself — sometimes when you are alone, or in the night to help put yourself to sleep on the everlasting arms. These are the verses that we live on.

 

Suggested Reading Plans

The Learning Supplement for each book will include options for reading each book.

 

On Marking and Journaling

Start with a wide margin Bible in your favorite translation. I find Prismacolor Pencils to be ideal for marking. You could underline specific words or entire verses. Some people draw symbols or pictures. Others put detailed nots into the margins. Whatever you choose to put in the margins, these notes and symbols  are what makes the Bible truly yours.