The Bible Book by Book By J. B. Tidwell
Outline Study of the Bible
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THE BIBLE BOOK BY BOOK
For the Outline Study of the Bible by Books
J. B. TIDWELL, A.M., D. D.Preface to Second Edition.
In sending forth this second edition of The Bible Book by Book it has seemed wise to make some changes in it. The descriptive matter has been put in paragraph instead of tabular form; the analyses have been made shorter and less complex; the lessons based on the Old Testament books have been omitted or incorporated in the topics of study which have been increased, It is believed that the make-up of the book is better and more attractive.
The author feels a deep gratitude that the first edition has been so soon sold. He indulges the hope that it has been found helpful and sends out this edition with a prayer that it may prove more valuable than did the former.J. B. Tidwell
Preface to First Edition.
The aim of this book is to furnish students of the Bible with an outline which will enable them to gain a certain familiarity with its contents. While it is intended especially for students in academies, preparatory schools and colleges, the needs of classes conducted by Women's Societies, Young People's Organizations, Sunday School Normal Classes, Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. C. A. and advanced classes of the Sunday Schools have been constantly in mind. Its publication has been encouraged not only by the hope of supplying the needs mentioned but by expressions that have followed public lectures upon certain books, indicating a desire on the part of Christians in general for a book that would, in a brief compass, give them some insight into the purpose, occasion and general setting of each of the books of the Bible.
The work has been done with a conviction that the students of American schools should become as well acquainted with the sources of our religion as they are required to do with the religions of ancient heathen nations, and all the more so, since the most of our people regard it as the true and only religion, and still more so, since "it is made the basis of our civilization and is implied and involved in our whole national life." It is believed by the Author that a knowledge of the simple facts of the history, geography and chronology of the Bible is essential to a liberal education and that to be familiar with the prophecies, poetry, and ethics of the scripture is as essential to the educated man of today as was a "knowledge of Greek history in the time of Pericles or of English history in the reign of Henry the VIII." And, in order that such knowledge may be gained, effort has been made to put into the book only a minimum of matter calculated to take the student away from the Bible itself to a discussion about it and to put into it a maximum of such matter as will require him to study the scripture at first hand.
Having intended, first of all to meet the needs of those whose advantages for scripture study have been limited, the information has been put in tabular form, giving only such facts as have been carefully gathered from reliable sources, with but little attempt to show how the conclusions were reached. It is expected that the facts given may be mastered and that an interest may be created which will lead to further study upon the subjects treated. And to this end some of the studies have been made sufficiently complicated for college work and instruction for such work given in suggestions for teachers, leaders and classes. Besides the studies of the books there have been introduced some matters of general interest which have been found helpful as drills for academy pupils, and which will be found interesting and helpful to all classes of students.
The general plan is the outgrowth of the experience of a few years of teaching, but the material presented lays little claim to originality. It has been gathered from many sources and may in some cases seem almost like plagiarism, but due acknowledgment is here made for all suggestions coming from any source whatsoever, including Dr. George W. Baines, who read all the material except that on the New Testament.
Let it be said also, that in preparing these studies the Author has proceeded upon the basis of a belief in the Bible as the Word of God, a true source of comfort for every condition of heart and a safe guide to all faith and conduct whether of individuals or of nations. It is hoped therefore that those who may study the topics presented will approach the scripture with an open heart, that it may have full power to make them feel the need of God, that they may make its provisions real in their experience and that it may bring to them new and changed lives.
If the pastors shall deem it valuable as a book of reference for themselves and to their members who are desirous of pursuing Bible study, or if it shall be found serviceable to any or all of those mentioned in paragraph one of this Preface, the Author will be amply rewarded for the effort made.J. B. TIDWELL.
Waco, Texas, August, 1914.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Some Introductory Studies.
|Chapter I.||Why We Believe the Bible. |
|Chapter II.||The Names of God. |
|Chapter III.||The Sacred Officers and Sacred Occasions. |
|Chapter IV.||Sacred Institutions of Worship and Seven Great Covenants. |
|Chapter V.||The Divisions of the Scriptures. |
|Chapter VI.||The Dispensations. |
|Chapter VII.||Ages and Periods of Biblical History. |
|Chapter VIII.||Some General Matters and Some Biblical Characters. |
The Bible Book by Book.
|Chapter I.|| Genesis. |
|Chapter II.||Exodus. |
|Chapter III.||Leviticus. |
|Chapter IV.||Numbers. |
|Chapter V.||Deuteronomy. |
|Chapter VI.||Joshua. |
|Chapter VII.||Judges and Ruth. |
|Chapter VIII.||First and Second Samuel. |
|Chapter IX.||First and Second Kings. |
|Chapter X.||First and Second Chronicles. |
|Chapter XI.||Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. |
|Chapter XII.||Job. |
|Chapter XIII.||Psalms and Proverbs. |
|Chapter XIV.||Ecclesiastes and The Song of Solomon. |
|Chapter XV.||Isaiah. |
|Chapter XVI.||Jeremiah and Lamentations. |
|Chapter XVII.||Ezekiel and Daniel. |
|Chapter XVIII.||Hosea and Joel. |
|Chapter XIX.||Amos and Obadiah. |
|Chapter XX.||Jonah and Micah. |
|Chapter XXI.||Nahum and Habakkuk. |
|Chapter XXII.||Zephaniah and Haggai. |
|Chapter XXIII.||Malachi. |
|Chapter XXIV.||Matthew. |
|Chapter XXV.||Mark. |
|Chapter XXVI.||Luke. |
|Chapter XXVII.||John. |
|Chapter XXVIII.||Acts. |
|Chapter XXIX.||Romans. |
|Chapter XXX.||First and Second Corinthians. |
|Chapter XXXI.||Galatians and Ephesians. |
|Chapter XXXII.||Philippians and Colossians. |
|Chapter XXXIII.||First and Second Thessalonians. |
|Chapter XXXIV.||First and Second Timothy. |
|Chapter XXXV.||Titus and Philemon. |
|Chapter XXXVI.||Hebrews and James. |
|Chapter XXXVII.||First and Second Peter. |
|Chapter XXXVIII.||First, Second and Third John and Jude. |
|Chapter XXXIX.||Revelation. |
Why We Believe The Bible.
There are two lines of proof of the reliability of the scriptures, the external and the internal. These different kinds of evidences may be put down, without separation, somewhat as follows:
1. The Formation and Unity of the Bible. There are sixty-six books written by nearly forty men, who lived at various times, and yet these books agree in making a perfect whole. These writers were of different classes and occupations. They possessed different degrees of training and lived in widely different places and ages of the world. The perfect agreement of their writings could not, therefore, be the result of any collusion between them. The only conclusion that can explain such unity is that one great and infinite mind dictated the scripture.
2. The Preservation of the Bible. That the Bible is a divine book is proven in that it has survived the wreck of empires and kingdoms and the destruction of costly and carefully gathered libraries and that, too, when there was no special human effort to save it. At times all the constituted powers of earth were arrayed against it, but it has made its way against the tide of fierce opposition and persecution.
3. Its Historical Accuracy. The names of towns, cities, battles, kings, empires and great events, widely apart in time and place, are given without a blunder. The ruins of cities of Assyria, Egypt and Babylon have been unearthed and tablets found that prove the accuracy of the Bible narrative. These tablets corroborate the stories of the creation and fall of man, of the flood, the tower of Babel, the bondage in Egypt, the captivity, and many other things. This accuracy gives us confidence in the reality of the book.
4. Its Scientific Accuracy. At the time of the writing of the Bible. there were all sorts of crude and superstitious stories about the earth and all its creatures and processes. It was humanly impossible for a book to have been written that would stand the teat of scientific research, and yet at every point it has proven true to the facts of nature. Its teachings areas to the creation of all animal life is proven in science, in that not a single new species has come into existence within the history of man and his research or experiment. David said the sun traveled in a circuit (Ps. 19:6), and science has proven his statement. Job said the wind had weight (Job 28:25) and science has finally verified it. That the earth is suspended In space with no visible support is declared by Job, who said that "God hangeth the earth upon nothing", Job 26:7. Besides these and other specific teachings of science which correspond to Bible utterances, the whole general teachings of the scripture is sustained by our investigations. Many theories have been advanced that contradicted the Bible (at one time a French Institution of Science claimed that there were eighty hostile theories), but not a single such theory has stood. Wherever a teaching of science contradicting the Bible has ever been advanced, it has been proven false, while the Bible was found to correspond to the facts.
5. Its Prophetic Accuracy. At least sixteen prophets prophesied concerning future events. They told of the coming destruction of cities and empires, calling them by name. They told of new kingdoms. They told of the coming of Christ, his nativity, the place of his birth, and the result of his life and death and made no mistake.
Christ himself showed how their old prophecies were fulfilled in Him. He told the destruction of Jerusalem and the nature of his Kingdom and work, all of which has been shown to be true. No other but a Divine book could have foretold the future in detail.
6. The Richness and Universality of Its Teachings. Its contents are fresh and new to every age and people. Its teachings furnish the highest standards for right human government and for personal purity of character. Its virtues are superior to all others. Every generation finds new and wonderful treasures in it, and while hundreds of thousands of books have been written about it, one feels that it is still a mine, the riches of whose literary excellence, moral beauty and lofty thought have scarcely been touched.
7. The Fairness and Candor of Its Writers. In portraying its heroes, the Bible does not attempt any gloss. Their faults are neither covered up nor condoned, but condemned. This is unlike all other books.
8. Its Solution of Man's Difficulties. What is the origin of the world? What is the origin of man? How came sin in the world? Will there be punishment of sin that will satisfy the unfairness and inequalities of life? Is there redemption for weak and helpless man? Is there a future life? These are some of the questions that have troubled man in all ages. The Bible alone answers them in a simple yet adequate way. It alone gives us the knowledge of the way to secure happiness. Its remedies alone furnish a certain balm for bruised human hearts.
9. Its Miracles. The Bible, which records how God sent his son and others on special missions, also tells how He attested their work by signs or miracles. These miracles were performed in the presence of creditable witnesses and should, therefore, be believed. Moreover, they are so different from the superhuman deeds of ancient mythology as to stamp them as divine and true and at the same time to discredit all the false.
Bible miracles are never for mere exploitation or for personal profit to the one who performs the miracle. They are for the good of others. The blind and deaf and lame are healed. The sick and dead are raised. Lepers are cured and sins forgiven. Moreover, those who perform the miracle claim no power of their own, but attribute it all to God and only perform the miracle that God may be exalted.
10. Its Spiritual Character. It is evident that man alone could not have conceived the lofty ideas of the scripture. All his experience proves that he can not produce anything so far beyond himself. These high truths therefore, have come from a greater than man.
11. Its Fruit. No other book will do for man what the Bible does. The spread of its truths makes man better. Wherever the Bible goes civilization and enlightenment follow. This is so, no matter what the former condition of the people. Where everything else fails, the Bible succeeds in lifting men out of ignorance and shame.
12. Its Own Claims to Divine Origin. (1) It clearly claims to be the the word of God. (a) All scripture is given by inspiration Of God. 2 Tim. 3:16. (b) God spake unto the fathers by the prophets, Hebrews 1:1. (c) Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21. (d) He spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, Luke 1:70. (e) Which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake. Acts 1:16. (f) God showed by the mouth of all his prophets. Acts 3:18. (g) By the revelation of Jesus Christ, Gal. 1:12. (h) Not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the word of God, 1 Thes. 2:13. (2) It claims to be a good book and to be given for man's good. Both of these claims have been amply justified. But it could not be a good book and claim what is not true. This it would do if it ware not the Word of God.
The Names of God.
The Names of God.
Several names are used for God, each having its own significance, and every Bible reader should in some general way know the meaning of each name. We cannot always distinguish the exact meaning, but the following, while not all, will be of use in reading the English translation.
1. God. This comes from one word and two of its compound or forms and will mean accordingly: (1) The Strong one used 225 times in the Old Testament; (2) The Strong one as an object of worship; (3) The Strong one who is faithful and, therefore, to be trusted and obeyed. This last is a plural term and is used 2300 times in the Old Testament. It is the name used when God said. "Let us make man" and "God created man in his own image," etc., Gen. 1:26-27. It was by this name that God the Trinity covenanted for the good of man before man was created.
2. LORD. Small capitals in the old version and translated Jehovah in the in the revised translation. It means: (1) The self-existing one who reveals himself; (2) God as Redeemer. It was under this name that he sought man after the fall and clothed him with skins. Gen. 3:9-17; (3) God who makes and keeps his covenants. It is used more than 100 times in connection with the covenants, as in Jeremiah 31:31-34 where he promises a new covenant.
3. Lord. Small letters except the L and always denotes God as Master in his relation to us as servants. There are two kinds of servants- hired and bought servants, the latter being always superior and more beloved. The servant is expected to obey and is guaranteed protection and support for his service.
4. Almighty God. This means a Strong-breasted one, the Pourer or Shredder forth of spiritual and temporal blessings. It refers to God: (1) As a nourisher, strength-giver, satisfier and a strong one who gives; (2) As the giver of fruitfulness which comes through nourishment. He was to make Abraham fruitful, Gen. 17:1-8; (3) As Giver of chastening. This he does in the way of pruning that there may be more fruit.
5. The Most High or Most High God. This means: (1) The Possessor of heaven and earth, who as owner distributes the earth among the nations; (2) The one who, as possessor, has dominion and authority over both, Dan. 4:18, 37; Ps. 91:9-13.
6. Everlasting God, This represents him as: (1) The God of the mystery of the ages and, therefore, (2) The God of secrets; (3) The God of everlasting existence whose understanding is past finding out, Is. 40:28.
7. LORD (Jehovah) God, This name is used: (1) Of the relation of Deity to man, (a) as Creator, creating and controlling his destiny, especially of his earthly relations, (b) as having moral authority over him, (c) as redeemer; (2) Of his relation to Israel, whose destiny he made and controlled.
8. Lord (Jehovah) of Hosts. This refer: Usually to the host of heaven, especially of angels; (2) To all the divine or heavenly power available for the people of God; (3) The special name of deity used to comfort Israel in time of division and defeat or failure, Is. 1:9, 8:11-14.
Note. Drill on the use of these names and find some scripture passage illustrating the use of each.
The Sacred Officers and Sacred Occasions.
The Sacred Officers.
The following facts about the officers of the Bible should be familiar to all Bible students.
1. The Priests. They represent the people to God. The head of the household was the first priest. Gen. 8:20. Later the first born or oldest son became priests of the chosen people, Ex. 28:1. They served in the tabernacle and later in the temple where they conducted religious services, offered sacrifices for public and private sins and were teachers and magistrates of the law.
2. The Prophets. These speak for God to the people. They received revelations from God and made them known to men. They were selected according to God's own will to impart his spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11) and extended down through those who wrote prophetic books to Malachi. They were philosophers, teachers, preachers and guides to the people's piety and worship. Abraham was the first to be called a prophet (Gen. 20:7) and Aaron next (Ex. 7:1).
3. The Scribes. The word means a writer and Seraiah is the first one mentioned, 2 Sam. 8;17. As writers they soon became transcribers, then interpreters and teachers or expounders. They became known as lawyers and were accorded high standing and dignity. In the time of the kings they were supported by the state as a learned, organized and highly influential body of men. In Christ's time they were among the most influential members of the Sanhedrin.
4. The Apostles. These formed the beginning of Christ's church. They were separate from the old order and were, therefore, under no obligation to any caste. Nor were they tied to the old administration of divine things. The word means a messenger or one sent. They were, therefore, to be with him and to be sent forth to preach. Twelve were chosen, and when Judas, one of them, betrayed him, Matthias was chosen in his place (Acts 1:15-26). Paul was appointed in a special way (Acts 9:1-43) and perhaps others. Barnabas was called an apostle (Acts 14:14).
These men led the new movements (Acts 5:12-13) and devoted themselves especially to ministerial gifts (Acts 8:14-18). They had first authority in the church (Acts 9:27; 15:2; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 12:28; 2 Corinthians 10:8; 12:12; Gal. 1:17; 2:8-9).
5. Ministers or Preachers-They are: (1) Those who minister to or aid another in service, but as free attendants, not as slaves; (2) They became the teachers and hence our term ministers (Acts 13:2; Rom. 15:16); (3) Today they are preachers and teachers of the word and minister to the spiritual needs of God's people and of others.
Note. Read all the scriptures here referred to and invite others to be given by the class. Then drill on these facts until they are familiar.
The Sacred Occasions.
1. The Sabbath. For the meaning and use of the term see Levitcus 25:4; Math. 28:1; Luke 24:1; Acts 25:7. The first mention is Gen. 2:2-3 and the first mention of the weekly Sabbath is Ex. 16:22-30. It is suggested in the division of weeks. Gen. 8:10-12; 29:27-28, and Israel was directed to keep it, Ex. 20:8-11.
2. The New Moons. They were special feasts on the first day of the month (Numbers 10:10) and were celebrated by sacrifices (Numbers 28:11-15). Among the ten tribes it was regarded as a time suitable to go to the prophets for instruction, 2 K. 4:23. 3. The Annual Feasts. There were several of these. (1) The Passover, April 14 (Ex. 12:1-51), commemorating the exodus from Egypt and the saving of the first born. (2) Pentecost, June 6 (Ex. 34:22; Levitcus 23:15-16; Deut. 16:9-10; Numbers 28:26-31), commemorating the giving of the Law.
(3) The Feast of Trumpets, October 1 (Levitcus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1-6), the beginning of the civil year. (4) The Day of Atonement, October 10 (Levitcus 16: 1-34; 23:27-32), atonement made for the sins of the people. (5) The Feast of Tabernacles, October 15, lasting a week (Levitcus 23:34-43; Ex. 23:16; 34:22; Deut. 16:13-15), commemorating the life in the wilderness. (6) The Feast of Dedication, December 25 (1 Kings 8:2; 1 Chron. 5:3), commemorating the dedication of the temple. (7) The Feast of Purim, March 14 and 15 (Esher 9:20-32), commemorating the deliverance through Esther.
4. The Sabbatical Year. The land of Israel should rest every seven years as the people rested every seven days. No seeds must be sown or vineyards pruned. All that grew was public property and the poor could take it at will. All debts must then be forgiven except to foreigners (Ex. 23:10-11; Levitcus 25:2-7; Deut. 15:1-11).
5. The Year of Jubilee. Every fiftieth year was known as Jubilee, Levitcus 25:8-55. It began on the tenth day of the seventh month and during it the soil was unfilled just as on the Sabbatical year. All alienated land went back to the original owner and the Hebrew bondmen became free if they desired.
6. The Lord's Day. It is the first day of the week and commemorates the resurrection of Jesus and the finished work of redemption as the Sabbath commemorated the finished work of creation.
Note. Find other scripture references to each of these occasions and become familiar with the name, date and import of each.
Sacred Institutions of Worship and Seven Great Covenants..
The Sacred Institutions of Worship.
1. The Alter. Make a careful study finding: (1) The first mention of it. (2) The different persons who are recorded as erecting altars, Gen. 1-Ex. 20. (3) The materials of construction, Ex. 20:24-25. (4) The purpose for which they were erected, including that of Joshua, Josh. 22:10, 22-29.
2. The Tabernacle, Ex. chs. 25-29. Study: (1) The instructions to build it, including the offerings and articles to be given. (2) Its furniture. (3) Its erection. (4) Its purpose, Ex. 29;42-45; Hebrews Chs. 9-10. (5) Its history, when first set up, how long used, etc.
3. The Temple. (1) Solomon's Temple. Study David's desire to build and his preparation for it. 2 Sam. 7:1-2; 2 Chron. 28, 29; its material, erection and dedication, 1 Kings 5-8; 2 Chron. 2:6; its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar's general, 587 B. C. (2) Zerubbabel Temple. Study the decree of Cyrus, return of the Jews, rebuilding and dedication, Ezra Chs. 1-6; its destruction by Pompey 63 B. C. and by Herod the Great 37 B. C. (3) Herod's Temple. It was begun 20 or 21 B. C., John 2:20; Matt. 24:1-2; Matt. l3:1-2; Luke 2l:56, and destroyed under Titus, A. D. 70.
4. The Synagogue. Greek work meaning an assemblage. There were synagogues wherever there were faithful Jews, about 1500 in Palestine and perhaps 480 in Jerusalem. The officers were (1) Ruler. Luke 8:49; 13:14; Mk 5:15, etc; (2) Elders, Luke 7:3; Mk. 5:22, etc; (3) Minister, Luke 4:20. The service was one of prayer and reading and expounding the scriptures. It was through the worship at the synagogue that the apostles everywhere had opportunity to teach Christianity.
5. The Church. The word means an assemblage and is most commonly used of a local congregation of Christian workers. It is sometimes called the church of Christ, Church of God, Saints, etc. Churches were established in cities and in homes. It is not proper to call all the Christians of a particular denomination a church. Nor can we call all of any denomination in a given territory a church. It would be wrong to say the Baptist church of the south. In the New Testament we can get a rather clear idea of it as an institution by a study of a few principal churches and leaders of the Christian movement after the ascension of Christ.
The Seven Great Covenants.
There are two kinds of covenants. (1) Declarative or unconditional, example, Gen. 9-11, "I will." (2) Mutual or conditional, example, "If thou wilt." All scripture is a development of or is summed up in seven covenants.
1. The Adamic Covenant, Gen. 3:14-19. Outline the elements of the covenant, showing the persons affected and the results or conditions involved.
2. The Noahic Covenant, Gen. 8:20-9:27. Outline the elements of the covenant, and the results affected.
3. The Abrahamic Covenant. Gen. 12:1-3; Acts 7:3. other details, Gen. 13:14-17; 15:1-18; 17:1-8. Outline, giving the elements, blessings proposed, temporal and spiritual or eternal. This is sometimes called several covenants but it seems best to consider it one that is enlarged upon from time to time.
4. The Mosaic Covenant, Ex. 19-30. Given in two parts: (1) Law of Duty (10 commandments), (2) Law of Mercy, Priesthood and Sacrifices Levitcus 4:27:31; Hebrews 9:1-7. (3) To whom given, Ex. 19:3 and to all, Rom. 2,12; 3:19, etc. (4) Its purpose: (a) Negative, Rom. 3:19-20, Gal. 2:16-21. etc; (b) Positive, Rom. 3:19, 7:7-13. (5) Christ's relation to the Mosaic Covenant: (a) was under it, Gal. 4;4; Matt. 3:13, etc; (b) Kept it, Jno. 8:46; 15:10; (c) Bore its curse for sinners, Gal. 3:10-13; 4:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21, etc; (d) Took the place of and ended the Priesthood and sacrifices, Hebrews 9:11-15; 10:1-12, etc; (e) New covenant provided for believers in Christ, Rom.8:1; Gal. 3:13-17.
5. The Deuteronomic Covenant, Deut. 30:1-9. Outline its elements, giving things promised and prophesied.
6. The Davidic Covenant, 2 Sam. 7:5-19. (1) Elements of the covenant and summary in the Old Testament. (2) In the New Testament.
7. The New Covenant. (1) Formed, Hebrews 8:6-13. (2) In prophecy. Jer. 31:31-34. (3) It is founded on the sacrifice of Christ. Matt. 26: 27-28; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 9:11-12. (4) It is primarily for Israel, but Christians are partakers, Hebrews 10:11-22; Eph. 2:11-20. (5) Jews are yet to be brought into it, Ezek. 20:34-37; Jer. 23:5-6; Rom. 11:25-27.
Note. Try to see how all of these covenants met in Christ.
The Division of the Scriptures.
In language and contents, the Bible is divided into two main divisions.
1. The Old Testament, 39 Books. 2. The New Testament, 27 Books. Total. 66 Books.
The Jews were accustomed to divide the Old Testament into three main parts, as follows:
1. The Law-the first five books, Genesis to Deuteronomy, otherwise called the Pentateuch and books of Moses.
2. The Prophets. These are divided into the "former prophets" or historical books and the "later prophets," or books, which we commonly call the prophetic books.
3. The Writings, which was made to include; (1) Poetical books-Psalms, Proverbs and Job; (2) Five Rolls-Song of Solomon, Ruth, Esther, Lamentations and Ecclesiastes; (3) Other Books: Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and I and II Chronicles.
The Bible itself divides the Old Testament into the three following divisions:
1. The Law, which includes the first five books of the Bible, also called the books of Moses.
2. The Prophets, which includes the next twelve books, commonly called historical books and the seventeen books we know as the prophetic books.
3. The Psalms, including the five poetical books.
The Books of the Bible
The books of the Old and New Testaments may each be divided into three or five groups as follows:
First Into three groups.
(1) Old Testament-Genesis-Esther (17 books).
(2) New Testament-Matthew-Acts (5 books).
(1) Old Testament-Job-Song of Solomon (5 books).
(2) New Testament-Romans-Jude (21 books).
(1) Old Testament-Isaiah-Malachi (17 books).
(2) New Testament-Revelation (1 book).
Second, into five groups.
1. Old Testament.
(1) Pentateuch-Genesis-Deuteronomy (5 books).
(2) Historical Books-Joshua-Esther (12 books).
(3) Poetical Books-Job-Song of Solomon (5 books).
(4) Major Prophets-Isaiah-Daniel (5 books).
(5) Minor Prophets-Hosea-Malachi (12 books).
2. New Testament.
(1) Gospels-Matthew-John (4 books).
(2) Acts-Acts (1 book).
(3) Pauline Epistles-Romans-Hebrews (14 books).
(4) General Epistles-James-Jude (7 books).
(5) Revelation-Revelation (1 book).
Direction For Study. (1) Drill on the Scripture divisions, Jewish divisions and the three and five groups of each Testament. (2) Drill on the number of chapters in each book and on the abbreviation of each. (3) Drill on books having the same number of chapters, as all those having one chapter, two chapters, etc.
A dispensation is a period of time during which God deals in a particular way with man in the matter of sin and responsibility. The whole Bible may be divided into either three or seven dispensations.
1.The Patriarchal Dispensation. From creation to the giving of the Law, Gen. 1-Ex. 19 and Job.
2. The Mosaic Dispensation. From the giving of the Law to the birth of Christ, Ex. 20-Mal. 4.
3. The Christian Dispensation. From the birth of Christ to his second coming, Matt.-Rev.
In each of these, man is put in a given state or condition, has a responsibility in it, fails to meet the responsibility, and suffers consequent Judgment.
1. The Dispensation of Innocence. From creation to the expulsion from the garden, Gen. 1-3. In this period. Adam and Eve were under obligations to keep their innocence by abstaining from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Their failure has been the most destructive and for reaching of all man's failures.
2. The Dispensation of Conscience. From the fall to the flood, Gen. 4-9. Man had a natural conscience, or knew good from evil, and was under obligation to do good and not evil. The time covered B. C. 4004-2348=1636 years for 1 and 2.
3. The Dispensation of Human Governments. From the flood to the call of Abraham, Gen. 10-12. God gave the eight persons saved from the flood power to govern the renewed earth. The time covered, B. C. 2348-1921.= 427 years.
4. The Dispensation of Promise. From Abraham to the giving of the law. Gen. 12-Ex.19. God promised Abraham land, natural seed, spiritual seed and other conditional promises. For the sake of study, this dispensation is divided into two sections. (1) Abraham and the chosen people, Gen. 12:50. (2) Moses and the Exodus, Ex. 1-19. The time covered, B. C. 1921-1491=430 years.
5. The Dispensation of the Law. From Sinai to Calvary or from Exodus to the cross, Ex. 20-John 21. The history of Israel in the wilderness and their lapses into idolatry and their other sins while in Canaan, their captivity by Babylon and final dispersion are evidences of their failure in this dispensation. All of the Old Testament was written during this period. The time covered, B. C. 1491-A. D. 34=1525 years.
6. The Dispensation of Grace. From Calvary to the second coming of Christ, Act 8-Rev. Grace is God giving instead of requiring righteousness. It is unmerited favor. During this dispensation, perfect and eternal salvation is fully offered to both Jews and Gentiles upon the condition of faith. It will end with the destruction of the wicked. The time covered is not known.
7. The Dispensation of the Kingdom. The Millennium (1000).
Directions for Study. (1) Drill the class on the names of dispensations, the portion of scripture included and the period of time covered. (2) Have each student to select for himself some prominent person or historical event found in each dispensation with which he will familiarize himself.
Ages and Periods of Biblical History.
Bible history is commonly divided into the following ages or periods according to the purpose to be served or the minuteness of the study to be taken.
1. The Adamic Age. Gen. 1-8-From the creation to the flood.
2. The Noachian Age, Gen. 9-11-From the flood to the call of Abraham.
3. The Abrahamic Age, Gen. 12-Ex. 19-From the call of Abraham to the giving of the law.
4. The Mosaic Age, Ex. 20-1 Sam. 31-From the giving of the Law to the reign of David.
5. The Davidic Age. 2 Sam. 1-2 Kings 25-From David's ascension to the throne to the restoration.
6. The Ezraitic Age. Ezra-Mal.-From the restoration to the birth of Christ.
7. The Christian Age. Matt-Rev.-From the birth to the second coming of Christ.
Fifteen Historical Periods.
1. The Ante-diluvian Period, From the creation to the flood. Gen. 1-6. The time covered, B. C. 4004 minus 2348 equal 1656 years.
2. The Post-diluvian Period. From the flood to the call of Abraham. Gen. 7-11. Time covered, B. C. 2348 minus 1921 equal 427 years.
3. The Patriarchial Period. From the call of Abraham to the descent into Egypt. Gen. 12-50. Time covered. B. C. 1921 minus 1706 equal 215 years.
4. The Period Of Bondage. From the descent into Egypt to the Exodus Ex. 1-12. Time covered B. C. 1706 minus 1491 equal 215 years.
5. The Period of Wilderness Wandering. From the exodus to the entrance into Canaan. Ex. 2-Deut. 34. Time covered, B. C. 1491 minus 1451 equal 40 years.
6. The Period of the Conquest of Canaan. From the entrance of Canaan to the time of the Judges, Job. 1-Judge 2. Time covered, B. C. 1451 minus 1400 equal 51 years.
7. The Period of the Judges. From the beginning of the Judges to the beginning of the Kingdom. Judg. 3-Sam 8. Time covered, B. C, 1400 minus 1095 equal 305 years.
8. The Period of the Kingdom of Israel. From the beginning to the division of the Kingdom, 1 Sam.9; King 11; 1 Chron. 10;2 Chron. 9. Time covered B. C. 1095 minus 975 equal 120 years.
9. The Period of the Two Kingdoms. From the division of the kingdom to the fall of Israel, 1 Kings 12; 2 Kings 18; 2 Chron. 10-29. Time covered, B. C. 975 minus 722 equal 253 years.
10. The Period of the Kingdom of Judah. From the fall of Israel to the fall of Judah, 2 Kings 21-25; 2 Chron. 33-36. Time covered, B. C. 722 minus 587 equal 135 years.
11. The Period of Babylonian Captivity. From the fall of Judah to the restoration to Jerusalem. 2 Kings, Is., Jer, Eze., Dan. Time covered, B. C. 587 minus 537 equal 50 years.
12. The Period of the Restoration. From the return to Jerusalem to the end of the Old Testament, Ezra, Neh., Esth., Hag., Zech. Time covered, B. C. 537 minus 445 equal 92 years.
13. >The Period Between the Testaments. From the end of the 0ld Testament to the Birth of Christ-no scripture. Time covered, B. C. 445 minus 4 equal 441 years.
14. The Period of the Life of Christ. From the birth of Jesus to the ascension. Matt.-John. Time covered, B. C. 4 minus A. D. 30 equal 34 years.
15. The Period of the Church after the Ascension. From the ascension to the second coming, Acts-Rev. Time covered A. D. 34 to the end of the age.
Twenty-one Shorter Periods.
1. From the Creation to the Fall, Gen. 1-3.
2. From the Fall to the Flood. Gen. 4-8.
3. From the Flood to Abraham, Gen. 9-11.
4. From Abraham to Egypt. Gen. 12-50.
5. From Egypt to Sinai. Ex. 1-19.
6. From Sinai to Kadesh, Ex. 20-Num. 14.
7. From Kadesh to the death of Moses, Num. 14-Dt. 34.
8. Joshua's Conquest, Josh. 9. The Judges, Jud. 1-1 Sam. 7.
10. Saul's Reign. 1 Sam. 8-end.
11. David's Reign, 2 Sam.
12. Solomon's Reign. 1 K. 1-11.
13. The Divided Kingdom 1 K. 12-2 K. 17.
14. From the captivity of Israel to the captivity of Judah. 2 K. 18- 25. 15. From the captivity of Judah to the Restoration, Dan. and Eze.
16. From the Restoration to Malachi, Ezra, Neh., and Esther.
17. From Malachi to the Birth of Christ, no scripture.
18. From the Birth of Christ to the ascension, Matt-John. 19. From the Ascension to the Church at Antioch, Acts 1-12.
20. From Antioch to the Destruction of Jerusalem, Acts 13-28.
21. From the Destruction of Jerusalem to the close of the New Testament. John and Rev.
Note 1. The author's "Bible Period by Period" is based upon these twenty-one periods and will furnish material for a study of the whole story of the Bible.
Note 2. To the scripture given for each period should be added corresponding scripture such as sections in Chron. corresponding to that of Kings.
Directions for Study. (1) Drill separately on the ages, fifteen periods with the scripture and period covered by each until the class is thoroughly familiar with them. Require the students to select some event or character found in each age and period and drill on them until they know something found in each.
Some General Matters and Biblical Characters.
Some General Matters.
Any intelligent reading of the Bible requires a knowledge of some general matters. This chapter looks to the study of some of the most important of them.
Sacred Mountains and Hills.
(1) Ararat, Gen. 8:4. (2) Lebanon. 1 K. 5:6; Josh, 13:5-6. (3) Hor, Num. 34:7-8. (4) Hermon, Dt. 4:48; S. of S. 4:8. (5) Gilead, Gen. 31:25; Dt. 32:49. (7) Tabor, Josh. 19:22; Jud. 4:6. (8) Carmel, Is. 32:9; 1 K. 18-19. (9) Moriah, 2 Chron. 3:1-10. Zion, 2 Sam. 5:7-9; Ps, 87:2, 5. (11) Sinai, Ex. 19:1, 11 etc. (12) Horeb, Ex. 3:1; 1 K. 19:8 etc. (13) Calvary Mt. 27:45. (14) Olivet or Olives, Zech. 14:4: Mk. 13:3.
The Jewish Months.
Hebrew Names Roman Names.
1. Nisan or Ahib March and April
2. Iyar or Ziv April and May.
3. Sivan May and June.
4. Tammuz June and July.
5. Ab July and August.
6. Elul August and September.
7. Tisri or Eharium September and October.
8. Marchesvan October and November.
9. Casleu or Chisleu November and December.
10. Tebeth December and January.
11. Shebat January and February.
12. Adar February and March.
1. The Parties. (1) The Galileans. (2) Samaritans. (3) Proselytes. (4) Hellenists. (5) Herodians. (6) Publicans.
2. The Religious Classes. (1) Scribes. (2) Pharisees. (3) Sadducees. (4) Zealots. (5) Essenes.
Note. By reference to some good Bible dictionary become familiar with the history and importance of all the topics of the chapter.
Some Biblical Characters.
Twenty Principal Men
(1) Adams, Gen. 1-3. (2) Noah, Gen. 5-9. (3) Abraham, Gen. 12-25. (4) Jacob, Gen. 25-50. (5) Moses, Ex-Dt. (6) Joshua, Josh. (7) Gideon, Jud. 6-8. (8) Samuel, 1 Sam. 1-25. (9) David, 2 Sam. and 1 Chron. 11-29. (10) Solomon, 1 K. 1-11, 2 K. 2. (11) Hezekiah, 2 K. 18-20. (12) Josiah, 2 K. 22-23. (13) Daniel, Dan. 1-12. (14) Ezra, Ezr. 7-10; Neh. 8. (15) John the Baptist, Mt. Lu. Jno. (16) Peter, Four Gospels and Acts. (17) Paul, Acts 9-28 and the Epistles. (18) John, the Gospels and Revelation.
First Group. Tell something of the character and work of each of the following: (1) Enoch, Jude 14; (2) Noah, 2 Pet. 2:5; Gen. 6:25-27; (3) Samuel, 1 Sam. 9:9; 1 Chron. 29:29; (4) Nathan, 2 Sam. 7:2-4;12:2-7; (5) Gad, 1 Sam. 22:5; 2 Sam. 24:11; (6) Ahijah, 1 K. 14:2; (7) Elijah, 1 K. 17-19; 1 Sam. 1-2; (8) Elisha, 2 K. 3-8; (9) Jonah, the book; (10) Malachi, the book; (11) Agabus, Acts 21:10; (12) Daughters of Philip, Acts 21:9.
Second Group. Sam. - King. What prophet prophesied to each of the following kings and what message did he bring: (1) Saul. 1 Sam. 15:17. (2) David, 2 Sam. 7:2-3; 12:2-7. (3) Solomon, (4) Rehoboam, 1 K. 12:22; (5) Asa. (6) Ahab, 1 K. 17:1 ff. (7) Jeroboam. (8) Joash, 2 K. 13:14. (9) Jeroboam II, 1 K. 11:29 ff. (10) Ahaz. Is. 7:1-3. (11) Hezekiah, Is. 19:2. (12) Josiah and his sons, 2 K. 22:14.
Third Group. Which prophet prophesied against the following nations and what was the nature of their prophecy: (1) Syria, Is. 17:3; Jer. 49:23; Amos. 1:3; Zech. 9:2; (2) Ninevah, Jonah, 1;1. Nahum 2:8 etc; (3) Babylon, Is. 13:1; Jer. 25:12; (4) Moab, Is. 15:1 Jer. 25:21; Jer. 47; Eze. 25:8; Amos 2:1. (5) Ammon, Jer. 49:6; Eze. 21:28; Amos 1:13; (6) Philistia, Is. 14:29. Zech. 9:6; Jer. 47:1. 4 Eze. 25:15; (7) Egypt. Is. 19:1; Jer. 44:28; Eze. 29; (8) Tyre of Phoenicia.
First Group. In what connection and in what books of the Bible are the following women considered? (1) Eve, Gen. 2:20; 4:1. (2) Sarah, Gen.11, 29; 17:15. (3) Hagar, Gen. 16:1. (4) Rebekah, Gen. 24:15. (5) Keturah, Gen. 25:1. (6) Rachel, Gen. 29: 16ff. (7) Leah, Gen. 29:16ff. (8) Dinah, Gen. 30:21; 34:11. (9) Adah, Gen. 36:2. (10) Asenath, Gen. 41:45. (11) Shiphrah and Puah, Ex. 1:15. (12) Jehochebed, Ex. 6:20. (13) Miriam. Ex. 2:4; 15:20; Num. 12:1 etc. (14) Zipporah, Ex. 2:21; 4:23; 18:20. (15) Rahab. Josh, 2:1-21. Heb. 11:31; Mt. 1:5. (16) Deborah. Jud. 4:4. (17) Ruth, Ruth 1:4. (18) Hannah, 1 Sam. chs. 1-2. (19) Bathshebah, 2 Sam. 11:3. (20) Abishag, 1 K. 1:3. (21) Jezebel, 1 K. 21:5. (22) Vashti, Esth. 1:19. (23) Esther, Esth. 2:7. (24) Mary. Mt. 1:18; Lu. 1:27. (25) Elizabeth. Lu. 1:5. (26) Martha. Jno. 12:2. (27) Sapphira, Acts 5:1. (28) Tabitha, Dorcas, Acts 9:36. (29) Lydia Acts. 16:14.
Second Group. In what connection are the following mentioned; (1) The witch of Endor, 1 Sara. 28:7. (2) The women of Tekoa. 2 Sam. 14. (3) The queen of Sheba, 1 King 17:9. 10 (Elijah). (5) The woman of Shunem, 2 King 4:8 (Elisha). (6) The Samaritan woman. Jho. Ch. 4. (7) The Syrophenician woman, Matt. 15:21-28. (8) Peter's mother in-law. Matt. 8: 14-17. (9) The widow of Nain, Lu. 7:11. (10) The daughter of Jairus, Matt. 9:23-26.
Third Group. Who is the mother of: (I) Seth. Gen. 5:3. (2) Isaac, Gen. 21:1 ff. (3) Ishmael, Gen. 16:16. (4) Jacob, Gen. 25:20ff (5) Judah. Gen. 29:35. (6) Joseph, (7) Ephraim. Gen. 41:52. (8) Moses, Ex. 6:20. (9) Samuel. 1 Sam. 1:20. (10) Joab. I Chron. 2:16. (11) Absalom, 2 Sam. 3:3. (12) Solomon, 2 Sam. 12:24. (13) Rehoboam, I King 14:21-22. (14) John the Baptist, Lu. 1:57.
* * * * *
THE BIBLE BOOK BY BOOK.
For the Outline Study of the Bible by Books.
* * * * *
The Name means beginning, origin, or creation. The leading thought, therefore, is creation and we should study it with a view to finding out everything, the beginning of which is recorded in it. Certainly we have the record of: (1) The beginning of the world which God created. (2) The beginning of man as the creature of God. (3) The beginning of sin, which entered the world through the disobedience of man. (4) The beginning of redemption, seen alike in the promises and types of the book and in the chosen family. (5) The beginning of condemnation, seen in the destruction and punishment of individuals, cities and the world.
The Purpose. The chief purpose of the book is to write a religious history, showing how, after man had fallen into sin, God began to give him a religion and to unfold to him a plan of salvation. In doing this God is revealed as Creator, Preserver, Law-Giver, Judge and Merciful Sovereign.
The Importance of Genesis to Science. While the book does not attempt to explain many matters which are left to investigation, it does set out several facts which indicate the general plan of the universe and furnish a basis for scientific research. Among the more important things indicated are that: (1) There was a beginning of things. (2) Things did not come by chance. (3) There is a Creator who continues to take interest in and control the universe. (4) There was orderly progress in creation from the less and more simple to the greater and more complex. (5) Everything else was brought into existence for man who is the crowning work of creation.
The Religious Importance of the Book. The germ of all truth which is unfolded in the scripture is found in Genesis and to know well this book is to know God's plan for the blessing of man. Above all we learn about the nature and work of God.
Note. In an ordinary academy class I would not tax the students with the memory of more than the general divisions indicated by the Roman notation, I, etc. But, in this, and all other outlines, drill the class till these divisions, with the scripture included, are known perfectly. I would also try to fix some event mentioned in each section.
I. Creation, Chs. 1-2.
1. Creation in general, Ch. 1.
2. Creation of man in particular, Ch. 2.
II. Fall. Ch. 3.
1. Temptation, 1-5.
2. Fall, 6-8.
3. Lord's appearance, 9-13.
4. Curse, 14-21. 5. Exclusion from the garden, 22-24.
III. Flood, Chs. 4-9.
1. Growth of sin through Cain, 4:1-24.
2. Genealogy of Noah, 4: 25-5 end.
3. Building of the Ark, Ch. 6.
4. Occupying the Ark, Ch. 7.
5. Departure from the Ark, Ch. 8.
6. Covenant with Noah, Ch. 9.
IV. Nations, 10:1-11:9.
1. Basis of Nations, Noah's sons, Ch. 10. How?
2. Occasion of forming the nations, 11:1-9. Why?
V. Abraham, 11:10-25:18.
1. Genealogy of Abram from Shem, 11:10 end.
2. Call and promise, Ch. 12.
3. Abraham and Lot, Chs. 13-14.
4. Covenant, 15: 1-18: 15.
5. Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, 18:16-19 end.
6. Lives at Gerar, Ch. 20.
7. Birth of Isaac, Ch. 21.
8. Sacrifice of Isaac, Ch. 22.
9. Death of Sarah, Ch. 23.
10. Marriage of Isaac, Ch. 24.
11. Death of Abraham and Ishmael, 25:1-18.
VI. Isaac. 26:19-36 end.
1. His two sons, 25:19 end.
2. Divine covenant. Ch. 26.
3. Jacob's deception, Ch. 27.
4. Jacob's flight into Haran, Ch. 28.
5. Jacob's marriage and prosperity, Chs. 20-30.
6. Jacob's return to Canaan. Chs, 31-35.
7. Generations of Esau, Ch. 36.
VII. Jacob, including Joseph, Chs. 37-50.
1. Jacob and Joseph, Chs. 37-45.
2. Sojourn in Egypt, Chs. 46-48.
3. Death of Jacob and Joseph, Chs. 49-50.
For Study and Discussion. (1) All that we may learn from this book concerning the nature and work of God. (2) The different things the origin of which this book tells: (a) Inanimate things, (b) Plant life, (c) Animal life, (d) Human life, (e) Devices for comfort and safety, (f) Sin and its varied effects, (g) Various trades and manners of life, (h) Redemption, (i) Condemnation. (3) Worship as it appears in Genesis, its form and development. (4) The principal men of the book and the elements of weakness and strength in the character of each. The teacher may make a list and assign them for study to different pupils. (5) List the disappointments, family troubles and sorrows of Jacob, and study them in the light of his early deception and fraud. (6) The over-ruling divine providence seen in the career of Joseph, with the present day lessons from the incidents of his life. (7) The fundamental value of faith in the life and destiny of men. (8) The Messianic promises, types and symbols of the entire book. List and classify them.
Name. The name Exodus means a going out or departure.
Subject The subject and key-word of the book is redemption (3:7, 8; 12:13 etc.), particularly that half of redemption indicated by deliverance from an evil plight. It records the redemption of the chosen people out of Egyptian bondage, which becomes a type of all redemption in that it was accomplished (1) wholly through the power of God, (2) by a means of a deliverer (3) under the cover of blood.
Purpose. At this point Old Testament history changes from that of the family, given in individual biographies and family records, to that of the nation, chosen for the divine purposes. The divine will is no longer revealed to a few leaders but to the whole people. It begins with the cruel bondage of Israel in Egypt, traces the remarkable events of their delivery and ends with a complete establishment of the dispensation of the Law. The aim seems to be to give an account of the first stage in the fulfillment of the promises made by God to the Patriarchs with reference to the place and growth of the Israelites.
Contents. Two distinct sections are usually given by students: the historical, included in chapters 1-19 and the legislative, comprising chapters 20-40. The first section records: the need of deliverance; the birth, training and call of the deliverer; the contest with Pharaoh; the deliverance and march through the wilderness to Sinai. The second gives the consecration of the nation and the covenant upon which it was to become a nation. The laws were such as to cover all the needs of a primitive people, both moral, ceremonial and civic with directions for the establishment of the Priesthood and Sanctuary.
Exodus and Science, Scientific research has gone far toward establishing the truthfulness of the Exodus record, but has brought to light nothing that in any way discounts it. It has shown who the Pharaoh of the oppression and Exodus was (Rameses. II, the Pharaoh of the oppression and Merenpth II, the Pharaoh of the Exodus.) and has discovered Succoth. It has shown that writing was used long before the Exodus and has discovered documents written before that period. It has thus confirmed the condition of things narrated in the Bible.
I. Israel in Egypt, 1:1-12:36.
1. The bondage, Ch. 1.
2. The deliverer, Chs. 2-4.
3. The contest with Pharaoh, 5:1-12:38.
II. Israel Journeying to Sinai, 12:37-18: end.
1. The exodus and passover, 12:37-13:16.
2. Journeying through Succoth to the Red Sea, 13:17-15:21.
3. From the Red Sea to Sinai, 15:22-18 end.
III. Israel at Sinai, Chs, 10-40.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The preparation of Israel and Moses for the deliverance. (2) The conception of God found in Exodus: (a) As to his relation to nature, (b) As to his relation to his enemies, (c) As to his relation to his people, (d) As to his nature and purposes. (3) The conception of man found in Exodus. (a) The need and value of worship to him, (b) His duty to obey God. (4) The plagues. (5) The divisions of the decalogue: (a) Those touching our relation to God. (b) Those touching our relation to men. (6) The different conferences between Jehovah and Moses, including Moses' prayer. (7) The current evils against which the civil laws were enacted and similar conditions of today. (8) The character of the different persons mentioned in the book: (a) Pharaoh, (b) Moses, (c) Aaron, (d) Jethro, (e) Magicians. (8) Amalek, etc. (9) The Messianic teachings of the book-here study (a) the sacrifices, (b) the material, colors, etc., of the Tabernacle, (c) the smitten rock, (d) Moses and his family.
1. The people prepared, Ch. 19.
2. The moral law, Ch. 20.
3. The civil law, 21:1-23:18.
4. Covenant between Jehovah and Israel, 23:20-24 end.
5. Directions for building the tabernacle, Chs. 25-31.
6. The covenant broken and renewed, Chs. 32-34.
7. The erection and dedication of the Tabernacle, 35-40.
Name. By the rabbis, it was called "The Law of the Priest" and "The Law of Offerings," but from the time of the Vulgate it has been called Leviticus, because it deals with the services of the sanctuary as administered by the Levites.
Connection with Former Books. In Genesis, man is left outside of the Garden and the remedy for his ruin is seen in the promised seed. In Exodus, man is not only outside of Eden, but is in bondage to an evil enemy and his escape from his bondage is shown to be in the blood of the lamb, which is shown to be sufficient to satisfy man's need and God's justice. In Leviticus there is given the place of sacrifice, as an atonement for sin, and it is shown that God accepted the sacrifice of the victim instead of the death of the sinner. It is a continuation of Exodus, containing the Sinaitic legislation from the time of the completion of the Tabernacle.
Contents. Except the brief historical sections found in chapters 8-10 and 24:10-14, it contains a system of laws, which may be divided into (1) Civil, (2) Sanitary, (3) Ceremonial, (4) Moral and (5) Religious laws, emphasis being placed on moral and religious duties.
Purpose. (1) To show that God is holy and man is sinful. (2) To show how God can maintain his holiness and expose the sinfulness of man. (3) To show how a sinful people may approach a Holy God. (4) To provide a manual of law and worship for Israel. (5) To make Israel a holy nation.
Key-Word. The key-word then is Holiness, which is found 87 times in the book, while in contrast with it, the words sin and uncleanliness (in various forms) occur 194 times, showing the need of cleansing. On the other hand, blood, as a means of cleansing, occurs 89 times. The key verse is, I think, 19:2, though some prefer 10:10 as the best verse.
The Sacrifices, or Offerings. They may be divided in several ways, among which the most instructive is as follows: (1) National Sacrifices, which include (a) Serial, such as daily, weekly, and monthly offerings, (b) Festal, as the Passover, Cycle of Months, etc., (c) for the service of the Holy Place, as holy oil, precious incense, twelve loaves, etc. (2) Official Sacrifices, which include (a) those for the priests, (b) those for princes and rulers, and (c) those for the holy women, Ex. 38:8; 1 Sam. 2:22. (3) Personal Sacrifices, including (a) the blood offering-peace offering, sin offering and trespass offering, (b) the bloodless offerings-the meat, or meal, offering.
Besides this general division, the offerings are divided into two kinds, as follows: (1) Sweet-savor Offerings. These are atoning in nature and show that Jesus is acceptable to God because he not only does no sin, but does all good, upon which the sinner is presented to God in all the acceptableness of Christ. These offerings are (a) the burnt offering, in which Christ willingly offers himself without spot to God for our sins, (b) the meal offering, in which Christ's perfect humanity, tested and tried, becomes the bread of His people, (c) the peace offering representing Christ as our peace, giving us communion with God, and thanks. (2) Non-Sweet-Savor Offerings. These are perfect offerings, overlaid with human guilt. They are (a) the sin offering, which is expiatory, substitutional and efficacious, referring more to sins against God, with little consideration of injury to man, (b) the trespass offering, which refers particularly to sins against man, which are also sins against God.
I. Law of Sacrifices, Chs. 1-7.
1. Burnt offering, Ch. 1.
2. Meal offering, Ch. 2.
3. Peace offering, Ch. 3.
4. Sin offering, Ch. 4.
5. Trespass (or guilt) offering, 5:1-6:7.
6. Instructions to priests concerning the offerings, 6:8-7 end.
II. Law of Purity. Chs. 11-22.
1. Pure food, animals to be eaten, Ch. II.
2. Pure body and house, rules for cleansing, Chs. 12-13.
3. Pure nation, offering for sin on the day of atonement, Chs. 16-17.
4. Marriages, Ch. 18.
5. Pure morals, Chs. 19-20.
6. Pure priests, Chs. 21-22.
IV. Law of Feasts, Chs. 23-25.
1. Sacred feasts, Ch. 23.
2. Parenthesis, or interpolation, lamps of the Tabernacle, shew-bread, the blasphemer, Ch. 24.
3. Sacred years, Ch. 25.
V. Special Laws, Chs, 26-27.
1. Blessing and cursing, Ch. 26.
2. Vows and tithes, Ch. 27.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the several offerings and become familiar with what is offered, how it is offered, the result to be attained in each case. (2) The laws (a) for the consecration and purity of the priests (Chs. 8-10 and 21-22), (b) governing marriages (Ch. 18), (c) concerning clean animals and what may be used for food (Ch, 11), (d) governing vows and tithes (Ch. 37). (3) The sacrifice of the two goats and two birds, (a) the details of what is done with each goat and each bird, (b) the lessons or truths typified by each goat and bird. (4) The name, occasion, purpose, time and manner of observing each of the feasts. (5) Redemption as seen in Leviticus, (a) the place of the priest, (b) of substitution, (c) of imputation, (d) of sacrifice and blood in redemption. (5) The nature of sin as seen in Leviticus, (a) its effect on man's nature, (b) its effect on his relation to God.
Name. It is named from the two enumerations of the people, at Sinai, Ch. 1. and at Moab, Ch. 26.
Connection with Former Books. Genesis tells of Creation, Exodus of redemption, Leviticus of worship and fellowship, and Numbers of service and work. In Leviticus Israel is assigned a lesson and in Numbers she is getting that lesson. In this book as in Exodus and Leviticus Moses is the central figure.
Central Thought. Service which involves journeying, which in turn implies walk as a secondary thought. All the types of the books bear upon this two-fold idea of service and walk.
Key-Phrase. "All that are able to go forth to war" occurs fourteen times in the first chapter. There was fighting ahead and all who could fight must muster in.
The History Covered is a period of a little more than thirty-eight years (Num. 1:1; Deut. 1:3) and is a record (1) of how Israel marched to the border of Canaan, (2) wandered thirty-eight years in the wilderness while the old nation died and a new nation was trained in obedience to God, (3) then returned to the border of the promised land.
I. The Preparation at Sinai, 1:1-10:10.
1. The number and arrangement of the tribes, Chs. 1-2.
2. The choice and assignment of the Levites, Chs. 3-4.
3. Laws for the purity of the camp, Chs. 5-6.
4. Laws concerning the offerings for worship, Chs. 7-8.
5. Laws concerning the passover and cloud, 9:1-14.
6. Signals for marching and assembling 9:15-10:10.
II. The Journey to Moab, 10:11-22:1.
1. From Sinai to Kadesh, 10:11-14 end.
2. From Kadesh to Kadesh (the wilderness wanderings), 19:1-20:21.
3. From Kadesh to Moab, 20:22-22:1.
III. The Sojourn at Moab, 22:2-36 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the different times when God came to the relief of Israel, by providing guidance, protection, food, etc. and from them study God's wonderful resources in caring for his people. (2) Make a list of the different times and occasions when Israel or any individual sinned or rebelled against God or His leaders, and study the result in each case. (3) Make a list of the miracles of the book and give the facts about each. Show which were miracles of judgment and which were miracles of mercy. (4) The story of the spies and the results of the mistake made as seen in all the future history of Israel. (5) The story of Balak and Balaam. (6) God's punishment of disobedient and sinful nations. (7) Doubt as a source of complaint and discontent. (8) The types of Christ and Christian experience: (a) The Nazarite; (b) Aaron's Budding Rod, 17:8; Heb 9:4; (c) The Blue Ribband, 15:38; (d) The Red Heifer, 19:2; (e) The Brazen Serpent, 21:9; (f) The cities of refuge, 35:13.
1. Balak and Balaam, 22:2-25 end.
2. The sum of the people, Ch. 26.
3. Joshua. Moses' successor, Ch. 27.
4. Feasts and offerings, Chs. 28-30.
5. Triumph over Midian, Ch. 31.
6. Two and half tribes given land east of Jordan, Ch. 32.
7. Wilderness journeys enumerated, Ch. 33.
8. Divisions of Canaan and the cities of Refuge, Chs. 34-36.
Name. The name comes from the Greek word which means a second or repeated law. It contains the last words of Moses which were likely delivered during the last seven days of his life. It is not a mere repetition of the law, but rather an application of the law in view of the new conditions Israel would meet in Canaan, and because of their former disobedience.
Purpose. To lead Israel to obedience and to warn them against disobedience. The spirit and aim of the law is explained in such a way as to present both encouragement and warning.
Contents. It consists of three addresses of Moses, given on the plains of Moab at the close of the wilderness wanderings of Israel, in which he gives large sections of the law formerly given, together with additions necessary to meet the new conditions. There is also the appointment of Joshua as Moses' successor and the farewell song of blessing of Moses and the record of his death.
Style. The style is warmer and more oratorical than that of former books. Its tone is more spiritual and ethical and its appeal is "to know God," "love God" and "obey God."
Occasion and Necessity of the Book. (1) A crisis had come in the life of Israel. The life of the people was to be changed from that of wandering in the wilderness to that of residence in cities and villages and from dependence upon heavenly manna to the cultivation of the fields. Peace and righteousness would depend upon a strict observance of the laws. (2) A new religion of Canaan against which they must be put on guard. The most seductive forms of idolatry would be met everywhere and there would be great danger of yielding to it.
The Key-Word. "Thou shalt," so often repeated as, "thou shall," and "shalt not." The key-verses are 11:26-28.Analysis.
I. Review of the Journeys, Chs. 1-4.
1. Place of their camp, 1:1-5.
2. Their history since leaving Egypt, 1:6-3 end.
3. Exhortation to obedience, 4:1-40.
4. Three cities of refuge on this side of Jordan. 4:41-49.
II. Review of the Law, Chs. 3-26.
1. Historical and hortatory section, Chs. 5-11.
2. Laws of religion. 12:1-16:17.
3. Laws of political life. 16:18-20 end.
4. Laws of society and domestic relations, Chs. 21-26.
III. Future of Israel Foretold, Chs. 27-30.
1. Memorial tablets of stone. Ch. 27.
2. Blessing and cursing, Ch. 28.
3. Renewed covenant and Israel's future foretold. Chs. 29-30.
IV. Moses' Last Days, Chs. 31-34.
1. Charge to Joshua, Ch. 31.
2. Song of Moses, Ch. 32.
3. Blessing of Moses, Ch. 33.
4. Death of Moses, Ch. 34.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the principal their past history of which Moses reminds Israel in Chapters 1-4, and find where in the previous books each incident is recorded. (2) From Chapter 11 make a list of reasons for obedience, the rewards of obedience and the importance of the study of God's law. (3) The laws of blessing and cursing (Ch. 28), make a list of the curses, the sin and the penalty, the blessings, indicating the blessing and that for which it is promised. (4) Make a list of the different countries or peoples concerning whom Israel was given commandment or warning. (5) Moses' farewell blessing on the several tribes (Ch. 33). Make a list of what shall come to each tribe. (6) The names, location and purpose of the cities of refuge and the lessons for today to be drawn from them and their use. (7) The inflexibility of God's law.
Historical Books of the Old Testament. The twelve books, including those from Joshua to Esther, are called historical. They narrate the history of Israel from the entrance of Canaan to the return from captivity, which is divided into three periods or epochs. (1) The Independent Tribes. This consists of the work of the conquest of Canaan and of the experiences of the Judges and is recorded in Joshua, Judges and Ruth. (2) The kingdom of Israel. (a) Its rise, 1 Sam. (b) Its glory, 2 Sam., 1 K. 1-11, 1 Chron. 11-29, 2 Chron. 1-9. (c) Its division and fall, 1 K. 12-22, 2 K. 1-25; 2 Chron. 10-36. (3) The Return from Captivity, Ezr. Neh. and Est.
Name. Taken from Joshua, the leading character, who may be described as a man of faith, courage, enthusiasm, fidelity to duty, and leadership.
Connection with Former Books. Joshua completes the story of the deliverance begun in Exodus. If Israel had not sinned in believing the evil spies and turning back into the wilderness, we would not have had the last twenty-one chapters of Numbers and the book of Deuteronomy. Joshua then would have followed the fifteenth chapter of Numbers, thus completing the story of God leading Israel out of Egypt into Canaan.
The Key-Word is redemption with the emphasis put upon possession while redemption in Exodus put the stress upon deliverance. The two make full redemption which requires being "brought out" and "brought in."
Purpose of the Book. (1) To show how Israel was settled in Canaan according to the promise of God. (2) To show how, by the destruction of the Canaanites, God punishes a people for their sins. (3) To show that God's people are finally heirs of earth and that the wicked shall be finally dispossessed.
Some Typical and Spiritual Matters. (1) The conflict with Canaan. In the wilderness the conflict was with Amalek who was an illustration of the never ending conflict of the flesh or of the "new man" and the "old man." In Canaan the conflict is typical of our struggle against principalities and powers and spiritual hosts in heavenly places, Eph. 6:10-18. (2) Crossing the Jordan is an illustration of our death to sin and resurrection with Christ. (3) The scarlet line illustrates our safety under Christ and his sacrifice. (4) The downfall of Jericho. This illustrates the spiritual victories we win in secret and by ways that seem foolish to men. (5) Joshua. Joshua is a type of Christ in that he leads his followers to victory over their enemies; in that he is their advocate in time of defeat and in the way he leads them into a permanent home.
I. Conquest of Canaan, Chs. 1-12.
1. The preparation, Chs. 1-2.
2. Crossing the Jordan, Chs. 3-4.
3. Conquest of Jericho, Chs. 5-6.
4. Conquest of the South, Chs. 7-10.
5. Conquest of the North, Ch. 11.
6. Summary, Ch. 12.
II. Division of Lands, Chs. 13-22.
1. Territory of the different tribes, Chs. 13-19.
2. Cities of Refuge, Ch. 20.
3. Cities of the Levites, Ch. 21.
4. Return of the Eastern Tribes, Ch. 22.
III. Joshua's Last Counsel, and Death. Chs. 23-24.
1. Exhortation to fidelity, Ch. 23.
2. Farewell address and death, Ch. 24.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The cooperation of the two and one-half tribes in the conquest of Canaan. (2) Make a list of the different battles and indicate any in which Israel was defeated. (3) The portion of the country allotted to each of the tribes of Israel. (4) The story of the sins of Achan. Its results and his discovery and punishment. (5) The story of the Gibeonites, their stratagem and consequent embarrassment of Joshua. (6) Make a list of incidents or occurrences that show a miraculous element running through the narrative. (7) The story of Rabab, the harlot. (8) The names of the several tribes of Canaan and the history of each. (9) The place of prayer and worship in the narrative. Give instances. (10) Evidences found in the book that God hates sin.
Judges and Ruth.
The Name. The name is taken from the Judges whose deeds it records.
The Character of the Book. The book is fragmentary and unchronological in its arrangement. The events recorded are largely local and tribal instead of national, but are of great value as showing the condition and character of the people.
The Condition of the Nation. Israel was unorganized and somewhat unsettled. They lacked moral energy and the spirit of obedience to Jehovah and were constantly falling into idolatry and then suffering at the hands of heathen nations. This condition is summed up in the oft repeated words: "The children of Israel again did evil in the eyes of the Lord" and "the Lord sold them into the hand of the oppressor."
The Contents. Judges records the conflict of the nation with the Canaanite people and with itself; the condition of the country, people and times and the faithfulness, righteousness and mercy of God. It gives an account of "Seven apostasies, seven servitudes to the seven heathen nations and seven deliverances." It furnishes an explanation of these "ups and downs" and is not merely a record of historical events but an interpretation of those events.
The Work of the Judges. The Judges were raised up as occasion required and were tribesmen upon whom God laid the burden of apostate and oppressed Israel. They exercised judicial functions and led the armies of Israel against their enemies. They, therefore, asserted the nation's principles and upheld the cause of Jehovah. As deliverers they were all types of Christ.
The Key-word is Confusion and the key-verse is "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" 17:6, which would certainly bring about a state of confusion.
I. From the Conquest to the Judges, 1:1-3:6.
II. The Judges and their Work. 3:7-16 end.
1. Against Mesopotamia, 3:7-12.
2. Against Moab, 3:13-30.
3. Against Philistia, 3:31.
4. Against the Canaanites, Chs. 4-5.
5. Against the Midianites, Chs. 6-10.
6. Against the Amorites, Chs. 11-12.
7. Against the Philistines, Chs, 13-16.
III. The Idolatry of Micah, Chs. 17-18.
IV. The Crime of Gibea, Chs. 19-21.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Learn the names of the Judges in order with the time each served, or the period of rest after his work had been accomplished. (2) The enemy each judge had to combat and what work was accomplished by each judge. (3) What elements of strength and of weakness are to be found in the character of each judge. (4) From the story of Gideon and Sampson, point out New Testament truths. (5) From the story of Jephthah and Deborah gather lessons for practical life today. (6) Religious apostasy as a cause of national decay. (7) Political folly and social immorality as a sign of national decay. (8) The method of divine deliverance.
This book together with the Judges treats the life of Israel from the rule of death of Joshua to the rule of Eli.
Name. From the principal character.
Contents. It is properly a continuation of Judges, showing the life of the times in its greatest simplicity. It is also especially important because it shows the lineage of David through the whole history of Israel and thereby is a link in the genealogy of Christ.
Typical Matters. (1) Ruth is a type of Christ's Gentile bride and her experience is similar to that of any devout Christian. (2) Boaz the rich Bethlehemite accepting this strange woman in an illustration of the redemptive work of Jesus.
The Key-words are love and faith.
I. The Sojourn at Moab, 1:1-5.
II. The Return to Jerusalem, 1:6-22.
III. Ruth and Boaz, Chs. 2-4.
1. Gleaning the fields of Boaz, Ch. 2.
2. Ruth married to Boaz, Chs. 3-4.
A. A bold act, Ch. 3.
B. Redemption of Naomi's inheritance, 4:1-12.
C. Becomes wife of Boaz, 4:13-17.
D. Genealogy of David, 4:18-22.
Some one has said that Ch. 1 is Ruth deciding, Ch. 2 is Ruth serving, Ch. 3 is Ruth resting, Ch. 4 is Ruth rewarded.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Each of the characters of the book. (2) The whole story of Ruth in comparison with the stories of Judges (Chs. 17-21) to get a view of the best and worst in their social conditions. (3) The value of a trusting soul (Ruth).
First and Second Samuel..
Name. The name is taken from the history of the life of Samuel recorded in the early part of the book. It means "asked of God." The two were formerly one book and called the "First Book of Kings," the two books of Kings being one book and called Second Kings. Samuel and Kings form a continuous story, and give us a record of the rise, glory and fall of the Jewish Monarchy.
Contents. This book begins with the story of Eli. the aged priest, judge and leader of the people. It records the birth and childhood of Samuel, who later becomes priest and prophet of the people. It tells of Saul's elevation to the throne and of his final downfall. Along with this is also given the growing power of David, who is to succeed Saul as king.
The Prophets. Samuel was not only both judge and priest and prophet, but as prophet he performed conspicuous services in several directions. Probably the most notable of all his work was the establishment of schools of prophets, which greatly dignified the work of the prophets. After this time, the prophet and not the priest was the medium of communication between God and his people.
Saul. As king, Saul began well and under favorable circumstances. He gave himself to military exploits and neglected the finer spiritual matters and soon made a complete break with Samuel, who represented the religious-national class-and thereby lost the support of the best elements of the nation. He then became morose and melancholy and insanely jealous in conduct and could not, therefore, understand the higher religious experiences that were necessary as a representative of Jehovah on the throne of Israel.
I. Career of Samuel, Chs. 1-7.
1. His birth and call, Chs. 1-3.
2. His conflict with the Philistines, Chs. 4-7.
II. Career of Saul to his rejection, Chs. 8-15.
1. Chosen as King, Chs. 8-10.
2. Wars with Philistines, Chs. 11-14.
3. He is rejected, Chs. 15.
III. Career of Saul after his rejection, Chs. 16-31.
1. While David is at his court, Chs. 16-20.
2. While David is a refugee in Judah, Chs. 21-26.
3. While David is a refugee in Philistia, Chs. 27-31.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The story of Eli and his sons. (2) The birth and call of Samuel. (3) The anointing of Saul. (4) The anointing of David. (5) The evils of jealousy as seen in Saul. (6) The importance of respect for existing forms of government-see David's attitude toward Saul. (7) How a man's attitude toward God and his servants can make or mar his destiny. (8) Examples of how God uses both good and bad carrying forward his purposes.
In this book, there is given the story of the career of David while king of Israel. He was the strongest king Israel ever had and was characterized as a fine executive, a skillful soldier and of a deeply religious disposition. He was not without his faults, but in spite of them developed a great empire.
I. His Reign Over Judah a Hebren, Chs. 1-4.
II. His reign Over All Israel, Chs. 5-10.
III. His Great Sin and Its Results, Chs. 11-20.
IV. An Appendix, Chs. 21-34.
For Study and Discussion. (1) How David became king. (2) His victories in war. (3) His great sin and some of its consequences. (4) His kindness toward his enemies (see also his attitude toward Saul recorded in First Samuel). (5) The kindness of God as illustrated by the story of David's kindness to Mephibosheth, Ch. 9. (6) David's psalm of praise, Chs. 22-23. (7) The different occasions when David showed a penitent spirit (8) The great pestilence. Ch. 24.
First and Second Kings.
Name. The name is taken from the Kings whose deeds they narrate.
Contents. It takes up the history of Israel where Second Samuel left off and gives the account of the death of David, the reign of Solomon, the Divided Kingdom, and the captivity.
Purpose. The political changes of Israel are given in order to show the religious condition. Everywhere there is a conflict between faith and unbelief, between the worship of Jehovah and the worship of Baal. We see wicked kings who introduce false worship and righteous kings who bring about reforms and try to overthrow false worship. Israel yields to evil and is finally cut off, but Judah repents and is restored to perpetuate the kingdom and to be the medium through which Jesus came.
The Kingdom of Solomon. Solomon began in glory, flourished a while and then ended in disgrace. He sacrificed the most sacred principles of the nation in order to form alliances with other nations. He attempted to concentrate all worship on Mount Moriah, probably hoping that in this way he might control all nations. He finally became a tyrant and robbed the people of their liberty.
The Two Kingdoms. This is a sad story of dissension and war and defeat. Israel or the northern kingdom was always jealous of Judah. It was by far the stronger and possessed a much larger and more fertile land. There were nineteen king, from Jeroboam to Hoshea, whose names and the number of years they reigned should be learned together with the amount of scripture included in the story of each. Judah or the southern kingdom was always a little more faithful to the true worship. There were twenty kings, from Rehoboam to Zedekiah, whose lives with the number of years they reigned and the scripture passages describing each, should be tabulated and learned.
The Captivity. It is made clear that the captivity is because of sin. God having spared them for a long time. (1) Israel was taken captivity by the Assyrian Empire, whose capital was Nineveh. This marks the end of the northern tribes. (2) Judah was captured by the Babylonian Empire, but after a period of seventy years, the people were restored to their own land.
Analysis of First Kings.
I. The Reign of Solomon, Chs. 1-11.
1. His accession, Chs. 1-4.
2. Building the Temple, Chs. 5-8.
3. His greatness and sin, Chs. 9-11.
II. The Revolt and Sin of The Ten Tribes, Chs. 12-16.
III. The Reign of Ahab and the Career of Elijah, Chs. 17-22.
Analysis of Second Kings.
I. The last days of Elijah, Chs. 1-2.
II. The career of Elisha, Chs. 3-8.
III. The dynasty of Jehu, Chs. 9-14.
IV. The fall of Israel, Chs. 15-17.
V. The Kingdom of Judah, Chs. 18-25.
For Study and Discussion (1) Contrast the character of David with that of Solomon. Give the ideal elements and the defects of each. Also compare them as rulers. (2) Contrast the character of Elijah with that of Elisha. Point out the elements of strength and weakness in each. Compare the great moral and religious truth taught by each as well as the great deeds performed by them. (3) Study this as the cradle of liberty. Note Elijah's resistance of tyrants and Ahab in the vineyard of Naboth. Look for other instances. (4) Consider the place of the prophets. Note their activity in the affairs of government. Glance through these books and make a list of all prophets who are named and note the character of their message and the king or nation to whom each spoke. (5) Make a list of the kings of Israel and learn the story of Jeroboam I, Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Jeroboam II and Hoshea. (6) Make a list of the kings of Judah and learn the principal events and the general character of the reign of Rehoboam, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Josiah and Zedekiah. (7) The fall of Judah. (8) The failure of human governments, (a) the cause, (b) the manifestation and result.
First and Second Chronicles.
Name. The name Chronicles was given by Jerome. They were the "words of days" and the translators of the Septuagint named them the "things omitted." They were originally one book.
Contents. Beginning with Adam the history of Israel is rewritten down to the return of Judah from captivity.
Relation to Former Books. It covers the same field as all the others. To this time the books have fitted one into another and formed a continuous history. Here we double back and review the whole history, beginning with Adam, and coming down to the edict of Cyrus which permitted the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem.
Religious Purpose of the Narratives. Several things show these books to have a religious purpose. (1) God's care of his people and his purpose to save them is given special emphasis. (2) The building of the temple is given much prominence. (3) The kings who served God and destroyed idols are given the most conspicuous place. (4) He follows the line of Judah. only mentioning Israel where it seemed necessary. In this way he was following the Messianic line through David. (5) The priestly spirit permeates these books instead of the prophetic elements as in the earlier historical books. The aim, therefore, seems to be to teach rather than to narrate. He seems to teach that virtue and vice, in private or in national affairs, will surely receive their dues-that God must be taken into account in the life of individuals and of nations.
Analysis of First Chronicles.
I. The Genealogies, Chs. 1-9.
II. The Reign of David, Chs. 10-29.
1. Accession and great men, Chs.10-12.
2. Zeal for Jehovah's house, Chs. 13-17.
3. His victories, Chs. 18-20.
4. The numbering of the people, Chs. 21.
5. Provision for the temple, Chs. 22-29.
Analysis of Second Chronicles.
I. The Reign of Solomon, Chs. 1-9.
1. Building of the temple, Cha. 1-4.
2. Dedication of the temple, Chs. 5-7.
3. Solomon's greatness and wealth, Chs. 8-9.
II. Judah After the Revolt of the Ten Tribes, Chs. 10-36.
1. Reign of Rehoboam, Chs. 10-12.
2. Victory of Abijah, Chs. 13.
3. Reign of Asa, Chs. 14-16.
4. Reign of Jehoshaphat, Chs. 21-28.
5. Reign of Hezekiah, Chs. 29-32.
6. Reign of Manasseh and Amon, Ch. 33.
7. Reign of Josiah, Chs. 34-35.
8. The captivity, Ch, 36.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The great men of David. (2) The different victories won by David. (3) The dedication of the temple, especially the prayer. (4) The wealth and follies of Solomon. (5) The scripture and God's house as a means and source of all information, see: (a) Asa's restoration of the altar and its vessels, (b) Jehoshaphat's teaching the people God's law, (c) Joash and God's restored house, (d) The reforms Of Josiah. (6) The reign of Manasseh. (7) The nature of the worship of Judah. (8) The captivity. (9) The value of true religion to a nation. (10) The evil results of idolatry.
Ezra, Nehemiah and Ester.
Ezra and Nehemiah.
Name. Ezra and Nehemiah were formerly counted as one book and contain the account of the restoration of the exiles to Jerusalem and the re- establishment of their worship. They soon came to be called First and Second Ezra. Jerome first called the second book Nehemiah. Wycliffe called them the first and second Esdras and later they were called the books of Esdras otherwise the Nehemiahs. The present names were first given in the Geneva Bible (1560). Ezra is so called from the author and principal character, the name meaning "help". Nehemiah is so called from the principal character, whose name means "Jehovah comforts."
Other Books. Three other books should be read in connection with this study. (1) The book of Esther, which relates to this time and should be read between chapters 6 and 7 of the book of Ezra. (2) The books of Haggai and Zechariah. These two prophets were associated with the first return of Zerubbabel and their words incited the Jews to complete the temple in spite of opposition.
The Return from Captivity. The return consisted of three expeditions led respectively by Zerubbabel. Ezra and Nehemiah. The time covered can not be accurately calculated. It is probably not fewer than ninety years. Some think it may have been as many as one hundred and ten years.
Analysis of Ezra.
I. The Rebuilding of the Temple, Chs. 1-6.
1. The proclamation of Cyrus, 1.
2. Those who returned, 2.
3. The foundation laid, 3.
4. The work hindered, 4.
5. The work finished, 5-6.
II. The Reforms of Ezra, Chs. 7-10.
1. Ezra's Journey, 7-8.
2. The confession of sin, 9.
3. The covenant to keep the law. 10.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The traits of character displayed by Ezra. (2) The reforms of Ezra. (a) What were they? (b) Parallel conditions of today. (3) The adversaries of Judah. (a) Who were they? (b) The nature of their opposition. (4) The decree of Cyrus. (5) The expedition of Zerubbabel and Ezra. (6) Ezra's commission and the king's orders 7:1-26. (7) God's use of friends and enemies in forwarding his purposes.
Analysis of Nehemiah.
I. The Rebuilding of the Wall, Chs. 1-7.
1. Nehemiah permitted to go to Jerusalem, 1-2.
2. The work on the walls and its hindrance, 3-7.
II. The Covenant to Keep the Law, Chs. 8-10.
1. The law read, 8.
2. Confession made, 9.
3. The covenant made, 10.
III. The Walls Dedicated and Nehemiah's Reform, Chs. 11-13.
1. Those who dwelt in the city, 11:1-12:26.
2. The walls dedicated, 12:27-47 end.
3. Evils corrected, Ch. 13.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Point out elements of strength in the character and work of Nehemiah. (2) The greatness and difficulty of Nehemiah's task, (a) the rubbish, (b) the size and length of the wall, (c) the strength of their enemies. (3) The reforms of Nehemiah, (a) religious, (b) moral, (c) political. (4) The public meeting and new festival, 8:1-18. (5) The covenant 9:1-10:39. (6) The repeopling of Jerusalem, Chs. 11-12.
Name. This is taken from its principal character, a Jewish maiden became queen of a Persian King.
Purpose. To explain the origin of the feast of Purim work of providence for God's people.
Time. The events narrated are thought to have occurred about 56 years after the first return of Zerubbabel in 536 B. C. The King then would be Xerxes the Great, and the drunken feast may have been preparatory to the invasion of Greece in the third year of his reign. Connection with Other Books. There is no connection between Esther and the other books of the Bible. While it is a story of the time when the Jews were returning to Jerusalem, and very likely should come between the first and second return, and, therefore, between the sixth and seventh chapters of Ezra, the incident stands alone. Without it we would lose much of our knowledge of that period.
The Story. While Esther stands out as the principal character, the whole story turns on the refusal of Mordecai to bow down to Haman, which would have been to show him divine honor. He did not hate Haman but, as a Jew could not worship any other than God. He dared to stand for principle at the risk of his life.
The Name of God. One of the peculiarities of the book is that it nowhere mentions the name of God, or makes any reference to him. This may be because his name was held secret and sacred at that time. However, God's power and His care of His people are everywhere implied in the book.
I. Esther Made Queen, Chs. 1-2.
1. Queen Vashti dethroned. Ch. 1.
2. Esther made queen. Ch. 2.
II. Haman's Plot and its Defeat. Chs. 3-8.
1. Haman plots the destruction of the Jews. Ch. 3.
2. The Jews' mourning and Mordecai's plea to Esther. Ch. 4.
3. Esther banquets Haman and the King, Ch. 5.
4. Mordecai highly honored for former service. Ch. 6.
5. Esther's plea granted and Haman hanged, Ch. 7,
6. The Jews allowed defense and Mordecai advanced, Ch. 8.
III. The Jews' Deliverance, Chs. 9-10.
1. Their enemies slain, 9:1-16.
2. A memorial feast is established. 9:17-32 end.
3. Mordecai made great, Ch. 10.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The character of the king, Vashti, Mordecai, Esther and Haman. (2) Mordecai's plea to Esther. (3) The honor of Mordecai and humiliation of Haman, Ch. 6. (4) The destruction of their enemies. (5) The feast of Purim, 9:17-32. (6) Truth about God seen in this book. (7) Why not name the book Mordecai or Vashti-are they not as heroic as Esther? (8) The race devotion of the Jews, then and now. (9) Persian life as seen in the book.
Name. Job, from its chief character, or hero, and mean "Persecuted."
Date. Neither the date nor the author can be determined with certainty. I incline to the theory of the Job authorship.
Connection with Other Books. It stands alone, being one of the so- called wisdom books of the Bible. It nowhere alludes to the Mosaic law or the history of Israel.
Literary Characteristics. Chapters one and two and parts of chapter forty-two are prose. All the rest is poetry. The different speakers may have been real speakers, or characters created by one writer to make the story. There is, however, little doubt that the story is founded on historical facts.
The Problems of the Book. This book raises several great questions, that are common to the race, and directly or indirectly discusses them. Among those questions the following are the most important. (1) Is there any goodness without reward? "Doth Job serve God or naught"? (2) Why do the righteous suffer and why does sin go unpunished? (3) Does God really care for and protect his people who fear him? (4) Is adversity and affliction a sign that the sufferer is wicked? (5) Is God a God of pity and mercy!
The Argument. The argument proceeds as follows: (1) There is a conference between God and Satan and the consequent affliction of Job. (2) The first cycle of discussion with his three friends in which they charge Job with sin and he denies the charge. (3) The second cycle of discussion. In this Job's friends argue that his claim of innocence is a further evidence of his guilt and impending danger. (4) The third cycle. In this cycle Job's friends argue that his afflictions are just the kind that would come to one who yielded to temptations such as those to which he is subject. In each of the three cycles of discussion with his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, each argues with Job except that Zophar remains silent in the third cycle. They speak in the same order each time. (5) Elihu shows how Job accuses God wrongly while vindicating himself and asserts that suffering instructs us in righteousness and prevents us from sinning. (6) God intervenes and in two addresses instructs Job. In the first address, Job is shown the creative power of the Almighty and his own folly in answering God whom animals by instinct fear. In the second address, Job is shown that one should know how to rule the world and correct its evils before one complains at or accuses God. (7) Job prays and is restored.
Purpose. The purpose of the book, then, is to justify the wisdom and goodness of God in matters of human suffering and especially to show that all suffering is not punitive.
Job's temptation. Job's temptation came by stages and consisted largely in a series of losses as follows: (1) His property, (2) His children, (3) His health, (4) His wife's confidence-she would have him curse God and die. (5) His friends who now think him a sinner, (6) The joy of life-he cursed the day of his birth, (7) His confidence in the goodness of God-he said to God, "Why hast thou set me as a mark for thee?" In his reply to Elihu he doubts the justice if not the very existence of God.
I. Job's Wealth and Affliction. Chs. 1-2.
II. The Discussion of Job and His Three Friends. Cha. 3-31.
1. The first cycle, 3-14.
2. The second cycle, Chs. 15-21.
3. The third cycle, Chs. 22-31.
III. The Speech of Elihu, Chs. 32-37.
IV. The Addresses of God, Chs. 38-41.
1. The first address, 38-39.
2. The second address, 40-41.
V. Job's Restoration, Ch. 42.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The personality and malice of Satan. Point out his false accusations against Job and God, also the signs of his power. (2) Concerning man look for evidence of: (a) The folly of self-righteousness, (b) The vileness of the most perfect man in God's sight, (c) The impossibility of man, by wisdom, apart from grace, finding God. (3) Concerning God, gather evidence of his wisdom, perfection and goodness. (4) Job's disappointment in his friends. (5) Elements of truth and falsehood in the theory of Job's friends. (6) Job's despair of the present, his view of Sheol and his view of the future. Does he believe in a future life or think all ends with the grave? (7) Does the book really explain why the righteous are allowed to suffer? (8) Make a list of the striking passages especially worthy of remembering.
Psalms and Proverbs.
Name. The Hebrew word means praises or hymns, while the Greek word means psalms. It may well be called the "Hebrew Prayer and Praise Book." The prevailing note is one of praise, though some are sad and plaintive while others are philosophical.
Authors. Of the 150 Psalms, there is no means of determining the authorship of 50. The authors named for others are David, Asaph, the sons of Korah, Herman, Ethan, Moses and Solomon. Of the 100 whose authorship is indicated, David is credited with 73, and in the New Testament he alone is referred to as the author of them. Lu. 20:42.
Relation to the Other Old Testament Books. It has been called the heart of the entire Bible, but its relation to the Old Testament is especially intimate. All divine manifestations are viewed in regard to their bearing on the inner experience. History is interpreted in the light of a passion for truth and righteousness and as showing forth the nearness of our relation to God.
The Subjects of the Psalms. It is very difficult to make any sort of classification of the Psalms and any classification is open to criticism. For this reason many groupings have been suggested. The following, taken from different sources, may be of help. (1) Hymns of praise, 8, 18, 19, 104, 145, 147, etc. (2) National hymns, 105, 106, 114, etc. (3) Temple hymns or hymns for public worship, 15, 24, 87, etc. (4) Hymns relating to trial and calamity, 9, 22, 55, 56, 109, etc. (5) Messianic Psalms, 2,16, 40, 72, 110, etc. (6) Hymns of general religious character, 89, 90, 91, 121, 127, etc.
The following classification has been given in the hope of suggesting the most prominent religious characteristics of the Psalms. (1) Those that recognize the one infinite, all-wise and omnipotent God. (2) Those that recognize the universality of his love and providence and goodness. (3) Those showing abhorrence of all idols and the rejection of all subordinate deities. (4) Those giving prophetic glimpses of the Divine Son and of his redeeming work on earth. (5) Those showing the terrible nature of sin, the divine hatred of it and judgment of God upon sinners. (6) Those teaching the doctrines of forgiveness, divine mercy, and the duty of repentance. (7) Those emphasizing the beauty of holiness, the importance of faith and the soul's privilege of communion with God.
1. Davidic Psalms. 1-41. These are not only ascribed to him but reflect much of his life and faith.
2. Historical Psalms. 42-72. These are ascribed to several authors, those of the sons of Korah being prominent and are especially full of historical facts.
3. Liturgical or Ritualistic Psalms. 73-89. Most of them are ascribed to Asaph and, besides being specially prescribed for worship, they are strongly historical.
4. Other Pre-Captivity Psalms. 90-106. Ten are anonymous, one is Moses' (Ps. 90) and the rest David's. They reflect much of the pre-captivity sentiment and history.
5. Psalms of the Captivity and Return. 107-150. Matters pertaining to the captivity and return to Jerusalem.
For Study and Discussion. (1) On what occasion were the following Palms probably composed: (a) Psalm 3 (2 Sam. 15). (b) Psalm 24 (2 Sam. 6:12-17). (c) Psalm 56 (1 Sam. 21:10-15). (d) Psalms 75 and 76 (2 Kings 19:32-37). (e) Psalm 109 (1 Sam. 22:9-23). (f) Psalm 74 (2 Kings 25:2-18). (g) Psalm 60 (1 Chron. 18:11-13). (2) What is the subject of Psalms 23, 84, 103,133 and 137? (3) What doctrine of the divine character is taught in each of the following Psalms; 8, 19, 33, 46, 93, 115 and 139?
Practical Value of the Book of Proverbs. The proverbs emphasize the external religious life. They teach how to practice religion and overcome the daily temptations. They express a belief in God and his rule over the universe and, therefore, seek to make his religion the controlling motive in life and conduct. They breathe a profound religious spirit and a lofty religious conception, but put most stress upon the doing of religion in all the relations of life. Davison says: "For the writers of Proverbs religion means good sense, religion means mastery of affairs, religion means strength and manliness and success, religion means a well furnished intellect employing the best means to accomplish the highest ends." This statement is correct as far as the side of duty emphasized is concerned.
Nature of Proverbs. (1) There is a voice of wisdom which speaks words of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, prudence, subtility, instruction, discretion and the fear of Jehovah, and furnishes us with good advice for every condition of life. (2) There is a voice of folly, which speaks words of folly, simplicity, stupidity, ignorance, brutishness and villainy, and lifts her voice wherever wisdom speaks. (3) Wisdom is contrasted with folly, which often issues in simplicity and scorning. (4) Wisdom is personified, as if it were God speaking about the practical, moral, intellectual and religious duties of men. (5) Christ finds Himself in the book, Lu. 24:27, and if Christ be substituted for wisdom, where it is found, a new and wonderful power will be seen in the book.
Scheme of the Considerations Found in Proverbs. The first sphere-the home, father and children, 1:8-9 and Chs. 2-7. Key-word here is "my son." The second sphere-friendship; companions is the important word. 1:10-19. The third sphere-the world beyond.
I. Praise of Wisdom. Chs. 1-9. This is shown by contrast with folly.
1. The design and some fundamental maxims, 1:1-19.
2. Wisdom's warnings, 1:20 end.
3. Wisdom will reveal God and righteousness and save one from wicked men and strange women, Ch. 2.
4. Description of the life of wisdom, Ch. 3.
5. Wisdom the best way, Ch. 4.
6. The strange woman, Ch. 5.
7. Against various evils, Ch. 6.
8. Wisdom's warnings against the seductions of an adulterous, Ch. 7.
9. Wisdom makes an appeal, Ch. 8.
10. Wisdom gives her invitations, Ch. 9.
II. Practical Proverbs of Solomon. 10:1-22:16. These are separate and cannot be classified.
III. Words of the Wise. 22:17-24 end. Sometimes called commendations of justice. There are several authors, but no common topic.
IV. Proverbs of Solomon, copied by the scribes of Hezekiah, Chs. 25- 29.
V. Words of Agur. Ch. 30. From one who has tried "to find out God unto perfection and found the task above him."
VI. Words of Lemuel, Ch. 31.
1. The duty of Kings, 1-9.
2. The praise of a virtuous woman or good wife, 10-31.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Collect passages that tell of the rewards of virtue and piety. (2) Cite passages that show the evils of: sloth or indolence, of wine-drinking and drunkenness, of tale-bearing, of family contentions. (3) Make a list of the chief thoughts of the book concerning God, man, and other great religious teachings of our day. (4) What is said of a man who rules his own spirit, of a good name, of obedience to parents, of fitly spoken words, of a beautiful woman who lacks discretion, of a liberal soul, of a false balance, of a soft answer, of a wise son. Find where the answers are found (5) The Peril of following an unchaste love (woman), chapter 5. (6) Folly of yielding to the wiles of an harlot, chapter 7. (7) The description of a worthy woman, 31:10 end.
Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.
Name. The Hebrew word means preacher and refers to or signifies one who calls together and addresses assemblies.
The Personal or Human Element. Such expressions as "I perceived," "I said in my heart," "I saw," etc., indicate that it is not the will of God that is developed but a man is telling of his own ventures and utter failure.
The General View or Key-phrase is "under the sun," with the sad refrain, "vanity of vanities, all is vanity", and shows how a man under the best possible conditions sought for joy and peace, trying at its best every human resource. He had the best that could be gotten, from human wisdom, from wealth, from worldly pleasure, from worldly honor, only to find that all was "vanity and vexation of spirit." It is what a man, with the knowledge of a holy God, and that He will bring all into judgment, has learned of the emptiness of things "under the sun" and of the whole duty of man to "fear God and keep his commandments."
Purpose of the Book. The purpose, then, is not to express the doubts or skepticism of the writer, not to record the complaining of a bitter spirit. It is not the story of a pessimist or of an evil man turned moralist. But it is intended to show that, if one should realize all the aims, hopes and aspirations of life, they would not bring satisfaction to the heart. His experience is used to show the result of successful worldliness and self-gratification in contrast with the outcome of the higher wisdom of the Godly life. We are shown that man was not made for this world alone and not for selfish achievement or gratification, but to fulfill some great plan of God for him which he will accomplish through obedience and Divine service.
The Date and Authorship. The opening verse and certain other passages such as some of the conditions as well as the characters of the persons represented in the book give the impression that Solomon wrote it, but there are other evidences that point to some other author. Neither the author nor the date of writing has been definitely determined.
I. The Vanities of Life. Chs. 1-4. seen in both experience and observation.
1. The Vanity of what he has experienced, 1-2.
2. The Vanity of what he has observed, 3-4.
II. Practical Wisdom, Chs. 5-7.
1. Some prudential maxims, Chs. 5.
2. Some Vanities, Ch. 6.
3. The best way to get along in life, Ch. 7.
III. Rules for a Happy Life, Chs. 8-11.
IV. Conclusion of the Whole Matter, Ch. 13.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of all the different things enumerated as a failure or vanity. (2) Make a list of the different things coming to us as God's gift of providence. (3) Make a list of prudential maxims or rules which teach how to live rightly and to lift us above the tribulations and defeat of life. (4) Does the author think seeking pleasure is the real business of life? (5) Does he deny the value of altruistic service? (6) Does he believe in the future life and in future rewards?
Song of Solomon.
Name. Song of Songs which is Solomon's. It is also called Canticles, meaning Song of Songs and is so-called, perhaps, because of its very great beauty.
The Subject. The subject is faithful love, seen in a woman who though subjected to the temptations of an oriental court, remains faithful to her old lover. She, a country girl of the north, attracts the attention of the king who brings her to Jerusalem and offers her every inducement to become the wife of the king. But upon final refusal she is allowed to return home to her lover, a country shepherd lad.
Meaning of the Story. (1) To the Jews of that time it was a call to purity of life, for a return to those relations which God had ordained between man and woman. It was a protest against polygamy which had become almost universal. Indeed, they regarded it as setting forth the whole history of Israel. (2) To the Christian it sets forth in allegory, Christ and his church as Bridegroom and Bride and the fullness of love which unites the believer and his Savior. (3) To all the world there is shown the purity and constancy of a woman's love and devotion to her ideals. It furnishes ideal which, if properly held up, would cast out of human society all those monstrous practices that come from unworthy ideals.
The Style. It is part dialogue and part monologue. Their love on both sides is expressed in that sensuous way common among the oriental peoples. Many of the allusions give rise to the belief that it was written to celebrate the nuptials of Solomon and the daughter of Pharaoh.
Analysis of Song of Solomon..
I. The King's first attempt to win the Virgin's love, 1:1-2:7.
1. She converses with the ladies of the court, 1:1-8.
2. The King's first attempt fails to win her, 1:9-2:7.
II. The King's second effort to win her love, 2:8-5:8.
1. The virgin recalls her former happiness when with her lover at home, 2:8-17.
2. In a dream she goes in search of him, 3:1-5.
3. The King shows her his glory and greatness, 3:6-11.
4. She again rejects his love in spite of his praise of her beauty, 4:1-7.
5. She longs for her absent lover, 4:8-5:1.
6. She dreams of seeking in vain for him, 5:2-8.
III. The King's third attempt to win her, 5:9-8:4.
1. The ladies of the court cannot understand her faithfulness to her old lover, 5:9-6:3.
2. The King's third effort to win her is met with the declaration of her purpose to remain true to her absent lover, 6:4-8:4.
VI. The Triumph of the Maiden, 8:5-14.
She returns to her home among the hills of the north and is reunited with her shepherd lover.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the passages by which the woman's beauty is described. (2) Passages that suggest the relation of the saved soul to Christ. (3) Passages that suggest the glory of the church. (4) Some of the passages by which the love of the woman and of the king is expressed. (5) The basis of human love. 2:2-3. (6) The strength of human lover, 8:6-7. (7) The interpretation of human love in terms of divine love.
Prophet. In the study of the messages of the prophets we should understand that the meaning of the term prophets may be: (1) A person employed in the public utterance of religious discourse, very much as the preacher of today. This was the most common function of the prophet. Some were reformers while others were evangelists or revivalists. (2) One who performed the function of the scribes and wrote the history and biography and annals of their nations. In this capacity they compiled or wrote large portions of the books of the Old Testament. (3) One who was able to discern the future and foretell events which would transpire afterward.
The Prophetical Books. All take their name from the Prophets whose messages they bear. They are written largely in the poetic style and are usually divided into two divisions. (1) The major prophets which include Isaiah. Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel. (2) The minor prophets, including the other twelve. This division is based on the bulk of material in the books and is unscientific and misleading, since it suggests that some are more important than others. They are more appropriately divided according to their place in the prophetic order or the period of Israel's history when they prophesied, somewhat as follows: 1. The Pre-exilic prophets, or those who prophesied before the exile. These are, (1) Jonah, Amos and Hosea, prophets of Israel. (2) Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah, prophets of Judah. 2. The exilic prophets, Ezekiel and Daniel. 3. The Post-exilic prophets, prophets who prophesied after the captivity. All are of Judah and are Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
Jeremiah's ministry perhaps extended into the period of the captivity. There is great uncertainty about the chronology of Obadiah, Joel and Jonah. There is differences of opinion as to whether certain of the prophets belong to Judah or Israel. Micah is an example. The teacher will be able to give reasons for this difference.
The Study of the Prophets. The student should hold in mind that the prophet deals primarily with the moral and religious conditions of his own people at the time of his ministry. His denunciations, warnings and exhortations are, therefore, not abstract principles, but are local and for Israel. The prophet was then first of all a Jewish patriot and revivalist filled with the Holy Ghost and with zeal for Israel.
The predictive elements of the prophetic books must be interpreted in the light, (1) of a nearby or local fulfillment, such as of the dispersion and restoration, and (2) of a far off and greater fulfillment of which the first is only a forerunner, such as the advent of the Messiah and his glorious reign over the whole earth. The interpretation of prophecy should generally be in the literal, natural and unforced meaning of the words. The following passages will show how prophecy, already fulfilled, has been fulfilled literally and not allegorically. Gen. 15:13-16; 16:11-12; Dt. 28:62-67; Ps. 22:1, 7, 8, 15-18; Is. 7:14; 53:2-9; Hos. 3:4; Joel 2:28-29: Mic. 5:2; Acts 2:16- 18; Matt. 21:4-5; Lu. 1:20, 31; Acts 1:5; Matt. 2:4-6; Lu. 21:16.17, 24; Acts 21:10-11.
In a given book of prophecy, the book should be read carefully and all the different subjects treated, noted. This should be followed by a careful study to find what is said about the several topics already found. To illustrate, the prophet may mention himself, Jerusalem, Israel, Judah, Babylon or Egypt, etc. One should learn what is said of each. This will make necessary the student's learning all he can of the history of the different subjects mentioned that he may understand the prophecy about it.
The Prophet Isaiah. Several things are known of him. (1) He was called to his work the last year of the reign of Uzziah. (2) He lived at Jerusalem during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, and most of his life seems to have been spent as a sort of court preacher or chaplain to the king. (3) He is the most renowned of all the Old Testament prophets, his visions not being restricted to his own country and times. He spoke for all nations and for all times, being restricted to his own country and times. "He was a man of powerful intellect, great integrity and remarkable force of character." (4) He is quoted more in the New Testament than any of the other prophets and, because of the relation of his teaching to New Testament times and teachings, his prophesies have been called the "Bridge between the old and new covenants." (5) He married and had two sons.
The Nature of His Teachings. In his inaugural vision recorded in the sixth chapter Isaiah has impressed upon him some truths that shaped his whole career. He saw: (1) The holiness and majesty of God; (2) The corruption of those about him; (3) The certainty of awful judgment upon the wicked; (4) The blessing of those whose lives are approved of God; and (5) The salvation of a remnant that was to be the seed of a new Israel. With these truths burning in his soul he pressed the battle of righteousness into every sphere of life. He strove to regenerate the entire national life. He tried to make not only religious worship, but commerce and politics so pure that it could all become a service acceptable to God. He, therefore, became a religious teacher, preacher, social reformer, statesman and seer.
Conditions of Israel (The Northern Kingdom). Isaiah began to prophecy when it was outwardly rich and prosperous under the rule of Jereboam IL Inwardly it was very corrupt. It soon went to pieces, however (621 B. C.), being conquered and carried into captivity by the Assyrians.
Conditions of Judah (The Southern Kingdom). During the reigns of Ahaz, Jotham and Uzziah, oppression, wickedness and idolatry existed everywhere. Ahaz made an alliance with Assyria, which finally brought destruction to Israel, but Hezekiah listened to Isaiah and made reforms, and God destroyed the Assyrian army before Jerusalem was destroyed.
Nature of the Contents of the Book. The contents of the Book have been said to include: (1) Warnings and threats against his own people because of their sins. (2) Sketches of the history of his times. (3) Prophesies of the return of Israel from captivity. (4) Prophesies concerning the coming of the Messiah. (S) Predictions of the judgment of God on other nations. (6) Discourses that urge upon Israel moral and religious reformation. (7) Visions of the future glory and prosperity of the church. (8) Expressions of thanksgiving and praise.
The Center of Interest. The prophet deals primarily with the nation and not with the individual. He speaks primarily of the present and not of the future. These two facts must be kept constantly in mind as we read and interpret the book.
I. Discourses Concerning Judah and Israel, Chs. 1-12.
1. Some promises and rebukes, Chs. 1-6.
2. The book of Immanuel, Chs. 7-12.
II. Prophesies against Foreign Nations, Chs. 13-23. III. The Judgment of the World and the Triumph of God's People, Chs. 24-27.
1. The judgments. Ch. 24.
2. The triumph. Chs. 25-27.
IV. Judah's Relation to Egypt and Assyria, Chs. 38-32.
V. The Great Deliverance of Jerusalem, Chs. 33-39.
VI. The Book of Consolation, Chs. 40-66.
1. God's preparation for certain deliverance, Chs. 40-48.
2. Jehovah's servant, the Messiah, will bring this deliverance. Chs. 49-57.
3. The restoration of Zion and the Messianic Kingdom, with promises and warnings for the future. Chs. 58-66.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The sins of Israel and Judah that he rebukes. (2) Other nations against which he makes predictions and what he said of each. (3) Isaiah's call. Ch. 6. (4) Isaiah's errand to Ahaz, Ch. 7. (5) The way in which Isaiah rests the sole deity of Jehovah upon his ability to predict a future, Ch. 41. Give other illustrations. (6) The express predictions of the Messiah as we find them fulfilled in Jesus. (7) Point out the passages portraying the future glory of the church and the spiritual prosperity of the race. (8) Passages predicting the restoration of the Jews from captivity. (9) Some predictions already fulfilled: (a) God's judgments on the kings of Israel and the nation of Israel, Ch. 7. (b) The overthrow of Sennacherib, Chs. 13 and 37. (c) Disasters which should overtake Babylon, Damascus, Egypt, Moab and Idumea, Chs. 13, 15, 18, 19 and 34. (d) Vivid and marvelous descriptions of the final fate of Babylon and Idumea, 13:19-22; 34:10-17. (10) The theology of Isaiah or his views on such subjects as the moral condition of man, the need of a redeemer, the consequences of redemption, Divine Providence, the majesty and holiness of God, the future life, etc.
Jeremiah and Lamentations.
The Author. (1) His name means "Exalted of Jehovah," and he is ranked second among the great Old Testament writers. (2) He lived the last of the sixth and the first of the fifth centuries before Christ. His ministry began in 626 B. C., the thirteenth year of Josiah (1:2), and lasted about forty years. He probably died in Babylon during the early years of the captivity. (3) He was of a sensitive nature, mild, timid, and inclined to melancholy. He was devoutly religious and naturally shrank from giving pain to others. (4) He was uncommonly bold and courageous in declaring the message of God, it was unpopular and subjected him to hatred and even to suffering wrong. He was unsparing in the denunciations and rebukes administered to his nation, not even sparing the prince. (5) He is called the weeping prophet. He was distressed both by the disobedience and apostasy of Israel and by the evil which he foresaw. Being very devoutly religious, he was pained by the impiety of his time.
Condition of the Nations. (1) Israel, the northern kingdom, had been carried into captivity and Judah stood alone against her enemies. (2) Judah had fallen into a bad state, but Josiah, who reigned when Jeremiah began his ministry, attempted to bring about reforms and restore the old order. After his death, however, wickedness grew more and more until, in the later part of the life of Jeremiah, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and Judah was led away in captivity. (3) The world powers of the time of Jeremiah's birth were Assyria and Egypt. They were contending for supremacy. But Jeremiah lived to see both of them subdued and Babylon mistress of the world. He foresaw also how Babylon would fall and how a kingdom greater than all would rise wherein there would be righteousness and peace.
The book of Jeremiah is composed principally of sketches of biography, history and prophecy, but the events and chapters are not in chronological order. It closes the period of the monarchy and marks the destruction of the holy city and of the sanctuary and tells of the death agony of the nation of Israel, God's chosen people. But he saw far beyond the judgments of the near future to a brighter day when the eternal purpose of divine grace would be realized. The book, therefore, emphasizes the future glory of the kingdom of God which must endure though Israel does perish. He made two special contributions to the truth as understood in his time. (1) The spirituality of religion. He saw the coming overthrow of their national and formal religion and realized that, to survive that crisis, religion must not be national, but individual and spiritual. (2) Personal responsibility (31:29-30). If religion was to be a spiritual condition of the individual, the doctrine of personal responsibility was a logical necessity. These two teachings constitute a great step forward.
I. The Prophet's Call and Assurance, Ch. 1.
II. Judah Called to Repentance, Chs. 2-22.
1. Her sins set forth, Chs. 2-6
2. The call to repentance, Chs. 7-10.
3. The appeal to the covenant, Chs. 11-13.
4. Rejection and captivity foretold, Chs. 14-22.
III. The Book of Consolation, Chs. 23-33.
1. The restoration of the remnant, Chs. 22-29.
2. The complete restoration, Chs. 30-33.
IV. The Doom of Jerusalem Due to the People's Wickedness, Chs. 34-36.
V. The History of Jeremiah and His Times, Chs. 37-45.
VI. Prophecies Against Foreign Nations, Chs, 46-51.
VII. Historical Appendix, Ch. 52.
The name means elegies or mournful or plaintive poems. It was formerly a part of Jeremiah and represents the sorrows of Jeremiah when the calamities which he had predicted befell his people, who had often despised and rejected him for his messages. He chose to live with them in their suffering and out of his weeping pointed them to a star of hope. There are five independent poems in as many chapters. Chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 have each 22 verses or just the number of the Hebrew alphabet. Chapter 3 has 66 verses or just three times the number of the alphabet. The first four chapters are acrostic, that is each verse begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In chapter three, each letter is used in order and is three times repeated as the initial letter of three successive lines.
I. The Misery of Jerusalem, Ch. 1.
II. The Cause of the People's Suffering, Ch. 2.
III. The Basis of Hope, Ch. 3.
IV. The Past and Present of Israel, Ch. 4.
V. The Final Appeal for Restoration, Ch. 5.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the evils predicted against the people because of their sins. (Example 19:7-9). (2) Make a list of the different sins and vices of which Jeremiah accuses Israel. (Example 2:12; :3:20, etc.) (3) Point out all the prophesies of Divine judgment against other nations and analyze the punishment foretold. (Example 5:18-25). (4) Study the case of fidelity to parents given in Ch. 35. (5) Collect all passages in both books which tell of the Messiah and of Messianic times and make a study of each (as 23:5-6). (6) Select a few of the striking passages of Lamentations and show how they apply to the facts of history. (6) The sign and type of the destruction of the land. Chs. 13-14. (8) The potter an illustration of God's power over nations, Chs. 18-19. (9) The illustration of the return, seen in the figs, Ch. 24. (10) Jeremiah's letter to the captive, Ch. 29. (11) Jeremiah's love for Judah-it saw their faults, rebuked them for their sins, but did not desert them when they were in suffering, because they despised his advice.
Ezekiel and Daniel.
The Prophet. His name means "God will strengthen". He was a priest and was carried into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. B. C. 597. He had a home on the river Chebar where the Elders of Judah were accustomed to meet. His wife died in the ninth year of his captivity. He was a man of very powerful intellect and apparently from the better classes of those carried into captivity. He is less attractive than Isaiah and less constant in the flow of his thought than Jeremiah. He is not so timid or sensitive as Jeremiah but has all his horror for sin and all of his grief, occasioned by the wickedness of his people and the suffering which they endured. In his boldness of utterance he was not surpassed by his predecessors.
Nature of the Prophecy. The nature of the prophecy or the methods by which he exercised or manifests his prophetic gift differs from that of the other prophets. He does not so much predict as see visions of them. Allegories, parables, similitudes and visions abound, some of them symbolic of the future and others of existing facts and conditions. The prophet remains on the banks of Chebar and in spirit is transported to Jerusalem and the temple. Much of the book is in character similar to Revelation and while the general subjects are very plain, much of the meaning of the symbols is obscure. There are, however, powerful addresses and eloquent predictions of Divine judgments on the nations. It was probably due to the services of Ezekiel that Israel's religion was preserved during the exile.
The Main Aspects of his Teaching. (1) Denunciation of Judah's sins and the downfall of Jerusalem, Chs. 1-24. (2) Judgments upon foreign nations, Chs. 25-32. (3) Repentance as a condition of salvation, 18:30-32. (4) The glorious restoration of Israel, li:16ff; 16:60ff; 27:22-24; 20:40ff; Chs. 33-48. (5) The freedom and responsibility of the individual soul before God. 18:20-32. (6) The necessity of a new heart and a new spirit, 11:19: 18:31; 36:26.
Condition of the Jews. (1) Political and social condition. They are captives living in Babylon but are treated as colonists and not as slaves. They increased in numbers and accumulated great wealth and some of them rose to the highest offices. (2) The religious condition or outlook. They had religious freedom and in this period they forever gave up their idolatry. They sought out the books of the law, revised the cannon, wrote some new books and perhaps inaugurated the synagogue worship which became so powerful afterward.
I. Ezekiel's Call, Chs. 1-3.
1. Preliminary vision, Ch. 1.
2. The call, Chs. 2-3.
II. The Destruction of Jerusalem, Chs. 4-24.
1. The siege and certain judgment of the city, Chs. 4-7.
2. The condition of the city and the sins of the people, Chs. 8-19.
3. Renewed proofs and predictions of the doom of Judah and Jerusalem, Chs. 20-24.
III. Predictions against Foreign Nations and Cities. Chs. 25-32.
IV. Prophecies concerning the Restoration, Chs. 33-48.
1. The restoration of Judah to the promised land, Chs. 33-39.
2. The Messianic times, Chs. 40-48.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The condition, the particular sin and the judgment promised upon each of the nations mentioned-has the prediction been fulfilled? (2) The duties and responsibilities of a preacher as illustrated by Ezekiel's watchman, Ch. 33. (3) The vision of dry bones. Ch 37. (4) Judah and Israel under the figure of an evil woman, Ch. 23. (5) The healing river, 47:1-12. (6) The teachings about the Restoration, in the following passages: 36:8, 9, 29, 30, 34, 35, 25-27; 37:1-14; 24:11-24; 37:22; 26,27; 43:11-12. (7) The symbols and types of the book.
Name. The name is taken from its leading character, Daniel, which means "God is my Judge."
Author. It was very probably Daniel, though some think it may have been one of his companions, and still others think the history may have been gotten together and written about 166 B. C.
The Date. The date then would have been between the captivity, 605 B. C., and the death of Daniel, 533 B. C., perhaps late in his life, or if by some other (which I do not think likely) about 166 B. C.
The Prophet. He was probably born in Jerusalem and was one of the noble young captives first carried into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar. He was educated by order of the king and soon rose to great favor and was chosen to stand before the king in one of the highest government positions under the Chaldean, Median and Persian dynasties. He lived through the whole period of the captivity and probably died in Babylon. It is said that not one imperfection of his life is recorded. The angel repeatedly calls him "greatly beloved."
World Empires of the Book. (1) The Babylonian Empire (625-536 B. C.) with Nebuchadnezzar as the leading king and the one who carried Israel captive. (2) The Persian Empire (536-330 B. C.) which became a world power through Cyrus, under whom the Jews returned to Jerusalem. (3) The Grecian Empire, which, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, subdued the entire Persian world. (4) The Roman Empire, which was anticipated by and grew out of the Syrian Empire.
Purpose of the Book. The purpose of the book seems to be: (1) To magnify Jehovah, who delivers his servants, who is God of all nations, and who will punish idolatry, who is pure, righteous, etc. (2) To encourage his countrymen to resist the forces that threaten the foundation of their faith. This was done by the example of Daniel and his companions whom Jehovah saved. (3) To give a prophecy or vision of all times from the day of Daniel to the Messianic period. (4) To outline the religious philosophy of history which would issue in a great world state, which the Messianic King would rule by principles of justice and right, and which would subdue all kingdoms and have everlasting dominion. The main idea is the ultimate triumph of the kingdom of God. As compared with former prophetic books there are two new teachings. (1) Concerning angels. (2) Concerning a resurrection from the dead.
I. Daniel's History, Chs. 1-6.
1. His youth and education, Ch. 1.
2. Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's image dream. Ch. 2.
3. In the fiery furnace. Ch. 3.
4. Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's tree dream, Ch. 4.
5. Interpretation of the hand-writing on the wall for Belshazzar, Ch. 5.
6. In the Lion's den, Ch. 6.
II. Daniel's Vision of the Kingdom, Chs. 7-12.
1. The four beasts, Ch. 7.
2. The ram and the he-goat, Ch. 8.
3. The seventy weeks, Ch. 9.
4. The final vision, Chs. 10-12.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the various visions of Daniel and become familiar with the contents of each. (2) Make a list of all the passages that refer to the fact of Daniel's praying and point out some of the specific prayers with their answers. (3) Point out the different attempts to overthrow or kill Daniel and tell the cause, by whom he was opposed and how he escaped. (4) Make a list of the different symbols such as the lion and learn the description given of each symbolic animal. (5) Point out the several decrees made by the different kings and learn what led to the decree, how it affected Daniel, how it bore upon the worship of the people of his nation, how it affected the worship of Jehovah, etc. (6) The difficulty and possibility of right living in bad surroundings. (7) The openness of Daniel's conduct. (8) The elements of strength of character displayed by Daniel. (9) The inevitable conflict between good and evil.
Hosea and Joel.
The Prophet. He is called the "Prophet of Divine Love." His name, Hosea, means "Deliverance." He was a native and citizen of Israel and followed Amos whom he may have heard in Bethel. He was a contemporary with Isaiah and bore faithful testimony to corrupt Israel in the North while Isaiah prophesied at Jerusalem and was to Israel what Jeremiah became to Judah. He was prepared for his work through the lessons which he learned from the sins of his unfaithful wife. (1) Through the suffering which he endured because of her sins, he understood how God was grieved at the wickedness of Israel and how her sins were not only against God's law but an insult to divine love. (2) In love and at great cost he restored his wayward wife and in that act saw a hope of the restoration and forgiveness of Israel. His ministry extended over more than sixty years and was perhaps the longest of any on record. It continued 786-726 B. C., covering the last few years of the reign of Jereboam II, to which Chs. 1-3 belong and the period of anarchy following.
The Style and Method. His style is "abrupt, uneven, inelegant," but also poetical, figurative and abounding in metaphors. His writings must be interpreted with great care to get what is meant by his symbolic speech. He reminds one of modern reformers and revivalists. Through all the anger which the book reveals we see also the surpassing beauty of reconciling love. One sees everywhere that the supreme goal to which Hosea moves is the re-establishment of Israel's fellowship of life and love with Jehovah.
Conditions of Israel. Outwardly there was prosperity. Syria and Moab had been conquered; commerce had greatly increased; the borders of the land had been extended and the temple offerings were ample. Inwardly there was decay. Gross immoralities were being introduced; worship was being polluted and the masses of the people crushed, while the Assyrian Empire was advancing and ready to crush Israel, whom, because of her sins, God had abandoned to her fate.
They countenanced oppression, murder, lying, stealing, swearing, etc. They had forgotten the law and their covenant to keep it and had substituted the worship of Baal for that of Jehovah, thereby becoming idolaters. They no longer looked to God in their distress but turned to Egypt and Assyria for help, and thereby put security and prosperity on a basis of human strength and wisdom instead of resting them upon a hope of divine favor.
I. Israel's Sin. illustrated by the tragedy of Hosea's unfortunate marriage, Chs. 1-3.
1. His evil wife and their children, Ch. 1.
2. Israel's unfaithfulness and return to God seen in the evil women, Ch. 2.
3. God's love restores Israel as Hosea does his wife, Ch. 3.
II. The Prophetic Discourses, Chs. 4-14.
1. Israel's sin, Chs. 4-8.
2. Israel's coming punishment, Chs. 9-11.
3. Israel's repentance and restoration, Chs. 12-14.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of all the exhortations to penitence and reformation and study them. (2) Point out the different utterances of judgment upon the people. (3) Make a list of all the different sins condemned. (4) Make a list of the expressions of tender love for the wayward and backsliding one. (5) Make a list of all passages indicating grief and suffering because of the sin and danger of the one loved. (6) Political and religious apostacy. (7) Sin as infidelity to love-as spiritual adultery. (8) The invitations of the book.
The Prophet. His name means "Jehovah is God," but his birth-place and conditions of life are unknown. He very probably prophesied in Judah (2:15-17) and the time of his ministry is commonly thought to have been during the reign of Joash, king of Israel, and Amaziah, king of Judah. It seems certain his is one of the earliest (some think the very earliest) of the prophetic books, and his references to the temple and its services have caused some to conclude he was a priest.
The Prophecy. (1) The occasion of the prophecy was four successive plagues of insects, particularly the locusts (2:25) and a drouth (2:23) which had been unprecedented. These calamities the prophet declares are the results of their sins and should call them to repentance, that God may bless instead of curse their land. (2) The people repent and the calamity is removed. This is used by the prophet to foreshadow the coming destruction and restoration of Israel and this restoration is also doubtless used to prefigure Christian church and its triumph on earth. (3) The great subject is the terrible judgments of God which were to come upon the people because of their sins. (4) His great distinctive prophecy is 2;28-32 which was fulfilled on the day of pentecost, Acts 2:16-21. (B) In it all, he is emphasizing the rewards of the righteous and certain punishment of the wicked and thus he appealed to both the hopes and the fears of men. But the relief value of the book is its optimism. There was victory ahead, the righteous would finally triumph and be saved and God's enemies will be destroyed. The conflict of good and evil and of Israel and her enemies will end in entire and glorious triumph for Israel and right.
I. The Call to Repentance, Chs. 1:1-2:17.
1. By the past scourge of locusts and drought, Ch. 1.
2. By the scourge to come, 2:1-17.
II. Israel's Repentance and Jehovah's Promised Blessing, 2:18-3:21.
1. Material blessing, 2:18-27.
2. In the world Judgment, Ch. 3.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Point out the different statements about the drouth and locusts that indicate their severity and ruinous effects. (2) Collect the passages referring to the Messianic age and try to see how or what each foretells of that age. (3) Point out all references to the sins of Israel. (4) Collect evidences of the divine control of the universe as seen in the book.
Amos and Obadiah.
The Prophet. His name means "Burden," and he is called the prophet of righteousness. His home was at Tokea, a small town of Judea about twelve miles south of Jerusalem, where he acted as herdsman and as dresser of sycamore trees. He was very humble, not being of the prophetic line, nor educated in the schools of the prophets for the prophetic office. God called him to go out from Judah, his native country, as a prophet to Israel, the Northern Kingdom. In obedience to this call he went to Bethel, where the sanctuary was, and delivered his bold prophecy. His bold preaching against the land Of Israel while at Bethel aroused Amaziah the leading idolatrous priest, who complained of him to the king. He was expelled from the kingdom, after he had denounced Amaziah who had perhaps accused him of preaching as a trade, 7:10-14, but we know nothing more of him except what is in this book, which he perhaps wrote after he returned from Tekoa.
The Time of the Prophecy. It was during the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah and of Jereboam II, king of Israel, and was outwardly a very prosperous time in Northern Israel. But social evils were everywhere manifest, especially the sins that grow out of a separation between the rich and poor, 2:6-8, etc. Religion was of a low and formal kind, very much of the heathen worship having been adopted.
The Significance of the Prophecy. One need but read the book of Amos to see that he expects doom to come upon foreign nations, that he foretells the wickedness of the Jews and their coming doom, showing how the nation is to be dissolved and sold into captivity and that he predicts the glory and greatness of the Messianic kingdom. He thinks of Jehovah as the one true God, an a11 wise, all-powerful, omnipresent, merciful and righteous person whose favor can only be secured by a life of righteousness. He sees that justice between men is the foundation of society, that men are responsible for their acts, that punishment will follow failure to measure up to our responsibility, that worship is an insult to God, unless the worshiper tries to conform to divine demands.
I. The Condemnation of the Nations. Chs. 1-2.
1. Introduction, 1:1-2.
2. Israel's neighbors shall be punished for their sins. 1:3-2:5.
3. Israel's sins shall he punished, 2:6-16.
II. The Condemnation of Israel, Chs. 3-6.
1. For civil iniquities, Ch. 3.
2. For oppression of the poor and for idolatry, Ch. 4.
3. Repeated announcements of judgment with appeals to return and do good, Chs. 5-6.
III. Five Visions Concerning Israel, Chs. 7:1-9:10.
1. The locusts, 7:1-3.
2. The fire, 7:4-6.
3. The plumb line (a testing), 7:7-9, a historical interlude (the conflict with Amaziah), 7:10-17.
4. A basket of summer fruit (iniquity ripe for punishment), Ch. 8.
5. The destruction of the altar (No more services), 9:1-10.
IV. Promised Restoration and Messianic Kingdom, 9;11-15.
For Study mid Discussion, (1) Gather from the book a list of illustrations, sayings, etc., that are taken from the rustic or agricultural usages. (2) Make a list of the different nations against which he prophesies and point out the sin of each and the nature of the punishment threatened. (3) Make a list of the different illustrations used to show the greatness and power of God. (4) The sin of wrong inter-relation of nations. (5) The responsibility of national enlightenment. (6) Repentance as seen in this book. (7) The book's evidence of the luxury of the time.
The Prophet. His name means "servant of the Lord," but we know nothing of him except what we can gather from his prophecy.
The Time. It was doubtless written after the fall of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar, 587 B. C. and before the destruction of Edom, five years later, which would make the date about 585 B. C. This would make him a contemporary of Jeremiah.
The Occasion of the prophecy is the cruelty of the Edomites in rejoicing over the fall of Judah.
The Jews. It is said to be a favorite book with the Jews because of the vengeance which it pronounces upon Edom, their brother. Its chief importance lies in its predictions of doom upon Edom the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob and the type of the unchangeable hostility of the flesh to that which is born of the spirit.
The Teachings. (1) Jehovah is especially interested in Israel. (2) He will establish a new kingdom, with Judea and Jerusalem as the center and with holiness as the chief characteristic.
I. Edom's punishment, 1-9.
1. She must fall, 1-4.
2. Her allies will desert her, 5-7.
3. Her wisdom will fail her, 8-9.
II. Edom's sin, 10-14
III. Guilt of the nations, 15-16.
IV. Judah shall be restored,
For Study and Discussion. (1) The sin of pride. (2) The sin of rejoicing in another's misfortune. (3) Punishment according to our sin and of the same kind as was our sin.
Jonah and Micah..
The Prophet. His name means "done," and he is the son of Amittai. His home was Gath-hepher, a village of Zebulun, and he, therefore, belonged to the ten tribes and not to Judah. He is first mentioned in 2 Kings 14:28, where he prophesied the success of Jeroboam II, in his war with Syria, by which he would restore the territory that other nations had wrested from Israel. He very likely prophesied at an early date, though all attempts to determine the time of his prophecy or the time and place of his death have failed.
The Prophecy. It differs from all the other prophecies in that it is a narrative and more "the history of a prophecy than prophecy itself". All the others are taken up chiefly with prophetic utterances, while this book records the experiences and work of Jonah, but tells us little of his utterances. The story of Jonah has been compared to those of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17-19, and 2 Kings 4-6).
Although full of the miraculous element, the evident purpose is to teach great moral and spiritual lessons, and it is unfortunate that its supernatural element has made this book the subject of infidel attack. But the facts, though extraordinary, are in no way contradictory or inconsistent. Indeed, Mr. Driver has well said that "no doubt the outlines of the narrative are historical." Christ spoke of Jonah and accredited it by likening his own death for three days to Jonah's three days in the fish's belly.It is the most "Christian" of all the Old Testament books, its central truth being the universality of the divine plan of redemption. Nowhere else in the Old Testament is such stress laid upon the love of God as embracing in its scope the whole human race.
I. Jonah's First Call and Flight from Duty, Chs. 1-2.
1. The call, flight and punishment, 1:1-16.
2. The repentance and rescue, 1:17-2:10 (end).
II. Jonah's Second Call and Preaching at Nineveh, Ch. 3.
1. His second call. 1-2.
2. His preaching against Nineveh. 2-4.
3. Nineveh repents, 5-9.
4. Nineveh is spared, 10.
III. Jonah's Anger and God's Mercy, Ch. 4.
1. Jonah's anger, 1-4.
2. The lessons of the gourd. 5-11.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The different elements of character noticeable in Jonah. (2) The dangers of disobedience, to self and to others. (3) The possibilities of influence for the man commissioned of God. Jonah's influence on the sailors and on Nineveh. (4) God's care for heathen nations (4-11), and its bearing upon the Foreign Mission enterprise. (5) The nature of true repentance and God's forgiveness. (6) The prophet, or preacher-his call, his message and place of service.
The Prophet. His name means "who is the Lord?" and he was Moresheth. a small town of Gath. He was a younger contemporary of Isaiah and prophesied to both Israel and Judah during the time of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah; and of Pekah and Hoshea, the last two kings of Israel. He sympathized deeply with the common people, being moved by the social wrongs of his time (Ch. 2-3), and became the people's advocate and defender as well as their accuser. He clearly sets forth the wickedness of Judah and Israel, their punishment, their restoration and the coming Christ. As compared with Isaiah, he was a simple countryman, born of obscure parentage and recognized as one of the peasant classes, while Isaiah was a city prophet of high social standing and a counselor of kings.
The Great Truths of the Prophecy Are: (1) The destruction of Israel (1:6-7) (2) The desolation of Jerusalem and the temple (3:12 and 7:13). (3) The carrying off of the Jews to Babylon (4:10). (4) The return from captivity with peace and prosperity and with spiritual blessing (4:1-8 and 7:11-17). (5) The ruler in Zion (Messiah) (4:8). (6) Where and when he should be born (5:2). This is his great prophecy and is accepted as final in the announcement to Herod.
I. The Impending Calamity, Ch. 1.
II. The Sins That Have Brought on This Calamity. Chs. 2-3.
1. In their wickedness they refuse to hear the prophets and are led into captivity, 2:1-11.
2. The promised restoration, 2:12-13.
3. The sins of the rich and of those in authority. Ch. 3.
III. The Promised Restoration and Glory, Chs. 4-5.
1. The promised restoration of the city Zion, 4:1-5.
2. The restoration and glory of Israel, 4:6-13 (end).
3. The mighty messianic king to be given, Ch. 5.
IV. God's Controversy With Israel. Chs. 6-7.
1. God's charge and threat against them, Ch. 6.
2. In lamentation and patience the righteous must wait for a better time, 7:1-13.
3. God will have mercy and restore, 7:14-20.
For Study and discussion. (1) The several accusations and threatenings against Israel and Judah. (2) The different things mentioned to describe the coming prosperity of Israel and of the Messianic period. (3) The false authority of civil rulers, of moral leaders, of spiritual teachers.
Nahum and Habakkuk.
The Prophet. His name means "consolation", and he was a native of Elkosh, a small town of Galilee. We do not know where he uttered his prophecy, whether from Philistia or at Nineveh. It is thought that he escaped into Judah when the Captivity of the Ten Tribe began and that he was at Jerusalem at the time of the Assyrian invasion.
The Prophecy. The date, if the above conclusions are to be relied upon, would be in the reign of Hezekiah, King of Judah, which would be between 720 and 698 B. C. Others put it between the destruction of Thebes, 664 B. C. and the fall of Nineveh, 607 B. C. claiming that it might be either during the reign of Josiah, 640-625 B. C. or in the reign of Manasseh, 660 B. C. The theme of the book is the approaching fall of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, which held sway for centuries and has been regarded as the most brutal of the ancient heathen nations. The purpose, in keeping with the name of the author, was to comfort his people, so long harassed by Assyria, which was soon to fall and trouble them no more. The style is bold and fervid and eloquent and differs from all the prophetic books so far studied in that it is silent concerning the sins of Judah. It is a sort of outburst of exultation over the distress of a cruel foe, a shout of triumph over the downfall of an enemy that has prevented the exaltation of the people of Jehovah.
I. The Doom of Nineveh Pronounced, Ch. 1.
II. the Siege and Fall of Nineveh, Ch. 2.
III. The Sins Which Will Cause Nineveh's Ruin, Ch. 3.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The striking features of the Divine character seen in the book. How many in 1:2-3? (2) The description of Nineveh-not only her wickedness, but her energy and enterprise. (3) The doom predicted for Nineveh-analyze the predictions to the different things to which she is doomed. (4) Pride as a God-ward sin and its punishment. (5) Cruelty, The man-ward sin and its punishment.
The Prophet. His name means "embracing," and he very likely was a contemporary of Jeremiah and prophesied between 608 B. C. and 638 B. C. at a time of political and moral crisis. He may have been a Levite connected with the Temple music.
The Prophecy. As Nahum prophesied the fall of Assyria for its oppression of Israel, Habakkuk tells of God's judgments upon the Chaldeans because of their oppression. The style is poetical and displays a very fine imagery. (1) There is a dialogue between the prophet and the Divine ruler. (2) There is a prayer or psalm which is said not to be excelled in any language in the grandeur of its poetical conceptions and sublimity of expression.
Its purpose grew out of the fact that they were no better off under the rule of Babylon (Chaldeans) which had overthrown Assyria than they were formerly while Assyria ruled over them. It intended to answer the questions: (1) How could God use such a wicked instrument as the Chaldeans (Barbarians) to execute his purposes? (2) Could the Divine purpose be justified in such events? God's righteousness needed vindicating to the people. (3) Why does wickedness seem to triumph while the righteous suffer? This is the question of Job, applied to the nation.
I. The Problem of the Apparent Triumph of Sin, Ch. 1.
1. Why does sin go unpunished? 1-4.
2. God says he has used the Chaldeans to punish sin, 5-11.
3. Are they confined to evil forever, 12-17.
II. The Impending Punishment of the Chaldeans, Oh. 2.
1. Waiting for the vision, 1-3.
2. Vision of five destructive woes, 4-20.
III. An Age of Confidence in God, Ch.3.
1. Prayer of the disquieted prophet, 1-2.
2. Past history has shown that God will finally destroy Israel's enemies, 3-15.
3. The prophet must joyously trust God and wait when in perplexity, 16-19.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The morals of the people. (2) The character and deeds of the Chaldeans. (3) The Universal supremacy of Jehovah. (4) The proper attitude amid perplexing problem. (5) Faith and faithfulness as a guarantee of supremacy and life.
Zephaniah and Haggai.
The Prophet. He is a son of Cushi, a descendant of Hezekiah, and prophesied about 630 B. C. during the reign of Josiah. His prophesies may have aided in inaugurating and in carrying to success the reforms of Josiah. His name means "hid of the Lord" in he is supposed to have been a contemporary of Habakkuk.
The Prophecy. The prophecy seems to be based upon the ravages of the Scythians, whom the nations had come to fear and whom Egypt had bribed, and looks to the judgment of the Lord which cannot be escaped. Its theme, therefore, is "The great day of the Lord" in which suffering will come upon all nations with which the prophet is familiar, Jerusalem and all Judea included. Converts would be won from all parts of the world and these could worship Jehovah, "every one from his place".
I. The Coming Day of Wrath. Ch. 1.
1. The destruction of all things, 1-6.
2. The severe punishment of Judah, 7-18.
II. Judgment Upon Evil Nations, 2:1-3:7.
1. A plea for repentance, 2:1-3.
2. The doom that shall engulf the nations, 2:4-end.
3. Judah's obstinacy in sin, 3:1-7.
III. Promised Blessing for the Faithful Remnant, 3:8-20.
1. Because of Israel's sin, the nation will be cleansed by punishment and converted to God, 3:3-10.
2. Purified Israel shall be honored in all the earth, 3:11-20.
For Study and Discussion, (1) Gather a list of all that is said to induce repentance or the turning away from evil. (2) What sins are condemned in Judah and other nations. Make a list of them. (3) Name the special classes that are condemned, as princes. (4) Make a list of the blessings promised for the coming Messianic days. (5) The purpose of the Lord's judgments.
The Prophet. Haggai was born in Babylon and was one of those who returned from captivity, under Zerrubbabel, according to the decree of Cyrus. He prophesied during the period of the rebuilding of the temple, as recorded in Ezra and he was the first prophet called to prophesy after the Jews returned from the captivity in Babylon. He began his teaching sixteen years after the return of the first band to Jerusalem.
The Conditions Out of Which Grew the Prophecy. Under the decree of Cyrus. King of Persia, Zerrubbabel, a descendant of King David, had led a company of captives back to Jerusalem. They had set up the altar and work on the temple had been begun, but the work had been interrupted by the hostile Samaritans and others and for about fourteen years almost nothing had been done. These years of inactivity had dulled their zeal and they were rapidly becoming reconciled to the situation and by reason of their weakness, compared with the great task before them, they were beginning to despair of seeing their people and beloved city and Temple restored to that glory pictured by former prophets.
The Prophecy. Its purpose was to restore the hope of the people and to give them zeal for the cause of God. This was accomplished by means of four distinct visions, each of which shows their folly in not completing the work, mid promises divine blessing. They hear God say, "I am with you, and will bless you." The result is seen in that they are enabled, in spite of opposition, to finish and dedicate it in about four years.
I. The Appeal to Rebuild the Temple, Ch. 1.
1. The appeal, 1:11.
2. The preparations to build, 12-15.
II. The New Temple, 2:1-19.
1. The superior glories of it, 2:1-9.
2. The blessing of its holy service, 2:10-19.
III. The Messianic Kingdom, 2:10-23.
For Study and Discussion, (1) The rebukes uttered by the prophet. (2) The encouragements he offers. (3) The historical confirmation of the facts of this book found in Ezra. (4) False content and discontent. (5) Basing conclusions upon the comparative strength of the friends and enemies of a proposition, while leaving God out of the count.
Zechariah and Malachi.
The Prophet. His name means "Remembered of the Lord" and like Haggai he appears to have been among the captives who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel. He was a co-laborer with Haggai, beginning his work two mouths later and continuing into the second year following him. The conditions of the times were the same as those described in Haggai.
The Prophecy. The purpose is the same as that of Haggai. The time of the first eight chapters is that of the rebuilding of the temple while the remaining chapters, 9-14, are thought to have been written thirty years later. It is distinguished for: (1) The symbolic character of its visions. (2) The richness of his Messianic predictions found in the second part. (3) The large place given to angelic mediation in the intercourse with Jehovah.
The Contents. The contents have been said to contain: (1) Encouragements to lead the people to repent and reform; (2) Discussions about keeping up the days of fasting and humiliation observed during the captivity; (3) Reflections of a moral and spiritual nature; (4) Denunciations against some contemporary nations; (5) Promises of the prosperity of God's people; (6) Various predictions concerning Christ and his kingdom.
I. Eight Visions Encouraging the Rebuilding of the Temple, Chs. 1-6. Introduction, 1:1-6.
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 ephah, 5:5-11 end.
8. The four war chariots, 6:1-8.
Appendix: Joshua crowned as a type of Christ, 6:9-15.
II. Requirement of the Law and the Restoration and Enlargement of Israel, Chs. 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.
III. Visions of the Messianic Kingdom. Chs. 9-14.
1. The Messianic King, Ch. 9-10.
2. The rejected Shepherd, Ch. 11.
3. The restored and penitent people, Chs. 12-13.
4. The divine sovereignty, Ch. 14.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The symbols and figures used in the several visions. (2) The different ways of expressing or planning the success of God's people and the overthrow of their enemies. (3) The discussion of fasting, should they keep it up? What is superior to it? etc. (4) The promises of these prophesies. (5) The denunciations and judgments found in the book.
The Prophet. His name means "Messenger of the Lord." or "My Messenger". He was connected with the reform movement of Nehemiah and Ezra and condemned the same sins which they condemned. He must, therefore, have lived about 100 years after Haggai and Zechariah, or about 430-420 B. C. He was the last of the Old Testament inspired prophets.
The Condition of the Time. The people had been restored to Jerusalem and the temple and walls rebuilt. They had become sensual and selfish and had grown careless and neglectful of their duty. Their interpretation of the glowing prophecies of the exilic and pre-exilic prophets had led them to expect to realize the Messianic kingdom immediately upon their return. They were, therefore, discouraged and grew skeptical (2:17) because of the inequalities of life seen everywhere. This doubt of divine justice had caused them to neglect vital religion and true piety had given place to mere formality. They had not relapsed into idolatry but a spirit of worldliness had crept in and they were guilty of many vices such as we see today in professedly Christian communities.
The Prophecy. The purpose of this prophecy was to rebuke the people for departing from the worship of the law of God, to call the people back to Jehovah and to revive their national spirit. There are in it: (1) Unsparing denunciations of social evils and of the people of Israel. (2) Severe rebukes for the indifference and hypocrisy of the priests. (3) Prophecies of the coming of the Messiah and the characteristics and manner of his coming. (4) Prophecies concerning the forerunner of the Messiah.
Introduction: Jehovah's love of Israel. 1:1-5. This is seen in the contrast between Israeli and Egypt.
I. Israel's Lack of Love of God, 1:6-2:16. It is proved.
1. By their polluted offerings, 1:6 end.
2. By the sins of the priests. 2:1-9.
3. By their heathen marriages and by their divorces, 2:10-16.
II. God Will Come and Judge His People, 2:17-4:6 end.
1. His messenger will separate the righteous from the wicked, 2:17- 4:6.
2. This is seen in the effect of their withholding or paying tithes. 3:7-12.
3. Faithful services will be rewarded. 3:13-4:6 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the particular sins rebuked. (2) Make a list of all the different things said about the Messiah and his mission and also that of the forerunner. (3) Analyze and study each of the seven controversies. 1:2, 7; 2:13, 14, 17; 3:7, 8, 14. (4) Compare the future destinies of the righteous and wicked as revealed in this book, making a list of all that is said of each. (5) Make a list of all the promises of the book.
Each Gospel was written with a view to creating a definite result and written to a particular people and they differ accordingly. In this book, therefore, each Gospel is discussed with the hope of so outlining its purpose and consequent peculiarities as to stimulate a thorough study of the questions raised.
Date. Written about 60 A. D., but after Mark.
The Author. The Author always speaks of himself as "the publican," which may indicate his sense of humility, felt in having been exalted from so low an estate to that of an apostle. He was the son of Alpheus (Mar. 2:14; Lu. 5:27), and was called Levi until Jesus called him and gave him the name Matthew, which means "Gift of God." We know nothing of his work except his call and farewell feast (9:9-10), and that he was with the apostles on the day of Pentecost. Thus silent and observant and qualified by former occupation, he could well undertake the writing of this book. It might be possible that he was chosen by the others for this great task. We know nothing of his death.
Characteristics and Purpose.
1. It is not a Chronological but a Systematic and Topical Gospel. There is order in the arrangement of materials so that a definite result may be produced. Materials are treated in groups, as the miracles in chapters eight and nine and the parables of chapter thirteen. There is order and purpose also in the arrangement of these groups of miracles and parables. The first miracle is the cure of leprosy, and is a type of sin; while the last one is the withering of the fig tree, which is a symbol of judgment. The first parable is that of the seed of the kingdom, which is a symbol of the beginning or planting of the kingdom; the last is that of the talents and prophesies the final adjudication at the last day. This same orderly arrangement is also observed in the two great sections of the book. The first great section 4:17-16:20, especially sets forth the person and nature of Jesus, while the second section, 16:20 end, narrates his great work for others as seen in his death and resurrection.
2. It Is a Didactic or Teaching Gospel. While giving the account of a number of miracles, the book is marked by several discourses of considerable length, as The sermon on the Mount, chapters 3-7, the denunciation of the Pharisees, chapter 23, the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, chapters 24-25, the address to the apostles, chapter 10; and the doctrines of the kingdom, 17:24-20:16. These portions and the parables noted above will indicate how large a portion of the book is taken up in discourses. The student can make lists of other and shorter sections of teaching.
3. It Is a Gospel of Gloom and Despondency. There are no songs of joy like those of Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, Anna and the Angels, recorded in Luke. Nor do we see him popular and wise at the age of twelve. Instead, we have his mother almost repudiated and left in disgrace by Joseph and only saved by divine intervention. Jerusalem is in trouble, the male children are killed and mothers are weeping for them. The child Jesus is saved only by the flight into Egypt, his whole life after the return from Egypt is covered in oblivion and he is a despised Nazarite. The cross is one of desolation with no penitent thief nor sympathy from any one, with his enemies reviling, smiting their breasts and passing by. Nor is there much optimism or expectation of success. The disciples are to be rejected and persecuted even as their Lord; many are to be called and but few are chosen; only a few are to find the narrow way; many are to claim entrance into the Kingdom because they have prophesied in His name and be denied. Even Matthew himself is a despised and rejected publican.
4. It Is a Kingly Gospel. The genealogy shows the royal descent of Jesus. The Magi came seeking him that was "born king of the Jews," and John the Baptist preaches that the "Kingdom of heaven is at hand." Here we have the parables of the kingdom, beginning with "the Kingdom of heaven," etc. In Luke a certain man made a great supper and had two sons, while in Matthew it was a certain king. In the other evangelists we always have the term gospel while, with one exception, Matthew always puts it "the gospel of the Kingdom". The "keys of the kingdom" are given to Peter. All the nations shall gather before him as he sits on the throne and "the king say" unto them, and the "king shall answer," etc. (Matt. 25:34, 40).
5. It Is an Official and an Organic Gospel. This is suggested in that Matthew represents Satan as head of a kingdom; also, in that those connected with Jesus' birth are official persons and most of the acts are official in their nature. Pilate, the judge, washed his hands of the blood of Jesus, the Roman guard pronounces him the Christ, and the guards say he could not be kept in the tomb, Jesus denounces the officials and calls his own disciples by official names. It is Peter, not Simon, and Matthew, the apostolic name, and not Levi as in Luke. Jesus indicates his official capacity in his rejection of the Jews, telling them that the kingdom is taken away from them (21:43). He makes ready for the establishing of his own kingdom and tells them who is to wield the keys of the kingdom which is not to be bound by time or national relations as was the former kingdom. In Matthew alone do we find full instructions as to the membership, discipline and ordinances of the church. Here alone are we given in the gospels the command to baptize to administer the communion and the beautiful formula for baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and here we have his official command to "Go" backed by all the authority of heaven and earth.
In the further pursuit of this official work, we find Jesus giving especial recognition to the Gentile believers-giving them full place in his kingdom. The genealogy through grace and faith includes Gentiles; the second chapter shows how the Gentile Magi do him honor; the Roman centurion displays a faith superior to any Israelite; the great faith of the Canaanite woman led him to heal her daughter, and the Gentile wife of Pilate because of her dreams sends a warning that he have "nothing to do" with him. All this tended to show the official and organic way in which Jesus worked.
6. It Is a Gospel of Jewish Antagonism and Rejection. On the one hand the Jews antagonize and reject Jesus. On the other the Jews, especially the scribes and Pharisees, are exposed and rejected by Jesus. The Pharisees plotted against Jesus and resented his violation of their regulations and customs concerning the Sabbath and their ceremonies about eating and washing and his associations with publicans and sinners. Their opposition culminated in their putting him to death. On the other hand Jesus also rejects the Jews. John calls them a generation of vipers and Jesus designated them with such terms as hypocrites, blind guides and whited sepulchers, the climax being reached in chapter 23. It is here that in their wickedness they are unable to discern between the work of God and of Beelzebub. They are told of the application of Isaiah's prophecy, that they have ears and hear not and that on account of their unworthiness, the kingdom is taken from them. The blasting of the fig tree with which the miracles of Matthew ends shows what is to be the fate of the Jewish nation.
7. It Is a Jewish Gospel. This is seen in his use of Jewish symbols, terms and numbers without explanation. He never explained the meaning of a Jewish word, such as Corban, nor of a custom, such as to say that the Jews eat not except they wash. The other evangelists do. He calls Jerusalem by the Jewish terms, "City of the great king," and "Holy City," and Christ the "Son of David" and the "Son of Abraham." He speaks of the Jewish temple as the temple of God, the dwelling place of God and the holy place. The genealogy is traced to Abraham by three great Jewish events of history. All this would be calculated to win the Jews, but, much more, the sixty-five quotations from the Old Testament and the oft repeated attempt to show that deeds and sayings recorded were that the "Scripture (or saying) might be fulfilled." And, while not seeing as much in the numbers as Plummer and others, one can hardly believe that all numbers, so characteristic of Jews, are accidental here. The genealogy has three fourteens being multiples of seven. There are fourteen parables, seven in one place and seven in another. There are seven woes in chapter 23. There are twenty miracles separated into two tens. The number seven usually, if not always, divides into four and three, the human and the divine. Of the seven parables in chapter 13, four touch the human or natural while three refer to the divine or spiritual side of his kingdom. There are seven petitions in the Lord's prayer, the first three relating to God and the last four to man. A like division is perhaps true in the beatitudes.
Subject. The Kingdom of God or of Heaven.
I. The Beginning of the Kingdom, 1:1-4:16.
1. Jesus, the King, is the Old Testament Messiah, chs. 1-2.
2. Jesus, the King, is prepared for his work, 3:1-4:16.
II. The Proclamation of the Kingdom, 4:17-16:20.
1. The beginning of the proclamation, 4:17 end.
2. By the Sermon on the Mount, chs. 5-7.
3. By the miracles and connected teachings, chs. 8-9.
4. By the sending of the Twelve and subsequent teachings and miracles, chs. 10-12.
5. By the seven parables and subsequent miracles, chs. 13-14.
6. By the denunciation of the Pharisees with attendant miracles and teachings, 15:1-16:12.
7. By the Great Confession, 16:12-20.
III. The Passion of the Kingdom, 6:21-27 end.
1. Four predictions of the passion with intervening discourses and miracles, 16:21-26:2.
(A) At Caesarea Philippi, 16:21-17:21.
(B) In Galilee near Capernaum, 17:22-20:16.
(C) Near Jerusalem, 20:17-22 end.
(D) At Jerusalem, 23:1-26:2.
2. The events of the Passion, 26:3-27 end.
IV. The Triumph of the Kingdom, Ch. 28.
1. The resurrection of the King, 1-15.
2. Provision for the propagation of the Kingdom, 16-20.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Some events of Christ's childhood, (a) The story of the Magi. (b) The massacre of the infants, (c) The flight to Egypt, (d) The return to Nazareth. (2) Two miracles, (a) Cure of the blind man, 9:27-31. (b) Fish with money in its mouth, 17:24-27. (3) Ten Parables, (a) The Tares, 13:24-30. (b) The draw net, 13:47-50. (c) The unmerciful servant. 18:23-25. (d) The laborers in the vineyard, 20:1-16. (e) The two sons, 21:28-32. (f) The marriage of the king's son, 22:1-14. (g) The hidden treasure. 24:44. (h) The pearl, 24:45-46. (i) The ten virgins. 25:1-13. (j) The talents, 25:14-30. (4) Ten passages in Christ's discourses: (a) Parts of the Sermon on the Mount, chs. 5-7. (b) Revelation to babes, 11:25-27. (c) Invitations to the weary, 11:28-30. (d) About idle words, 12:36-37. (e) Prophecy to Peter, 16:17-19. (f) Humility and forgiveness, 18:14-35. (g) Rejection of the Jews, 21:43. (h) The great denunciation, ch. 23. (i) The judgment scene, 23:31-46. (j) The great commission and promise, 28:16- 20. (5) Some terms by which Jesus is designated in Matthew should be studied. Let the student make a list of the different places where each of the following terms are used and from a study of the passages compared with any others form opinions as to the significance of the term, (a) Son of Abraham, (b) Son of David, (c) Son of man, (d) Son of God, (e) Christ, the Christ, (f) Jesus, (g) Lord, (h) Kingdom of heaven or Kingdom of God. (6) Make a list of all the places where the expression "That the saying (or scripture) might be fulfilled" and tabulate all the things fulfilled. (7) Show how many times and where the phrase "The Kingdom of Heaven" (or of God) occurs and from a study of these passages tabulate in list the nature, characteristics and purpose of the Kingdom. (8) Make a list of all the places mentioned and become familiar with the history and geography of each and memorize the leading events connected with each.
Date. Probably written about A. D. 60, and before Matthew.
The Author. He was not an apostle and was variously designated as follows; (1) John, whose surname was Mark, Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37; (2) John only, Acts 13:5. 13; (3) Mark only, Acts 15:39; (4) always Mark after this, Col. 4:10, Philemon 24, 2 Tim. 4:11, 1 Pet. 5:13. He was a son of Mary, a woman of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). Her home was the gathering place of the disciples, whither Peter went after he was delivered from prison. On this or some other visit Mark may have been converted through the preaching of Peter, and this may have been the cause of Peter calling him "his son" (1 Pet. 5:13), which doubtless means son in the ministry. He returns with Paul and Barnabas from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 12:25), and accompanies them, as minister (Acts 13:5) on the first great missionary journey as far as Perga (Acts 13:13). There he left them and returned home. On the second missionary tour Paul declined to take him and separated from Barnabas, Mark's cousin (Col. 4:10), who chose Mark for his companion (Acts 15:37-39). Ten years later he seems to be with Paul in his imprisonment at Rome and was certainly counted a fellow worker by Paul (Col. 4:10, Philemon 24). Paul found him useful and asked Timothy to bring him to him in his last imprisonment (2 Tim. 4:11). He was with Peter when he wrote his first epistle (1 Peter 5:13).
What he knew of the work of Jesus directly we do not know, probably not much. The early Christian writers universally say that he was the interpreter of Peter and that he based his gospel upon information gained from him.
Characteristics and Purpose.
1. It Is a Gospel of Vividness and Details. He shows the effect of awe and wonder produced upon those present by the works and teaching of Jesus. He tells the details of the actions of Jesus and his disciples and the multitudes. Jesus "looks around," "sat down," "went before". He is grieved, hungry, angry, indignant, wonders, sleeps, rests and is moved with pity. The cock crows twice: "it is the hour", "a great while before day," or "eventide," "there are two thousand swine", the disciples and Jesus are on the sea, on Olivet, or in the court yard or in the porch. Everything is portrayed in detail.
2. It Is a Gospel of Activity and Energy. There is no story of his infancy, but he starts with "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ". He portrays the active career of Jesus on earth. He, however, lays emphasis upon the works rather than the words of Jesus. Few discourses of any length and only four of the fifteen parables of Matthew are given and those in the briefest form, while eighteen of the miracles are given in rapid review. The rapid succession is indicated by one Greek word, translated by the seven words "immediately", "anon", "forthwith", "by and by", "as soon as", "shortly", and "straightway", which occur forty-one times in this gospel. The last meaning, straightway, is truest to the Greek idea and may be called Mark's characteristic word. It indicates how with the speed of a racer he rushed along and thereby furnishes us a breathless narrative which Farrar says makes us "feel like the apostles who, among the press of the people coming and going, were twice made to say they 'had no leisure so much as to eat'." It moves as the scenes of a moving picture show.
3. It Is a Gospel of Power Over Devils. Here as in no other gospel the devils are made subject to Jesus. They recognize him as the "Son of God" and acknowledge their subordination to him by pleading with him as to what shall be done with them (5:7, 12).
4. It Is a Gospel of Wonder. Everywhere Jesus is a man of wonder that strikes awe and terror and causes to wonder those who see and hear him. Some of these may be studied, especially in the Greek, in 1:27; 2:13; 4:41; 5:28 6:50; 51; 7:37. As Archbishop Thompson puts it, "The wonder-working Son of God sweeps over his Kingdom swiftly and meteor- like" and thus strikes awe into the hearts of the on-lookers. He is "a man heroic and mysterious, who inspires not only a passionate devotion but also amazement and adoration".
5. It Is a Gospel for the Romans. The Romans were men of great power, mighty workers who left behind them great accomplishments for the blessing of humanity. So that Mark would especially appeal to them by recording of Jesus his mighty deeds. He lets them see one who has power to still the storm, to control disease and death, and even power to control the unseen world of spirits. The Roman, who found deity in a Caesar as head of a mighty Kingdom, would bow to one who had shown himself King in every realm and whose kingdom was both omnipotent and everlasting, both visible and unseen, both temporal and spiritual.
Then, too, the Roman cared nothing for Jewish Scripture or prophecy and so he omits all reference to the Jewish law, the word law not being found in the entire book. He only once or twice refers in any way to the Jewish scriptures. He omits the genealogy of Jesus which could have no value to a Roman. Then, too, he explains all doubtful Jewish words, such as "Boanerges" (3:17), "Tabitha cumi" (5:41), "corban" (7:11), "alba" (15:36). He reduced Jewish money to Roman currency (12:42). He explains Jewish customs as not being understood by them. (See 7:3; 13:3; 14:12; 15:42).
And once more by the use of terms familiar to him such as centurion, contend, etc. "Mark showed the Roman a man who was a man indeed". He showed them manhood crowned with glory and power; Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God; a man but a Man Divine and sinless, among sinful and suffering men. Him, the God-man, no humiliation could degrade, no death defeat. Not even on the cross could he seem less than the King, the Hero, the only Son. And as he gazed on such a picture how could any Roman refrain from exclaiming with the awe-struck Centurion, "Truly this was the Son of God".
Subject. Jesus the Almighty King.
I. The Almighty King is Exhibited as the Son of God, 1:1-13.
1. In the baptism and teaching of John, 1-8.
2. In the baptism of Jesus, 9-11.
3. In the temptation, 12-13.
II. The Almighty King at Work in Galilee, 1:14-9 end.
1. Begins his work, 1:14 end.
2. Reveals his Kingdom, Chs. 2-5.
3. Meets opposition, 6:1-8:26.
4. Prepares his disciples for the end, 8:27-9 end.
III. The Almighty King Prepares for Death 10:1-14:31.
1. He goes to Jerusalem, 10:1-11:11.
2. In Jerusalem and vicinity, 11:12-14:31.
IV. The Almighty King Suffers at the Hands of His Enemies. 14:32- 15:46.
1. Agony of Gethsemane, 14:32-42.
2. Arrest, 14:43-52.
3. Jewish trial and denial of Peter, 14:53 end.
4. Trial before Pilate. 15:1-15.
5. The Crucifixion. 15:16-41.
6. The Burial, 15:42 end.
V. The Almighty King Triumphs Over His Enemies, Ch.16.
1. The resurrection, 1-8.
2. The appearances, 9-18.
3. The ascension, 19-20.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Sections peculiar to Mark, (a) Growth of the seed, 4:26-29. (b) Jesus' compassion on the multitudes, 7:32-37. (c) The blind men healed gradually, 8;22-26. (d) Details about the ass, etc., 11:1-14. (e) Concerning watching, 13:33-37. (f) Details concerning Christ's appearances. 16:6-11. (2) The spiritual condition of those affected by Jesus' miracles. Keeping in mind their condition before and after the miracle: (a) Were they saved as well as well as healed? (b) Did they or their friends exercise faith, or did Jesus act voluntarily without any expression of faith? (3) What did Jesus do in performing the miracle? (a) Did he use the touch? (b) Was he touched? (c) Did he simply give command, etc? (4) From the following scriptures 2:35; 1:45; 3:7-12; 6:6; 6:21-32; 6:46; 7:34-25; 8:27; 9:2; 11:11; 11:19; 14:1-12, make a list of the different places to which Jesus retired and in connection with each indicate (in writing): (a) Was it before or after a victory or conflict? (b) Was it in preparation for or rest after the performance of a great work? (c) Indicate in each case whether he went alone or was accompanied and, if accompanied, by whom? (e) In each case also tell what Jesus did during the period of retirement. Did he pray, teach, perform miracles or what? (5) List the phrases "Son of man" and "Kingdom of God" and point out the appropriateness and meaning of each. (6) List all references to demons and to demon possessed people and study their nature, the nature of their work, their power, wisdom, etc. (7) The facts concerning the death of Jesus. 14:1-15:14. List them.
Date. It was probably written about A. D. 60 or 63, certainly before the fall of Jerusalem, A. D. 70, and likely while Luke was with Paul in Rome or during the two years at Caesarea.
Author. The author is Luke, who also wrote Acts, and was a companion of Paul on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-40). He rejoins Paul at Philippi (Acts 20:1-7) on the return from the third missionary journey, remaining with him at Caesarea and on the way to Rome (Acts Chs. 20-28), He is called the "Beloved physician" (Col. 4:14) and Paul's "fellow laborer" (Philemon 24).
From the context of Col. 4:4 we learn that he was "not of the circumcision" and, therefore, a Gentile. From his preface (Lu. 1:1) we learn that he was not an eye witness of what he wrote. He is thought to be "the brother" whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches (2 Cor. 8:18), and, by tradition, is always declared to be a Gentile and proselyte. As is indicated by the gospel itself, he was the most cultured of all the gospel writers.
Characteristics and Purpose.
1. It Is a Gospel of Song and Praise. There are a number of songs such as the song of Mary (1:46-55), the song of Zacharias (1:68-79), the song of the angels (2:14) and the song of Simeon (2:29-33). There are many expressions of praise such as (2:2; 5:29; 7:16; 13:13; 17:15; 18:43; 23:47).
2. It Is a Gospel of Prayer. Jesus prays at his baptism, (3:21), after cleansing the leper (5:16), before calling the twelve (6:12), at his transfiguration (9:28), before teaching the disciples to pray (11:1), for his murderers as he was on the cross (23:34), with his last breath (23:46). Luke gives us Christ's command to pray (21:36) and two parables, the midnight friend (11:5-13) and the unjust judge (18:1-8) to show the certain and blessed results of continued prayer.
3. It Is a Gospel of Womanhood. No other gospel gives her anything like so large a place as Luke. Indeed, all of the first three chapters or a greater part of their contents may have been given him, as he "traced out accurately from the first" (1:3), by Mary and Elizabeth. He gives us the praise and prophecy of Elizabeth (1:42-42), the song of Mary (1:46-55). Anna and her worship (2:36-38), sympathy for the widow of Nain (7:12-15), Mary Magdella the sinner (7:36-50), the woman associates of Jesus (8:1-3), tender words to the woman with an issue of blood (8:48), Mary and Martha and their disposition (10:38-42). sympathy and help for the "daughter" of Abraham (13:16), the consolation of the daughters of Jerusalem (23:28). These references have been collected by others and are the most conspicuous ones and serve to show how large a place woman is given in this gospel.
4. It Is a Gospel of the Poor and Outcast. More than any other of the evangelists Luke reports those teachings and incidents in the life of our Savior which show how his work is to bless the poor and neglected and vicious. Among the more striking passages of this character are the oft repeated references to the publicans (3:12; 5:27, 29, 30, etc.), Mary Magdella, who was a sinner (7:36-50), the woman with an issue of blood (8:43-48), the harlots (15:30), the prodigal son (13:11-32), Lazarus, the beggar (16:13-31), the poor, maimed, halt and blind invited to the supper (14:7-24). the Story of Zacchaeus (19:1- 9), the Savior's business declared to be to seek and save the lost (8:10), the dying robber saved (23:39-43).
5. It Is a Gentile Gospel. The book is everywhere filled with a world wide purpose not so fully expressed in the other evangelists. Here we have the angels, announcement of great joy which shall be to all people (2:10) and the song about Jesus as "a light for revelation to the Gentiles" (2:32). The genealogy traces Christ's lineage back to Adam (2:38) and thus connects him not with Abraham as a representative of humanity. The fuller account of the sending out of the seventy (10:1-24). the very number of whom signified the supposed number of the heathen nations, who were to go, not as the twelve to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but to all those cities whither Jesus himself would come, is suggestive of this broader purpose of Luke. The good Samaritan (10:25-37) is Christ's illustration of a true neighbor and in some way also intends to show the nature of Christ's work which was to be without nationality. Of the ten lepers healed (17:11-19) only one, a Samaritan, returned to render him praise, thus showing how others than the Jews would not only be blessed by him but would do worthy service for him. The Perean ministry, across the Jordan (9:51- 18:4, probably 9:51-19:28). is a ministry to the Gentiles and shows how large a place Luke would give the Gentiles in the work and blessings of Jesus.
6. It Is a Gospel for the Greeks. If Matthew wrote for Jews and Mark for Romans, it is but natural that some one should write in such a way as to appeal, specially, to the Greeks as the other representative race. And, such the Christian writers of the first centuries thought to be Luke's purpose. The Greek was the representative of reason and humanity and felt that his mission was to perfect humanity. "The full grown Greek would be a perfect world man", able to meet all men on the common plane of the race. All the Greek gods were, therefore, images of some form of perfect humanity. The Hindu might worship an emblem of physical force, the Roman deify the Emperor and the Egyptian any and all forms of life, but the Greek adored man with his thought and beauty and speech, and, in this, had most nearly approached the true conception of God. The Jew would value men as the descendants of Abraham; the Roman according as they wielded empires, but the Greek on the basis of man as such.
The gospel for the Greek must, therefore, present the perfect man, and so Luke wrote about the Divine Man as the Savior of all men. Christ touched man at every point and is interested in him as man whether low and vile or high and noble. By his life he shows the folly of sin and the beauty of holiness. He brings God near enough to meet the longings of the Greek soul and thereby furnish him a pattern and brother suited for all ages and all people. The deeds of Jesus are kept to the background while much is made of the songs of others and the discourses of Jesus as they were calculated to appeal to the cultured Greek. If the Greek thinks he has a mission to humanity, Luke opens a mission ground enough for the present and offers him an immortality which will satisfy in the future.
7. It Is an Artistic Gospel. Renan calls Luke the most beautiful book in the world, while Dr, Robertson says "the charm of style and the skill in the use of facts place it above all praise". The delicacy and accuracy, picturesqueness and precision with which he sets forth the different incidents is manifestly the work of a trained historian. His is the most beautiful Greek and shows the highest touches of culture of all of the gospels.
Subject. Jesus the World's Savior.
Introduction. The dedication of the gospel, 1:1-4.
I. The Savior's Manifestation, 1:5-4:13.
1. The announcement of the Forerunner, 1:5-25.
2. The announcement of the Savior. 1:26-38.
3. Thanksgiving of Mary and Elizabeth, 1:29-56.
4. The birth and childhood of the Forerunner, 1:37 end.
5. The birth of the Savior, 2:1-20.
6. The childhood of the Savior. 3:1-4:13.
II. The Savior's Work and Teaching in Galilee, 4:14-9:50.
1. He preaches in the synagogue at Nazareth. 4:14-30.
2. He works in and around Capernaum, 4:31-6:11.
3. Work while touring Galilee, 6:12-9:50.
III. The Savior's Work and Teaching After Leaving Galilee Up to the Entrance Into Jerusalem, 9:31-19:27.
1. He journeys to Jerusalem, 9:51 end.
2. The mission of the Seventy and subsequent matters, 10:1-11:13.
3. He exposes the experience and practice of the day, 11:14-12 end.
4. Teachings, miracles warnings and parables, 13:1-18:30.
5. Incidents connected with his final approach to Jerusalem, 18:31- 19:27.
IV. The Savior's Work and Teaching in Jerusalem, 19:28-22:38.
1. The entrance to Jerusalem, 19:28 end.
2. Questions and answers. Ch. 20.
3. The widow's mites, 21:1-4.
4. Preparation for the end, 21:5-22:38.
V. The Savior Suffers for the World, 22:39-23 end.
1. The agony in the garden, 22:39-46.
2. The betrayal and arrest, 22:47-53.
3. The trial. 22:54-23:26.
4. The cross, 23:27-49.
5. The burial, 23:30 end.
VI. The Savior is Glorified, Ch. 24.
1. The resurrection, 1-12.
2. The appearance and teachings, 13-49.
3. The ascension, 50 end.
For Study and Discussion.
1. Six miracles peculiar to Luke. (1) The draught of fishes, 5:4-11. (2) The raising of the widow's son, 7:11- 18. (3) The woman with the spirit of infirmity, 13:11-17. (4) The man with the dropsy, 14:1-6. (5) The ten lepers, 17:11-19. (6) The healing of Malchus' ear. 22:50-51.
2. Eleven parables, peculiar to Luke. (I) The two debtors, 7:41-43. (2) The good Samaritan, 10:25-37. (3) The importunate friend, 11:5-8. (4) The rich fool, 12:16-19. (5) The barren fig-tree, 13:6-9. (6) The lost piece of silver, 15:8-10. (7) The prodigal son, 15:11-32. (8) The unjust steward, 16:1-13. (9) The rich man and Lazarus, 18:19-31. (10) The unjust judge, 18:1-8. (11) The Pharisee and publican, 18:9-14.
3. Some other passages mainly peculiar to Luke. (1) Chs. 1-2 and 9:51- 18:14 are mainly peculiar to Luke. (2) John the Baptist's answer to the people. 3:10-14. (3) The conversation with Moses and Elias, 9:30- 31. (4) The weeping over Jerusalem, 19:41-44. (5) The bloody sweat, 22:44. (6) The sending of Jesus to Herod, 23:7-12. (7) The address to the daughters of Jerusalem, 23:27-31. (8) "Father forgive them", 23:34. (9) The penitent robber, 23:40-43. (10) The disciples at Emmaus, 24:13-31; (11) Particulars about the ascension. 24:50-53.
4. The following words and phrases should be studied, making a list of the references where each occurs and a study of each passage in which they occur with a view of getting Luke's conception of the term. (1) The "son of man" (23 times). (2) The "son of God" (7 times). (3) The "kingdom of God" (32 times). (4) References to law, lawyer, lawful (18 times). (5) Publican (11 times). (6) Sinner and sinners (16 times). Mr. Stroud estimates that 59 percent of Luke is peculiar to himself and Mr. Weiss figures that 541 have no incidences in the other gospels.
The Author. From the evidence found in the gospel, we may learn several things about the author. (1) That he was a Jew. This is seen in his evident knowledge of Jewish opinions concerning such subjects as the Messiah, and his knowledge of their customs, such as the purification. (2) He was an eye-witness to most of what he relates. This is seen in his exact knowledge of time, as to the hour or time of day a thing occurred; in his knowledge of the number of persons or things present, as the division of his garments into four parts; in the vividness of the narrative which he could hardly have had without first having seen it all. (3) He was an apostle. This is seen in his knowledge of the thoughts of the disciples (2:11, 17); in his knowledge of the private words of the disciples to Jesus and among themselves (4:31, 33, etc.); in his knowledge of the private resorts of the disciples (11:54. etc.); and in his knowledge of the Lord's motives, etc. (2:24-25, etc.); and in his knowledge of Christ's feelings (11:33). (4) He was the son of Zebedee (Mar. 1:19-20), and was probably one of John's two disciples whom he turned to Jesus (1- 40). (5) He is one of the three most prominent of the apostles, being several times especially honored (Matt. 17:1-3. etc.), and is prominent in the work of the church after Christ's ascension, as well as in all their work before his death: (6) He also wrote three epistles and Revelation. He outlived all the other apostles and is supposed to have died on the Isle of Patmos as an exile about 100 A.D.
The Times and Circumstances of the Writings. These are so different from those which influenced the other evangelists that one can hardly escape the feeling that John's gospel is colored accordingly. The gospel had been preached in all the Roman empire and Christianity was no longer considered a Jewish sect, attached to the Synagogue. Jerusalem had been overthrown and the temple destroyed. Christians had been sorely persecuted, but had achieved great triumphs in many lands. All the rest of the New Testament except Revelation had been written. Some had arisen, who disputed the deity of Jesus and while the gospel is not a mere polemic against that false teaching, it does, by establishing the true teaching thoroughly undermine the false. He perhaps wrote to Christians of all nationalities, whose history had by this time been enriched by the blood of martyrs for the faith. Instead of the Messiah in whom Jews would find a Savior or the mighty worker in whom the Roman would find him, or the Ideal Man in whom the Greeks would find him. John wrote concerning the eternal, Incarnate Word in whose Spiritual Kingdom each, having lost his narrowness and racial prejudice, could be forever united.
The Style and the Plan.
This gospel differs from the others in language and plan. It is both profound and simple and has several elements of style as follows: (1) Simplicity. The sentences are short and connected by coordinate conjunctions. There are but few direct quotations, and but few dependent sentences, and most of them show the sequence of things, either as a cause or a purpose. (2) Sameness. This arises from the method of treating each step in the narrative as if isolated and separate from all the rest rather than merging it into the complete whole. (3) Repetition, whether in the narrative proper or in the quoted words of the Lord, is very frequent. The following examples will illustrate this: "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God." "The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not." "I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd giveth his life." "Jesus then, when he saw her weeping and the Jews that were weeping with her." "If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true." Let the student gather a list of all such repetitions. (4) Parallelism, or statements expressing the same or similar truths, such as the following are common. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you"; "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid"; "I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish." This parallelism, which at the same time becomes repetition, is seen in the way a subject or conclusion is stated and, after elaboration, restated in a new and enlarged view, thus teaching the truth in a gradually unfolding beauty and force. An illustration is found in the statement, "I will raise him up in the last day," 6, 39, 70, 44. (5) Contrasts. The plan is more simple and more easily seen all along than is that of any other of the Evangelists. On the one hand, he shows how love and faith are developed in the believer until, in the end, Thomas, who was the most doubtful of all, could exclaim, "My Lord and my God." On the other hand, he shows the unbeliever advanced from mere indifference to a positive hatred that culminated in the crucifixion. This purpose is carried out by a process of contrasting and separating things that are opposites, such as (a) Light and darkness, (b) Truth and falsehood, (c) Good and evil, (d) Life and death, (e) God and Satan. In all of these he is convincing his reader that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God.
Characteristics and Purpose.
1. It Is a Gospel of the Feasts. Indeed, if subtract from it those miracles and teachings and other works performed in connection with the feasts, we should have only a few fragments left. The value of the book would be destroyed and the most beautiful and the profoundest teachings of the gospel lost.
The student will do well from the following list of feasts to endeavor to group around each all that John records as occurring in connection with it. (1) The Feast of the Passover (2:13, 23), First Passover, A. D. 27. (2) A Feast of the Jews (5:1), probably Purim. (3) Passover a Feast of the Jews (6:4), Second Passover, A. D. 28. (4) Feast of the Tabernacles (7:2). (5) Feast of the Dedication (10:22). (6) Passover (11:55-56; 12:1, 12, 20; 13:29; 18:28). Third Passover, A. D. 29.
2. It Is a Gospel of Testimony. John writes to prove that Jesus is the Christ. He assumes the attitude of a lawyer before a jury and introduces testimony until he fells certain of his case and then closes the testimony with the assurance that much more could be offered if it seemed necessary. There are seven lines of testimony. (1) The testimony of John the Baptist. (2) The testimony of certain other individuals. (3) The testimony of Jesus' works. (4) The testimony of Jesus himself (see the I am's). (5) The testimony of the scripture. (6) The testimony of the Father. (7) The testimony of the Holy Spirit.
3. It Is of Gospel of Belief. The purpose being to produce belief there are given: numerous examples of belief, showing the growth of faith; the secret of faith, such as hearing or receiving the word; the results of faith, such as eternal life, freedom, peace, power, etc.
4. It Is a Spiritual Gospel. It represents the deeper mediations of John, which are shaped so as to establish a great doctrine which, instead of history, became his great impulse. To John "history is doctrine" and he reviews it in the light of its spiritual interpretation. It furnished a great bulwark against the Gnostic teachers, who had come to deny the diety of Jesus. He also emphasized and elaborated the humanity of Jesus. His whole purpose is "not so much the historic record of the facts as the development of their inmost meaning."
5. It Is a Gospel of Symbolism. John was a mystic and delighted in mystic symbols. The whole book speaks in the language of symbols. The mystic numbers three and seven prevail throughout the book not only in the things and sayings recorded but in the arrangement of topics. Each of the Eight Miracles is used for a "sign" or symbol, as the feeding of the five thousand in which Jesus appears as the bread or support of life. The great allegories of the Good-Shepherd, the sheep-fold and the vine; the names used to designate Jesus as the Word, Light, the Way, the Truth, the Life, etc., all show how the whole gospel is penetrated with a spirit of symbolic representation.
6. It Is the Gospel of the Incarnation. "Matthew explains his messianic function; Mark his active works and Luke his character as Savior." John magnifies his person and everywhere makes us see "the word made flesh." God is at no great distance form us. He has become flesh. The word has come as the Incarnate Man. Jesus, this Incarnate Man, is God and as such fills the whole book, but he, nevertheless, hungers and thirsts and knows human experience. God has come down to man to enable him to rise up to God.
Subject: Jesus, the Christ, God's Son.
Introduction or prologue, 1:1-18.
(1) The divine nature of the word. 1-5.
(2) The manifestation of the word as the world's Savior, 6-18.
I. The Testimony of His Great Public Ministry, 1:19-12 end.
1. He is revealed, 1:19-2:12.
2. He is recognized, 2:13-3 end.
3. He is antagonized, Chs. 5-11.
4. He is honored, Ch. 12.
II. The Testimony of His Private Ministry with His Disciples, Chs. 13-17.
1. He teaches and comforts his disciples, Chs. 13-16.
2. He prays for his disciples, Ch. 17.
III. The Testimony of His Passion. Chs. 18-19.
1. His betrayal, 18:1-11.
2. The Jewish or ecclesiastical trial, 18:12-27.
3. The Roman or civil trial, 18:28-19:16.
4. His death and burial, 19:17 end.
IV. The Testimony of His Resurrection and Manifestation, Chs. 20-21.
1. His resurrection and manifestation to his disciples, Ch. 20.
2. Further manifestations and instructions to his disciples, Ch. 21.
For Study and Discussion.
(1) The events and discourses connected with each feast mentioned above. (2) The seven lines of testimony mentioned above. List examples of each. (3) The following miracles as "signs," pointing out what they symbolize about Jesus: (a) The Cana miracle, 2:1-11; (b) The nobleman's son, 4:48-54; (c) The impotent man, 5:1-16; (d) Feeding five thousand, 6:3-14; (e) Walking on the sea, 6:16-20; (f) Healing the blind man, 9:1-16; read all the chapter; (g) Raising Lazarus, Ch. 11; (h) The draft of fishes, 21:1-11. (4) The following discourses: (a) The conversation with Nicodemus, Ch. 3; (b) The conversation with the woman at the well, Ch. 4; (c) The discourse on the shepherd and the sheep, Ch. 10; (d) The discussions of chapter 13; (e) The discourse on the vine, Ch. 15; (f) The Lord's prayer, Ch. 17. (5) From the following passages find the cause or explanation of unbelief, 1:45; 3:11, 19, 20; 5:16, 40, 42, 44; 6:42, 52; 7:41, 42, 48; 8:13, 14, 45; 12:26, 44; 20:9. (6) From the following study the results of unbelief, 3:18, 20, 36; 4:13, 14; 6:35, 53, 58; 8:19, 34, 55; 14:1, 28; 15:5; 16:6, 9. (7) Make a list of all the night scenes of the book and study them. (8) Study each instance of someone worshiping Jesus. (9) Name each chapter of the book so as to indicate some important event in it-as the vine chapter or Good Shepherd chapter. (10) Find where and how many times each of the following words and phrases occurs and study them as time will admit. (1) Eternal life, 17 times, only 18 in all the other gospels, (2) believe, (3) believe on, (4) sent, (5) life, (6) sign or signs (Revised version), (7) work or works, (8) John the Baptist, (9) verily, always double and used by Jesus, (10) receive, received, etc., (11) witness, or testify, testimony, etc.. (12) truth, (13) manifest, manifested, (14) "I am" (spoken by Jesus).
The Author. The author is Luke who wrote the gospel of Luke. Facts concerning him may be found in chapter twenty-seven. He wrote this book about A. D. 63 or 64.
The Purpose. It was addressed to an individual as a sort of continuation of the former thesis and aims to chronicle the growth and development of the movement inaugurated by Jesus as it was carried on by the apostles after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. It is taken up largely with the history of Christian work among the Gentiles and only gives enough of the history of the Jerusalem church to authenticate the work among the Gentiles. The chief purpose, therefore, seems to be to give an account of the spread of Christianity among the Gentiles. This view is further strengthened in the fact that Luke himself was a gentile (Col. 4:10) and that he was a companion of Paul (Col. 4:14) and the "we" section of Acts. The book does not, therefore, claim to be a complete account of the labors of the early apostles. But it does give in a simple, definite and impressive manner an account of how the religion of Jesus was propagated after his death and of how it was received by those to whom it was first preached.
The Spirituality. In the Old Testament God the Father was the active agent. In the gospels God the Son (Jesus) was the active agent. In Acts (and ever after) God the Holy Spirit is the active agent. He is mentioned about seventy times in Acts. The Savior had told the apostles to wait at Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Ghost. Until they were endued with His power they were very ordinary men. Afterward they were pure in their purpose and ideals and were always triumphant in their cause. The book is a record of mighty spiritual power seen in action everywhere.
I. The Church Witnessing in Jerusalem, 1:4-8:11.
1. Preparation for witnessing, 1:4-2:4.
2. First witnessing, 2:4-47 end.
3. First persecution, 3:1-4:31.
4. Blessed state of the church, 4:32-5:42.
5. First deacons, 6:1-7.
6. The first martyr, 6:8-8:1.
II. The Church Witnessing in Palestine, 8:2-12:25.
1. The witnesses are scattered abroad, 8:2-4.
2. Philip witnesses in Samaria and Judea, 8:5-40.
3. The Lord wins new witnesses, 9:1-11:18.
4. Center of labor changed to Antioch, 11:19-30.
5. The witnesses triumph over Herod's persecution, 12:1-25.
III. The Church Witnessing lo the Gentile World, 13:1-28:31.
1. Witnessing in Asia, Chs. 13-14. Paul's First Missionary Journey.
2. The first church council, 15:1-35.
3. Witnessing in Europe, 15:36-18:22. Paul's Second Missionary Journey.
4. Further witnessing in Asia and Europe, 18:23-21:17. Paul's Third Missionary Journey.
5. Paul, the witness, rejected and attacked by the Jews at Jerusalem, 21:18-23:35.
6. Two years imprisonment at Caesarea, Chs. 24-26.
7. Paul, the witness, carried to Rome, 27:1-28:15.
8. Paul, the witness, at Rome, 28:16-31.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The first church conference for business, 1:15-26. (2) The coming of the Holy Spirit, 2:1-4. (3) Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost, 2:5-47. (4) The first miracle, ch. 3. (5) The first persecution, 4:1-31. (6) Death of Annanias and Sapphira, 5:1-11. (7) The first deacons, 6:1-7. (8) The first martyr, ch.7. (9) Philip's work in Samaria, 8:5-40. (10) Conversion of Saul, 9:1-31. (11) Conversion of Cornelius, 10:1-11:18. (12) List the principal churches of the book, their location and what makes them notable. (13) List the principal preachers of the book and note the sermons or miracles, etc., that make them prominent. (14)The sermons and addresses of the book, to whom each was delivered, its purpose, etc.(15) The chief elements of power of these early disciples. (16) The growth of Christianity and the hindrances it had to overcome. (17) The great outstanding teachings of these early Christians. (18) The tact and adaptation of the apostles (give examples). (19) The different plans to kill Paul and the way by which he escaped each. (20) The missionary journeys of Paul and his journey to Rome as a prisoner.
The Author. Paul, the author, was a Hebrew by descent, a native of Tarsus in Cilicia, and educated by Gamaliel, the great Pharisaic teacher. He was one of the most unmerciful persecutors of the early Christians, but was converted by the sudden appearance to him of the risen Lord. He began preaching at Damascus, but on account of persecution went into Arabia. Returning from Arabia he visited Jerusalem and Damascus, and then went to Cilicia, where he doubtless did evangelistic work until Barnabas sought him at Tarsus and brought him to Antioch, where he worked a year with Barnabas. After this they went up to Jerusalem with contributions for the brethren. Upon return to Antioch he was called by the Holy Ghost to mission work in which he continued till his death, making at least three great missionary journeys, during which and afterward he suffered "one long martyrdom" till his death.
Paul's Epistles. Paul's epistles are commonly put into four groups as follows: (1) The Eschatological group, or those dealing with the second coming of Christ. These are I. and II. Thessalonians and were written from Corinth about 62 to 63 A. D. (2) The Anti-Judaic group, or those growing out of controversy with Judaistic teachers. They are I. Corinthians. II. Corinthians, Galatians and Romans, written during the third Missionary journey, probably at Ephesus, Philippi, and Corinth. (3) The Christological group, which center their teachings around the character and work of Jesus, and were written during the imprisonment at Rome. They are Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, and Hebrews (many think Paul did not write Hebrews). (4) The Pastoral Group, or those written to young preachers touching matters of church organization and government and practical instructions concerning evangelists, pastors, and other Christian workers. They are 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus.
All of Paul's epistles, unless it be Hebrews, fall very naturally into five sections, as follows: (1) An introduction, which may contain a salutation, usually including the subject of the epistle and the name of those with Paul as co-laborers at the time of the writing, and a thanksgiving for the good character or conduct of those whom he addresses. (2) A Doctrinal Section, in which he discusses some great Christian teaching, which needs special emphasis as the case of the church or individual addressed. (3) A Practical Section, in which he sets forth the practical application of the principles discussed in the doctrinal section to the life of those addressed. (4) A Personal Section, in which are personal messages and salutations sent to and by various friends. (5) A Conclusion, in which may be found a benediction or autograph conclusion to authenticate the letter, maybe both, with other closing words.
The Occasion of the Roman Epistle. (1) Paul longed to go to Rome (Acts 19:21) and now hoped soon to do so (Romans 15:24-33). He may, therefore, have wished them to know of his doctrine before his arrival, especially as they had perhaps heard some false reports of it. (2) It was just after he wrote Galatians and Paul's mind was full of the doctrine of justification, and he may have desired to write further upon the subject, giving special emphasis to the Divine side of the doctrine as he had given to the human side of it in Galatians. (3) Then, too, he may have been misunderstood in Galatians and desired to enlarge upon his teaching. In Galatians man is justified by believing, in Romans God gives his own righteousness to the believer for his justification. (4) Phoebe, a woman of influence and Christian character, a friend of Paul, was about to go to Rome from the coasts of Corinth, and Paul not only had a good opportunity to send the letter, but could do her a service by way of introducing her (16:1-2).
The Church at Rome. It was doubtless in a very prosperous condition the time of Paul's writing. It was perhaps organized by some Jews heard and believed while at Jerusalem, probably on the day of Pentecost. While its membership included both Jews and Gentiles (1:6- 13; 7:1), it was regarded by Paul as especially a Gentile church (1:3- 7; 13-15).
Some Errors of Doctrine and Practice Had Crept in Which Needed Correction. (1) They seem to have misunderstood Paul's teachings and to have charged that he taught that the greater the sin the greater the glory of God (3:8). (2) They may have thought him to teach that we should sin in order to get more grace (6:1) and, therefore, may have made his teaching of justification by faith an excuse for immoral conduct. (3) The Jews would not recognize the Gentile Christians as equal with them in Christ's Kingdom (1:9, 29, etc.). (4) Some of the Gentile brethren, on the other hand, looked with contempt upon their narrow and prejudiced and bigoted Jewish brethren (14:3). (5) Paul, therefore, aimed to win the Jews to Christian truth and the Gentiles to Christian love.
Paul's Connection With the Church. He had never been there up to this time (1:11, 13, 15) and it is not likely that any other apostles had been there. For then Paul would have not have been planning to go since his rule was not to go where another had worked (15:20; 2 Cor. 10:14-16). This strikes a heavy blow at Catholicism, claiming that Peter was first bishop of Rome. If Paul would not have followed him, then Peter had not been there, and the most important test of papacy is overthrown. Paul had, however, many intimate friends and acquaintances at Rome, many of whom were mentioned in chapter 16. Among them were his old friends, Aquila and Priscilia.
The Argument of the Book. The doctrines of the book are considered and discussed under four main propositions: (1) All men are guilty before God (Jews and Gentiles alike). (2) All men need a Savior. (3) Christ died for all men. (4) We all, through faith, are one body in Christ.
Date. Probably from Corinth, about A. D. 58.
Theme. The gift of the righteousness of God as our justification which is received through faith in Christ, or justification by faith.
I. All Men Need of Righteousness, 1:18-3:20.
II. All Men May Have Righteousness by Faith in Christ (justification) 3:21-4 end.
III. All Who Are Thus Justified Will Be Finally Sanctified, Chs. 5-8. The believer's final redemption is thus guaranteed.
1. By the new relation to God which this righteousness gives. Ch. 5.
2. By the new realms of grace into which it brings him, Ch. 6 (no death in this realm).
3. By the nature given him, Ch. 7. This wars against the old nature and will win.
4. By the new possession (the Holy Spirit) which it gives, Ch. 8:1- 27.
5. By the foreordained purpose of God for them, 8:28-39.
IV. This Doctrine as Related to the Rejection of the Jews, chs. 9-11.
1. The justice of their rejection, 9:1-29.
2. The cause of their rejection, 9:30-10 end.
3. The limitations of their rejection, ch. 11.
V. The Application of This Doctrine to Christian Life, 12:1-15:13.
1. Duty to God-consecration, 12-12.
2. Duty to self-a holy life, 12:3 end.
3. Duty to state authorities-honor, 13:1-7.
4. Duty to society-love all, 13:8-10.
5. Duty as to the Lord's return-watchfulness, 13:11-14.
6. Duty to the weak -helpfulness and forbearance, 14:1-15:13.
Conclusion. 15:14-16 end. (1) Personal matters, 14:14 end. (2) Farewell greetings and warnings, ch. 16.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The greeting (1:1-7). What does it reveal about, (a) The call, duty and standing of an apostle or preacher? (b) The standing, privileges and duties of a church, or individual Christian? (c) The relation of the old dispensation to the new? (d) Christ's diety or his Messiahship in fulfillment of prophecy? (e) The different persons of the Trinity? (2) Study sin as described in 3:10-18, and what can be learned concerning: (a) The state of sin, (b) The practice of sin, (c) The reason for sin. (3) Abraham as an example of justification by faith, ch. 4. (4) The plan and method by which God rescues men from sin, 5:6-11. (5) The contrast between Adam and Christ. 5:12-31. Do we get more in Christ than we lost in Adam? (6) Why a matter under grace should not continue in sin, 6:1-14. (7) A converted man's relation to the law. 7:1-6. (8) The different things done for us by the Holy Spirit, 8:1-27. (9) The practical duties of a Christian, ch. 12. (10) Make a list of the following "key-words," showing how many times and were each occurs, and outline form the scripture references the teachings about each. Power, sin and unrighteousness, righteousness, justification, faith and belief, atonement, redemption, adoption, propitiation, election, predestination.
The City of Corinth. It contained 400,000 inhabitants and was the chief city of Greece when Paul visited it, being situated on a large isthmus where the commerce of the world passed. The inhabitants were Greeks, Jews, Italians and a mixed multitude from everywhere. Sailors, merchants, adventurers and refugees from all the world crowded the city, bringing with them the evils of every country, out of which grew many forms of human degradation. Religion and philosopy had been prostituted to low uses. Intellectual life was put above moral life, and the future life was denied that they might enjoy the present life without restraint.
The Church at Corinth. It was founded by Paul on the second missionary journey (Acts 18:1-18). His spirit in founding the church is seen in 1 Cor. 2:1-2. While there Paul made his home with Aquila and Priscilla, Jews who had been expelled from Rome (Acts 18:2-3), but who now became members of the church. Apollos preached to this church and aided it in Paul's absence (18:24-28; 19:1). Both Epistles are full of information as to the condition of the church and the many problems which hit had to face from time to time. It must be remembered that Corinth was one of the most wicked cities of ancient times and that the church was surrounded by heathen customs and practices. Many of its members had but recently been converted from heathenism to Christianity and the church was far from ideal.
The Occasion and Purpose of the Letter. Unfavorable news had come to Paul concerning the Corinthian church and he had written them a letter (5:9) which has been lost. In that letter he seems to have commanded them to give up their evil practices and promised to visit them. In the meantime, members of the household of Chloe(1:11) and other friends (16:17) came to him at Ephesus and brought news of their divisions and of the evil practices of certain of their members. Finally, they wrote him a letter asking his advice on certain matters (7:1). From all this we learn (1) that there were four factions among them, 1:2; (2) that there was gross immorality in the church as in the case of the incestuous person, Ch. 5; (3) that they went to law with each other, Ch. 6; (4) that many practical matters troubled them. Paul, therefore, wrote to correct all these errors in doctrine and practice.
Content. This letter contains some of the greatest passages in the New Testament. It is, however, remarkable especially for the very practical nature of its contents. It deals with many of the problems of every day life and has been said not to discuss but one great doctrine, that of the resurrection.
Date. From Ephesus in the spring of A. D. 57.
I. Concerning Divisions and the Party Spirit. 1:10-4.
Divisions are prevented:
1. By Christ as the center of Christianity, 1:10 end.
2. By spiritual mindedness, 2:1-3:4.
3. By a right view of preachers, 3:5-4 end.
II. Correction of Moral Disorders, Chs. 5-6.
1. The incestuous person, Ch. 5.
2. Lawsuits, 6:1-11.
3. Sins of the body, 6;12 end.
III. Answers to Questions and Cognate Matters, 7:1-16:4.
1. Concerning marriage and celibacy, Ch. 7.
2. Concerning things offered to idols. 8:1-11:1.
3. Concerning head dress, 11:2-16.
4. Concerning the Lord's supper, 11:17 end.
5. Concerning spiritual gifts, Chs. 12-14.
6. Concerning the resurrection, Ch. 15.
7. Concerning collections for the saints, 16:1-4.
IV. Personal Matters and Conclusion, 16:5 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Earthly wisdom and heavenly foolishness, 1:18-25. (2) Spiritual wisdom, 2:7-16. (3) Paul's apostolic labors, 4:9-13. (4) The scripture estimate of the human body, 6:12-20. (5) Marriages and divorce, 7:25-50, letting "virgin" mean any single person, male or female. (6) Paul's practice in the matter of his rights, 9:1-23. (7) The Christian race, 9:24-27. (8) Love and its nature, Ch. 13. (a) Superior to other gifts, 1-3. (b) Its ten marks, 4-6. (c) Its power, 7. (d) Its permanence, 8-13. (9) Spiritual gifts, Chs. 12-14. Name and describe them. (10) The resurrection, Ch. 15. (a) Calamities to result, if there were none-or the other doctrines here made to depend on the resurrection; (b) The nature of the resurrected body.
The Occasion and Purpose of the Letter. From suggestions found here and there in these two epistles it appears that much communication passed between Paul and the church and that the two letters that have come down to us are only some of a series. He suffered much perplexity and grief because of the conditions of the church. He met Titus in Macedonia on the third missionary journey (he had hoped for him with news from Corinth while he was at Troas). He wrote this letter in response to the messages brought by Titus. He expresses solicitude for them, defends himself against the charges of his enemies, warns them against errors, instructs them in matters of duty and expresses joy that they have heeded his former advice.
The Character and Content. It is the least systematic of all Paul's epistles. It abounds in emotion, showing mingled joy, grief and indignation. It is intensely personal and from it we, therefore, learn more of his life and character than from any other source. This makes it of great value in any study of Paul himself. Section one has as its great topic tribulation and consolation in tribulation, and has in it an undercurrent of apology, darkened by a suppressed indignation. Section two is colored by a sorrowful emotion. Section three everywhere teems with a feeling of indignation. Through the whole letter there runs an undercurrent of self-defense. The "key-note" of this book, as well as of First Corinthians, is loyalty to Christ.
Date. It was written from Macedonia (probably Philippi) fall of A.D. 57.
I. Paul's Trials, Principles and Consolation as a Preacher, 1:8- 7:16.
1. His interest in the Corinthian church. 1:8-2:11.
2. His service both to God and men, 2:12 end.
3. His appointment by the Holy Spirit, Ch. 3.
4. His power given by God, Ch. 4.
5. His hope of future blessedness, 5:1-19.
6. His exhortation and appeal to the church. 5:20-7:4.
7. His joy at their reception of the word, 7:5 end.
II. The Collection for the Poor Saints, Chs. 8-9.
1. The appeal for liberality, 8:1-15.
2. The sending of Titus and two other brethren, 8:16-9:5.
3. The Blessedness of liberality, 9:6 end.
III. Paul's Apostolic Authority. 10:1-13:10.
1. He vindicates his apostolic authority, 10:1-12:13.
2. He warns them that his coming will be with apostolic authority, 12:14-13:10.
Conclusion, 13:11 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Paul's reasons for not going to Corinth, 1:15-2:4. (2) The glory of the gospel ministry, 4:1-6. (3) His affectionate injunction, 6:11-18. (4) The grace of liberality, Chs. 8-9. Make a list of (a) ways of cultivating this grace, (b) the blessings it will bring to the possessor, to others and to the whole church. (5) Paul's boasting, 11:16-12:20. (a) Of what things did he boast? (b) When is boasting justifiable? (6) Paul's self-defense? When should we defend ourselves? (7) The vision of the third heaven, 12:1-4. (8) The thorn in the flesh, 12:7-9. (9) The personal attacks on Paul. Note the hints in 2:17; 4:3; 5:3; 10:8; 10:10; 11:6.
Galatians and Ephesians.
The Country. (1) Politically it was the Roman province which included Lycaonia, Isauria, and parts of Phrygia and Pisidia. (2) Geographically it was the center of the Celtic tribes, and in this sense it seems to be used in this epistle and in Acts (Gal. 1:1; Acts. 13:14; 14:6; 16:6).
The Celtic People. They were descended from the Gauls who sacked Rome in the fourth century B. C. and in the third century B. C. invaded Asia Minor and northern Greece. A part of them remained in Galatia. predominating in the mixed population formed out of the Greek, Roman and Jewish people. They were quick-tempered, impulsive, hospitable and fickle people. They were quick to receive impressions and equally quick to give them up. They received Paul with enthusiastic joy, and were then suddenly turned from him (Gal. 4:13-16).
The Churches of Galatia. Just how and by whom these churches were established we do not know. The great highway from the East to Europe passed through this region, making it possible for some of those present at Pentecost to have sown the seed of the gospel there. It could have sprung up from work done by Paul while at Tarsus from the time of his return from Arabia to his going to Antioch with Barnabas. But the scripture gives us no word about this.
On the second missionary journey Paul visited them (Acts 16:6) and seems to have been taken sick while passing through and to have preached to them while unable to travel (Gal. 4:14-15). They gladly received his teaching, and churches seem to have sprung up. Paul also visited them while on the third missionary journey (Acts 18:23) and instructed and established them in the faith. The churches were running well when Paul left them, but Judaizing teachers had now come in and, acting upon their fickle and unstable nature, had greatly corrupted the simplicity of their faith.
The Occasion of the Epistle. (1) Judaizing teachers had gone among the Galatians, claiming that the Jewish law was binding upon Christians, admitting that Jesus was the Messiah, but claiming that salvation must, nevertheless, be obtained by the works of the law. They especially urged that all Gentiles be circumcised. (2) In order to gain their point and turn the Galatians from their belief, they were trying to weaken their confidence in Paul, their spiritual teacher. They said he was not one of the twelve, and therefore, not one of the apostles, and his teachings were not of binding authority. They suggested that he had learned his doctrine from others, especially from the apostles who were pillars of the church.
The Purpose of the Epistle. The purpose of the epistle was to root out the errors of doctrine introduced by the Judaizers and to hold the Galatians to their earlier faith. To do this it was necessary to establish his apostolic authority and the divine origin of his gospel. He also desired to show the practical value or application of his teaching. He especially shows the value of Christian freedom and at the same time shows that it is not license. In fulfilling these purposes he gave us an inspired classic upon the fundamental doctrine of justification by faith and forever settled the disturbing question of the relation of Christians to the Jewish law.
Author and Date. It was written by Paul, probably from Corinth in A.D. 57.
I. Authoritativeness of Paul's Gospel, 1:11-2 end.
1. It is independent of man, 1:11 end.
2. It is the gospel of an apostle, Ch. 2.
II. Teaching of Paul's Gospel, Chs. 3-4. Justification by faith.
1. Their experience proves it, 3:1-5.
2. The example of Abraham attests it, 3:6-8.
3. The scripture teaches it, 3:10-12.
4. The work of Christ provides for it, 3:13-14.
5. Its superior results demonstrate it. 3:15-4:20.
6. The experiences of Sarah and Hagar and their sons illustrate it, 4:21 end.
III. Application of Paul's Gospel to Faith and Conduct, 5:1-6:10.
1. He exhorts them to stand fast in the liberty of Christ; 5:1-12; 5:12. This liberty excludes Judaism.
2. He exhorts them not to abuse their liberty, 5:13-6:10.
Conclusion, 6:11 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The dangers of fickleness (1:6; 4:9; 15:16). (2) The methods of false teachers: (a) Their chief method is to attack men prominent in the movement, (b) They usually put forward some one else for leader; They would supplant Paul with Peter, (c) One may well consider how a man will often allow the influence of another to be undermined if he is himself exalted. (3) The reasons Paul gives to show that his teaching is not of man, 1:11 end. (4) The confirmation of Paul's divine call, 2:1-10. (5) Difference between one under law and under faith, 4:1-7. (6) The lusts of the flesh, sins of body and mind are included, 5:19-21. (7) The fruits of the spirit, 5:22-23. (8) The words, liberty, lust, flesh, spirit, works of the law, live and die, servant and bondage, justified, righteousness, faith and believe. (9) For more advanced study list and study passages in Galatians that coincide with or correspond to passages in Romans.
The City. It was the capital of pro-consular Asia, being about a mile from the sea coast, and was the great religious, commercial and political center of Asia. It was noteworthy because of two notable structures there. First, the great theatre which had a seating capacity of 50,000 people, and second, the temple of Diana which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was 342 feet long and 164 feet wide, made of shining marble, supported by a forest of columns 56 feet high, and was 220 years in building. This made it the center of the influence of Diana worship, of which we read in Acts 19:23-41. The statue with its many breasts betokened the fertility of nature.
Next to Rome, Ephesus was the most important city visited by Paul. It has been called the third capital of Christianity, it being the center of work in Asia through which were founded all the churches of Asia, especially the seven churches of Asia to which Jesus sent the messages of Revelations. Jerusalem, the birth place of power, is the first, and Antioch, the center of mission work, is the second capital.
Paul's Work at Ephesus. (1) Revisited there on the return from the second missionary journey (Acts 18:18-21). and left with them Aquila and Priscilla. (2) On the third missionary journey he spent about three years there, (Acts 20:31). (3) During this second visit he had such influence as to check the worship of Diana to such an extent as to arouse the opposition of her worshippers and make it necessary for him to depart into Macedonia (Acts 20:1). (4) On the return from the third missionary journey he stopped at Miletus, thirty miles away, and sent for the elders of Ephesus to whom he delivered a farewell address (Acts 20:16-38).
The Epistle. The contents are much akin to those of Colossians, but also differ greatly from them. (1) In each book half is doctrinal and half practical. (2) Colossians discusses Christ-hood or Christ the head of the church, while Ephesians discusses church-hood or the church as the body of Christ. (3) In Colossians Christ is "All and in all", in Ephesians the ascended Christ is seen in his church. (4) In Colossians we have Paul in the heated arena of controversy; in Ephesians he is quietly meditating upon a great theme.
It has been said to contain the profoundest truth revealed to men, and the church at Ephesus was, perhaps, better prepared than any other to be the custodian of such truth, since Paul's long stay there had so well prepared them to hear and understand it. It may have been written as a circular letter to be sent in turn to several churches of which the church at Ephesus was one.
Date. By Paul, probably from Rome, A. D. 62 or 63.
Theme. The church, Christ's mystical body.
I. The Spiritual Blessings of the Church. 1:3-14.
1. The origin of these blessings, v. 3.
2. The blessings enumerated, 4-14.
II. Prayer for the Readers, 1:15 end.
1. That God may grant them the spirit of wisdom, the Holy Spirit, 15-17.
2. That they may know what they have in Christ, 18-33.
III. The Great Work Done for Them, Ch. 2. Both Jews and Gentiles.
1. They were regenerated, 1:10.
2. They were organized, 11 end.
IV. Paul's Mission and Prayer for Them, Ch. 3.
1. His mission to preach the mystery of Christ. 1-13.
2. His prayer for them and doxology of praise to God, 14 end.
V. The Duty of the Churches as the Body of Christ, 4:1-6:20.
1. Duty of individual members in relation to other members and to the world. 4:1-5:21.
2. Duties of individuals in their home relations, 5:22-6:9.
3. Duties of individual members in their relation to the organized efforts of the church. 6:10-20.
Conclusion, 6:21 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The Christian's standing before God, Chs. 1-2. Such words as sealed, chosen, quickened. (2) The blessings of the church, make a list, 1:3-14. (3) The elements and characteristics of the new life, 4:25-32. (4) The different things done in an intelligent Christian life, 5:3-17. (5) The exalted nature and office of Christ, 1:2-33; 2:13-22. (6) The eternal purpose of God, 2:3-5; 2:4-7; 3:9-12. (7) Principles of Christian sociology seen in the home relations such as husband and wife, child and parents, and servant and master. (8) The Christian's relation to Christ as seen in these relations.
Philippians and Colossians.
The City. It belonged to Thrace until 358 B. C., when it was seized by Philip, king of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great It was the place where Marcus Antonius and Octavius defeated Brutus and Cassius (42 B. C.). which defeat overthrew the Roman Oligarchy, and Augustus (Octavius) was made Emperor. Is was on the great highway through which all trade and traders going eastward and westward must pass, and was, therefore, a fit center of evangelism for all Europe. It was the place where the first church Of Europe was established by Paul on his second missionary journey, A. D. 52.
Paul's Connection with the Church. By a vision from God he went to Philippi on the second missionary journey (Acts 16:9-12). He first preached at a woman's prayer-meeting, where Lydia was converted. She furnished him a home while he continued his work in the city. After some time there arose great opposition to him and he and Silas were beaten and put in prison, but through prayer they were released by an earthquake which also resulted in the conversion of the jailer (Acts ch. 16). He perhaps visited them again on his journey from Ephesus to Macedonia (Acts 20 2 Cor 2:12-13; 7:5-6). He spent the Passover there (Acts 20:6) and received messages from them (Phil. 4:16). They also sent him assistance (Phil. 18) and he wrote them this letter.
The Character and Purpose of the Letter. It is an informal letter with no logical plan or doctrinal arguments. It is the spontaneous utterance of love and gratitude. It is a tender, warm-hearted, loving friend and brother presenting the essential truths of the gospel in terms of friendly intercourse. He found in them constant reasons for rejoicing, and now that Epaphroditus who had brought their aid to him was about to return from Rome to Philippi, he had an opportunity to send them a letter of thanks (Phil. 4:18). It is remarkable for its tenderness, warnings, entreaties and exhortations and should be read often as a spiritual tonic.
Date. It was written by Paul during his imprisonment at Rome, about A. D. 62.
I. Paul's Present Situation and Feeling. 1:12-26.
II. Some Exhortations, 1:27-2:18.
III. He Plans to Communicate with Them, 2:19 end.
IV. Some Warnings, ch. 3.
1. Against Judaizers, 1-16.
2. Against false professors, 17 end.
V. Final Exhortation. 4:1-9.
VI. Gratitude for Their Gifts, 4:10-19.
Conclusion, 4:20 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Paul as a good minister, 1:3-8. Paul's prayer for the Philippians, 1:9-11. (3) The choice between life death, 1:19-26. (4) Humble-mindedness and its rewards as seen in Jesus 2:5- 11. (5) An upright Christian life, 2:12-18. (6) Paul's sense of imperfection, 3:12-16. (7) Worthy meditations, 4:8-9. (8) Outline the information the book gives concerning Paul's condition at the time of the writing. (9) Point out all the teachings of the book on the necessity of cultivating unselfishness and the blessing derived from it. (10) The expression of joy and rejoicing. (11) The number of times our Lord, under different names, is referred to.
The City. It was situated about 100 miles east of Ephesus, and was of little importance at the time of this epistle, though it had once been of considerable influence. It was one of a group of three cities, Laodicia and Hierapolis being the Other two, situated on the Lycus river near where it flows into the famous Meander.
The Church of Colossae. It was perhaps founded by Epaphras (1:6-7; 4:12-13) who was directed by Paul in his work there "for us" "on our behalf", (1:7). Paul though having a very vital connection with it. had never visited the church (1:7; 2:1). He seems to have kept posted about conditions in the church (1:3; 4, 9, 2:1), and to have approved the work and discipline of the church (1:5-7, 23, 2:5-7; 4:12-13). He was loved by them (1:8) and knew and loved some of them. See also Phile 9.
Condition of the Church and Occasion for the Epistle. False teachers or a false teacher, had come among them and had greatly hindered the prosperity of the church. The main source of all their false teaching lay in an old eastern dogma, that all matter is evil and its source also evil. If this were true, God, who is in no wise evil, could not have created matter. And since our bodies are matters they are evil and God could not have created them. From this notion that our bodies are evil two extremes of error arose: (1) That only by various ascetic practices, whereby we punish the body, can we hope to save it, 2:20- 23. (2) That since the body is evil, none of its deeds are to be accounted for. License was, therefore, granted to evil conduct, and evil passions were indulged at pleasure and without impunity (3:5-8).
In seeking to find relief from this condition they formulated two other false doctrines. (1) An esoteric and exclusive theory which was a doctrine of secrets and initiation (2:2, 3, 8). By this doctrine they declared that the remedy for man's condition was known to only a few, and to learn this secret one must be initiated into their company. (2) That since God could not have been creator of these sinful bodies, they could not, therefore, come to him for blessing, and so they formulated, in their theory, a series of intermediary beings or Aeons, such as angels, that must have created us and whom we must worship (2:18), especially as a means of finally reaching God.
All these false theories conspired to limit the greatness and authority of Jesus Christ, and to limit the efficiency of redemption in him (2:9-10). They are called by the one name, Gnosticism, and present four aspects of error in this book. (1) Philosophic, 2:3, 4, 8. (2) Ritualistic, or Judaistic, 2:11, 14, 16-17. (3) Visionary, or angel-worship, 1:16; 2:10, 15, 18. (4) Ascetic practices, 2:20-23. There are three modern applications of the Colossian heresy. (1) Ceremonialism, or ritualism. (2) Speculation. (3) Low standards of righteousness.
The Epistle. The news of these false teachings was brought to Paul probably by Epaphras. 1:7-8, and he wrote to combat them. It is polemic in spirit and argues that we have everything in Christ, that he is the source and Lord of all creation and that he alone can forgive sins and reconcile us to God. It, therefore, represents more fully than any other of Paul's epistles his doctrine of the person and preeminence of Christ.
I. Doctrinal Teachings, Ch. 1.
1. Introduction, 1-14.
2. Christ in relation to creation, 15-17.
3. Christ in relation to the church, 18 end.
II. Polemic Against False Teachings, ch. 2.
1. Introduction, 1-7.
2. Polemic against the general false teachings, 8-15.
3. Polemic against the particular claims of the false teachers, 16 end.
III. Hortatory Section, 3:1-4:6.
1. To a lofty Christian life, 3:1-4.
2. To exchange the old vices for the Christian graces, 3:5-14.
3. To make Christ sovereign over the whole of life, 3:15-17.
4. To the Christian discharge of relative duties, 3:18-4:1.
3. To a proper prayer life, 4:2-6.
IV. Personal Section, 4:7 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Paul's prayer for them, 1:9-14. (2) The preeminence of the Savior,1:5-20. (3) The false and true philosophy of religion, 2:8-15. (4) The worldly vices, 3:5-8. (5) The Christian graces, 3:9-14. (6) The lofty Christian life, 3:15-17. (7) All references to the false teachings as in the words mystery, head, body, Lord, fullness, etc. Note 2:3, 8, 11, 16, 18, and many others. (8) Paul's view of Jesus. Study every reference to him.
First and Second Thessalonians.
The City of Thessalonica. It was founded by Cassander, King of Macedon 315 B. C., and was about a hundred miles west of Philippi. It was a great commercial center of Paul's time, the inhabitants being Greeks, Romans and Jews. It still exists under the name of Saloniki, and has a population of from 75,000 to 85,000 about half of whom are Jews.
The Church of Thessalonica. Upon being delivered from prison at Philippi. Paul continued his second missionary journey to Thessalonica, having also Silas and Timothy with him (Acts 17:1-5). He spent three Sabbaths there, but on account of the persecution of the Jews, went from there to Berea, then to Athens, and then to Corinth where he spent 18 months. The first letter bears testimony to the splendid Christian character of these new converts from heathenism.
This is probably the first epistle written by Paul and perhaps the first written document of the Christian religion. It is not doctrinal, has no element of controversy and is one of the most gentle and affectionate of Paul's letters. It is notable for its special salutations and refers to their expectations of the immediate return of Jesus. Its main idea is consolation (4:17-18), its keynote hope and its leading words affliction and advent. Its purpose was: (1) to send affectionate greetings, (2) to console them in their afflictions, (3) to correct their wrong, their mistaken views of Christ's second coming, (4) to exhort then to proper living as against certain immoral tendencies.
Date. From Corinth A. D. 53.
I. The Spiritual Condition of the Church, Ch. 1.
1. Introduction. 1.
2. Their faith, love and hope, 2-3.
3. The cause of these, 4-5.
4. The result of these, 6-10.
II. Paul's Character and Conduct While With Them, 2:1-16.
1. How he brought them the gospel, 1-12.
2. How they received it, 13-16.
III. Paul's Interest in the Church Since Leaving Them. 2:17-3 end.
1. Desired to visit them, 2:17 end.
2. He sent Timothy to them and rejoices in his report of them, 3:1- 10.
3. Benediction upon them, 3:11 end.
IV. Exhortation for the Future, 4:1-5:11.
1. To purity, 4:1-8.
2. To brotherly love, 4:9-10.
3. To honest industry, 4:11-12.
4. To be comforted in the loss of their dead in Christ, 4:13-5:11.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Things in the church for which Paul is thankful, 1:2-6. (2) What is said about how the gospel was preached to them, 2:1-16. (3) Paul's longing to know about them, 3:1-9. (4) The duties enjoined, 4:1-12. (5) The second coming of Christ and the resurrection, 4:13-18. (6) How we are prepared for the great day of his coming, 5:3-10. (7) The several exhortations in 5:12-22. (8) The human elements or explanation of Paul's power as a preacher Ch. 2. (9) The deity of Jesus seen in the book.
This letter was also written from Corinth and during the same year. It is the shortest letter Paul wrote to any church and is characterized by its lack of special salutations and for its general idea of patient waiting for our Lord. The occasion seems to be to correct their wrong views of the second coming of Christ and the errors of life growing out of it. It may be that they had misunderstood his own teaching to be that the day of the Lord was already at hand (2:2).
I. Thanksgiving and Prayer for in View of The Second Coming of Christ, 1:2 end.
II. Warnings about Christ's Second Coming. 2:1-12.
III. Their Escape at His Coming, 2:13 end.
IV. Practical Matters, 3:1-15.
1. Their prayers for each other, 1-5.
2. Discipline for the disorderly, 6-15.
Conclusion, 3:16 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Things commendable in the church, 13-14. (2) Moral disorders of the church, 3:7-11. (3) How to deal with the disorderly, 3:6, 14, 15. (4) How to deal with the idle, 3:12. (5)Facts concerning Christ's second coming, from the whole book. (6) Facts concerning the judgment of the wicked.
First and Second Timothy.
He was a native of Lycaonia. His father was a Greek, but his mother and grandmother were Jews, 2 Tim. 1:5. He was taught the scriptures from his very youth, 2 Tim. 3:15, and was probably converted during Paul's first visit to Lystra, Acts 14:8-20. He was ordained as an evangelist 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6, and, after Paul's second visit to Lystra. he spent most of his time with Paul, Acts 16:1. He did much valuable service for Paul, and was greatly esteemed by him. Acts 17:14; 18:5; 20:4; Rom. 16:21; 1 Cor. 4:17; 16:10. His name is associated with Paul in writing a number of letters, 2 Cor. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:1. He was pastor at Ephesus and while there received these letters, 1 Tim. 1:3-4. Paul desired to have him with him when death came, 2 Tim. 4:9; 13, 21.
This epistle was written while Timothy was pastor at Ephesus, probably between A. D. 64 and 66. Its purpose was to instruct Timothy with regard to his pastoral duties. It, therefore, reflects the condition of the church and especially the errors which he would correct or against which he wished to warn his "true child in the faith."
I. The True Teachings of the Gospel, 1:3 end.
1. Gnostic teachings and the true purpose of the law, 3-11.
2. Paul's salvation. 12-17.
3. Further warnings against false teachers, 18 end.
II. Public Worship. Ch. 2.
1. Prayer, 1-7.
2. Conduct of men and women in church assemblies, 8 end.
III. Church Officers. Ch. 3.
1. A bishop or pastor, 1-7.
2. Deacons and deaconesses. 8-13.
3. A personal word, 14 end.
IV. Pastoral Duties, 4:1-6:2.
1. As to the true doctrine, Ch. 4.
2. Toward the various classes of the church, 5:1-20.
3. Concerning himself, 5:21 end.
4. In teaching slaves and their masters, 6:1-2.
V. Final Warnings and Exhortations, 6:3 end.
1. Against false teachers, 3-10.
2. To be truly godly, 11-16.
3. To teach the rich aright, 17-19.
4. To be true to his charge, 20 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) False teachings, 1:3-11; 4:1-8; 6:20-21. (2) The kind of man a pastor should be, 4:12-5:2. (3) The kind of men to select for church officers, 3:1-13. (Fifteen qualifications of a pastor and seven of a deacon). (4) Church government and services of worship, 2:1, 2, 8; 3:14, 15. (5) The word's doctrine or teaching, godliness and faith meaning doctrine.
This letter was written from Rome just before his martyrdom A. D. 67. It was written to further instruct Timothy and to explain his own personal affairs. It is the last letter written by Paul, a sort of last will and testimony and is of great importance as it tells as how he fared just before his death. It is more personal in tone than First Timothy and shows us how very pitiable was his plight in these last days.
I. Exhortations to Timothy. 1:6-2 end.
1. To steadfastness in the gospel. 1:6 end.
2. To patient endurance of suffering, 2:1-13.
3. To faithfulness as a pastor, 2:14-26 end.
II. Warnings to Timothy. 3:1-4:5.
1. Concerning the perilous, 3:1-13.
2. Concerning his duties in such times, 3:14-4:5.
III. Paul's View of Death, 4:6-18.
1. His satisfaction and hope at its approach, 6-8.
2. His hope during this loneliness and need, 9-18. Conclusion, 4:19 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Paul's condition when he wrote,1:17; 4:7, 13-16; 6:20. (2) The desire or appeal of 1:4; 3:8; 4:5, 9, 13, 21. (3) The exhortations to Timothy, 1:6, 7, 13, 14; 2:1-6, 15, 23; 3:14; 4:5. (4) perilous times to come, Ch. 3. (5) Paul's view of death, 4:5-22.
Titus and Philemon.
The Author. We do not know much of the work of Titus. But from Gal. 2:1-5; 2 Cor. 2:12-13; 7:2-16, and Titus 1:5 and 3:12 we learn: (1) that he was a Gentile whom Paul carried to Jerusalem, (2) that by the liberty of the gospel the Jerusalem council did not require him to be circumcised. (3) that he a capable and an energetic missionary, (4) that Paul had left him in Crete to finish the work which he had begun there.
The Book. The book is written to counsel Titus concerning the work Paul had left him to do (1:5). It contains: (1) the qualifications of the presbyters to be selected; (2) the method of dealing with false teachings; (3) instructions to the different classes of the church; (4) exhortations to Titus himself.
Date. Probably written from Macedonia, A. D. 66.
I. Qualifications and Duties of Bishops or Pastors, 1:5 end.
1. The qualifications and duties, 5-9.
2. Reasons for needing such officers, 10 end.
II. Instruction in Practical Godliness, 2:1-3:11.
1. Proper conduct for the different classes and its basis, Ch. 2.
2. Proper conduct in the different life relations, 3:1-11.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Qualifications of presbyters 1:5-10. (2) Lofty moral ideals for all Christians 2:1-15. (3) Savior and salvation used seven times. (4) Good works or good things, the keyword of the epistles and used seven times. (5) Sound doctrine occurs seven times in this form or as sound in the faith, uncorruption in doctrine, sound speech or doctrine of God. (6) Sober-minded occurring six times, at least in thought. These last three constitute the Epistle's idea of real godliness.
Philemon lived at Colossae and was probably a convert of Paul and member of the Colossian church. Onesimus was a slave of Philemon who had robbed his master (v 18) and fled to Rome where he had been converted under Paul's preaching (v 10). It is the only individual or private letter written by Paul and is written to tell Philemon of the conversion of Onesimus and to make a plea for him. Through the kindness shown Onesimus we have revealed to us the great kindness of the Apostle's heart. He speaks to Philemon not as an apostle in authority, but as a friend to a friend, thereby showing his great courtesy. The letter is of inestimable value as showing the power of the gospel to win and transform a poor slave and to soften the harsh relations between the different classes of ancient society.
Date, From Rome about A. D. 63.
1. Introduction, 1-7.
2. The purpose of the letter-an appeal to Onesimus, 8-21.
3. Closing matters, 22 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) How Christianity deals with slaves. (2) The effectiveness of the Christian religion in a life: (a) Even a fugitive slave would confess his guilt, as, no doubt, Onesimus had done to Paul; (b) It will make one desire to correct any wrongs one has done, and willing, as was Onesimus, to go to the one wronged and make confession; (c) It often raises one from worthlessness to great usefulness (v 11); (d) It will not only make one useful to others in temporal matters, but will make one profitable in things spiritual (v 13). (3) Concerning a real Christian helper, we may learn that, like Paul: (a) He wilt not try to hide or cover up a man's past faults; (b) He will sympathize with the poor fellow who has a bad record behind him; (c) He will make it as easy as possible for such a convert to right the past; (d) He will gladly use the very humblest Christian (v 13); (e) He will be courteous and recognize the rights of others, as in the case of Philemon; (f) He will not force a man to do his duty, but will use love and persuasion to bring him to it. (4) Make a list of all the persons named and learn something of each.
Hebrews and James.
The Author. The writer nowhere indicates his name, and there is difference of opinion as to who wrote it. I am personally inclined to the view of those who regard Paul as the author, which for a long time was the common view. The main points against his authorship are that the language and style are dissimilar to Paul's and that it is less like an epistle than any other book that bears his name. It seems clear, however, that the thoughts and course of reasoning are Pauline and the differences otherwise may be explained by the difference of purpose and spirit in writing. For the arguments for and against his authorship the student is referred to the larger commentaries and introductions to the New Testament literature.
Those To Whom It Was Written. It was, no doubt, addressed to Hebrew Christians, but whether to a special church or to those in a special locality, is a matter of dispute. Several things, however, may be learned about them. (1) They had steadfastly endured persecution and the loss of property. (2) They had shown sympathy with other Christians, 6:10; 10:32-34. (3) They had been Christians some time, 5:12. (4) They knew the writer whom they are, by their prayers, to help restore to themselves, 13:19. (5) They knew Timothy who was to visit them, 13:23. (6) They were now in danger of apostacy to Judaism but had not yet resisted to blood, 12:3-4; 5:11; 6:9. Their danger of going back to Judaism might arise from several sources. (1) There was a tendency to disbelieve Christ and his claims, 3:12. (2) The elaborate worship of the Temple compared with the simple worship of the Christian church. (3) The Jews branded them as traitors and taunted them for turning against the law, which was given by prophets, angels, and Moses, and from the sanctuary ministered to by the priests of God. (4) They were suffering persecution.
Purpose and Contents. The purpose was to prevent apostacy from Christianity to Judaism and incidentally to comfort them in their suffering and persecution. To accomplish this purpose the author shows, by a series of comparisons, that the religion of Christ is superior to that which preceded it. "Better" is the key-word, which along with other terms of comparison such as "more excellent" is constantly used to show the superiority of Christianity. It is very much like a sermon, the author often turning aside to exhort, then returning to the theme.
Date. It was written from Jerusalem, Alexandria or Rome some time before A. D. 70, since the temple was still standing, 9:6-7; 10:1.
I. Christianity is Superior to Judaism because Christ through Whom it was Introduced is Superior to the Messengers of Judaism, chs. 1-6.
1. He is superior to prophets, 1:1-3.
2. He is superior to angels. 1:4-2 end.
3. He is superior to Moses, including Joshua, chs. 3-6.
Three points in each of these comparisons are the same.
1. He is God's son.
2. He is man's Savior.
3. He is man's high priest.
Neither prophets nor angels nor Moses equal Jesus in these points. There are two notable exhortations, (a) 2:1-4; (b) 5:11-6 end.
II. Christianity in Superior to Judaism because Its Priesthood is Superior to that of Judaism, 7:1-10:18.
1. Christ its priest is superior to the priests of Judaism, 7:1- 8:6.
2. Its covenant is superior to that of Judaism, 8:7 end.
3. Its tabernacle is superior to that of Judaism, ch. 9.
4. Its sacrifice is superior to those of Judaism, 10:1-18.
III. Christianity is Superior to Judaism, because the Blessings it Confers are Superior to those of Judaism. 10:19-11 end.
1. In the liberty of approach to God, 10:19 end.
2. In the superior ground of faith, 11:1-12:17.
3. In our coming to Mount Zion instead of Mount Sinai, 12:18 end.
IV. Practical Conclusion, ch. 13.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Description of Christ. 1:1-3. (2) Christ's superiority to angels. 1:3-14. (3) Christ's humiliation for our salvation, 2:9-18. (4) How is Christ superior to Aaronic priests, 3:14, 15; 5:1-7, 9; 7:28. (5) The two covenants, 8:6-12. (6) Typical character of the old ordinances. 9:1-10:4. (7) Our assurance and hope, 6:13-20. (8) The danger of rejecting Christ, 10:26-31. (9) The benefit of affliction, 12:4-11. (10) The comparisons of 12:18-29. (11) The warning of 13.-8-15, (12) The exhortations of the book, as 2:1-4. Make a list. (13) All the terms of comparison, as better and more excellent. Make a list. (14) Every reference to Christ as high priest. (15) Every reference to the Holy Spirit-What are his works and where in the book is it taught?
The Author. Three persons called James are mentioned in the New Testament. One of these is James, the Lord's brother (Matt. 13:55), who did not believe on Jesus until after the resurrection, Jno. 7:2-9; Mar. 3:21, 31; Acts 1:13-14. This James occupies and important place as pastor at Jerusalem, and made an important speech at the council of the Apostles, Acts 15: 13-21. He is mentioned elsewhere, in Acts, 12:17; Gal. 1:19; 2:9-12. Josephus tells us that he was stoned to death about 62 A. D. on a charge of departing from the Jewish law. This James, the Lord's brother, is supposed to be the author of this epistle.
To Whom Written. This letter was written to the Jews scattered everywhere, 1:1, and evidently to Christian Jews, 2:1. Some of them were rich, some poor, 2:1-10. They were lustful, greedy, and proud, 4:1-12, and were omitting to do the Lord's work as they should. 1:22- 27.
The Epistle. The chief characteristic of style is abruptness. Change is made from one subject to another with no effort to connect them. There is, therefore, no general subject, and a lack of close connection between the points of analysis. "Faith without works is dead" flashes in every section as a sort of bond of unity. It is eloquent, stern and sincere, and has a distinct Jewish tone. It lacks the doctrinal emphasis found in Paul and states the Christian faith in terms of moral excellence and instructs them in the subject of Christian morals. It is notable for its omissions. It does not have the resurrection or ascension and only mentions Christ's name twice. Date and Place of Writing. It was no doubt written from Jerusalem where he was pastor, but the date is much disputed. Some put it as early as A. D. 40. Others among whom is Dr. Robertson say it was written not later than A. D. 50. Still others put it about A. D. 61 or 62, just before the martyrdom of James. It is probably safe to say that it was one of the very earliest of the New Testament books.
I. Proper Attitude Toward Trials. 1:2-18.
II. Proper Altitude Toward God's Word, 1:19-27 end.
III. Various Warnings. 2:1-4:12.
1. Against respect of persons, 2:1-13.
2. Against barren professions of faith, 2:14-26.
3. Against the dangers of the tongue, 3:1-12.
4. Against false wisdom, 3:13-18.
5. Against quarrels, greed and pride. 4:1-12.
IV. Various Denunciations, 4:13-5:6.
V. Various Exhortations, 5:7-20 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) From the following scriptures make a list of all the things James advises us not to do: 1;6, 13, 16, 22; 2:1, 14; 3:1. 10; 4:1, 11, 13; 5:9, 12. (2) From the following scriptures make a list of all the things James advises us to do; 1:2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 22, 26; 2:8, 12; 3:13; 4:8. 5:7, 10, 12, 13, 16, 19. (3) Make a sketch of heavenly wisdom, showing the different things said about it, studying especially, 1:5-8 and 3:13-18. (4) Study the ethics of speech and of the tongue, 1:19-21 and 3:1-12. (5) Life's trial and temptations, 1:2-4, 12-15. (6) Make a list of ail the figures of speech, especially similes and metaphors as "a doubter is like a surge of the sea," 1:6. (7) James' rebuke of selfishness, 5:1- 6. (8) The utility and power of prayer, 5:13-18.
First and Second Peter.
The Author. The author was the Apostle Peter, whose name before he became a disciple, was Simon. He was born in Bethsaida and lived in Capernaum where he followed the occupation of fishing. He was brought to Jesus by Andrew, his brother, and became one of the leaders of the Apostles, both before and after Christ's death. His career should be studied as it is found in Acts. He was impetuous, brave and energetic, and after the ascension performed many miracles.
Those Addressed. The sojourn of the dispersion (1:1) points to Jewish Christians. They were strangers (sojourners) 1:1, 17; 2:11, who were persecuted, 3:17; 4:12-19, but whose persecution came, not from the Jews, but from pagans, 4:3-4. They had certain faults and wrong tendencies, 2:1, 11, 12, 16; 8:8-12; 4:9; 5:2-3.
Purpose. To console them in their suffering, and to exhort them to faithfulness and duty.
Date. Probably about 64-68 A. D. Certainly not after 70 A. D., as he was not doubt put to death before then.
I. Thanksgiving for the Blessing of Grace, 1:3-12.
1. For a living hope and an abiding inheritance, 3-5.
2. For joyful faith during trials, 6-9.
3. For salvation, 10-12.
II. Obligations Growing out of the Blessings of Grace, 1:13-4:19.
1. A right relation of the heart toward God and man, 1:13-2:10.
2. Right conduct in life relations, 2:11-3:12.
3. Right attitude toward suffering, 3:13-4:19 end.
III. Exhortations to Particular Classes, 5:1-9.
Conclusion 5:10 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Peter's loyalty to Christ. (a) He makes everything depend on Christ, his cross (1:18-19; 2:24; 3:18), his suffering (2:21; 3:18; 4:13), his resurrection (1:3), his manifestation (1:7-13), his exaltation (3:22; 4:11; 5:10). (b) He calls Christ a living stone, 2:4-8. (c) He clings to Christ's teaching, submission to rightful authority (2:13-16), forgiveness of others (4:8; Matt. 18:22), humility (5:5). (2) The mercy of God our hope 1:3-7. From this passage list what is said of spiritual inheritors and their inheritance. (3) How to obtain the Christian ideal, 1:13-21. (4) Spiritual development. 2:1-10. (5) Various deities of society, 2:13-17; of domestic life 2:18; 3:1, 7; of Christian brotherhood, 1:22, 2:1-5; 3:8-9; 4:8-11; 5:1-5. (6) The work of the different persons of the Trinity. (7) The words precious, joy and rejoicing, mercy, love and faith.
The Occasion. The occasion of the epistle is found in the harm being done to the church by false teachers, who were of two classes, the libertines and the mockers about whom he warns.
Purpose. Its purpose was to exhort them to Christian growth and to warn them against false teachers.
Comparison with First Peter. It has no reference to Christ's death, suffering, resurrection and ascension. Glance through 1 Peter again to see how often these are mentioned. The spirit manifested is one of anxiety, severity, and denunciation, white in 1 Peter it is one of mildness, sweetness and fatherly dignity. It connects the second coming of Christ with the punishment of the wicked, while 1 Peter connects it with the glorification of the saints. Its key-note is knowledge, while that of 1 Peter is hope.
Some Teachings. (1) To be holy, not to secure an inheritance, but because we already have it. (2) To love the brethren, not to purify our soul, but because it is pure. (3) That we sacrifice, not as penance, but as an expression of praise.
I. Progress in the Christian Life, 1:3-21 end.
1. An exhortation to growth, 3-11.
2. Reasons for these exhortations, 12-21.
II. False Teachers, Ch. 2.
1. The evil teachers and their followers, 1-3.
2. Their punishment, 5-10.
3. Their character, evil ways and end, 11-32.
III. The Second Coming of Christ, 3:1-13. He will bring both blessings and destruction.
For Study and Discussion. (1) What our salvation involves, 1:5-11. (2) The characteristics of the false teachers, 2:1-3, 10, 12-14. (3) The certain punishment of these false teachers, 2:4-6, 15, 16, 21, 22. (4) The exhortations of the book such as to sobriety, 1:13. (5) The predictions of the book.
First, Second and Third John and Jude.
Author and Date. It was probably written from Ephesus, 80 or 85 A. D. though some put it as early as A. D. 69, while others put it as late as A. D. 95. The author nowhere indicates his name, but through all the centuries it has been attributed to John, the beloved disciple. For information concerning him see lesson twenty-eight.
The Readers. It was doubtless written primarily to the churches of Asia Minor in which John by reason of his work at Ephesus had a special interest. It is evident that those addressed were of all ages and were hated of the world. They were inclined to worldliness and to the danger of looking too lightly upon sin. They were also in danger of being led into doubt by those who denied the deity of Jesus.
The Style. It is more in the form of a sermon or pastoral address than of an epistle. It is written with a tone of conscious authority. The thought is profound and mystical, but the language is simple both in words and in sentences. The arguments are by immediate inference. Their are many contrasts, parallelisms and repetitions with no figures of speech except perhaps the words light and darkness.
The Purpose. The chief purpose was to tell them how they might know that they had eternal life, 5:13. The accomplishment of this purpose would also assure the fulfillment of the secondary purpose stated in 1:3, 4.
Theme. The evidence of eternal life.
I. How Those Who Possess Eternal Life will Live, 1:5-5:12.
1. They will dwell in the light, 1:5-2:28.
2. They will do righteousness, 2:29-4:6.
3. They will live a life of love, 4:7-5:3.
4. They will walk by faith, 5:4-12.
II. What Those who Live such Lives may Know, 5:13-20.
1. That they have eternal life. 13.
2. That their prayers are answered, 14-17.
3. That God's people do not live in sin, 18.
4. Their true relation to God and to Christ, 19-20.
The following analysis made with the idea of the theme being "Fellowship with God" (1:3-4) is very suggestive.
I. God is Light and our fellowship with him depends upon our walking in the light, 1:5-2:28.
II. God la Righteous and our fellowship with him depends upon our doing righteousness, 2-29, 4:6.
III. God is Love and our fellowship with him depends upon our having and manifesting a spirit of love, 4:7-5:3.
IV. God Is Faithful and our fellowship with him depends upon our exercising faith in him, 5:4-12.
Conclusion. 5:13-21 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The different things we may know and how we may know them. Make a list giving reference, as, "know Him if we keep His commandments" (2:3). (2) Make a list of the things defined in the following scriptures, and give the definition in each case: 1:5; 2:25; 3:11, 3:23; 5:3; 5:4; 5:11; 5:14. (3) The several figures and attributes of God, as light, righteousness and love. (4) The requirements of deeds of righteousness, 1:6, 7; 2:9-11; 3:17-23. (5) God's love for his children, 3:1-2; 4:8-11, 16, 19. (6) Christians' duty to love one another, 2:10; 3:10-24; 4:7-21; 5:1-2. (7) The propitiatory death of Jesus Christ, 1:7; 2:1-2; 4:10. (8) Difference between Christians and non-Christians, 3:4-10. How many times do each of the following words occur? Love, light, life, know, darkness, hate, righteousness, sin, liar and lie, true and truth.
It is a friendly, personal letter, written some time after the first letter, to the "elect lady" who, as I think, was John's friend, and not a church or some nation as has sometimes been argued. The aim is evidently to warn his friend against certain false teachers.
1. Greeting, 1-3.
2. Thanksgiving, 4.
3. Exhortation to obedience. 5-6.
4. Warning against anti-Christs, 7-9.
5. How to deal with false teachers, 10-11.
6. Conclusion, 12-13.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The character of the children of the elect lady. (2) Evidence of real discipleship. (3) How to deal with false teachers.
This also is a private letter written, some time after First John, to his personal friend, Gaius. There was some confusion about receiving certain evangelists. Gaius had received them while Diotrephes had opposed their reception. He commends Gaius for his Christian hospitality and character.
1. Greeting, 1.
2. Prayer for his posterity, 2.
3. Commends his godly walk, 3-4.
4. Commends his hospitality, 5-8.
5. Complaint against Diotrephes, 9-10.
6. Test of relation to God, and worth of Demetrius, 11-12.
7. Conclusion, 13-14.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The character of Gaius and Diotrephes. (2) Christian hospitality. (3) Such words as truth, sincerity and reality.
The author is named as Jude, the brother of James. He probably means the James wrote the epistle of that name and is, therefore, the Lord's brother.
Purpose. False teachers were boldly teaching their heresies in the meetings of the congregation. These men were also very immoral in conduct and the epistle is written to expose their errors and to exhort his readers to contend for the true faith and to live worthy lives. In many points it is very similar to the second letter of Peter.
Date. It was probably written about A. D. 66. At any rate it must have been written before A. D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed, as Jude would hardly have failed to mention that event along with other examples of punishment, 5-7.
I. The Fate of Wicked Disturbers, 5-16.
1. God punishes the wicked, 5-7.
2. He will destroy these men, 8-16.
II. How to Contend For the Faith, 17-23.
1. Be mindful of the enemies, 17-19.
2. Be strong (built up in the faith), 20-21.
3. Maintain an evangelistic spirit, 22-23.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of all the words and phrases occurring in threes, as mercy, love, peace, or Cain, Baalam, Korah. (2) Make a list of all the different things taught about the evil workers mentioned, 8-10, 12, 13. 16, 19. (3) What the apostles had foretold concerning them.
Author. John, the Apostle, while in exile on the Isle of Patmos, 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8.
Date. About 95 or 96 A. D.
The Book. (1) It is a book of symbols and imagery, and constantly creates excitement and wonder. (2) It is a book of wars, but war always ends in peace. The word war occurs seven times in Revelation, and only seven times in all the rest of the New Testament. (3) It is a book of thunder, but the thunder and earthquake die away and are followed by liturgies and psalms. (4) It is a book of the rewards of the righteous. This is seen in the letters to the seven churches, and in the victories of the right in all conflicts and wars of the book. (5) It is, therefore, a book of optimism. Everywhere God overcomes Satan, the Lamb triumphs, Babylon falls, etc.
Its Interpretation. There are several classes of interpreters, as follows (1) The Praeterist, who thinks it has been fulfilled in its primary sense. He makes all the prophesies and visions refer to Jewish history down to the fall of Jerusalem, and to the history of Pagan Rome. (2) The Futurist, who interprets literally and thinks all the events of the book are to come just before or just after the second coming of Christ. (3) The Historical or Continuous School. These think some have been fulfilled, some are now being fulfilled, and some will be fulfilled in the future. (4) The Spiritualist, who objects to the other three classes of interpreters because they make so much of the time element. He lays stress upon the moral and spiritual element of the book and reads the book "as a representation of ideas rather than of events."
Value. The chief value of the book seems to lie in its testimony to the faith and hope of persecuted Christians and in the comfort and inspiration it has brought to sorrowing and oppressed souls of every age. It points outthat there will be an end of conflict, that God and the Lamb will triumph that the enemies of our souls will be punished and that the followers of God will be rewarded with eternal reward.
I. The Seven Churches, 1:9-3 end.
1. A preparatory vision of Christ, 1:9 end.
2. The addresses to the churches, Chs. 2-3.
II. The Seven Seals, 4:1-8:1.
1. A preparatory vision of the throne, Chs. 4-5.
2. Six seals opened in order, Ch. 6.
3. An episode-sealing God's servants, Ch, 7.
4. The seventh seal opened, 8:1.
III. The Seven Trumpets, 8:1l end.
1. A preparatory vision, 8:2-6.
2. Six trumpets sounded in order, 8:7-9 end.
3. An episode-Little book, measuring the temple and two witnesses, 10:1-11:14
4. The seventh trumpet sounded, 11:15 end.
IV. The Seven Mystic Figures. Chs. 12-14.
1. The sun-clothed woman, Ch. 12.
2. The red dragon, Ch, 12.
3. The man-child, Ch. 12.
4. The beast from the sea, 13:1-10.
5. The beast from the earth, 13:11-18.
6. The Lamb on Mount Sion, 14:1-13. Three angels.
7. The son of man on the cloud, 14:14-20. Three angels.
V. The Seven Vials, Chs. 15-16.
1. The preliminary vision, Ch. 15-a song of victory.
2. Six vials poured out in order, 16:1-12.
3. An episode, 16:13-16. The spirits of the devil gather the kings of the earth to the battle of Armageddon.
4. The seventh vial poured out, 16:17-21 (end).
VI. Three Final Conflicts and Triumphs, 17:1-22:5.
1. The first conflict and triumph, 17:1-19:10.
2. The second conflict and triumph, 19:11-20:6.
3. The third conflict and triumph, 20:7-22:5.
VII. The Epilogue Conclusion, 22:6-21 end.
1. Three-fold testimony to the truth of the vision. Angel, Jesus. John, 6-8.
2. Directions of the angels concerning the prophecy, 9-10.
3. The moral of the book, 11-17.
4. John's attestation and salutation, 18-21.
For Study and Discussion. (1) The vision of Jesus, 1:9 end. (2) The letters to the seven churches: (a) Which churches are given noting but praise? (b) Which nothing but blame? (c) Which both praise and blame? (d) What is commended and what condemned in each. (3) The twenty-four elders, four living creatures, sealed book and the Lamb, Chs. 4-5. (4) The sealing of God's servants, Ch. 7. (5) The little book, Ch. 10. (6) The measuring rod and two witnesses; 11:1-14. (7) Each of the seven mystic figures, Chs. 12-14. Describe each. (8) Mystery Babylon, Ch. 17. (9) Song of triumph over Babylon, 19:1-10. (10) The judgment of Satan, 20:1-10. (11) The description of the general resurrection and judgment, 20:11-15; 22:10-15. (12) The description of heaven, Chs. 21-22. (13) Verify the following points of similarity in the seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials, (a) that heaven is opened and a preliminary vision before each series, (b) that the first four in each series refer especially to the present natural world, while the last three in each series refer more particularly to the future or spiritual world, (c) that in each series there is an episode after the sixth which is either an elaboration of the sixth or an introduction to the seventh. (14) Compare these three series again and note, (a) that they portray the same events in similar language, (b) that the victory of the righteous and the destruction of the wicked are portrayed in each, (c) that the victory of the redeemed predominates in the first (seals) while the destruction of the wicked predominates in the last (vials). (15) In the series note the progress in the severity of punishment, (a) one- fourth afflicted in the first (seals), (b) one-third afflicted in the second (trumpets), (c) all are destroyed in the third (vials). (16) From the following scriptures make a list allowing how nearly the same thing is affected in each of the seven trumpets and vials, (a) 8:7 and 16:2, (b) 8:8 and 16:3, (c) 8:10-11 and 16:4-7, (d) 8:12 and 16:8-9, (e) 9:9-11 and 16:10-11, (f) 9:13-21 and 16:12-16, (g) 11:15-18 and 16:17-21. (17) The contrasts and resemblances of the trumpets and vials.
Trumpets. 1. Hail, fire blood cast on earth, one-third of the trees burned.
Vails. 1. The Vial poured out on the earth, affliction upon the followers of the beast.
Trumpets. 2. One-third of the sea made blood, one-third of its creatures and of its ships destroyed.
Vails. 2. The whole sea made blood, and every soul therein destroyed.
Trumpets. 3. One-third of the rivers made bitter, many men destroyed.
Vials. 3. All the rivers made blood and vengeance upon all men.
Trumpets. 4. One-third of the sun, etc., smitten, one-third of the day darkened.
Vials. 4. The whole sun smitten, men are scorched, they blaspheme and repent not.
Trumpets. 5. The stars of heaven fall into the pit; locusts sent forth; men seek death.
Vials. 5. The throne and kingdom of the beast smitten, men suffer and blaspheme and repent not.
Trumpets. 6. One-third of the men destroyed by the armies of the Euphrates; men do not repent. Episode: God's two witnesses witness for Him and work miracles. War against them by the beasts.
Vials. 6. A way prepared for the kings beyond the Euphrates. Episode: The dragon's three unclean spirits witness for him and work miracles. War by the world at Armageddon.
Trumpets. 7. Voices in heaven, judgment, earthquake, hail, etc.
Vials. 7, Voice in heaven, fall of Babylon, earthquake, hail, etc.
(18) The benedictions and doxologies of the book. (19) Things taught about Jesus. (20) Things taught about Satan.
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