Purpose: To record God's creation and his relationship with human beings.
Audience: The people of Israel
Date Written: 1450-1410 BC
Setting: The region presently known as the Middle East
Key People: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph
*Beginnings: Introduces God as creator of all that exists, planets, plants, animals and people. All people were created in God's own image.
*Disobedience: Sin results when people choose their own way instead of obeying God. Adam and Eve learned this the hard way. Only God can reverse the consequences of sinful choices.
*Promises: God promised to protect and provide for his people. He specifically made promises known as covenants, which are binding agreements. God made a covenant with his people as a guarantee of what they could expect from him.
*Obedience and Prosperity: Obedience to God keeps our relationship with him intact and causes us to prosper like Abraham. Prosperity doesn't necessarily mean wealth or other material possessions. Rather, true prosperity means living life as God created it to be lived - in the fullness of his blessing.
Purpose: To record the events of Israel's deliverance from Egypt and development as a nation.
Date Written: 1450-1410 BC, during Israel's wandering in the wilderness.
Setting: Egypt, God's people, once highly favored in the land during this the time of Joseph are now slaves. God is about to set them free.
Key People: Moses, Moses' mother (Jochabed), Miriam, Pharaoh, Pharaoh's daughter, Jethro, Aaron, Joshua, Bezalel
Key Places: Egypt, Goshen, Nile River, Land of Midian, Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Mount Sinai
Special Features: Exodus relates more miracles than any other Old Testament book and is noted for containing the Ten Commandments.
*Slavery: The Israelites were slaves for 400 years. Physical slavery is like slavery to sin. The longer you are a slave, the more difficult breaking free becomes. Gaining freedom from sin requires God's power.
*Guidance: God guided Israel out of slavery by using the plagues, Moses' leadership, the miracle of the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments. God demonstrates his power in our life through the guidance of wise leaders and the effort of Christian friends working together. He can be trusted to give us the guidance we need to follow his will.
*Ten Commandments: Through the Ten Commandments, God taught Israel the importance of making the right choices and accepting responsibility for one's actions. Both are key to our growth as Christians.
*The Nation: God established the nation of Israel to be the source of truth and salvation to all the world. Israel's newly formed nation models for us the need to depend upon God. Whether we are rebellious or obedient, God remains our only source of absolute, eternal truth and life.
LEVITICUSPurpose: A handbook for the Levites outlining their priestly duties in worship: a guidebook of holy living for the Hebrews.
Date of Events: 1445-1444 BC
Setting: At the foot of Mount Sinai, God teaches the Israelites how to live as holy people.
Key People: Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazer, Ithamar
Special Feature: Holiness is mentioned more often (152 times) than in any other book of the Bible.
*Sacrifices: The system of sacrifices that God established for Israel helps us understand the high cost of sin. An animal had to be sacrificed to pay the price for someone’s sin. Jesus’ death, however, did away with this temporary system by permanently paying the penalty for all sin.
*Health: God established rules for all aspects of life. He wanted his people to be different from the surrounding nations. Through these rules, God preserved them from diseases and genetic problems while teaching them spiritual principles. Following his rules will make our lives different from those of unbelievers around us.
*Holiness: Holy means “separated” or “devoted to God”. God called his people to be committed to his ways and forsake the lifestyle they had in Egypt. God calls us to this level of commitment.
*Levites: The Levites and priests taught the people how to worship God. They regulated the moral, civil and ceremonial laws of the people. Understanding their role enables us to comprehend more of Jesus’ role as our High Priest and our role as priestly believers.
NUMBERSPurpose: To tell the story of how Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, how they sinned and were punished, and how they prepared to try again.
To Whom Written: The people of Israel
Date Written: 1450-1410 BC
Setting: The vast wilderness of the Sinai region, as well as lands just south and east of Canaan.
Key People: Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Eleazar, Korah, Balaam
Key Places: Mount Sinai, Promised Land (Cannan), Kadesh, Mount Hor, the plains of Moab
*Census: Moses counted the Israelites twice for the defense of Israel as they entered the Promise Land. People have to be organized, trained and led to be effective in making a difference in their world. Before beginning great tasks, it is always wise to count the cost of what lies ahead.
*Rebellion: At Kadash, the people of Israel rebelled, having accepted the negative report of ten out of twelve spies. Rebellion against God is always serious. Usually, rebellion is not an abrupt, radical departure from God; instead, it is the result of long-term drifting, often characterized by complaining and criticizing.
*Wandering: Because they rebelled, the Israelites had a forty-year stay in the wilderness. During this time, God rained a new generation to follow him while those who still had wrong attitudes died. He judges sin not just because he dislikes it but because he is holy and cannot tolerate it.
*Canaan: Canaan was the Promised Land – the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Canaan was to be the dwelling place of God’s people, those set apart for true worship. Today, the place for true worship can be found in the human heart - the home of the Holy Spirit.
Purpose: To remind the people of what God has done and encourage them to rededicate their lives to him.
Author: Moses (except for the final summary which was probably written by Joshua after Moses’ death)
To Whom Written: Israel (the new generation entering the Promised Land)
Date Written: About 1407/6 BC
Setting: The east side of the Jordan River, in view of the Promised Land
Key People: Moses, Joshua
Key Place: The valley of Arabah in Moab, east of the Jordan River
*History: Moses reviews God’s efforts to set Israel free from slavery in Egypt. By reviewing God’s promises and might acts, we can learn about his character and grow in faith.
*Laws: The legal contract between God and his people had to be renewed for the new generation entering the Promised Land. Commitment to God and his truth cannot be taken for granted. Every person in each generation must respond anew to God’s call.
*Love: God’s faithful and patient love is portrayed more often than his punishment. His love forms the foundation for our trust in him. We can be confident that the one who loves us perfectly can be trusted with our lives.
*Choices: God reminded his people that in order to enjoy the blessings of his will for them, they would have to continue in obedience. Our choices make a difference. Choosing to follow God produces good results in our lives and in our relationships with others. Choosing to abandon God’s ways brings harmful results to us and to others.
*Teaching: God commanded the Israelites to teach their children his ways. God’s truth must be passed on to future generations. It is not, however, just the traditions or commands that are to be passed on. Rather, we are to teach each new generation to know and love God personally.
Purpose: To give the history of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land.
Author: Joshua, except for the ending, which may have been written by the high priest Phinehas, an eyewitness to the events recounted there.
Setting: Canaan, also called the Promised Land, which occupied the same general geographical territory of modern day Israel.
Key People: Joshua, Rahab, Achan, Phenehas, Eleazar
Key Places: Jericho and Caleb were the only two survivors out of the original group of adults who left Egypt to enter the Promised Land.
*Success: God gave success to the Israelites when they obeyed his master plan, not when they followed their own desires. Likewise, we must adjust our mind to God’s way of thinking in order to see his standard for success.
*God’s Faithfulness: Remembering how God fulfilled his promises in the past assured the Israelites that he would be faithful in the future. In the same way, God’s promises reassure us of his love, faithfulness, and guidance.
*Leadership: Joshua’s dependence on God made him a strong and effective leader. To be a strong leader like Joshua, we must be ready to listen and act on God’s commands.
*Conquest: God commanded his people to conquer the Canaanites and take their land. But Israel’s commitment to the task didn’t last long. Commitment to God means more than being enthusiastic about him. We must complete all of the work he gives us and apply his instructions to every part of our lives.
Purpose: To show that God’s judgment ……………….
(INDIVIDUAL BOOK OUTLINES WILL BE POSTED AND THIS WILL SERVE AS AN ONGOING DOCUMENT. IT WILL BE COMPLETED WHEN ALL BOOK OUTLINES ARE DONE.)