• January 8, 2018 /  Uncategorized

    Haggai means “festal one.”  We know nothing about him aside from this book and Ezra 5:1, and 6:14.

    Main Idea(s)

    The exiles returned from Babylon, but did not consider it important to rebuild the Temple.  God rebukes then, and they repent and build the Temple.  God tells them that the new Temple would be greater than that of Solomon, much as it would appear otherwise.  This is symbolic of the great things that God would do preparing the way for the Messiah to come.

    Target: Judah

    Time Period

    • Contemporary of Zechariah
    • During the reign of Darius the Mede

    Famous verses and fragments

    2:6-9

    Questions

     

    1. What is different about the last three books of the Minor Prophets?
    2. How much time elapses during the book?
    3. Why do you suppose they did not think it was time to build the Temple? Is that similar to anything in our lives?
    4. Why does God rebuke them? How does he get their attention?
    5. What effect did his message have?
    6. Why are Zerubbabel and Joshua significant with respect to building the Temple?
    7. What did God want for the materials of his Temple? How is that different than Solomon’s Temple?
    8. Why might the people have been discouraged at the appearance of the Temple? How does God encourage them?
    9. What is the second problem that God has with those in Judah? 2:10-19 What does this imply about our good works?
    10. Does their uncleanness prevent God’s blessing in this case?
    11. How would the glory of this Temple be greater than that of the former?
    12. What is the greater plan of God in the midst of all of this? 2:6-9, 2:20-23?
    13. How is Zerubbabel significant here? What does he prefigure?
  • January 6, 2018 /  Uncategorized

    Zephaniah means one who is hidden (protected) by Yahweh

    Main Idea(s)

    God will judge Judah, and all of the nations around her for their sins.  After that, he will bring Judah back from exile, and call Gentile nations to follow Him.  This is the book of the Day of the LORD.  There are 7 occurrences out of 53 verses.

    Target: Judah, and to a lesser extent the nations around it who would be judged by God using Babylon

    Time Period

    • Contemporary of Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Nahum
    • During the reign of Josiah
    • Prior to the destruction of Assyria, like Nahum

    Famous verses and fragments

    3:9, 3:14, 3:17

    Questions

    1. During whose reign did Zephaniah prophesy?
    2. During what part of the reign? Does it matter?
    3. What are the two main divisions of the book?
    4. Of what nature is his prophecy and for whom was it intended?
    5. Did God kill everything? (1:2-3) What does He mean?
    6. What particular sorts of people was He going to judge? (1:4-13)
    7. Of what dreadful day does Zephaniah warn Jerusalem? What historical events fulfilled the prophecy?
    8. What should we think about the phrase “The Day of the LORD?” (1:7-2:3)
    9. What things that are commonly relied on would not help them in the Day of the LORD?
    10. Against what nations is judgment pronounced in Zephaniah? (2:4-3:7)
    11. How would Judah fare in the judgment of other nations?
    12. What will be the fate of Nineveh? What vice lay at the root of her evil-doing?
    13. Is Judah much better? Why is judgment coming to them? (3:1-7)
    14. What comforting message does Zephaniah bring? (3:8-13) How will Judah and the nations change?
    15. What are the main emphases of the song of rejoicing at the end? (3:14-20)
  • January 3, 2018 /  Uncategorized

    Habakkuk means embracer – one who comforts.

    Main Idea(s)

    During a time of great evil in Judah, Habakkuk calls out to God.  God tells him that he will use Babylon to purge the evil out of Judah.  This puzzles Habakkuk, who questions God, and gains a greater view of God’s righteousness, and that the Lord is pleased by faith.

    Target: Judah, and to a lesser extent Babylon

    Time Period

    • Contemporary of Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum
    • Possibly during the reign of Manasseh.

    Famous verses and fragments

    1:5, 2:1, 2:4b, 2:20, 3:17-19a

    Questions

    1. How does Habakkuk teach us how to speak with God?
    2. What are the two main divisions of the book?
    3. How does the spirit of the first part differ from that of the second part?
    4. What nation’s rise to power brought about the prophecy of Habakkuk?
    5. What deep question initially troubled Habakkuk?
    6. How are the Chaldeans described in Chapter 1?
    7. What question concerning this nation’s power vexed the prophet?
    8. What answer does the prophet find?
    9. How is the great truth in 2:4 developed – what is it opposed to?
    10. Where is it quoted in the New Covenant? Did anyone notable ever get affected by the verse?
    11. List the five woes Habakkuk gives in Chapter 2? Does the US possess any of these?
    12. How is the judgment of Babylon described in Chapter 2?
    13. In Chapter 3, how does Habakkuk describe the righteousness of God?
    14. Why does he describe God as a warrior? Should that encourage us?
    15. In what words does the prophet express the strength of his faith in God?
    16. What should we, or do you, learn from the book?
  • December 14, 2017 /  Uncategorized

    Nahum

    Name means consolation, comfort, or relief (from what?)  We know nothing about him.

    Main Idea(s)

    The time is full for the destruction of Assyria.  God is done holding back.

    Target: Assyria, and to a lesser extent Judah

    Time Period

    • Contemporary of Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk
    • Occurs between the sack of No-Amon (Thebes, the Egyptian capital at that time) and the destruction of Assyria – puts it around 615 BC, about ten years prior to the first exile.

    Famous verses and fragments

    1:15a

    Questions

    1. What other part(s) of Scripture do verses 1:2-3a remind you of?
    2. What is God saying to us in Chapter 1 regarding his nature and dealings?
    3. Why does He say that – what is the eventual point of it?
    4. If we were just limited to Chapter 1, excluding verse 1, would we know who God is talking about?
    5. What sins are mentioned in Chapter 1?
    6. What should Judah learn from verse 1:15? Is this specific to Assyria, or a general promise?
    7. How should we interpret 2:2?
    8. In Chapter 2, the attack is described. Describe what it might have been like.
    9. How total is the judgment? Is there any hint that repentance could avert it?
    10. How should we interpret 2:11-13?
    11. Chapter 3 – any more sins of Nineveh?
    12. 3:5-7 Why does God humiliate Nineveh?
    13. Why might God compare it to the sack of Thebes? (3:8-13)
    14. Is there any possibility of Nineveh getting out of this alive?
    15. What is the point of the summary in verses 18-19?
    16. Compare Nahum with Jonah.
    17. How is Nahum unique as a book of the Bible?
  • November 28, 2017 /  Uncategorized

    Name means “Who is like Yahweh?”  He gets mentioned in Jeremiah 26:18, which God uses to protect Jeremiah.  He gets quoted in Matthew 2:6 regarding the birth of Christ.

    Main Idea(s)

    The sins of the two kingdoms are great, and there will be judgment, even exile on each.  The Lord will bring repentance and redemption to his people, but has a greater plan to bring it to all nations on Earth.

    Target: Israel and Judah

    Time Period

    • Contemporary of Hosea, Isaiah and Amos, and maybe Joel.
    • The book takes place in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.

    Famous verses and fragments

    2:11, 2:12-13, 4:1-5, 5:2, 6:6-8

    Notes

    Chapters 1-3   Sins and Announced Judgment

    • Chapter 1 – Which nations does this prophecy target?
      • Does this prophecy start slowly or quickly?
      • What are the sins? Where are they manifest?
      • What is God going to do as judgments?
      • What does Micah think of this? V 8
      • Is repentance called for yet? What of v 9?
      • Vv 10-16 – note alliteration
    • Chapter 2 – What are the sins?
      • What is God going to do as judgments?
      • What do vv 6-11 tell us about the lives of people in Israel/Judah?
      • Does the Lord offer restoration?
      • What is implied in verse 13?
    • Chapter 3 – What groups of people is God particularly condemning in this chapter?
      • What are their sins?
      • What does he compare these groups to?
      • What is their religion like?

    Chapters 4-5     The Kingdom of God over all Nations and his Messiah

    • Chapter 4 – What part of Scripture does the beginning of this Chapter remind you of?
      • What is promised here?
      • How does it compare with the current situation? Future situation? Vv 9-10
      • Why should it give Judah confidence?
    • Chapter 5 – what do vv 2-4 tell us about the Messiah?
      • What do vv 5-6 tell about how the victory over Assyria would be?
      • What will God do with his people as a result? Vv 7-9
      • What will God do with his people as a result? Vv 10-15
      • What does this point to in God’s future plans?

    Chapters 6-7   A Call to Repentance

    • Chapter 6 – what is the form of the Lord’s complaint? Vv 1-5
      • What does He appeal to?
      • What should the response of the people be? vv 6-8
      • What was their injustice against God? How did He summarize it?
      • What was the punishment?
    • Chapter 7 – What is Micah’s lament at the present situation?
      • What is his consolation? Vv 8-10
      • For the end of the chapter, what will God do with Judah?
      • What will the effect on the nations be?
      • How does this show us God’s covenant faithfulness to his people?
  • November 24, 2017 /  Uncategorized

    Name means Dove.   Aside from what we know about him from 2Kings and the Gospels, this book is all we know about him.

    Main Idea(s)

    Jonah is a book about how gentle but firm God can be.  It takes place in Bible history at just the point where Assyria has become a significant threat to the Northern Kingdom.  Jonah would rather see his enemies destroyed than converted; God would rather see them converted than destroyed. And rather than destroy Jonah, he provides experiences to teach him to be like God at heart, a lesson that Jonah does not seem to learn.

    Target: Mostly Assyria, but it reflects on Israel, the Northern Kingdom

    Time Period

    • Contemporary of Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and Amos.
    • The book takes place during the reign of Jeroboam II.

    Famous verses and fragments: None

    Questions

    1. How do we know approximately when the Book of Jonah was written?
    2. How do we know that it is not a parable?
    3. Why could you call Jonah a book of questions?
    4. What did the following parties care about? Mariners, Ninevites, Jonah, God.
    5. Why does Jonah not want to preach at Nineveh?
    6. Can you think of anyone else who fell asleep in a boat in a storm?
    7. Why are the mariners exceedingly afraid in 1:10?
    8. Did the mariners sin in throwing Jonah overboard? In what ways did the mariners’ knowledge of God grow?
    9. Of what psalms does Chapter 2 remind you? What themes get developed?  Does Jonah repent?
    10. Should the miraculous nature of Jonah surviving in the big fish give us any problems?
    11. What did the Ninevites do to show earnestness in repentance?
    12. How well do the Ninevites and their King compare to the Northern Kingdom?
    13. Why does Jonah want to die?
    14. Does God answer Jonah directly in chapter 4?
    15. How do the mariners and the Ninevites compare to Jonah in righteousness?
    16. Did Jonah understand God well?
    17. What is God’s lesson to Jonah? (and us)
  • November 22, 2017 /  Uncategorized

    =================================

    Name means Servant of Yahweh.  We don’t know anything about him.

    Main Idea(s)

    Edom is convinced that they will never face judgment for their sins against Judah, particularly those that happened when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon.  The Lord says their destruction will be total, and that the land of Edom will be the Lord’s.

    Target: Mostly about Edom, but it reflects on redemption for Judah

    Time Period

    • Contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.
    • The book takes place after the Destruction of Jerusalem.

    Famous verses and fragment: 5

    Notes

    Verses 1-4 – Introduction

    • Can you think of other books that talk about Judgment on Edom?
    • Vv 3-4 What reasons did Edom have for confidence?

    Verses 5-9 – Thoroughness of the Judgment

    • What would happen at their judgment? How total would it be?  What of their defenses would fail?
    • How do you destroy an incredibly strong defense? Betrayal
    • Babylon, Arabs, Nabataeans, Selucids, Jews, Romans

    Verses 10-14 – Reasons for the Judgment

    • Brotherhood with Israel/Jacob – even after so many generations? What of earlier history?
    • Vv 12-14 Eight “you should not have” – Why this literary device?

    Verses 15-16 – The Day of the Lord

    • What does “the Day of the Lord” mean here?

    Verses 17-21 – Salvation for Israel

    • Is there any hope for Edom?
    • What hope is there for Israel/Judah?
    • Calvin: “Now it is certain that this prophecy has never been completed…” What then?
    • Why does the book end with “And the Kingdom shall be the Lord’s?”
    • Spiritually, what does this book teach Christians today?
  • November 15, 2017 /  Uncategorized

    Amos

    Name means Burden or Burden-bearer.  Amos tended sheep and sycamore figs – likely a poor man.

    Main Idea(s)

    Israel is a nation filled with wealthy people who do what they want and don’t want to hear the Word of God.  God will be a roaring lion to them, if they might be properly frightened into returning, but they will not listen.

    Target: Mostly about Israel, but Amos was from Judah

    Time Period

    • Contemporary of Hosea, Isaiah and Micah, and maybe Joel.
    • The book takes place in the reigns of Jeroboam II and Uzziah.

    Famous verses and fragments

    3:3, 3:6-7, 5:18-20, 5:24, 8:11-12

    Notes

    Chapters 1-2   Total Judgment on the Near East

    1. Syria – attacking Israel , the judgment is exile
    2. Philistia – 2Chr 21:16, the judgment is destruction
    3. Tyre – possibly same incident; Hiram – destruction
    4. Edom – Hatred of Israel; Envy; Wrath – destruction
    5. Ammon – brutal attacks on Israel – exile
    6. Moab – revenge for 2Ki 3:27 against Edom – destruction
    7. Judah – rejected the Law of the Lord – exile
    8. Israel –
      • slavery, cruelty, adultery, idolatry
      • appeals to past care of Israel
      • Silencing the prophets
      • Leading to destruction and exile

    Themes

    • For Three transgressions and Four, I will not turn away its punishment
    • Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar level the Near East
    • Judges the others, then comes in for the target, Israel
    • Not exhaustive but representative sins

     

    Chapters 3-6     Calls for Repentance

    1. 3-4 The Case and the Warning Shots
      1. What do you think about verse 3:2?
      2. What is the point of the questions in 3:3-6?
      3. How can 3:7 be abused?
      4. Why go proclaim in foreign lands? 3:9
      5. How bad will the destruction be?
      6. 4:1-5 – What’s the attitude of the well-off in Israel?
      7. Fivefold “yet you have not returned to me.”
      8. What do verses 4:12-13 tell us about God?
    2. 5:1-17 The Lament
      1. V 1-3, how bad will it be?
      2. What is he telling them to avoid in v 4-7?
      3. 5:8-9 Why does God appeal to his roles as Creator and Sustainer to support his judgment?
      4. V 10-15, what sins are rebuked, and what does God ask them to do?
    3. 5:16-6:14 You don’t really want the Day of the Lord…
      1. What do verses 5:16-20 tell you about the Day of the Lord?
      2. V 21-27 What does God think of their worship?
      3. 6:1-8 What does God think of their personal peace and affluence?
      4. What does 6:9-10 mean?
      5. 6:11-14 What will the judgment be?

    Chapters 7-9    Five Visions

    1. Locusts, Fire, and Plumb Line – what is the point of these three visions as a group?
    2. Interaction with Amaziah – what is Amaziah’s point? Amos’ response?
    3. Basket of Summer Fruit – must be used immediately – God will not delay
      1. What problems does God have with their religiosity? What will He do?
      2. What is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord? 8:11-12
    4. The Lord at the Altar
      1. 9:1-4 What does He threaten?
      2. V 5-6 On what basis, or because He is what?
      3. V 7-10 Why does God recall what he did for Israel?

    Restoration – 9:11-15

    1. Who will God restore?
    2. Why?
    3. Will the blessing be great or small?
    4. What great promises are given?
  • November 6, 2017 /  Uncategorized

    Joel

    Name means The Lord is God

    Main Idea(s)

    God uses a disaster of locusts and perhaps a few other things to get the attention of Judah over her sins.  He call them to repent.  When they repent, he blesses them.  There is a greater blessing, and greater judgment coming.

    Day of the Lord – 1:15, 2:1, 2:11, 2:31, 3:14

    Target: Judah

    Time Period

    • We don’t know
    • Possibly the same time as Amos, Hosea, Isaiah and Micah, which would place it in the reign of Jeroboam II
    • Between books of Hosea and Amos, which are the same time period – see Amos 4:6-10

    Famous verses and fragments

    2:13, 2:25, 2:28-32, 3:14

    Notes

    Chapters 1-2:11 The Total Disaster of the Day of the Lord

    • What nation is this about?
    • Is it a judgment for sin?
    • V 8 – Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth
    • V 9 – Bad enough that the House of the Lord is not offering
    • Priests, elders – Corporate repentance, fast, solemn assembly because of the Day of the Lord
    • No crops, animals dying
    • Locusts or men in Chapter 2?

    Chapter 2:12-17 A Call to Repentance

    • Intensity
    • Corporate and individual repentance
    • Everyone must come, even those recently married
    • V 17 – Priests appeal to the Lord for His honor

    Chapter 2:18-27 Mercy Given

    • Blessings of Food, Water, for man and beast
    • V 20 – Assyrians?
    • Restoring the losses from the locusts
    • So that we might know God

    Chapters 2:28-3:21 The Greater Day of the Lord Revealed – the Judgment of the Nations

    • Quoted in NT
      • Ac 2:16-21
      • Spirit on all flesh
      • V 30-31 – God changes the order of things
      • Christ will come to save Jew and Gentile alike
    • 3:1 – Bring the exiles of Judah and Jerusalem – the people of God
    • 3:2 – Valley of Blessing (2Chr 20) or Judgment?
    • 3:3-13 He judges the sins of the nations
      • 3-6 Note the sins
      • 7-8 Judgment
      • 9-13 They try to fight God
    • 3:14 – God is deciding about the nations – the Day of the Lord
    • 3:15 – God is changing things: there will be a final judgment
    • 3:16 – God saves his own people, but not the heathen. The land will be holy, and they will know that the Lord is God.
    • V 21 – Salvation “And I have declared their blood innocent, That I did not declare innocent, And Jehovah is dwelling in Zion!”
  • July 31, 2017 /  Uncategorized

    Hosea

    Name means Salvation, Joshua – The Lord is Salvation

    Main Idea(s)

    Hosea’s life is a picture of how the Northern Kingdom of Israel is in its relationship with God.  Israel needed to repent of their sins, particularly their idolatry, but they would not repent, so God would send them into exile in Assyria, with promises of return and repentance.  God is shown as sovereign over the repentance of His people.

    Time Period

    • Kings in Judah – Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah.
    • King in Israel – Jeroboam II
    • Other contemporaneous prophets/books – Isaiah and Micah

    Famous verses and fragments

    2:23, 4:6, 6:1-3, 6:6, 8:7, 10:8, 10:12, 11:1, 13:4, 13:14

    Notes

    Chapter 1

    1. Puzzle – God wouldn’t command someone to do evil – nonetheless he wants Hosea to be a visible sign of how God is abused as a husband of Israel.
    2. He identifies Gomer
    3. Gomer means to end (in the sense of completion or failure)
    4. Jezreel – dispersion, sowing
    5. 2Ki 10:30 – Jehu did God’s will partly, and for his own reasons.
    6. Lo-Ruhamah No Mercy
    7. Lo-Ammi Not My People
    8. Vv 10-11 & 2:1 Promise of redemption – reunification of the people of God.

    Chapters 2-3

    Other places in Scripture where Israel is pictured as an unfaithful wife – Jer 2-3, Eze 16 & 23 (Is 50, 54 – marriage).  Adultery frequently compared to idolatry.

    1. Vv 2-13 The reality
    2. What God would do vv 14-23
    3. v 16 Husband vs Baal (slave-lord)
    4. vv 22-23 scatter vs sow
    5. Ch3 – redeeming her. V 4 – exile.  Note David in v 5.

    Chapter 4 – The point made

    1. Lists their many sins against God vv 1-3
    2. Vv 4-6 all are rotten – Priest, prophet, average person
    3. Vv 7-end Adultery, spiritual and actual is the rule in Israel for leaders and average people.

    Chapter 5 – Priests and Princes can’t help

    1. Vv 1-9 – Beth Aven – Bethel, home of the calf-idol – sacrifice is not enough
    2. V 10 Judah also rebuked
    3. V 11 – human rules inadequate, as is Assyria (King Jareb – great/contending)
    4. God’s wounds are intended to make us seek him for healing

    Chapters 6-7 Mostly on Continued Impenitence

    1. Vv 1-3 Repentance – allusion to Christ
    2. V 5 – death from the prophetic word
    3. V 6 – mercy not sacrifice
    4. V 7 – men/Adam – both tell us something
    5. Ch 7:1-10 – do you see yourself properly? Analogy of a baker and an oven, and growing weak
    6. Corruption of leaders and people
    7. Vv 11-16 reliance on foreign nations rather than God. (Who to favor? Assyria or Egypt? See 9:3)

    Chapters 8-10  No more Calf-Idols, or reliance on Foreign nations

    1. God at war with the Calf-Idols, and Idolatry of the Temple, and the line of Jeroboam vv 1-6
    2. Rejection of their worship, and Judah’s strongholds (v14)
    3. Ch 9 – Egypt or Assyria? Playing the harlot.
    4. Vv 7-17 Punishment is coming – falling on the children, exile
    5. Ch 10 – prosperity only led to more disobedience & idols – the calf-idols to be taken to Assyria.
    6. V 10-12 God’s plan for repentance.
    7. Vv 13-15 and the kingdom will be ended. (Shalmanezer, king of Assyria)

    Chapters 11–13 The Historical Appeal for Repentance

    1. Vv 1-7 Analogy to a child, teaching and rebellion, exile
    2. Vv 8-11 Compassion and return
    3. 11:12-12:6 Complaint against Ephraim/Judah, and comparison to Jacob who found God at Bethel
    4. Vv 7-14 Rich Ephraim vs the God who sends prophets (10,13)
    5. Ch 13:1-3 Idolatry
    6. V 4 Rescue from Egypt
    7. Vv 10-11 Giving a king, taking it away – God is king.
    8. Vv 12-16 The exile will come suddenly (& a special promise in v 14)

    Chapter 14 God has the Last Word – Ultimate Repentance

    1. Not Assyria
    2. Not Idols
    3. Not our many sins
    4. Not our might
    5. God will restore and strengthen

    Final note: this book is mostly on the Northern Kingdom Israel, but Judah gets rebuked in 4:15, 5:5, 5:10-14, 6:4, 8:14, & 12:2.