Learning and Living the God-centered life

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Bible Survey

Bible tour principles #10 and #11

Principle #10 - The first thing to know concerning the Prophetical Books is that the descriptions Major and Minor refer to length and not importance, but the reference to length is inconsistent; thus, the labels are unfortunate as they are prone to mislead.

The 17 Prophetical Books are often split into two groups; the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets.

The distinction has nothing to do with the importance or significance of the content of each book- simply has to do with length. Isaiah has sixty-six chapters, Jeremiah fifty-two and Ezekiel has forty-eight-all Major Prophets-whilde none of the Minor Prophets are longer than fourteen chapters. So it is understandable why the distinction is often made. But, the distinction is a bit inconsistent.

Principle #11 - The second thing to know concerning the Prophetical Books is that there are three major categories: pre-exilic, exilic and post-exilic; through, three Prophetical Books do not fit into these categories.

Please refer to the Prophetic Chart below and note the dates as to the pre-exile, exile and post exile prophets.
Prophet Chart
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To the Northern Kingdom of Israel before Exile to the Assyrians in 722 BC

God called Amos to prophesy against the northern kingdom of Israel prior to their exile to Assyria in 722 BC. After pronouncing judgment on the enemies of Israel, Amos stung the nation with a pronouncement against Israel itself. Because of their sins of dishonesty and oppression against the poor, empty religion, and pompous self-confidence, the nation was doomed to fall to the Assyrians. Like other prophets through, Amos concluded his work with a word of consolation that God would restore Israel to glory and strength. Read More...

Old Testament Prophet Chart

This chart will give you an overview for the prophets from Isaiah-Malachi. Remember in our study that these prophets fit within the story line of the Old Testament which is contained in the first 17 books.

Prophet Chart
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Bible tour principle #9

Next in our tour of the Bible we come to the 5 poetical books in the Old Testament. Remember this is not an exhaustive but rather a thumbnail sketch of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Again I am borrowing much of this basic material from Mitch Maher’s seminar called Clarifying the Bible. I will add my on modifications as we go through the material but do want to give Pastor Maher credit for material that provides an excellent overview.

PRINCIPLE #9 can be summarized as follows. Job is about suffering, Psalms about worship, Proverbs about wisdom, Ecclesiastes about meaning and Song of Solomon about marital relationships.

Job: The book of Job records the suffering and shaping of a man named Job. This man suffered much, the loss of his wealth, his children, and his health. After receiving counsel from his wife, three friends and Elihu, Job finally heard from God. Rather than giving Job all the answers he was looking for God pelted him with questions to establish the important truth that God is sovereign over all of life. Job’s responded well and submitted himself and his life to his wise, powerful and loving God.

Psalms: The book of Psalms is a collection of poetical songs spanning nearly nine centuries of Israel’s history used for both personal and corporate worship. The book is divided into five smaller books;
Psalm 1-41
Psalm 42-72
Psalm 73-89
Psalm 90-106
Psalm 107-150
Each of which ends with a doxology.
Plunging the depths of human emotion, these Psalms reflect the wide range of experience as one walks with God. Their intention is to capture readers’ hearts and lift them to praise and worship of the Lord.

Proverbs: The book of Proverbs is a collection of saying designed to give readers wisdom. They are arranged in almost paragraphs-of-thought in chapters 1-9, short, pithy maxims in chapters 10-29, and then paragraphs again in chapters 30-31. These Proverbs address issues related to friendships, work, finances, sexuality, family, lziness, anger, the words one speaks, and so much more. They clearly set forth the consequences of both foolish and wise behavior.

Ecclesiastes: The book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s summary thoughts on man’s search for meaning in life. Recounting his own personal quest, he said the deepest longings of his soul were not found in life without God-learning without God, money with God, pleasure without God. No, true meaning and lasting joy can only be found by viewing life as a gift from the Creator and living in obedience to Him. Life with God does not mean all of life’s mysteries will be understood, but that humble trust and simple submission is the path to a satisfied soul.

Song of Solomon: The Song of Solomon is a collection of love poems celebrating marital love and romance. In this book, through beautiful, picturesque language, the romantic love between man and woman finds full expression. The various poems celebrate the couple spending lingering time together, praising each other’s beauty, expressing their mutual desire, and even consummating their love. The book is a clear reminder that God created romance and wants His children to enjoy it fully in the context of marriage.

Tour of the Bible

Here is a review of the basics which we have covered on our tour of the Bible.

If you were given a test to date how would you answer the following:
  • Write out principles #1 through #8
  • Describe the books that make up the 5-12-5-5-12 grouping in the Old Testament
  • What are the 9 categories that make up Principle #8
  • What are the 5 Christ centered divisions that make up Principle #4
  • Can you give a brief audio synopsis from Genesis through Ester?
  • Give a working definition for the glory of God
  • List some verses that emphasize the glory of God

This is your homework assignment for this week. Please keep in mind we are not trying to be informed but rather transformed. And this process happens as we get to know Him, through knowing His word.

Sunday School Community may I exhort you with every fiber of my being to grab up your Bibles and read, devote and study the living word of the living God! Because as you do, it will be true, that you become in life the very thing that you behold in your heart and mind. Therefore I appeal to each of you to make the coming year the most radical ever as it relates to getting back to God’s word, so that when you bump up against someone in life you bleed Bible.

Principle #5 - The glory of God

This Sunday we will look at the overall theme of the Bible which I will argue from the verses below is the “glory of God.” We will start with a definition for the glory of God. For those who want to prepare ahead of time, I like the following definition given by Dr. John Piper regarding God’s glory;
“The glory of God is the beauty and excellence of his manifold perfections. It is an attempt to put into words what God is like in his magnificence and purity. It refers to his infinite and overflowing fullness of all that is good. The term might focus on his different attributes from time to time—like his power and wisdom and mercy and justice—because each one is indeed awesome and beautiful in its magnitude and quality. But in general God's glory is the perfect harmony of all his attributes into one infinitely beautiful and personal being.

May I encourage each of us to prepare our hearts for this particular subject on Sunday which is truly one of the key essentials to understand in our Bible reading, devotion and study.


Ezek. 20:6 on that day I swore to them, to bring them out from the land of Egypt into a land that I had selected for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.
Ezek. 20:7 “I said to them, ‘Cast away, each of you, the detestable things of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.’
Ezek. 20:8 “But they rebelled against Me and were not willing to listen to Me; they did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.
Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
Ezek. 20:9 “But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made Myself known to them by bringing them out of the land of Egypt.

Psalm 106:6-8 - We have sinned like our fathers,We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.
Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders;They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known.

Ex. 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Ex. 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
Ex. 20:5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,

Ezek. 20:21 “But the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, nor were they careful to observe My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; they profaned My sabbaths. So I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness.
Ezek. 20:22 “But I withdrew My hand and acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out.


Principles #6-9 in Bible survey

Principle #6
The Old Testament consists of 39 books that were written prior to the birth of Jesus Christ.

Principle #7
The 39 books of the Old Testament are divided as follows:
The first 17 books of the Old Testament are called “historical narrative.”
The next 5 books are called poetical or books of experience
The next 17 books are called prophetical or books of prophesy

Or for those who want to be even more technical:
The first 17 books of the Old Testament are divided in the following way
The first 5 books are called the Pentateuch – Genesis-Deuteronomy
The next 12 books are a historical chronology of Israel – Joshua-Ester
The next 5 books are poetical – Psalms-Song of Solomon
The next 5 books are the major prophets – Isaiah-Daniel
The next 12 books are the minor prophets – Hosea-Malachi

So you could divide up the Old Testament:
5 – The Law
12 – The History
5 – The poetical
5 – The Major Prophets
12 – The Minor Prophets

Principle #4 in Bible Survey

The BIBLE can be summarized by using 5 CHRIST CENTERED DIVISIONS:

1. ANTICIPATION - If you were to read through the Old Testament over and over it would leave you with a strong impression that someone is coming. And that would in fact be correct because the Old Testament is constantly pointing to the coming of Christ.
Do you remember what Jesus explained to the two men on the road to Emmaus? Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Therefore when we read the Old Testament we need to be aware that it speaks of the Jesus Himself.

2. MANIFESTATION - When we arrive at the books of Matthew-John we can see that He is here! The gospels in the New Testament record for us the birth, life, teaching, ministry, miracles, rejection, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
This means that Jesus is the unfolding or declaration of God the Father to us, to see the Son is to see the Father. Therefore as we read the Bible and pull out the truth from the text, to do so correctly means that we will see Jesus.

3. PROCLAMATION - In the book of Acts, we have the resurrected Jesus giving instructions to His disciples in Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” In Acts Chapter 2 the Spirit fills those at Pentecost and this begins the taking of the message to Jerusalem, Judea, Sumaria, and then to the outer most parts of the earth.

4. EXPLANATION - In the Epistles which are from Romans through Jude, you have letters written primarily to churches and individuals to address the problems and circumstances that are going on in these churches. In the epistles we get a good understanding of:
  • Who Jesus Christ is
  • What Jesus Christ did
  • How we ought to live in lieu of who He is and what He has done

5. CONSUMATION - This is the book of Revelation. What God started in Genesis He will finish in Revelation. Revelation ll:15 - Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
In Revelation we have letters from Jesus to the seven churches and His second coming which establishes the new heaven and earth.

As we progress through this tour or survey of the Bible would you take time to reflect on these principles during your study time.
In your review of Principles 1, 2 and 3 just click on this LINK.

Understand the Big Picture

We are beginning the next step called “explanation to the head.” I will try to give as many articles and downloads as necessary to give you the tools you need to apply these principles of Bible study. Remember if you are new to the technical end of Bible study, please be patient. This is a skill that needs to be developed over the years but it is so exciting and rewarding! If you have any question please let me know and I will be glad to help in any way that I can.

The following is an article from Wayne Grudem whose book on Systematic Theology is taught today in most seminaries. He has an excellent reputation and provides much helpful insight into the study of God's word.

Keeping the “Big Picture” in Mind: Some Observations about the Whole of Scripture

Big Picture 1

The Bible is a historical document. Therefore, always ask, “What did the author want the original readers to understand by this statement?”

Big Picture 2

The original authors wanted the original readers to respond in some ways. Therefore, always ask, “What application did the original author want the readers to make to their lives?”

Big Picture 3

The whole Bible is about God! Therefore, we should always ask, “What does this text tell us about God?”


Old Testament

OT Timeline

Basic Bible Layout

Bible Survey