Tag Archives: Jeffrey Kranz

Bible Overview Series: Judges

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Judges by Joseph Novak

As soothing as a therapist, she runs her fingers through his hair and says, “Now lie back and tell me everything.”

(Ben Myers’ #CanonFodder Summary)

 Jeffrey Kranz’s Overview of Judges

Judges is the account of how Israel behaves between the death of Joshua and the leadership of a king. Instead of remaining loyal to God and following His laws, this generation of Israelites wanders in their faith, worshiping idols, indulging in violence, and mingling with the evil nations around them.

The book of Judges opens with a snapshot of the political and spiritual landscape:

  •  The land is not fully possessed yet, as Israel does not drive out a few “pockets” of the people they were told to eliminate.
  • The military and spiritual leader Joshua is dead.
  • The people begin worshiping false gods (introduced by the Canaanites living among them).

Judges presents various examples of how God deals with His people during this time period. The stories of Judges follow a pattern (Jgs 2:11–23):

  • Israel turns from God and serves idols.
  • God turns Israel over to the oppressive surrounding nations.
  • Israel turns to God and cries out for help.
  • God raises up a judge to deliver them.
  • Israel rebels, God disciplines; Israel repents, God delivers.

Theme verses of Judges

“The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed. Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.” (Jdg 2:14–16)

Judges’ role in the Bible

The period of judges is a dark era in Israel’s history. This book shows how persistent Israel is in forgetting the Lord, and how faithful God is to discipline and deliver His people.

It’s in Judges that we see Israel’s need for a Messiah, a godly king. Because there is no good king in Israel, everyone does what is right in their own eyes (Jdg 21:25).

Both Judges and Ruth tell us how bad things were in Israel before God gave them a king, but anticipate the coming of the good king David.

The writer of Hebrews references several characters from Judges as examples of Old-Testament characters who gained approval through faith. Though Judges describes the consequences of unbelief in grim detail, we also see is a series of vignettes displaying the powerful, positive effects of faith in a faithful God.

Quick outline of Judges

  • Spiritual and political snapshot of Israel’s disobedience (Jgs 1:1–3:6)
  • Stories of the judges (Jgs 3:7–16:31)
  • Othniel (Jgs 3:7–11)
  • Ehud (Jgs 3:12–30)
  • Shamgar (Jgs 3:31)
  • Deborah and Barak (Jgs 4–5)
  • Gideon (Jgs 6–10)
  • Tola (Jgs 10:1–2)
  • Jair (Jgs 10:3–5)
  • Jephthah (Jgs 10:6–12:7)
  • Izban (Jgs 12:8–10)
  • Elon (Jgs 12:11–12)
  • Abdon (Jgs 12:13–15)
  • Samson (Jgs 13–16)

Appendices describing Israel’s depravity (Jgs 17–21)

  • Dan’s rejection of their inheritance and the Levitical priesthood (Jgs 17–18)
  • Benjamin’s civil war against the other tribes (Jgs 19–21)
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Bible Overview Series: Joshua

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Joshua by Joseph Novak

In the walled city a prostitute undresses to the music of trumpets and the sound of many feet.

(Ben Myers’ #CanonFodder Summary)

 

Jeffrey Kranz’s Overview of Joshua

The nation of Israel has followed Moses for 40 years. God has delivered them from slavery in Egypt, disciplined them in the wilderness, and brought them to the land He promised their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But now Moses is dead, and his aide Joshua is commissioned to lead the people into the promised land of Canaan.

The book of Joshua can be broken into two simple parts: conquering the land and settling the land. The 12 tribes of Israel have been charged with keeping God’s commandments, driving out the land’s evil inhabitants, and divvying up the land among themselves as an inheritance. Joshua oversees this process, which includes the miraculous crossing of the Jordan (Jos 3), the battle of Jericho (Jos 6), and the sun and moon standing still (Jos 10:12–14).

This book begins with God calling Joshua to be strong, courageous, and obedient (Jos 1:6–7). Joshua is obedient, and the people are faithful to God under Joshua’s leadership. The book ends with Joshua’s death, and the people of Israel happily serving God in the land He has given them.

Theme verse of Joshua

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” (Jos 1:6)

Joshua’s role in the Bible

The book of Joshua marks God fulfilling His promise to Abraham: that the land of Canaan would belong to his descendants. More than 500 years later, the children of Israel finally settle the land and make it theirs.

This book also marks the end of an age for Israel. After Moses and Joshua die, there is no commissioned leader of the whole nation, save God Himself. Israel moves into the age of judges, when God periodically raises leaders to deliver Israel from her enemies.

Quick outline of Joshua

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Bible Overview Series: Deuteronomy

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Deuteronomy by Joseph Novak

  I love you, I love you. Not because you are so good or great, but because you are so lost and little.

(Ben Myers’ #CanonFodder Summary)

Jeffrey Kranz’s Overview of Deuteronomy

Finally: Israel is just across the Jordan River from the promised land of Canaan. Moses has led the young nation out of Egypt and on a 40-year journey through the wilderness, and they have just defeated several enemies before setting up camp here. Three of the 12 tribes are already settling the land east of the Jordan, and the whole nation is almost ready to enter the land God promised to their ancestor Abraham (back in the book of Genesis).

Almost ready.

The last time Israel was this close to the promised land, they doubted God’s promise and tried to go back to Egypt. Because of their unbelief, God banned that generation of Israelites from the land, causing them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years (see Numbers for the whole story). Now the old generation has died and the new nation is about to claim the land.

Before they do, Moses rallies the people to remind them of God’s law—and why they should obey Him. This is how the book of Deuteronomy gets its name: it’s the “second giving” of God’s law.

Theme verses of Deuteronomy

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Dt 30:19–20)

Deuteronomy’s role in the Bible

Deuteronomy reviews the Pentateuch and foreshadows the rest of the Old Testament’s story. In Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the people of God’s actions in the past:

 

  • His promises to Abraham in Genesis
  • His faithfulness in rescuing Israel in Exodus
  • His holiness in Leviticus
  • His punishment on the disobedient in Numbers

Moses also gives directions, blessings, and warnings, for the children of Israel in the future:

 

  • The appointment of Joshua as the new leader
  • God’s expectations of kings—which take effect when Saul becomes king in 1 Samuel
  • Prosperity for obeying God—which happens during David’s and Solomon’s reigns (1 Kgs 8:5610:14–29)
  • Exile for disobedience—which happens when the tribes are conquered by Assyria and Babylon (2 Kgs 17:6–2325:1–26)
  • God’s promise to restore Israel—which happens when Cyrus allows the Jews to return from Babylon in Ezra.

Deuteronomy is primarily the retelling of Mosaic law, but its text is still important today. When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus cites Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mk 12:30). Jesus quotes Deuteronomy three times when the devil tempts Him in the wilderness (Mt 4:1–11).

Deuteronomy focuses on loving God and keeping His commandments (Dt 11:1), which is exactly what Christ expects of us (Jn 14:15).

Quick outline of Deuteronomy

 

  • Recap of Israel’s journey from Egypt (Dt 1–3)
  • Recap of Israel’s relationship with God (Dt 4–10)
  • How to love God and keep His commandments (Dt 11–26)
  • Blessings, curses, and restoration (Dt 27–30)
  • The death of Moses (Dt 31–34)

 

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Bible Overview Series: Numbers

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Numbers by Joseph Novak

Count the murmuring tribes, count their slain, count the wandering long years.

(Ben Myers’ #CanonFodder Summary)

 

Jeffrey Kranz’s Overview of Numbers

Numbers tells the story of Israel’s wanderings through the wilderness en route to the promised land of Canaan. Numbers begins with Moses and Aaron taking a census of the whole nation, which is how the book gets its name. It is the fourth movement in the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses).

Numbers’ narrative spans 40 years. The story begins at Mount Sinai (after the Levitical law is delivered), and follows the children of Israel through the wilderness. They reach the promised land, but doubt God’s promises when they see the land’s mighty inhabitants. Because they do not believe God, He prevents them from entering the land for another 40 years. Numbers concludes with the Israelites on the Plains of Moab, just across the river from the promised land. This is where Moses gives his final commission to the people—which is recorded in the next book, Deuteronomy.

Theme verse of Numbers

“The LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?” (Nu 14:11)

Numbers’ role in the Bible

Numbers shows us how a holy God dwells with His people. Israel rebels against God, and even Moses disobeys Him, but God is faithful to bring this nation to the promised land. God keeps His promises: the promises He made to Abraham in Genesis along with His promises to bless and punish Israel.

Although few of us are in the nation of Israel’s position today, the stories in Numbers still serve as good examples to us. Paul teaches that the events in Numbers are recorded for our instruction, that we may endure and escape temptation (1 Co 10:11–13).

Quick outline of Numbers

 

  • Moses numbers the people (Nu 1–4)
  • Commands concerning the priests and tabernacle (Nu 5:1–9:14)
  • Israel journeys from Sinai to Canaan (Nu 9:15–12:16)
  • Israel doubts God and is prohibited from entering Canaan (Nu 13–14)
  • Israel wanders in the wilderness for 40 years (Nu 15–25)
  • Moses prepares the people to enter the land (Nu 26–36)
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Bible Overview Series: Leviticus

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Leviticus by Joseph Novak

At the mountain they wait in love and terror, while holy words pass through them like a sword.

(Ben Myers’ #CanonFodder Summary)

 


Jeffrey Kranz’s Overview of Leviticus

You could sum up the book of Leviticus with God’s repeated command: “Be holy, as I am holy.” Leviticus is a book of laws, but it’s also a book of worship. This book is filled with details on how the people of God should live, eat, sacrifice, celebrate, and more. The name “Leviticus” refers to the many laws for the priests, all of whom belonged to the tribe of Levi.

Leviticus is the third movement in the Penteteuch (the five books of Moses), and picks up where Exodus leaves off. This children of Israel have just erected a tabernacle at Mount Sinai, and now the Lord is relaying specific laws through Moses to His people. There’s very little narrative in the book of Leviticus, but a few important things take place, such as Aaron’s ordination and the deaths of Aaron’s sons. The story of Israel’s journey to the promised land picks back up in the book of Numbers.

Theme verse of Leviticus

“Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.” (Le 20:26)

Leviticus’ role in the Bible

Leviticus is about holiness (being set apart, separate)—both God’s holiness and the holiness He expects of His people.

Whereas Exodus displays God’s holiness on a cosmic scale (sending plagues on Egypt, parting the Red Sea, etc.), Leviticus shows us the holiness of God in fine detail. God spells out His expectations for His priests and people so that the congregation can appropriately worship and dwell with Him.

The call to holiness in Leviticus resounds throughout Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments. Parts of the Levitical law are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, such as distinctions between clean and unclean foods (Mark 7:18–19), but the call to holiness still stands—Peter even cites Leviticus when he encourages us to be holy in all our behavior (1 Peter 1:15–16).

Quick outline of Leviticus

 

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Bible Overview Series: Exodus

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Exodus by Joseph Novak

 

Barefoot on the hot sand, he stares into the flame and haggles with a god whose name he cannot say.

(Ben Myers’ #CanonFodder Summary)

 


Jeffrey Kranz’s Overview of Exodus

The book of Exodus is the story of God rescuing the children of Israel from Egypt and making them His people. Exodus is the second book of the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses), and it’s where we find the stories of the Ten Plagues, the first Passover, the parting of the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments.

Exodus picks up where Genesis leaves off: the young nation of Israel is in Egypt (they were invited by Joseph, the one with the famous coat). A new Pharaoh notices the Israelites multiplying, and enslaves them. Afraid of an uprising, he orders that all Hebrew sons should be cast into the Nile at birth. But one son escapes this decree.

Moses is hidden in a basket and set afloat in the Nile—where Pharaoh’s daughter discovers him. Moses is grows up as her son. When an adult Moses sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, he kills the Egyptian and leaves the country to escape capital punishment.

Forty years later, God appears to Moses as a burning bush and sends him to deliver Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. Moses, with the help of his brother Aaron, confronts Pharaoh on God’s behalf: “Let My people go” (Ex 5:1). Pharaoh refuses, and so God sends 10 plagues upon the Egyptians:

  1. Water turns to blood.
  2. Swarms of frogs cover the land.
  3. Gnats infest the land.
  4. Swarms of flies fill the air.
  5. Egyptian cattle die.
  6. Boils break out on Egyptians.
  7. Hail and fire rain down.
  8. Locusts consume Egyptian crops.
  9. Darkness covers the land.
  10. Every firstborn dies.

When the last plague kills Pharaoh’s son, he finally allows Israel to leave.

The sons of Israel leave Egypt and make their way to Mount Sinai, where God gives His laws to Moses. God makes a covenant with the nation of Israel and the generations to come: because He rescued them from Egypt, Israel is to observe His rules. God speaks the Ten Commandments directly to the whole nation of Israel, and He relays specific ordinances to Moses on the mountain.

God does not stop with a list of rules, however. He gives Moses instructions for a tabernacle, a special tent of worship.

The book of Exodus ends with the glory of the LORD filling the tabernacle: God is now dwelling among His chosen people, Israel. The book of Leviticus goes on to document the laws God gives His people at Mount Sinai.

Theme verse of Exodus

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Ex 20:2)

Exodus’s role in the Bible

Exodus is a starburst of Old and New Testament theology. God is faithful, and keeps His promise to Abraham (Gn 15:13–21) by judging the Egyptians and liberating Israel. The Lord also gives Israel the first iteration of the Law, and begins to dwell among His people in the tabernacle. God’s liberation of Israel from slavery foreshadows His work to redeem the nations (Ro 6:17–18), just as His judgment on His people serves as an example for Christians now (1 Co 10:6–13). Exodus is also where God reveals His memorial name: YHWH, or LORD (Ex 3:146:3).

Quick outline of Exodus

 

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Bible Overview Series: Genesis

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Genesis by Joseph Novak

Genesis: Under numberless stars an old man stands amazed; his wife cries out in the pain of childbirth, laughing.
(Ben Myers #CanonFodder Summary)

Book Summary Videos via The Bible Project:

Overview of Genesis by Jeffrey Kranz

The book of Genesis answers the question, “Where did all this come from?” Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and the first of the Penteteuch (the five books of Moses). Genesis is the story of how Israel began as a nation, but the author tells this story as a series of beginnings—starting with the creation of the universe (Gn 1:1) and narrowing down to one family: Israel’s.

Genesis opens with God creating the heavens and the earth, the stars, the plants, the animals, and humans: Adam and Eve. God places Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but they rebel against God, introducing a curse of sin and death to the world.

Adam and Eve have children (including Cain and Abel), and those children have children. Eventually the human race becomes so violent that God sends a great flood to destroy the world, but He spares the only righteous man, Noah. Noah builds his famous ark to escape the floodwaters with his family (and many animals). After the waters recede, God promises to never again destroy the earth with a flood.

Hundreds of years later, God calls Noah’s descendant, Abram, to leave his family and journey to the land of Canaan. God promises to bless Abram with many descendants, and to bless all the nations of the world through him. Abram believes God’s promise, even though he is old and childless. God considers him to be righteous, and changes his name from Abram to Abraham. Later, Abraham has a son, Isaac.

Isaac dwells in the land of Canaan and has twin sons: Jacob and Esau.

Jacob grows up, tricks Esau into giving away his blessing, and then leaves town to live with his uncle Laban. He marries, has children, and lives with Laban for 20 years before God calls him back to Canaan. As Jacob returns to the land of Abraham and Isaac, his name is changed to Israel (35:9–12).

Israel has 12 sons, and young Joseph is his favorite. Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery, and he becomes a prisoner in Egypt. His God-given ability to interpret dreams becomes valuable to the Pharaoh, however, and so Joseph is released from prison and made second in command of all Egypt. Joseph warns Pharaoh that a terrible famine is coming, and stockpiles food for the coming years.

Joseph’s predictions are correct: the famine reaches Canaan, and his brothers come to Egypt to buy food. The brothers reconcile, and Joseph provides for all the children of Israel to move to Egypt until the famine is over. The book of Genesis ends with the death of Joseph, whose last prediction is that God will bring the children of Israel back to the promised land. God begins fulfilling this in the next movement of the story: the book of Exodus.

Theme verse in Genesis

“I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.” —God to Abraham, Gn 17:7

Genesis’ role in the Bible

The stories in Genesis set the backdrop for vital theological principles in the rest of the Bible. In Genesis, we see how sin began, how God judges sin, and the beginnings of His work to redeem mankind.

Genesis also introduces Abraham, the ancestor of Israel through whom the whole world will be blessed. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the three chief patriarchs of the nation Israel (which gets its name from Jacob). Jacob’s sons and grandsons have their own families, which eventually become the 12 tribes of Israel.

Abraham believes God’s promises to him, and Abraham’s faith is reckoned to be righteousness (Gn 15:6)—that is, it satisfies God. The concept of righteousness by faith is repeated in the New Testament (Ro 10:10), and Paul states that all who share Abraham’s faith are the spiritual children on Abraham (Ga 3:6–9).

Genesis also sets forth several biblical themes that weave across the rest of the Bible:

  • God’s authority. God is the maker of all things, and He is sovereign over nature and humanity. We see His creative work in the first two chapters of Genesis, but we also see His sovereignty in choosing Abraham, blessing the Hebrews, and protecting Egypt from famine.
  • Man’s rebellion. Adam and Eve disobeyed God in Eden, but that’s only the beginning. Cain presents an unacceptable sacrifice, the world becomes violent in the days of Noah, people construct the tower of Babel, and so on and so forth.
  • God’s judgment. God evicts Adam and Eve, He sends a flood to destroy the earth, and He rains fire on Sodom and Gomorrah (Gn 19). God is holy, and sin must be punished.
  • God’s preservation of life. God promises a descendant to Eve (Gn 3:15), He saves Noah’s family in an ark, He delivers Jacob from Esau’s wrath, and He allows Egypt to survive a harsh famine through Joseph’s wisdom.
  • Blood sacrifice. God skins animals to cover Adam and Eve after they sin (Gn 3:21), and He provides a ram for Abraham to take Isaac’s place (Gn 22). The blood sacrifice motif becomes far more prominent in the book of Leviticus.

It’s a grand book with many of the Bible’s most well-known stories, but it’s only the beginning.

Quick outline of Genesis

  1. The beginnings of all mankind (Gn 1:1–11:32)
  2. The beginnings of Israel (Gn 12–50)

Key terms in the book of Genesis

  • Covenant, promise, swear
  • Blessing
  • These are the records of . . .
  • Descendants
  • Land (especially the land of Canaan)
  • Sin, evil, wickedness

Key characters in the book of Genesis

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Bible Overview Series: Psalms

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Psalms 
by Joseph Novak

The invention of antiphony: when my heart broke in two, I taught both parts to sing.

(Ben Myers’ #CanonFodder Summary)

 

Jeffrey Kranz’s Overview of Psalms

Psalms is a collection of 150 poems written over hundreds of years. Many were originally put to music, and used in the Jewish temples to praise the Lord. It all begins with an invitation:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night. (Ps 1:1–2)

The man who meditates on the Law of the Lord will be blessed, and by contrast, the wicked will perish (Ps 1:6). Why? Because God is King, and His Messiah will one day rule1.

Psalms has it all.

History, poetry, prayer, song, chant, prophecy—Psalms runs the gamut when it comes to the kind of content covered in the Bible. In Psalms, you’ll find every major event from the Old Testament:

  • God’s creation
  • His covenant with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob
  • The exodus from Egypt
  • The Law of Moses
  • The conquest of the promised land
  • God’s covenant with David
  • The temple in Jerusalem
  • The Babylonian captivity
  • The return to Jerusalem

Psalms is an anthology of poems written by a host of authors, and many psalms are still not attributed to any authors today. Half of Psalms was written by King David at various points in his life—and not all of them were good times. David’s psalms show how a man of God prays during times of hardship, loss, joy, and guilt.

Psalms is really five smaller books in one. And since each of these smaller books is an anthology, there’s really not a single narrative to follow throughout the book; however, there are a few things we can learn from the book’s structure:

  • Book One (Ps 1–41) is mostly written by David, and focuses on God’s ability to deliver those who fear Him. We see David pour out his heart to God, beg for protection, and ask for help against his enemies. Of all the books, this is the most personal, and has the feel of a one-on-one interaction with God. In Book One, we see the Lord beside us during times of trouble.
  • Book Two (Ps 42–72) focuses on God as the mighty Judge and King. He is the powerful worker of justice on all nations, and the rescuer of those who delight in Him. In Book Two, we see the Lord go before us to execute justice on His enemies.
  • Book Three (Ps 73–89) is mostly written by the sons of Asaph, a family devoted to leading the people in worship to God in His temple (1 Ch 25:1). This book focuses more on God’s relationship with the whole nation of Israel, not just the psalmist. It emphasizes God’s faithfulness—a faithfulness that spans generations. In Book Three, we see the Lord around us, remaining faithful to His people through the generations.
  • Book Four (Ps 90–106) directs our eyes to the Lord who rules over all the earth. Several of these psalms begin with simply, “The Lord reigns,” or “Praise the Lord!” This part of Psalms shows the Lord above us, the kind and righteous God who deserves our worship and praise.
  • And in Book Five (Ps 107–150), we are called to thank Him. He’s the Savior, deliverer, and God of all. In Book Five, we see God among us, in His temple with his people.

Psalms takes us through the spectrum of human experience, and shows us that no matter what we go through, there is a God who listens to those who call on Him. He walks beside us, goes before us, encamps around us, reigns above us, and dwells among us.

He is God, and we should praise Him.

Theme verses in Psalms

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night. (Ps 1:2)

Psalm’s role in the Bible

Psalms is the second book of poetry in the Bible. While the poetic books of Job,Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon read as whole pieces, Psalms is a collection of 150 small units in one book—someone like today’s hymnals.

Which brings up an interesting point: Psalms is the only book of the Bible that doesn’t have chapters. Most books of the Bible were divvied up by chapters around 1227 A.D., but Psalms is (mostly) divided according to their original divisions. Most of the psalms have titles designating their composers, and some even include a little historical backdrop (example: Ps 51). Since Psalms is naturally divided by poem, you don’t find a “Psalms chapter 23,” instead, you’ll just find “Psalm 23″ or “the twenty-third Psalm.”

And don’t let the psalm count fool you. Although there are 150 psalms, Psalms is not the longest book of the Bible—that’s Jeremiah.

Psalms has more authors than any other book of the Bible, by far. Psalms credits five individual authors and two families (who wrote psalms over the centuries). Here’s the spread:

  • David: 73 psalms (though the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate credit a few more to him2
  • Asaph (the family): 12 psalms. This family was ordained by David to lead the people in worship, and was recommissioned when Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem (1 Ch 25:1;Neh 7:4412:46–47).
  • The sons of Korah: 11 psalms. Back in the book of Numbers, a man named Korah rebelled against Moses and Aaron—and God caused the earth to swallow him up. His sons survived, though (Nu 26:11), and continued to serve in the house of the Lord. They share one psalm (Ps 88) with the wise man Heman.
  • Solomon: two psalms. Solomon is better known for his work in Proverbs,Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, but he also contributes a few lines to Psalms.
  • Moses: one psalm. In addition to writing GenesisExodusLeviticusNumbers, andDeuteronomy, Moses also wrote the ninetieth psalm (Ps 90).
  • Ethan the Ezrahite: one psalm. We don’t know much about Ethan, except that he was very wise, and Solomon was wiser (1 Ki 4:31). Sorry, Ethan.
  • The remaining 50 psalms aren’t credited to any one author.

But here’s my favorite thing about Psalms: while most of the Law and Prophets deal with God’s messages to men, the Psalms give us examples of how we can respond to God. While every other book of the Bible is written to people, the Psalms are directed to God.

They’re still inspired by God (2 Ti 3:16), but they feel incredibly human. Through the Psalms, we see how godly people spoke to a holy God in all kinds of circumstances.

Quick outline of Psalms

  • Overview: the righteous, the wicked, and the Messiah (Ps 1–2)
  • Book One: the Lord delivers me (Ps 3–41)
  • Book Two: the Lord is a mighty judge (Ps 42–72)
  • Book Three: the Lord’s everlasting relationship with Israel (Ps 73–89)
  • Book Four: praise for the Creator, for the Lord reigns (Ps 90–106)
  • Book Five: thanks and praise to the Lord! (Ps 107–150)
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Bible Overview Series: Job

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Job 
by Joseph Novak

 

He scrapes himself with broken pots, cursing his mother’s womb. In the distance, Leviathan circles silently in the deep.

(Ben Myers’ #CanonFodder Summary)

 

Jeffrey Kranz’s Overview of Job

Nobody has it better than Job:

  • He’s righteous
  • He’s rich
  • He has a big, happy family

But things abruptly change. In one day, his children die when a building collapses, his employees are slaughtered, and his cattle are stolen. Then, painful boils break out on his skin. Job loses everything, and is left wondering why.

The answer: Satan wants to prove that Job will curse God. This is the central conflict of the book. It’s Job’s test: will he abandon his faith or remain loyal to God?

Here’s how the story plays out:

  • Satan attacks Job. God points out to Satan that Job is a blameless and upright man, but Satan points out that God has already blessed Job abundantly.  Satan argues that Job is just returning the favor, and asserts that Job would turn on God if his blessings were taken away. God gives Satan a chance to prove it, and Satan immediately rips everything he can away from Job. But Job does not curse God.
  • Job mourns while his friends accuse him. Job’s three friends come to comfort him, and Job begins to lament his loss to them. Their response stings: “God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves” (Job 11:6). Job’s friends tell him that this suffering must be brought on by Job’s sin, and he should repent. Job argues back that he has not incurred any punishment. Job wishes he could plead his case to God. Still, Job does not curse God. Job and his friends go back and forth three times on this issue, and then a young bystander named Elihu jumps in.
  • God Himself answers Job. After Elihu weighs in, God speaks to Job. God challenges Job’s understanding by reminding Job of His wisdom, sovereignty, and power.
  • Job is restored. When God finishes, Job humbly concedes that God’s will is unstoppable, and repents. God also reprimands Job’s friends for misrepresenting Him. Finally, God restores Job: he becomes twice as wealthy, he again is blessed with children, and he dies at a ripe old age.

Throughout the book of Job, we wonder whether Job will stand firm in his faith or abandon it. In the end, Job remains faithful to God, and God remains faithful to Job.

Theme verses of Job

“[Job] said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.’

Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” (Job 1:21–22)

Job’s role in the Bible

Job is the first Old Testament book of poetry (the others are PsalmsProverbs,EcclesiastesSong of Solomon, and Lamentations). Although the book of Job is best known for its story, only three of the 42 chapters are narrative. The rest are poetic discourses from Job, his friends, a young bystander, and God Himself.

Job is considered wisdom literature: the book helps us understand God, His creation, our relationship with Him, and how we should respond.

A few features make Job especially unique in the Bible:

  • Job is not said to be Hebrew. All other times the Bible mentions a place called Uz, it is not in the land of Israel (Lam 4:21Jer25:20).  Job makes sacrifices on behalf of others (Job 1:5)—there is no mention of Levitical priests nor God’s covenant law with Israel.
  • Job focuses on God’s role as sovereign creator. When God answers Job, He asks a series of “Where where you when . . .” questions. The book of Job attests to God’s creative power, wisdom, and authority. Because God made the universe, we can trust that He knows how to rule it.
  • Job pulls back the curtain on Satan’s activities. Until the book of Job, we’ve only seen Satan influence David for Israel’s harm (1 Chr 21:1), but in Job, we see the enemy in full-on attack against God’s servant. We see that Satan can manipulate the weather (Job 1:1619), a person’s health (Job 2:7), and even groups of people (Job 1:1517). But we also see God setting Satan’s limits (Job 1:122:6).
  • Job serves as an example of how the righteous are not immune to suffering. In the New Testament, James cites Job as an example to Christians who suffer:
  • As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (James 5:10—11)
  • And like Job, we are Satan’s targets now. Peter warns us that the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” But our response should be the same as Job’s: we must “resist him, firm in [our] faith” (1 Pet 5:8–9).

Quick outline of Job

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A New Bible Overview Series Begins!

I love the Bible. I love to study it, read it, ponder it, chew it, apply it, and let it shape me into greater Christlikeness.  It is the Word of God and an incredible gift.

I know many Christians feel the same way. However, getting into the Bible can be a challenge for many of us. Sure, we may be familiar with a few books (the Gospels, Psalms, and one or two of Paul’s epistles seem like a safe bet), but what about the other ones? What about the books that we can’t even pronounce? What about the books that are difficult and boring to read?  What about the books that feel completely disconnected from our lives here and now? What are we supposed to do with those books?

My experience (both personally and pastorally) leads me to believe that many of us end up simply avoiding these books altogether. Maybe at some point in the past we tried to engage them, but we quickly found ourselves lost and discouraged.  We gave up, assuming there was no hope in getting a handle on what was going on in these Scriptures and how any of it relates to us. I know that I’ve found myself in that place many times over my 23 years as a follower of Jesus.

But we don’t have to stay stuck in discouragement and confusion!  In many cases, getting a basic overview of the context of each of the Bible’s books can be massively helpful and illuminating!

That’s why today I’m going to be starting an extended blog series providing an overview of each book of the Bible. My hope is that you’ll use it to familiarize yourself with each book’s major themes, people, places, etc. Furthermore, as you engage the Scriptures personally or together with others, you’ll be able to jump to a particular book summary post and get a 3-minute grounding in the immediate context of the passage(s) you’re exploring.  That will go a long way in helping you understand how what you’re reading a) fits within the larger Scriptural narrative and, b) how it connects with your life and calling as a Christian.

Full disclosure: I’m acting as content facilitator for this series, not content generator!  None of what you’re going to read is my own work (ok, maybe I’ll chime in a few times!).  For the most part, however, each blog post will incorporate the fantastic work of three theologians I’ve been blessed to discover this year: Jeffrey Kranz (www.overviewbible.com) , Ben Myers (@FaithTheology on Twitter), and Joseph Novak (www.minimumbible.com). Each of these guys provides a powerful angle through which to understand each of the Bible’s 66 books, and I’m simply going to be pulling their efforts together into one cohesive space.  I think doing so is going to be hugely awesome.  As I’ve tracked with each of their respective projects my passion to engage the Bible has only increased!

The book of Genesis goes up later today.  See you then!

In his dust,

Jeff

 

 

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