The books of Law were written by Moses and are referred to as the Book of Moses in 2 Chronicles 35:12. The law was given to Moses by God.
GENESIS (which means beginning) tells us of the beginning of God's chosen people. It gives an account of the creation of heaven and earth. (Genesis 1)
In Genesis, we learn about the Garden of Eden, time before the flood, Noah and his family, the Tower of Babel and the scattering of the nations. Also, we learn about the lives of the patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Patriarch means father, and during the patriarchal age, the people were governed by the heads of the family. Jacob had twelve sons whose names were given to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Levi was the priestly tribe. David and JESUS descended from the tribe of Judah.
EXODUS - Exodus means "going out" which refers to the children of Israel going out of Egypt. This book tells about the birth of Moses, his training in Pharaoh's house, and his exile in Midian. It tells of his return to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of Egypt (The Exodus). God delivered ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would let the Israelites go. The plagues were:
In Exodus we learn about the building of the tabernacle. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.
The principles of these Commandments can be found in the Patriarchal Age (before the Law was given on Mount Sinai), and these principles continue in Jesus' law in the Christian Age. The Lord's Day (Sunday) is the day of worship for us.
LEVITICUS - This book gets its name from Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. It was the priestly tribe. It lists the duties for carrying out the rites and ceremonies in the tabernacle, including the offering of animal sacrifices.
NUMBERS - This book continues with the law. It gets its name from the two numberings of the children of Israel. The experiences of the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years are recorded in this book. It tells about their crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
DEUTERONOMY - After the Israelites had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, they were ready to enter the Promised Land. Moses was not permitted to enter the Promised Land because he failed to honor God when he brought forth water from the rock. He warned the people what their fate would be if they departed from God's law. He also told them of the blessings if they were faithful in keeping the law. Deuteronomy includes several of Moses' speeches. Deuteronomy is the second giving of the law.
JOSHUA - This book was named for one of the two spies (Joshua and Caleb) who went into the land of Canaan to spy out the land. He later took the place of Moses in leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. He led them across the Jordan River and conquered the Canaanites. Joshua admonished the people to honor God.
JUDGES - The Israelites settled in the land of Canaan and they repeatedly disobeyed and departed from God. As they repented and turned back to God, He gave them leaders who delivered them. These leaders were called Judges and there were 15 of them.
RUTH - The book of Ruth is a love story from the time of the Judges. This love story gives a picture of the life and customs of the common people during a violent period of the judges. Ruth was a Moabite and married one of Naomi's sons. Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David. It was through his lineage that Christ was born.
One of the most beautiful passages in the Bible records what Ruth said to Naomi after their husbands had died and Naomi was planning to return to Bethlehem.
1 and 2 SAMUEL - These books tell the story of God's people under the leadership of Eli and Samuel. Samuel was the last judge. The people became dissatisfied and wanted a king like other nations. So, as God directed, Samuel appointed Saul as the first king of Israel. After Saul's death, David became the next king. David was a man "after God's own heart." These two books cover the life of David.
1 and 2 KINGS - These two books continue the history of the people of Israel, the crowning of Solomon as king, and the carrying away of the people into captivity. They tell about the dividing of the kingdom: the northern kingdom which was Israel and the southern kingdom which was Judah. Israel and Judah were captured and taken from their land into foreign captivity. Later the tribes of Benjamin and Judah were restored to their Promised Land.
1 and 2 CHRONICLES - These two books give basically the same account of the history found in 1 and 2 Kings.
EZRA - This book tells about the Israelite people in Babylon as they return to Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of the temple. The rebuilding of the temple was hampered by the spiritual condition of the people.
NEHEMIAH - Nehemiah was a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. He gives more history of this same Period of Restoration. He was a strong leader and under his leadership, important religious and social reforms were accomplished.
ESTHER - This book tells about what was happening to the Jews (people of Judah) during their exile. It is about a Jewish girl who later became queen of the Persian empire. The book of Esther is read with much interest. It shows the providence of God.
JOB - This book tells of the great suffering of a righteous man. Job was a man who endured much in the loss of his children and his possessions. He was smitten by Satan with sore boils which caused him extreme pain and humiliation. Job being the righteous man that he was endured the suffering. In the end, God greatly blessed him.
PSALMS - The book of Psalms is made up of poems and songs, which praise Jehovah and commemorate events in the history of Israel. About 70 of the Psalms are credited to David. Many of our hymns today are taken from the Psalms. The book consists of 150 Psalms. Some of the favorites are: Psalms 1, 19, 22, 23, 90, 100, and 103.
PROVERBS - Proverbs (written by Solomon) is a collection of wise sayings with moral truth. The message of Proverbs is that wisdom comes from God.
Ecclesiastes means preacher or speaker. This book was written by
Solomon probably in his later years. He mentions vanity several
times. He says that material things do not give permanent satisfaction.
In the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says:
A prophet is a special messenger from God. There are five major prophet books but only four prophets. These books are called "Major" only because they are longer in length. Every prophet who wrote one or more of these books can be placed in the history of Israel, which is covered by the twelve books of history.
ISAIAH - This book was written during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Isaiah predicted the captivity of Israel and Judah by Babylon. He prophesied the return of the exiles and the coming of the Messiah. We find stirring descriptions of Christ and His kingdom in chapters 9, 11, and 53. Isaiah is sometimes referred to as the "Messianic Prophet."
JEREMIAH - Jeremiah was prominent at the time Jerusalem fell to the Chaldeans. During Jeremiah's day, the people of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) were carried by Babylon into captivity. Jeremiah was left in Jerusalem. He wrote about the judgment of God upon a sinful people and the greatness of His love.
LAMENTATIONS - This book also was written by Jeremiah soon after Jerusalem fell. It contains a series of laments over the destruction of Jerusalem.
EZEKIEL - This book contains the messages of God as prophesied by Ezekiel. He was taken captive from Judah before the destruction of Jerusalem. He was devoted to God's word. He prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, judgment upon the people, and the return of the exiles and a great future for Israel.
DANIEL - The prophecy of Daniel is probably one of the most interesting books of the Bible. Daniel foretold many events by interpreting the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar. He interpreted the meaning of the strange handwriting on the wall of Belshazzar. He refers to the Messianic rule of the kingdom of Christ in chapter 9.
HOSEA - The prophet Hosea addressed his message primarily to Israel. He talks about his own troubles. The book contains denunciations of the people for their idolatry and sins.
JOEL - In Acts 2:16-21, the apostle Peter quotes the prophet Joel. Among other things, Joel prophesied that whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Peter stated on the day of Pentecost that the pouring out of the Spirit fulfills Joel's statement in Joel 2:28-32.
AMOS - Amos prophesied that God loves mercy and not formal sacrifices. His prophecies were directed to the Northern Kingdom (Israel).
OBADIAH - He was God's messenger who prophesied the doom of the Edomites (descendants of Esau), who were happy over Judah's downfall. He also prophesied that the Jews would rule over all the lands formerly under David's control.
JONAH - Jonah was reluctant to obey God when he was told to go preach to the wicked city of Nineveh. Because of this God punished him by causing a great fish (whale) to swallow him. He was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights. Jesus refers to this incident in Matthew 12:38-41.
MICAH - Micah lived during the time of Isaiah. He also preached against the sins and against the oppression of the poor by the rich. He prophesied about the destruction of Judah and Israel.
NAHUM - Very little is known about Nahum. He prophesied about the destruction of Nineveh.
HABAKKUK - Habakkuk prophesied during the reign of Jehoiakim. He tells about the wickedness of Israel and the defeat of the Chaldeans. His book ends with his prayer of faith.
ZEPHANIAH - He lived at the same time as Habakkuk, Jeremiah, and Nahum. He preached against the sins of the people. He prophesied judgment upon Judah as well as blessings for the restoration of Jerusalem.
HAGGAI - God used Haggai to encourage the people to set new goals, trust in Him, and receive His blessing.
ZECHARIAH - He prophesied about the restoration of the temple and the kingdom of Christ.
MALACHI - He lived after the temple had been restored. The people were slipping back into sin and he rebuked them. He prophesied about the coming of the Messiah.
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