Content and Context (part 4) – Historical Books cont. & Wisdom Literature

Have you ever tried to summarize the Psalms in one sentence? That’s a doozy! I made an attempt below as we continue our content and context chart for the Books of the Bible. (Find the first post, with explanation, *here*.)

I would still like to hear about some well-done resources for helping our children learn the Bible.  Take a minute to comment if you know of something helpful.

HISTORICAL BOOKS (cont.)

Ezra

  • About: rebuilding the temple
  • God uses pagan kings and exiles to maintain His name and His place.
  • Big stories: exiles return to Jerusalem, temple is rebuilt, Ezra goes to Jerusalem and leads the people
  • Author: probably Ezra (a priest and teacher)
  • Time: about 50 years after Judah went into exile
  • “Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices. … Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem.” Ezra 6:3-5

Nehemiah

From that point on half the men did the work while the other half stood guard with swords, spears, bows and amour. Those who were building also carried weapons. – Slide 11

half worked while half stood guard                      (c) freebibleimages.org
  • About: rebuilding the wall
  • God helps returning Israelites rebuild the wall around Jerusalem despite fierce opposition and their own sinfulness.
  • Big stories: Nehemiah asks permission to go to Jerusalem, opposition and discouragement delay the rebuilding of the wall
  • Author: possibly Ezra
  • Time: contemporary with Ezra but slightly later
  • “When all our enemies heard about this [rebuilding], all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:16

Esther

  • About: rebuilding the people’s faith (notice the theme in these three books?)
  • God delivers His people through the courage of one faithful woman.
  • Big stories: Esther pleases the king, Esther pleads for the lives of her people
  • Author: unknown
  • Time: same as Ezra
  • “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

WISDOM LITERATURE

Job

They sat down with him for seven days and nights, and no one said a word, because they saw how great his suffering was. – Slide 28
Job with his friends (c) freebibleimages.org
  • About: justice, suffering, Job’s faith
  • God permits Job to suffer and be tested for His glory.
  • Big stories: Job loses everything, God declares Himself to Job and his friends
  • Author: unknown
  • Time: probably contemporary with Abraham
  • Job “said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 1:21-22

Psalms

  • About: songs of prayer and praise
  • God enjoys the praise of His people; He comforts and guides us.
  • Big stories: God’s presence, the priority of His Word, praising all His attributes
  • Author: King David and others
  • Time: Moses through Solomon or later (Genesis-1 Kings)
  • “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:9-11

Proverbs

  • About: sayings of warning and advice
  • God expects younger people to heed the guidance of their elders.
  • Big stories: avoiding folly, parenting well, the noble wife
  • Author: King Solomon and others
  • Time: same as 1 Kings/2 Chronicles
  • “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

Ecclesiastes

  • About: finding wisdom and meaning in life
  • Life is meaningless without God as one’s ultimate source of understanding.
  • Big stories: a time for everything, pointlessness of life
  • Author: possibly King Solomon
  • Time: possibly same as 1 Kings/2 Chronicles, Proverbs
  • “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

Song of Songs (formerly Song of Solomon)

  • About: physical love between a man and woman (Yeah…I’m not putting a picture on this one!)
  • God delights in the amorous attraction of a faithful couple.
  • Big stories: interaction between lovers
  • Author: possibly King Solomon
  • Time: possibly same as 1 Kings/2 Chronicles, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes
  • “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Songs 8:7

Content and Context (part 3) – Historical Books cont.

This week, we have the entire history of Israel’s monarchy—from the first grumblings for a king such as all the other nations have (1 Sam 8:5) to the exile, with some repetition thrown in for good measure. These were originally single books (not 1st and 2nd), which explains the naming.  There are so many great stories and examples (both positive and negative) here!

Take one book a week or one a day and help your children learn not just the order of the books in the Bible but something of their content and historical context.

HISTORICAL BOOKS (cont.)

1 Samuel

  • About: Samuel, Saul, and David

    008-david-jonathan
    David & Jonathan (c) FreeBibleImages.org
  • God uses a priest to establish the Israelite monarchy, which becomes the lineage of Jesus.
  • Big stories: Hannah, Saul v/s David, David & Jonathan
  • Author: unknown
  • Time: after Judges
  • “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

2 Samuel

  • About: reign of King David
  • God establishes David’s kingship through many challenges.
  • Big stories: David becomes king, Bathsheba, Tamar, Absalom’s conspiracy
  • Author: unknown (same as 1 Samuel)
  • Time: immediately after 1 Samuel
  • “The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: ‘When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.’” 2 Samuel 23:3-4

1 Kings

(c) FreeBibleImages.org
Solomon’s Temple (c) FreeBibleImages.org
  • About: King Solomon, divided kingdom, Elijah
  • God blesses Solomon, but later kings squander those blessings despite prophetic warnings.
  • Big stories: Solomon asks for wisdom, building the temple, Elijah & prophets of Ba’al
  • Author: unknown
  • Time: immediately after 2 Samuel (starts at the end of David’s reign)
  • “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.” 1 Kings 4:29

2 Kings

Elijah taken in a chariot of fire  (c) FreeBibleImages.org
Elijah taken in a chariot of fire
(c) FreeBibleImages.org
  • About: Elisha, exile
  • Prophets warn of judgment by exile but most kings refuse to heed God.
  • Big stories: Elijah’s chariot of fire, King Josiah renews the covenant
  • Author: unknown (same as 1 Kings)
  • Time: immediately after 1 Kings through Judah’s capture
  • “The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: ‘Turn from your evil ways….’ But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God.” 2 Kings 17:13-14

1 Chronicles

  • About: blood lines, King David
  • God chooses David, who rises to power as a military ruler and prepares for building the temple.
  • Big stories: 1/3 of the book is genealogy; David’s military prowess, heart for God, and collection of temple materials
  • Author: possibly Ezra
  • Time: from Adam through the death of King David
  • “What more can David say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant, Lord. For the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made known all these great promises.” 1 Chronicles 17:18-19

2 Chronicles

  • About: King Solomon, other kings of Judah
  • Solomon’s wisdom and power were soon forgotten as the kingdom fractured, leaving Judah with a series of kings—some good, some evil.
  • Big stories: building the temple, Solomon’s wisdom, schism and exile
  • Author: possibly Ezra
  • Time: King Solomon through going into exile
  • “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.” 2 Chronicles 36:15-16

Content and Context Clues for the Books of the Bible (part 2)

Here’s the next installment for teaching our children the content and context of the books of the Bible! Click here for the context of this series.  Come back next week for all the Old Testament 1sts and 2nds!

HISTORICAL BOOKS

Joshua

  • About: battles, conquest
  • God leads His people to take over the land He promised to them.
  • Big stories: battle of Jericho, conquest of Canaan, division of the land
  • Author: Joshua or someone close to him
  • Time: immediately after Deuteronomy through Joshua’s death
  • “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Judges

  • About: leaders of Israel
  • Repeatedly, God’s people turn away from Him; God sends judgment; the people ask for help; God sends a deliverer (a.k.a. judge).
  • Big stories: Deborah, Gideon, Samson
  • Author: unknown, possibly Samuel
  • Time: after Joshua and before King Saul
  • “Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; … But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors…. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.” Judges 2:18-19

Ruth

  • About: love and devotion, redemption
  • Ruth, a widowed Moabite, becomes a part of Jesus’ lineage.
  • Big stories: Ruth follows Naomi, Ruth meets and marries Boaz
  • Author: unknown
  • Time: same as Judges
  • “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.’” Ruth 1:16