Summary of the books of the Old Testament Books
The book of Exodus is a narrative. Exodus means “departure”. The book revolves around the deliverance of the people of Israel after 400 years of slavery under the then Pharaoh of Egypt. It begins with the cry of the Israelites for redemption from the hands of the Egyptians and proceeds to show how God raises Moses into leadership. It gives an account of how the Egyptians educate him, after which he goes into exile. He returns, ready to lead the people to Canaan. Exodus then gives an account of the 10 plagues that caused an adamant Pharaoh to set them free. In the wilderness, the Israelites complained, showing a desire to go back to the lifestyle they once had. This and many more deeds make God write the “Ten Commandments” that would guide their attitude and character. Finally, the book closes with the planning of the tabernacle and modeling of the Ark of the Covenant.
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Leviticus is a law book and mainly dwells on the themes of holiness and atonement. After 400 years of slavery in the hands of the Egyptians, the mindset of the Israelite tarnished and they began worshiping the pagan gods of Egypt. He laid out laws for them that were to guide the redeemed people towards holy living. Therefore, God gave Moses, Aaron, and the first high priest of Israel got further instructions concerning the character and behavior of the rest of the Israelites in their day-to-day lives. There were also instructions on how to conduct different festivals. Blessings or curses would befall anyone who broke these laws. Moses also received laws about sin and its atonement.
Joshua is a narrative book and exposes the theme of rest. The book is a continuation of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. After roaming the desert for a long time, the Israelites get an opportunity to settle down in the Promised Land. After Moses dies, his successor faces the challenge of following after him, to finish the work of settling the Israelites. This begins with the miraculous crossing of the River Jordan. It shows how God uses Joshua, son of Nun, to lead the armies of Israel against the then inhabitants of Canaan. The book shows records of how the Israelites won the battles, and how Joshua settled all the tribes of Israel into different regions of the land. After leading the nation for almost 20 years, Joshua gives a farewell speech, where we find the famous quote that “…as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, The New American Bible).
The book of Ecclesiastes is a wisdom book and is widely believed to have been authored by King Solomon. It mostly focuses on perspective. The author of the book of Ecclesiastes refers to himself as “the preacher”. Solomon was the third king of Israel and the wisest king in the world. This made him the wealthiest man alive in his time. As a wise man, the preacher tried to use the worldly view of things to find the meaning of life. In the end, he concluded that all was “vanity”, meaning that life without seeking God’s face was useless. At the end of his quest in seeking after the meaning of life, he accepts that the faith that anyone has in God is a single way to find happiness in life. Life to him is brief, and the person’s focus on his Maker is the only true salvation for the soul.
The book of Jeremiah is prophetic. It has a theme of judgment for a nation that had indulged in idolatry for a long time. After the death of King Josiah, the people of Judah went back to their evil ways. This gave birth to the rise of prophet Jeremiah, who, by giving the comparison of Judah to a harlot, proclaimed judgment on them. God had rescued them from destruction for a long time, yet the people of Judah still abandoned His commandments. This book gives a record of how God gave Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar, who made the people of Israel subject to his authority. After defying the commandments of the Lord, more destruction befell them, just as Jeremiah had prophesied. The highlight of the book though, is that even if the people of Israel had received severe judgment, God would restore the nation to its former glory.
Summary of the books of the New Testament Books
The book of John is one of the four Gospels in the New Testament. The main theme here is the explanation of the person of Jesus Christ, the confirmation that He was the son of God, and that all who believe in Him will have everlasting life (John 3:16, The New American Bible). There is no record of the birth of Jesus in this book. John does not also have an account of his temptations, nor the parables he gave. In chapter 2, John presents Jesus’ first miracle of turning water to wine and The prediction of His death and resurrection. In chapter 15, Jesus taught that He was the true vine, His disciples were the branches, and that God was the vinedresser. Chapters 18 to 20, the book records Jesus, arrest, crucifixion, death, and resurrection. The major events in the book of John are Jesus’ birth and resurrection.
The Book of Acts
The book of Acts is a narrative and mainly gives an account of the early apostolic church. The main theme of the book of Acts is the growth and spread of the church from Jerusalem to Asia Minor, Greece, and finally to Rome. Acts begin with Jesus’ ascension to heaven and the replacement of Judas, who hanged himself, with Matthias. Peter addressed a crowd in chapter 2 concerning the Holy Spirit, and they’re speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost (Fee & Stuart, 2003). The rest of the chapters until chapter 12 record the activities of Peter and the other apostles as they spread the gospel. The rest of the book gives an account of Paul during his missionary journeys where he went planting churches and facing trials of various kinds. The Book of Acts begins with Peter and the rest of the disciples while the latter section features Paul.
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The Letter to the Romans
The book of Romans is the first epistle of Paul found in the Bible though it was not the first one that Paul wrote. Paul wrote to the Romans before he visited them (Rom 1:11-12, The New American Bible). In this book, Christ is the first theme. The Roman Christian is the second theme, and the third theme is Paul, an example of how Christ can transform the life of an individual. The book of Romans begins with the wrath of God towards humankind in chapter one followed by His judgment and faithfulness. Chapter 4 introduces Abraham and the depth of his Faith while chapter 5 explains how sin came through Adam and life through Christ. The book concludes on how Israel would be saved and urges Christians to present their bodies as living sacrifices. The book focuses on Roman citizens and draws examples from the life of Paul.
First Timothy is an example of a Pastoral epistle. It approaches issues from the perspective of a pastor to a pastor instead of that of a pastor to a church, as is the case in Romans. The letter discusses issues of duties and qualifications of people who wish to serve in different capacities in the church. Paul gives instructions to Timothy on how widows, slaves, and the elderly were to be cared for and points out the need for men of God to seek righteousness, godliness, faith, and love. Paul starts by warning Timothy about false teachers of the law, gives instructions on worship and leadership, and charges him to keep the commandment without spot until the appearance of Jesus Christ (1 Tim 6:14, The New American Bible). The major personalities here include Paul himself, Timothy his son in the faith, the different members of the church where Timothy was ministering in, and Jesus Christ.
This is the only apocalyptic book in the New Testament. The main theme of the book is the events that will take place at the end of time, and the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ. Revelation shows the sovereignty of God, the return of Jesus Christ, the great judgment, and hope for all who believe in Jesus of heaven. It is divided into two main parts; the first part is the letters that John writes to the seven churches from chapter one to chapter three encouraging the believers to fight against temptation and stand strong in their faith (Fee & Stuart, 2003). The second part is a message to the churches, from chapter four to chapter twenty-two, where it gives an assurance of good prevailing over evil despite hard times ahead. The major personality is God, existing in the Trinity. Lucifer, the beast, and the false prophet feature towards the end as they face eternal judgment.
Fee, G. D., & Stuart, D. (2003). How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth, 3rd ed. Michigan: Zondervan.