Jewish Scriptures Summary
Genesis: Genesis tells the story of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth. Beginning with Adam and Eve, God populated the planet. However, they sinned and were banished from the Garden of Eden. Humanity grew and sin spread, so God decided to flood the earth, saving only Noah and his family. One of Noah’s descendants, Abraham, was called forward as God’s example of faith. His offspring set the stage for a nation to become God’s chosen people.
Exodus: Exodus tells of how Abraham’s offspring had multiplied over four centuries of servitude in Egypt. God then chose Moses to release plagues of judgment on the Egyptians and to lead Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land. On the way, He gave them the Torah (the first five books of the Jewish Scriptures) and instructions for living as followers of God.
Leviticus: Leviticus gives priestly instructions for overseeing the nation of Israel in both spiritual and daily life. The teachings emphasize worship, obedience, sacrifice, and holiness.
Numbers: Numbers covers the time of Israel’s wanderings through the wilderness for 40 years. We experience the lessons and complaining of Israel in the midst of God’s protective covering over His children as they are prepared to enter the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy: Deuteronomy recounts numerous discourses by Moses as he prepares the Israelites to be obedient to God. Moses emphasized the proper posture of gratefulness in living a life of dedication to the Lord.
Joshua: This book tells the story of Joshua, the successor of Moses. It details the overcoming of the adversaries of Israel, who had not honored God and were routed out of Canaan, the Promised Land.
Judges: Judges covers Israel’s history after Joshua, as they repeatedly rebelled against God, suffered from enemies, repented, and called out for judges (champions) to deliver them and restore a right relationship with God.
Ruth: Ruth tells the story of a widowed daughter-in-law of a Jewish woman who returned to Israel to serve her bereaved mother. Through obedience and service, Ruth was fully restored.
First Samuel: First Samuel begins the review of Israel’s history by relating the nation’s rejection of God in favor of appointing a king. Despite clear warnings from the prophet Samuel, their first king, Saul, began strong, but was unable to maintain godly standards of leadership.
Second Samuel: Second Samuel shows David anointed as king. He desired to build a kingdom that would reflect God’s glory here on earth. He spent most of his life uniting the tribes of Israel and conquering their foes. Late in life, his lack of restraint and selfishness put his nation at risk.
First Kings: First Kings covers the career of King Solomon, who led a united Israel for 40 peaceful years. Israel achieved greatness and built a magnificent temple, displaying God’s
glory and favor. Yet Solomon’s successes gradually dissipated, and Israel returned to a divided state.
Second Kings: Second Kings begins as the prophet Elijah ascends to Heaven and hands his mantle to Elisha. Here is the history of numerous additional kings in both Israel (north) and Judah (south). These two kingdoms were often disobedient and at odds with each other, and the book traces their separate paths to tragic endings. Eventually both regions were conquered and led into captivity.
First Chronicles: First Chronicles recounts the history of David’s family and reviews the significant events of the kingdom of Israel’s past. More than a retelling of history, this book (and Second Chronicles) focuses on the moral and prophetic aspects of spiritual and priestly leadership.
Second Chronicles: Second Chronicles contrasts the lessons of good and evil kings.There is a clear delineation between the obedience that led to salvation and the indifference or rebellion that led to destruction. Focusing on the southern kingdom, Judah, the book spans 400 years from the building of the first temple to the edict to build the second temple.
Ezra: Ezra had returned to Israel because the Temple had been torn down. He gathered builders and craftsmen together to restore the house of God. After 70 years of captivity, he led the first contingent of Jews back to their homeland to commence work.
Nehemiah: The Book of Nehemiah completes the review of Jewish Scriptures history. Starting with the remarkably swift reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of the temple and renewal of Israel under the disapproving gaze of local officials.
Esther: Esther is the story of God’s favor on a queen who risked her life to protect her Jewish constituents across the known world. Despite the plotting of a villainous magistrate, she exposed his manipulations and delivered her people from sure destruction.
Job: Job is the oldest story in the Holy Scriptures. A devout man who had achieved renowned success, Job was sorely tested without any understanding of the cause of such painful treatment.
After suffering multiple onslaughts, he refused to give up on God and was vindicated.
Psalms: Psalms is a stunning collection of Hebrew poetry and songs spanning the depth of human experience. A variety of lyrics divulging praise, sorrow, battles, judgment, peace, prophecy, and so forth combine to search our souls for some understanding of God’s complexity.
Proverbs: Proverbs tells of God’s unending wisdom. Jewels of knowledge are scattered across every page. Introspection on the human condition reveals our strengths and weaknesses. Pitfalls to destruction are uncovered. Paths of righteousness are exalted.
Ecclesiastes: Ecclesiastes compiles the wisdom of King Solomon. After plentiful living, we discover the vanity we strive for carries little or no value.The only thing that will last is our relationship with God and our obedience to fulfill His call upon our lives.
Song of Solomon: Song of Solomon is the love song of the Bible. God tells of His immeasurable love for His creation as we witness the
fervent passion a husband and wife feel for one another.
Isaiah: The Book of Isaiah begins the books of the prophets. Isaiah foretells the birth, death, and resurrection of the coming Messiah in numerous passages. He gives voice to the Lord’s warnings that Israel’s sins must be addressed or God will judge His people.
Jeremiah: Jeremiah, referred to as the crying prophet, poured out his heart for an Israel that refused to listen to God’s instructions and repent. Despite being rejected, Jeremiah continued to alert his fellow countrymen that God would remove the people from their homeland.
Lamentations: Lamentations utters our Lord’s sorrow over the nation of Israel’s sin. We hear the heart of God as He suffers over the funeral of a city. Penned by Jeremiah, this book tells Israel that they are going to pay a great price for their rebellion, yet recognizes the victory to come.
Ezekiel: Ezekiel spoke to the exiled Israelites in utter despair. He reminded them of the dire consequences for not repenting, even when they were held captive. He prophesied future battles and the glorious salvation of Israel. His prophetic words to Israel continue to find application in our contemporary world.
Daniel: Daniel stood strong despite the opposition that surrounded him and his compatriots. He refused to submit to the forces of foreign governments to control his life or his steadfast worship of God, even at the peril of his own life. The Lord gave him stunning victories.
Hosea: Hosea was called to demonstrate God’s unwavering desire to forgive even the most hardened of sinners. Hosea’s wife would not honor her marriage vows. However, despite her disgraceful behavior, the Lord had Hosea forgive her grievous misdeeds and redeem her.
Joel: Joel spoke of the coming Day of the Lord. This future day will be harsher than anything we have ever experienced, but Almighty God will bless His faithful ones. Joel reminded Israel that the Lord has mercy for those who will turn from their sin and return to the Lord.
Amos: Amos spoke to those who offered sacrifices and pretended to have pure motives, but
lacked righteousness and an understanding of the nature of God. Though Israel was prospering, there was hypocrisy. Impure sacrifices would not deter the Lord’s insistence on righteousness.
Obadiah: Obadiah warned those who abused God’s people that He would judge their ways. Recalling the struggle in the womb of Esau and Jacob, the drama played out during the prophet’s day. God knew who genuinely wished to walk in His ways, and He would not forget them.
Jonah: The Book of Jonah demonstrates God’s sovereign ability to call a man to service, even when he would flee. His assignment was to lead a sinful city to repentance. Despite Jonah’s disobedience, God was still able to orchestrate events and remove all obstacles to see evil eliminated and draw sinners back to Himself.
Micah: Micah came from humble surroundings to the courts of the rich and influential to pronounce a strong rebuke on those who would take advantage of the poor and downtrodden. The Lord will have His retribution with those who refuse to do as He requires of them.
Nahum: Nahum reminded the oppressors, who had once repented, that they had again turned from the Lord who had forgiven them of their sins. He declared that none were above His accountability and that the Lord would remove any and all who opposed Him.
Habakkuk: Habakkuk alerted Judah that their repeated hardness of heart and unwillingness to repent would not go unpunished. The Lord told his prophet that the Babylonians would be His method of reprisal. Habakkuk was forlorn, but knew that faith in God would be rewarded.
Zephaniah: Zephaniah saw the punishment of the Lord for those inhabitants of Jerusalem who continued to worship foreign Gods. The day of the Lord is coming, and the change that God requires must be sincere. A faithful God will bless the faithful remnant.
Haggai: Haggai reminded Israel that the Lord must be first in every part of their lives.The Lord will shake all the nations, but obedience will come to the Desire of All Nations (God), as the Lord of Hosts will fill His temple with glory. This is the promised blessing of the Lord.
Zechariah: Zechariah exhorted Israel to finish the work on the temple. He reminded them that this would be the house that their Messiah would enter to display His glory. Before He returned, the Lord expected obedience to the task at hand.Visions of the coming Lord inspired God’s people.
Malachi: Malachi warned Israel that their privilege of knowing God was not an entitlement to continue corrupt practices. Israel’s ongoing sin left that nation waiting for 400 years before the coming of the Messiah. Malachi confirmed that the day of the Lord’s appearance, though long in coming, would happen suddenly.