2 – The Roadmap
Theme verse: “All scripture is God breathed and it’s useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the people of God may be thoroughly quipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Map of the Bible:
Synopsis – 1 book, comprised of a bunch of smaller books.
- 66 books altogether
- 39 in the Old Testament (OT)
- 27 in the New Testament (NT)
Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy
The first category of books is called the Law. This is the beginning. You see how God creates everything, you see how Adam and Eve fall and even though that relationship has been broken, you see how God takes interest in the affairs of humans by making a promise to Abraham. And then beginning with Abraham, God makes Israel his people. It’s called the law because God establishes the law that makes Israel his people. The law is, if Israel obeys God, he will bless them.
Historical: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
The next category is OT History. These books tell the story of Israel’s history as a nation.In Joshua, the Israelites are finally done wandering in the wilderness so they enter the Promised Land and begin taking it over. Eventually you see how the kings rule over Israel and Judah. Finally they were overtaken by Assyria, and by Babylon and the people are brought into exile. A while later the people are allowed to return to their homeland.
Poetry & Wisdom: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs
The next category is wisdom. These are poetic writings of praise, wisdom, and love. Solomon wrote many of these. He wrote down some of his fabulous wisdom, but he himself didn’t always follow it. Much of Psalms contain David’s Psalms of praise to God. Job is a poetic story of a man wrestling with the question of why bad stuff happens to good people.
Major (larger books): Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
The Major Prophets are the larger books covering God’s messages for Israel. Men who were prophets to Israel wrote these. They were specifically called by God to deliver messages from God to the people. They kept the people on the right track. They reminded people to follow God’s ways and reminded people of what God wanted.
Minor (smaller books): Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
The Minor Prophets are the smaller books covering God’s messages for Israel. These are the same type of thing as the Major Prophets, but they are just smaller. This category finishes out the Old Testament.
Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
The New Testament begins with the Gospels. The gospels are four different perspectives of Jesus’ life and ministry. Each one of these men offers a different account on the life and ministry of Jesus. It’s essentially the same story told in four different ways. You don’t just experience the story of Jesus through one person, you experience it through four people. We essentially have four different camera angles on Jesus’ life.
Acts tells the history of how the church began and spread. Don’t forget that the church didn’t begin until Jesus ascended into heaven. There was no church yet in the Old Testament. Acts is exciting. People are literally doing everything they can and giving everything they have to bring the message of Jesus to the world.
Paul’s: Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
Paul’s Letters make up the biggest section of the New Testament. You can see why Paul is such a rock star because so much of the New Testament is his writings. These are Paul’s letters to Christians in the early church. Each one of these is a letter written by Paul to people. This is old school texting. You are picking up Paul’s phone and looking at his texts to these churches and these people. Look at the beginning of Colossians 1:1. Who was the letter of Colossians written to? It was written to “Christians in the city of Colossae.”
General: Hebrews, James 1 & 2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude
The next section is just simply letters. It’s the generic version. This section contains letters to Christians in the early church. These are letters written by different people to Christians in different places. They’re the same type of thing as Paul’s letters they’re just not written by Paul. In some cases we know who wrote them, in other cases we don’t.
Apocalyptic is a fancy word for stuff that happens at the end of time. So Revelation contains writings about the end times. It gives us pictures about what will happen when Jesus returns. It deals with God bringing His plan to completion.
Keys to understanding each of the different sections:
- Genesis, Exodus, Joshua-Esther – Read these books as narratives or stories. They give examples of both godly and ungodly behavior. Our role is to read the story and gain understanding of how we are called to live in light of these stories.
- Leviticus – Deuteronomy – Can make for touch reading but the law was given to show God’s people His holiness and how they should relate to Him. Many of the laws were time, place and people specific, and then Jesus tells us that all the laws are fulfilled in Him.
- Job – Song of Solomon – Though each book falls under the category of wisdom, each brings something unique to the Bible. And the key is to read these books as an act of worship seeking understanding
- Job – evil and suffering
- Psalms – praises and prayers to God
- Proverbs – wise sayings
- Ecclesiastes – value of following God’s ways
- Song of Solomon – sexuality.
- Isaiah – Malachi – Though the prophetic books contain God’s messages to Israel, they still speak to us today. These books are reminders of right belief and right living. Today they remind us to make sure we believe what is right and that we live in the right way.
- Matthew – John – When you read the gospels you should notice it’s all about Jesus. Pay the closest attention to him. He’s who it is all about. He is the fulfillment of God’s plan, he establishes the Kingdom of God, and He’s the way to salvation.
- Acts – Acts tells the story of how the early church and the gospel of Jesus spread like crazy. When you read Acts marvel at the spread of the gospel. Then we ought to want to be a part of it. To me Acts says, this is the power of Jesus, now you come and experience it too.
- Romans – Jude – Romans through Jude are all letters written by someone to Christians in the early church. At face value, they’re often easy to understand and apply. As you begin to study these letters, put yourself in the shoes of the original recipients. Deciphering what the message of the Bible was to the original recipients is crucial.
- Revelation – This book is extremely difficult and its ok if you have no idea what’s going on when you read it. Revelation is full of pictures of the end. But that’s perhaps the most important part, the pictures are just that – pictures. It is unwise and foolish to think that what’s recorded in Revelation is exactly the way everything will go down. It is full of images of the end times.
This week’s challenge: Read 1 John 3-4 and figure out a problem that the Christians had, and then let me know what the problem was.
– What did you learn about the Bible tonight that you didn’t know before?
– Why is it important that we know about the different categories or genres the books of the Bible fit into? How does that help you read and understand each book?
– How do you find God’s Word to be a roadmap? What is it trying to guide us to?
– How can you take the challenge this week and try to get into God’s Word and better understand it and apply to your life?