Old Testament

  1. Genesis
    1. That sacrifice for sin allows anyone to be right with God through simple faith in Jesus’ work.
    2. God creates the world and chooses a special people.
    3. The Bible’s first book never explains God; it simply assumes His existence: “In the beginning, God…” (1:1). Chapters 1 and 2 describe how God created the universe and everything in it simply by speaking: “God said…and it was so” (1:6–7, 9, 11, 14–15). Humans, however, received special handling, as “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (2:7), and woman was crafted from a rib of man. Those first two people, Adam and Eve, live in perfection but ruined paradise by disobeying God at the urging of a “subtil” (crafty, 3:1) serpent. Sin throws humans into a moral freefall as the world’s first child—Cain—murders his brother Abel. People become so bad that God decides to flood the entire planet, saving only the righteous Noah, his family, and an ark (boat) full of animals. After the earth repopulates, God chooses a man named Abram as patriarch of a specially blessed people, later called “Israel” after an alternative name of Abram’s grandson Jacob. Genesis ends with Jacob’s son Joseph, by a miraculous chain of events, ruling in Egypt—setting up the events of the following book of Exodus.
    4. Main Characters - Adam & Eve, Cain & Able, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Noah, Moses - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  2. Exodus
    1. God delivers His people, the Israelites, from slavery in Egypt.
    2. The Israelites prosper in Egypt, having settled there at the invitation of Abraham’s great-grandson Joseph, who entered the country as a slave and rose to second in command. When Joseph dies, a new pharaoh sees the burgeoning family as a threat—and makes the people his slaves. God hears the Israelites’ groaning, remembering “his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob” (2:24) and raising up Moses as their deliverer. God speaks through a burning bush, and Moses reluctantly agrees to demand the Israelites’ release from Pharaoh. To break Pharaoh’s will, God sends ten plagues on Egypt, ending with the death of every firstborn child—except those of the Israelites. They put sacrificial blood on their doorposts, causing the death angel to “pass over” (12:13) their homes. Pharaoh finally allows the Israelites to leave the country (the “Exodus”), and God parts the Red Sea for the people, who are being pursued by Egyptian soldiers. At Mount Sinai, God delivers the Ten Commandments, rules for worship, and laws to change the family into a nation. When Moses delays on the mountain, the people begin worshipping a golden calf, bringing a plague upon themselves. Moses returns to restore order, and Exodus ends with the people continuing their journey to the “promised land” of Canaan, following God’s “pillar of cloud” by day and “pillar of fire” by night. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  3. Leviticus
    1. A holy God explains how to worship Him.
    2. Leviticus, meaning “about the Levites,” describes how that family line should lead the Israelites in worship. The book provides ceremonial laws as opposed to the moral laws of Exodus, describing  offerings to God, dietary restrictions, and purification rites. Special holy days—including the Sabbath, Passover, and Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)—are commanded. The family of Aaron, Moses’ brother, is ordained as Israel’s formal priesthood. Leviticus lists several blessings for obedience and many more punishments for disobedience. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  4. Numbers
    1. Faithless Israelites wander forty years in the wilderness of Sinai.
    2. Numbers begins with a census—hence the book’s name. Fourteen months after the Israelites escape Egypt, they number 603,550 men, not including the Levites. This mass of people, the newly formed nation of Israel, begins a march of approximately two hundred miles to the “promised land” of Canaan—a journey that will take decades to complete. The delay is God’s punishment of the people, who complain about food and water, rebel against Moses, and hesitate to enter Canaan because of powerful people already living there. God decrees that this entire generation will die in the wilderness, leaving the Promised Land to a new generation of more obedient Israelites. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  5. Deuteronomy
    1. Moses reminds the Israelites of their history and God’s laws.
    2. With a name meaning “second law,” Deuteronomy records Moses’ final words as the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land. Forty years have passed since God handed down His laws on Mount Sinai, and the entire generation that experienced that momentous event has died. So Moses reminds the new generation both of God’s commands and of their national history as they ready their entry into Canaan. The invasion will occur under Joshua, as Moses will only see the Promised Land from Mount Nebo. “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there. … And he [God] buried him in a valley in the land of Moab…but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day” (34:5–6). Moses was 120 years old. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  6. Joshua
    1. The Israelites capture and settle the promised land of Canaan.
    2. With Moses and an entire generation of disobedient Israelites dead, God tells Joshua to lead the people into Canaan, their promised land. In Jericho, the first major obstacle, the prostitute Rahab helps Israelite spies and earns protection from the destruction of the city: God knocks its walls flat as Joshua’s army marches outside, blowing trumpets and shouting. Joshua leads a successful military campaign to clear idol-worshipping people—Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—from the land. At one point, God answers Joshua’s prayer to make the sun stand still, allowing more time to complete a battle (10:1–15). Major cities subdued, Joshua divides the land among the twelve tribes of Israel, reminding the people to stay true to the God who led them home: “Now therefore put away…the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel” (24:23). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  7. Judges
    1. Israel goes through cycles of sin, suffering, and salvation.
    2. After Joshua’s death, the Israelites lose momentum in driving pagan people out of the Promised Land. “The children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem” (1:21) is a statement characteristic of many tribes, which allow idol worshippers to stay in their midst—with tragic results. “Ye have not obeyed my voice” God says to His people. “They shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you” (2:2–3). That’s exactly what happens, as the Israelites begin a cycle of worshipping idols, suffering punishment by attackers, crying to God for help, and receiving God’s aid in the form of a human judge (or “deliverer”) who restores order. Lesser-known judges include Othniel, Ehud, Tola, Jair, and Jephthah, while more familiar figures are Deborah, the only female judge, who led a military victory against the Canaanites; Gideon, who tested God’s will with a fleece and defeated the armies of Midian; and the amazingly strong Samson, who defeated the Philistines. Samson’s great weakness—his love for unsavory women such as Delilah—led to his downfall and death in a Philistine temple. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  8. Ruth
    1. Loyal daughter-in-law pictures God’s faithfulness, love, and care.
    2. Ruth, a Gentile woman, marries into a Jewish family. When all of the men of the family die, Ruth shows loyalty to her mother-in-law, Naomi, staying with her and scavenging food to keep them alive. As Ruth gleans barley in a field of the wealthy Boaz, he takes an interest in her and orders his workers to watch over her. Naomi recognizes Boaz as her late husband’s relative and encourages Ruth to pursue him as a “kinsman redeemer,” one who weds a relative’s widow to continue a family line. Boaz marries Ruth, starting a prominent family.
    3. We can trust God to provide what we need, when we need it—and to work out our lives in ways that are better than we ever imagined. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  9. 1 Samuel
    1. Israel’s twelve tribes unite under a king.
    2. An infertile woman, Hannah, begs God for a son, promising to return him to the Lord’s service. Samuel is born and soon sent to the temple to serve under the aging priest, Eli. Upon Eli’s death, Samuel serves as judge, or deliverer, of Israel, subduing the nation’s fearsome enemy, the Philistines. As Samuel ages, Israel’s tribal leaders reject his sinful sons and ask for a king. Samuel warns that a king will tax the people and force them into service, but they insist and God tells Samuel to anoint the notably tall and handsome Saul as Israel’s first ruler. King Saul starts well but begins making poor choices—and when he offers a sacrifice to God, a job reserved for priests, Samuel tells Saul that he will be replaced. Saul’s successor will be a shepherd named David, who with God’s help kills a giant Philistine warrior named Goliath and becomes Israel’s hero. The jealous king seeks to kill David, who runs for his life. David rejects opportunities to kill Saul himself, saying, “I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed” (26:23). At the end of 1 Samuel, Saul dies battling the Philistines, making way for David to become king. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  10. 2 Samuel
    1. David becomes Israel’s greatest king—but with major flaws.
    2. When King Saul dies, David is made king by the southern Jewish tribe of Judah. Seven years later, after the death of Saul’s son Ishbosheth, king of the northern tribes, David becomes ruler of all Israel. Capturing Jerusalem from the Jebusites, David creates a new capital for his unified nation, and God promises David, “Your throne will be established forever” (7:16 NIV). Military victories make Israel strong, but when David stays home from battle one spring, he commits adultery with a beautiful neighbor, Bathsheba. Then he has her husband—one of his soldiers—murdered. The prophet Nathan confronts David with a story of a rich man who steals a poor man’s sheep. David is furious until Nathan announces, “Thou art the man” (12:7). Chastened, David repents and God forgives his sins—but their consequences will affect David powerfully. The baby conceived in the tryst dies, and David’s family begins to splinter apart. One of David’s sons, Amnon, rapes his half sister, and a second son, Absalom—full brother to the violated girl—kills Amnon in revenge. Absalom then conspires to steal the kingdom from David, causing his father to flee for his life. When Absalom dies in battle with David’s men, David grieves so deeply that he offends his soldiers. Ultimately, David returns to Jerusalem to reassert his kingship. He also raises another son born to Bathsheba—Solomon. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  11. 1 Kings
    1. Israel divides into rival northern and southern nations.
    2. King David, in declining health, names Solomon, his son with Bathsheba, successor. After David’s death, God speaks to Solomon in a dream, offering him anything he’d like—and Solomon chooses wisdom. God gives Solomon great wisdom, along with much power and wealth. The new king soon builds God a permanent temple in Jerusalem, and the Lord visits Solomon again to promise blessings for obedience and trouble for disobedience. Sadly, Solomon’s wisdom fails him, as he marries seven hundred women, many of them foreigners who turn his heart to idols. When Solomon dies, his son Rehoboam foolishly antagonizes the people of Israel, and ten northern tribes form their own nation under Jeroboam, a former official of Solomon’s. Two southern tribes continue under Solomon’s line in a nation called Judah. Jeroboam begins badly, initiating idol worship in the north; many wicked rulers follow. Judah will also have many poor leaders, though occasional kings, such as Asa and Jehoshaphat, follow the Lord. 1 Kings introduces the prophet Elijah, who confronts the evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel regarding their worship of the false god Baal. In God’s power, Elijah defeats 450 false prophets in a dramatic contest on Mount Carmel.
    3. Solomon’s example provides a strong warning: Even the most blessed person can drift from God and make big mistakes. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  12. 2 Kings
    1. Both Jewish nations are destroyed for their disobedience to God.
    2. The story of 1 Kings continues, with more bad rulers, a handful of good ones, some familiar prophets, and the ultimate loss of the two Jewish nations. Early in 2 Kings, Elijah becomes the second man (after Enoch in Genesis 5:24) to go straight to heaven without dying. His successor, Elisha, performs many miracles and shares God’s word with the “average people” of Israel. The northern kingdom’s rulers are entirely wicked, and Israel, under its last king, Hoshea, is “carried…away into Assyria” (17:6) in 722 BC. Judah, with occasional good kings such as Hezekiah and Josiah, lasts a few years longer—but in 586 BC the southern kingdom’s capital of Jerusalem “was broken up” (25:4) by Babylonian armies under King Nebuchadnezzar. Besides taking everything valuable from the temple and the Jewish king’s palace, the Babylonians also “carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths” (24:14). Ending on a slight up note, 2 Kings describes a new king of Babylon, Evil-merodach, showing kindness to Jehoiachin, the last real king of Judah, by giving him a place of honor in the Babylonian court.
    3. Both Israel and Judah found that there were terrible consequences to sin. Even bad examples can be helpful if we decide not to do the things that bring us trouble. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  13. 1 Chronicles
    1. King David’s reign is detailed and analyzed.
    2. 1 Chronicles provides a history of Israel, going as far back as Adam. By the eleventh chapter, the story turns to Israel’s greatest king, David, with special emphasis on his leadership of national worship. Another important focus is on God’s promise that David would have an eternal kingly line through his descendant Jesus Christ.
    3. The positive spin of 1 Chronicles was designed to remind the Jews that despite their punishment for sin, they were still God’s special people. When God makes a promise, He keeps it. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  14. 2 Chronicles
    1. The history of Israel from Solomon to division to destruction.
    2. David’s son Solomon is made king, builds the temple, and becomes one of the most prominent rulers ever. But when he dies, the Jewish nation divides. In the remainder of 2 Chronicles, the various kings of the relatively godlier southern nation of Judah are profiled right down to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The book ends with the Persian king Cyrus allowing Jews to rebuild the devastated temple.
    3. God’s punishment isn’t intended to hurt people but to bring them back to Him. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  15. Ezra
    1. Spiritual renewal begins after the Jews return from exile.
    2. About a half century after Babylonians sacked Jerusalem and carried Jews into captivity, Persia is the new world power. King Cyrus allows a group of exiles to return to Judah to rebuild the temple. Some 42,000 people return and resettle the land. About seventy years later, Ezra is part of a smaller group that also returns. He teaches the law to the people, who have fallen away from God to the point of intermarrying with nearby pagan nations, something that was strictly forbidden by Moses (Deuteronomy 7:1–3).
    3. In Ezra, God shows His willingness to offer a second chance—allowing a nation that had been punished for disobedience to have a fresh start. Guess what? He’s still in the second-chance business. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  16. Nehemiah
    1. Returning Jewish exiles rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem.
    2. Nehemiah serves as “the king’s cupbearer” (1:11)
    3. in Shushan, Persia. As a Jew, he’s disturbed to learn that even though exiles have been back in Judah for nearly a hundred years, they have not rebuilt the city’s walls, devastated by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Nehemiah asks and receives the king’s permission to return to Jerusalem, where he leads a team of builders—against much pagan opposition—in reconstructing the walls in only fifty-two days. The quick work on the project shocks the Jews’ enemies, who “perceived that this work was wrought of our God” (6:16).
    4. Nehemiah’s success in rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls provides many leadership principles for today—especially his consistent focus on prayer. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  17. Esther
    1. Beautiful Jewish girl becomes queen, saves fellow Jews from slaughter.
    2. In a nationwide beauty contest, young Esther becomes queen of Persia without revealing her Jewish heritage. When a royal official plots to kill every Jew in the country, Esther risks her own life to request the king’s protection. The king, pleased with Esther, is shocked by his official’s plan and has the man hanged—while decreeing that the Jews should defend themselves against the planned slaughter. Esther’s people prevail and commemorate the event with a holiday called Purim. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  18. Job
    1. God allows human suffering for His own purposes.
    2. Head of a large family, Job is a wealthy farmer from a place called Uz. He’s “perfect and upright” (1:1)—so much so, that God calls Satan’s attention to him. The devil, unimpressed, asks and receives God’s permission to attack Job’s possessions—and wipes out thousands of sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys, and worst of all, Job’s ten children. Despite Satan’s attack, Job keeps his faith. Satan then receives God’s permission to attack Job’s health—but in spite of terrible physical suffering, Job refuses to “curse God, and die” as his wife suggests (2:9). Before long, though, Job begins to question why God would allow him—a good man—to suffer so severely. Job’s suffering is worsened by the arrival of four “friends” who begin to accuse him of causing his own trouble by secret sin. “Is not thy wickedness great?” asks Eliphaz the Temanite (22:5). In the end, God Himself speaks, vindicating Job before his friends and also addressing the overarching issue of human suffering. God doesn’t explain Job’s suffering but asks a series of questions that shows His vast knowledge—implying that Job should simply trust God’s way. And Job does, telling God, “I know that thou canst do every thing” (42:2). By story’s end, God has restored Job’s health, possessions, and family, giving him ten more children.
    3. Trouble isn’t necessarily a sign of sin in a person’s life. It may be something God allows to draw us closer to Him. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  19. Psalms
    1. Ancient Jewish songbook showcases prayers, praise—and complaints—to God.
    2. Over several centuries, God led various individuals to compose emotionally charged poems—of which 150 were later compiled into the book we know as Psalms. Many of the psalms are described as “of David,” meaning they could be by, for, or about Israel’s great king. Highlights of the book include the “shepherd psalm” (23), which describes God as protector and provider; David’s cry for forgiveness after his sin with Bathsheba (51); psalms of praise (100 is a powerful example); and the celebration of scripture found in Psalm 119, with almost all of the 176 verses making some reference to God’s laws, statutes, commandments, precepts, word, and the like. Some psalms, called “imprecatory,” call for God’s judgment on enemies (see Psalms 69 and 109, for example). Many psalms express agony of spirit on the writer’s part—but nearly every psalm returns to the theme of praise to God. That’s the way the book of Psalms ends: “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD” (150:6).
    3. The book of Psalms is the Bible’s longest, in terms of both number of chapters (150) and total word count.Read more at location 566
    4. Psalm 117 is also the midpoint of the Protestant Bible, with 594 chapters before it and 594 after.
    5. The psalms run the gamut of human emotion—which is why so many people turn to them in times of both joy and sadness. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  20. Proverbs
    1. Pithy, memorable sayings encourage people to pursue wisdom.
    2. Proverbs doesn’t have a story line—it’s simply a collection of practical tips for living. Mainly from the pen of King Solomon, the wisest human being ever (in 1 Kings 3:12 God said, “I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee”), the proverbs speak to issues such as work, money, sex, temptation, drinking, laziness, discipline, and child rearing. Underlying each proverb is the truth that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7).
    3. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (3:5)
    4. A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (15:1)
    5. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. (16:3)
    6. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise. (17:28)
    7. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. (26:4)
    8. Wisdom, as Proverbs 4:7 indicates, “is the principal thing…with all thy getting get understanding.” If you need help with that, just ask God (James 1:5). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  21. Ecclesiastes
    1. Apart from God, life is empty and unsatisfying.
    2. A king pursues the things of this world, only to find them unfulfilling. Learning, pleasure, work, laughter—“all is vanity” (1:2). The king also laments the inequities of life: People live, work hard, and die, only to leave their belongings to someone else; the wicked prosper over the righteous; the poor are oppressed. Nevertheless, the king realizes “the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (12:13).
    3. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. (3:1)
    4. Life doesn’t always make sense…but there’s still a God who understands. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  22. Song of Solomon
    1. Married love is a beautiful thing worth celebrating.
    2. A dark-skinned beauty is marrying the king, and both are thrilled. “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes,” he tells her (1:15). “Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green,” she responds (1:16). Through eight chapters and 117 verses, the two lovers admire each other’s physical beauty, expressing their love and devotion.
    3. God made marriage for the husband and wife’s enjoyment—and that marital love can be a picture of God’s joy in His people. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  23. Isaiah
    1. A coming Messiah will save people from their sins.
    2. Like most prophets, Isaiah announced the bad news of punishment for sin. But he also described a coming Messiah who would be “wounded for our transgressions…bruised for our iniquities…and with his stripes we are healed” (53:5). Called to the ministry through a stunning vision of God in heaven (Chapter 6), Isaiah wrote a book that some call “the fifth Gospel” for its predictions of the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ some seven hundred years later. These prophecies of redemption balance the depressing promises of God’s discipline against Judah and Jerusalem, which were overrun by Babylonian armies about a century later. Isaiah’s prophecy ends with a long section (Chapters 40–66) describing God’s restoration of Israel, His promised salvation, and His eternal kingdom. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  24. Jeremiah
    1. After years of sinful behavior, Judah will be punished.
    2. Called to the ministry as a boy (1:6), Jeremiah prophesies bad news to Judah: “Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD” (5:15). Jeremiah is mocked for his prophecies, occasionally beaten, and imprisoned in a muddy well (Chapter 38). But his words come true with the Babylonian invasion of Chapter 52.  - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  25. Lamentations
    1. A despairing poem about the destruction of Jerusalem.
    2. After warning the southern Jewish nation to obey God, the prophet Jeremiah witnesses the punishment he’d threatened. Judah’s “enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions,” writes Jeremiah; “her children are gone into captivity before the enemy” (1:5). The sight brings tears to Jeremiah’s eyes (“Mine eye runneth down with water,” 1:16) and provides his nickname, “the weeping prophet.” Lamentations ends with a plaintive cry: “Thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us” (5:22). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  26. Ezekiel
    1. Though Israel is in exile, the nation will be restored.
    2. Ezekiel, an exiled Jew in Babylon, becomes God’s spokesman to fellow exiles. He shares unusual (even bizarre) visions with the people, reminding them of the sin that led to their captivity but also offering hope of national restoration. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  27. Daniel
    1. Faithful to God in a challenging setting, Daniel is blessed.
    2. As a young man, Daniel - along with three others to be known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - are taken from their home in Jerusalem to serve the king of Babylon.  Daniel's God-given ability to interpret drams endears him to King Nebuchadnezzar, whose vision of a huge statue, Daniel says, represents existing and future kingdoms.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego find trouble when they disobey an order to bow before a statue of Nebuchadnezzar; as punishment, they were thrown into a fiery furnace, where they are protected by an angelic being "like the Son of God" (3:25).  The next Babylonian king, Belshazzar, throws a drinking party using cups stolen from the temple in Jerusalem; he literally sees "the writing on the wall," which Daniel interprets as the soon-to-come takeover of Babylon by the Medes.  The Median king, Darius, keeps Daniel as an advisor but is tricked into passing a law designed by other jealous officials to hurt Daniel, who ends up in a den of lions.  Once again, God protects His people; Daniel spending a night and replaced by the schemers, who are mauled by the hungry beasts.  The final six chapters contain Daniel's prophetic visions including that of "seventy weeks" of the end times. 
    3. As the old song says, "Dare to be a Daniel."  God will always take care of the people who "dare to stand alone... to have a purpose firm" for Him. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  28. Hosea
    1. Prophet's marriage to prostitute reflects God's relationship with Israel.
    2. God give Hosea a strange command: "Take unto thee a wife of whoredoms" (1:2).  The marriage pictures God's relationship to Israel - an honorable, loving husband paired with an unfaithful wife.  Hosea marries an adultress named Gomer and starts a family with her.  When Gomer returns to her life of sin, Hosea - again picturing God's faithfulness - buys her back from the slave market.  The book contains God;s warnings for disobedience but also His promises of blessing for repentance.
    3. God is faithful, even when His people aren't - and He is always ready to forgive.  "I will heal their backsliding," God said through Hosea; "I will love them freely" (14:4). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  29. Joel
    1. Locust plague pictures God's judgment on His sinful people.
    2. A devastating locust swarm invades the nation of Judah, but Joel indicates this natural disaster is nothing compared to the coming "great and very terrible" day of the Lord (2:11).  God plans to judge His people for sin, but they still have time to repent.  Obedience will bring both physical and spiritual renewal: "I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh," God says (2:28).  When the Holy Spirit comes on Christian believers at Pentecost, the apostle Peter quotes this passage to explain what has happened (Acts 2:17).
    3. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered. (2:32)
    4. Though God judges sin, He always offers a way out - in our time, through Jesus. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  30. Amos
    1. Real religion isn't just ritual but treating people with justice.
    2. An average guy - a lowly shepherd, actually - takes on the rich and powerful of Israelite society, condemning their idol worship, persecution of God's prophets, and cheating of the poor.  Though God once rescued the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, He is ready to send them into new bondage because of their sin.  Amos sees visions that picture Israel's plight: a plumb line, indicating the people are not measuring up to God's standards, and a basket of ripe fruit, showing the nation is ripe for God's judgment.
    3. How are you treating the people around you?  In God's eyes, that's an indicator of your true spiritual condition.  Fora New Testament perspective, see James 2:14-18. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  31. Obadiah
    1. Edom will suffer for participating in Jerusalem's destruction.
    2. Edom was a nation descended from Esau - twin brother of Jacob, the patriarch of Israel.  The baby boys had struggled in their mother's womb (Genesis 25:21-26), and their conflict had continued over the centuries.  After Edom took part in the Babylonian ransacking of Jerusalem, Obediah passed down God's judgment: " For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shall be cut off for ever" (1:10).
    3. Obediah shows God's faithfulness to His people.  This prophesy is a fullfilment of God's promise from denerations earlier: "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee" (Genesis 12:3). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  32. Jonah
    1. Reluctant prophet, running from God, is swallowed by a giant fish.
    2. God tells Jonah to preach repentance in Nineveh, capital of the brutal Assyrian Empire.  Jonah disobeys, sailing in the opposite direction - towards a rendezvous with literary immortality.  A storm rocks Jonah's ship, and he spends three days in a giant fish's belly before deciding to obey God after all.  When Jonah preaches, Nineveh repents - and God spares the city from the destruction He'd threatened.  But the prejudiced Jonah pouts.  The story ends with God proclaiming his concern even for vicious pagans.
    3. God loves everyone - even the enemies of His chosen people.  As Romans 5:8 says, 'God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  33. Micah
    1. Israel and Judah will suffer for their idolatry and injustice.
    2. Micah chastises both the northern and southern Jewish nations for pursuing false gods and cheating the poor.  The two nations will be devastated by invaders (the Assyrians), but God will preserve "the remnant of Israel" (2:12).
    3. Micah shows how God's judgment is tempered by mercy.  "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?  He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy" (7:18). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  34. Nahum
    1. Powerful, wicked Nineveh will fall before God's judgment.
    2. "Woe to the bloody city!" Nahum cries (3:1).  Nineveh, capital of the brutal Assyrian Empire, has been targeted for judgment by God Himself, who will "make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock" (3:6) for sins of idolatry and cruelty.  Nahum's prophecy comes true when the Babylonian Empire overruns Nineveh in 612 BC.
    3. The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him (1:7).
    4. Even the most powerful city on the earth is no match for God's strength.  Neither is the biggest problem in our individual lives. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  35. Habakkuk
    1. Trust God even when He seems unresponsive or unfair.
    2. In Judah, a prophet complains that God allows violence and injustice among His people.  But Habakkuk is shocked to learn the Lord's plan for dealing with the problem: sending the "bitter and hasty" (1:6) Chaldeans to punish Judah.  Habakkuk argues that the Chaldeans are far worse than the disobedient Jews, telling God, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil" (1:13).  The Lord, however, says He's only using the Chaldeans for His purposes ad will in time punish them for their own sins.  It's not Habakkuk's job to question God's ways:  "The LORD in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him" (2:20).  Habakkuk, like Job, ultimately submits before God's authority.
    3. Our world is much like Habakkuk's - full of violence and injustice - but God is still in control.  Whether we sense it or not, He's working out His own purposes. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  36. Zephaniah
    1. A coming "day of the Lord" promises heavy judgment.
    2. Zephaniah begins with a jarring prophecy: "I will utterly consume all things from off the land," God declares in the book's second verse.  People, animals, birds, fish will all perish, victims of God's wrath over Judah's idolatry.  Other nearby nations will be punished, as well, in "the fire of my jealousy" (3:8), but there is hope: In His mercy, God will one day restore a remnant of Israel that "shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies" (3:13).
    3. God gave the people of Judah fair warning of His judgment, just as He has done with us.  For Christians, the coming "day of the Lord" carries no fear. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  37. Haggai
    1. Jews returning from exile need to rebuild God's temple.
    2. One of the three "postexilic" prophets, Haggai encourages former Babylonian captives to restore the demolished temple in Jerusalem.  The new world poser, Persia, has allowed the people to return to Jerusalem, but they've become distracted with building their own comfortable homes.  Through Haggai, God tells people to rebuild the temple first in order to break a drought that's affecting the countryside.
    3. Priorities are important.  When we put God first, He is more inclined to bless us. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  38. Zechariah
    1. Jewish exiles should rebuild their temple - and anticipate their Messiah.
    2. Like Haggai, another postexilic prophet, Zechariah urges Jewish people to rebuild the Jerusalem temple.  He also gives several prophecies of the coming Messiah, including and end-times vision of a final battle over Jerusalem, when "the LORD [shall] go forth, and fight against those nations.  ... And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives.  ... And the LORD shall be king over all the earth" (14:3-4,9).
    3. Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you. (1:3). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  39. Malachi
    1. The Jews have become careless in their attitude toward God.
    2. Prophesying a century after the return from exile, Malachi chastises the Jews for offering "lame and sick" sacrifices (1:8); for divorcing their wives to marry pagan women (2:11, 14); and for failing to pay tithes for the temple (3:8).  The Lord as angry with the attitude "It is vain to serve God" (3:14), but He promised to bless the obedient: "Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings" (4:2).
    3. Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, contains the final word from God for some four hundred years, until the apppearance of John the Baptist and Jesus, the Messiah, as prophesied in Malachi 3:1: "I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple."
    4. God doesn't want empty religious rituals - He wants people to worship Him "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010