Reading the First and Second Testaments

➡ Average Reading Time: 5 minutes

Reading the First and Second TestamentsIf you want a complete overview of the First Testament and Second Testament, please take a look at my book: God’s EPIC Adventure, which provides a survey of the whole bible in a chronological order of presentation.

The term Old (First) Testament is a distinct Christian use of the term. The Jews have come to call their Scripture TANAKH (the sacred book of Judaism, consisting of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings; see below for a brief discussion). Many stories in the First Testament were first told around the warmth of campfires, among family and friends. Later, they were written down, most likely as separate stories. About the time of David (about 3,000 years ago), people started to put these stories into larger collections that today we call books. This process of this collection took a lot of time and the whole of the Hebrew Scripture was not assembled for many years.

In the Protestant wing of Christianity, the thirty-nine books of the Old (First) Testament are divided into four categories: The Pentateuch, Historical Writings, Poetical Writings, and Prophetical Writings. These writings were written to disclose the covenant God of Israel as he revealed himself and demonstrate how he acted toward his children and what those acts meant and mean. They make known the covenant God of Israel with whom he chose to have a special relationship.

Setting the Stage

These thirty-nine books were written by many different authors over many years. The Jewish breakdown of their Bible is different from the Protestant one. We do not know when they were first assembled into one volume that we call the Old (First) Testament. However, we do know that the first five books, often called the Pentateuch or the Law, were accepted as inspired or canonized between 450-300 BC. The Prophets were received around 250 BC and the Writings were accepted sometime in the first century BC.[ref]Clyde E. Donald W. Musser Fant, Mitchell G. Reddish, An Introduction to the Bible, Revised Edition (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011), 60-62.[/ref] The Hebrew Bible is arranged in three sections: the Torah, which we know as the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy); the Prophets, which are in two parts, the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1& 2 Kings) and the Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Hosea to Malachi ); and the Writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 & 2 Chronicles). (Winn Griffin. God’s EPIC Adventure. 62-63).

Chronology of the Bible Story

  • Section 1: Creation: Creating the Stage on Which the Story Will Be Acted Out
  • Section 2: Chaos: Separation From Dependence to Independence
  • Section 3: Covenant: Israel: the Called People of God to Be the Light of the World
  • Section 4: Christ: Jesus. The True Human Being
  • Section 5: Church: The Next Part of the Story in The Second Testament
  • Section 6: Consummation: The Rest of the Story

First Testament: A Chronological Reading

The presentation of the material in this section is to allow you an opportunity as a reader of the Old (First) Testament Story to overview and read it chronologically and, hopefully, as a reader you can acquire a sense of reading it as a story. The storyline covers all thirty-nine books of the Protestant version of the Old (First) Testament with the exclusion of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, that is thought to be a prologue to the complete story. The storyline is preserved from Genesis 11.27 to the end of Ezra-Nehemiah while the rest of the Old (First) Testament material is placed within this storyline in a mixture of introductory and theological material. While it has many characters and many subplots, it carries the Story forward to its climax in the New (Second) Testament story of Jesus and the church (ecclesia). (Griffin. God’s EPIC Adventure. 129.)

Genesis: The Book of Beginnings
Exodus The Book of Deliverance
Leviticus: The Book of Holiness
Numbers: The Wilderness Years
Deuteronomy: The Covenant Restated
Job: A Theodic Protest (Job 1-42)
Joshua: The Book of Conquest
Judges: A Dark Period of History
Ruth: Doing What Is Right in Dark Times
Psalms: Israel’s Worship Book
Samuel: Samuel, Saul, and David
Kings: United and Divided Kingdom
Proverbs: The Book of Wisdom
Song of Songs: Romantic Love
Ecclesiastes: There is Hope in God
Joel: A Prophecy of Judgment
Jonah: God’s Grace
Amos: Justice in Society
Isaiah: Promised Salvation
Micah: Do What The Lord Requires
Hosea: A Faithless Wife
Nahum: Woe to Nineveh!
Zephaniah: Destruction and Deliverance
Jeremiah: Judgment is Executed
Ezekiel: A Messenger to the Captives
Habakkuk: Living by God’s Faithfulness
Lamentations: A Sad Song about Jerusalem
Daniel: Dreams and Visions
Obadiah: The Judgment of Edom
Ezra-Nehemiah: Return and Rebuild
Haggai: Rebuilding the Temple
Zechariah: Apocalyptic Visions
Malachi: Robbing God
Book of Chronicles: Learning from History
Esther: The Providential
Joel: A Prophecy of Judgment
Jonah: God’s Grace
Amos: Justice in Society
Isaiah: Promised Salvation
Micah: Do What The Lord Requires
Hosea: A Faithless Wife
Nahum: Woe to Nineveh!
Zephaniah: Destruction and Deliverance
Jeremiah: Judgment is Executed
Ezekiel: A Messenger to the Captives
Habakkuk: Living by God’s Faithfulness
Lamentations: A Sad Song about Jerusalem
Daniel: Dreams and Visions
Obadiah: The Judgment of Edom
Ezra-Nehemiah: Return and Rebuild
Haggai: Rebuilding the Temple
Zechariah: Apocalyptic Visions
Malachi: Robbing God
Chronicles: Learning from History
Esther: The Providential Care of God

Second Testament: A Chronological Reading

The canonical presentation of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) followed by the Acts of the Holy Spirit and then Romans through Revelation does not necessarily present the Story in the way in which these books may have originated. As an example, Paul’s letters are arranged in order of their size from Romans to Philemon.[ref]Luke Timothy Johnson, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, Rev. ed. (Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press, 1999), 267.[/ref] Thus we are going to present the New (Second) Testament in a chronological fashion beginning with Galatians and ending with Revelation.

Galatians: Christian Freedom
James: The Wisdom of God
1 Thessalonians: He is Coming
2 Thessalonians: The Day of the Lord
1 Corinthians: Problem Solving
2 Corinthians: Reconciliation
Romans: God’s Righteousness
Mark: An Evangelistic Tract
Philemon: An Appeal For Forgiveness
Colossians: How to Deal With False Teaching
Ephesians: The Church
Luke: A Defense of the Gospel of Jesus
Acts: A Defense of the Ministry of Paul
Philippians: Joy Comes When Unity Abides
1 Timothy: Pastoring a Second Generation Church
Titus: Pastoring a First Generation Church
2 Timothy: Passing the Torch!
1 Peter: What to Do When Hard Time Come
2 Peter: What Do You Mean He’s Not Coming?
Matthew: How to Teach New Conv
Hebrews: A First Century Sermon
Jude: Combat Ready! Author: Jude
John: So That You May Continue to Believe
1 John: Belief Problems With A New Generation
2 John: Undesirable Guest
3 John: Church Discipline Is Important
Revelation: A Book Of Comfort

End of Sesssion
 

Take a moment to pitch in for Winn Griffin on Patreon!
■ First, click on the button below.
■ Second, on the Patreon page, click on Patreon button in upper right corner.
■ Finally, follow the instructions there.

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)