Bible Reading

Bible Study: Joshua – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of Joshua

Joshua chronologically follows the book of Deuteronomy. In the English Bible it also follows Deuteronomy in order. About 30 years of time are covered in the book of Joshua from 1400 to 1370 B.C. The title of the book comes from the main character, Joshua.

Joshua is a book of history. The first five books of the Bible covered quite a bit of history as well, but their prime focus was on the Law. Joshua is the first of the 12 historical books: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.

Like the other historical books, the recipients of this book are not specifically named. They are books about God’s dealing with His people. It can be assumed that the book was written as a reminder to future generations of how God worked in the past. Throughout the Bible, God commands the people to build altars of remembrance. These altars helped one generation teach the next generation about God. This book (as well as the other historical books) serves as an altar of remembrance today.


The book of Joshua does not specifically name its author. It has historically been held that Joshua himself was the writer of the book. Even if he did not write the book personally, he must have planned the writing of the book. Moses seems to be the author of Leviticus and Numbers, partially proven by the fact that the one to whom God spoke the words of the book was the one who wrote it (Numbers 1:1 and Deuteronomy 1:1). Using that pattern, it appears that Joshua was probably the author of the book of Joshua.

A few verses of the book are written after the death of Joshua. That section obviously had to be written by someone else. That “someone else” may have been Eleazar or Phinehas, Aaron’s son and grandson respectively. Whoever wrote the book (Joshua or another writer) was present at the crossing of the Jordan river into the Promised Land, based on the usage of the first person pronoun “we” in Joshua 5:1. He was an eye witness to the events as indicated by the wording of Joshua 6:25.