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. Continue reading Bible Study: Joshua – Summary of the Book
Summary of the Book of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy is a book containing four sermons that Moses gave to the people before entering the Promised Land. The events of the book took place over very few days prior to his death and the entering in to the land of Canaan.
The teachings of Moses in Deuteronomy are important enough to be quoted 90 times in 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament. When tempted by Satan in Luke 4, Jesus Christ quoted exclusively from the book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:13, 16).
The English title Deuteronomy comes from the Septuagint Greek version of the Old Testament. The word means “second law.” This is not a new law, rather a second telling, or re-telling of the law which was given in Mt. Sinai. The people living during the sermons in Deuteronomy were a new generation of Israelites who were not present when the Law was initially given to Moses 40 years before.
Besides the fact that the book consists of the sermons of Moses, there are Old and New Testament references to Moses as the author. 2 Chronicles 25:4 refers to Moses as the author of the law written in Deuteronomy 24:16. Jesus quoted the book of Deuteronomy and attributed the writings to Moses (Matthew 19:7-9 compared to Deuteronomy 24:1-4; John 5:45-47 compared to Deuteronomy 18:15). Paul attributed the writing of the book to Moses in Romans 10:19 (compare with Deuteronomy 32:21).
While there are obvious proofs that Moses wrote the book, someone else had to have written the final chapter which contains the death of Moses. Most Bible scholars hold to Joshua and Ezra as the probable authors of that chapter. There are, however, biblical critics who claim (like Numbers) that the entire book was written several hundred years after Moses. Continue reading Bible Study: Deuteronomy – Summary of the Book
Summary of the Book of Numbers
Numbers gets its name from the two censuses, or numberings, of the people of Israel. The first was done shortly after the exodus. The second took place at the end of the 40 years in the wilderness as the nation was preparing to finally enter the Promised Land.
The majority of the book talks about the wilderness experience of the people of Israel. For this reason, the Hebrew title of the book is “In the Wilderness.” The Septuagint (Greek) translation of the book also calls it “Numbers” and is probably why it is called “Numbers” today.
Like Leviticus, the book starts with God speaking to Moses. The book opens with: “And the Lord spake unto Moses.” This phrase (or variations) appear more than 80 times in the book. The authorship is most commonly attributed to be Moses (Numbers 33:1, 2). However, there are liberal scholars who believe the book was written by various priests during the post-Babylonian captivity. There is no hard evidence to suggest such a late writing for the book. Continue reading Bible Study: Numbers – Summary of the Book
Summary of the Book of Leviticus
Leviticus is the third book of the Bible. The first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch, or the Law, and are generally accepted as being written by Moses. The name “Leviticus” means “the Levitical book.” Even though it contains Levi’s name, it was written concerning the priesthood in general, not only to the Levites (which is the focus of the book of Numbers). The title of the book in the Hebrew Bible means “And He Called,” which are the opening words of the book. Leviticus is the calling of God’s people to be holy.
Genesis deals with man’s creation and fall. The book contains God’s promise of a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15) and a choosing of the nation of Israel as the one through whom the Redeemer would come.
Exodus is Israel’s deliverance from the bondage of Egypt culminating in a place of worship being established. This is a picture of the spiritual bondage that man has to sin, yet God provides a way of deliverance.
The book of Leviticus opens where Exodus closes. Exodus ended with God giving a place of worship. Leviticus is God showing the method in which this worship would be conducted.
The book starts with the phrase “the Lord called unto Moses” which appears 35 other times in the book. Moses is referred to, by name, 55 times within the pages of Leviticus. In Matthew 8 Jesus talks about the commandments that Moses gave in Leviticus 14. Paul talks of Moses being the author of Leviticus 18:5. Leviticus is clearly written by Moses. Continue reading Bible Study: Leviticus – Summary of the Book
Summary of the Book of Exodus
Exodus is the second book of the Bible and the second book of the five books of the Law, or the Pentateuch. This book covers the exodus of the nation of Israel out of Egypt through their journey to the Promised Land.
Within the book of Exodus there is language that suggests the author is an eye witness to the events contained within the book. Exodus 17:14; 24:3-7 and 34:27, 28 each talk about God asking or telling Moses to write the current events in a book. This is the book we read today called Exodus.
Both the Old and New Testaments refer to Moses as the author of the Law, and therefore the book of Exodus, just as it does for Genesis. There is no reason to suspect that Moses was not the author. Continue reading Bible Study: Exodus – Summary of the Book