It’s easy to get lost in the pages of the Bible…it’s a large collection of manuscripts: 66 books written by 40 authors. Originally it was called the Biblia (plural) but as time passed and technology allowed us to bind all of it in one volume, the Christians began to regard it more as God’s book than a collection of books (its both) and it took on the singular, Biblion or in English, Bible.

When we discuss Doctrine next month we are going to address the pressing question: where did it come from? and is it reliable? Questions we addressed briefly in Christianity 101’s second session here. But for now, I am going to ask you to read these pages as if everything happened in real life, just as it is described, and engage the stories in a way that allows them to challenge your thinking and change your character.


For many people, engaging the Old Testament has been like trying to build a 1500 piece puzzle without the box top and picture. It’s incredibly difficult to make sense of all the parts. Sometimes you find something inspiring, other times you find blank, dull, meaningless blocks that you don’t know what to do with. Today we are going to give you an overview of the contents of the Old Testament. It’s my hope that by sharing the map with you, you’ll be able to engage the parts much more fully.  When we get done today, if you want to look at an individual book or simply dig deeper into the Bible’s parts, I recommend that you visit and look at his summaries of every book of the bible here.

Audio: Chuck Swindoll’s Overview of the Bible

Audio: Old Testament Overview with Chris Edmondson (from the video below)

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream


An Outline of the OT:

Creation –

  • · a picture of heaven to come
  • · affirmation that God desires heaven and created it at the start
  • · one God…from the start.

Original Sin – now you know why the world is so screwed up…we did it.

  • We suffer for the sins of others…yes, it’s true.
  • The trajectory of sin…disease, sickness, human weakness, all increasing over time.

The Flood – crazy angelic halfbreeds and total corruption

  • Side note: you can be a young earth creationist and see all this as fitting the science we have today.
  • Covenant: God agrees never to send a global flood – no requirements from man

Babel – languages are confused (reunited at Pentecost)

Abraham – one man into a nation, the first big personal journey

  • · Faith that God will do what he said…struggled but grew to strength
  • · Don’t read into situations that you don’t see judged by scripture – Ishmael
  • · Childbirth issues
  • · Covenant: God promises to bless Abraham and make him a blessing as long as he leaves his home and follows God.
  • · Abraham’s descendants continue the story of God
      • Isaac
      • Jacob (who is named Israel)
      • 12 Sons become the 12 tribes
        Joseph’s story & the move into Egypt
  • · Side Note: Ishmael and the origins of Islam

Moses, the Exodus, and Israel becomes a nation

  • · God shows Egypt that there is only one God…many imposters
  • · The Mosaic Covenant:
      • 10 Commandments: 9 moral standards + 1 sign
      • A legal code for the nation: application of the commandments
      • A worship system
      • A dietary standard
  • · The Desert Wandering: Even Israel can’t believe there’s only one true God.
    (People become like the gods they worship)
  • · Side Note: God’s name and why we don’t use it.

Israel’s History

  • · Joshua: Conquering the Land
  • · Judges: The Power of a Leader
  • · 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles: Human Kingship
      • Saul’s Failure No Heart 40 years (see 1 Sam. 9-31)
      • David’s Success(ish) Whole Heart 40 years (see 2 Sam. 1- 24 )
      • Solomon & the Temple Half Heart 40 years (see 1 Kings 1-11)


      • Split Kingdom
          • Key Terminology: Israel or Ephraim
            (10 tribes, no godly kings)
            vs. Judah (and Benjamin)
          • Keeping the Kings Straight (chart)
      • · Daniel & Esther: Exile


      • · Ezra & Nehemiah: Return

Voices of Reason

  • · Job: A bigger picture – don’t trust your perspective
  • · Ruth: A story of a life redeemed
  • · The Psalms: Dispatches from life
  • · The Wisdom Writings: Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes and Proverbs
  • · The Prophets: God’s perspective on the actions of nations and rulers

God goes silent



What questions do you have about the Old Testament?

Or more specifically:

· What events don’t you understand?

· What events cause you to question God’s character?


Lastly, make sure and download this chart of the kings and prophets to help you when reading through the history of the old testament.

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