[S. K. Fianko-Larbi, July 2016 :copyright:]


GENESIS details creation, the Fall of Humanity into sin, God’s scattering of people over the face of the earth, His choice of Abraham as the Father of Faith through whom He chose the Nation Israel as a sample group of people to whom He will reveal Himself.

Genesis ends with Israel actually ending up in slavery in Egypt. Before or around the time of Abraham, JOB lived and God used his life as a case study to illustrate the harsh realities of life.

EXODUS details how God chose Moses to bring the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt to the Land He Promised to their forefather Abraham. After leaving Egypt, crossing the Red Sea and coming to the Desert, God gave out His Laws and Terms to His Nation Israel.

It was like Laws passed in parliament to guide a nation.

Exodus joins into LEVITICUS where the Lord gives out instruction, among others, on how to atone for the sins of people who per chance break any of the laws given.

NUMBERS is about numbering the people in the Nation of Israel. It was a census. Still wandering on the Desert, the Lord told Moses he will not enter the Promise Land. New children had also been born. Some old people had also died. To prepare the new generation to cross River Jordan and enter the Promised Land, Moses gives an account of all that had happened since they left Egypt and re-read the laws God gave them.

And that is why the next book is called DEUTERONOMY- meaning “Second Reading of the Law”.

We move to the Book of JOSHUA who took over from Moses and led the Israelites to cross River Jordan to enter the Promised Land. The Book of Joshua also details the sharing of the Land among the tribes of Israel and related issues. The Book ends with the departure message of Joshua telling them to obey the Lord adding that “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”.

Since Joshua left no leader to succeed him, God occasionally raised up JUDGES for the people to settle cases and deliver them from their enemies. Examples of such judges were Samson, Gideon, and Deborah etc.

The Bible then give focus to the live of RUTH, a Moabite who came to live on the Promised Land through Naomi.

The last judge was SAMUEL. 1st and 2nd SAMUEL details how the Israelites rejected the concept of temporal judges at the time of Samuel, and called for a king and the issues that followed.

God gave them King Saul followed by David. During the time of King David, he wrote a chunk of the Book of PSALMS.

David was followed by King Solomon who wrote the Books of PROVERBS, ECCLESIASTES and SONGS OF SOLOMON. After the death of Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was divided into Northern (with capital Samaria) and Southern (with capital Jerusalem).

1st and 2nd KINGS give special focus to the lives, policies and actions of the Kings who ruled these two Kingdoms.

1st and 2nd Chronicles, like Deuteronomy, give overview of the life of the Israelites from their ancestry, times of the kingships to the time of their captivity into exile.

While on the Promised Land, people still lived in disobedience so God sent Prophets to warn and encourage them and also to their enemies to warn them of their coming judgment. These included Prophets ISAIAH, HOSEA, JOEL, AMOS, OBADIAH, JONAH, MICAH, NAHUM, HABAKKUK, and ZEPHANIAH.

Eventually as a judgment for their disobedience, God allow them to be taken captive into exile.

Northern Kingdom was taken into exile in Assyria and scattered around by Assyrian King Shalmanesar; these became the “Diaspora”.

The Southern Kingdom was taken into exile in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.

JEREMIAH was the last to prophesy to the people before they went into exile.

When they were captured Jeremiah wept a lot leading to the writing on LAMENTATION (meaning mourning).

By the Rivers of Babylon where the captives sat and wept and remembered Zion, the Lord sent Prophet EZEKIEL with a visionary message of hope to them.
While in Babylonian Exile, the Bible focuses on individual exiles such as ESTHER and Prophet DANIEL.
After 70 years of captivity, exiles from Babylon came back to the Promised Land as prophesied by Jeremiah.
It was EZRA and NEHEMIAH who led them back to rebuild their nation; so the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah are after the captivity.
After the exile, God still sent Prophets HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH and MALACHI to call the people to obedience.

PART II (Concluding Part)

After Malachi, God did not give any revelation for the next 400 years until He spoke through John the Baptist who was “the voice of one calling in the desert making straight the Way for the coming of Jesus Christ”.
Books that were written during this Inter-testamental 400-year Period of God’s “silence” are virtually plagiarism of the already revealed 39 Books of the Old Testament. These books are called the “Apocrypha” or “Deuterocanonical” and include 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, 1st Maccabees, and 2nd Maccabees.
If you think of these books, think about Melanie Trump and Michelle Obama.
These books are rejected because of two factors: firstly, God was not giving any revelation during these 400 years and secondly, they are plagiarized copies of what had already been revealed.
John the Baptist comes to prepare the Way for the arrival of Jesus Christ, as the Word of God made flesh, came to show us the perfect human model to which we can compare our lives. Jesus obeyed fully all that human beings have not been able to obey since Adam. He came to teach about the principles that govern the kingdom of God which all who believe in Him will enter.
Eventually He died and rose again to pay for the sins of the whole world and also to demonstrate that as the Truth and as God, He has power over death. All who believes in Jesus will also resurrect from death just like Him.

MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE and JOHN give the accounts of the live, words and actions of Jesus Christ from different perspectives. After Jesus ascended into heaven He sent down the Holy Spirit on those who had believed in Him; those who have believed in Jesus is called ‘the Church’.

The activities of this Early Church are recorded by Dr. Luke in the Book of ACTS.

Apostle Paul gets converted during the time of the Early Church and plants a lot of churches outside Israel in places such as Greece, Italy, Asia Minor (now Turkey), etc.

In the course of time, issues started emerging in the churches he had planted so he started writing responses to these issues in his letters or epistles.

These letters were directed to the churches among the ROMANS, 1st and 2nd CORINTHIANS, GALATIANS, EPHESIANS, PHILIPPIANS, COLOSSIANS, 1st and 2nd THESSALONIANS.

Apostle Paul had placed two pastors in some of the churches; Timothy was in the Ephesian church while Titus was in Crete so He wrote them letters to guide and encourage them in their work; these are the Books of 1st and 2nd TIMOTHY and TITUS.

One rich Christian man called Philemon had an issue with one of his servants also a Christian called Onesimus; Onesimus run away and Paul found Him and so in the Book of PHILEMON, Paul writes to Philemon calling him to forgive Onesimus.

One of the church fathers (possibly Paul) also wrote to encourage the Jewish Christians who were undergoing a lot of persecution at the hands of the Jewish brothers who still followed the Mosaic Law; that is the Book of HEBREWS (another way to call Jews).

A number of church fathers wrote a number of letters to encourage the Christians in their time; these Books are JAMES, 1st and 2nd PETER, 1st, 2nd & 3rd JOHN, and JUDE.

All the apostles had been killed except John the Beloved who wrote the Gospel according to John, 1st, 2nd and 3rd John.

He had been tortured and discarded to an Island called Patmos. While there, Jesus revealed Himself to him and gives him the Book of REVELATION which is a review of some events in history, a response message to some of the issues going on in the seven churches in Asia Minor (now Turkey) at the time and a revelation of what is yet to come.
I believe with this guide, you will now enjoy your Bible all the more. Amen!

Yours truly
SK Fianko-Larbi
24.07. 2016 @10:38GMT
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