by Rusty Russell
For a more detailed general survey of the Old Testament
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PENTATEUCH – 5 books
snapshot – 5 books
The Founding of the Hebrew Nation. Creation, the Fall, the Flood, Spread of the nations, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Enslavement in Egypt.
The Covenant With the Hebrew Nation. 400 years and still enslaved, Moses, 10 plagues, Passover, Exodus from Egypt, Crossing of the Red Sea, Mt. Sinai and the Moral, Civil and Ceremonial Laws
The Laws of the Hebrew Nation. Instructions on sacrificial system and the priesthood. Instructions on moral purity.
The Journey to the Promised Land. Still at Mt. Sinai, People make the Golden Calf, Their punishment, 40 years of wandering begins.
Reminders of the Covenant. Moses’ discourses on God’s Acts for Israel the Decalogue, the Ceremonial, Civil, and Moral Laws, and the Ratification of the Covenant.
HISTORICAL BOOKS – 12 books
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, Second Kings, First Chronicles, Second Chronicles, Ezra,
snapshot – 12 books
The Conquest of Canaan. First half of Joshua describes the 7 year conquest of the Land of Promise. The last half deals with alloting portions of the land to the 12 tribes.
The First 300 Years in the Land. Time of the Judges. Many were quite bad. The Israelites did not drive out all the inhabitants of Canaan and began to take part in their idolatry. 7 cycles of foreign oppression, repentance, and deliverance. In the end, the people failed to learn their lesson.
Beginning of the Messianic Family of David. Boaz the Kinsman redeemer, redeeming Ruth a Moabitess. Speaks of righteousness, love, and faithfulness to the Lord.
The next 6 books trace the time from Samuel to the Captivity
• First Samuel:
Organization of the Kingdom. Samuel carries them from Judges to King Saul
• Second Samuel:
Reign of David. David as King, adultery, and murder.
• First Kings:
Division of the Kingdom. Solomon, Israel becomes powerful and famous. Solomon dies in 931 B.C., then the division of the tribes: 10 to the north (Israel) and 2 to the south (Judah).
• Second Kings:
History of the Divided Kingdom. All 19 kings of Israel were bad; therefore, they were taken captive to Assyria (722 B.C.). In Judah, 8 of 20 rulers were seeking the Lord the rest were into idolatry. The Babylonian Captivity (586 BC)
• First Chronicles:
The reign of King David. A recounting of the history of Israel to the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities.
• Second Chronicles:
History of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. A Recounting of the life of Solomon, the building of the Temple and of Judah’s history.
The Next 3 books deal with Israel’s Restoration.
Return From the Captivity. Cyrus allowed the most of the Jews to return to their land of Israel. Zerubbabel led the people (539 B.C.). Ezra returned later with more Jews (458 B.C.) Built the second Temple.
Rebuilding Jerusalem. Building the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah got permission from Artaxerses, the king of Persia, to rebuild the walls (444 B.C.). Great revival in the land.
Deliverance From Extermination. History from chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra. Artaxerses, Queen Esther, Mordecai and haman. Plot to kill the Jewish people.
POETICAL – 5 books
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
snapshot – 5 books
The Problem of Evil and Suffering. A righteous man tested by God. Deals with God’s sovereignty.
National Hymnbook of Israel the Paslms of David, imperfect man yet had a heart for God. Consists of 5 divisions. Worship in song. Large variety of topics
The Wisdom of Solomon. Practical Wisdom in everyday affairs.
Vanity of Earthly Things. All is vanity. The wisdom of man is futility.
• Song of Solomon:
The Glorification of Wedded Love. A song between Solomon and his Shulammite bride displaying the love between a man and a woman.
PROPHETICAL – 17 books
MAJOR PROPHETS – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
Snapshot – Major Prophets – 5 books
The Messianic Prophet. Looks at the sin of Judah and proclaims God’s judgment. Hezekiah. The Coming One, restoration and blessing.
A Final Call for Israel’s Repentance. Called by God to plead with the people to repent and to proclaim the news of judgment to Judah, which came. God’s plan for a New Covenant built upon better promises.
A Dirge over the Desolation of Jerusalem. 5 lament poems. Description of defeat and fall of Jerusalem.
“And They Shall Know That I AM The Lord.” He ministered to the Jews in Captivity in Babylon. Description of the end of times.
The Empire Predicting Prophet in Babylon. Many visions of the future predicting beforehand the empires that would govern the world, including Babylon, then Persia, then Greece, then Rome, and finally a latter day Roman Empire.
MINOR PROPHETS – Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
Snapshot – Minor Prophets – 12 Books
The Apostasy of Israel. Story of Hosea and his unfaithful wife, Gomer. Represents God’s love and faithfulness and Israel’s spiritual adultery. Israel will be judged and restored.
Prediction of the Holy Spirit Age. Proclaims a terrifying future using the imagery of locusts. Judgment will come but blessing will follow.
The Ultimate Rule of David (Type of Messiah). He warned Israel of its coming judgment. Israel rejects God’s warning.
The Destruction of Edom. A proclamation against Edom a neighboring nation of Israel that gloated over Jerusalem’s judgments. Prophecy of their utter destruction.
An Errand of Mercy to Nineveh. Jonah proclaims a coming judgment upon Nineveh. But they repented and judgment was spared.
Messiah will be born in Bethlehem (House of Bread). Description of the complete moral decay in all levels of Israel. God will judge but will forgive and restore.Bethlehem will be the birthplace of the Messiah.
The destruction of Nineveh. Nineveh has gone into apostasy (approx.. 125 years after Jonah) and will be destroyed. All came true.
The Just Shall Live By Faith. Near the end of the kingdom of Judah, Habakkuk asks God why He is not dealing with Judah’s sins. God says He will use the Babylonians. Habakkuk asks how God can use a nation that is even worse than Judah.
The Coming of a Pure Language. The theme is developed of the Day of the Lord and His judgment with a coming blessing. Judah will not repent, except for a remnant, who will be restored.
The Rebuilding of the Temple. The people failed to put God first, by building their houses before they finished God’s temple. Therefore, they had no prosperity.
Encouragement to rebuild the Temple. Zechariah encourages the Jews to complete the temple. Many messianic prophecies.
Final Message to a Disobedient People. God’s people are lax in their duty to God. Growing distant from God. Moral compromise. Proclamation of coming judgment
NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS – 27 books total
Historical Books – 5 Books
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts
Snapshot – 5 Books
Jesus the King (Lion). Presents Jesus as the Messiah. Genealogy of Jesus through Joseph from the royal line of David. Fulfillment of O.T. prophecy.
Jesus the Suffering Servant for Man (Ox). Presents Jesus as the Servant. 1/3 of the gospel deals with the last week of His life.
Jesus the Perfect Human (Man). Presents Jesus as the Son of Man to seek and save the lost. Genealogy of Jesus through Mary tracing back to Adam (all mankind). Largest of the gospels. The Son of Man (man’s nature).
Jesus the Godman who came from Above (Eagle). Presents Jesus as God incarnate (God in flesh), the Christ, working the miracles and Words of God so that you might believe. The Son of God (God’s nature).
The Formation of the Church. Historical account from Jesus’ ascension to travels of Paul in his missionary Church planting journeys.
Pauline Epistles – 13 Books
Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians. 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
Snapshot – 13 Books
Nature of Christ’s Work. A systematic examination of justification, sanctification, and glorification. Examines God’s plan for the Jews and the Gentiles.
• 1 Corinthians:
Various Church Disorders. This letter deals with factions and corrections due to immorality, lawsuits, and abuse of the Lord’s Supper. Also mentions idols, marriage, and the resurrection.
• 2 Corinthians:
Paul’s Vindication of His Apostleship. Paul’s defense of his apostolic position.
By Grace, Never by Law. Paul refutes the errors of legalism and examines the proper place of grace in the Christian’s life.
The Unity of the Church. The believer’s position in Christ and information on Spiritual warfare.
A Missionary Epistle. Paul speaks of his imprisonment, his love for the Philippians. He exhorts them to godliness and warns them of legalism.
The Deity of Jesus. Paul focuses on the preeminence of Jesus in creation, redemption, and godliness.
• 1 Thessalonians:
Jesus’s Second Coming. Paul’s ministry to the Thessalonians. Teachings on purity and mention of the return of Christ.
• 2 Thessalonians:
Jesus’s Second Coming. More about the Day of the Lord.
• 1 Timothy:
The Care for the Church. Instructions to Timothy on proper leadership and dealings with false teachers, the role of women, prayer, and requirements of elders and deacons.
• 2 Timothy:
Paul’s Final Words. A letter of encouragement to Timothy to be strong.
The Churches of Crete. Paul left Titus in Crete to care for the churches there. Requirements for elders.
Conversion of a Runaway Slave. A letter to the owner of a runaway slave. Paul appeals to Philemon to forgive Onesimus.
Non-Pauline Epistles – 9 Books
Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation
Snapshot – 9 Books
Jesus the Mediator of a New Covenant. A letter to the Hebrews Christians in danger of returning to Judaism. It demonstrates the superiority of Jesus over the O.T. system. Mentions the Melchizedek priesthood. (Hebrews may be of Pauline origin. There is much debate on its authorship).
Man is saved by Works, IF God is working Through Him. A practical exhortation of to live a Christian life evidencing regeneration. It urges self examination of the evidence of the changed life.
• 1 Peter:
To the Persecuted Church. Peter wrote this letter to encourage its recipients in the light of their suffering and be humble in it. Mentions baptism.
• 2 Peter:
Prediction of Apostasy. Deals with the person on an inward level, warnings against false teachers, and mentions the Day of the Lord.
• 1 John:
The Love of God. John describes true fellowship of the believer with believer and with God. Describes God as light and love. Encourages a holy Christian walk before the Lord. Much mention of Christian love.
• 2 John:
Cautions Against False Teachers. Praise for walking in Christ and a reminder to walk in God’s love.
• 3 John:
A Rebuke to Certain Helpers. John thanks Gaius for his kindness to God’s people and rebukes Diotrephes.
Earnestly Contend for the Faith Against Apostasy. Exposing false teachers and uses O.T. allusions to demonstrate the judgment upon them. Contend for the faith.
The Rightful Owner (Heir) Coming with the Legal Document to Claim His Purchased Possession. A highly symbolic vision of the future rebellion, judgment, and consummation of all things. Many Jewish legal proceedings mentioned dealing with the right of redemption and forfeiture of property returning to its legal kinsman redeemer as found in the Books of Jeremiah and Ruth.