All references are taken from the Life Application Study Bible
New Living Translation

Quick Bible Summery 

Purpose: To record God's creation of the world and His desire to have a people set apart to worship Him.
Author: Moses
To Whom Written: The people of Israel
Date Written: 1450-1410 B.C.
Setting: Tge region presently know as the Middle East.
Key Verses: "So God created people in His own image. God patterened them after Himself; male and female.  He created them." (1:27)  "I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others.  I will bless those who bless you.  All the families of the earth will be blessed through you." (12:2-3)
Key People: Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Joseph
Chapters: 50

Purpose: To record the events of Israel's deliverance from Egypt and development as a nation.
Author: Moses
Date Written: 1450-1420 B.C., approximately the same as Genesis
Where Written: In the wilderness during Israel's wanderings, somewhere in the Sinai peninsula
Setting: Egypt, God's people, once highly favored in the land, are now slaves. God is about to set them free.
Key Verses:  Then the Lord told him, "You can be sure I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries for deliverance from their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering...Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh.  You will lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt." (3:7-10)
Key People: Egypt, Goshen, Nile River, Midian, Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Mount Sinai
Special Features:  Exodus relates more miracles than any other Old Testament book and is noted for containing the Ten Commandments.
Chapters: 40

Purpose:  A handbook for the priests and Levites outlining their duties in worship, and a guide-book for holy living for the Hebrews.
Author:  Moses
Date of Events:  1445-1444 B.C.
Setting: At the foot of Mount Sinai, God is teaching the Israelites how to live as hold people.
Key Verse:  "You must be hold, because I, the Lord your God, am hold." (19:2)
Key People: Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, Ithamar
Special Feature: Holiness is mentioned more time (152) than in any other book of the Bible.
Chapters: 27

Prupose:  To tell the story of how Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, how they sinned and were punished, and how they prepared to try again.
Author: Moses
To Whom Written:  The people of Israel
Date Written:  1450-1410 B.C.
Setting:  The vast desert of the Sinai region, as well as lands just south and east of Canaan
Key Verses:  "Not one of these people will ever enter that land.  They have seen My glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they tested Me by refusing to listen.  They will never seven see the land I swore to give their ancestors.  Note of those who have treated Me with contempt will enter it."  (14:22-23)
Key People:  Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Eleazar, Korah, Balaam
Key Places: Mount Sinai, Promised Land (Canaan), Kadesh, Mount Hor, plains of Moab
Chapters:  36

Purpose:  To remind the people of what God had done and encourage them to rededicate their lives to Him.
Author:  Moses (except for the final summary, which was probably written by Joshua after Moses' death)
To Whom Written: Israel (the new generation entering the Promised Land)
Date Written:  About 1407-1406 B.C.
Setting: The east side of hte Jordan River, in view of Canaan
Key Verse:  "Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God in indeed God.  He is the faithful God whoo keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love Him and obey His commands." (7:9)
Key People: Moses, Joshua
Key Place: The Arabah in Moab
Chapters: 34

Purpose: To give the history of Israel's conquest of the Promised Land
Author: Joshua, except for the ending which may have been written by the high priest, Phinehas, an eyewitness to the events recounted there.
Setting: Canaan, also called the Promised Land, which occupied the same general geographical territory of modern-day Israel.
Key Verse:  "Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God has given you."  (1:11)
Key People: Joshua, Rahab, Acham, Phimehas, Eleaszar
Key Places: Jericho, Ai, Mount Ebal, Mount Gerizim, Gibeon, Gilfal, Shiloh, Shechem
Special Features:  Out of over a million people, Joshua and Caleb were the only two who left Egypt and entered the Promised Land.
Chapters:  24

Purpose: To show that God's judgment against sin is certain, and His forgiveness of sin and restoration to relationship are just as certain for those who repent.
Author:  Possibly Samuel
Setting:  The land of Canaan, later called Israel.  God has helped the Israelites conquer Canaan, which had been inhabited by a host of wicked nations.  But they were in danger of losting this Promised Land because they compromised their convictions and disobeyed God.
Key Verse:  "In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes." (17:6)
Key People:  Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Jephthah, Samson, Delilah
Special Feature:  Records Israel's first civil war.
Chapters:  21

Prupose:  To show how three people remained strong in character and true to God even when the society around them was collapsing.
Author:  Unknown. Some think it ws Samuel, but internal evidence suggests that it was written after Samuel's death.
Date Written:  Sometime after the period of the Judges (1375-1050 B.C.)
Setting:  A dark time in Israel's history when people lived to pease themselves, not God (Judges 17:6)
Key Verse:  But Ruth replied,"Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God." (1:16)
Key People:  Ruth, Naomi, Boaz
Key Places: Moab, Bethlehem
Chapters:  4

I Samuel
Purpose:  To record the life of Samuel, Israel's last judge; the reign and decline of Saul, the first king; and the choice and preparation of David, Israel's greatest king
Author:  Possibly Samuel, but also includes writings from the prophets Nathan and Gad (1 Chronicles 29:29)
Setting:  The book begins in the days of the judges and describes Israel's transition from a theocracy (led by God) to a monarchy (led by a king)
Key Verses:  "Do as they say," the Lord replied, "for it is Me they are rejecting, not you. They don't want Me to be their king and longer....Do as they as, but solemnly warn them about how a king will treat them." (8:7,9)
Key People:  Eli, Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, David
Charters:  31

2 Samuel
Purposes: {1} to record the history of David's reign; {2} to demonstrate effective leadership under God; {3} to reveal that one person can make a difference; {4} to show the personal qualities that please God; {5} to depict David as an ideal leader of an imperfect kingdom and to foreshadow Christ, who will be the ideal leader of a new and perfect kingdom (Chapter 7)
Author:  Unknown. Some have suggested that Nathan's on Zebud may have been the author (1 Kings 4:5).  The book also includes the writings of Nathan and Gad (1 Chronicles 29:29)
Date Written:  930 B.C.; written soon after David's reign, 1050-907 B.C.
Setting:  The land of Israel under David's rule
Key Verse:  And David realized that the Lord had made him king over Israel and had made hid kingdom great for the sake of his people of Israel. (5:12)
Key People:  David, Joab, Bathsheba, Nathan, Abslom
Special Features:  This book was named after the prophet who anointed David and guided him in living for God.
Chapters:  24

1 Kings
Purpose:  To contrast the lives of those who live for God and those who refuse to do so through the history of the kings of Israel and Judah
Author:  Unknown.  Possibly Jeremiah or a group of prophets
Settings:  The once great nation of Israel turned into a land divided, not only physically, but also spiritually.
Key Verses:  "As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, always obeying my commands and keeping my laws and regulations, then I will establish the throne for your dynasty over Israel forever.  For I made this promise to your father, David: 'you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel'."  (9:4-5)
Key People:  David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeroboam, Elijah, Ahab, Jezebel
Special Feature:  The books of 1 and 2 Kings were originally one book.
Chapters:  22

2 Kings
Purpose:  To demonstrate the fate that awaits all who refuse to make God their true leader
Author:  Unknown.  Possible Jeremiah or a group of prophets
Settings:  The once united nation of Lsrael has been divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, for over a centruy.
Key Verses:  Again and Again the Lord had sent his prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah: "Turn from all your evil ways.  Obey my commands and laws, which are contained in the whole law that I commanded your ancestors and which I gave you through my servants the prophets."  But the Israelites would not listen.  They wre as stubborn as their ancestors and refused to believe in the Lord their God.  (17:13-13)
Key People:  Elijah, Elisha, the woman from Shunem, Naaman, Jezebel, Jehu, Joash, Hezikiah, Sennacherib, Isaiah, Manasseh, Josiah, Jehoiakim, Zedikiah, Nebuchadnezzar
Speical Features:  The 17 prophetic books at the end of the Old Testament give great insight into the time period of 2 Kings.
Chapters:  25

1 Chronicles
Purpose:  To unify God's people, to trace the Davidic line, and to teach that genuine worship ought to be the center of individual and national life.
Author:  Ezra, according to Jewish tradition
To Whom Written:  All Israel
Date Written:  Approximately 430 B.C., recording events that occured from about 1000 - 960 B.C.
Setting:  1 Chronicles parallels 2 Samuel and serves as a commentary on it.  Written after the Exile from a priestly point of view, 1 Chronicles emphasizes the religious history of Judah and Israel.
Key Verse:  And David realized that Lord had made him king over Israel and had made his kingdom very great for the sake of his people, Israel  (14:2)
Key People:  David, Solomon
Key Places:  Hebron, Jerusalem, the Temple
Chapters:  29

2 Chronicles
Purpose:  To unify the nation around true worship of God by showing His standard for judging kings.  The righteous kings of Judah and the rligious revivals under their rule are highlighted, and the sins of the evil kings are exposed
Author:  Ezra, according to Jewish tradition
To Whom Written:  All of Israel
Date Written:  Approximately 430 B.C., recording events from the beginning of Solomon's reign (970 B.C.) to the beginning of the Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.)
Setting:  2 Chronicles parallels 1 and 2 Kings and serves as their commentary.  Originally 1 and 2 Chronicles were one book.  It was written after the Exile from a priestly perspective, highlighting the importance of the Temple and the religious revivals in Judah.  The northern kingdom, Israel, is virtually ignored in this history.
Key Verse:  "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their lands"  (7:14)
Key People:  Solomon, the queen of Sheba, Rehoboam, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Joash, Uzziah (Azariah), Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Josiah
Key Places:  Jerusalem, the Temple
Special Features:  Includes a detailed rocord of the Temple's construction
Chapters:  36

Prupose:  To show God's faithfulness and the way He kept His promise to restore His people to their land
Author:  Not stated, but probably Ezra
Date Written:  Around 450 B.C., recording events from about 538-450 B.C. (omitting 516-548 B.C.); possibly begun earlier in Babylon and finished in Jersualem
Setting:  Ezra following 2 Chronicles as a history of the Jewish people, recording their return to the land after the captivity.
Key Verses:  The Passover meal was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile and by the others in the land who had turned from their immoral customs to worship the Lord, the God of Israel.  They ate the Passover meal & celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days.  There was great joy throughout the land because the Lord had changed the attitude of the king of Assyria toward them, so that he helped them to rebuild the Temple of God, the God of Israel (6:21-22)
Key People:  Cyrus, Zerubbabel, Haggai, Zechariah, Darius 1, Artaxerxes 1, Ezra
Key Places:  Babylon, Jerusalem
Special Features:  Ezra and Nehemiah were one book in the Hebrew Bible, and with Esther, they comprise the post-captivity historical books.  THe post-captivity prophetic books are Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.  Haggai and Zechariah should be studied with Ezra because they prophesied during the period of the reconstruction.
Chapters:  10

Purpose:  Nehemiah is the last of the Old Testament historical books.  It records the history of the thrid return to Jerusalem after captivity, telling how the walls were rebuilt and the people were renewed in their faith.
Author:  Much of the book is written in the first person, suggesting Nehemiah as the author.  Nehemiah probably wrote the book with Ezra serving as editor.
Date Written:  Approximately 445-432 B.C.
Setting:  Zerubbabel led the first return to Jerusalem in 538 B.C.  In 458, Ezra led the second return.  Finally, in 445, Nehemiah returned with the third group of exiles to rebuild the city walls.
Key Verses:  So on October 2nd the wall was finally finished just fifty-two days after we had begun.  When our enemies & the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated.  They realized that this work had been done with the help of our God  (6:15-16)
Key People:  Nehemiah, Ezra, Sanballat, Tobiah
Key Place:  Jerusalem
Special Features:  The book shows the fulfillment of the prophecies of Zechariah and Daniel concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls.
Chapters:  13

Purpose:  To demonstrate God's sovereignty and His loving care for His people
Author:  Unknown. Possibly Mordecai (9:29). Some have suggested Ezra or Nehemiah because of hte similarity of the writing style.
Date Written:  Approximately 470 B.C. (Esther became queen in 479)
Setting:  Although Esther folllows Nehemiah in the Bible, its events are about 30 years prior to those recorded in Nehemiah.  The story is set in the Persian Empire, and most of the action takes place in the king's palace in Susa, the Persian captial.
Key Verse:  "If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die.  What's more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?" (4:14)
Key People:  Esther, Mordecai, King Xerxes I, Haman
Key Place:  The king's palace in Susa, Persia
Special Features:  Esther is one of only two books named for women (Ruth is the other).  The book is unusual in that in the original version no name, title or pronoun for God appears in it.  This caused some church fathers to question its inclusion in the canon.  But God's presence is clear throughout the book.
Chapters:  10

Purpose:  To demonstrate God's sovereignty and the meaning of true faith.  It addresses the question.....Why do the righteous suffer?
Author:  Unknown, possibly Job.  Some have suggested Moses, Solomon or Elihu.
Date Written:  Unknown.  Records svents that probably occurred during the time of hte patriarchs, approximately 2000-1800 B.C.
Key Verse:  Then the Lord asked Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job?  He is the finest man in all the earth - a man of complete integrity.  He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil.  And he has maintained his integrity, even though you persuaded Me to harm him without cause."
Key People:  Job, Eliphaz the Temanity, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite, Elihu the Buzite.
Special Features:  Job is the first of the poetic books in the Hebrew bible.  Some believe this was the first book of the Bible to be written.  The book gives us insights into the work of Satan.  Ezekiel 14:14, 20 & James 5:11 mention Job as a historical character.
Chapters:  42

Purpose:  To provide poetry for the expression of praise, worship, and confession to God
Authors:  David wrote 73 psalms;  Asaph worte 12; the sons of Korah wrote 9; Solomon wrote 2; Jeman (with the sons of Korah), Ethan, and Moses each wrote 1; and 51 psalms are anonymous.  The New Testament ascribes two of the anonymous psalms (Psalms 2 & 95) to David (see Acts 4:25; Hebrews 4:7)
Date Written:  Between the time of Moses (approximately 1440 B.C.) and the Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.)
Setting:  For the most part, the psalms were not intended to be narrations of historical events.  However, they often parallel events in history, such as David's flight from Saul and his sin with Bathsheba.
Key Verse:  "Let everything that lives sing prases to the Lord!  Praise the Lord!" (150:6)
Key Person:  David
Key Place:  God's Holy Temple
Chapters:  150

Purpose:  To teach people how to attain wisdom & discipline & a prudent life, & how to do what is right & just & fair (see 1:2-3) in short, to apply divine wisdom to daily like and to provide moral instruction.
Author:  Solomon wrote and compiled most of these proverbs early in his reign.
Setting:  This is a book of wise sayings, a textbook for teaching people how to live godly lives through the repetition of wise thoughts.
Key Verse:  Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Only fools despise wisdom and discipline. (1:7)
Special Features:  The book uses varied literary forms; poems, brief parables, pointed questions, and couplets.  Other literary devices include antithesis, comparison, and personification.
Chapters:  31

Purpose:  To spare future generations the bitterness of learning through their own experience that life is meaningless apart from God
Author:  Solomon
To Whom Written:  Solomon's subjects in particular, and all people in general
Date Written:  Probably around 935 B.C., late in Solomon's life
Setting:  Solomon was looking back on his life, much of which was lived apart from God
Key Verse:  "Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey His commands, for this is the duty of every person."  (12:13)
Chapters:  12

Purpose:  To call the nation of Judah back to God and to tell of God's salvation through the Messiah
Author:  The prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz
Date Written:  The events of chapters 1-39 occurred during Isaiah's ministry, so they were probably written about 700 B.C.  Chapters 40-66, however, may have been written near the end of his life, about 681 B.C.
Setting:  Isaiah is speaking and writing mainly in Jerusalem
Key Verse:  "But He was wounded and crushed for our sins.  He was beaten that we might have peace.  He was whipped, and we were healed!"  (53:5)
Key People:  Isaiah; his two sons, Shear-jashub and Meahershalal-hash-baz
Special Features:  The book of Isaish contains both prose and poetry and uses personification (attributing personal qualities to divine beings or inanimate objects).  Also, many of the prophecies in Isiah contain predictions that foretell a soon-to-occur event and a distant future event at the same time.
Chapters:  66

Purpose:  To urge God's people to turn from their sins and back to God
Author:  Jeremiah
To Whom Written:  Judah (the southen kingdom) and its capital city, Jerusalem
Date Written:  During Jeremiah's ministry, approximately 627-586 B.C.
Setting:  Jeremiah ministered under Judah's last five kings; Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Johoiachin, and Zedikiah.  The nation was sliding quickly toward destruction and was eventually conquered by Babylon in 586 B.C. (see 2 Kings 21:25).  The prophet Zephaniah preceded Jeremiah, and Habakkuk was Jeremiah's contemproary.
Key Verse:  "Your own wickedness will punish you.  You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to forsake the Lord your God, having no fear of Him.  I, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, have spoken!" (2:19)
Key People:  Judah's kings (listed above), Baruch, Ebedmelech, King Nebuchadnezzar, the Recabites
Key Places:  Anathoth, Jerusalem, Famah, Egypt
Special Features:  This book is a combination of history, poetry, and biography.  Jeremiah often used symbolism to communicate his message.
Chapters:  52

Purpose:  To teach people that to disobey God is to invite disaster and to show that God suffers when His people suffer
Author:  Jeremiah
Date Written:  Soon after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
Setting:  Jerusalem had been destroyed by Babylon and her people killed, tortured, or taken captive.
Key Verse:  "I have cried until the stars no longer come.  My heart is broken, my spirit poured out, as I see what has happened to my people.  Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets."  (2:11)
Key People:  Jeremiah, the people of Jerusalem
Key Place:  Jerusalem
Special Features:  Three strands of Hebrew thought meet in Lamentations --- prophecy, ritual and wisdom.  Lamentations is written in the rhythm and style of ancient Jewish funeral songs or chants.  In contains five peoms correcsponding to the five chapters.
Chapters:  5

Purpose:  To announce God's judgment on Israel and other nations and to foretell the eventual salvation of God's people
Author:  Ezekiel, son of Buzi, a Zadokite priest
To Whom Written:  The Jews in captivity in Babylonia and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately 571 B.C.
Setting:  Ezekiel was a younger contemporary of Jeremiah.  While Jeremiah ministered to the people still in Judah, Ezekiel prophesied to those already exiled in Babylonia after the defeat of Jehoiachin.  He was taken there in 597 B.C.
Key Verses:  "For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land.  Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, an dyou will be clean.  Your filth will be washed away and you will no longer worship idols.  And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.  (36:24-25)
Key People:  Ezekiel, Israel's leaders, Ezekiel's wife, Nebuchadnezzar, "the prince"
Key Places:  Jerusalem, Babylon, and Egypt
Chapters:  48

Purpose:  To give a historical account of the faithful Jews who lived in captivity and to show how God is in control of heaven and earth, directing the forces of nature, the destiny of nations, and the care of His people
Author:  Daniel
To Whom Written:  The other captives in Babylon and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately 535 B.C., recording events that occured from about 605-535 B.C.
Setting:  Daniel had been taken captive and deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C.  There he served in the government for about 70 years during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus
Key Verse:  "He {God} reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, through He Himself is surrounded by light"  (2:22)
Key People:  Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Belshazzar, Darius
Key Places:  Nebuchadnezzar's palace, the blazing furnace, Belshazzar's feast, the den of lions
Special Featrues:  Daniel's apocalytic visions (chapter 7-12) give a glimpse of God's plan for the ages, including a direct prediction of the Messiah
Chapters:  12

Purpose: To illustrate God's love for His sinful people 
Author:  Hosea son of Beeri ("Hosea" means "salvation")
To Whom Written:  Israel (the northen Kingdom) and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately 715 B.C. recording events from about 753-715 B.C.
Setting:  Hosea began his ministry during the end of the prosperous but morally declining reign of Jeroboam II of Israel (the upper classes were doing well, but they were oppressing the poor).  He prophesied until shortly after the fall of Samari in 722 B.C.
Key Verse:  Then the Lord said to me, "Go and get your wife again.  Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery.  For the Lord still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice gifts."  (3:1)
Key People:  Hosea, Gomer, their children
Key Places:  The norhtern kingdom (Israel), Samaria, Ephraim
Special Features:  Hosea employs many images from daily life:  God is depicted as husband, father, lion leopard, bear, dew, rain, moth and others;  Israel is pictured as wife, sick person, vine, grapes, early fruit, olive tree, woman in childbirth, over, morning mist, chaff, and smoke, to name a few.
Chapters:  14

Purpose:  To warn Judah of God's impending judgment because of its sins and to urge the people to turn back to God
Author:  Joel son of Pethuel
To Whom Written:  The people of Judah, the southern kingdom, and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Probably during hte time Joel may have prophesied, from approximately 835-796 B.C.
Setting:  The people of Judah had become prosperous and complacent.  Taking God for granted, they had turned to self centeredness, idolatry and sin.  Joel warned them that this kind of life-style would inevitably bring down God's judgment.
Key Verses:  That is why the Lord says, "Turn to Me now, while there is time!  Give Me your hearts, Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.  Don't tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts."  Return to the Lord your God, for He is not easily angered.  He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you."  (2:12-13)
Key People:  Joel, the people of Judah
Key Place:  Jerusalem
Chapters:  3

Purpose:  To pronounce God's judgment upon Israel, the northern kingdom, for its complacency, idolatry, and oppression of the poor
Author:  Amos
To Whom Written:  Israel, the northern kingdom, and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Probably during the reign of Jeroboam II  of Israel and Uzziah (Azariah) of Judah (approximately 760-750 B.C.)
Setting:  The wealthy people of Israel where enjoying peace and prosperity.  They were quite complacent and were oppressing the poor, even selling them into slavery.  Soon, however, Israel would be conquered by Assyria, and the rich would themselves become slaves.
Key Verse:  "Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry."  (5:24)
Key People:  Amos, Amaziah, Jeroboam II
Key Places:  Bethel, Samaria
Special Features:  Amos uses striking metaphors from his shepherding and farming experience - a loaded wagon (2:13), a roaring lion (3:8), a mutilated sheep (3:12), fat cows (4:1) and a basket of ripe fruit (8:1-2)
Chapters:  9

Purpose:  To show that God judges those who have harmed His people
Author:  Obadiah.  Very little is known about this man, whose name means "servant (or worshiper) of the Lord
To Whom Written:  The Edomites, the Jews in Judah and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Possibly during the reign of Jehoram in Judah, 853-841 B.C., or possibly during Jeremiah's ministry, 627-586 B.C.
Setting:  Historically, Edom had constantly harassed the Jews.  Prior to the time this book was written, they had participated in attacks against Judah.  Given the dates above, this prophecy came after the division of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms and before the conquering of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.
Key Verse:  "The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge the godless nations!  As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you.  All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads."  (1:15)
Key People:  The Edomites
Key Places:  Edom, Jerusalem
Special Features:  The book of Obadiah uses vigorous poetic language and is written in the form of a dirge of doom
Chapter:  1

Purpose:  To show the extent of God's grace - the message of salvation is for all people
Author:  Jonah son of Amittai
To Whom Written:  Israel and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately 785-760 B.C.
Setting:  Jonah preceded Amos and ministered under Jeroboam II, Israel's most powerful king (793-753 B.C.; see 2 Kings 14:23-25).  Assyria was Israel's great enemy; it conquered Israel in 722 B.C.  Nineveh's repentance must have been short-lived, for it was destroyed in 612 B.C.
Key Verse:  "But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not ot mention all the animals.  Shouldn't I feel sorry for such a great city?" (4:11)
Key People:  Jonah, the ship's captain and crew
Key Places:  Joppa, Nineveh
Special Features:  This book is different from the other prophetic books because it tells the story of the prophet and does not center on his prophecies.  In fact, only one verse summarizes his message to the people of Nineveh (3:4).  Jonah is a historical narrative.  It is also mentioned by Jesus as a picture of His death and resurrection (Matther 12:38-42)
Chapters:  4

Purpose:  To show the extent of God's grace -- the message of salvation is for all people
Author:  Jonah son of Amittai
To Whom Written:  Israel and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately 785-760 B.C.
Setting: Jonah preceded Amos and ministered under Jeroboam II, Lsrael's most powerful king (793-753 B.C.: see 2 Kings 14:23-25).  Assyria was Israel's great enemy; it conquered Israel in 722 B.C.  Nineveh's reprentance must have been short-lived, for it was destroyed in 612 B.C.
Key Verse:  "But Neneveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals.  Shouldn't I feel sorry for such a great city:" (4:11)
Key People:  Jonah, the ship's captain and crew
Key Places: Joppa, Neneveh
Special Features:  This book is different from the other prophetic books because it tells the story of the prophet and does not center on his prophecies.  If fact, only one verse cummarizes his message to the people of Nineveh (3:4).  Honah is a historical narrative.  If is also mentioned by Jesus as a picture of His death and resurrection (Matthew 12:38-42)
Chapters: 4

Purpose:  To warn God's people that judgment is coming and to offer pardon to all who repent
Author:  Micah, a native of Moresheth, near Gath, about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem
To Whom Written:  The people of Israel (the northern kingdom) and of Judah (the wouthern kingdom)
Date Written:  Possibly during the regns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (742-687 B.C.)
Setting:  The political situation is described in 2 Kings 15-20 and 2 Chronicles 26-30.  Micah was a contemporary of Isaish and Hosea.
Key Verse:  "No, O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what He requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.: (6L8)
Key People:  The people of Samaria and Jerusalem
Key Places:  Samaria, Jerusalem, Bethlehem
Special Features:  This is a beautiful example of classical Hebrew poetry.  There are three parts, each beginning with "Attention!" or "Listen" (1:2; 2:1; 6:1) and closing with a promise
Chapters:  7

Purpose:  To pronounce God's judgment on Assyria and to comfort Judah with this truth
Author:  Nahum
To Whom Written:  The people of Nineveh and Judah
Date Written:  Sometime during Nahum's prophetic ministry (probably between 663 and 612 B.C.)
Setting:  This particular prophecy took place after the fall of Thebes in 663 B.C. (3:8-10)
Key Verses:  "The Lord is good.  When trouble comes, He is a stsrong refuge.  And He kknows everyone who trusts in Him.  But He sweeps away His enemies in an overwhelming flood.  He pursues His foes into the darkness of night.  Why are you scheming against the Lord?  He will destroy you with one blow; He won't need to strike twice!" (1:7-9)
Key Place:  Nineveh
Chapters:  3

Purpose:  To show that God is still in control of the world despite the apparent triumph of evil
Author:  Habakkuk
To Whom Written:  Judah (the southern kingdon), and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Between 612 and 588 B.C.
setting:  Babylon was becoming the dominant world power, and Judah would soon feel Babylon's destructive force.
Key Verse:  "I have heard all about you, Lord, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done.  In this time of our deep need, begin again, to help us, as you did in years gone by.  Show us your power to save us.  And in your anger, remember your mercy" (3:2).
Key People:  Habakkuk, the Babylonians
Key Place:  Judah
Chapters:  3

Purpose:  To shake the people of Judah out of their complacency and urge them to return to God
Author:  Zephaniah
To Whom Written:  Judah and all nations
Date Written:  Probably near the end of Zephaniah's ministry (640-621 B.C.), when King Josiah's great reforms began
Setting:  King Josiah of Judah was attempting to reverse the evil trends set by the two previous kings of Judah -- Manasseh and Amon.  Josiah was able to extend his influence because there wasn't a strong super-power dominating the world at that time (Assyria was declining rapidly). Zaphaniah's prophecy may have been the motivating factor in Josiah's reform.  Zephaniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah.
Key Verse:  "Beg the Lord to save you -- all you who are humble, all you who unhold justice.  Walk humbly and do what is right.  Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you from His anger on that day of destruction" (2:3).
Key Place:  Jerusalem
Chapters:  3

Purpose:  To call the people to complete the rebuilding of the Temple
Author: Haggai
To Whom Written:  The people living in Jerusalem and those who had returned from exile
Date Written:  520 B.C.
Setting:  The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed in 586 B.C.  Dyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple in 538 B.C.  They began the work buy were unable to complete it.  Through the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah, the Temple was coompleted (520-515 B.C.).
Key Verse:  "Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?" (1:4).
Key People:  Haggai, Zerubbabel, Jeshua
Key Place:  Jerusalem
Special Features:  Haggai was the first of the postexilic prophets.  The other two were Zechariah and Malachi.  The literary style of this book is simply and direct.
Chapters:  2

Purpose:  To give hope to God's people by revealing God's future deliverance through the Messiah
Author:  Zechariah
To Whom Written:  The Jews in Jerusalem who had returned from their captivity in Babylon and to God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Chapters 1-8 were written approximately 520-518 B.C.  Chapters 9-14 were written around 480 B.C.
Setting:  The exiles had returned from Babylon to rebuild the Temple, but the work had been thwarted and stalled.  Haggai and Zechariah confronted the people with their task and encouraged them to complete it.
Key Verses: "Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet He is humble, riding on a donkey -- even on a donkey's colt ...  Your King will bring peace to the nations.  His realm with stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth" (9:9-10)
Key People:  Zerubbabel, Jeshau
Key Place:  Jerusalem
Special Features:  This book is the most apocalyptic and messianic of all the minor prophets.
Chapters:  14

Purpose:  To confront the people wiht their sins and to restore their relationship with God
Author:  Malachi
To Whom Written:  The Jews in Jerusalem and God's people everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately 430 B.C.
Setting:  Malachi, Haggai, and Zechariah were postexilic prophets to Judah (the southern kingdon).  Haggai and Zechariah rebuked the people for their failure to rebuild the Temple.  Malachi confronted them with their neglect of the Temple and their false and profane worship.
Key Verses:  "The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace... But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings.  And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture" (4:1-2).
Key People:  Malachi, the priests
Key Places:  Jerusalem, the Temple
Special Features:  Malachi's leterary style employs a dramatic use of questions asked by God and His people (see 3:7-8).
Chapters:  4

Purpose:  To prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal King
Author:  Matthew (Levi)
To Whom Written:  Matthew especially to the Jews
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 60-65
Setting:  Matthew was a Jewish tax collector who became one of Jesus' disciples.  This Gospel forms the connecting link between the Old and New Testaments because of its emphasis on the fulfillment of prophecy.
Key Verse:  "Don't misunderstand why I have come.  I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets.  No, I came to fulfill them" (5:17).
Key People:  Jesus, Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist, the disciples, the religious leaders, Calaphas, Pilate, Mary Magdalene
Key Places:  Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Capernaum, Galilee, Judea
Special Features:  Matthew is filled with messianic language ("Son of David" is used throughout) and Old Testament references (53 quotes and 76 other references).  This Gospel was not written as a chronological account; its purpose was to present the clear evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior.
Chapters:  28

Purpose:  To present the person, work, and teachings of Jesus
Author:  John Mark.  He was not one of the 12 disciples, but he accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:13).
To Whom Written:  The Christians in Rome, where he wrote the Gospel
Date Written:  Between A.D. 55 and 65
Setting:  The Roman Empire under Tiberius Caesar.  The empire, with its common language and excellent transportation and communication systems, was ripe to hear Jesus; message, which spread quickly from nation to nation.
Key Verse:  "For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others and to give my life as a ransom for many" (10:45).
Key People:  Jesus, the 12 disciples, Pilate, the Jewish religious leaders
Key Places:  Capernaum, Nazareth, Caesarea Philippi, Jericho, Bethany, Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Golgotha
Special Features:  Mark was probably the first Gospel written.  The other Gospels quote all but 31 verses of Mark.  Mark records more miracles than does any other Gospel.
Chapters:  16

Purpose:  To present an accurate account of the life of Christ and to present Christ as the perfect human and Savior
Author:  Luke -- a doctor (Dolossians 4:14), a Greek, and Gentile Christian.  He is the only known Gentile author in the New Testament.  Luke was a close friend and companion of Paul.  He also wrote Acts and the two books fo together.
To Whom Written:  Theophilus ("one who loves God"), Gentiles and people everywhere
Date Written:  About A.D. 60
Setting:  Luke wrote from Rome or possibly from Caesarea
Key Verses:  "Jesus responded, 'Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham.  And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost' (19:9-10)"
Key People:  Jesus, Elizabeth, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Mary, the disciples, Herod the Great, Pilate, Mary Magdalene
Key Places:  Bethlehem, Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem
Special Features:  This is the most comprehensive Gospel.  The general vocabulary and diction show that the author was educated.  He makes frequent references to illnesses and diagnoses.  Luke stresses Jesus' relationships with people; emphasizes prayer, miracles, and angels; records inspired humns of praise; and gives a prominent place to women.  Most of 9:51 -- 18:35 is not fround in any other Gospel.
Chapters:  24

Purpose:  To prove conclusively that Jesus is the Son of God and that all who believe in Him will have eternal life
Author:  John the apostle, son of Zebedee, brother of James, called a "Son of Thunder"
To Whom Written:  New Christians and searching non-Christians
Date Written:  Probably A.D. 85-90
Setting:  Written after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and before John's exile to the island of Patmos
Key Verese:  "Jesus' disciples saw Him do many other miraculous signs besides the ones recorded in this book.  But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life" (20:30-31)
Key People:  Jesus, John the Baptist, the disciples, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Jesus' mother, Pilate, Mary Magdalene
Key Places:  Judean countryside, Samaria, Galilee, Bethany, Jerusalem
Special Features:  Of the eight miracles recorded, six are unique (among the Gospels) to Jon, as is the "Upper Room Discourse" (chapters 14-17).  Over 90 percent of John is unique to his Gospel -- John does not contain a genealogy or any record of Jesus' birth, childhood, temptation, transfiguration, appointment or the disciples, nor any account of Jesus' parables, ascension or great commission.
Chapters:  21

Purpose:  To give an accurate account of the birth and growth of the Christian church
Author:  Luke (a Gentile physician)
To Whom Written:  Theophilus and all lovers of God
Date Written:  Between A.D. 63 and 70
Setting:  Acts is the connecting link between Christ's life and the life of the church, between the Gospels and the Letters
Key Verse:  "But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere -- in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth: (1:8)
Key People:  Peter, John, James, Stephen, Philip, Paul, Barnabas, Cornelius, James (Jesus' brother), Timothy, Lydia, Silas, Titus, Apollos, Agabus, Ananias, Felix, Festus, Agrippa, Luke
Key Places:  Jerusalem, Samaria, Lydda, Joppa, Antioch, Cyprus, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Caesarea, Malta, Rome
Special Features:  Acts is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke.  Because Acts ends so abruptly, Luke may have planned to write a third book, continuing the story.
Chapters:  28

Purpose:  To introduce Paul to the Romans and to give a sample of his message before he arrives in Rome
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  The Christians in Rome and believers everywhere
Date Written:  About A.D. 57, from Corinth, as Paul was preparing for his visit to Jerusalem.
Setting:  Apparently Paul had finished his work in the east and he planned to visit Rome on his way to Spain after first bringing a collection to Jerusalem for the poor Christians there (15:23-28).  The Roman church was mostly Jewish but also contained a great number of Gentiles.
Key Verse:  "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us: (5:1).
Key People:  Paul, Phoebe
Key Place:  Rome
Special Features:  Paul wrote Romans as an organized and carefully presented statement of his faith -- it does not have the form of a typical letter.  He does, however, spend considerable time greeting people in Rome at the end of the letter.
Chapters:  16

1 Corinthians
Purpose:  To identify problems in the Corinthian church, to offer solutions and to teach the believers how to live for Christ in a corrupt society
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  The church in Corinth and Christians everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 55, near the end of Paul's three-year ministry in Ephesus, during his third missionary journey
Setting:  Corinth was a major cosmopolitan city, a seaport and major trade center -- the most important city in Achaia.  It was also filled with idoatry and immorality.  The church was largely made up of Gentiles, Paul had established this church on his second missionary journey.
Key Verse:  "Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves.  Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions in the church.  I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose" (1:10).
Key People:  Paul, Timothy, members of Chloe's household
Key Places:  Worship meetings in Corinth
Special Features:  This is a strong, straightforward letter.
Chapters:  16

2 Corinthians
Purpose:  To affirm Paul's ministry, defend his authority as an apostle, and refute the false teachers in Corinth
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  The church in Corinth and Christians everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 55-57, from Macedonia
Setting:  Paul had already written three letters to the Corinthians (two are now lost).  In 1 Corinthians (the second of these letters), he used strong words to correct and teach.  Most of the church had responded in the right spirit; there were, however, those who were denying Paul's authority and questioning his motives.
Key Verse:  "We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you.  We urge you, as though Christ Himself were here pleading with you.  'Be reconciled to God!'" (5:20).
Key People:  Paul, Timothy, Titus, false teachers
Key Places:  Corinth, Jerusalem
Special Features:  This is an intensely personal and autobiographical letter.
Chapters:  13

Purpose:  To refute the Judaizers (who taught that Gentile believers must obey the Jewish law in order to be saved), and to call Christians to faith and freedom in Christ
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  The churches in southern Galatia, founded on Paul's first missinary journey (including Iconium, Lystra, Derbe), and Christians everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 49, from Antioch, prior to the Jerusalem council (A.D. 50)
Setting:  The most pressing controversy in the early church was the relationship of new believers, particularly Gentiles, to the Jewish laws.  This was especially a problem for the converts and for the young churches that Paul had founded on his first missionary journey.  Paul wrote to correct this problem.  Later, at the council in Jerusalem, the conflict ws officially resolved by the church leaders.
Key Verse:  "So Christ has really set us free.  Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law" (5:1).
Key People:  Paul, Peter, Barnabas, Titus, Abraham, false teachers
Key Places:  Galatia, Jerusalem
Special Features:  This letter is not addressed to any specific body of believers and was probably circulated to several churches in Galatia.
Chapters:  6

Purpose: To strengthen the believers in Ephesus in their Christian faith by explaining the nature and purpose of the church, the body of Christ.
Author: Paul
To Whom Written:  The church at Ephesus, and all believers everywhere.
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 60, from Rome, during Paul's imprisonment there.
Setting:  The letter was not written to confront any heresy or problem in the churches. It was sent with Tychicus to strengthen and encourage the churches in the area.  Paul had spent over three years with the Ephesian church.  As a result, he was very close to them.  Paul met with the elders of the Ephesian church at Miletus(Acts 20:17-38) - a meeting that was filled with great sadness because he was leaving them for what he thought would be the last time.  Because there are no specific references to people or problems in the Ephesian church and because the words "in Ephesus" (1:1) are not present in some early manuscripts, Paul may have intended this to be a circular letter to be read to all the churches in the area.
Key Verses:  "We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future.  There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all." (4:4-6)
Key People:  Paul, Tychicus
Special Features:  Several pictures of the church are presented: body, temple, mystery, new man, bride and soldier.  This letter was probably distributed to many of the early churches.
Chapters: 6

Purpose:  TO thank the Philippians for the gift they had sent Paul and to strengthen these believers by showing them that true joy comes from Jesus Christ, alone.
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  All the Christians at Philippi and all believers everywhere.
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 61, from Rome during Paul's imprisonment there.
Settings:  Paul and his companions began the church at Philippi on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-40).  This was the first church established on the European continent.  The Philippian church had sent a gift with Epaphroditus (one of there members) to be delivered to Paul (4:18). Paul was in a Roman prison at the time.  He wrote this letter to thank them for their gift and to encourage them in their faith.
Key Verse:  "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again, rejoice!" (4:4)
Key People:  Paul, Timothy, Epaphroditus, Euodia and Syntyche
Key Place:  Philippi
Chapters:  4

Purpose:  To combat errors in the church and to show that believers have everything they need in Christ.
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  The church at Colosse, a city in Asia Minor and all believers everywhere.
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 60, during Paul's imprisonment in Rome.
Settings:  Paul had never visited Colosse.  Evidently the church had been founded by Epaphras and other converts from Paul's missionary travels.  The church, however, had been infiltrated by religious relativism, with some believers attempting to combine elements of paganism and secular philosophy with Christian doctrine.  Paul confronts these false teachings and affirms the sufficiency of Christ.
Key Verses:  "For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ.  He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe." (2:9, 10)
Key People:  Paul, Timothy, Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Epaphgras
Key Places:  Colosse, Laodicea (4:15, 16)
Special Features:  Christ is presented as having absolute supremacy and sole sufficiency.  Colossians has similarities to Ephesians. Probably because it was written at about the same time, but it has different emphasis.
Chapters:  4

1 Thessalonians
Purpose:  To strengthen the Thessalonian Christians in their faith and give them the assurance of Christ's return.
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  The church at Thessalonica and all believers everywhere.
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 51 from Corinth: one of Paul's earliest letters.
Setting:  The church at Thessalonica was very young, having been established only two or three years before this letter was written.  The Thessalonian Christians needed to mature in their faith.  In addition, there was a misunderstanding concerning Christ's second coming - some thought Christ would return immediately, and thus they were confused when their loved ones died because they expected Christ to return beforehand.  Also, believers were being persecuted.
Key Verse:  "For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died." (4:14)
Key People:  Paul, Timothy, Silas
Special Features:  Paul received from Timothy a favorable report about the Thessalonians.  However, Paul wrote this letter to correct their misconceptions about the resurrection and the second coming of Christ.
Chapters:  5

2 Thessalonians
Purpose:  To clear up the confusion about the second coming of Christ
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  The church at Thessalonica, and all believers everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 51 or 52, a few months after 1 Thessalonians, from Corinth
Setting:  Many in the church were confused about the timing of Christ's return.  Because of mounting persecution, they thought the day of the Lord must be imminent, and they interpreted Paul's first letter to say that the Second Coming would be at ant moment.  In light of this misunderstand, many persisted in being idle and disorderly, with the excuse of waiting for Christ's return
Key Verse:  "May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and the endurance that comes from Christ."  (3:5)
Key People:  Paul, Silas, Timothy
Key Place: Thessalonica
Special Features:  This is a follow-up letter to 1 Thessalonians.  In this letter, Paul indicates various events that must precede the Second Coming of Christ.
Chapters:  3

1 Timothy
Purpose:  To give encouragement and instruction to Timothy, a your leader
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  Timothy, young church leaders, and all believers everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 64, from Rome or Macedonia (possibly Philippi), probably just prior to Paul's final imprisonment in Rome.
Setting:  Timothy was one of Paul's closest companions.  Paul had sent Timothy to the curch at Ephesus to counter the false teaching that had arisen there (1:3, 4).  Timothy probably served for a time as a leader in the church at Ephesus.  Paul hoped to visit Timothy (3:14, 15; 4:13), but in the meantime, he wrote this letter to give Timothy practical advice about the ministry.
Key Verse:  "Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity." (4:12)
Key People:  Paul, Timothy
Key Place: Ephesus
Special Features:  1 Timothy is a personal letter and a handbook of church administration and discipline.
Chapters:  6

2 Timothy
Purpose:  To give final instructions and encouragement to Timothy, pastor of the church at Ephesus
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  Timothy and all Christians everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 66 or 67, from prison in Rome.  After a year or two of freedom, Paul was arrested again and executed under Emperor Nero
Setting:  Paul was virtually alone in prison; only Luke was with him.  Paul wrote this letter to pass the torch to the new generation of church leaders.  He also asked for visits from his friends and for his scrolls, especially the parchments - possibly parts of the Old Testament, the Gospels and other biblical manuscripts.
Key Verse: "Work hard so God can approve you.  Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth." (2:15)
Key People:  Paul, Timothy, Luke, Mark and others
Key Places:  Rome, Ephesus
Special Features:  Because this is Paul's last letter, it reveals his heart and his priorities - sound doctrine, steadfast faith, confident endurance and lasting love.
Chapters:  4

Purpose:  To advise Titus in his responsibility of supervising the churches on the island of Crete
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  Titus, a Greek, probably converted to Christ through Paul's ministry (he had become Paul's special representative to the island of Crete), and all believers everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 64, around the same time 1 Timothy with written: probably from Macedonia when Paul traveled between his Roman imprisonments
Setting:  Paul set Titus to organize and oversee the churches on Crete.  This letter tells Titus how to do this job.
Key Verse:  "I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you." (1:5)
Key People:  Paul, Titus
Key Places:  Crete, Nicopolis
Special Features:  Titus is very similar to 1 Timothy with its instructions to church leaders
Chapters:  3

Purpose:  To convince Philemon to forgive his runaway slave, Onesimus and to accept him as a brother in the faith
Author:  Paul
To Whom Written:  Philemon, who was probably a wealthy member of the Colossian church, and all believers
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 60, during Paul's first imprisonment in Rome, at about the same time Ephesians and Colossians were written
Setting:  Slavery was very common in the Roman Empire and evidently some Christians had slaves.  Paul does not condemn the institution of slavery in his writings, but he makes a radical statement by calling this slave Philemon's brother in Christ.
Key Verses:  "Perhaps you could think of it this way: Onesimus ran away for a little while so you could have him back forever.  He is no longer just a slave; he is a beloved brother, especially to me.  Now he will mean much more to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord." (1:15, 16)
Key People:  Paul, Philemon, Onesimus
Key Places:  Colosse, Rome
Special Features:  This is a private, personal letter to a friend
Chapter: 1

Purpose:  To present the sufficiency and superiority of Christ
Authors:  Paul, Luke, Barnabas, Apollos, Silas, Philip, Priscilla and others have been suggested because the name of the author is not given in the biblical text itself.  Whoever it was speaks for Timothy as "brother." (13:23)
To Whom Written:  Hebrew Christians (perhaps second-generation Christians, who may have been considering a return to Judaism, perhaps because of immaturity, stemming from a lack of understanding of biblical truths) and all believers in Christ
Date Written:  Probably before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, because the religious sacrifices and ceremonies are referred to in the book, but no mention is made of the temple's destruction
Setting:  These Jewish Christians were probably undergoing fierce persecution, socially and physically, both from Jews and from Romans.  Christ had not returned to establish His Kingdom and the people needed to be reassured that Christianity was true and that Jesus was indeed the Messiah
Key Verse:  "The Son reflects God's own glory and everything about Him represents God exactly.  He sustains the universe by the mighty power of His command.  After He died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven." (1:3)
Key People:  Old Testament men and women of faith (Chapter 11)
Special Features:  Although Hebrews is called a "letter" (13:22), it has the form and the content of a sermon
Chapters:  13

Purpose:  To expose hypocritical practices and to teach right Christian behavior
Author:  James, Jesus' brother, a leader in the Jerusalem church
To Whom Written:  First-century Jewish Christians residing in Gentile communities outside Palestine and all Christians everywhere
Date Written:  Probably A.D. 49, prior to the Jerusalem council held in A.D. 50.
Setting:  This letter expresses James; concern for persecuted Christians who were once part of the Jerusalem church
Key Verse:  "Now someone may argue, 'Some people have faith; others have good deeds.'  I say, 'I can't see your faith if you don't have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds'" (2:18)
Chapters:  5

1 Peter
Purpose:  To offer encouragement to suffering Christians
Author:  Peter
To Whom Written:  Jewish Christians driven out of Jerusalem and scattered throughout Asia Minor and all believers everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 62-64, possibly from Rome
Setting:  Peter was probably in Rome when the great persecution under Emperor Nero began. (Eventually Peter was executed during this persecution.) Throughout the Roman Empire, Christians were being tortured and killed for their faith and the church in Jerusalem was being scattered.
Key Verse:  "These trials are only to test your faith - so if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." (1:7)
Key People:  Peter, Silas, Mark
Key Places:  Jerusalem, Rome, and the regions of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor and Bithynia
Special Features:  Peter used several images that were very special to him because Jesus had used them when He revealed certain truths to Peter.  Peter's name (which means "rock") had been given to him by Jesus.  Peer's conception of the church-a spiritual house composed of living stones built upon Christ as the foundation-came from Christ.  Jesus encouraged Peter to care for the church as  a shepherd tending the flock.  Thus, it is not surprising to see Peter using living stones (2:5-9) and shepherds and sheep (2:25; 5:2, 4) to describe the church
Chapters:  5

2 Peter
Purpose:  TO warn Christians about false teachers and to exhort them to grow in their faith and knowledge of Christ
Author: Peter
To Whom Written:  The church at large and all believers everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 67, three years after 1 Peter was written, possibly from Rome
Setting:  Peter knew that his time on earth was limited (1:13, 14), so he wrote about what was on his heart, warning believers of what would happen when he was gone-especially about the presence of false teachers.  He reminded his readers of the unchanging truth of the gospel
Key Verse:  "As we know Jesus better, His divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life.  He has called us to receive His own glory and goodness." (1:3)
Key People:  Peter, Paul
Special Features:  The date and destination are uncertain, and the authorship has been disputed.  Because of this, 2 Peter was the last book admitted to the canon of the New Testament Scripture. Also, there are similarities between 2 Peter and Jude
Chapters: 3

1 John
Purpose:  To reassure Christians in their faith and to counter false teachings
Author:  The apostle John
To Whom Written:  The letter is untitled and was written to no particular church.  It was sent as a pastoral letter to several Gentile congregations.  It was also written to all believers everywhere
Date Written:  Probably between A.D. 85 and 90 from Ephesus
Setting:  John was a older man and perhaps the only surviving apostle at this time.  He had not yet been banished to the island of Patmos, where he would live in exile.  As an eyewitness of Christ, he wrote authoritatively to give this new generation of believers assurance and confidence in God and in their faith.
Key Verse:  "I write this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life." (5:13)
Key People:  John, Jesus
Special Features:  John is the apostle of love and love is mentioned throughout this letter.  There are a number of similarities between this letter and John's Gospel in vocabulary, style and main ideas.  John uses brief statements and simple words and he features shart contrasts-light and darkness, truth and error, God and Satan, life and death, love and hate
Chapters:  5

2 John
Purpose:  To emphasize the basics of following Christ-truth and love and to warn against false teachers
Author:  The apostle John
To Whom Written:  To the chosen lady and her children or possibly to a local church and all believers everywhere
Date Written:  About the same time as 1 John, approximately A.D. 90 from Ephesus
Setting:  Evidently this woman and her family were involved in one of the churches that John was overseeing; they had developed a strong friendship with John.  John was warning her of the false teachers who were becoming prevalent in some of the churches.
Key Verse:  "Love means doing what God has commanded us and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning." (1:6)
Key People:  John, the chosen lady, and her children
Chapter: 1

3 John
Purpose:  To commend Gaius for his hospitality and to encourage him in his Christian life
Author:  The apostle John
To Whom Written:  Gaius, a prominent Christian in one of the churches known to John and to all Christians
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 90 from Ephesus
Setting:  Church leaders traveled from town to town helping to establish new congregations. They depended on the hospitality of fellow believers.  Gaius was one who welcomed these leaders into his home
Key Verse:  "Dear friend, you are doing a good work for God when you take care of the traveling teachers who are passing through, even though they are strangers to you."  (1:5)
Key People:  John, Gaius, Diotrephes, Demetrius
Chapter:  1

Purpose:  To remind the church of the need for constant vigilance to keep strong in the faith and to oppose heresy
Author:  Jude, brother of Jesus and James
To Whom Written:  Jewish Christians and all believers everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 65
Setting:  From the first century on, the church has been threatened by heresy and false teaching; we must always be on our guard
Key Verse:  "Dearly loved friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share.  But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the truth of the Good News.  God gave this unchanging truth once for all time to His whole people." (1:3)
Key People:  Jude, James, Jesus
Chapter: 1

Purpose:  To reveal the full identity of Christ and to give warning and hope to believers
Author:  The apostle John
To Whom Written:  The seven churches in Asia and all believers everywhere
Date Written:  Approximately A.D. 95 from Patmos
Setting:  Most scholars believe that the seven churches of Asia to whom John writes were experiencing the persecution that took place under Emperor Domitian (A.D. 90-95).  It seems that the Roman authorities had exiled John to the island of Patmos (off the coast of Asia).  John, who had been an eyewitness of the incarnate Christ, had a vision of the glorified Christ.  God also revealed to him what would take place in the future, judgment and the ultimate triumph of God over evil
Key Verse:  "God blesses the one who reads this prophecy to the church and He blesses all who listen to it and obey what it says.  For the time is near when these things will happen."  (1:3)
Key People:  John, Jesus
Key Places:  Patmos, the seven churches, the new Jerusalem
Special Features:  Revelation is written in "apocalyptic" form, a type of Jewish literature that uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope (in the ultimate triumph of God) to those in the midst of persecution.  The events are ordered according to literary, rather than strictly chronological patterns.
Chapters:  22

Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church & Cemetery

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J-oyful in tone
E-arnest in spirit
S-atisfying to the soul
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