Suggestion: Vary your reading: if you read a Prophet’s thunder, next go to “Heartfelt,” for example.
Creation: “Let us create…”
Proverbs 8.22-36: “I was beside him, like a master worker…” ‘I’ is Sophia/Wisdom
Our Mission – In chronological order showing key verses:
Amos — 5.21ff — preaches right living during happy-go-lucky times
Hosea — 6.3ff, 11.1ff — Redeeming love of recalcitrant people
Isaiah 1–39 — Preaches amid national crises, challenges kings
Micah — 6.6ff — Contemporary with Isaiah, but rural & for pure worship
Zephaniah — Maybe a royal, condemns corrupt practice & religious perversion
Jeremiah — False worship, his feelings as destruction looms, trust God
Nahum — Proud Assyrian Empire is destroyed
Habakkuk — Dialog Hab and God: why evil? Need for faithfulness
Most people exiled to Babylonia to eliminate their religion, but many endure
Ezekiel (in exile) — Warnings, hope, against nations
Psalm 137: feelings in Exile
Obadiah — After fall of Jerusalem
Isaiah 40–66 (return from exile) — 61.1ff — Return to Jerusalem to your historic call
Haggai — Inspires people to rebuild the Temple
Zechariah — Inspires people to rebuild the Temple
Malachi — Cultic prophet condemns priests, teaches purity
Joel — Knew Temple, cultic prophet uses liturgy, priestly
Heartfelt (Sophia Wisdom)
Lamentations — Feelings of Jerusalem people under siege
Psalms — Songs of every genre or theme: joy, sad, hope, suffering… some cultic
Proverbs — Sayings some of which are false, introduces Wisdom & her actions
Ecclesiastes — Pithy sayings, some wiser than others, some dark.
Song of Solomon — An erotic love affair; the Rabbis: The holy of holies of the O.T.
Wisdom of Solomon* (Apocrypha) — About Wisdom and her sayings that Jesus knew
Job (also under Parables) — Job is a very righteous man yet of a hated group! Why do good suffer? Responses are Deuteronomic religion
Ruth — Outsider whose Jewish husband dies, joins mother in-law to return to Jewish state,
marries, at the end is the punch line!
Jonah — Told to preach to Ninevah, rebels, great fish, so goes, disappointed, punch line to end
Job (also under Heartfelt) — Why do good suffer? Responses are Deuteronomic religion
The above is the heart of the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament. The remainder of the Hebrew Scriptures:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy that was probably the “book of the law” (2 Kings 22.11) that prompted Josiah’s reformation in 621 BCE. One passage has meaning today: Exodus 21.22-25 that implies abortion is not murder — the fetus is stillborn but the mother is unharmed.
The following are early myth and history in canonical order: Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, (after the exile rebuild) Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.
After Judges in the canon comes Ruth that is a parable.
—Prepared by John F. Yeaman, MDiv, MSSW
*Usually simply Wisdom was written within a century before Jesus’ life & ministry; he probably knew it, suggesting his familiarity with it in several teachings.