Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

06 November 2012

How to read ALL of the Bible # 7 - some extra help for the period of the kings

In my experience the most difficult section of the Bible to navigate is the period of the kings - the time of the Northern and Southern kingdoms.  This part of biblical history also takes in the prophets...so the events of the last seventeen books of the Old Testament are interwoven into this part of the history.  However without a good roadmap it is all very, very hard to navigate. 

For at least fifteen or so years I have had two pieces of paper slotted into my Bible at the beginning of this section.  They are the trusty diagram (from Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament by Graeme Goldsworthy, page 32, published by Paternoster Press in 1982) that we have been following...


...and this table...



... a chronology of the kings that I found in the New Bible Commentary (3rd Edition), page 322, published by IVP in 1970.   This table is a lifesaver.  1 and 2 Kings flips back and forth between the Northern and Southern kingdom and it can be very hard to remember (if you have a memory like mine) which kingdom and which king is being discussed at any one time.  A quick check on the trusty table when you read a new king's name and you are set on the right track and reading in the correct context.

The other difficulty with this neck of the woods is the prophets who, apart from Elijah and Elisha, are all clumped together at the end of the Old Testament rather than being woven into the story as it happens. Click HERE for is a post I wrote with a short summary of the prophets with navigation guides to help place as many of them as we can in their correct context.

Knowing which kingdom, king and prophet you are reading at which particular time and place in history makes all the difference in this part of the Bible.  It's a really exciting part of the Bible - but it's extremely bewildering without some landmarks and guide posts along the way. 

2 comments:

Sarah said...

I'm really enjoying this series, Meredith. Thanks for doing it.

Having just read the rather tricky Zechariah, I found this post from your archives to be helpful as well http://thekeytothedoor.blogspot.com.au/2010/08/preparing-for-prophets.html

Meredith said...

Thanks Sarah. I did link to that post in this post. Is that link working? Maybe I will make it a bit clearer. Thanks for the tip off. Mx