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

02 August 2015

The Minor Prophets

Speaking of the Minor Prophets, if you are looking for a resource to help you get into the last twelve books of the Old Testament then "The Minor Prophets" by Jack P. Lewis is the book for you. This book has been around for a while but wait...wait...WAIT!  Don't switch off.  Because I have just read some reviews of this book and lots of them said words to the effect of, "Still one of the best guidebooks to the Minor Prophets."

Not that I had to read the reviews to find out about this book.  I have just used it in preparation for Monday evenings and have studied it two or three times in the past during similar tilts through this section of the Bible.  And I often refer to it during my personal reading of the Minor Prophets when it gets to that point in the plan.

Why?  Because it's short, concise and supremely useful.  There is a chapter, each one no more than ten pages, for each prophet.  Every chapter includes some general information about the prophet, where he fits into biblical history and dating as can best be determined (and where there is some debate Lewis outlines the possibilities.)  There is a general overview of the book, a structure and some commentary on significant sections, key concepts and on some of the trickier bits than cannot be left unexplained.  It's detailed but not technical.  You can read it and reasonably speedily.  Towards the end of each chapter Lewis mentions where each prophet is quoted or alluded to in the New Testament and brings the reader back to Jesus.  And every chapter finishes with a short set of astute study questions. 

I don't think this book is in print anymore which is a huge shame but a quick search shows that there are still plenty of copies to found here and there.  And if you are serious about learning not just to understand but to love this part of the Bible then this is THE book for you.

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The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Psalm 19:7-11

4 comments:

rosie said...

Hi Meredith, I love reading your blog. Please continue and please keep interspersing the blog with scripture. It 'restoreth my soul' I do need something to kickstart my bible reading though. I am full of good intentions but don't follow through. Any suggestions welcome.

Meredith said...

Hi Rosie,
Thanks for visiting and for your encouragement.
And you know, the thing about Bible reading is this...there is no easy solution. You just have to get down and do it. But I have found over many years of Bible reading that the more I read it, the more I want to read it. So it is really just a matter of getting on with it, starting at a pace that is reasonable for your situation. So if you are in one of those seasons that makes reading hard then don't aim to be reading ten chapters a day. Start with one. And make it a priority. If you have reading this blog for more than three minutes you will know that my preferred style is to read through the Bible each year so I find the best thing is to follow a plan. In the left hand column, right near the top, is a link to some fabulous plans. And if a whole plan is too much then just follow one column...like doing the NT reading for each day...until you build up some fitness and stamina. But go for it. It will be time well spent in your day. I will pray for you and reading right now.
Mx

rosie said...

Thank you meredith for your guidance re bible reading. I have begun one of the plans and am totally amazed already at what I am discovering! I have done quite a few chapter studies over the years but this week lots of 'new' things are jumping out at me. Eg. Nehemiah then some of luke. Where I can see the family heritage of elizabeth and zechariah. It is so clear how God has planned from the beginning of time. No need for me to carry worry as to the future. God has it all under control.

Meredith said...

That's great Rosie. It's really just a matter of getting on with it and when the day arrives that it seems hard to do and easy to miss, pushing through that pain barrier and keeping on reading even so. I have stuck with my favourite plan for several years - although I flipped it this year and did the first half second this time around - and it doesn't get tired. Press on and the Lord bless you and keep you.