Welcome to Read the Bible together in 2021!

Zachariah, Malachi
PSALM 119 - 125

Synopsis: : Most people find Zechariah an especially difficult read, even for a prophetic book. This is undoubtedly due to the highly symbolic nature of the night visions plus the normally complex character of prophetic eschatological oracles—and these are what make up most of Zechariah. But with a bit of help you should be able to negotiate your way through the book and appreciate some of its grandeur.

Malachi: Malachi’s oracle comes by way of six disputes between Yahweh and his people, all having the same root cause: In a time of spiritual disillusionment, Israel has grown weary of Yahweh and of keeping his covenant. The disputes come in two sets of three. The first set takes up the basic issue—their complaint that Yahweh does not love them (1:2–5), and Yahweh’s “complaint” that they have shown contempt for him (1:6–2:9; 2:10–16). In the second set, Yahweh twice takes up their complaint that he has done nothing about evil and injustice (2:17–3:5; 3:13–4:3); these two bracket Yahweh’s exposing their own form of injustice (3:6–12). At the same time they affirm that the great day of Yahweh will come indeed (3:1–4; 3:17–4:3). The book concludes (4:4–6) with words about the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah).

How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p.  257, 262).

Nahum, habakkuk, zephaniah, haggai
PSALM 112 - 118

Synopsis: : 

Amos 7 - Obadiah, Jonah, Micah 5
PSALM 105 - 111

Synopsis: : Obadiah, the fourth of the Book of the Twelve, which is also the shortest book in the Old Testament, is a single, unified prophecy against Edom that was probably spoken to various groups of Judeans to encourage them in the aftermath of their national tragedy.

The book of Jonah is unique among the Latter Prophets. Rather than a collection of prophetic oracles, it is instead a narrative about God’s compassion for some hated Gentiles by way of a Hebrew prophet who wants nothing to do with it.

The book of Micah, sixth in the Book of the Twelve, is a careful—and unique—collection and arrangement of oracles delivered by Micah over an apparently long period of time. There is a the threat of divine judgment for breaking covenant with Yahweh; Yahweh as a God of justice and mercy who pleads the cause of the poor and requires his people to do the same; after judgment Yahweh will restore Jerusalem through the promised Davidic king; Yahweh as God of all the nations
How to Read the Bible Book by Book

Joel 1 - Amos 6
PSALM 98 - 104

Synopsis: : Joel centers much of his message in the concept of “the day of the LORD.” Four scenes depict this decisive day, each scene having two parts.
Amos, the third in the Book of the Twelve is the earliest of the prophetic books. Its basic message is that Yahweh has utterly rejected Israel’s present religious and socioeconomic practices, so much so that he is going to bring the northern kingdom to an end and send the people into exile (5:5, 27; 6:7; 7:11, 17).
How to Read the Bible Book by Book

Hosea 5:8 - 14
PSALM 91 - 96

Synopsis: : The structure of this first—and longest—of the Book of the Twelve is less easy to discern than that of most of the prophetic books, due in part to the general lack of introductory or concluding formulas (e.g., “thus says the LORD [Yahweh]”). Two major divisions are clear (chs. 1–3 and 4–14). Part 1 seems intentionally introductory, and its own alternating pattern of judgment (1:2–9; 2:2–13; 3:4) followed by future restoration (1:10–2:1; 2:14–23; 3:5) may serve as a pattern for part 2 as well. The judgments are predicated on Israel’s “adultery” (= idolatry, 2:8, 13, 17), and the restoration on Yahweh’s unfailing love for his people (2:1, 14, 23; 3:1). Indeed, the tension in the book, as in Micah later, is between Yahweh’s love for his people and his justice in carrying out the curses for covenantal unfaithfulness.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p. 211). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

Extra: Recommended:
Bible Project Hosea

Daniel 7 - Hosea 5
PSALM 84 - 90

Synopsis: : Part 2 is a series of apocalyptic visions about the rise and fall of succeeding empires, in each case involving a coming tyrannical ruler (7:8, 24–25; 8:23–25; 11:36–45)—most often understood to be Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) of the Seleucid rulers of Palestine (175–164 B.C.), who because of his desolation of Jerusalem and sacrilege of the temple was to become the first in a series of antichrist figures in Jewish and Christian literature. But in each case the final focus is on God’s judgment of the enemy and the glorious future kingdom awaiting his people.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (pp. 204-205). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

Daniel 1-6
PSALM 77 - 83

Synopsis: : The book of Daniel comes in two clear parts (chs. 1–6 and 7–12). The first half contains court stories, mostly about Daniel and three friends who remain absolutely loyal to Yahweh even while rising to positions of importance within the Babylonian Empire. The emphases are four: (1) on the four Hebrews’ loyalty to God, (2) on God’s miraculous deliverances of them, (3) on Gentile kings’ acknowledging the greatness of Israel’s God, and (4) on Daniel as the God-gifted interpreter of dreams—all of which emphasize God’s sovereignty over all things, including the king who conquered and destroyed Jerusalem.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p. 204). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

1. Why was the king of Babylon educating young Jewish men like Daniel and his three friends ?
2. What was the purpose in changing their names?
3. What character traits to you find in Daniel 1-2?
4. How does Daniel 3:17 fit into the overall picture of God's plan?
5. What principles in Daniel 4-6 do you find about a God followers character and God's sovereignty over rulers?
Extra: Recommended
Bible Project Daniel

Ezekiel 38-48
PSALM 70-76

Synopsis: : Israel’s restoration will be complete when Yahweh exercises his sovereignty over all her enemies, here symbolically represented by his defeat of Gog of Magog, from a distant land in the north (38:15). In April 573, fourteen years after the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel is given his final set of visions, which focus first on the restored temple and priesthood. What he sees is so grand that he includes its extraordinary measurements, thus symbolizing its grandeur and glory. All of the detail is a way of emphasizing the importance of the worship of Yahweh by the restored community of the future. And even if you do not share Ezekiel’s own vested interest in the details, do not lose the central point, which Ezekiel himself makes by giving it center place in the vision—the return of Yahweh’s presence among his people (43:1–9)! Also important for this great future for God’s people is the redistribution of the transformed land (45:1–12), which is what the final two chapters (47–48) are all about. Note especially that the life-giving river is seen as flowing from the temple (47:1–12), the place of God’s presence and of the people’s worship, imagery that John picks up in his vision of the final city of God in Revelation 22:1–5.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (pp. 202-203). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

Extra: Recommended
Bible Project Ezekiel

Ezekiel 28-37
PSALM 63-69

Synopsis: : Before the actual fall, at which point Ezekiel turns toward Yahweh’s future for his people, he receives a series of oracles against the nations who were Judah’s political allies, indicating that the same fate awaits them. Watch for the clear sense of development you find in this final series of oracles. After positioning Ezekiel in the role of a watchman,
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p. 201). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

1. What lessons might Egypt learn from what happened to Assyria?
2. The story of the cedar revisits several familiar themes that occurred in the prophecies against foreign nations. Can you name 2 or 3?
3. What effect would the prophecy Egypt's fall have on Israel's help coming from them?
4. How does the Lord explain His role as the good Shepherd to Israel? Contrast that to the false shepherds.
5. “Ezekiel 36 parallels the New Covenant God promised to Israel and Judah in Jeremiah 31. What three specific elements can you discover?
Extra: Recommended
Bible Project Ezekiel

Ezekiel 17 - 27
PSALM 56-62

Synopsis: : These loosely related oracles—variously reflect the situations of both the exiles in Babylon and current affairs in Jerusalem. The allegories of eagles (ch. 17) and lions (ch. 19), the latter ironically taking the form of a lament, are directed especially at Zedekiah, present king in Jerusalem (17:15–21; 19:5–9; see 2 Kgs 25:6–7). These allegories enclose a complaint against God’s injustice (the children pay for their parents’ sins) brought to Ezekiel by the exiles (Ezek 18). Their proverb is rejected altogether and replaced with an offer to forgive if they repent. Note especially that their sins are expanded considerably beyond idolatry (cf. ch. 22).

How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p. 199). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

Ezekiel 6 - 16
PSALM 49 - 55

Synopsis: : Yahweh announces the coming siege and destruction of Jerusalem (5:5–17). These are followed by two straightforward oracles announcing the devastation of Jerusalem and the countryside alike (chs. 6–7); Over a year later (September 592), Ezekiel is taken by the Spirit to “see” Jerusalem’s idolatry in the temple itself (ch. 8). This is one of the most poignant moments in the Bible. Can you feel Yahweh’s utter dismay as the women weep over the god Tammuz and the men—with their backs toward Yahweh!—worship the sun in the place of the eternal God’s very presence? Thus the people are symbolically marked for destruction. Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel is plagued by false prophets, who in this case say that either Ezekiel’s prophecies will not come to pass (12:21–25) or they will be long delayed (vv. 26–28).
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p. 199). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

1. In chap. 6 Israel had a problem with idols. How is this relevant for today? How do we take good things and make them ultimate things?
2. In 8:12-13, the Lord explained that the elders were secretly worshipping idols believing that the Lord did not see them. How does what people do when they think no one else can see them reveals their true character?
3. How might your position as a leader i.e. parent, roommate, colleague, make a difference on others both positive and negative?
4. Why would chapter 11 be important in the midst of the dark events taking place in Jerusalem and beyond?
5.  In chap. 12, how is the false prophet giving false hope?  Who are the false prophets of our day and how do they give false hope?
Extra: Recommended
Bible Project Ezekiel

Lamentations 4 - Ezekiel 5
PSALM 41 - 48

Synopsis: : The book of Ezekiel contains a variety of prophetic visions and oracles, which Ezekiel presented to the exiles in Babylon over a twenty-two-year period (593–571 B.C.), the most turbulent years in the history of Jerusalem. Except for the oracle and lament over Egypt (29:17–30:26), the oracles appear in chronological order. The book is in three clear parts. Chapters 1–24 contain oracles from the five-year period preceding the siege of Jerusalem (588). These are primarily announcements to overconfident Judeans of God’s certain judgment against the city and her temple. Next is a series of oracles against surrounding surrounding nations (chs. 25–32)—Babylon itself being notably excepted. The final oracles (chs. 33–48), which cover a sixteen-year period after the fall of Jerusalem, focus on hope for the future.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (pp. 195-196). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

1. In chapter 1 Ezekiel see a vivid image representing the Lord, what does that image say about the nature of God?
2. In Ezekiel 1:28, Ezekiel threw himself down. How would you react and how should we react today in light of God's nature?
3. In chap. 2 Ezekiel is commissioned. What are the challenges of Ezekiel's commission? What are the challenges of Jesus' "Great Commission"?
4. In chap. 3, why do you think the Lord describes Ezekiel's responsibility as a "watchman"?
5. In chapters 4-5, what are the three symbolic acts Ezekiel is to engage in and what would they convey to the Israelites in Jerusalem?
Extra: Recommended
Bible Project Ezekiel

JEREMIAH 51 - Lamentations 3
PSALM 35 - 41

Synopsis: : Lamentations consists of five laments written in response to the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. The laments, which correspond to the five chapters, are carefully composed pieces of literature, similar in form and content to Psalms 74 and 79 (cf. Ps 89). Together they express deep anguish over Zion’s desolation and Israel’s exile—recognized to be well deserved—and mourn the sorry plight of those who were left in the now desolate and dangerous city, while raising some larger questions about justice and the future. The whole is written basically from the perspective of those who have been left behind.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p. 166). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

Extra: click to see
Bible Project Lamentations

PSALM 13-20

Synopsis: : God and Jeremiah dialogue, with God announcing judgment, Jeremiah praying for his people, but God telling him to instead weep.  Jeremiah reminds God of his covenant, but God says it is too late, and that Jeremiah should proclaim judgment and hope. Jeremiah is beaten, laments and says that Babylon is the northern terror. The kings of Judah are judged and told they will be replaced with a true Branch from David’s line. A 70-year exile is announced, with judgment proclaimed against the nations and shepherds of Judah. Jeremiah’s preaches at the Temple, but his trial results in a split decision, sparing his life.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p. 191-192). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

1.Why did God tell Jeremiah to stop praying for the people of Judah (Jer. 14:11-12)? How does Jeremiah respond (Jer. 14:17-22)?
2. How does God answer Jeremiah’s compliant or lament (Jer 15:10-21)?
3. What is the difference between the person who is blessed and the one who is cursed (Jer. 17:5-13)?
4. What principles are contained in the picture of the potter and the clay (Jer. 18)?
5. How did Jeremiah deal with the persecution he received from Pashur ? How did God encourage him (Jer. 20)?
6. How does the “Righteous Branch” differ from the shepherds (leaders) that Jeremiah admonished (Jer. 23)?
Extra: click to see
Overview of Jeremiah
Bible Project Jeremiah

JEREMIAH 3:6-13:27
PSALM 6-12

Synopsis: : Isaiah calls Yahweh to lead the new exodus and tells Israel to prepare for this coming event which Jesus, the suffering servant, will achieve by atoning for Israel’s sin. Yahweh comforts Israel by describing how his glorious return in Zion was pointed to by the covenants with Abraham, Moses, and Noah. Yahweh invites Israel and the nations to receive God’s gracious provision, which is a great blessing for all who respond. Isaiah then returns to his opening themes on Yahweh’s upcoming salvation, Israel’s need to keep the covenant, the gathering of nations, and the condemnation of Israel’s leaders and idolatry.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p. 183-184). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

1. God says that, “Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense” (Jer 3:10). In what ways do you follow God with less than a whole heart (ways that are not as pure as they might seem)?
2. Instead of anger, God wanted to show His people mercy. What did He ask His people to do in return
(Jer 3:12-4:4)?
3. The people wrongly assumed that the presence of God’s temple would protect Jerusalem from destruction (Jer 7:4-26). What lessons can we learn from this concerning our own lives?
4. How was Jeremiah able to deliver God’s judgment to the people and yet grieve for them at the same time (Jer 8:18-22)?
5. How does Jeremiah describe the behavior of the people of Judah in comparison to knowing what God is like (Jer 9:3-24)?
6. How did God answer Jeremiah’s complaint that the wicked prosper (Jer. 12)?
Extra: click to see
Overview of Jeremiah
Bible Project Jeremiah


Synopsis: : Isaiah 63:7-66:24
The remnant of God’s people prays as they await their great future. Isaiah recalls the first exodus, when Yahweh mercifully redeemed them despite their rebellion, which causes them to pray to Him. God reminds them of their sin, but promises to redeem them. Isaiah concludes with a view of Zions future glory, of a new heaven, new earth, and final judgment. 

Synopsis: Jeremiah 1-3:5
 Jeremiah, from a priestly family and in prophetic humility, initially resists his calling. He is assured that God will fulfill His word, which confirms the coming judgment through Babylon. Jeremiah’s first sermon begins with an oracle against Judah’s idolatry. Judah is condemned for being a bride who prostitutes herself to follow foreign gods instead of loving Yahweh. 

How to Read the Bible Book by Book (pp. 184-185; 189-190). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.
1. What does Isaiah 63-65 say about the extent of God’s mercy to a rebellious people?
2. How would knowing about the new heavens, new earth and final judgment have encouraged the exiles (Isa 65-66)?
3. What role do humility and contriteness play in pleasing God (Isa 66:1-4)?
4. What principles can you learn for your life about how God called Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-18)?
5. Judah is pictured as a prostitute who has left her loving husband, God. What caused Judah to leave a gracious God to pursue foreign idols (Jer 2)?
6 .Explain why the cisterns that we make for ourselves are unable to hold water, as opposed to the one that God makes for us (Jer 2:12-13).
Extra: click to see
Overview of Jeremiah
Bible Project Jeremiah

ISAIAH 51-63:6
PROVERBS 24:23- 30:33

Synopsis: : Isaiah calls Yahweh to lead the new exodus and tells Israel to prepare for this coming event which Jesus, the suffering servant, will achieve by atoning for Israel’s sin. Yahweh comforts Israel by describing how his glorious return in Zion was pointed to by the covenants with Abraham, Moses, and Noah. Yahweh invites Israel and the nations to receive God’s gracious provision, which is a great blessing for all who respond. Isaiah then returns to his opening themes on Yahweh’s upcoming salvation, Israel’s need to keep the covenant, the gathering of nations, and the condemnation of Israel’s leaders and idolatry.
How to Read the Bible Book by Book (p. 183-184). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

1. How would these chapters have comforted Israel during her captivity in Babylon?
2. What verses especially comfort you today?
3. How does the suffering servant (chapters 52-53) parallel Jesus?
4. What is significant about God including foreigners in his blessing (chapter 56)?
5. What are the characteristics of a fast that please God (chapter 58)?
6. What is unique about the future glory of Israel (chapter 60)?

Isaiah 40:12 - 50
Proverbs 19 - 24:22

Synopsis: In the first 39 chapters, Isaiah addressed his 8th-century BC contemporaries. In Isaiah 40–55, Isaiah addresses those of a future generation that were to be exiled to Babylon with words of hope. Through Isaiah, God comforts his people with the good news of his return as king to bring physical and spiritual redemption. This section of Proverbs contains sayings of “the Wise” (22:17–24:34).

1. A central phrase in Isaiah is, “Fear not” (Isa. 41:10, 14; Isa. 43:1, 5; Isa. 44:2, 8). Why would the people have been afraid? What reasons does God give to dispel their fear (Isa. 44:8–14)?
2. Write down a profile of the Lord’s Chosen Servant (ch 42, 49 - 50). What do you learn about the Messiah?
3. Isaiah 43 tells us specific purposes that God’s people have been created for. What are those purposes? What are the obstacles you are facing in fulfilling these purposes?
4. The church recently did a two-part series on Money Matters. Read the following passages and make a list of what you learn about wealth.
20:17, 21
21:5-6, 17
22:2, 7, 9, 16, 22-23
23:4-5, 21
24:4, 6-7, 30-34
5. What are the dangers of worldly prosperity (30:7-9)? Of poverty? Is it better to be rich, poor, or merely content in whatever state we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11-12)?

Isaiah 11 - 27
Proverbs 6:20 - 12:28

Synopsis: This section of Isaiah draws our attention to God’s judgment against several nations, representative of the whole world. Indeed, God declares, “I will punish the world for its evil” (Isa. 13:11).

1. What does Isaiah tell us about Jesus in this section (especially Chapter 11)?
2. Take time to reflect on the implications of Isaiah 11–27 for your own life today. Consider what you have learned that might lead you to praise God, repent of sin, and trust in his gracious promises.
3. As you read this section in Proverbs, make a list of the characteristics of wisdom: what it is and what it does.
4. Read Prov 12:25. Anxiety means that one is worrying about things that may or may not happen. What is something that your heart feels anxious about today? Can you think of a time when a “good word” made your heart glad? Say a “good word” to a person in your life today.

Isaiah 1-10
Proverbs 1- 6:19

Synopsis: Isaiah prophesies during the time of the divided kingdom, when the first of the great empires of the ancient near east is rising in Mesopotamia - Assyria. Israel would need to hear the true message that despite what is happening in the world, Yahweh is their salvation. The Book of Proverbs is a collection of practical life wisdom.

1. What are some words you would use to describe Isaiah’s response to God’ in chapter 6? How would you like to respond to God?
2. In Isaiah 9:12-13, Isaiah declares that God was sending a message to Israel by bringing their enemies as an invading force. Do you think that God ever speaks to us in a similar manner today? Has God ever spoken to you through a tough time or tragedy?
3. Wisdom in the book of Proverbs is personified as a woman. Why might Solomon have presented Wisdom as a woman? What relationship does he encourage young men to have with Wisdom?
4. Proverbs repeats that phrase “the fear of the LORD” (1:7, 29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10, etc.). What is fear and when is it useful?