What You Will Find On This Page

The Church is an Educational Institution

The Kind of Teachers the Church Needs

A Basic Teacher Training Course

How to Prepare a Bible Lesson

The Importance of Teaching (James 3)

An Honest Analysis of Myself as a Teacher

Duties of Teachers

Study Habits Checklist

Using Visual Aids

A Synopsis of the Old Testament Books

Between the Testaments

To Contribute to this Work


By Dan Flournoy

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:18-20).

Here is the divine mandate for the Bible School, Sunday evening worship, mid-week Bible study, evangelistic campaign, training classes, Ladies' class, Vacation Bible School or whatever else may be needed and useful in carrying out the imperative to teach the baptized to do all Christ commanded. After making disciples through baptism, there must be a perpetual indoctrination and grounding in the Savior's teaching.

In giving leadership to His church, the Lord also defined the mission of the church. "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,…" (Eph. 4:11-12).

It should be noted that apostles and prophets were temporary leaders. They were inspired men who gave us the New Testament (1 Cor. 2:11-14; 13:8-13). However, evangelists, pastors and teachers are permanent leaders in the church who continually work to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Thus, the mission of the church is not only to preach the gospel to the lost, but also to edify the saved.

The mission of the church is further defined by Paul when he writes to the church in Ephesus saying, "but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ-from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4:15-16).

The work of Elders involves "feeding the flock" and "equipping the saints" for works of ministry to the end that the church might grow. It should be obvious that elders cannot personally do all the teaching. A wise eldership will set up a program of edification that will teach and train every member of the Body. Congregations with a well-organized and efficient Bible school are growing. Congregations with weak and ineffective Bible schools are beset with numerous problems because members are "tossed to and fro" by false doctrine.

Every member needs to be involved in the Bible school, either as a teacher or as a learner. Once a member is grounded in the Truth, they need to be busy teaching others.

Click here to go back to the top of the page.



By Dan Flournoy

It matters not how large or small a congregation is, the need for teachers is ever present.  However,  not just anyone can or should be a teacher.  Hence the warning of James, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).  Thus, we ask the question: What kind of teachers does the church need?

1.      Teachers that are faithful in their attendance. Too often church leaders have the mistaken notion that giving a half-hearted church member an assignment will help them to be more faithful in church attendance.  Dr. Henry Speck rightly observed  that “all the knowledge, culture, training, and skill in teaching that one might attain cannot justify the use of such a person as a teacher in the church” (The Church’s Educational Program, p. 49).  The example of the teacher in faith, zeal, attitude, character and conduct will be “caught” by the pupils and perhaps count for more in their lives than what is actually “taught.”

2.      Teachers that  have a proper view of the church.  The teacher must realize that the church is not a denomination but the product of God’s eternal love and purpose (Eph. 3:11-12; Titus 1:2).  By teaching and training in the Word of God, the teacher is preparing the pupil’s entire life for useful service to Christ in the church.  Regardless of what age group one teaches, the teacher has the responsibility to instill eternal truths in the minds of those who shall face God at the judgment.

3.      Teachers that are diligent students.  Teachers of the Bible must be willing to make adequate preparation.  A person cannot teach what he does not know.  A teacher who loves the Lord and loves the students will prepare by spending much time in the Word of God.  Preparation involves more than just going over the lesson material, it involves prayerful study of the Biblical text.  In other words, the teacher must be a diligent student of God’s word.  Paul admonished Timothy “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

4.      Teachers that know their students.  It is vital that teachers know their students.  Each pupil is an individual with the power to think, feel, determine and act.  They have hobbies, interests, aspirations and problems all their own.  The teacher should know the student’s home life and week-day environment in order to relate biblical truths in a meaningful way.  A teacher may master the subject matter and yet not be effective because he does not know his pupils well enough to adapt his teaching to their individual needs.

The church will always need Bible teachers whose chief joy comes from seeing the lives of their students develop into the likeness of Christ.  As Jesus observed, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest" (Matt.9:37-38).

~Dan Flournoy

Click here to go back to the top of the page.



Based on

The Seven Laws of Teaching


John Milton Gregory

First Regent of the University of Illinois


Baker Book House

Grand Rapids, Michigan



Arranged by

Dan Flournoy





1.      The Law of the Teacher:

The teacher must know that which he would teach.


2.      The Law of the Pupil:

The pupil must attend with interest to the material being taught.


3.      The Law of the Language:

The language used in teaching must be common to the teacher and pupil.


4.      The Law of the Lesson:

The truth to be taught must be learned through truth already known.


5.      The Law of the Teaching Process:

The teacher must excite and direct the self-activities of the pupil.


6.      The Law of the Learning Process:

The pupil must reproduce in his own mind the truth to be learned.


7.      The Law of Review and Application:

The completion, test and confirmation of the work of teaching must be made by review and application.

The Law of the Teacher

The teacher is to know that which he is to teach.  A teacher cannot teach what he does not know!  Imperfect knowledge will necessarily be reflected in imperfect teaching.  Certainly, there will be some things the teacher will not know. However, the teacher of God’s word must continually “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).

There is no substitute for preparation!  Often teachers do not make the necessary preparation for their work.  Many teachers wait until Saturday night to begin their preparation for Sunday morning...they are a week late!  By waiting until Saturday  night, they rob themselves of valuable hours of preparation and meditation.

There are five steps of lesson preparation which should be followed carefully:  (1) study the lesson; (2) plan the lesson; (3) gather the materials; (4) choose the method; and (5) plan the procedure.

In studying the lesson, it is well to read the lesson text from the Bible and get the general connections of the lesson text with other portions of scripture.  Fix the main purpose of the lesson in mind.  Study closely the parallel scriptures and other general information that may be had on the subject.  Use the quarterly as an aid, not as a substitute for the Bible.  Make use of the concordance, topical Bible, Bible dictionary and other helps.

Now you are ready to plan the lesson.  Fix in mind the points to be covered in the lesson.  Determine which illustrations you will use.  Decide what visual aids will be needed.

Next, gather the material.  You may want to use pictures taken from magazines or newspapers.  You may need to do some art work or prepare hand work provided with the quarterly material.

Determine next what method you will use.  There are several methods: lecture, story telling, question and answer, discussion, flannel graph, project, etc.  You may want to use a combination of these.

You are now ready to plan the procedure (how you will spend the class time).  Make a list of the activities and approximately how much time you plan to spend on each part of the lesson.

These steps having been taken care of early in the week, the teacher will then be ready to review the lesson and get the points and procedure fixed in mind.  Saturday night should be a time of review.

One of the most important things on the part of the teacher in preparation is prayer.  No teacher is prepared to teach God’s word who does not approach the study with prayer.  Pray constantly and consistently as you study and prepare each lesson.  This will help in comprehending the lesson and in presenting it to the class.

The Law of The Pupil

The pupil must attend with interest to the material to be learned.  Without attention the pupil cannot learn.  One might as well talk to a fence post as to attempt to teach a child who is wholly inattentive.

More is required in the learning process than a mere presentation by the teacher; the pupil must think!  He must have an aim and purpose, in other words, he must PAY ATTENTION!  The pupil may seem to pay attention, he may look and listen.  But if the mind is only half aroused, the conceptions gained will be faint and fragmentary.  Thus, the student must attend with INTEREST to the material being taught.

Since attention follows interest, the teacher must first create interest.  The sources of interest are many.  The sense-organ is a gateway to the pupil’s mind.  The use of visual aids, showing a picture or some other illustrative material will attract attention.  The sudden raising or lowering of the voice arouses fresh attention.  There are many devices to create interest, but the teacher’s effort at all times should be to make his presentation so interesting that the attention of the pupils will follow it.

There are many factors which hinder attention.  They may be summed up in “The Four ‘D’s’”: (1) Discomfort; (2) Disturbance; (3) Distraction; and (4) Disinterest.  If the pupil is disinterested because of fatigue or illness, the wise teacher will not attempt to force the lesson.  Class disturbance should be eliminated as much as possible.  Make sure the room is comfortable...not too hot or too cold, etc.

Some suggestions:

1.     Never begin a class exercise without the complete attention of every pupil.

2.     Pause whenever the attention is interrupted or lost, and wait until it is regained.

3.     Never wholly exhaust the attention of your pupils.  Stop when signs of fatigue appear.

4.     Adapt the length of the class exercise to the age of the pupils; the younger the pupils, the briefer the lesson.

5.     Arouse attention when necessary by variety in your presentation, but be careful to avoid distractions; keep the real lesson in view.

A simple formula for teaching:

Attract attention; create interest; stimulate desire; impel action.

The Law of the Language

The language used in teaching must be common to teacher and learner.  A word is a symbol or sign of an idea.  A word can only have meaning when the idea for which it stands is known.  Without the image or the idea in the mind, the word comes to the ear only as a sound without meaning, a sign of nothing at all.  If the pupil is to learn, the teacher must use words within the sphere of the child’s language power.

Many words in our language have more than one meaning.  For example, consider the following expressions: mind and matter; what is the matter; what does it matter; it is a serious matter; the subject matter... The same word is made to carry several meanings.  Now, if a pupil only knows a single meaning for the word matter, he may be confused and puzzled by another use of the word.

Once a teacher asked her pupils to draw a picture of Adam and Eve being driven from the Garden of Eden.  One pupil drew a picture of Adam and Eve in the back seat of a car with God behind the wheel!  Then, there was the boy who wanted to see “the wicked flea” (Proverbs 28:1).

Communication is incomplete if the pupil does not understand the meaning of the words used by the teacher.  Therefore, the teacher must be careful to use language familiar to the pupil.  When introducing new words, use illustrations, pictures, objects or drawings to fix the meaning in the pupil’s mind.

Listen to your pupils.  Allow them time to express their ideas.  Study constantly and carefully the language of the pupils, to learn what words they use and what meanings they give to these words.  The only way one can measure the pupil’s understanding is to let them re-tell what has been taught.  This gives the teacher an opportunity to learn both their ideas and their modes of expressing them, and to help to correct their knowledge.

Always use the simplest and fewest words in short sentences.  If a pupil obviously fails to understand, repeat the thought in other language.  “Make haste slowly.”  Try to increase the number of the pupil’s words and at the same time improve the clearness of meaning.  Each word should be learned thoroughly before others are added.

Pupils sometimes profess to understand when they have only caught a mere glimpse of the meaning.  Do not be fooled by the interested look of the pupils.  Often children are only entertained by the manner of the teacher.

The Law of the Lesson

The truth to be taught must be learned through truth already known.  The new and unknown can only be explained by the familiar and the known.  The teacher must learn how to use what the pupil knows as a stepping stone to what he does not know.

Teaching must begin where the pupil is in his learning experience and proceed in the direction of new truth.  It is necessary to review, as we will see in a later lesson, but do not keep pupils too long on familiar ground.  Learning must proceed by graded steps.  Each new idea mastered becomes a stepping stone to another idea.  The teacher must be sure, however, that each step is mastered before the next is taken, or the pupils may find themselves proceeding into unknown fields without proper preparation.

The act of knowledge is in part an act of comparing and judging...of finding something in past experience and making meaningful the new experience.  The parables of Jesus illustrate the point well.  Jesus used earthly stories to illustrate spiritual truths.  Thus, he carried his audience from the known to the unknown.  This is the very nature of the learning experience.  We are compelled to seek the new through the aid of the old.

Figures of speech, such as similes, metaphors, and allegories, have sprung out of the need for relating new truths to old and familiar scenes, objects and experiences.  Paul used the account of Sarah and Hagar (Genesis 21:2) to illustrate the difference between the Old and New Covenants (Galatians 4:21-31).  “Which things contain an allegory...” (Galatians 4:24).  By using this familiar account, Paul led his readers from the known to the unknown.

The problem teachers face constantly is “where to begin.”  The teacher must determine where the pupils are in their learning experience and begin at that point.  In many public schools, a diagnostic test is given to determine what the pupils know and what they do not.  Visiting with the pupils in their homes and in class get-togethers can help the teacher in determining the needs of the pupils.  Counseling with parents is also of great benefit.

Another problem is the fact that often there is a wide range of differences among pupils.  What to some children is as clear as day is to others only vaguely suggestive.  If the teacher makes the pupils talk about the lesson, as was suggested in the discussion of the law of the language, some of these differences will be revealed and the proper means of meeting them and of adjusting the instruction to them may be discovered.

There are two kinds of unknowns, factual and spiritual.  While the teacher seeks to lead the class in learning new facts, he must not forget the application of those facts in the spiritual realm.  This will perhaps pose a two-fold problem.  First, leading the pupils from known facts to unknown facts, and then leading them from known values to unknown values.  Any given Bible story will have facts to be presented.  The spiritual truths must also be taught.  The teacher must make application of the lesson in the everyday lives of the pupils.  Those truths must be emphasized that are the greatest need.  Remember, give them something to KNOW, something to FEEL, and something to DO.

The Law of the Teaching Process

Excite and direct the self-activities of the pupil, and as a rule tell him nothing that he can learn himself.  Teaching results in the communication of knowledge or experience.  Whether by telling, demonstrating or leading pupils to discover for themselves, the teacher is transmitting experience to his pupils.  This experience must be relived and rethought by the receiving mind.  All explanation and exposition are useless except as they serve to excite and direct the pupil in his own thinking.  If the pupil himself does not think, there are no results of the teaching; the words are falling on deaf ears.

One of the overall goals of the Bible class teacher is to “create within the pupil a desire for the study of the Bible.”  This can only be done when the teacher finds pleasure in the study of God’s word.  Only the teacher who enjoys Bible study can truly communicate Bible truths to his pupils!

Thus, the teacher must excite and direct! “Get your pupils to work!”  “Make your pupils discoverers of truth.”  “Set your class on fire with a fervor for Bible study!”  These familiar maxims are different ways of stating the law of teaching.

It is a proven fact that one can learn without a teacher.  Children learn hundreds of facts before they ever see a school.  Why have a teacher then?  Why, through the centuries, has man not discarded the teacher?  The answer is simple.  The best learning must have direction! (See Acts 8:30, 31)  Knowledge in its natural state lies scattered and confused.  It is the teacher who places it in its proper place.

The teacher’s task is not only to give knowledge, but to stimulate pupils to gain it.  The teacher is a sympathizing guide whose knowledge of the subject to be studied enables him properly to direct the efforts of the pupil, to save him from a waste of time and strength, from needless difficulties.  Yet, the pupil must learn for himself.  The eye must do its own seeing, the ear its own hearing, and the mind its own thinking, however much may be done to furnish objects for sight, sounds for the ear, and stimuli for the intelligence.  Too often pupils become ‘parrots’.  A boy, having expressed surprise at the shape of the earth when he was shown a globe, was asked:  “Did you not learn that in school?”  He replied: “Yes, I learned it, but I never knew it.”  In order to find out if students are listening and thinking, have them re-tell the lesson either orally, by written summary or by simple drawings.

The student who is taught without doing any studying for himself will be like one who is fed without being given any exercise; he will lose both his appetite and his strength.  The pupil must be stimulated to think.  It is the teacher’s mission to stand at the spiritual doorways of his pupils minds and lead them into the right paths.  It is his, by sympathy, by example, and by every means of influence - by objects for the senses, by facts for the intelligence, to excite the mind of the pupils, to stimulate their thoughts.

The teacher should, as a rule, tell the pupil nothing that he can learn himself.  Do not carry this too far, but follow it as a guide.  The explanation that settles everything and ends all questions usually ends all thinking also.  After a truth is clearly understood, or a fact or principle established, there still remains its consequences, applications and uses.

Give pupils a chance to see the truth taught and make the application, or at least to ask questions and seek answers.  Pupils should be led to ask what, how, when, where and why.  It is only when the questioning spirit has been fully awakened and the habit of raising questions has been largely developed that the teaching process may embody the lecture plan.  Ask questions of your pupils and encourage them to ask questions of you and of others.

The Law of the Learning Process

The pupil must reproduce in his own mind the truth to be learned.  True learning is not merely memorization and repetition of the words and ideas of the teacher.  The pupil must form in his own mind, by the use of his own power, a true concept of the facts or principles in the lesson.

Steps in the learning process:

1.     Memorization.  A pupil is sometimes said to have learned the lesson when he has committed it to memory and can repeat or recite it word for word.  However, there is more to learning than this.

2.     Understanding.  The pupil must understand the truths being taught and...

3.     Expressing the thought.  Translate the thought accurately into his own words without detriment to the meaning.

4.     Evidence for belief.  The pupil shows greater progress as he begins to seek evidence of the statements which he studies.  The one who can give a reason for the things he believes is a better student as well as a stronger believer than the one who believes but does not know why.

5.     Applying knowledge.  A still higher and more fruitful stage of learning is found in the study of the uses and applications of knowledge.  Every fact has its relation to life, and every principle its applications, and until these are known, facts and principles are idle.  The real test of teaching is not only what our pupils learn, but what our teaching does to their lives.

There are, of course, limitations to this law of learning.  The age of the pupil must be considered.  The mental activity of young children lies close to the senses.  Their knowledge of a lesson will be largely confined to the facts which appeal to the eye, or which can be illustrated to the senses.  A little later the desire of pupils for activity and for projects may profitably be utilized in their training.  As maturity is approached, young people think more and more about reasons, and the lessons which will appeal most to them will be the ones which ask reasons and which give them conclusions.

Some suggestions:

1.     Help the pupil to form a clear idea of the work to be done.

2.     Ask him to express, in his own words, the meaning of the lesson as he understands it, and to persist until he has the whole thought.

3.     Let the reason why be perpetually asked until the pupil is brought to feel that he is expected to give a reason for his opinions.

4.     Cultivate in the pupil the habit of research.  Help to make him an independent investigator.

5.     Seek constantly to develop in pupils a profound regard for truth.

The Law of Review and Application


The completion, test and confirmation of the work of teaching must be made by review and application.  Review is an essential part of teaching, for no lesson is complete without it.  Review is an effective aid to learning because of the power of repetition.  It provides a check on the effectiveness of our teaching and the pupil’s learning.  It enables the teacher to correct wrong impressions, to stress important points, to show how the lessons are related to one another.

Review is more than mere repetition.  A machine may repeat a process, but only an intelligent agent can review it.  A review involves fresh conceptions and new associations, and brings an increase of facility and power.

Reviews are of different grades of completeness and thoroughness.  A review may deal with only a part of a lesson, a whole lesson, or a series of lessons.  It may take the form of a summary by the teacher, recitation by the pupil, questions, discussion, handwork or written quiz.

Frequent repetitions are valuable to correct memorization and ready recall.  Memory depends upon the association of ideas, the idea in mind recalling the ideas with which it has been linked by some past association.  Each review establishes new associations, while at the same time it familiarizes and strengthens the old.  The lesson that is studied but once is likely learned only to be forgotten.  That which is thoroughly and repeatedly reviewed is woven into the very fabric of our thoughts, and becomes a part of our equipment of knowledge.  Not what a pupil has once learned and recited, but what he permanently remembers and uses is the correct measure of his achievement.

Review is not simply an added excellence in teaching which may be dispensed with if time is lacking; it is one of the essential conditions of all true teaching.  Not to review is to leave the work half done.  The law of review rests upon the laws of the mind.  The human mind does not achieve its victories by a single effort.  There is a sort of mental incubation as a result of which some splendid discovery oftentimes springs forth.  Some fresh experience or newly acquired idea serves as a key to the old lesson, and what was dark in the first study is made clear and bright in the review.

The process of review must necessarily vary with the subject of study, and also with the age and advancement of the pupils.  With very young pupils the review can be little more than simple repetition; with older pupils the review will be a thoughtful restudy of the ground to gain deeper understanding.

Always plan time for review.  One might review the previous lesson or series of past lessons at the beginning of the class period, review various parts of the current lesson any time during the class period, and whole of the current lesson at the close of the period.  About one third of our teaching time should be devoted to review.

The Final Test

The real and final test of all Christian education is determined by what takes place in the lives of our pupils after they leave the Bible class.  During this series of studies, a number of requisites for successful teaching have been stressed.

There were five necessary steps in lesson preparation: study the lesson, plan the lesson, gather the materials, choose the method and plan the procedure.  The second requisite for a successful teaching situation is an attentive pupil.  Discomforts, disturbing and distracting influences must be eliminated from the classroom and any lack of interest on the part of the pupil must be overcome.  Every possible means for gaining and holding attention must be employed: through acquaintance with the lesson on the part of the teacher; the use of teaching aids that appeal to the senses; meaningful gestures and facial expressions.  The lesson, too, must be related to the interests of the pupils and kept on the plane of their everyday living.

Another important level is the level of understanding, the language of teaching.  As a rule, simple words and short sentences make for better understanding of the lesson taught.

In studying the law of the lesson we learned the necessity for proceeding from the known to the unknown - for teaching new truths through old, familiar ones.  In applying this law to our teaching we employ the principle used by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher, and take a very important step toward our goal of successful teaching.

The teacher must provide the impetus that will cause the pupil to think for himself, become a searcher after truth, and put into practice the lessons taught.  This can be accomplished by making maximum use of the question, by directing the pupil in research and providing opportunity for discussion, and by guiding the pupil into open doors of service.

In the law of the learning process, we discovered that the pupil must reproduce in his own mind and life the truth to be learned...and that true learning is more than memorization.  Learning involves understanding, expressing the thought, formulation of beliefs and their support by convincing evidence, and the application of truth in daily living.

Review is an essential part of teaching, for no lesson is complete without it.  Review is an effective aid to learning because of the power of repetition.  It provides a check on the effectiveness of our teaching and the pupil’s learning.  It enables the teacher to correct wrong impressions, to stress important points, to show how the lessons are related to one another.  A review may deal with only a part of a lesson, a whole lesson, or a series of lessons.  It may take the form of a summary by the teacher, recitation by the pupil, questions, discussion, handwork or written quiz.

The key to successful teaching is the teacher.  But what are the qualifications of a good teacher?  First of all, he has deep and settled convictions concerning God.  He has experienced God’s redeeming love through his obedience to the gospel.  A good teacher has an unshakable conviction as to the value of a human soul.  He knows full well the price that was paid on Calvary to redeem the soul of every member of his class.  The successful teacher has an irresistible enthusiasm for his work.  It’s not a once-a-week proposition.  Day by day he has the needs of his pupils upon his heart.  Much time is spent in prayer concerning his pupils.  The successful teacher is forever a student of the Word.

Click here to go back to the top of the page.




The four “P’s” are essential to successful Bible class teaching.  They are 1)preparation, 2) planning the lesson procedure, 3) effective presentation, and 4)prayer.


I.          The Teacher’s Responsibility

A.       To reveal to his class the will of God and help them to discover how it can answer their needs.

B.        To discover ways in which the Bible may become meaningful to each member of his class as his needs are known.

C.       To prepare and present a lesson so that his pupils will want to learn.

II.       Some binding obligations for the teacher:

A.       To be something

B.        To know something

C.       To share something

III.    Some essential factors in teaching

A.       “The effective teacher teaches from the overflow of a full life.”

B.        Understanding the pupils is essential to adequate planning.

C.       Every individual’s personal needs should be known.

D.       Understanding Bible material is an essential factor in teaching.

E.        Understanding the aim or purpose of lesson materials is a must.

F.        A definite plan of each step in the lesson is needed to assure success.

G.       A written diagram of a teaching plan is always made.

1.         Plans show the way.  A chart or map of the way.

2.         Plans avoid waste.

3.         Planning a lesson establishes procedure.

4.         A lesson well-planned improves results and precludes failure.

IV.    Steps in preparing lessons

A.       Since each lesson has its own peculiar contribution to a total life, the teacher must be sure that he has the life-long aim (ultimate) is firmly fixed in mind.

B.        Pray for guidance of the Lord not only in preparation but in presentation.

C.       Accumulate as much resources and material as possible:

1.         Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias

2.         Concordances

3.         Various versions of the Bible

4.         Commentaries

5.         Sermons on the theme

6.         Magazine articles and objects

D.       First study the selected scripture passage for personal enrichment

E.        Second, study the scripture in view of your pupils and their needs.

1.         What do the pupils already know of this material?

2.         How is the lesson adaptable to their needs?

3.         What is my main objective I am seeking to achieve in the lesson?

F.        Write out the best lesson aim possible.  This is your start on lesson plan.

1.         First part of lesson plan considers the unit aim of the lesson.

2.         Next, consider your particular lesson’s aim in this over-all plan.

3.         Then, write out your approach.  Select one of the following means:

a.         A question pertaining to the experience of your pupils which is related to the lesson.

b.         Introduce with a Bible story which points up the current need and secures attention.

c.         Use an object such as a picture, newspaper clipping, or a real object itself to introduce the lesson and grasp attention.

d.         Use any illustrative matter which will stimulate interest in the lesson.

e.         Relate a personal experience that points up the importance of this particular lesson.

G.       Plan your pupil participation.

1.         List suggestive material on the chalkboard and solicit the participation of the class to fill it out.

2.         Lecture briefly (usually not more than five minutes) on material which would consume too much time.

3.         Stimulate discussion.  Plan for discussion especially on how to best put into practice the principles found in the lesson.

4.         Ask questions which will produce thought.  Allow time for answers.  (Always have a few minutes at the close for additional questions to be asked by class members.)

5.         Ask for experiences on the part of your class members which relate to the lesson.

6.         Be prepared with good illustrative material if needed.

7.         Always keep your lesson aim before the class and draw definite conclusions.

8.         Write the minutes on each area you expect to spend, but allow it to be flexible in case a special responsive interest is aroused in some particular area.  The importance to solid Christian practice will determine its importance.

H.       Make your lesson practical by personal application to lives of class.

1.         Your aim is not accumulation of facts but application to life.

2.         Show how the principles of truth in the scriptures are just as real and important today as the day they were written by the apostles.

3.         Solicit the class members’ thinking on ways to make further application.

I.          Project the lesson into everyday life.

1.         Recognize the shortcomings we have practiced in the past, but always encourage and exhort to better ways of living in the future.

2.         Cause your class to leave the room aglow with renewed determination and appreciation of the Christian life. (The non-Christian should be made to realize the joys and privileges he is missing.)

J.          Always include somewhere in the lesson a note of evangelism.  This may be done by presenting one or more of the great Christian doctrines, and point each one to the saving grace of our Lord.

K.       Remember that the success of the lesson is not determined by what takes place in the classroom, but what takes place in the lives of the pupils after they leave the classroom.  What change does it affect?  What attitudes are developed?  What spiritual growth takes place?

L.        Leave your class with a desire to learn more of the graciousness of Christian living.  Make him thrill to being a Christian.  Challenge his abilities to be laid on the altar of service.  Encourage him in fulfilling God’s purpose for his life.

Click here to go back to the top of the page.



By Dan Flournoy


Introduction:   James 3 is an admonition to teachers.

A.  It elaborates on the theme: “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).

      1.   The tongue is mentioned in 1:19 and 26

      2.   In chapter 2, James emphasized the failure of talking but not doing.

      3.   Chapter 3 is a dissertation on the proper use of the tongue by the teacher.

B.   How important it is that the teacher guard the use of the tongue.

I.          The importance of teaching is stressed in verse 1 “Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.”

A.       When God renders judgment, He will pay special attention to teachers.

1.         Matt. 5:19 “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.  But whosoever shall do and teach them, He shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

2.         The importance of the teacher and teaching can not be over-emphasized.

B.        Paul stressed the importance of teaching:

1.         Ephesians 4:11 “and He gave some to be apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers.”

2.         I Corinthians 12:28 “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers,...

C.       Jesus stressed teaching in the Great Commission:  Matthew 28:18 “Go ye therefore and make disciples....”

D.       The teacher or Rabbi held an important place among the Jews.

1.         In the synagogue, the Rabbis instructed the people.

2.         However, the people were given freedom to express themselves.

On numerous occasions, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught the people (Matthew 12:9; Mark 1:39; Luke 6:6ff).

Paul took advantage of this freedom to address his fellow countrymen:

Acts 13:14 - in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia...

Acts 18:4 - Paul persuaded Jews and Greeks in the synagogue at Corinth.

3.         Later, Paul had to give some instructions to the church at Corinth for regulating their disorderly teaching situation (I Corinthians 14).

I Timothy 1:7 Paul addressed a group of men who were “desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understood neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm.”

4.         Evidently, the concept of “freedom of speech” was causing problems in the early church.

It seems that some were eager to jump up and express their “little doctrine” or opinion.

To these, James warns: “Don’t do it.”  Why?  “Because we shall receive a heavier judgment.”

E.        Notice: “We” shall receive a heavier judgment.

1.         James places himself in the category of a teacher!

2.         I Timothy 2:7 Paul said he had been appointed “a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

3.         Every Christian “ought” to be a teacher . . . Hebrews 5:12.

4.         Yet, James warns, “Be not many of you teachers...”

II.       Some Practical Reasons Why the Teacher’s Position Is So Important

A.       The teacher is expected to be more mature than the pupil.

B.        The teacher is a leader - Jesus called the Pharisees “blind guides...” Matthew 15:14

C.       The teacher must be well-prepared - II Timothy 2:15 “Give diligence to show thyself approved unto God...”

D.       The teacher must be faithful and able to teach:  II Timothy 2:2 “The things which thou has heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

E.        The teacher is an instructor of souls and this has to do with judgment and eternity...

How important it is that the teacher be careful what he says.

III.    Vs. 13: “Who is wise and understanding among you?”

A.       One of the qualities of God’s teachers is wisdom.

1.         Not only must a teacher have knowledge, he must also have wisdom.

2.         Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom; ...get understanding.”

3.         A wise teacher will honor knowledge by putting it into practice in his everyday life.

James has already stressed the need for being “doers” of the word (1:20, 22).  Here he applies it to the teacher.

Paul’s admonition to Timothy applies to all teachers: “Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in life, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12).

B.        Wisdom and knowledge go hand in hand.  One informs, the other directs.

1.         Wisdom directs one in living a Christian life.

2.         A wise Christian brings glory to God as he goes about in meekness doing the work of his heavenly Father.

3.         The teacher, in meekly doing God’s work, is letting his “light shine before men” (Matthew 5:16).

C.       The message of James 3:13 is simply this: the teacher must practice what he teaches!

1.         It takes wisdom to do this.

2.         We are not left to grope for wisdom, because James has already told us that God gives wisdom if we will ask for it (1:5).

3.         A wise teacher is not just a knowledgeable person, but one that practices what he teaches.

By so doing, he demonstrates and proves his wisdom.

IV.    Qualities that disqualify one from being a teacher - vs. 14 “But if ye have bitter jealously and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth...”

A.       Jealously and faction are two sins that destroy the teacher...

B.        Why do teachers teach?

1.         To keep someone else from teaching and receiving honor.

2.         Because he likes the attention of others.

3.         Selfish ambition disqualifies one from being a teacher. (Phil 1:15)

C.       A teacher who bites and devours and causes faction cannot claim that he is doing God’s will or that God is pleased with his actions -

vs. 15 “This wisdom is not a wisdom that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.”

vs. 16 “For where jealously and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed.”

1.         Jealously and faction are not isolated sins...they are responsible for other transgressions as well.

2.         Confusion - Greek indicates “disorder, disturbance, anarchy, instability...”

I Corinthians 14:33 “God is not the author of confusion but of peace.”

3.         “Every  vile deed” Greek word indicates the idea of “good-for-nothing” -

It sometimes is used to describe a person who deals in trivialities for the sake of showing how “wise” and all knowing he is.

It is these little good-for-nothing, trivial things that cause division among God’s people, and evidence earthly wisdom and sensual conduct.

D.       Note the characteristics of earthly wisdom as summed up from verses 14-16:

Bitterness, jealousy, self-centeredness, an uncontrolled heart, incompatibility, haughtiness, fleshly lusts, strife, trivial pursuits, lying against the truth...

V.       Characteristics of true wisdom - vs. 17 & 18

A.       Pure - Greek “not contaminated, without added mixture”

1.         The wisdom that God gives is without pollution

2.         Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

Those contaminated shall not see God or enter into His blessings.

Revelation 21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie...”

3.         The teacher who is well-pleasing to God is seeking to be pure in life and deed.  This is heavenly wisdom.

B.        “Then peaceable” - the Greek word stresses a harmonious relationship between men...

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.”

C.       “Gentle, easy to be entreated” - Greek word stresses “forbearing, fair, moderate, reasonable...”

1.         The gentle teacher does not insist upon his own rights.

2.         I Corinthians 10:1 “Now I Paul myself entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ...”

3.         I Thessalonians 2:7 “But we were gentle in the midst of you, as when a nurse cherisheth her own children.”

4.         The Christian teacher should be “gentle,” easy to approach with ease and comfort.  He will not react harshly or with a superior attitude...

D.       Full of mercy and good fruits

1.         Wisdom from above causes one who has received mercy to extend mercy.  Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

2.         The Christian teacher is full of good fruits because he has sown good fruits...he walks by the spirit and not in the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:22ff).

E.        “Without variance” - Greek stresses the idea of “unwavering” - it is without partiality or prejudice.

Wisdom from above produces steadfastness.

F.        “Without hypocrisy” - The Christian teacher is sincere - never pretentious.

Conclusion:  vs. 18 - “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.”

A.  Wisdom from above leads to peace and righteous living.  Note the following characteristics of true wisdom:

A  good life; meekness, good works, purity of life, peaceable, gentle, merciful, open to reason, not partial or prejudice, without hypocrisy, righteous, makes peace, ...

B.  This is the kind of wisdom the Christian teacher is to possess.

C.  May God help us all to give ourselves to the attaining of heavenly wisdom and to being the right kind of teachers.


Click here to go back to the top of the page.



(Rate 3 for always, 2 for most of the time, 1 for rarely)

   _____1.     Do I begin early in the week to prepare my next lesson from God’s word?

   _____2.     Do I pray for God’s help in my preparation and study?

   _____3.     Do I pray for the individual student in my class?

   _____4.     Am I optimistic about teaching (do I expect to be successful)?

   _____5.     Do I ask for help from others, co-teachers, supervisor, other teachers?  Do I use the aids available to help me?

   _____6.     Do I know my students well?  Have I visited in each of their homes? Do they know me and love me?

   _____7.     Do I arrive early enough to begin teaching when the first one arrives?

   _____8.     Am I cheerful and kind to each one, showing God’s love through my own personality, out of class as well as in?

   _____9.     Do I keep the attention of the students?

_____10.     Are they interested in what I have to say and show and do?

_____11.     Do I give them a chance to ask questions and participate so that I may judge how much they are retaining?

_____12.     Do I have a good balance between a familiar routine and variety of methods?

_____13.     Do I call each student by his name?

_____14.     Am I alert to meet parents or visitors and keep accurate records of their visits?  Do I use these records for follow-up?

_____15.     Do I include at least one prayer in each lesson?

_____16.     Is my class routine flexible to meet the immediate needs of my students?

_____17.     Am I helping each student’s love of God and Jesus to truly grow?

_____18.     Am I teaching Bible knowledge understandably and in a way they can use it now?

_____19.     Do my students have the proper attitude toward and respect for the Bible?

_____20.     Have I been able to stimulate class participation?

_____21.     Have my abilities as a teacher improved in the past year?

_____22.     Have their abilities to sing, pray and cooperate with members of their class grown?

_____23.     Am I closer to Christ today than I have ever been?


Ratings:            55-69  Superior teacher, Congratulations!

                        40-45  Average

                        30-39  Need immediate change


Click here to go back to the top of the page.




1.                  Be on time (10 to 20 minutes early).

2.                  Attend all teachers’ meetings.

3.                  Attend all services of the church.

4.                  Attend all teacher training classes and workshops possible.

5.                  Notify proper person when compelled to be absent.

6.                  Keep good records.

7.                  Visit absent pupils.

8.                  Secure prospective pupils.

9.                  Know the policies of the church on:

a)                  Class offerings

b)                  Use of equipment and its care

c)                  Class recreation

d)                  Purchasing of needed supplies

10.              Support through the class the overall policies of the elders or church program.

11.              Be cooperative.

12.              Make adequate preparation for the class session.

13.              Follow definite plan in presentation.

Click here to go back to the top of the page.



Are you a good student?

This quiz is designed for college students.  However, it can give any teacher an idea of the kind of student they are.  Be brave, take the quiz and if you need to improve, then get started now!


Directions:        In the space provided, write the number of the following expression which best answers the question:

                        1.  Almost always                                 4.  Less than half the time

                        2.  More than half the time                    5.  Almost never

                        3.  About half the time

Use of time:

   _____1.     Do you keep up to date on your assignments?

   _____2.     Do you keep a written study schedule on which you show the time you plan to set aside each day for studying?

   _____3.     Do you divide your study time among the different subjects?

Physical setting:

   _____4.     Is the space where you study large enough for you?

   _____5.     Is the study area neat and free from distractions?

   _____6.     Do you study in a quiet, noise-free place?

   _____7.     Do you study by yourself rather than with others?

   _____8.     Are you prepared to study when you sit down to do so?


   _____9.     When ready to study do you settle down quickly?

_____10.     Do you look over the chapter before reading?

_____11.     Before reading in detail, do you make use of the various clues such as headings, pictures, etc.?


_____12.     Do you question the assignment as you read it?

_____13.     Can you find the main ideas in the material read?

_____14.     Do you attempt to find the meaning of new words you meet?

_____15.     Are you able to read silently to yourself?


_____16.     As you read, do you take notes?

_____17.     Do you review the class notes right after class?

_____18.     Do you attempt to find a genuine interest in the subject studied?

_____19.     Do you establish purposes and goals to attain?

_____20.     Do you try to understand thoroughly all of the material?

_____21.     When studying material to be remembered, do you summarize it?

_____22.     Do you break up long assignments into several short sessions?

_____23.     Do you attempt to relate material being learned to that studied at an earlier time?

Study helps:

_____24.     Are other materials read other than the text?

_____25.     Do you discuss any questions you might have with your instructors?

_____26.     Do you discuss the course material outside of the classroom?


_____27.     Do you prepare for exams?

_____28.     Do you distribute the exam study time over at least two sessions?

_____29.     Do you combine text and notes to make a master by which to study?

_____30.     Do you attempt to predict exam questions?

_____31.     Do you retire at your usual time before exams?



How to Read Your Score:

31 – 62 = Good Student

63 – 93 = Fair Student

94 – 124 = Poor Student

125 – 155 = Change your study habits NOW!

Click here to go back to the top of the page.




The use of visual aids in the Bible School is becoming more and more essential.  The time that the Sunday morning Bible School has is so short that every minute must be used to its best usage.  The visual aids are much better in quality than formerly and they are much easier to use.  Some very wonderful work is being put out on filmstrips and motion pictures.  Visual aids are an important key.


I.     Why Use Visual Aids?

A.                 Visual aids are biblical.

1.           Joshua uses stones as memorial (Joshua 4:5-9).

2.           Jesus used scenes of nature such as fowls of air, lilies of field, grass, in Sermon on the Mount to picture God’s providence (Matt. 6:26-30).

3.           The transfiguration pictures the greatness of the Christ to Peter, James and John (Matt. 17:1-13).

4.           Jesus used a child to picture the humility of discipleship (Matt. 18:1-4).

5.           Jeremiah wore a yoke about his neck; Isaiah went barefooted; Agabus binds Paul in mock style.  All visual aids.

B.                 Visual aids are effective in the processes of learning.

1.           They convey truth both inspirational and educational.

2.           Make learning more accurate.

3.           Make learning faster.  “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  Soldiers in WWII learned 68% faster.

4.           Make learning more permanent.  Soldier retained 42% more.

5.           Make learning more enjoyable – lessons learned willingly are remembered.

6.           They ease teaching time and make concrete the understanding of abstract terms such as Elijah’s “mantle” or the “widow’s mite”

7.           They correct wrong impressions, thus avoiding the need for re-teaching.

8.           They are stimulating, dynamic, thought-provoking, interest compelling and purposeful.

9.           They make clear time sequence – order of events.

10.       They deepen and broaden the experience of the student and cause the student to relive Bible days.

II.   What kinds of visual aids are available?

A.                 Criteria for using a visual aid.

1.           Will it help to convey a truth?

2.           Is it an example of the truth being lived?

3.           Is it giving background information?

4.           Will it help to make the truth real?

B.                 Those that are available

1.           Easy to use

a.                   Object lessons

b.                  Common objects

c.                   Maps and charts

d.                  Chalkboard

e.                   Flat pictures

f.                    Posters

g.                   Lights

h.                   Drawings

i.                     Flash cards

2.           Those to be prepared

a.                   Flannel graph

b.                  Bulletin boards

c.                   Computer generated – VCR

d.                  Observation trips

e.                   Puppets

f.                    Projects (planting seeds, etc.)

g.                   Chemical demonstrations

h.                   Specimen (missionary article, etc.)

3.           Those to be acquired

a.                   Slides

b.                  Filmstrips

c.                   Recordings

d.                  Videos

III.How to use filmstrips, films and videos

A.                 Selecting film, filmstrip or video

1.           Must be appropriate to the specific lesson

2.           Must be on the student’s level of maturity

3.           Must fit into the time factor

B.                 Planning the film, filmstrip or video lesson

1.           Preview (this is a MUST).  This previewing helps in planning introductory and follow-up experiences to reinforce attitude and understanding

2.           Study the filmstrip/video guide

C.                 Introducing the film, filmstrip or video

1.           Relate to the Bible passage

2.           Assign students to report on definite ideas presented

3.           List questions to be answered

4.           Suggest attention to scenes illustrating specific objectives

5.           Explain new vocabulary or symbols to be introduced in the film, filmstrip or video

D.                 Following the presentation

1.           Review by class discussion, by calling for answers to the established introductory questions and by presentation of student reports.

2.           Evaluate learning with a written or oral test

3.           Relate the film to the Bible passage

4.           Reshow the film if desired learning is not evident

IV.              Some DOs and DON’Ts in visual aids

A.                 Never use a visual aid because you are caught short.  They must work for you, not instead of you.

B.                 Plan and prepare even more diligently when using visual aids

C.                 Be sure that all details are authentic

D.                 Remember:  They are a means to an end, not an end in themselves

E.                  Make your visual aid teach and exalt Christ and God’s word

F.                  Never use to entertain

V.         Object lessons

A.                 Definition: An object lesson is the use of things – insects, fruits, vegetables, animals, coins, thermometers, tools, weapons – to teach intellectual and spiritual truths

B.                 Advantages of the object lesson

1.           Object lessons arouse a desire to learn

2.           They serve as eye catchers or attention-getters, and can hold attention if properly used

3.           Elaborate equipment is not necessary

4.           Pupil is given first-hand experience by coming into contact

5.           Children will talk about object lessons to their parents and friends and thus gospel gain entrance to the home

6.           There is an abundance of simple objects available

7.           Objects can assist in telling a story, often make the truth more understandable and more easily grasped

8.           Serve as a jumping off place for more serious teaching and become interesting links in a correlated program

9.           Because of nature of object lessons, the teacher will develop the habit of graphic, colorful portrayal of truth which will make all teaching more forceful.

10.       Object lessons not only interest youngsters in your lessons, but interest them also in you.  You can best win them to Christ when they have confidence and appreciation for you.

C.                 Disadvantages of object lesson

1.           Objects may obscure rather than clarify unless they are used intelligently.

2.           Ued primarily to capture the attention of children.

3.           Small objects do not serve large groups.

4.           There is a danger that pupil may become more interested in the object than the lesson that is being presented.

D.                 How to use object lessons in Bible class

1.           Some rules to follow when using object lessons

a.                   Plan ever step carefully in advance.

b.                  Rehearse your demonstration with a “guinea pig” if possible.

c.                   Outline the required steps on the marker board.

d.                  Keep the demonstration simple.

e.                   Do not digress from the main ideas.

f.                    Check frequently to make sure demonstration is understood.

g.                   Be sure every member of class can see demonstration.

h.                   Don’t hurry the lesson.

i.                     Don’t drag out the lesson.

j.                    Keep summarizing as you go along.

2.           Lessons which may be taught.

a.                   Faith

b.                  Consecration

c.                   Salvation

d.                  Meaning of items of worship

e.                   The love of God (almost anything else)

E.                  Where to obtain objects – from common-place household objects such as a straight pin to a leaf found out in God’s nature.

F.                  Cost of object lessons – the cost depends on the object or objects used; many will be found right in the home.

G.                 Where to find object lessons.

1.           Books procured at religious publishing houses.

2.           Periodicals.

VI.              Using the Chalkboard or Marker board.

A.                 Uses of the chalkboard/marker board.

1.           For writing lesson summaries, genealogies, tables, time-charts.

2.           Diagrams, plans & symbols.

3.           For maps – printed maps often have too many names.

4.           For descriptions – sketches of strange objects, of construction of buildings, of plant growth.

5.           For enlargements of small pictures.

6.           For illustration of a journey, event or a story.

7.           Interest center – cannot resist seeing what is written.

8.           Teaching music, Bible names, places.

9.           Making announcements, class assignments for visitation.

10.       List of absentees, objects of prayer, thought questions.

11.       In planning meetings and for a projection screen.

B.                 Advantages of chalk-board.

1.           Inexpensive and does not require technical skill or training.

2.           It is familiar and generally accepted, affords creative work.

3.           It is usually convenient for use in any situation desired.

4.           It is a very flexible medium, adaptable to all ages.

5.           Attracts attention, encourages participation, durable and no repair needed.

6.           Items no longer needed can be easily erased.

7.           Items can be written on it in letters large enough for all to see.

8.           Portable; simplicity without too many details that detract.

9.           If used with lesson, the chalkboard/marker board surface develops as lesson grows.

C.                 Disadvantages of the chalkboard/marker board

1.           Not always visible from all of room and can be over-familiar.

2.           The dropping of erasers and chalk is distracting.

3.           Often limited in space and too inviting for children to play with.

4.           Chalk dust may cause throat and skin irritations.

5.           Poor use may be distracting rather than helpful.

6.           Information that is valuable may be erased.

7.      Takes the attention off the speaker, losing audience contact.


VII.  Power Point

  1. What is Power Point?

  1. A computer program that produces slides that can be projected on a screen or TV

2.      Objects such as clip art, text, drawings, charts, sounds, and video clips can be presented in a slide show format.

3.      The slide show can be controlled automatically or manually.

4.      Slides can be transitioned with special effects used to introduce a new concept or a new slide by fade in from black or dissolve from one slide to another.

5.      Handouts, notes and outlines can be generated from the program.


B.  What is needed?

1.      A laptop computer.

2.      Power Point projector or TV set.

3.      A presentation can be saved on a “floppy disk” and replayed on most computers.

4.      For complete instructions on how to use Power Point go to this website: http://www.actden.com/pp/index.htm.  


Click here to go back to the top of the page.



By Dan Flournoy

I. Introduction: The 39 books of the Old Testament are logically divided into four major sections:

A. Law – five books (Gen. -Deut.) Called the Pentateuch (five-fold book) containing the Law of Moses and about 2500 years of history from creation to the death of Moses.

B. History- 12 books (Joshua -Esther) giving the history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity.

C. Poetry – five books (Job -Song of Solomon) that are primarily books of devotion and exhortation. These books are sometimes called "wisdom books" or “wisdom literature.”

D. Prophecy- 17 books (Isaiah -Malachi) which contains much of the history before, during and after the captivity as well as predictions concerning God's impending judgment and the coming Messiah. This section is usually divided into the Major Prophets (Isaiah-Daniel ) and the Minor Prophets (Hosea-Malachi). This division is based upon the length of the books.

II. The Pentateuch: Moses is the human author (John 7:19). The word Pentateuch is derived from two Greek words, pente (five) and teuchos (volume), thus a five-volume book. These five books are referred to as the "Book of the Law of Moses" (Neh. 8:1) , and "the Book of the Law of Jehovah" (Neh. 9:3).

A.     Genesis: 50 chapters.  The name Genesis means "origin," "source," or "beginning." Genesis deals with history from the creation to the death of Joseph.

B.     Exodus: 40chapters.  The name Exodus means "going out" or a "going forth." This book continues the history at the point that Genesis left off. It starts with Israel in bondage in Egypt and ends with the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness.

C.     Leviticus: 27 chapters.  The name Leviticus is actually an adjective, meaning the "Levitical" (book) .It is taken from the name Levi, the priestly tribe. Thus, the book contains mostly ceremonial laws for priests and the people. Some brief historical sections are included. It was written while Israel was at Mt. Sinai apparently during the month between the completion of the tabernacle (Ex. 40:17) and the departure from Mt. Sinai (Num. 1:1; 10:11). This was in 1445 B.C.

D.     Numbers: 36 chapters.  The book gets its name from the fact that it records the two censuses or numberings of Israel. It gives an account of Israel's wilderness wanderings from Sinai to Moab. Numbers takes up where Exodus leaves off. The book covers a time span of about 39 years (cf. Num. 1:1; 33:38; and Deut. 1:3).  This would be about 1445-1407 B.C.

E.      Deuteronomy: 34 chapters.  The name Deuteronomy means "Second Law" (or "The Law Repeated"). The book consists of three extended addresses by Moses (chapter 1-30), followed by certain closing words and events (chapters 31-34). Many of the laws were of a social, civil, and political nature such as Israel would need when they entered the “promised land.”  It contains the closing message of Moses to his people.

III. History: This section, from Joshua to Esther is the "heart of Hebrew History." It shows the building of a great nation, its downfall through sin, and finally the return and restoration of the Jews from captivity.

A.     Joshua: 24 chapters.  This book gets it name from its principle character, Joshua. It begins with the events after the death of Moses, tells of the invasion and conquest of Canaan, the division of the land and ends with the death of Joshua. It is evident that Joshua himself is the author.

B.     Judges: 21 chapters.  This book is the account of 15 judges who ruled in Israel over a period of about 300 years. It begins with the history after the death of Joshua and ends with the death of Samson. The events in the last few chapters (17-21) occurred long before most of the events recorded previously in the book. This book tells of repeated cycles of history in Israel.  The cycles are as follows: (1) Israel goes into idolatry; (2) Servitude to foreign nations; (3) Sorrow and supplications; and finally, (4) God sends a judge (deliverer) to save them.  Judges 21:25 most aptly characterizes the entire book of Judges; "In those days there was no King of Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes."  Samuel is thought to be the human author.

C.     Ruth: four chapters).  A lovely story of one family in the time of Judges. Ruth, the Moabite became the great-grandmother of King David.  Besides showing God's marvelous grace in accepting gentiles into the chosen nation of Israel, the book is important in that it traces the chosen line of Abraham's descendants down from Judah's son Perez through David the king. (Ruth 4:18-20)  The author is unknown but it was probably written in the time of David.

D.     I and II Samuel: 1 Sam. 13 chapters; II Sam. 24 chapters.  These two books were originally one book but were divided into two books when the O.T. was translated into Greek (about 270 B.C.)  I Samuel begins with the birth of Samuel and ends with the death of King Saul.  II Samuel tells of the reign of King David.  The books get their name from Samuel the prophet, who is the principal character in the first book and who anointed Saul and David.

E.      I and II Kings: I Kings 22 chapters; II Kings 25chapters.  Originally these two books, like I and II Samuel, were considered one. They contain a record of the careers of the kings of Israel and Judah from the time of Solomon to the downfall of the Jewish monarchy before the armies of Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C.  I Kings begins with the account of David's old age, and ends shortly after the death of King Ahab.  II Kings begins with Ahab's son Ahaziah and ends with the Babylonian captivity of Judah.  Thus, II Kings brings us almost down to the end of O.T. history. The purpose of these two books is to demonstrate, on the basis of Israel's history, that the welfare of the nation ultimately depended upon the faithfulness of the people in regard to the covenant with Jehovah. Furthermore, this record was to set forth those events which were important from the stand point of God and His scheme of redemption.  I Kings chapter 11 marks the division of Bible history between the United Kingdom and the Divided Kingdom period. Jeremiah has been suggested as the main author and compiler of these two books.  The prophets Elijah and Elisha occupy most of I Kings 17-21 and II Kings 1-8.

F.      I and II Chronicles: I Chron. 29 chapters; II Chron.: 36 chapters.  Originally, I and II Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah were one series of works. Jewish tradition assigns the authorship to Ezra. The date of writing is placed between 450-425 B.C.  While Kings tells about the Northern and Southern kingdoms; Chronicles deals mainly with the Southern Kingdom of Judah.  Another important difference is that Kings has a prophetic emphasis while Chronicles has a priestly emphasis.  Thus, Chronicles tells much of the worship, temple activities and the genealogies.  Also, Chronicles covers a longer time span than do the books of Samuel and Kings.  Beginning with Adam the history is carried down to the decree of the Persian king Cyrus permitting the Jews to return from Babylonian Captivity.  The genealogies of the book tell of several generations of people who lived after the Babylonian Captivity. (See I Chr. 3:19-24).  Chronicles therefore, brings us down to about 420 B.C. to the time of the writing of the last Old Testament book.

G.     Ezra and Nehemiah: Ezra – 10 chapters; Neh. – 13 chapters.  These two books were treated as one by the Hebrew scribes. They record the return and reconstruction of the nation of Israel during the time when the Persian Empire ruled the world.  They cover about 100 years of history from 536 to 432 B.C. The last three prophets of Judah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi lived and wrote during this period. In 536 B.C. Zerubbabel returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.  In 457 B.C. Ezra returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. In 444 B.C. Nehemiah as governor, went to continue to rebuild and fortify Jerusalem.  While most of the Old Testament is written in Hebrew, portions of the book of Ezra are written in Aramaic.  Between Ezra chapter 6 and 7 there is a gap of about seventy years. Esther: 10 chapters.  The name Esther is apparently derived from the Persian word for star.  In Hebrew her name is Myrtle.  This book is an illustration of the overruling providence of the sovereign God who delivers and preserves His people from those who would plot their destruction. While the name of God is not mentioned, the book of Esther does refer to fasting (4:16), to prayer (9:31); and to providence (4:14).  King Ahasurerus in the book of Esther is the same person as Xerxes I, the king famous for his wars with Greece.  The events in the book pertaining to Esther took place in Xerxe's seventh year (4:16) after he returned from his defeat at Salamis. 

V. Poetry: This section (Job -Song of Solomon) is largely Hebrew poetry.  While there is poetry in other sections, especially the prophets, these books are almost entirely poetry. Hebrew poetry is characterized by the unusual form in which it expresses its ideas. There are several different types of Hebrew poetry: Parallelism, Lyrical Poetry, Didatic, Impracatory and Dramatic.

A.     Job: 42 chapters.  The book of Job finds its setting in the land of Uz (Northern Arabia) during the Patriarchal period of Jewish history. The book is a Philosophic discussion, in highly poetic language, of the problem of human suffering.  While various explanations are set forth by Job's "friends", the ultimate answer is child-like faith in God and His righteousness.

E.      Psalms: 150 chapters.  Called in Hebrew the "Book of Praises", the book of Psalms is a collection of 150 poems to be set to music for worship. David is the principle writer with at least 73 Psalms ascribed to him. Other authors include Moses (90); Asaph (50,73-83); the descendant of Korah (42,44-49, 84,87-88); Solomon (72?, 127); Heman the Ezrahite (88); and Ethon the Ezrahite (89). The subject of the Psalms are sometimes classified as follows: Historical (78); Penitential (32,51); Imprecatory (35); Alphabetic (9, 119), and Messianic (2).

F.      Proverbs: 31 chapters. The book of Proverbs is a collection of pointed moral maxim, Solomon, who uttered 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 3:32; Eccl. 12:9) is the chief author. The book addresses itself to those of every age who would seek wisdom and instruction. By means of comparison it deals with the great spiritual themes of wisdom, righteousness, fear of God, trust in God, self-control, judgment, idleness, contentment, training children and common sense.

G.     Ecclesiastes: 12 chapters.  The Hebrew title is derived from a root word meaning "to address an assembly" and later became a term for the preacher himself. Hence, the title of the book is "the Preacher". This book of Wisdom, written by Solomon, shows the vanity of life apart from service to God.  Written from the standpoint of Solomon's own experience in tasting every form of pleasure, the Royal Preacher comes back to this simple conclusion: "fear God and keep His commandments..." (12:13).

H.     Song of Solomon: eight chapters.  In the original Hebrew the title is "the Song of Songs" which is intended to be a superlative like holy of Holies and king of Kings. Thus, it is the best of all songs. Its author is Solomon and is therefore his song. It depicts a young married couple whose love is transfigured to a holy level. This couple stands in a typical relation- ship reflecting God's love for His people and foreshadowing the mutual affection of Christ and His church.

V.     Prophecy: The prophet was a spokesman for God (Deut. 18:9, Jer. 1:17; Isa. 58:1).  He was also called a "seer" (I Sam. 9:9; II Sam. 24:11). God has always made provision for testing those who claimed to be prophets (Deut. 13:1-5, cf. II Thess. 2:9-11; I John 4:1; Matt. 24:24). The prophet of God was characterize by a deep sense of unworthiness (Isa. 6:5; Jer. 10:23) and a recognition of a need for God's help.  They were men who traveled the mountain tops of joy but also knew the valley of despair (Isa. 35:10; Jer. 29:28).  Their message was plain and simple (Jer. 2:24; Isa. 1:6; Ez. 23 & 24).  Their plea was primarily for a return to Jehovah. (Jer. 6:16). Some of the great themes found in the prophets are insincere worship, care for the needy, just treatment of others, avoid foreign alliances, repentance and devotion to God.

A.     Isaiah: 66 chapters.  Isaiah was born in Jerusalem about 760 B.C. and began his forty year ministry about 740 B.C. He was married and had two sons. The prophecies of the book deal primarily with the judgement of God upon the nations of the world and Judah. Isaiah is known as "The Messianic Prophet" because his book contains the most complete unfolding of God's Scheme of Redemption to be found in the Old Testament.  His portrayal of Christ is truly remarkable.  Specific mention is made of His birth (7:14), His family origin (11:1), His anointing with the Holy Spirit (11:2; 42:1; 61:1), His ministry (42:7; 49:6; 61:1-3), His rejection by the Jews (53:3), His silence in the presence of His accusers (53:7), His atoning death (53:8), His burial in a rich man's tomb (53:9) and His eventual victory over death (53:10-12).  Isaiah lived and taught during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.  Contemporary with him: Hosea was prophesying in Israel and Micah in Judah.

B.     Jeremiah: 52capters.  This book shows God's final effort to save Jerusalem from Babylon. The ministry of Jeremiah extended over a forty year period from the thirteenth year of Josiah to the eleventh year of Zedekiah.  He was called to the prophetic office in 626 B.C. In 606 Jerusalem was partly destroyed and further devastated in 597.  It was finally burned and desolated in 586.  Jeremiah lived through these forty years as a lonely messenger of God in the midst of the rebellious opposition of his own people. Contemporary with him: (1) Ezekial in Babylon preaching among the captives the same things Jeremiah was preaching in Jerusalem; (2) Daniel in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar; (3) Habakkuk and Zepheniah also in Jerusalem; (4) Nahum predicting the fall of Nineveh and (5) Obadiah predicting the ruin of Edom.  The message of Jeremiah consist largely in a stern warning to Judah to turn from idolatry and sin to avoid the impending exile. Because Judah refused to repent the Babylonian Captivity was inevitable. Therefore he urged the people to submit to the yoke of chastisement for their unfaithfulness to God. Because of this his enemies accused him of being a traitor and was severely persecuted.

C.     Lamentations: five chapters.  Written by Jeremiah in his sorrow over the woes that have befallen sinful Judah and the pitiable destruction visited upon Jerusalem. It is interesting to note that the first four chapters are written in the acrostic form; Chapters 1, 2 and 4 are therefore 22 verses long, each verse beginning with the successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Chapter 3, however, contains 66 verses, since three successive verses are allotted to each letter of the alphabet. (cf. Lam. 4:10- Deut. 28; 55; II Kings 6:29- Jer. 19:9).

D.     Ezekiel: 48 chapters.  Daniel had been in Babylon nine years when Ezekiel arrived to settle among the captives in the country side (597 B.C.).  Ezekiel's mission seems to have been to explain and justify the action of God in bringing judgment upon His people. He also comforts them with the prophecy that God will restore a repentant remnant of His chastened people and establish them once again in the land of Palestine.

E.      Daniel: 12 chapters.  While yet a mere youth, Daniel was carried to Babylon where-he rose to positions of power in the kingdoms of Babylon and Media-Persia. The basic theme of this book is the overruling sovereignty of the one true God, who condemns and destroys the rebellious world powers and faithfully delivers His covenant people according to their steadfast faith in Him. (cf.4:17).  The first half of the book is occupied with historic matter giving us a picture of the time and conditions in which he lived. The second half of the book deals with visions and their interpretations.  Daniel, like Joseph, was a statesman in a heathen court.  His prophecies provided a framework for Jewish and Gentile history from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to the coming of Christ and related events.  The book was written by Daniel, being completed about 530 B.C.

F.      Hosea: 14 chapters.  Hosea was a prophet of the Northern Kingdom about 746 B.C., (II K. 14) slightly after the time of Amos.  His life is made a "living lesson" of the message he had to preach.  He is commanded by the Lord to marry a woman of harlotry and beget children of harlotry.  He marries Gomer, daughter of Deblaim (1:23).  In Gomer we have the pictures of the prodigal wife and a parallel to Israel who, while "married" to Jehovah committed spiritual adultery by worshipping false gods.  Not only was Hosea's marriage an illustration of the thing he was preaching, (i.e. be faithful to God), but even the names of his children were designed to teach a lesson. “Jezreel,” (1:4,5) meaning “God scatters,” became a walking reminder of God's judgment for it was at Jezreel that judgment was brought upon the house of Ahab by Jehu (11 Kings 9:16). “Lo-ruhamah,” (1:6) means “no more mercy,” or “not pitied.”  This was a warning that God's mercy would one day be withheld.  The third child is a son called, “Lo-Ammi,” “not my people.” (cf.1:10).  This of course is a threat that the relationship between God and Israel would be broken.

G.     Joel: three chapters.  The name Joel means "Jehovah is God".  The book was probably written about 830 B.C. in Judah.  The theme of this prophet was a solemn warning of divine judgment to be visited upon Israel in the day of Jehovah.  This day of judgment is typified by the devastating locust plague which inflicts a great economic loss upon the nation. (cf. Amos 7:1,2)  It is in the face of this great calamity that Joel calls upon the nation to repent. Presupposing the repentance of the people, the Lord promises a removal of the locusts (2:20); a restoration of oil and wine (2:19); and ample rain in its seasons (2:23).  There will be an outpouring of the Spirit with significant happenings in heaven and on earth with salvation for those who call on the name of the Lord (cf. 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-21; Rom. 10:13; Rev. 6:12; Matt. 24:29).

H.     Amos:  nine chapters.  A herdsman from the little town of Tekoa, which is twelve miles south of Jerusalem, Amos was called to preach against the wickedness of Samaria and Bethel in the Northern Kingdom of Israel (see 7:14-17; 3:8).  Amos dates his work as being during trhe reigns of Uzzia, king of Judah (783-742 B.C.), and Jeroboam II, king of Israel (786-746), two years before the earthquake.  The prophecy of Amos is an example of the goodness of God to an unworthy nation.  The book is divided into five sections: (1)  Judgement upon the heathen nations, 1:3 – 2:3; (2) Wrath upon Judah and Israel for neglecting God’s word, 2:4-16; (3) The offenses of Israel and the warning of God, 3:1-6:14; (4) Five visions of Israel’s fate, 7:1—9:10; and (5) Oracles of hope – the promise of restoration, 9:11—15.

I.        Obadiah: one chapter.  This is the shortest book in the Old Testament, having only twenty-one verses.  The message and purpose of the book may be summed up in a couple of phrases:  the destruction of Edom (rss. 1-16).  And the restoration of Israel (vss. 17:21).  The prophet directed his words, however, not so much as a warning to Edom as a message of comfort to Israel.  The Edomites were descendants of Esau and were bitter enemies of the Jews.  They joined with Babylon in the siege of Jerusalem (587 B.C. cf. Ps. 137:7) and for this God promised vengeance (vss. 10-11).  The capitol of Edom was Sela (Petra), built high in a perpendicular cliff, far back in the mountain canyons south of the Dead Sea.  Even this impregnable stronghold could not protect them from God’s wrath (vs. 3).

J.       Jonah: four chapters.  In II Kings 14:25 the prophet Jonah is mentioned as having predicted the wide extent of the conquests of Jeroboam II (793-753).  Thus, his prophetic ministry would seem to have begun shortly before the reign of Jeroboam, or at least before the outstanding military triumphs which he attained.  Jonah’s mission was to preach repentance to the Gentile city of Nineveh, capital of the enemy nation of Assyria.  Thus, the purpose of the book is to show that God’s mercy and compassion extend eve to the heathen nations on condition of their repentance.  Prophetically, Jonah’s entombment for three days in the belly of the fish serves as a type of burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Matt. 12:40; Lk. 11:29-30).  It should be observed that the Hebrew text actually speaks of a “great fish,” rather than a “whale.”

K.    Micah: seven chapters.  Micah prophesied in the reigns of Jotham (749-734 B.C.), Ahaz (741-726), and Hezekiah (726-697), kings of Judah.  The basic theme of the book, addressed to Samaria and Jerusalem, is summed up in these words, “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (6:8).  In this book God denounces the corrupt priests, the false princes, and the money-grabbing prophets of his time.  In the light of Jeremiah 26:18, which asserts that Micah uttered the words of 3:12 during the reign of Hezekiah, it may be inferred tat Micah was a younger contemporary of Isaiah.  Micha was born at Moresheth near Gath, about twenty miles west of Jerusalem and therefore worked in the country while Isaiah preached in Jerusalem.  He proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” as the foundation of all hope for the future as he describes, and specifies Bethlehem in Judah as the place where He should be born of woman (5:2,3; cf. Matt. 2:5).

L.      Nahum: three chapters.  The message of the book is directed to the city of Nineveh about 150 years after the preaching of Jonah.  This time, however, the city is doomed to destruction because of impenitence.  Having served God’s purpose, Assyria would be destroyed (Isa. 10:5).  The theme of Nahum is “the wrath of God,” an aspect of God’s character we have always tended to shrink away from.  “Jehovah is slow to anger, and great in power, and will by no means clear the guilty: Jehovah hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm and the clouds are the dust of his feet" (1:3). Where there is love there will always be righteous indignation against sin.

M.   Habbakkuk: three chapters.  This prophecy belongs to the early part of Jehoiakim’s reign and was probably written about 607 B.C.  The first chapter begins with dialogue between the prophet and God.  The prophet inquires as to why the wicked Chaldeans are allowed to prosper at the expense of Judah, who although wicked, are more righteous. The answer is that the Chaldean power, drunk with the blood of nations, shall in her turn, be destroyed but “the righteous shall live by faith” (2:4, cf. Rom. 1:17).  All wickedness shall be judged and punished.  Although divine wrath may seem to tarry, yet at the appointed time it will come. Chapter two is therefore a series of woes pronounced upon the Chaldeans, while chapter three is a song of praise expressing confidence in God who will deliver His people.

N.    Zephaniah: three chapters.  A descendant of the good King Hezekiah, Zephaniah was of royal blood and prophesied in the days of another good king, Josiah (639-608 B.C.)  The religious and moral condition of Judah was very low and Zephaniah helped Josiah institute a reformation (11 Chron. 34) and preached of the coming of a great day of judgment for Judah and Jerusalem (1:14-16, 18). He also prophesied against the heathen nations of Ethiopia, Assyria, Moab, Ammon and four cities of the Philistines.  Combined with the pronouncements of impending doom is the promise of restoration of a righteous remnant (3:9-20).

O.    Haggai: two chapters.  The theme of the prophet's preaching is that if God's people will put God's work first, His house and His worship, then their present poverty and failure will give way to a blessed prosperity. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem in the year 586. In 536 B.C., Zerubbabel led about 50,000 Jews back from captivity to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem (Ezra 1, 2:2). There was a delay in starting the work but finally the foundation was completed. It was at this point that the enemies of Israel put forth efforts and stopped the work (Ezra 3-4:24; 5:16). After a period of some fifteen years delay, God raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (520 B.C.) to stir up the people to complete the work which had stopped (Ezra 5:1,2). Under their preaching the work prospered and was finally completed (Ezra 6:15).

P.      Zechariah: 14 chapters.  Within two months after Haggai began to preach to the people concerning the rebuilding of the Temple, the prophet Zechariah began his ministry about 520 B.C..  The book can be divided into three sections: First section, (1-6) is a series of visions designed to encourage the builders in their task. The second section (7, 8) is a discourse on fasting in answer to the question of the men of Bethel whether the day of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple should still be kept as a day of fasting.  The answer is that the Lord delights in obedience rather than in fasting.  The people had forgotten the reason for the destruction of their Temple, i.e. the sin of idolatry.  The third section (9-14) is a colorful unveiling of the future of Israel and the coming Messiah (12:10, 13:1). 

Q.    Malachi: four chapters.  The problems of careless priests, skepticism, intermarriage, withholding of tithes, etc. show the conditions of the day (about 435 B.C.). The book is written in a dialectic style: (1) an affirmation is made, (2) an interrogative objection is offered, (3) then a refutation of the objection. The purpose of the book is to call the people back to a sincere worship of God in all holiness. Israel must live up to her high calling as a nation and wait for the coming of the Messiah.  The Lord, however, will send His messenger to prepare the way before Him (3:1).  The conclusion is that Israel should be obedient to the Law of Moses, and that Elijah will come before the appearance of the great and terrible day of the Lord (4:4-6, cf. Lk. 1:17).


By Dan Flournoy

Sacred history is silent concerning the period of 400 years from the writing of Malachi (435 B.C.) to beginning of the New Testament period.  However, several secular histories have been compiled and shed much light on the period between the testaments. Josephus, a Jewish historian who was born in the decade after Jesus' crucifixion, wrote two important works -"The Antiquities of the Jews" and "The Jewish Wars" -which give an account of the Jews from 170 B.C., through the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, in A.D. 70. This period is pictured with amazing ac- curacy, prophetically, in the Book of Daniel (Dan. 2:36-45; 7:3-8; 8:3-22; 11:2-45).

The Babylonian empire, founded by the father of Nebuchadnezar became supreme in western Asia after Nebuchadnezzar defeated the king of Egypt in 605 B.C. (Jer. 46:2).  In 586 Judah was taken into captivity and the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. 

The Persian (Medo-Persian) empire, established by Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon in 539 B.C.  In the first year of his reign he issued a .proclamation permitting the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple which Nebuchadnezza had destroyed. (Ezra 1).  Darius, a later king of Persia, (Ezra 4:5) issued a decree further assisting the Jews in rebuilding the temple (Ezra 6:1-15).  Artaxerxes another king of Persia, assisted Nehemiah in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:1:8). 

The Persian rule was broken in 333 B.C. by the world-sweeping conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Alexander showed consideration for the Jews, and did not destroy or plunder Jerusalem.  He died in Babylon in 323 B.C. after a brief reign of 14 years.  In this short time the Greek culture was spread throughout the world.  Koine Greek or the common Greek language was universally accepted and understood. 

On the death of Alexander, his empire was divided among four of his generals.  Selecucus ruled Syria, and Ptolemy ruled Egypt. Palestine, between them was claimed by both of them.  The Ptolmies early joined Palestine to Egypt and special favors were extended to the Jews and Alexandria became the center of a large Jewish population.  The most noteworthy event during this period was the translation of the Old Testament into Greek at Alexandria about 270 B.C. This version is known as the Septuagint (meaning “seventy”), from the traditional number of translators.

The Seleucidae (Greek Kings of Syria) finally recovered Palestine from Egypt.  This period (198-167 B.C.) was the darkest, yet most glorious in the whole four hundred years.  Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.) was the most notorious of these kings.  Following a defeat in Egypt he vented his wrath upon Jerusalem.  He massacred forty-thousand Jews and desecrated the Temple by sacrificing a sow on the altar and sprinkling the interior of the Temple with the liquor in which a portion of the unclean beast had been boiled.  He closed the Temple and prohibited the Jewish religion.  A heroic revolt against such violence and sacrilege was led by a family of priest patriots known as the Maccabees.  After thirty years of war, independence was final gained.  Judas Maccabeus (166-161 B.C.) led a remarkable series of victories and reopened, cleansed, and rededicated the temple, in honor of which the feast of Dedication continued to be kept (John 10:22). After 146 B.C. the Roman Republic was the most powerful state of the day.  In 63 B.C. Julius Caesar was made Pontifex Maximus and Paretor (high priest and chief religious official).  By 46 B.C. he was made dictator.  A plot was laid to kill him by members of the Senate which was carried out by Marcus Brutus and others on the Ides of March, 44 B.C.  After a series of struggles, Octavian became the first Emperor of Rome and ruled from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14.  Jesus was born during the reign of Octavian (Caesar Augustus -Luke 2:1-7).  The ministry of John the baptizer began in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Lk. 3:1-2).

©2004-Dan Flournoy, www.christian-family.net

Coming soon: A Synopsis of the Books of the New Testament

Email: dan@christian-family.net

Click here to go back to the top of the page.

If you would like to contribute to our work of internet evangelism, please make your check payable to

Handley Church of Christ

and mail it to:

Handley Church of Christ
3029 Handley Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76112-6730
On the envelope write: "For Flournoy Fund"

Your support is greatly appreciated.


Click here to go back to the top of the page.