Grace Bible Church
201 E. Clifton Road
Granbury, TX 76049
Phone: 682-498-3014 Contact Via Email
Through the Bible Scripture Readings
Over the coming months, we will be reading through the entire Bible during our Sunday morning worship services, selecting a key chapter for each book of the Bible.
If you missed a Sunday, you can find the passages and some additional information about the book below (clicking on the title of the book will take you to the key chapter of the book). If you are interested in still more information, we suggest the book Talk Thru the Bible by Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa. Many one-year Bible reading plans are available on the internet. We suggest beginning your search here.
Date: approximately 1405 B.C. (at the end of the wilderness experience)
Theme: Holiness (the word appears 87 times in the book)
Significant Features: the sacrifices, offerings and feasts proscribed in the book demonstrate that Israel could not keep the law of God to make itself holy, necessitating a work of God's grace to provide their holiness.
Date: between 1043 B.C. (beginning of Saul's reign) and 1004 B.C. (beginning of David's reign)
Theme: The failure of Israel to obey God and God's faithfulness to discipline His people (Dt. 27-30).
Significant Features: Repeating cycles of disobedience and obedience: the nation rebels against God, He sends discipline, they repent, He provides a good judge, the judge dies, the people rebel, God sends discipline...
Key verses: 2:11-14; 21:25 (note the contrast with the end of the book of victory, Josh. 24:14)
Circumstances for writing: Judah's captivity in Babylon began in 605 B.C., and Jeremiah prophesied that it would last 70 years (Jer. 25). Daniel remembered that prophecy, prayed (Dan. 9:2), and God moved in the heart of Cyrus, king of Babylon, to allow the nation of Israel to return to their land (Ez. 1:1).
Theme: The restoring grace of God.
Key events: the laying of the temple foundation (3:8-11, in 536 B.C.), and the completion of the Temple (6:13-18, in 516 B.C.).
Circumstance for writing: After the temple was completed in 516 B.C. (see book of Ezra, above), the people did not complete the restoration of the wall around the city of Jerusalem, leaving them politically vulnerable. The walls remained in ruins even after the second arrival of Israelites from Babylon in 458 B.C. (when Ezra returned to the land). Nehemiah then arrived in 445 B.C. and oversaw the reconstruction of the walls in an amazing 52 days!
Circumstance: During the Babylonian captivity after the first group of exiles returned to Israel (in 536 B.C) and before the second group returned in 457 B.C. The events of the book occurred between 483 - 473 B.C.
Uniqueness: This book does not mention God by name, or prayer, worship, Jerusalem, or the temple, and it is not quoted in the New Testament. Yet the sovereign hand of God is seen throughout this book.
Date: the events of the book likely occurred around the time of Abraham, around 2000 B.C.
Satan's test and Job's suffering (chs. 1-2)
Job's friends dialogue with Job (chs. 3-37)
God answers Job and his friends (chs. 28-42)
Theme: while widely suggested that the theme is "why do righteous people suffer?" that question is not directly answered in the book. However, the question, "why should God be worshiped?" or "why do righteous people worship, even when suffering?" is answered (because God is God, chs. 38-42). So that second question is a better understanding of the theme of the book.
Author: Mostly Solomon (with the primary exception of chs. 30-31; this book contains 513 of the approximate 3000 proverbs written by Solomon).
Date: 931 B.C.
What are proverbs? The word "proverb" means "to be like," so they are short statements designed to demonstrate truth and wisdom in concrete terms. They are not absolute promises, but they are principles and guidelines.
Background: These proverbs reflect the wisdom God granted Solomon in response to his request (1 Kings 4:29ff); they were primarily written before his heart was turned away from God (1 Kings 11).
wisdom for the young (chs 1-9)
wisdom for everyone (chs 11-31)
Topics: Proverbs covers many different topics, including:
relationships with God
relationships with fellow men
family relations, especially marriage and parenting
Date: 935 B.C. -- early in his reign, before his heart had been turned to other gods.
Theme: There are many interpretations to this book! It is best to understand it as a historical relationship between Solomon and his bride to demonstrate the joy and beauty of God-ordained intimacy in marriage.
"Speakers:" Solomon, his bride (the Shulamite), and a chorus (daughters of Jerusalem).
Structure: written to the southern tribes of Judah, this "Mount Everest of Hebrew prophecy" can be divided easily into two sections --
Prophecies of Condemnation and Judgment (chs. 1-39)
Prophecies of Comfort and Hope (chs. 40-66)
Theme: Salvation. Some have called Isaiah the prophet "the Paul of the Old Testament," both because of similar personal characteristics, as well as the richness of their theologies. The word "salvation" appears 26 times in Isaiah, but only seven times in all the other prophets combined! Salvation is of the Lord -- which accounts for its emphasis on the Messiah (chs. 7, 9, 53).
Date: ca. 590 B.C. (before the final fall of Jerusalem)
Theme: Warning -- of the impending doom that will befall the nation of Israel (through the Babylonian captivity) if it does not repent of its sin.
Key theological theme: the new covenant is promised in chapter 31, providing hope that despite the judgment of God, His covenant with Israel that was promised to Abraham was not forsaken. So while Jeremiah warned Israel of the coming judgment, he also encouraged them with the truth of the coming restoration.
Circumstances: Hosea prophesied during the declining years of Israel (the 10 Northern tribes), before the Assyrian captivity.
Unusual Feature: This is perhaps the most unusual book in Scripture. Hosea was instructed by God to marry Gomer, who was an adultress (ch. 1); after she left him, he bought her back (under the command of God) from slavery (ch. 3) as a demonstration of covenant, loyal love -- the kind of faithful love God has for His covenanted people, Israel.
Circumstances: There was great prosperity in business; nationalism and optimism were widespread. But hypocrisy in worship was also common, particularly in violating the social laws of the Mosaic Covenant (e.g., 4:1-2).
Theme: the judgment of Israel (the 10 northern tribes). While God's grace is also revealed, the only verses in the book that offer the hope of restoration are the final five verses of the book).
Author: Jonah (Though much of the book is written in the third person, the details of the story provide strong evidence that Jonah himself must have written it.)
Date: ca. 793-753 B.C.
Circumstances: Israel's idolatrous pride prompted Hosea and Amos to prophesy of coming judgment through the nation of Assyria. Jonah was then sent by God to preach repentance to Assyria, which he was reluctant to do (why preach repentance to the nation that would take his nation captive?).
Theme: God's grace (to Nineveh and Jonah).
God is compassionate on all nations, not just His chosen people.
God is sovereign to accomplish His purposes.
If Hosea was a picture of God's love for His disobedient people, then Jonah is a picture of Israel's disobedience to God's love and grace.
Author: Micah (whose name means "who is like God?")
Date: ca. 735-710 B.C.
He wrote both before and after the Assyrian captivity, which took the ten northern tribes ("Israel") into captivity in 722 B.C.
He was a contemporary of Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos.
Theme: Condemnation for Judah's (the 2 southern tribes) social injustice (e.g., 2:2ff). Note that with this judgment, however, there is also again the evidence of God's provision of grace through his extended waiting for repentance and his offer of forgiveness (e.g., 7:18).
Structure: The book is comprised of three sermons, all beginning "hear now" (chs. 1-2, 3-5, 6-7).
Author: Nahum (an abbreviation for Nehemiah, which means "Comfort of God")
Date: ca. 660 B.C.
Uniqueness: it is one of two books in the Bible addressed explicitly to unbelievers (Obadiah is the other). This book is addressed to the nation of Nineveh.
Circumstances: Jonah had prophesied approximately 150 years earlier against Nineveh and the nation had repented. In the intervening years, they returned to their sinful lives and now faced the judgment of God again. Nineveh's destruction came in 612 B.C. (demonstrating God's grace in how long He waited before judging the nation).
Theme: The greatness of God and the severity of His judgment against unbelievers. This book is a stimulant to evangelism for a believers and a severe warning for unbelievers.
Circumstances: Violence and injustice characterizes the nation of Judah. Both the people of Judah and the kings of Judah have rejected the Lord. Habakkuk calls on God to answer his questions: Why are the wicked prospering? Why are the righteous persecuted? And why does it seem as if God doesn't care and isn't doing anything about it? God tells Habakkuk that he will used the nation of Babylon to judge the people of Judah.
Theme: God can be trusted and His plan is perfect even when it does not appear that He is at work. People should trust in the Lord of their salvation and wait on Him.
Date: September 1 - December 24, 520 B.C. (Haggai was a contemporary of Ezra; see Ezra 4-6.)
Circumstances: Haggai returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity with the first group of returnees in 538 B.C. Reconstruction of the temple began immediately, but was stopped in 534 B.C. because of opposition. Haggai and Zechariah were then called by God to prophecy in 520 B.C. so the temple would be completed, which it was in 516 B.C.
Author: Malachi, whose name means, "Messenger of Yahweh." Nothing else is known about him.
Date: ca. 430 B.C. He prophesied almost 100 years after Haggai and Zechariah).
Circumstances: Many years had passed since the temple was rebuilt and the sacrifices were re-instituted. Yet the priests had become corrupt (1:6-2:9), offerings were being neglected (3:7-12), and the people were intermarrying with pagans (2:10-16).
Theme: The disintegration of a nation, which could be summed up in the people's statement, "God is not worth serving" (3:14). Yet God demonstrates His love with the promise of a coming Messiah (3:1; 4:5-6). When they repent, blessing will be restored.
Uniqueness: The end of this book initiates a period of more than 400 years of "silence" from God -- it would be that long before another prophet would speak on behalf of God.
Author: Mark, who is introduced for the first time in Scripture in Acts 12. He was not an apostle, but he was a close friend of Peter. Most scholars believe Mark relied heavily on Peter for his information.
Date: 60-65 AD
Theme: Mark is the shortest gospel. Mark presents Jesus as the humble servant who comes not to be served, but to serve and to "give his life a ransom for many."
Background: The book of Acts (the "Acts of the Apostles") is really "Luke, Part 2." The book represents the second half of Luke's narrative, picking up where the gospel of Luke left off. Since Luke was not an eye-witness, he most likely received much of his material from Paul, his friend and co-laborer. The book is essential because it bridges the historical gap between the gospels and the epistles. It also refers to the beginning of the church at Pentecost, the spread of the gospel throughout the world, and the historical context behind many of the epistles.
Theme: the beginning of the church and the spread of the gospel
Paul and Ephesus: Paul had briefly visited Ephesus on his second missionary journey and returned to serve there for three years on his third journey. He wrote this Epistle during his first Roman imprisonment and wrote 1 & 2 Timothy (the pastor of the Ephesian church) during his second Roman imprisonment. To see the unique relationship Paul had with the Ephesian church, read his tender parting words in Acts 20:17-38.
Theme: "Live According to Your Calling"; or, "Practice Your Position."
Doctrine/Position (chs. 1-3)
Duties/Practice (chs. 4-6)
Key words: "in Christ" (or "in Him") -- used 35 times, more than any other NT book.
Circumstances: Paul had been imprisoned in Rome (1st imprisonment) and the Philippian church had sent Epaphroditus to minister to him. This letter was something of Paul's "thank you note" for sending Epaphroditus. So it is one of his most personal, intimate letters. We also know from 2 Corinthians 8-9 that Philippi was a poor, yet very generous church. Along with his gratitude, Paul also expressed concern for some small pockets of disunity that had arisen in the church (cf. 4:1-4).
Date: 61 A.D., during Paul's first Roman imprisonment (along with Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon).
Circumstances: The Colossian church was facing a variety of influences (gnosticism, mysticism, legalism, and Greek religiosity) that were threatening adherence to the gospel. Colossae was never visited by Paul, yet it was special to him because of its proximity to Ephesus (only 100 miles away). The book is also structured similarly to Ephesus -- chapters 1-2 are doctrinal in nature, chapters 3-4 are the practice of that doctrine).
Date: 51 A.D., probably just a few months after leaving Thessalonica (Acts 17), while still on his second missionary journey.
Circumstances: Paul left Thessalonica hurriedly after a brief but intense ministry; he sent Timothy back to check on the Thessalonians, and when Timothy returned with a good report, Paul wrote this letter in gratitude for them.
Theme: salvation, sanctification and second coming.
Date: 62 A.D., during his house arrest in Rome, after which he was released and likely went to Spain.
Recipient: Timothy, Paul's beloved son (disciple) in the faith. Timothy had been left by Paul as the pastor of the Ephesian church (1:3). This beloved church received much attention from Paul (e.g., Acts 20).
Date: approximately 64 A.D. Paul had been released from his first Roman imprisonment, re-arrested within two years, and at the time that he wrote this letter, had already faced the first part of his trial. The second part, along with his execution loomed. Paul wrote this letter as a final benediction to his life and ministry.
Recipient: Timothy and the Ephesian church (see "1 Timothy," above).
Recipient: Titus, whom Paul had left as pastor on the island of Crete after previously leaving Timothy in Ephesus. Sometime after leaving Titus there Paul wrote this letter as an encouragement about Titus' role as a pastor. It completes the trilogy of letters dealing specifically with pastoral ministry.
Date: approximately 61-63 A.D. during Paul's first imprisonment in Rome (when he also wrote Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians).
Recipient: Philemon, a wealthy member of the Colossian church.
Circumstances: Philemon, who had apparently been an early convert of Paul (v. 19) had been the owner of a slave named Onesimus who stole from Philemon and then ran away. His travels led him to Rome and eventually he providentially met Paul, and he was subsequently converted to Christ. Paul then graciously prevailed upon him to return to Philemon for the purpose of restoration. It is unknown how Philemon received this letter, but it is inconceivable, given the tone of the letter, that reconciliation did not take place.
Author: while many authors have been suggested, there is no conclusive evidence about who wrote this book.
Date: while difficult to determine with certainty, it was probably just prior to the Neronian persecution, probably in A.D. 64.
Recipients: Jews who had converted to Christianity but were now contemplating returning to Judaism in order to escape persecution. The writer uses a series of increasing descriptions about the greatness of Christ in conjunction with a series of warnings to exhort these readers not to turn back to Judaism and away from Christ.
Author: James, the half-brother of Jesus and the pastor of the church in Jerusalem.
Date: approximately 46-49 A.D., early in the history of the church (and before Acts 15).
Recipients: Jewish Christians who had been persecuted and scattered (1:1). Their faith was being tested and thy were tempted to give in to impatience, bitterness, materialism, disunity, and spiritual apathy.
Style: Because of the breadth of topics covered in the book, it reads similarly to a NT version of Proverbs. It is also a very directive book — there are 54 imperatives in only 108 verses.
Circumstances: Believers throughout Asia Minor had been persecuted and scattered because of their faith; the Neronian persecution was coming, and this letter would prepare them for patient endurance. [Peter himself would be crucified upside down in Rome.]
Date: approximately 90 A.D.; John wrote the latest of all the Biblical writers.
Circumstances: False teachers had crept into the various churches cared for by John, taking advantage of their hospitality to lead them away from Christ and the truth of the gospel. John wrote to correct their thinking about the relationship between truth and fellowship.
Theme: The "fellowship" (relationship) between love and truth.
Date: approximately 90 A.D.; it is very likely that John wrote this letter at about the same time as his second epistle.
Circumstances: John received a report of the hospitality of Demetrius and Gaius in the Asian church. That hospitality was contrasted with the prideful attempts of Diotrephes who sought preeminence in the church. So John wrote to commend a fellowship like that demonstrated by Gaius.
Theme: Fellowship with the brethren of the church.
Author: Judas, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, and the brother of James, the writer of the epistle that bears that name.
Date: approximately 90 A.D.; John wrote the latest of all the Biblical writers.
Circumstances: Jude had originally intended to write a letter of encouragement about the greatness of salvation (v. 3), but his concern about dangerous false teachers and apostates that were infiltrating the church led to a change in his theme.
Date: approximately 95-96 A.D., while John was imprisoned on the isle of Patmos.
Uniqueness: Genesis is called the "book of beginnings;" Revelation is the book of consummation, where God's eternal plan for creation and His chosen people (both the nation of Israel and the grafted in Gentiles) is completed. The book emphasizes Christus Victor — the triumphant and victorious Christ.
Theme: The apocalypse ("unveiling," or "disclosure" or "revelation") of Jesus Christ.