3 Reasons Not to Skip

the Kings and Prophets

How to Read Unfamiliar Books of the Bible

By Bennett Rolan – BSF Editorial Manager

A year ago, I could confidently say that I had read the books of Amos and Obadiah. But beyond being checked off my Bible reading plan, I honestly could not tell you the difference between the two. Maybe you can relate? If you have skimmed these passages, like me, you likely missed the nuances that make them so gripping. From action-packed accounts to inspiring poetry, these books are beautifully written.  

When we slow down long enough to really read these books – as Bible Study Fellowship will do this year in People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided – we discover that the God of the Old Testament still speaks to His people today. Here are just three of the ways God spoke to me through His Word:

1. The God of the Kings and Prophets is the God of the Church today 

If we are looking to discover more about the Holy Spirit, an easy place to start is the book of Acts. To understand the life and teachings of Jesus, we turn to the Gospels. But where can we go to uncover the character of God? While all of Scripture reveals Him, studying God’s words through the Old Testament prophets provides a closer view of His character.  

We see that the God who upheld justice and mercy in Micah is also the One who offers pure justice and mercy today. The God who was faithful to the unfaithful in Hosea continues to faithfully pursue wayward people now. And the One who kept His promises to ancient kings will keep His promises to His people in modern day.   

While we can’t directly apply God’s words and promises to Israel to the Church today, there are many lessons we can learn from this study. Through the Kings and Prophets, we learn to hold fast to God’s character, uncovering new facets of who He was, is, and will always be.  

2. The Kings and Prophets highlight humanity’s need for a Savior 

If studying the Kings and Prophets reveals God’s unshakable character, these books also highlight humanity’s enduring struggle with sin. 

A group of ancient kings may not seem relatable on the surface, but when we slow down and study their lives, we uncover their pride, greed, fear, and faithlessness. In one verse they boldly followed the Lord, and in the next, they relied on their own strength. In one chapter they stood for righteousness, and in another they bowed to the culture around them. (Sound familiar?) 

Through the kings and prophets, we learn that sin is not new to God, and He takes it seriously. The waywardness of the Israelites during the Divided Kingdom reveals humanity’s desperate need for a Savior. This time in God’s history also forces us to examine our own hearts. When we see our own sin clearly, we can do nothing but fall to our knees in gratitude before the One who saved us from it.  

3. The Kings and Prophets offer unique insight into the New Testament 

These books are deeply integrated into the fabric of the New Testament. The Gospel writers relied heavily on Old Testament prophecies to recognize Jesus as the One True Messiah. Quoted by the apostles, including Paul and John, books like Isaiah, Hosea, Nahum, and more, served as foundational truths for the New Testament authors.  

Jesus quoted the Old Testament often, like quoting from Hosea 6:6 when He forgave and healed the paralytic man in Matthew 9:13. If we skip reading Hosea in context, we miss the depth of sin that Jesus uncovered and the wrath it deserved. When we understand fully why Jesus desires mercy, not sacrifice, and calls not the righteous, but sinners, we are left with a tremendous sense of awe and gratitude.  

When we study the entirety of God’s narrative, His Word takes on a deeper and more intimate meaning. New Testament passages come to life, gaining greater depth and resonance, when we study the Old Testament references they contain. 

In 2 Chronicles 16:9a we read, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” As Christians, we long to have hearts that are “fully committed” to God, but how do we get there? A simple way to begin is by knowing Him through His story and His character. We may be tempted to skip or skim books like 1 and 2 Chronicles or Obadiah, but we would miss intimate insight into who God is. And when we understand our sin and the One who saved us from it, the Holy Spirit softens our hearts in worship toward the unchanging God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  

Ready to read the kings and prophets? Join a BSF group today and explore our new study on these thrilling and important books.

Bennett Rolan

Editorial Manager

Bennett Rolan joined the BSF staff in 2017 after working for several secular media outlets and Christian ministries. She loves to combine her passion for God’s Word and her journalism background to share stories of God’s Work in and through BSF. As a wife to a busy college football coach and a mom to four young children, BSF studies keep her relationship with the Lord grounded and focused. She loves to learn from fellow believers as God faithfully grows her each day.

 

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12 Comments

  1. 🙏 Praise God for the wonderful start to our new study. Thanks for all your efforts.

    *Consider these, if feasible…*

    1. _The BSF App does not have the current study… May be you could take up the matter.

    2. Mark Bailey’s talk could be scripted to have a printable PDF format and shared, if it’s not a struggle. (The introductory talk for the study on KINGDOM DIVIDED).

    God bless you abundantly!

    Johnson

    Reply
  2. Thanks for pointing out reasons (as given to you by God) for doing the study. Looking forward to diving into the new study. I promise I will try to slow down & try to absorb a little more!

    Reply
  3. Hi! I am joining BSF this fall but have not received an email yet about when it starts and how I can prepare. Also, where it is held and which night.

    Thanks in advance for helping me!~

    Reply
    • Dear Kim – we are so excited you are joining BSF! Your group leader will contact you will all of that information. To get started, you can also create your member account on mybsf.org or download the bsf app.

      Reply
  4. So amazing how The Old Testament paralleling with The New has such reflections of correction.
    It would probably make a grave difference with most, if it was read, studied and perceived in the context of its relevance.

    Reply
  5. Thank you dear Bennett for your encouragement to good deeper still in His Word. I have been prompted to adjust my schedule so I have time to slow down and read carefully and prayerfully expect insights through this year’s study. Blessings.

    Reply
  6. Your insights are thought provoking and encouraging to look more into bible; because there is a lot to learn and apply. I am looking forward to God to learn all He has planned for me!

    Reply
  7. I loved reading your insights, Bennett! It makes me get even more excited for the upcoming study 🙂

    Reply
  8. As I read and internalize the things you shared Bennett, I am reassured that no matter how much I think I know – there’s much more to it than this…I look forward as we move into this new Season, to finding out “the more thru this Study!”

    Reply
  9. I’m looking forward to all God has for me and my group in this years study

    Reply
  10. What are the specific scriptures for the next study, September 2022?

    Reply
    • Rachel – great question!

      Here’s how next year’s People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided study unfolds

      1 and 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles
      Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah are situated where they fit into Israel’s storyline.  
      The study of Isaiah is folded into a four-week segment
      New to our BSF study content: Jeremiah and Lamentations!  

      Reply

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