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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73 Comments

  1. It’s been so helpful to study God Character through the Prophets and Kings of the Old Testaments. This study has made me to dig deeper into his word and it has improved my walk and character: I am intentionally trying to be humbler and forgiving. It has help me to learn more patience and to wear this world as a loose garment. I have made an effort to stop looking at the world’s Turmoil and Choas, I have started looking at our coming Savior. I look forward to participation in the next BSF Series.

    Reply
  2. When will this study be starting? I’ve asked to join my local group, but haven’t heard back from a leader and not sure when it actually starts. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Glenna, most classes start the second week of September, but each class has a unique start date. Your leader should contact you soon or your Class Administrator can help!

      Reply
      • Thank you! Any way to find out who the class administrator is for a particular location? Haven’t heard anything from that person either.

        Reply
        • Hello! If you go to join.bsfinternational.org and search for your class, you can press “more info” and then “contact” to get into touch with your CA. Thank you!

          Reply
          • Tried that and still haven’t heard a thing, but thank you.

          • Oh no! I hope that we can help you with this issue. If you log onto mybsf.org, locate either the Support Desk or “Submit Questions” widget to get into contact with member support who can help find your class schedule and leader information. Thank you!

  3. Find me a Class on Zoom in the Atlanta area.

    Reply
  4. I appreciated the insights of this blog as I have been a skimmer for sure. I will approach it with a new perspective. In addition I noticed some wording I wanted clarification on please.

    1Samuel 15:22
    22 And Samuel said,
    “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
    Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to listen than the fat of rams.

    In your blog you stated Jesus desire mercy not sacrifice. Why did you state mercy instead of obedience?
    GraceUponGrace

    Reply
    • Hello! The phrase “I desire mercy not sacrifice” comes from one of the books in our upcoming study — Hosea! The verse reference is Hosea 6:6, quoted by Jesus in Matthew 9:13 (NIV). Thank you!

      Reply
  5. Loved the 3reasons not to skip, it gave me pause to wonder what I have missed over the last 20 years of studying God’s word and just skimming over many of the books of the Bible. I am excited and look forward to see how the Lord uses this study in my life and the lives of so many others..

    Reply
  6. What is the discount code for the lesson book Kingdom Divided. The shipping is almost as much as the purchase price of the book.

    Reply
    • Hi Pat! Good question. Here is the answer according to the BSF Store FAQ page:

      Why does the shipping cost almost as much as the book?

      Gulf Business Printing works diligently with BSF to produce the annual study material in the most efficient and economical way possible for BSF members. As a result, the books are provided to BSF members at a deep discount in order to offset the price of shipping an extensive, spiral-bound workbook containing several hundred pages.

      You can always choose to print your own lessons or complete them digitally using the BSF App and mybsf at no charge.

      Reply
  7. I so can relate Bennett! Thank you for sharing! What date will this class begin? I’m waiting to hear back from my local class; I just sent a message to them yesterday. I wasn’t able to attend last year and I am so excited to be back in BSF this year! I’m so looking forward to this study!

    Reply
    • Susan, we are so excited you are studying with us this year! Each class has a different start date but most begin the second week of September. Your local Class Administrator should be able to help and you should hear from your group leader soon!

      Reply
  8. Thank you Bennet for your encouraging words!

    Reply
  9. Thank you, BSF for your faithful service to the Kingdom.

    Via, Veritas, Vita

    Amen.

    Reply
  10. Where can I order the booklet?

    Reply
    • Hi Tracy! You can order the book at the BSF Store, which you can access through your mybsf account. For more questions about the BSF store, you can email bsfstore@gulfprinting.com.

      Reply
  11. I wish I could recite it back word for word!

    Reply
  12. I’ve been in BSF many years and love studying God’s word. The Old Testament always teaches me more about God’s love, his Grace, mercy and judgment and his other attributes. I also see myself in the bible characters both their triumphs in following the Lord and their failures, causing me to examine my heart and my motives. Thank you for all the hours the staff of BSF contributes and our teacher leaders and leaders. My leader (Betty) last year and my class were so supportive and encouraging and praying for me as I lost my husband last January after 61 years of marriage. Thank you again everyone at BSF.

    Reply
  13. The story of OT Israel is my story too – a story of disobedience and rebellion against the Lord, a story of the extremes of human unfaithfulness pitted against God’s undeserved faithfulness and grace. Looking forward to this study in all humility and praying for a teachable spirit!
    Thank you BSF team for putting this study together.

    Reply
  14. Thank you, I am so looking forward to this time in study. ❤️

    Reply
  15. God’s Word is all that matters, been in BSF for 20 years, very thankful for the opportunity to serve and immersed in His Word and Prayers.

    Reply
  16. where is the Exploring God’s Character Devotional on line for Kingdom Divided — I saw it posted from a link in facebook…

    Reply
  17. First of all, thank you for all the work you do for all of us!!! I’ve been in BSF since January 1975 & among other things was a TL for 20 years. I am now teaching 9-14 year olds in the Student Program. I recall hearing that college credits could be received for time in BSF. Could you please enlighten me on that prospective? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hello! Thanks for asking. We do offer Continuing Education Credits under certain conditions. You can email CEU@bsfinternational.org for more information!

      Reply
  18. Hi . Bless you.
    I have a quick question 🙋🏻‍♀️
    To find in Spanish o get a translation how I can go or how I can proceed.
    Or Is there a page that show everything in Spanish?
    Thank You.
    Have good weekend

    Reply
    • Hi Christina! Spanish translation for lessons is available wherever you normally find your lessons. The blog is not translated except for particular resources. For more questions about translation, you can email translationfeedback@bsfinternational.org. Thanks!

      Reply
  19. To all the BSF staff,
    Thank you for all your dedication and hard work .
    I have benefitted much from all the studies I have done.
    I really appreciate all that you guys are doing at BSF.
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  20. beautifully written.

    Reply
  21. I have moved from Twin Falls, Idaho to Sebring, Florida and the website does not seem to allow me to join an online discussion group. I have been with BSF for 5 years and would love to continue to be a part of this fantastic organization. I would appreciate any help in trying to connect to an online discussion as I will be 78 on the 18th (God willing) and the nearest in person is Lake Wales which is too far for me to drive weekly. Thank you in advance for your help

    Reply
  22. I have had many BSF bible studies and would love to do this one but I would like to do it on line this year. Do you have it on line and if so how can I get it. Thank you.

    Reply
  23. I’ve been coming to grips about this study via utube. This blog summarised very well what to expect ahead of the actual study.
    I feel more confident and less anxious!

    Reply
  24. i have submitted so many email to try and join a group for this upcoming study, but have gotten no response. when does this study start??

    Reply
    • Dear Tryna, I’m so sorry that you are having issues! I’ve sent your message to our member support group. They will contact you.

      Reply
  25. 🙏 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
    • I have joined BSF today. To start with I am really happy to see the way it starts. Hope I will explore more in the word of God as it progresses. Thank you Bennett for the effort taken.
      May God bless you to be a blessing to many.

      Reply
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. Bennett, it’s Kathy from St George. How sweet it is to read your article today. I thought I”d search BSF before bed to see what we are going to learn this coming year, and you’ve got me more excited than ever to see what God will teach me. When you moved, I think it was the following year, we got our first BSF at south mountain bible church. So many women from St George attended, some women who had never heard of BSF… It’s so great. I love how you put together Word Go when I first moved here from CA. You’ve got many talents, and God is using you mightily. God Bless..

    Reply
    • Kathy! So amazing to hear from you! I love how the Lord has continued to use BSF in St. George. I’ll continue to pray for your class there, what a wonderful gift!

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

    Reply
  33. 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
  34. I’m looking forward to all God has for me and my group in this years study

    Reply
  35. 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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