Bible Summary Resources
From the “What’s in the Bible?” Series:
- Only the Bible has been printed more times, has been translated in more languages, and is the most influential book of all time.
- 66 Books, over 40 Authors; written over a span of 1600 years
A great resource for Bible outline: biblestudystart.com
Verse-by-verse sermons: http://resources.ccphilly.org/teachinglibrary.asp
Introduction to each of the books: https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/intros/esv_intros.cfm
An Outline of the Bible
Bible Summary: Old Testament
- 39 Books in Protestant Bibles
- 46 Books in Catholic Bibles
- 50 Books in Orthodox Bibles
* Why is there a difference? The additional 7 books in the Catholic Bibles are Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch.
In 400 A.D., Jerome attempted to translate the OT from Hebrew to Latin instead of from the Greek Septuagint. The Septuagint also had 15 extra books of Jewish history that were not officially included in the Jewish bible. When Jerome translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Latin, he included some of the extra books, but not all of them. He also made a note that said those extra books were not as important.
Later, Martin Luther and other translators put those extra books in an extra section called the Apocrypha because they were not in the Jewish Bible. Some of these books still remain in Old Testament Catholic and Orthodox Bibles today.
The Old Testament is separated into four sections:
- The Torah or Pentateuch (first five books)
- Writings or Wisdom
The New Testament is also separated into four sections:
- Epistles, or Letters
- Revelation to John
Bible Summary – Diving Deeper:
In the book of Genesis, God creates the heavens, the earth, sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and all things. He creates man in his own image, and a woman from the man to be his companion. God gives them the Garden of Eden to look after and eat from, anything except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If they eat from it, they will die.
Tempted by a serpent to eat from that tree, Eve (the woman) eats, and shares with her husband Adam (the man) and he eats. God finds out and the three are cursed along with the rest of creation: the seed of the serpent will fight against the seed of woman, but the seed of the woman will prevail; man will have to work for a living and for food; women will have painful childbearing and will be ruled by men. Adam and Eve are banished from the garden before they have a chance to eat from the Tree of Life. This is not before God covers their new-found nakedness with skins from an animal, the first notable sacrifice (my words, not His).
Adam and Eve bear children: Cain, Abel (who is killed by his older brother), and Seth. Cain and Seth are fruitful and multiply as God commanded, populating the earth.
Population Growth = Sin Growth
All inhabitants become very wicked, and God professes judgement over the whole earth by means of a great flood, sparing Noah and his family. Noah is one of the first “Christ” figures who preserves the line of man from Adam and will continue until Jesus Christ.
The population of the world grows again and becomes wicked again. God sees that man is about to be unstoppable in his fallen state, so He “babbles” up their languages and scatters them throughout the world (Tower of Babel).
The population grows yet again until Abraham is called by God to be set apart to be a great and blessed nation. After much happening, Abraham’s line is extended to the also famous Isaac and Jacob. Jacob is later called Israel, and has 12 sons who become the 12 tribes of Israel.
Joseph, one of Jacob’s sons, is sold by his brothers into slavery and eventually becomes the head of Egypt. Much happens, and Joseph saves his family from famine (another “Christ” figure in Genesis). Joseph gives birth to two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Both are blessed by Israel, but Ephraim over his brother.
In the book of Exodus, years pass and a new king of Egypt forgets Joseph and all that he had done. This king enslaves the Israelites because their numbers were intimidating to him. The Pharaoh orders Hebrew babies to be killed, but Moses is preserved and ends up in the Pharaoh’s home, raised as an Egyptian. After much happening, God calls Moses (through a burning bush) to rescue the Israelites from the hand of Pharaoh (Moses is another “Christ” figure). Moses is joined by Aaron to get the job done.
Egypt undergoes 10 plagues before allowing the Israelites to go free. 1. Water turned into blood 2. Frogs 3. Gnats 4. Swarms of Flies. 5. Death of livestock 6. Boils 7. Hail 8. Locusts 9. Darkness 10. Death of the firstborn. In the last plague, the Israelites were spared if they followed specific instructions with lamb’s blood for the first Passover. (This is very prophetic of Jesus coming, and if we too follow the instructions God gave us, death will pass us over.
Israel is allowed to “exit” Egypt, but is later followed by Pharaoh and his armies, who corner them against the Red Sea. God parts the sea for the Hebrews to safely cross over, and destroys Pharaoh and his armies.
Israel is stuck wandering in the wilderness on the way to their promised land and God provides all that they need (manna and quail). The people are still full of sin and undergo great trials due to their insubordination to God’s instructions. Through Moses, God dictates the Ten Commandments and other Laws for the Israelites to follow. This included instructions for a Tabernacle, Priests, etc.
Leviticus lists all of these laws, and suggests that if you follow the commandments, you will be blessed. If you don’t, you will be cursed.
from the HarperCollins Study Bible: The book of Numbers begins with the Israelites encamped in the wilderness of Sinai and spans the forty years of the wilderness wanderings. It ends with the people on the east side of the Jordan River, in the “plains of Moab,” poised for the conquest of Canaan. Lack of faith (ch.13-14) leads to the almost complete destruction of the exodus generation, which is to be replaced by a new generation born in the wilderness and looking forward to Canaan rather than backward to Egypt.
The book of Deuteronomy is the reiterated “second law-giving” and describes how Joshua becomes Moses’ Successor.
In his own named book, Joshua leads the Israelites over the Jordan River (hence the name “Hebrew: crossed over ones”) to take control of Canaan, the “promised land”.
The book of Judges explains that Joshua died in a civil war and much of the land is left in the hands of Israel’s enemies. As mentioned before, those who do not follow God’s laws will be cursed, as are the Israelites in this time. They cry out in repentance to God, who sends Judges to help them follow the Law.
In the book of Ruth, a widowed Moabite accepts the God of Israel when choosing to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth marries Boaz, a kinsman redeemer (also prophetic of Jesus Messiah), and becomes part of the bloodline from Abraham to David.
1 Samuel includes the history of Samuel, the last judge of Israel until they demand a king. Saul is chosen as Israel’s first king. A young boy, David, conquers the giant, Goliath. Saul is jealous of David and tries to have him killed, but David escapes and joins Samuel, becoming close friends with Jonathan.
In 2 Samuel, David mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, then becomes King of Judah while Ishbaal becomes king of Israel. Eventually, David becomes king over all of Israel, and Jerusalem is made capital of the “united kingdom.” David commits adultery with Bathsheba, killing her husband Uriah the Hittite. They have a son named Solomon, called Jedidiah by the Lord. Absalom, David’s son, takes over the throne of David, who flees. Absalom dies, and David becomes king again.
1 Kings to Job
1 Kings is a record of the end of David’s reign and the reign of Solomon over Israel. Israel is divided into two separate kingdoms, Israel and Judah. 2 Kings is the history of the two kingdoms of Israel (see a more thorough summary here) which is also continued in 1 Chronicles (said to have been written to encourage the remnant of Israel that had come out of the Babylonian captivity) and 2 Chronicles. The later includes blessings to those kings of Israel who had been righteous, and sins and curses to those who had been wicked.
Ezra tells that Israel returned from the Babylonian exile after 70 years in two waves. The temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt. Nehemiah “rallies the troops” to build a wall of protection around the city of Jerusalem.
Though most Jews returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, some stayed behind and that area was captured by Persia. Esther, a Jew, miraculously becomes queen of Persia and saves the Jewish people from extermination (another “Christ” figure situation).
Considered the oldest book of the Bible, Job recounts the story of a man directly attacked by Satan. “He is an example of faithfulness as he loses everything important to him yet remains faithful to God. Its purpose is to illustrate God’s sovereignty and faithfulness during a time of great sufferings” (citation.)
Next, the Psalms include praises, prophecy, laments, and more. Said to be written by David, Asaph, the sons of Korah, Solomon, Ethan and Moses, and anonymous, the Psalms are followed by the Proverbs, mostly written by Solomon (some by Lemuel and Agur). The Proverbs speak wisdom for young people, average people, and leaders. Solomon also wrote Ecclesiastes to teach wisdom, often in retrospect of a long life lived.
The Song of Solomon (or Songs) is a prophetic story of a bridegroom (Jesus) who is in love with his bride (Israel).
Bible Summary – The Major (Longer) Prophets
The next book, Isaiah, prophecies of that coming bridegroom, Jesus. “The purpose. . . to call God’s nation, the nation of Judah, back to faithfulness and to declare the coming Messiah “Immanuel”. God calls and commissions His prophet to declare to Judah and Israel condemnation, conviction, and ultimately great hope” (citation same as above). Isaiah is usually outlined in three sections: the sins of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, the return and restoration after the exile from Babylon (prophetic of the future), and a picture of the new Heavens and new Earth.
Jeremiah also warns Judah of the destruction they were about to face if they didn’t return to the Law and submit to God. He also prophecies of the coming King and the New Covenant that would be made. Sadly, Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians. Jeremiah writes Lamentations, expressing his grief over the situation and the justice of God.
In similar fashion to Jeremiah, the book of Ezekiel is written to announce judgement on Judah and allow them a chance to repent. It tells of the coming deliverance of God’s nation from captivity in Babylon. During this time, Daniel writes of current events and deep prophecy of the end times. Just as God will provide for and protect Israel in the current times while in Babylon, He will likewise deliver His people at the end of the age as well.
Bible Summary – The Minor (Shorter) Prophets
Hosea is a picture of the adulteress nation of Israel and God’s unconditional love for His people. Because of their unfaithfulness, they will ultimately be divorced from God and the Northern Kingdom is pushed into captivity.
Like Hosea, the book of Joel describes the coming judgement of God to the Southern Kingdom if they do not repent. A plague of locusts is described, warning that if they do not repent, the plagues and destruction to come will be far worse.
Amos is another prophet called to announce God’s judgment on the Northern Kingdom of Israel (like Hosea).
Obadiah is mentioned in 1 Kings 18, and tells how God will judge all who are against His people, using Edom as an example.
Jonah is sent to Ninevah to preach of repentance, and God is patient and faithful to deliver them when, after Jonah reluctantly shows up to do the job, they do repent.
Micah describes the judgment coming to both kingdoms of Israel, and Nahum is sent to preach God’s judgment a second time to Ninevah. They didn’t listen this time, and have since been completely wiped off the Earth.
Similar to the other prophets, Habakkuk speaks of judgment from God for not following His commands. Same with Zephaniah.
Haggai encourages the people of Israel to finish the temple in Jerusalem even though the Jews were scared of the surrounding nations. Zechariah also joins in on encouraging the remnant to build the temple, which they do. He also encourages them to follow God’s laws. Malachi also encourages the Jews to have right hearts towards God and to prioritize Him first, above all other things.
God’s justice and faithfulness is made clear in all of the warnings and judgements thus far. His prophecies of a coming Messiah are fulfilled in Matthew, written to reveal the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, the King of the Jews, from the line of David. This was also written to convince the Jews that Jesus as indeed their long-awaited Christ. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all contain similar accounts of Jesus, his life, teachings, death, burial, and resurrection. Mark describes Jesus as a suffering servant. Luke, a doctor, wrote to the Greeks to present Jesus in His perfect manhood as the “Son of Man,” the Savior of all men. John, often considered the “love” gospel, was written so that all might believe in Jesus as the Son of God who gives eternal life.
Bible Summary – The Acts of the Apostles
Acts records the beginnings of the “church” of Jesus and how believers were empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread the Gospel of Christ after His ascension into heaven. The “Good News” travels to Rome in this book, so it is fitting that Romans would follow.
The Epistles – Letters from Paul
This letter from Paul explains that salvation cannot be attained through good deeds, but only through faith. It also touches on the sovereignty of God, judgment, spiritual growth, and the righteousness of God.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians to the church in Corinth, addressing the immorality and divisions that had occurred among them (sexual immorality, issues of marriage, lawsuits of other believers, confusion about worship. . . .) He continues in 2 Corinthians to warn against false teachers who were spreading heresy. He encourages the church in their suffering and encourages them to “test themselves” to know if they are faithful.
Galatians is written, also by Paul, to address the issue of circumcision and Jewish legalism toward Gentile believers. This is followed by Ephesians, written to encourage believers to walk in love despite persecution.
Philippians was written to thank the people of Philippi for their support and to encourage their growth in the Lord Jesus.
By the time Paul was in prison, a Judaic-Gnostic heresy sought to blend Greek philosophy with Christian theology. He wrote Colossians to correct some of these errors and to encourage believers to serve with diligence and passion.
Faith, hope, and love are emphasized in 1 Thessalonians, where Paul writes about the second coming of Jesus. This is also stressed in 2 Thessalonians, correcting some who had thought he already came a second time (believe me, you won’t miss it!)
A young pastor in Ephesus is encouraged in leadership in 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy, and Titus, a pastor in Crete was encouraged to press on even in the presence of false teachers and the sinful nature of men.
While in prison, Paul writes a letter to Philemon to request forgiveness for one of his runaway slaves, Onesimus, who is a new believer in Jesus Christ.
Letters to Hebrews and by James, Peter, John and Jude
Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who were under persecution. It explains that Jesus is the awaited Messiah. It is written about the importance of faith. Faith holds importance even above the works of the Torah Law.
James was written to encourage practical Christian living by Jews, and 1 Peter writes about personal holiness, particularly in the presence of persecution. 2 Peter warns against false teachers, as does 1 John. This book also insures that Christ really had a genuine human body, and reiterates other basic principle beliefs of the Christian faith. 2 John writes about the truth and encourages Christians not to lose focus on Jesus. 3 John praises Gaius and Demetrius for their faithful service.
Jude addresses false teachings and shares about the truth of Jesus Christ.
Bible Summary – Revelation
Revelation describes the return and triumph of Jesus in his second coming. It warns of the final judgment that will come to those who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The last chapter describes a new creation. The restored creation and new Jerusalem is where God and Jesus reign on Earth. At the end of times, we will be in communion and fellowship with God. All will be as God originally intended.