Narrative, Law, Prophecy, & Wisdom Books
The Book of Psalms
The Book of Psalms is a book of biblical wisdom. There are 150 songs that comprise the Book of Psalms. It is believed that King David wrote many of the Psalms (Keck et al, 1996). The psalms cover a variety of different subjects but many of them are happy songs that show praise for God. There are other Psalms that are sad prayers such as Psalm 74 while other Psalms tell how God will deliver people from despair such as in Psalms 40 and 41. Still other Psalms relate history and discuss the Bible. The common theme underlying the variety of Psalm topics is the wisdom that is imparted to the reader. The Psalms teach us that we must have faith in God how important the love of God is for us all. If one studies Psalm 24, he or she can see the celebration of God’s covenant and ultimate sovereignty. Psalm 24 is also considered by many Christians to be prophetic of God’s promise to send the savior Jesus Christ. While there is this convergence of wisdom and prophecy, the Psalms are mainly a form of wisdom in which the reader discovers why it is important to love and praise God.
The Book of Job
The Book of Job is a long narrative in the Old Testament. The Book of Job relates to the reader the lesson in why the innocent suffer and God’s place in this lesson. The story discusses God’s loyal believer Job, who was a good man. God believed in the fact that Job would not insult God or curse him. Even after losing all his possessions his children dying, and becoming ill, Job still was loyal to God.
In the end, Job is restored to success for his ardent faith in God and he is vindicated amongst his friends who believed that he was being punished for being evil. The story shows that God often has plans that go beyond the mortal vision and that patient faith will be rewarded. The story of Job also teaches us that God has not forsaken the suffering and that he cares, but that they must be patient. Job is a narrative but contains a strong point of wisdom dealing with faith and how faith must be blind.
The Book of Jonah
The book of Jonah is a book of prophecy wrapped inside of a narrative. In the story, God sends Jonah to Ninevah, the enemy of Israel. Jonah did not desire to go to Nineveh and tried to escape his duty. Jonah boarded a ship in order to escape God but God caused a terrible storm to occur. Jonah was thrown into the sea in order to escape God but God sent a whale to swallow Jonah. Realizing, he could not escape God, Jonah repented and God saved him. Upon returning to land, Jonah went to Nineveh and completed the mission God asked of him. Jonah was sad because God spared Nineveh which Jonah hated.
The prophecy told in this tale is that no matter where we travel and to what extremes one takes to ignore God’s will he or she is still in God’s grace. The prophecy is that God’s Will, shall be fulfilled despite our failings as people. Within this prophecy is the idea that God also loves every person from every nation equally as he shows this by sparing Nineveh the enemy of Israel.
The Book of Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is a book of law. This book is comprised of the instructions that Moses related to God’s children before died. The letter in many ways is a memoir of events in the desert and of God’s law. However, the book is of the genre of law because Moses describes how if the people did not obey God they would suffer (Deuteronomy 28).
The Book of Deuteronomy literally means “second law” in Greek and this show the focus of the subject matter. Although Moses is seen as a prophet, the book of Deuteronomy deals almost exclusively with expressing God’s law that his people should have strict allegiance with Him and no other Gods. The punishments for this violation of law are also outlined in the book.
Deuteronomy is often discussed in terms of the ‘Deuteronomic Code” which is the listing of rules that Moses outlines for the people. This code deals with not just false God worship but also with other infractions such as disobedience to parents and eating unclean foods (Deuteronomy 27).
The Book of Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is a book of law. The major theme of this book is that God is Holy and as such many rules must be abided by in order to maintain the sanctity and law of God. The Book of Leviticus outlines many rules for God’s people but most importantly that there holidays which must be honored (Leviticus 23) and that sacrifices must be made to God in order to forgive sins (Leviticus chapters 1–7). Leviticus is not just a book of law for the common person it is also a law book for priests. The Book of Leviticus describes many of the duties of priests and what is expected from them.
One of the greatest lessons and laws that one can learn from Leviticus is the idea of confession for sins. Leviticus tells us that in order to find forgiveness, sins must be confessed and God must be invited into one’s life. This is a very important law and it is repeated often in the New Testament.
The Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is a book of law in the Old Testament. The Book of Numbers is in many ways a book of history in which the story of Moses leading the people through the desert is told (Numbers 1 and Numbers 26). The Book of Numbers relates how the children of God were often disobedient and irreverent. There are several instances of these transgressions described in the book including: complaining about the food God gave them in the desert (Numbers 11 and Numbers 21), refusal to enter the promised land (Numbers 13), and even desiring to return to Egypt (Numbers 14). The book and the actions of the people relate the story of why God’s children wandered the desert for 40 years. The Book of Numbers is a book of law because it shows why disobedience of God’s Word leads to being lost and into worse outcomes. The major concept of law that is described is the idea of obedience to God’s Word and why we must have faith in the His Will.
The Book of Colossians
The Book of Colossians is a book of Law. At the time of the writing of the Epistles there was some form of heresy threatening the churches in Colossae. The description of this heresy stems from allusions within the epistle. The conclusion of most biblical scholars is that the false teachers referred to in the epistle were committing heresy by not giving Christ proper interpretation or emphasis. The belief was that these heretics were distorting and diminishing the doctrines of Christ.
The book of Colossians is part of the Epistles in which Paul reminds the Christians about the importance of Jesus. Paul warns the Christians about straying from the path of Christ. Paul believed and wrote in this book that Christians need to obey Christ, instead of tradition. Despite traditions seeming to be wise it is better to follow Christ in order to live a good Christian life (Colossians 2:23).
The book of Colossians is Paul delivering the law of God to the Christians on how they should live. The book gives us standards on how we should interpret traditions and what needs to be prioritized as Christians. Ultimately, that love of God is achieved through living as Christ would.
The Book of John
The Book of John is a short letter but powerful letter of wisdom in the New Testament. John discusses teaches us that as Christians we need to love each other and that we must not abide by those who teach wrong ideas concerning Jesus. The author was John, who also wrote John’s Gospel, Revelation, and two other letters (2 John 5–6) (2 John 7–11). John is arguing against what people of the time were interpreting about Jesus such as his divinity and his death and resurrection. John teaches us that Jesus is God, who became man in order to die for our sins. John relates this as being the true message of Christianity. The book of John is a book of wisdom because it teaches how and why interpretations are misleading and can take one from the true path of God. The Book of John is also a book of wisdom because it is a gospel and witness for all Christians since John was there at the death and resurrection of Christ.
The Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is a book of Prophecy concerning the future. As the last book in the New Testament it leaves the reader with both dread and hope of salvation. Written by John, Revelation tells the story of what happens to the believers of Christ and to the nonbelievers. For the faith filled there is salvation in God’s Kingdom. But for nonbelievers the punishments are graphically outlined. The book is prophetic because it tells of the fall of the Devil and the return of Christ. The book also discusses the many bad times that are coming for the world and in this prophecy is where many find faith. Revelation provides us with the reason that Christ must be accepted in our hearts in order to avoid the impending destruction and punishment of the nonbelievers and evil. We know from this prophecy that ultimately evil will be defeated. The prophecy shows believers why God can and should be trusted. Depending upon whether one is a believer or a nonbeliever, determines whether the prophecy is hopeful or dreaded.
The Book of Matthew
The Book of Matthew also known as Matthew’s Gospel is a narrative that shows Christians that the word of God is true. Matthew spends much of the book discussing how the prophets of Jesus’s time had made predictions concerning Christ and that these prophecies had come true. Matthew also spend a great deal of time discussing the life of Jesus and his works.
One of the most famous sections of this book is the speech called ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ (Matthew 5–7) which was given by Jesus. Through this speech we are given an insight into the wisdom and teachings of Christ.
Mathew also relates the many miracles of Jesus and how he was able to combat evil. Through the Book of Matthew we are able to understand the life of Jesus and his death and how he died for our sins. Mathew is a narrative of Jesus but more importantly a theme of happiness as the life of Jesus is shown to the reader as a reason of hope.
The Book of Romans
The Book of Romans is a book of law that takes the form of a letter from Paul to the Christians in Rome. Paul writes in this letter how individuals can be saved from punishment and how we should live as Christians. There are many key concepts that are pointed out by Paul. These ideas include:
· All people are sinners
· God has anger for evil
· God will save those who have faith in him
· We need God to save us
· Jesus died for our sins (for us)
· The Spirit of God can lead us in the right direction
· God always loves us.
The Book of Romans defines the law of God in our interactions with God on a daily basis. Knowing how to live is not enough, we need God to make our lives work correctly and right. This is the major theme of the Book of Romans, that salvation is attained through living by and through the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Book of Romans definitively shows that Jesus is the way to salvation for all people.
Brown, F., Driver S., and Briggs C. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Complete and Unabridged Electronic Edition). Peabody, MA: Varda Books, 2004.
Keck, Leander, Jr. McCann, and J. Clinton. The New Interpreter’s Bible Volume Iv Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections: The Book of Psalms. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996.
Kselman, John, and Michael Barré The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall, 1990.
King James. (1982). Passage results: colossians, john (new king james version). Retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+1%3A24-29&version=NKJV
Oden, Thomas. Ancient Christian Commentary On Scripture: New Testament, Volume 12. New York: Intervarcity Press, 2008.
Vincent Triola. Fri, Apr 02, 2021. Summary of Bible Books Retrieved from https://vincenttriola.com/blogs/ten-years-of-academic-writing/summary-of-bible-books