BL - 11 Old Testament Survey




Purpose : Gaining the basic knowledge of the books of the Bible.

Introduction : There are sixty six books in the Bible; Thirty nine in Old Testament and twenty  seven in new Testament.  These books were written by thirty nine writers, in three languages.  Hebrew was common language of Old Testament.  However a few portions of Old Testament were written in Aramaic.  New Testament was written in Koine Greek.  The writrs of these books lived in three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe).  The period covered between the first book (Genesis) and the last book (Revelation) is thousand five hundred (1500) years.  Although the Bible is written by many authors, from three continents, in different periods and in different languages, its theme is unique.  The core theme of the Bible is “The God who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ gives blessed hope to the world”.

                   Both Testaments can be divided into four major divisions.


Pentateuch :         Foundation for the birth of Christ (Gen. 3 : 15)

History       :        Preparation for the birth of Christ

Songs                   :        Aspiration for the birth of Christ (Job 19:25)

Prophecy    :        Expectation for the birth of Christ (Lk. 2 : 38)



Gospels       :       Manifestation of Christ

Acts            :        Proclamation concerning Christ

Epistles       :        Explanation concerning Christ

Relevation  :        Expectation of the coming of Christ

                   In this manner, both Testaments glorify Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.


(113-PART-A / BS-11)

                   The first five books of Old Testament are called as Pentateuch.  These are the law (constitution) for the nation of Israel.  Moses wrote all these books in between 1450 – 1410 BC.


                   Genesis explains the beginning of earth, universe, planets, animal life, plants, man, nations, races, languages, sacrificial system, worship, sin, murder, punishment, death, lie, civilization, and Sabbath.  Since Genesis informs the beginnings of many such facts, this book is named Genesis which plainly means “beginning”.

Key Verse            :  Gen. 1 : 1                              Key Word : Beginning

Key idea              :  Beginning

Key Perssons       :  Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah,

                                Jacob and Joseph

Types of Christ   :  Adam (Rom. 5 : 14), Sacrifice of Abel, Melchisedec

                                (Heb. 7 : 3)

Note :         Genesis tells the beginning and creation of the world as well as the beginning of Hebrew people.  Some question How could Moses know about creation which happened many centuries earlier to him?  The Answer for this question may be in the following way; First, Moses could have known the history of Hebrew people from his forefathers; second, He might have learnt about the deluge of Noah’s period from Egyptian records which he studied during his stay in the palace of Pharaoh; third, God revealed  him the account of creation when Moses was on Mount Sinai.  Thus Moses could combine all these facts in his writings under the supervision of Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3 : 16).  Therefore, Moses could write the true account of creation which was much earlier to him.




Key word             :  Redeem                                 Key Verse : 6 : 6

Key idea              :  Redemption through passover lamb

Key Persons         :  Moses, Aaron, Miriam and Pharaoh

Types of Christ   :  Moses (Deut. 18 : 15),

   Pass over  lamb (Jn. 1 : 29)

                                Manna and Water (Jn. 6 : 31-35, 48-63; 1 Cor. 10 : 3,4)

                                Tabernacle (Heb. 9 : 1-10, 18)

                   Exodus explains as to How God delivered the people of Israel and how God led them out of Egypt to their promised land.


Key word             :  Holiness                                Key Verse : 17 : 11

Key idea              :  You shall be Holy; For I am Holy (11 : 45)

Key Persons         :  Moses and Aaron

Types of Christ   :  1. High Priest

  1. Five offerings

       Burnt Offering (1 : 4-17),

                                    Meal offering (2 : 1-16),

       Peace offering ( 3 : 1-17),

                                    Sin offering (4 : 1-35),

                           Trespass offering (5 : 1-19)

                   Leviticus explains sacrifice, worship, moral and social life system of Israel. 




Key word             :  Wanderings                           Key Verses : 14 : 22-23

Key idea              :  Miraculous protection and provisions of God to Israel.

Key Persons         :  Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua and Caleb

Types of Christ   :  Brazen Serpent (Num. 21 : 4-9, Jn. 3 : 14)

                                Rock that quenched  thrist (1 Cor. 10 : 4)

                                Red Heifer (Ch. 19)

                   Moses trained Joshua and Caleb as leaders.  Numbers explains the opposition to the leadership of Moses (Ch. 12) and of Aaron (16-18).  It also explains how leaders offered special sacrifices (7:10) and How new leaders were appointed (11 : 16-17).


Key word             :  Covenant                                       Key Verse : 4 : 31

Key idea              :  Take heed lest you forget the law

Key Persons         :  Moses and Joshua

Types of Christ   :  Moses (18:15)

                   Deuteronomy which comes from septuagint (Greek Translation of Hebrew Bible) means “second giving of law”.  However it is not second law but the summaries of the law, that was already given in the previous books of Moses.  Through this summary, the law was emphasized and again reminded to Israel.


                   The twelve books from Joshua to Esther are called historical books.  These books deal the history of 800 years from the formation of the nation Israel to the failure of nation with Babylonian captivity.  During this period, God prepared the nation for the birth of Jesus Christ.

The following chart briefly explains the history of Israel.


Preparation and condition of the nation




Possession of Cannan by Israel

Oppression of the nation by neighbours

The Theocracy

(1405-1043 BC)

1 Samuel

2 Samuel

1 Kings 1-10

1 Kings 11-22

2 Kings 1 -17

2 Kings 18-25

1 Chronicles

2 Chronicles

Stabilization of the Nation

Extension of the Nation

Glorification of the nation

Division of the nation

Deterioration of the Northern Kingdom

Deportation of the Southern Kingdom

Preparation of the Temple

Destruction of the Temple

The Monarchy

(1043 – 586 BC)




Restoration of the Temple

Reconstruction of the city

Protection of the nation’s people

Returning of remnants from 70 years Babylonian captivity (605 – 536 BC)

JOSHUA (Jehovah is salvation)


Author                 :  Joshua                                  Date : 1400-1370 BC


Key word             :  Possession/Victory                 Key Verses : 1 : 8,9

Key idea              :  Victoriously possessing the promised land

Key Persons         :  Joshua, Caleb and Rehab

                   Joshua was one of the best leaders, trained by Moses.  He is considered even now as one of the best military strategist that world ever had.  Since Joshua means “Jehovah is salvation”, he is also considered as a type of Christ.


Author                 :  Samuel                                 Date : 1050-1000 BC

Key word             :  Judge                                    Key Verses : 2 : 20-23

Key idea              :  Suffering by disobedience and deliverance through


Name of judges   :  Othniel ( 3 : 9), Ehud (3 : 15), Shamgar (3 : 31),

                                Deborah ( 4 : 4), Barak (4 : 16), Gideon (6 : 11),

                                Tola (10:1), Jair (10:3), Jephthah (11 : 1),

   Ibzan (12 : 8), Elon (12 : 11),

   Abdon (12 : 13), Samson (14 : 1)

                   As judges delivered people from their oppressors, Jesus delivers people from the oppression of sin.

                   After Joshua, people of Israel struggled without capable leaders.  Everyone in Israel did that which was right in his own eyes (21 : 25).  People did not observe Tabernacle workship and follow God’s commands.  In this situation, Philistines, Moabites, and Midianites oppressed Israel.  During such oppressions, people of Israel called unto God for help and deliverance.  Therefore, God raised leaders to protest His people lest Israel perish under enemy.  These leaders were called judges.  This book records the history of many cycles (seven) of decline, oppression, supplication and deliverance.  The situation mentioned in Judges (21 : 25) paved the way for Monarchy.

Cycle of decline during the period of Judges





Author                 :  Samuel                                           Date : 1000 BC

Key word             :  Kinsman (14 times), Redeem ( 9 times)

Key Verses           : 1 : 16-17

Key idea              :  Blessing through Faith in God

                   Historical background of Ruth was similar to Judges (Jud. 21 : 25).  In the Hebrew Bible, Ruth is a part of the book of Judges.  Ruth was a moabite woman who faithfully served her mother-in-law and fully accepted Jehovah as her only God.  By the marriage between her and Kinsman-Redeemer Boaz, she became the grand mother of David.  Therefore she naturally came in the geneology of the Saviour (Matt. 1 : 5).  The title of this book was given after the main character of this book. By attributing a woman’s name to a biblical book, Bible gives due respect and honour to women before God and society.


Author                 :  Samuel (10 : 25)                             Date            : 930 BC

Key word             :  Anoint ( 7 times)                             Key Verses : 15 : 22,23

Key idea              :  Obedience to God is better than sacrifice

                   Samuel was the last judge of Israel and the first prophet of prophetic era.  He was also a Priest in Tabernacle.  During this period, God ruled Israel through Priests, since Israel was theocratic Kingdom.  However, people wanted a human king for them like their neighbours had.  In this way people rejected God’s direct rule (Theocracy) and accepted king’s rule (monarchy) over them.  This book ends with the death of Saul.



Author                 :  Nathan and Gad (1 Chro. 29:30)    Date : 930 BC

Key word             :  David (267 times)                          Key Verses : 12:12-14

Key idea              :  Failure and affects of sin

Key Persons         :  David, Nathan, Absaloam, Joab, Bathsheba

1 King

Author                 :  Ezekiel or Ezra (However real author is unknown)

Date                     : 560-538 BC

Key word             :  Kingdom (357 times)            Key Verse : 9 : 3-7

Key idea              :  Results of disobedience

Key Persons         :  Solomon, Solomon’s son Rehoboam, Jeroboam

Key incidents    :  Reign of Soloman and the division of nation after him.    Solomon was a type of Christ.  However Jesus is greater than Solomon.


Author                 :  Ezekiel or Ezra                      Date : 560-538 BC

Key word             :  King (400 times)                             Key Verses : 17 : 18-23

Key idea             :  Sorrowful lives and ends of the Kings and the nation  that did not listen God’s warning through prophets.

                   On the one hand, Elijah did many public miracles before peoples in 1 Kings.  Since He was a powerful preacher, he is considered forefigure to John the Baptist.  Although John, the Baptist was a powerful preacher,   he did not perform any miracles.  On the other Elisha did miracles in private for individuals in 2 Kings.


Author                 :  Ezra                                      Date : 450-425 BC

Key word             :  David (183 times)                  Key Verses : 17 : 17-14

                   1 and 2 Chronicles are the only book in the Hebrew Bible.  It is also the last book in the Hebrew Bible (Jewish Bible).



Author                 :  Ezra                                      Date : 450-425 BC

Key word             :  House of God, Priest             Key Verse : 7 : 14

Key idea              :  Jerusalem, the Temple of God


Author                 :  Ezra                                                Date : 457-444 BC

Key word             :  Jerusalem (48), Temple (25)            Key Verse : 7:10

Key idea             :  Spiritual and social revival of the people who     returned   from Babylonian captivity.



Author                 :  Nehemiah                                       Date : 445-425 BC

Key word             :  Wall(35)                                         Key Verse : 8:8

Key idea                :  Doing God’s work in the midst of opposition

Note  :  Since Judah did not obey to God’s commands, they were in captivity at Babylon for seventy years according to the prophecy (Jer. 25 : 11-13).  After seventy years,  when they returned from Babylon; Ezra built the altar of the Temple of Jerusalem and Nehemiah built the wall of Jerusalem.


Author                 :  Ezra or Nehemiah                           Date : 464-424 BC

Key word             :  Jews (44)                                        Key Verse : 4 : 14

Key idea                :  Deliverance of God who dwells in secret place.

                   The word “GOD” is  never mentioned in this book.  However Fasting and Prayer observed by Jews in the time of Esther demonstrates that Jews looked for the  deliverance from God who answers prayer. From this, we can understand that although God is not mentioned in this book, God exists in secret and answers prayers.



                   The five books from Job to Song of Solomon are called Poetic books.  It took nearly thousand years (2000-950 BC) to write and to collect these books.  One can see the relation between these books and Christ as following:

Job              : Man longs for reconciliation between the Holy God and the sinful     man   (9 : 33)

Psalms        : Man longs to share his love to Christ by communion with Him.

Proverb      : Man longs for Wisdom in Christ

Ecclesiastes : Man longs for Satisfaction in Christ

Song of Solomon : Man longs for fellowship with Christ



Author                 :  Either Job (himself) or Moses or Solomon                 

Date                     :  Scholars suggest various dates.  If Moses was the

   Author, it was written about 1500 BC.  Scholars who

   Suggests Solomon’s authorship prefers later date (950BC)

Key word             :  The Righteous                       Key Verse : 42:10

Key idea             :  Soverign God who turns suffering into blessing.

Note : Hope of resurrection is first mentioned in Job (19 : 25-27)


                   The center point of Psalms is that a suffering believer prays and praises unto God.  The book of Psalms is divided into five sub-divisions which are identical with each books of Pentateuch respectively.

Book Division

Key Concepts


Books of Pentateuch


Man & Creation


Identical with Genesis


Israel & Redemption


Idential with Exodus


Worship & Temple


Identical with Leviticus


Wandering as Sojourner


Identical with Numbers


Praise and God’s word


Identical with Deuteronomy

Authorship & Date : Psalms were written by many authors of whom David, Moses, Solomon, Asaph, Son of Korah and Ethan were prominent writers.  Authors of some Psalms are unknown.

Key words           :  Prise (166), Blessing (100)           Key Verses : 119:9-11

Key idea                :  Believer who praises and worships God in all situations of


Note                   :  Aleph, Beth etc. mentioned in Psalm 119 are alphabets of Hebrew language.  Under each alphabet, there are eight verses.

Selah (89:37) :     This word is an editorial note for the mucisians who sang in the temple of Jerusalem.

Psalms of Degrees (120-134) : It is believed that these Psalms of degrees were sung by Israelites as they went toward Jerusalem.

Messianic Psalms : There  are some Psalms which contain  prophecies concerning the Messiah (Christ).  Such Psalms are called Messianic Psalms (Ps. 2,8,16,22,40,45,72,110,118)


Authorship                    :  Hezekiah (Pro. 25 : 1) selected some proverbs of Solomon who wrote many of such proverbs (1 Kings 4 : 32).  Agur wrote   of Chapter 30. Lemuel wrote chapter 31 of proverbs, based on the counselling that his mother advised him.

Date                     :  950 – 700 BC

Key word             :  Wisdom / Wise (110)            Key Verse : 9:10

Key idea             :  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

Note 1 : “Fear” in this verse refers “Respect or belief”.  Thus this means “Belief in God is the beginning of wisdom”.

Note 2 :  Chapter 8 of Proverbs refers to wisdom.  Wisdom is personified in this chapter and is spoken as a woman (wisdom = She 8:2, 9:1).  Since wisdom is personified, the pronouns “her and she”  (8:1,2 ; 9:1) are given as well as pronoun “I” (8:11,30) is given.  “I” refers to wisdom.  Some unknowingly, interpret pronoun “I”  (8:11,30) as refering  to Jesus Christ.  This “I”  does not refer to pre-incarnate state of Jesus Christ but to wisdom in general.


Author                 :  Solomon                                        Date : 931 BC

Key word             :  Vanity                                   Key Verses : 12 : 13,14

Key idea                :  Trusting God is the best answer for the enigma of life. 

Note  :  The word  “vanity” is used with the idea that the life is useless unless faith is in God.


Author                 :  Solomon                                                  Date : 965 BC

Key word             :  Love                                               Key Verse : 7:10

Key idea            :  Genuine love that is to be expressed and exercised in married life.

Note  :  Some compare this love with the love that Jesus Christ shows to Church.


                   Though the books – Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings-contain the history of the nation Israel, they were written in prophetic view point.  The authors of these books were prophets themselves by profession.  Therefore some scholars call them as former prophets.  Such scholars term “later prophets or writing prophets” for the books from Isaiah to Malachi.  There were also other oral prophets who did not record their prophetical utterances (Nathan, Ahijah, Iddo, Jehu, Elijah, Elisha, Obed, Shemaiah, Azariah, Hanani, Jahaziel, and Huldah).  Later prophets were sub-divided into two sections; one is five  major prophets (Issaiah to Daniel); the other is twelve minor prophets (Hosea – Malachi).

                   All these prophets were from either Israel or Judah.  Their prophecies were directly connected with either Northern Kingdom or Southern Kingdom.  Some prophecies have reference to Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia.



Author                 :  Isaiah                                              Date : 740-680 BC

Key word             :  Salvation                                         Key Verse : 7:14

Key idea                :  Salvation is of the Lord. 

Isaiah is a miniature Bible.  It was sixty six chapters while the Holy Bible has sixty six books, including both testaments.  Many prophecies of Isaiah accurately fulfilled in the history as he predicted them.  The prophecy concerning virgin birth of Jesus is one of such fulfilled prophecies.  So also the prophecy concerning Cyrus (Is. 45:1) fulfilled in history.

A dispute has risen over the authorship of Isaiah.  Some scholars claim that “Deutero – Isaiah” wrote chapters 40-66.  Others claim Trito – Isaiah wrote chapters 56-66.  These so called scholars point out the variation in style for the support of their claim.  To answer to these scholars, we say that the variation in style of writing is due to the change in subject matter.  Chapter 1-39 deal with the history of Israel and the judgement over nations while chapter 40-66 deal with the coming blessing and glory of Israel.  Therefore the style of writing is changed.  It is right to conclude that the same Isaiah wrote both portions of the book of Isaiah.

 JEREMIAH (Jehovah establishes)

Author                 :  Jeremiah                                         Date : 627-585 BC

Key word             :  Babylon (164)                                Key Verse : 1:4-10

Key idea                :  God is merciful although He punishes sin. 

                   Jeremiah is called “weeping prophet” for he suffered much.  It is believed that he was killed in Egypt.  Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning “Babylonian captivity of seventy years” was fulfilled in the history as he predicted (25 : 11,12).


Author                 :  Jeremiah                                       Date    : 586 BC

Key word             :  Suffering / Prayer                          Key Verses : 3 : 31-24

Key idea               :  Sorrow of the nation which forgot God.

            Jeremiah wrote Lamentation when Jerusalem city was destroyed and plundered, and Jews were captured and taken as prisoners to Babylon.  Lamentation means “mounings”.

EZEKIEL (God strengthens)

Author                 :  Ezekiel, the Priest                          Date    : 593-571 BC

Key word             :  God’s Glory                                  Key Verses : 36:24-30

Key idea                :  The nation which God renovates

                   It is believed that Ezekiel lived with the jews who were in Babylon, during Babylonian captivity.

DANIEL (God is judge)

Author                 :  Daniel                                            Date : 537 BC

Key word             :  Kingdoms                                                 Key Verse : 7:14

Key idea                :  God of the universe judges the proud nations.

                   Daniel prophesied about the coming of Messiah and His ruling over the nations.  He also prophesied that all the superpowers of the world will be destroyed before the ruling of Messiah.


                   There are total twelve minor prophets; nine pre-exilic prophets and three post-exilic prophets.


Northern Kingdom (Israel)

Southern Kingdom (Judah)

Pre-exilic Prophets

(Before Babylon captivity)










After Babylon exile

(Post exilic)





HOSEA (Lord is saviour)

Author                 :  Hosea                                             Date : 755-715 BC

Key word             :  Harlot                                             Key Verse : 4:6

Key idea                :  God   loves when one goes away from Him.

                   Hosea’s wife went with another. Neverthless He accepted her again.  The Lord also accepted and loved the nation Israel which went after other gods.

JOEL (Jehovah is God)

Author                 :  Joel                                                Date : 835-796 BC

Key word             :  Day of the Lord                               Key Verse : 2 : 28-32

Key idea             :  Great outpouring of Holy Spirit in the nation Israel.

AMOS (Burden bearer)

Author                 :  Amos (A shepherd)                        Date : 760 BC

Key word             :  Transgression                                  Key Verse : 8:11-12

Key idea             :  Although God has punished Israel for their disobedience.  He will bless them again at their repentance.

OBEDIAH  (Jehovah’s worshiper)

Author                 :  Obediah                                                   Date : 840 BC

Key word             :  Easu / Edom                                   Key Verse : 1 : 21

Key idea                :  Pride goes before destruction

                   This is the smallest book in Old Testament.

Background :      Edom tried to destroy Jerusalem by aligning with the enemies of Judah like Babylon, Egypt and Philistines.  Edomites were descendants of Easu, who was the brother of Jacob.  Therefore Edomites were brothers to Jews.  Although Jews were brothers to Edomites, Edom helped to the enemies of Judah to destroy Jews and Jerusalem.  They also rejoiced over the destruction of Jerusalem.  Thus God warned Edomites through prophet Obediah concerning the punishment which would come over Edom.


JONAH (Dove)

Author                 :  Jonah                                             Date : 780-750 BC

Key word             :  Prepared                                          Key Verses : 2 : 8-9

Key idea                :  Revival by  preaching God’s word

Key Message        :  God of Hebrews loves the people of the world.  Among the Old Testament prophets, Jonah preached God’s message to Nineveh, which was a gentile city, the capital of Assyrian Empire.  From this book, one can clearly understand that God of Hebrews has no partiality in saving people if they repent.  God will save everyone irrespective of one’s nationality, caste, colour etc.

MICAH (Who is like God)

Author                 :  Micah                                             Date : 740-690 BC

Key word             :  Ask                                                 Key Verse : 6:8

Key idea                :  God is merciful in forgiveness

NAHUM (Comfort)

Author                 :  Nahum                                           Date : 630-612 BC

Key word             :  Vengeance                                      Key Verses : 1: 7-8

Key idea              : The Sovereign God   destroyed the nation Assyria,    which made much harm to Israel.

Background        : Nineveh repented when Jonah prophesied.   But after 100-150 years of Jonah, when Nahum prophesied against Nineveh and Assyria, they did not repent.  Therefore, as Nahum prophesied, Nineveh fell in 612 BC to their enemy. 

HABAKKUK (Embrace)

Author                 :  Habakkuk                                      Date : 606-604 BC

Key word             :  Faith                                               Key Verses : 3:17-19

Key idea                :  Faith that is to be revealed at the trials of life

Background        :  Habakkuk was in bewilderment in his mind for two questions; first, why injustice grows;  second, why God judges Judah through Babylonians?  In his bewilderment, he looked God for the answer.  At last as the one illuminated, he put his trust on God and got relief from his bewilderment.  Therefore He express his joy (3:17-19)


ZEPHANIAH (One who is hid in Lord)

Author                 :  Zephaniah                                      Date : 630-625 BC

Key word             :  Day of the Lord                               Key Verse : 2 : 3

Key idea                :  The day of Lord’s wrath is very near

HAGGAI (Festival)

Author                 :  Haggai                                            Date : 520 BC

Key word             :  House / Temple                               Key Verses : 1: 7-8

Key idea              :  Faith that we exercise today is the foundation for the blessing in future.


Background        :  After seventy years of Babylonian captivity, Cyrus, the King of Persia gave an edict for the return of Jews to their own land.  At that time, many Jews returned Jerusalem, under the leadership of Joshua, the Priest and Zechariah.  They rebuilt the altar and sacrificed on it in 538 BC.  They began rebuilding of Temple in 536 BC and stopped the works due to the opposition from Samaritans.  Therefore the temple work was halted for sixteen years.  In this situation, God encouraged people through Haggai to resume the building works of Temple.  God also promised that He would bless the nation if they rebuild the Temple.  Therefore, the Temple was rebuilt with the support of the then Emperor Darius in 520 BC.

ZECHARIAH (The Lord remembers)

Author                 :  Zechariah                                                 Date : 520-518 BC

Key word             :  The Lord of Host                            Key Verses : 9:9-10

Key idea              : Importance of Jerusalem for the blessing of people.

Background        : Zechariah encouraged the people who were spiritually discouraged while rebuilding the temple as well as he predicted the glory which would come over the city and the temple in Jerusalem.

MALACHI (The Lord’s messenger)

Author                 :  Malachi                                          Date : 450-400 BC

Key word             :  Priest                                               Key Verse : 3:1

Key idea              :  Preparation for the advent of the Lord

Background        :  The people of Judah did not show eagerness to worship God, even after rebuilding the Temple.  The people and the Priests were totally discouraged.  They did not offer tiths.  Therefore Priests were without proper support and the poor were neglected as well.  In order to change this spiritual sluggishness, and to encourage the people in worship, Malachi infused the people for action.  He also predicted about the advent of the Lord.  He is the last writing prophet of Old Testament.


(113 – Part B / BS – 16)

                   There was no prophet raised by God after Malachi for 400 years approximately in the history of Israel until the birth and ministry of John, the Baptist.  John the Baptist became the last oral prophet who was born just six months earlier before  the birth of Jesus Christ.  He officially introduced Jesus Christ to the Jews (Jn. 1 : 29).  Jesus began His ministry at the age of thirty and did ministry for three and a half years approximately.  After that, Jesus was crucified and killed.  He was buried and rose again on the third day.  He was on the earth for forty days after His resurrection and showed Him to more than five hundred people for the  proof of His resurrection (1 Cor 15: 1-4).  After forty days, He ascended into heaven.  After that, on the day of Pentecost (A Jewish festival day), according to the promise, He sent the Holy Spirit upon the disciples.  On the very same day, the New Testament Church was born.  In this manner, the Church was begun in Jerusalem and it grew in many parts of the world.  Therefore, In order to present the right account of the life of Christ to the Christians all over the world, the gospels were written.  Epistles were written to correct the false teachings and to equip the Christians for the service.  New Testament was also written to maintain the truth about Jesus.  These four gospels vividly present the historical facts of Jesus Christ that might be neglected and perverted through oral traditions.

MATTHEW (Gift of Jehovah)

Author                 :  Matthew                                                  Date   : 50-60 AD

Key word             :  Jesus                                              Key Verses : 28:18-20

Key idea              : Jesus is the Messiah, whom the Jews looked for.

Purpose                :  In order to prove that Jesus was the true Messiah to the Jewish Christians and to the Jews, Matthew wrote this gospel.

Note :  Matthew was a Tax Collector (9:9).  He became one of the direct disciples of Jesus Christ.  He was also called Levi, the son of Alphaeus (Mk. 2 : 14)

MARK (A large hammer)

Author                 :  Mark                                              Date : 50-60 AD

Key word             :   Servant, immediately                      Key Verses : 8:34-36

Key idea               : Jesus, the true servant

Purpose                :  Mark wrote this gospel to Roman readers.  Romans were hard workers.  Therefore Mark explained that Jesus was the true servant.

Note :  Mark was not a direct disciple of Jesus.  He was  son of a rich lady, named Mary (Acts. 12:12).  He was a relative to Barnabas (Col. 4 : 10).  He first ministered with Paul and later served with Peter (1 Pet. 5 : 13).  He collected information from Peter concerning Jesus and wrote his gospel.

LUKE ( Light)

Author                 :  Luke                                              Date : 60 AD

Key word             :  Son of Man                                    Key Verse : 19:10

Key idea              : Jesus, the perfect Son of Man

Purpose                :  Luke wrote this gospel to Greeks.  Luke primarily wrote it to Theophilus, a rich Greek Christian who wanted to know all the facts concerning Jesus.  He also sponsored to Luke who being a scholar (Col. 4 : 14) and Physician (Doctor) collected all information and evidences and wrote this gospel in the proper order.

JOHN (Jehovah is Gracious)

Author                 :  John, the Disciple                         Date    : 86-90 AD

Key word             :  Believe (98)                                  Key Verses : 20:30-31

Key idea              : Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah

Purpose                :  John wrote this epistle to the whole world, with the purpose that the people might believe Jesus Christ and have eternal life (20:31).

                   John has clearly written the divinity of Jesus (1 : 1-3; 8:58; 10:30; 14:9; 20:28).  “I am that I am” in Old Testament refers to Jehovah.  Jesus claims the same title in many places for his divine origin (4 : 25-26; 8:24,28,58; 13:19; 18:5-6,8).  This sufficiently proves that Jesus is Jehovah of Old Testament.  He has also used the term “I am” which is also a divine title according to Hebrew Theology (6:35; 8:12; 10:7,9,11,14; 11:25; 14:6;; 15:1,5).  These texts prove that Jesus is God, Jehovah.


Author                 :  Luke                                               Date : 61 AD

Key word             :  Witness/Holy Spirit                         Key Verse : 1:8

Key idea              : Church that grows under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Note :  Acts of Apostles deals with the first thirty years of history of the Church which began on the day of Pentecost.  Apostles performed many miracles and signs by the power of Holy Spirit.  The Church grew as stated in Acts 1:8, first from Jerusalem to Judea, Samariah and all over the world.  Apostles were the strong foundation and great leaders of the Church.


Author                 :  Paul                                                Date : 57-58 AD

Key word             :  Rightousness                                  Key Verse : 1:16-17

Key idea              : The Just shall live by faith

Purpose                :  Paul wrote this epistle to explain that a sinner becomes the justified one when he believes that Christ died for him.  This is one of the best epistles of Paul.

Historical background: This church was not built by any of the Apostles, although Paul wrote this epistle.  This church was built by the believers of Rome, who were present in Jerusalem on the day of Penecost (Act 2:10).  They became believers by hearing the preaching of Peter at Pentecost.  They received Jesus as their Saviour and took baptism on the same day.  After the festival of Pentecost, they returned to their home town Rome and witnessed to others about Jesus Christ.  Many became believers by hearing the witness of this new believers who just returned from Jerusalem.  In this way the Church was established in Rome.  Though this church was established by believers, it was free from false teachings, errors and conflicts.  Therefore Paul appreciated their faith and longed to see them (1 : 8-12).

Note : This church at Rome of 1st Century AD has no connection with any of the modern denominations and Christian groups of today.


Author                 :  Paul                                                Date : 55 AD

Key word             :  Wisdom (29)                                   Key Verses : 6:19-20

Key idea              : Knowing Jesus Christ is true wisdom

Purpose of Writing : This church had many issues like groupism, contentions and division (1:10-12).  It had an inclination towards false practices.  In order to correct this church from such errors, Paul penned this epistle.


Author                 :  Paul                                                Date : 56 AD

Key word             :  Comfort                                          Key Verses : 5:17-19

Key idea              :  New man created in Christ

Purpose of Writing : Since Paul pointed out and tried to correct the errors of Corinthians in his first epistle, the Corinthians questioned about Paul’s apostleship and his authority.  In order to explain his apostleship and to defend his authority, Paul penned his second epistle.  It is believed that Corinthians happily received his second epistle this time and that there was a great revival in the church at that time.




Author                 :  Paul                                                Date : 49-55 AD

Key Phrase          :  Deliverance from the Law               Key Verse : 5:1

Key idea              :  Freed from the obligation to the Law of Moses by faith in Jesus Christ.

Historical background : Some Jewish Christians from Jerusalem came and taught that gentile Christian of Galatian must circumcise and follow all the Mosaic Laws.  They also taught that observing the law was necessary for complete Salvation.  By hearing this teaching, Galatian believers were confused.  In order to teach the truth of Salvation, Paul wrote this epistle.  He condemned Judaizers and their  teachings.   He also condemned them as cursed (1:9).

                   Therefore Paul clearly wrote to Galatians that Salvation is the free gift of God through faith in Jesus.  He encouraged Galatians to continue in faith and to come out of false teachings.  Epistle of Galtians is summary of Romans in its teaching.


Author                 :  Paul                                                Date : 60-61 AD

Key word             :  Riches                                             Key Verse : 2:8-10

Key idea               :  The Church is the glorious body of Christ

Purpose of Writing : There was no false teaching in this church.  However Paul wrote this epistle to explain as to How the church should be prepared (6:10-18) and how the mystery is revealed by joining both Jews and Gentiles in the New Testament Church.

Note: Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, when he was imprisoned in Rome.  Therefore these epistles are called prison epistles.


Author                 :  Paul                                                Date : 60-61 AD

Key word             :  Joy                                                           Key Verse : 1 : 21

Key idea              :  Joy in Jesus Christ

Purpose of Writing : The church sent financial support to Paul since he was in prison.  Paul wrote this epistle in order to thank them for their help and to encourage them to be joyful and to be strengthened in Christ.


Author                 :  Paul                                                Date : 60-61 AD

Key word             :  Fullness in Christ                            Key Verses : 2:8-10

Key idea              :  Jesus Christ, the exalted God

Purpose of Writing : The false teaching concerning divinity of Christ spread in Colossians Church.  Therefore Paul wrote this epistle to prove the divinity of Jesus Christ (1:15) and to protect the church from that error.



Author       : Paul                                                 Date            : 51-52 AD

Key word   : Christ’s coming                               Key verses : 4: 13-18

Key idea     : The Second coming of Christ

Writing purpose : Some believers in Thessalonian Church falsely taught that Christ had come already  and that they were left behind.  In order to remove their doubts concerning the coming of Jesus Christ, Paul penned this epistle.  He also explained in his epistle in what manner the coming of Christ will be (4:13-18).


Author       : Paul                                                 Date            : 52 AD

Key word   : Judgement                                       Key verses  : 2 : 1-4

Key idea     : Correcting wrong life styles

Writing purpose : Paul in his first epistle explained that coming of Christ was not yet fulfilled, but it would certainly be in future.  Therefore some believers again misunderstood the first epistle and waited for Christ’s coming without doing any work but eating food and wasting time (3:10-11).  Paul wrote this second letter in order to correct their false ideas and to instruct them to work and to eat (3:12).  He also encouraged them to continue in faith while watching and waiting hopefully for the glorious coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Author       : Paul                                                 Date            : 63-66 AD

Key word   : Godliness                                        Key verses : 4:12-16

Key idea     : Living Faith of a Pastor

Writing purpose : Timothy was a Pastor in Ephesus.  Paul penned this epistle to Timothy to encourage, to develop his leadership qualities in him and to teach the management principles of a local church.

Note :  Timothy and Titus were Pastors of local churches.  Since Paul wrote these epistles to the Pastors, these are called “Pastoral Epistles”.


Author       : Paul                                                 Date            : 67 AD

Key word   : Fulfill your ministry                         Key verses : 3:16-17

Key idea     : Success of ministry amidst of struggles

Writing purpose : Paul, in his last stage of life, wrote this epistle to Timothy   to encourage him that he might not be discouraged by seeing struggles in ministry (4:7,8).


Author       : Paul                                                 Date            : 63-66 AD

Key word   : Good  works                                   Key verses : 3:3-7

Key idea     : Encountering the opposition in ministry (2:15)

Writing purpose : Paul wrote this epistle to Titus, to instruct him as to how he had to administer the church and how he had to overcome the opposition (3:1-15) for him in ministry.


Author       : Paul                                                 Date            : 61 AD

Key word   : Brother                                            Key verses : 15-18

Key idea     : Brotherly love

Background : Philemon was a rich Christian who had accepted Christ as saviour through the ministry of Paul.  Onesimus, a servant of Philemon ran away from his house after pilfering.  He was caught by soldiers in Rome and imprisoned in the same prison where Paul was.  In prison, Paul witnessed him about Jesus Christ.  Through the witness of Paul, Onesimus accepted Jesus Christ as his saviour.  Onesimus also repented for his wrong doings and wanted to return to his master Philemon.  Therefore, Paul wrote this personal epistle to his friend Philemon and requested him not to punish Onesimus but to forgive him in Christ who has forgiven all our debts.  In this epistle Paul did not encourage slavery but did encourage brotherly love  that a master should show even to his erring servant.


Author       : It is very difficult to ascertain the author of this epistle.  There are various opinions among scholars concerning authorship.  However, the style of writing points toward Paul who might be the real author.

Date            : 64-68 AD

Key word   : Faith                                                Key verses : 12:1-2

Key idea     : Christ is the exalted one above all.

Writing purpose : From the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) many Jews accepted Christ and became Christians.  As years past, many Jewish Christians suffered persecution in the hands of unbelieving Jews.  Because of suffering, they were tempted to go back to Judaism.  Some stopped coming to church worship (10:25).  Therefore the author of Hebrews wrote to Jewish Christians not to abandon their faith but to continue in faith in Christ.  He also explained that Jesus Christ is better than Moses, Melchisedek and angels.  There were also many professing Christians who were   not true Christian.   Therefore, the author of Hebrews warned such professing Christians through “Warning passages” in the epistle of Hebrews.


Author       : James (Brother of Jesus)                  Date            : 46AD

Key word   : Faith (16), Works (13)                     Key verses : 2:17

Key idea     : Show out your faith in Jesus through your good works.

Writing purpose : Some early Christians thought that good works are unnecessary, since salvation is through grace alone.  James wrote epistle to correct such wrong ideas.  He emphasized that good works must follow our salvation, when we are truly saved.


Author       : Peter                                               Date            : 63 AD

Key word   : Suffering for Christ                          Key verses  : 3:15-17

Key idea     : Suffering for the Christ who suffered for us.

Writing purpose : Many early Christians were discouraged, because of the persecution they faced.  Peter penned this epistle  to encourage them to continue in faith.


Author       : Peter                                               Date            : 67 AD

Key word   : False prophets                                  Key verses  : 1:20-21

Key idea     : Keep yourself away from false prophets lest you become pray to them

Writing purpose : As false teachings and false prophets increased in number, Peter wrote this epistle  to warn the early Christians who might not become the victim of such falsehood.  In this epistle, Peter also recognized that Paul’s writings were inspired (3:15-16);   By the special wisdom that Paul had, Paul wrote his epistles.


Author       : John, the beloved disciple               Date            : 85-90 AD

Key word   : Abiding                                           Key verses  : 5:11-13

Key idea     : Fellowship in Christ

Writing purpose : John wrote this epistle to warn the believrs concerning false teachings as well as to explain the assurance of salvation in Christ.


Author       : John, the beloved disciple               Date            : 85-90 AD

Key word   : Commandment (14), Truth (9),       Key verse    : 7

Key idea     : Confessing Jesus who was born  in the world is the Lord God

Writing purpose : John wrote this epistle to show that the false teachings spread through the deceptive spirit of Anti christ.


Author       : John, the beloved disciple               Date            : 85-90 AD

Key word   : Love                                                Key verse    : 11

Key idea     : Blessings that come by helping to ministries

Writing purpose : In the first century, there were many sincere wandering Christian preachers.  They had no worldly possessions and property.  They went from one place to another preaching the gospel.  Sometimes they spent the days without food.  Some early Christians provided food to such wandering preachers.  Gaius was one who helped to many of such preachers.  Therefore John commanded Gaius and blessed him through this personal letter to him.


Author       : Jude (Brother of Jesus)                    Date            : 70-80 AD

Key idea     : Struggle for faith                              Key verse    : 3

Key Purpose: Be alert for the cunningness of false teachers

Writing purpose : Jude wrote this epistle on the one hand to encourage the early believers to persevere in faith and on the other to keep themselves away from false teachings.


Author       : John, the   disciple                           Date            : 85-90 AD

Key idea     : Revelation of Jesus                          Key verses  : 19:11-16

Key purpose: Second coming of Christ and the end of the world

Writing purpose : John wrote this book at the last part of his life after he got a series of visions and revelation.  He wrote that Jesus Christ would come at right time without fail.  He also warned that there should be no prophecy either added to this book or deducted from this book (22:18-19).

Students Assignment

Every student must read the whole Bible beginning from Genesis to Revelation systematically chapter by chapter.  As soon as you complete this reading assignment sent your report that the date that you started reading and the date that you completed reading the whole Bible.  If you complete reading the whole Bible within six months after joining your course in CALS, you will receive Special Grade. 

Note : Whenever you send your assignments or any other matter to CALS, please mention your Register Number without fail. Mentioning your Register Numbr will help us for speedy process.  We appreciate your co-operation in this regard.