Books of the Bible
The purpose of the first book of the Bible is to begin the story of God. Though God created everything good, sin alienated people from God. In Genesis 12-50, God makes a covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The covenant represents God's initiative to provide a means by which people's relationship with God can be restored.
The purpose of Exodus is to show how God demonstrates his power and presence by delivering his people, Israel, from Egypt.
The book of Leviticus reminds us that God desires to live among his people but expects his people to be holy.
Numbers gives an account of Israel's 40 years in the wilderness. The people test God at every level even while God continues to meet their needs.
Deuteronomy is comprised of a speeches by Moses and an account of his death. At the heart of the book, God renews his covenant with the subsequent generation of Israelites who left Egypt.
The purpose of Joshua is to show how God kept his promise to Israel to give them the land of Canaan.
As the people of Israel settle into the Promised Land, they persist in their disobedience. As God judged the people's faithlessness, Israel found itself conquered by neighboring nations. Yet God raised up a series of deliverers (judges) to rescue them.
The purpose of Ruth provides an important link to how God preserves the line of David (and ultimately Christ), thus continuing to fulfill his promise to Abraham.
The books of Samuel tell the story of the establishment of a monarchy in Israel and God's covenant with David.
The purpose of the two books of Kings is to show that the kings of Israel and Judah failed to live up to the standards that God has for his people. As a result, Israel and Judah are both sent into slavery.
The books of Chronicles cover the same period but was written after the exile. The purpose of these two books demonstrates that the most important quality of a kingdom is not political, but spiritual.
Ezra and Nehemiah
The purpose of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is to show the many ways that God is at work to restore Israel to the Promised Land.
The book of Esther tells the story of how God preserves his people and how his plans cannot be thwarted.
The book of Job teaches us that God administers the world in wisdom, but not always understood.
The book of Psalms reveals that God is worthy of praise and is receptive to the requests and laments of his people.
The book of Provers is to collect the wisdom of ancient Israel, offering insight into how we should live and interact with others.
Ecclesiastes demonstrates that a life without Christ is meaningless. Inevitably, our lives will come to an end and how we live those lives are important. When our lives are spent only pursuing pleasure and wealth, they are wasted.
Song of Songs
This book is a collection of love songs that remind us of the power of love and sex. The wise person understands that and learns to discipline that area of their life.
The purpose of the book of Isaiah demonstrates God's trustworthiness. Another significant theme is the hope in a future ideal Davidic king (the Messiah).
Jeremiah calls the people of Judah back to the Lord. He warns them of impending exile if they refuse to repent.
Lamentations records a number of funeral songs that express the sadness over Jerusalem's destruction in 586 BC.
Ezekiel tells the Israelites that the destruction of Jerusalem is coming and that the Lord's presence is about to leave the temple
The book of Daniel is a collection of prophesies and apocalyptic literature. The central message is that God's kingdom will never end (6:26-27).
Hosea and Amos
Amos and Hosea are the only two Old Testament prophets that focus on the northern kingdom of Israel. Despite the numerous predictions of judgment, God still loves his people and desires to have a relationship with them.
Joel and Obadiah
Joel predicts a coming locust plague and calls the people to repentance. Obadiah is an oracle of judgment against one of Israel's enemies, Edom.
The book of Jonah teaches that compassion and grace are not given by God based on what we deserve. Although Jonah wants his enemies in Ninevah to perish, God has compassion for all people.
Micah prophesied at the same time as Isaiah and declared "to Jacob his transgression" (3:8).
Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah
Nahum predicts judgment on the Assyrian capital of Ninevah. Habakkuk focuses on God's justice in dealing with nations. And Zephaniah proclaims the coming day of the Lord.
Haggai and Zechariah
Haggai and Zechariah prophesy to post-exilic Judah and remind the people that spiritual restoration must precede social and political restoration.
The book of Malachi was written approximately 430 years before Christ and serves as a prophetic bridge to John the Baptist and Jesus.
The book of Matthew confirms that Jesus is indeed the Jewish Messiah and that his life, death, and resurrection fulfilled Old Testament prophecies.
Mark is an action-packed gospel that was written in order to provide the church with an authoritative account of the gospel story.
Luke's gospel is one half of a two-volume work; the other half is the book of Acts. The gospel assures believers of the historical foundation for their faith.
John portrays Jesus as the divine Son who came to earth to reveal the Father and to bring eternal life to all who believe in him.
The book of Acts records how Christianity spread rapidly throughout the Mediterranean region. The book also progresses ethnically, as the gospel is presented to Jews first, then to Samaritans, and finally to Gentiles.
The book of Romans is considered to be the finest and most systematic presentation of the gospel.
Paul appeals to the church at Corinth to end their divisions and be "united in mind and thought" (1:10). Paul also discusses spiritual gifts and the importance of love in all things.
When the church at Corinth rejects Paul's authority as an apostle, Paul felt betrayed. Yet he didn't turn his back on them, but worked to restore his relationship with them and with one another.
In Galatians, Paul defends the gospel and contains the great passage on the fruit of the Spirit (5:22).
The book of Ephesians covers a vast amount of doctrine and explains how believers ought to live in light of their relationship with Christ.
Paul thanks the Philippians for their support and reminds the church of the great joy of knowing Christ.
Paul writes to combat a growing heresy in the church at Colosse and stresses the supremacy of Christ.
Paul praises the young church at Thessalonica and encourages them to grow in righteousness and to focus on Christ.
Paul responds to a misunderstanding in the church at Thessalonica that the day of the Lord had already arrived. Paul corrects this misconception and urges them to get back to work.
Paul writes to encourage his disciple Timothy and to instruct him on opposing false teaching, appointing leaders, and relating to various people in the church.
This is the last letter Paul writes to Timothy. He commissions Timothy to faithfully carry on the ministry after Paul is gone.
Paul instructs Titus in his leadership role on the island of Crete.
Paul urges Philemon to accept back his runaway slave and to treat him as a brother in Christ.
The writer of Hebrews emphasizes the superiority of Christ and urges a group of Jewish Christians to stand firm in their faith.
The book of James deals with practical matters and emphasizes that genuine faith results in concrete action.
This book is written to encourage Christians to stand firm through suffering because one day they will receive an eternal inheritance.
The problem of false teaching within the church is Peter's focus in this letter.
In this letter, John assures those who were under attack by false teachers.
In 2 John, the apostle expresses joy that the church is remaining faithful. Third john deal with problems related to traveling teachers.
The book of Jude warns against false teachers in the church.
Revelation provides a glimpse into God's ultimate purpose for humanity. The church is encouraged to endure in the face of suffering because in the end, God will be victorious and those who oppose Christ will be judged.