BibleProject - Old Testament - Lesson 38

Zephaniah - BibleProject

In this lesson on the book of Zephaniah, you will gain an understanding of the background and context of the book, its historical and cultural setting, as well as the authorship and purpose. The lesson will explore the literary features of Zephaniah, including its style, language, structure, and outline. You will learn about the key themes and messages of the book, such as the Day of the Lord, judgment and restoration, and the promise of future hope. Finally, the lesson will discuss the significance of Zephaniah in the Old Testament and its contributions to a larger understanding of the Old Testament, along with its impact on the original audience.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject - Old Testament
Lesson 38
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Zephaniah - BibleProject

BP100-38: Zephaniah

I. Background and Context of Zephaniah

A. Introduction

B. Historical and Cultural Context

C. Authorship and Purpose

II. Literary Features of Zephaniah

A. Style and Language

B. Structure and Outline

III. Themes and Message of Zephaniah

A. Day of the Lord

B. Judgment and Restoration

C. Promise of Future Hope

IV. Significance of Zephaniah in the Old Testament

A. Contributions to a Larger Understanding of the Old Testament

B. Impact on the Original Audience

  • By watching this video, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament, including its literary design and flow of thought. You will learn about the different sections of the Old Testament, including the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. You will also gain insights into the stories, themes, and messages of each of these sections and how they contribute to the overall narrative of God's relationship with humanity.
  • By studying Genesis, you will gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament and its key themes and characters, as well as the literary features of the book, such as its structure, style, and genre. The creation story is a key part of the book, as are the stories of Abraham and the patriarchs, the fall and sin, the flood and Noah, and God's covenant with Israel. Additionally, Genesis introduces readers to the Old Testament and sets the stage for the Pentateuch and Books of Moses, while also introducing many themes and motifs that continue throughout the Bible.
  • Discover the captivating stories of the patriarchs in Genesis Part 2, exploring themes of covenant, God's sovereignty, human responsibility, faith, and obedience.
  • Explore the Bible's book of Exodus to gain insight into God's rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the significance of the covenant and law, and its connection to the New Testament.
  • Gain insight into the book of Exodus and its themes of salvation and redemption, revealing God's character through his interactions with Israel, with significant influence on Jewish and Christian traditions and connections to the New Testament through its foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
  • By studying Leviticus with The Bible Project, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and literary context, themes, and structure of this important book in the Old Testament. You will also learn about the significance of Leviticus for understanding the Torah and its relevance for Christians today.
  • By studying The Bible Project's lesson on Numbers, you'll comprehensively understand its structure, themes, and significance, gaining insight into the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, God's guidance, rebellion, priesthood, and offerings, as well as its historical, theological, and contemporary relevance.
  • Explore Numbers' authorship, context, structure, and theology to gain a comprehensive understanding of its significance to the Pentateuch and the Old Testament, as well as its relevance to the Christian faith today.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the book of Joshua, including its historical context, literary genre, and summary. You will learn about the book's themes, such as God's faithfulness, obedience, and judgment, and its significance in foreshadowing Christ's work and providing historical and theological implications.
  • Explore the historical and cultural context, literary design, and theological significance of the book of Judges in the Old Testament, and learn how it fits into the broader biblical storyline, including its relevance for today.
  • Explore the Book of Ruth to understand its historical context, literary features, themes of loyalty and faithfulness, redemption, the kinsman-redeemer's role, and its Old Testament significance.
  • Studying the Book of Samuel provides insight into the rise of the Israelite monarchy, the lives of Saul and David, and the importance of obedience to God, covering themes of leadership and kingship with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • By exploring the story of Absalom in 2 Samuel and the broader context of the Old Testament Historical Books, you will gain insight into the themes and messages of these books, as well as their historical and modern-day significance.
  • Through the study of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, you will gain a deeper understanding of the history of Israel and Judah, as well as valuable spiritual lessons from these Old Testament books.
  • By studying this lesson, you understand the historical and literary aspects of 1 and 2 Chronicles, emphasizing God's sovereignty, covenant faithfulness, worship, and obedience.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the historical context, key themes, and modern applications of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, enriching your understanding of faith, community, and commitment to God's Word.
  • You will gain an understanding of the book of Esther, a narrative in the Hebrew Bible that tells the story of a Jewish woman named Esther who becomes queen in the Persian court and, with the help of her cousin Mordecai, saves the Jews from genocide orchestrated by the villain Haman. The story highlights God's sovereignty and providential care, and the feast of Purim celebrates the Jews' victory.
  • By studying the Book of Job, you will explore the complexities of human suffering, the search for divine wisdom, and the tension between God's sovereignty and human limitations within a unique literary structure.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Psalms, including its background, structure, authorship, and theology. You will also learn about the various themes and motifs present in the Psalms, which will help you better understand and appreciate this important book in the Old Testament.
  • By studying Proverbs, you will understand the definition and purpose of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, and the personification of wisdom in the book. You will also gain insights into the literary structure of Proverbs and the themes of the book, including the importance of listening to wisdom, the power of words, and the value of hard work.
  • In the Ecclesiastes lesson, you gain insights into the book's structure, themes, and significance, while exploring the search for meaning, vanity, and the importance of fearing God and enjoying life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the literary features, interpretation, theology, and application of the book Song of Songs, including its authorship, historical and cultural context, allegorical and literal interpretation, and its teachings on God and human love, sexuality, and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Isaiah's historical context, literary features, major themes, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover how Isaiah's prophetic message of judgment and hope for Jerusalem evolves, as it predicts the fall of Israel's kingdom and envisions a new, purified Jerusalem where God's kingdom will be restored through a future messianic king, uniting all nations in peace.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain understanding of the book of Jeremiah, including its historical and cultural context, literary features, major themes and message, and significance in the Old Testament.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the Book of Lamentations, its structure, themes, and the role of God in the midst of suffering and divine judgment, while ultimately highlighting His faithfulness and mercy.
  • In the book of Ezekiel, you follow the story of a priest named Ezekiel who has a vision of God's glory riding on a royal throne chariot, and is commissioned by God to accuse Israel of rebellion and warn them of their impending destruction due to their covenant violations and rampant social injustice, while also providing a small glimmer of hope for the future.
  • By viewing this lesson on Daniel, you will gain understanding of its structure, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, gaining knowledge about living as faithful exiles in a hostile culture, God's sovereignty and faithfulness in times of trial, and remaining faithful to God even in difficult circumstances.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the complexities of Hosea, discovering the book's themes, messages, and its role in the Old Testament, emphasizing the relationship between Israel's unfaithfulness and God's unwavering love.
  • By studying the book of Joel, you will gain insight into the historical and cultural context of Judah, the literary features of prophetic literature, and the themes of repentance, restoration, and the Day of the Lord. Joel's prophecy also has significance in the New Testament as it is quoted by Peter at Pentecost, emphasizing the fulfillment of Joel's vision through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  • In the Amos lesson, you explore its historical context, literary features, and themes, enhancing your understanding of justice, the Day of the Lord, and God's sovereignty within the Old Testament.
  • By studying Obadiah, you will gain insight into the historical context and literary features of this prophetic oracle. You will learn about the pride of Edom, their judgment, and the hope for Israel. Through understanding the significance of Obadiah in the Old Testament, you will have a deeper appreciation for the themes and message of this book.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jonah's themes, including God's mercy, human rebellion, repentance, and the significance of mission, while also understanding its connections to other biblical narratives.
  • Studying the book of Micah will give you an understanding of its historical context, literary genre, prophetic message of judgment and restoration, and insights into God's character and how He interacts with His people.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the historical context, structure, and themes of the book of Nahum, learning about God's sovereignty, justice, and the relevance of these concepts in today's world.
  • Studying Habakkuk will deepen your understanding of how to wrestle with difficult questions about God's character and the problem of evil and respond with faith and trust in God's sovereignty.
  • In this lesson, you explore the book of Zephaniah, gaining insights into its background, context, literary features, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, including the central message of the Day of the Lord and the promise of future hope.
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Book of Haggai, including its historical and cultural context, literary structure, purpose and themes, individual sections, and theological significance in relation to the Exile, Restoration, and Messiah.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into Zechariah's historical context, structure, themes of restoration, the coming Messiah, God's sovereignty, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover the last book of the Old Testament and its themes, such as God's love for Israel, the importance of worship, and the coming of the messenger and the day of the Lord, as well as its connection to the New Testament, which prophesies the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and calls for a return to God.

BP100-38 Zephaniah

The book of the prophet Zephaniah. Zephaniah lived during the final decades of the southern Kingdom of Judah. It was when king Josiah had attempted to bring about real change in the land by removing idols and restoring the temple to the worship of Israel's God alone. But Israel was just too far gone. Worshipping other gods was too entrenched in the life of the people and it ended up that Josiah's pride led him to a tragic death on the battlefield, as he set Jerusalem on a collision course with Babylon. And Zephaniah? He had seen all of this coming. For years he had been warning the leaders of Jerusalem. And this little book is a collection of his poetry summarizing his message. It's designed to have three (3) main parts. The first focuses on the day of the Lord's judgement coming on Judah and Jerusalem. The second part is about the day of the Lord's judgement on the nations and Jerusalem again. And then the third section explores the hope that remains for the nations and for Jerusalem on the other side of God's judgement. The first section opens with this shocking reversal of Genesis 1. So God's good, ordered world is going to descend back into disorder and darkness and chaos, becoming uninhabitable once again. And as you keep reading you realize Zephaniah is developing all of these powerful poetic images to describe how Jerusalem's world is going to end. All of the city's institutions for worshipping the gods of the Canaanites will be destroyed. All the leaders who perpetrated injustice, all the economic centres where crooked lending and borrowing took place, all of it will be gone along with the city's walls. Zephaniah develops these almost apocalyptic images to show the significance of what's going to happen. It all refers to a great army that is coming to take out Jerusalem. Now it's interesting that Zephaniah never mentions whose army God's going to use to bring this judgement. Now we know from the other prophets Micah or Habakkuk that it's Babylon. But Zepheniah never mentions that. And it's because he wants to highlight God's role in orchestrating the rise and fall of the city. And actually that's what gives Zepheniah hope. Not that Jerusalem as a whole can avoid its fate, but in the closing poem of section one (1) he calls on anyone in Jerusalem who would seek the Lord. And he says 'These will make up the faithful remnant, the people who could be spared if they repent'. In the second section Zepheniah widens his focus to include the nations around Judah. So the Philistines, the Moabites the Ammonites, even the Assyrians He accuses all of them of corruption and violence and arrogance and he predicts that all of them will fall before Babylon too. And what's shocking is that the final people group targeted in this section are the Israelites in Jerusalem. It's like the leaders and prophets and priests of Israel are so corrupt and violent, so estranged from their God, that He doesn't even recognize them as His people anymore. And so this section ends with God's final decision. He says He's going to gather up all the nations, including Jerusalem and pour out His burning indignation. God's justice becomes this consuming fire that devours evil from the land. Which is really intense. And so the following line that bring us into the final part of the book comes as a total surprise. We discover that this burning fire of devine judgement is not aimed at destroying people. Rather its purpose is to purify the nations, including Jerusalem. So this section begins as God says that He's going to heal and transform the rebellious nations into one unified family. And that after being purified they are going to turn from their evil and call upon the name of the Lord. These images point to the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham, all the way back in Genesis 12, that God would find a way to bless the nations. And Jerusalem as well. The conclusion of the book focuses on the restauration of the city at the centre of the nations. God's presence is there in the restored city, along with that faithful remnant that's been humbled and transformed by God's mercy. And they're called to sing and rejoice. And then in the striking image we're told that God is a poet who wants to sing too. 'Your God will live among you and He will celebrate you with songs of joy', Zepheniah says. The closing poem of the book ends with these very powerful images about God gathering up into His family the outcast and the poor and the broken, where He exalts them into a place of honor, and that's how the book ends. This little book of Zepheniah, it contains some of the most intense images of God's justice ánd love that you find anywhere in the prophets. His justice is about His passion to protect and to rescue His world from the horror of human evil and violence. God won't tolerate the horrible things that humans do to each other and to His world. But He brings this justice in order to restore, in order to create a world where people can flourish in safety and peace, because of His love. And so Zepheniah forces us to hold together these two aspects of God's character. His justice and His love. And he wants us to discover that together, they contain the future hope of our World. And that is what the book of Zepheniah is all about.