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Bible Books Summary

Session 4: Section 2

Overview of the books of the Bible (Part 2)

In session 2, you looked at Genesis as the book of beginnings. The start of the human race and the start of the Nation of Israel. We are now going to follow the lead given by the Bible and concentrate on God’s dealings with Israel. This is not just an ancient history lesson! Through the nation of Israel, you are shown God's character and how He deals with people. As you go through, keep asking Why?, Why is this recorded? Through His dealings with the nation of Israel, most chapters tell us something about God, or about our relationship with Him or with others.

In this section of the Overview, you cover the time period from Abraham to David. This period goes from Genesis to 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. You will cover the basic story and see the book and chapter in the Bible containing details. In the “Summary of the Books of the Bible” you will find details of each book of the Bible in turn so that you can see how they relate to the overall story.

Before you start looking at the story, it may help to have a quick look at the basic geography of the Bible lands. Have a look at the map. You will see that the Bible lands are those known today as the Middle East. They centre on the land of the modern nation of Israel, the point where Africa, Europe and Asia meet. The Bible lands stretch as far as Greece in the west and the Persian Gulf in the east. The whole area has had a turbulent history down the ages, and in our days it is regularly in the news.

Abraham to David

The time period covered in this session is about 1,000 years long.


Gen. 12 v 1 to 3
Abram is the beginning of the nation of Israel.
Gen 17 v 1 to 8
His name was originally “Abram” which means “exalted father”, and was changed by God to “Abraham”, which means “father of a multitude”.
Gen.21 v 1 to 7 
Gen 25 v 21 to 27
He had a son whose name was Isaac, who in turn had a son whose name was Jacob.
Gen. 32 v 27 and 28
Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which means “prince with God”.
Gen. 35 v 22 to 26
Jacob had twelve sons, who became the twelve tribes of Israel. The word “tribe” really means a family. We see the twelve families of Israel, or the “children of Israel”, developing.
These twelve sons developed into large tribes, which had various experiences and developments, and together they developed into a great nation.
Gen. 37 v 4 
Gen. 37 v 12 to 36
Joseph was not very well liked. His jealous brothers sold him into Egypt.
Gen. 41 v 1 to 44 
Gen. 46 v 1 to 27
By a turn of events Joseph rose up as a ruler and brought all his family into Egypt.


Ex. 1 v 1 to 14
Jacob’s family grew in Egypt until a new Pharaoh, worried by their numbers, placed the Israelites into slavery. Pharaoh Ramesses II
Ex. 3 v 1 to 10 
They were in Egypt for over 200 years until a great deliverer came. That deliverer was Moses. Moses called out the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. They were promised that they would be given a fertile land.
Ex.14 v 21 to 31
They were brought through the Red Sea and they were taken into the wilderness to be tested. The map shows their wanderings in the wilderness. (Click here )
Ex. 16 v 2 to 31
They also received a bread-like substance called “manna” in the wilderness for their food. Like most people who have to eat a very limited diet, they quickly tired of it. Israel cried out for meat and God gave them birds called “quail”. Quail

Ex.19 v 1 
Ex. 20 v 1 to 17
After seeing the miracle of the Red Sea parting and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, they came to Sinai to hear the voice of God. They were driven back in incredible fear as the mountain shook and trumpets sounded and the mountain glowed. In the wilderness, they received the commandments which became known as the Law of Moses.
Ex 21 to 31
It was much more than the Ten Commandments that they received. In fact, they obtained a complete code of laws which directed their worship and life in every way. 
Ex. 32 v 1 to 8
We see in this chapter that they soon forgot God. Despite various spectacular miracles, such as the parting of the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, within forty days they made a golden calf and called it their god.
Egyptian god Aphis


Leviticus gives detail of how the people were to worship God and order their lives.


Entering the Promised Land

Num. 13 v 1 to 33
Just as they approached the land to enter in, they sent out twelve spies to check out the land. Two remained faithful to the cause and said they could take the land, but ten said that the “giants” in the land were too great for them to conquer and that they should not go in.
Other nations existed in the land. That should not have surprised Israel as it was a fertile and productive land. But the people feared and even attempted to stone the two faithful spies who urged them to go in.
In effect they said “God parted the Red Sea and killed the Egyptians and fed us in the wilderness, but God can’t save us now!”
Num. 14 v 26 to 38
God was angry at their disbelief, and sent them back into the wilderness for thirty-eight years until those who refused to believe Him had died. The map (click here ) shows their wanderings in the wilderness.
Num. 14 v 39 to 45
Again the people refused to accept God’s command and decided that they would try and conquer the land. But they failed because God had already told them that they were to spend 38 years in the Wilderness. 


Deut. 1 to 31
Moses reminded the people of their history and gave them encouragement.
Deut. 32 v 48 to 52
As they approached the promised land, Moses was told to prepare for his death which was about to take place.
Deut. 34 v 1 to 12
Before he died, Moses was given the opportunity to see the Promised Land. After his death, Joshua became the new leader. His name in the Hebrew is the same as Jesus in the Greek of the New Testament. It means “Saviour”.


Joshua 1 to 4
Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land.
Joshua 5 to 12
The conquest of the Promised Land.
Joshua 13 to 21
Division of the Promised Land.


Judges 2 v 7 to 23
Israel did eventually establish itself in the land, though sometimes tenuously. During this time, they were directed by a group of leaders known as the Judges. This became known as the period of the Judges.
Judges 21 v 25
This whole time period is marked by tribes which degenerated in behaviour, and it makes for graphic reading. The period is concluded with the unfortunate summary that “everyone did what was right in his own eyes!”


1 Samuel 8 v 1 to 22
Eventually, tired of the corrupt practices that went on, the people desired a king and chose Saul. They did not choose him for his character, but because he “looked the part”.
1 Samuel 15 v 10 to 16 v 13
He did start out as a reasonable king, but degenerated rapidly, and so another king, a man called David, was selected. 

We will continue our overview in Session 6.

Optional Assignment 6

Overview of the books of the Bible

Read some or all of the references we have given and make your own summary. If you do this using a loose-leaf folder you can eventually fill in the gaps and have your own summary of the Bible story, which will be very helpful in understanding it yourself.

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