BibleProject | How to Read the Bible


Day 14: The Prophets

The books of the Hebrew prophets are some of the most challenging books of the Bible to read and comprehend, but they are also some of the most beautiful books! Learning to read them takes some effort, but it is totally worth it.

The fifteen prophetic books are a mosaic collection of narratives, poems, and essays that represent the message of the Israelite prophets. These collections have been expertly crafted over a long period of time, and they were eventually integrated into the larger collection of the Hebrew Bible.

Here are some fun facts about the prophetic books:

1. The prophetic books take up as much page space in the Bible as the entire New Testament (27 percent).
2. Jesus and the apostles constantly quoted from the prophets to explain how Jesus was bringing Israel’s story to its fulfillment (77 times in the Gospels and 98 times in the rest of the New Testament).

The prophets are the bridge between the past story of Israel and the covenant and the future story of God’s rescue plan for the world through Jesus.

Each prophetic book has a unique design and organized flow of thought, but it’s rarely chronological. Reading the prophets is a lot like listening to a symphony. There’s an opening introduction to all the main themes, but then the work is broken up into multiple movements or sections. But if you pay attention, you’ll hear the key themes being repeated and developed throughout the book, and then you’ll begin to see how all the parts fit together.

Key insights from the prophets:

1. God loves justice: Israel had been called to a higher level of justice than the surrounding nations, especially in the treatment of their land and the poor (See Isaiah 1:10-20).
2. God gets angry at evil: The prophets give a lot of space to God’s exposure of evil among Israel and the nations. It can be intense, but it reveals how much God cares about the goodness of his world (see Hosea 13).
3. God has hope for our world: God refuses to let Israel’s sin get the last word, so all the prophetic books contain profound images of future hope and restoration for God’s people and for the entire world (see Isaiah 11:1-9).

In today’s video, we’ll learn how these prophetic books contribute to the storyline of the Bible and why it’s worth learning how to read them more attentively. Let’s take a look!