Last week’s review of the NIV Proclamation Bible got me excited about its concise main points for every book of the Bible. I couldn’t resist listing them here for your reference. I don’t agree with every one. For example, the proposals for Joshua and Nahum are summaries and not main points, and the proposal for Job misses the centrality of the fear of the Lord. But they all are worth considering.
You’ll have to buy the Bible to see a 2-4 paragraph defense for each main point.Books of Moses
Exodus: Trust, obey and worship the redeeming, covenant-making God who is with us.
Leviticus: The holy God makes his people holy, calls them to be holy, and provides atonement through blood when they are not.
Numbers: God has saved us and, as we travel through the wilderness of this world, we need to go on exercising faith to enter the inheritance Christ has secured for us.
Deuteronomy: God’s people are called to respond to God’s salvation with love and loyalty, worshiping the one true God in the midst of surrounding cultural idolatries and living in the midst of the nations as a community shaped at every level of life by God’s character of grace, justice, purity, compassion, and generosity.
Judges: The book of Judges demonstrates that if the Israelites survive the dark days of Canaanization under the judges it is entirely to the Lord’s credit.
Ruth: The Lord is committed to his people even in the darkest days, and will preserve his plan of salvation through a godly king, for both Jews and Gentiles.
1 and 2 Samuel: Even the best human leaders fail us, but God is faithful to his people and promised a king who would be powerful, wise, righteous and faithful.
1 and 2 Kings: Ruling justly and wisely depends on obeying God’s word, and disobeying has serious consequences.
1 and 2 Chronicles: Restore the people, raise up the king and renew the temple; then God will pour out his blessings.
Ezra-Nehemiah: In response to God fulfilling his promises, his people should repent, reform and “follow the Law of God,” or literally, “walk in the Law of God” (Neh 10:29, NIV).
Esther: God fulfils his redemptive promises through his divine providence.
Psalms: Praise the Lord: meditate on his circumstance-defying covenant love in the Messiah!
Proverbs: Proverbs recognizes the difficulties of living in God’s complex world and offers wise words to live by.
Ecclesiastes: Death and judgment are the only fixed realities in life, and everything else is uncertain and often subject to frustration and sorrow.
Song of Songs: Desire wisdom, desire your husband or wife, and above all desire Christ.
Jeremiah: “Therefore that he may raise, the Lord throws down” (John Donne).
Lamentations: “In your righteous wrath, O Lord, remember mercy!”
Ezekiel: Align yourselves with the God who has acted in judgment on Judah, and with the Israel that God is restoring.
Daniel: God always remains the true God, so stay faithful to him despite pressure to compromise.
Hosea: “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes” (Hos 3:1, NIV).
Joel: Judgment day is approaching, so sincerely repent, call on the name of the Lord, and you will be blessed.
Amos: The sovereign Lord will not tolerate a proud and complacent people, but will judge all human evil with perfect justice so that his kingdom may come.
Obadiah: Divine sovereignty is the audacious theme of Obadiah, seen in the impending role reversal of Edom and Judah on the day of the Lord.
Jonah: “Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9, NIV), who is the Creator and Lord of the nations.
Micah: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NIV).
Nahum: The Lord will bring inescapable and deserved judgment on mighty Assyria, and this is good news for God’s people, Judah.
Habakkuk: Be joyful and secure in an unjust world, by trusting in the God who promises to deliver his people and defeat evil.
Zephaniah: God will judge the sin and rebellion of the world, but there is hope because of the character and promises of God.
Haggai: The rebuilding of the Lord’s temple will bring about an even greater glory.
Zechariah: In a time of economic and spiritual crisis, the prophet Zechariah challenges a new generation to become participants, not spectators, in the plans the Lord Almighty has for the restoration of temple, city and society, and to welcome the Lord, the King of Jerusalem and the King of the whole earth.
Malachi: “‘I have loved you,’ says the Lord” (Mal 1:2, NIV).
New Testament Narratives
Mark: Jesus, God’s Son, King, and Servant, has come, died and risen that we may know, confess and serve him.
Luke: You can be confident that Jesus, in his life, death, resurrection and ascension, heralds the fulfillment of all God’s promises in the Old Testament.
John: Believe that Jesus is the Son who came from the Father to reveal him, and has returned to the Father to open up the way to life for his people.
Acts: The ascended Lord Jesus continues to draw people from every nation to himself, growing his church through the preaching of the word and the ministry of his Spirit.
1 Corinthians: All believers in Christ are God’s holy temple and should live in keeping with that holy status by becoming unified, shunning pagan vices and glorifying God under the lordship of Christ.
2 Corinthians: Be confident in the “weak” but authentic ministry of gospel proclamation.
Galatians: The grace of God in the gospel and the promised Spirit are sufficient both for salvation and the Christian life.
Ephesians: You are one in Christ now, so be united and stand firm in him.
Philippians: Live joyfully as citizens of God’s kingdom in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Colossians: “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him” (Col 2:6, NIV).
1 Thessalonians: Be reassured of the truth of the gospel and press on in living it out, despite opposition, until Jesus returns.
2 Thessalonians: While waiting expectantly for Christ’s glorious return, live lives of faithful perseverance, patient vigilance and obedient service.
1 Timothy: Local churches need gospel-driven leaders to guard their conformity to gospel truth.
2 Timothy: Guard for future generations the precious deposit of God’s glorious, life-giving gospel, despite opposition.
Titus: Change in belief by the power of the gospel leads to changed lives, so straighten out those deceived by false teachers.
Philemon: The gospel is powerful to reconcile deeply (and understandably) estranged people.
Hebrews: Because Jesus is utterly supreme, Christians should stick with him alone whatever happens.
James: Christians need to be entirely focused on God in all that they do.
1 Peter: God’s chosen people should live God-glorifying, Christlike lives amidst suffering and persecution, assured of ultimate glory themselves.
2 Peter: Those who are truly known by God, and know him in Christ, are those who resist the theological and moral laxities of godless preachers and remain robustly tied to the apostolic message.
1 John: You can know you are Christians because you believe Jesus is the Christ, you recognize your sin and you love fellow Christians.
2 John: The one who knows the truth loves God, through obeying his commandments, loving his people and not being hospitable to the false teacher.
3 John: The one who walks in the truth will be in partnership with Christians, and not reject them.
Jude: Contend for the faith in the face of godless denial and immorality.
Revelation: Willingness to suffer for faith in and worship of the sovereign God and his Christ is the path to ultimate victory and the triune God’s glory in the new creation.
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