Mark Overview

Mark is written for the Romans.  Jesus is portrayed in this book as the “Servant”.    This is a book of “Action”.  Here are some fun facts:

  • Mark is “John Mark”.  He most likely wrote down what Peter told him.
  • Mark was the one that fled when Jesus was arrested. (I think without his robe 😂)
  • The early Church in the book of Acts met in his Mother’s home (Acts 12)-super funny story too
  • Nearly half of this book will be devoted to the last Week of Jesus’ Life.
  • He writes “now” or “and” 1,331 times  (This is the book for me!!   FAST!!)

A great verse in Mark

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The Romans, like many of us today, need religion to be practical and applicable. This is a book that revolved around deed, not words.  With that said, Mark writes like he just drank a pot of coffee (you young ones don’t even know what that means….about 6-8 cups).  Look for his quick transition words:  ...then, immediately, and, now straight away… (he doesn’t take a breath).

The book of Mark is a book of omission (with good reason), you will NOT read about:

  • royal genealogy, no Magi visiting,
  • no boy at the temple,
  • actually,  no mention of Jesus as a boy at all
  • no Sermon on the Mount,
  • no quotes from Prophets, (they are there just not quoted)
  • no divine titles are given to Him,

SOOOO if it omits all that what will it include? Good question. It will completely portray Jesus as our example as a humble and perfect Servant.

Matthew Overview for tomorrow

The Gospel of Matthew

Gospel/Godspell/Good News.  There are 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  The first three Gospels are called “synoptic” because they “see together with a common view” (the word synoptic literally means “together sight”).  It is like shooting the same movie from 3 different angles.

Matthew is written for the Jews.  Matthew’s emphasis is Jesus was the Messiah as foretold in the Old Testaments from the Prophets.  Matthew quotes from the Old Testament more than any other New Testament author.

The keyword in Matthew is “fulfilled” through the prophet…

You may have heard the book of Matthew referred to as the “Gospel of the Kingdom”, the term kingdom of heaven is used 43 times in this book.

Matthew’s name means Gift of the Lord.  Matthew was a man originally names Levi.  If you read the Old Testament you would be able to guess just from his name that he was born into a priesthood family (the Levites).  However, he chose to be a Tax Collector.  The tax collectors were extremely corrupt: they would pre-pay the taxes for people and then charge the people heavy interest and pocket it.   We can also guess that he made a lucrative living.  This was against the Law of Moses stated in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, so the tax collectors had bad reputations with the Jewish Leaders. But he gave it all up when Jesus called him to follow him.  (Ch. 9)

The book of Matthew has 3 Great Discourses

  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Kingdom Parables
  • Olivet Discourse

The book focuses on Jesus is the King of the Jews.  He writes about Jesus being the son of Abraham  (fulfilling the Covenant that He would bless all nations) and the son of David ( fulfilling the Covenant that He would establish a Kingdom that would last forever).

If you have read through the Old Testament, this might be your favorite Gospel since we will be looking at the prophecies of the Old Testament being fulfilled on every page.

John Overview for tomorrow

Who wrote the book of John? If you said John the Baptist you are in good company but you would be wrong. (Most people think that).  It is John the apostle (brother of James).  John is a disciple of John the Baptist.  He is also used by God to write 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation.

John is the book for ALL.  It is written to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah to the Jews and the Son of God to the Gentiles.  The Keyword in John is “believe “(used 98 times). 

The theme of John’s book is Jesus Deity or Holiness. In this book, there is no genealogy because Jesus was In the Beginning with God at the Creation.

This book is not like the other 3 Gospels.  The other 3 are called Synoptic, for their similarities.  Jesus talks to the people in Judea.  The other 3 portray Jesus in action miracles, parables, and speeches to the multitudes.  John captures Jesus in mediation and communion.

As many of you may have picked up in the OT, 7 is a very important number.  The number of completeness.  In the book of John, there will be

  • Miracles,
  • 7 “I Am”
  • 7 Witnesses called to prove that He is God.


Luke Overview for tomorrow

  • Day 1 of the New Testament!  Great day to jump in!

The book of Luke was written by a gentile for the gentiles.  Luke was a Dr. writing for Theophilus.  Theophilus may have been Luke’s friend, his lawyer, his financer,  but I think of it this way…Theophilus means “one who loves God” in Greek.  So when it is said Luke is writing it to Theophilus,  I think the book is written to me, (and you) “one who loves God”. He specifically was writing to the Greeks.  (This totally makes sense now that we read about the Intertestement Time “the Silent Years”.)  Greeks believed in the “Perfect Man”- that is what Philopsphers preached about.  So Luke will refer to Jesus as “the Son of Man”.  He is the Perfect Man.

The emphasis of this book is: What Jesus Felt.  This book writes about Jesus’ compassion and miracles.  In fact, there are more miracles in this book than Matthew and Mark put together.

  • This book will tell 20 miracles, 7 of them can only be found in Luke
  • This book will tell 23 parables, 18 of them can only be found in Luke
  • This book is the only one that has songs like the Magnificat and the song of Elizabeth
  • This book is the only one that shares the post-resurrection account on the Road to Emmaus.

The book of Luke is the most complete narration and is relatively the most chronological.

400 Years of Silence

We turn the page tomorrow!!

What in the world happened?  We left the Old Testament with Nehemiah’s Temple, Persia was the world power, the Levites are caring for the Temple, the High Priest was from the genealogy of Aaron and the Jewish nation in Israel was quite small.

Turn the Page…

The land is controlled by a Roman Domination, Israel is ruled by an Edomite named Herod.

  • The circumstances are different
  • Politics are different
  • The language is different
  • How the Jewish people meet is different
  • The scripture translation is different
  • The religion is different
  • The way God communicates is different.

What in the world happened in those 400 years is anything but Silent!  They are called the Silent Years because up to this point God used a variety of ways and people as an instrument of communication.  In the book of Daniel, we learned that Babylon will eventually fall to Persia.  When we end the Old Testament, the Greeks were growing and becoming a threat to Persia.   The New Testament begins with Caesar as the leader of Rome.  What happened in between?

We know from Daniel that Babylon will fall to Persia.  When we left the Old Testament, Greece was a rising World Power.

The successive world ages of Nebuchadnezzar's dream that was interpreted by Daniel. Daniel 2:24-46

Philip of Macedon (a Greek ruler) was killed by one of his bodyguards.  His son Alexander (whose tutor was Aristotle) was 19 when Philip died and became the Ruler and conquered Persia.  In under a decade, Alexander conquered the “world” giving him the title “Alexander The Great”.Picture

Alexander moved towards Tyre (Modern-day Lebanon) to attack Jerusalem when the High Priest Jaddua ran to him with a copy of the scroll of David.  Alexander read it seeing the fulfillment of prophecy and swore to protect Jerusalem.

Alexander the Great died at the age of 33.  He left behind a wife who was pregnant, but no other successor.  Four generals took control claiming they would manage the land until the child was of age.

The 4 Generals instead killed the wife, the child, and Alexander’s brother.  The 4 Generals were:

  1. Cassander-controlled Greece and Macedonia
  2. Lysimachus-controlled Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey)
  3. Seleucids-controlled Syria and Babylon
  4. Ptolomy-controlled Egypt, North Africa, and Arabia.

Greek and Roman Historians

You can see from the map the 2 generals in control were the Seleucids and the Ptolemies.  These kingdoms remained powerful for centuries.

The Seleucids eventually had a king: Antiochus the IV.  He renamed himself Antiochus “Ephiphnes” (a god) “I am a god in flesh”.  For 2300 days (Sept. 6 171 BC to Dec. 25 164 BC) He tries to eradicate the Jews.   He decreed:

  • An attack on Jerusalem killing 80,000 Jews
  • Sold 40,000 as slaves
  • Put guards at the Temple so they could not offer sacrifices
  • On the Sabbath, he collected all the infants he could find and killed them (with their mothers)
  • Made idoloty mandatory
  • Erected a statue of Zeus IN the Temple
  • Put a pig on the Altar of sacrifice (forced priests to eat it)
  • Made the Sabbath day illegal
  • Burned the Scriptures
  • Circumcision was punishable by death.

At the end of 2300 years, while sacrificing a pig on the alter, Antichaus told a priest named Matthiathis to eat it.  He refused!  This started a revolt.

Matthaithais had 5 sons, and they grew an army (meeting at night in caves) led by one of the sons named Judas Maccabeus.    This “posse” marched against the Seleucids and overtook the Temple.

The Maccabees reinstated the temple and began cleaning it up.  Problem!  There was very little light and they only found 1 day’s worth of oil.

In great faith, they lit the lamp, and it burned for 8 days!  This day is commemorated during the New Testament called the Feast of Dedication!  We call it Hannukah!

Hanukkah - The Jewish Festival of Lights - Christmas Customs and Traditions - whychristmas?com

The successive world ages of Nebuchadnezzar's dream that was interpreted by Daniel. Daniel 2:24-46

Now what??

In 63 BC Roman Generals Conquered the land.  For governing purposes, they created a ring of  10 cities called the Decapolis.

Study Resources :: Decapolis | Capernaum, Bible mapping, Map

Jerusalem and Galilee are under Roman Control.  Rome is 250,000 miles away, but if you took 7th-grade History, you know there are paved roads.  All roads lead to Rome!  (God will use this in a mighty way!-Providence)

Herod Antipas is an Idumean (meaning he comes from the line of Esau) who helps Rome settle Judea.  He becomes the Roman appointed Governor of Judea.  His son is HEROD the GREAT.  Because he is from the line of Esau (not Jacob) the Jews do not like him, so he marries a Jewish woman to gain their favor (it doesn’t work).  So he tries again by making the temple beautiful! (still doesn’t work).

We are ready to turn the page to the Gospel.  Jerusalem is under Roman law, their culture is Greek from a movement Alexander the Great created “Hellenism”- making all language and culture Greek (It’s all Greek to me!)

Judeans are now Roman citizens, Greek culture, yet spoke Hebrew in the Synagogues (Scripture teaching centers)

During the 400 years of Silence, 2 religious groups have emerged.

  • Pharisees
  • Sadducees

The Sadducees and Pharisees comprised the ruling class of Jews in Israel. There are some similarities between the two groups, but important differences between them as well.

Both groups honored Moses and the Law, and they both had a measure of political power. The Sanhedrin, the 70-member supreme court of ancient Israel, had members from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

Love Does Not Insist On It's Own Way -

Malachi Overview

What's Up With The Blank Page Between the Old and New Testament - San Fernando Valley (SFV) Church | Parks Chapel AME

Well, here we are.  The last Overview of the Old Testament.

We read approximately 2000 years of God’s history in just 9 months.  Amazing.  So on your mental timeline, we are at around 400 BC. (Christ will be born in year 4 B.C.)

This is the last book of the Old Testament and it falls under the category of prophecy in your Bible.   The remnant returned to Jerusalem in about 100 years ago in 3 different journeys.  We had a time of revival under Ezra and Nehemiah but we read the end of History, they went back into the cycle of apostasy (falling away from the Lord).  The priests are lax and degenerate.  The temple is neglected, sacrifices are not a priority.

The Jews are waiting for a King to show up from the Line of David to restore the glory of Jerusalem.  Malachi assures them that the Messiah will come, but it will mean judgment for them rather than glory!  This is the book that will bridge the Old Testament and the New Testament.

“Malachi” means “my messenger.” The prophet’s name was appropriate since God had commanded him to bear this “word” to the people of Israel. The prophet was not the source of the revelation that follows; he was only a messenger whose job it was to communicate a message from The Lord.

Malachi used the ‘question and answer’ method extensively. This method became increasingly popular, and in the time of Christ, the rabbis and scribes used it frequently, as did the Lord Jesus.

Essentially, the Israelites disputed God’s love, His name, and His will concerning: marriage and divorce, His justice, His demands regarding stewardship, and His service.

We will read 4 short chapters about:

  • First, the love for Israel 1:2-5
  • But then:
    • he priests’ illicit practices and indifferent attitudes
    • The people’s mixed marriages and divorces
    • The problem of God’s justice
    • The people’s sin of robbing
    • The arrogant and the humble 3:13—4:3

In each case, they responded by challenging his criticism. They said, “How have we done that?” Their response indicated the hardness of their heart, a resistance to deal with the internal conditions in their hearts that needed correcting. They believed that since they were serving God,  He must be pleased with them. Malachi said that their hearts were not right with God, and He was not pleased with them.

We will end this book with some of the most specific prophecies about the coming Messiah we have read yet!

I still can’t believe we are ending the OT!!!  That was awesome.  (But hard!)

And then Silence for 400 years!!

Nehemiah Overview

I could write a post about the overview of Nehemiah BUT instead, I want you to look at these.  Maybe some of you could look at these pictures in January and think “Yup, I can read that”.  BUT I am thinking many of us maybe said “I have no idea how to read this or I forgot about most of that!”  So on this Saturday night, I want you to sit back, and look at some visuals since this is the LAST historical book of the Old Testament!! (Not posting easy ones like the Red Sea, burning bush, Jonah (fish)…)

An Impossible Situation? « First Baptist Church, Abbeville, Alabama | Bible timeline, Bible study scripture, Bible study verses

An Old Testament Timeline | the art of constructing



Now I am going to put some random visuals so that you can say “Oh my stars…I know what that picture represents in the Bible!”

Family Tree from Abraham to Jesus Chart | Bible genealogy, Bible facts, Bible family tree


2. Israel's Exodus from Egypt and Entry into Canaan

Division of the Promised Land to the 12 Tribes of Israel Map

STUDY 3: The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy & The Most Holy – BIBLE Students DAILY

The High Priest - Rose of Sharon Chavatzelet HaSharon חבצלת השרון

Transition to Judges | Graig's Bible Blog

solomon's temple - Buscar con Google | Solomons temple, Temple in jerusalem, Temple

Login - Read The Bible | Old testament bible, Kings of israel, Understanding the bible

Route 66 Timeline of Bible Prophets who wrote books Diagram | Quizlet

Assyrian & Babylonian Captivity & Exile of Israel & Judah Map

Image result for king nebuchadnezzar statue | Bible prophecy, Beast of revelation, Prophecy


Who was Alexander the Great? Learn 10 Facts About the Macedonian King

Ha!  Gotcha…this is one for NEXT Week!!—-This is the Silent Years!

Sunday, Sep 26: Neh 1-5
Monday, Sep 27: Neh 6-7
Tuesday, Sep 28: Neh 8-10
Wednesday, Sep 29: Neh 11-13; Ps 126
Thursday, Sep 30: Malachi


Esther Overview

I have been feeling “dry” through Zechariah (well, overwhelmed with the text is more like it).  But NOW we get 2 days to soak up a great book called Esther.  Here is what we know:

  • a Persian King named Cyrus decreed that the captives be released and were given provisions to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.
  • out of about 1 million people only 50,000 returned.  That’s 5%!
  • Why?  Well, while they were in captivity they had established a new life.  New families.  New Cultures.  New Businesses.  Many had grown fond of their new life.
  • What was in Jerusalem?  Not much.  On top of that, a ton of work to rebuild a Temple had to be done, many of them had never experienced the first time.

Esther is a book set at the same time the Temple is being built from the viewpoint of the captives that chose to stay in Babylon.  Interesting!

Old Testament Survey — The Gathering Place

Should the book of Esther be in the Bible??  Here is what is NOT mentioned in the Book of Esther:

  • The Lord (what???)
  • Prayer
  • Faith
  • The Law of Moses
  • Jerusalem (except that they were exiles from there)
  • It is never quoted or referenced in the New Testament
  • No miracles (or anything supernatural)
  • It was not induced in the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Did I mention no work recognizing The Lord?

Still, the answer is YES.

The Lord’s Name may not be there BUT His hand is!!

Speaking of His name: fun fact- scholars have found hidden tetragrammatons in the scriptures.  What’s that you ask?  It is when the first letter of the words in a sentence or phrase makes a word.  In Esther 5:4 it says: “If it pleases the king,”.  The first letters make up the word “YHWH” in Hebrew.  The Lord is in the details.

Esther’s Jewish name was “Hadassah” which means “myrtle”.  The myrtle tree was native to Babylon.

Esther is her Persian name meaning – “Star”. The myrtle tree bears a beautiful starflower.

Many of the Jewish captives were given 2 names: Jewish and Persian.

The book takes place during the Persian Period and covers about a 10 year period.

The Theme of this book is Providence.


  • the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power.
  • timely preparation for future eventualities.

My view of God is “all-knowing” however Providence is different.  It is Foresight.  He knows it before it happens.  So where does Free Will fit here?  We do not know what a day might bring BUT God foresees our free will choices and can act to accomplish His plans because of that foreknowledge.  Cool huh!

Some things to ponder:

  • Providence: even though people do not acknowledge God’s presence (or think He is absent) He is always at work.
  • The Lord never coerces people but God uses their decisions.  (Haman in the book will build gallows for Modecai, but God used the gallows to hang Haman instead).
  • God gives people genuine freedom and yet causes things to turn out the way He wants them in the end.
  • If we believe in God’s Providence we can live in confidence and courage.
  • We are in control of our destiny, but God uses all circumstances in history for His ultimate purpose.

I haven’t talked about the Book of Esther BECAUSE I want it to fall fresh on you when you read it!  Enjoy!

Here is a map for you to get your bearing!

Elam and The Elamites: The Evidence No Believer Can Afford To Ignore – Black History In The Bible

Zechariah Overview

Ten days to go and you are done with the OT!!  YOU GOT THIS!!! (if you are behind…have you thought about jumping in for the NT??) Oct.1.

Zechariah 12 and Biblical Prophecy | Remember… God Is in Control - Sponsor an Olive Tree in Israel

This book is about the past, present, and future. Zechariah is called the Messianic Prophet.  The book of Zechariah is quoted 40 times in the New Testament!  Look below to see why we are squeezing it in here.


This book has 3 major parts to it.

  • The 8 Visions (given all in one night),
  • the 4 Messages,
  • and the 2 Oracles.

Do I understand this book!  Nope! (Lacey thinks I am smarter than I really am when she texts me questions)   But let’s just chew on what we can and every time we read it we will peel off another layer.

11. Zechariah |

This is a book of Eschatology (future events) just like Daniel and Ezekiel.  Tomorrow we are going to jump into the first 7 chapters.  It is not a long read BUT I do want you to know it is a Chiastic:  a-b1-b2-c2-c2-b1-b2-a.  If you need that in a visual here is an example:(but without the D’s)

Was the Gospel of John "simply" written or carefully designed? (John 5.19-30)

Many chapters in the bible are chiastic however, it is not my thing.  I took a class on it once and never went to the send session.  Ha!  BUT this one is worth looking at.

  • Vision 1 and 8 correspond
  • Vision 2 and 3 together correspond with 6 and 7
  • Vision 4 and 5 are the center.

Good Luck! 🙃

If you want a little more, watch this.  It definitely helped me. (the structure is at 1:45) BUT watch the whole’s so good!


Haggai Overview

We are in the home stretch to the New Testament.  Less than 2 weeks to go and we have 11 days of excellent reading to do!

Let’s do some summary here so we can feel this book come alive.  There are 16 prophecy books, right?

  • 11 Before the Captivity
  • 2 During the Captivity
  • 3 After the captivity

So who are the last 3 prophecy books? Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi! 

So here is the 1-minute recap:

Judah (the southern nation) has been conquered by Babylon under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.

The capital (Jerusalem) was demolished and all the plunder was carried away. (586 BC).  This is called the captivity.

70 years have passed and just as prophesied a Persian King named Cyrus released the Jews to go back to the homeland but only about 50,000 go. :(

They began to rebuild the temple and after they laid the foundation the work stopped, due to pressure from the enemies.  Nothing advanced in construction for 15 years.

A new king is on the throne named Darius and 2 men began to bring a message to the people of encouragement to complete God’s work: Haggai and Zechariah.

Haggai is an elder who probably remembers the first temple.

So here is a book that I know will give you a personal message from the Lord about staying the course when it looks like you should give up on a task the Lord has given you.  Don’t let the enemy win.