Church Education Trust

Church and the Bible


The Old Testament.

A moving adventure of God interacting with his creation.

"A history of new beginnings,world change and coming Messiah."

            The Old Testament introduces a history of God`s special revelation of Himself to humankind. It takes us on a journey of "salvation history" where the divine creator intervenes and restores the possibility of human-divine relationships. It is a history revealing the creation story in  all its magnificience, the special creation of humankind and understanding of the responsibility to oversee that creation.

The failure of humankind in their obedience to God is recorded in Adam and Eve`s experiences, the fall into sin, and separation from God. The Godlessness of civilization, the confusion of their spiritual separation and the outcome of judgement on all human kind by means of a world wide flood is recorded. The story of one man, Noah and his family who were saved by being obedient to God when told to build an ark and in so doing were saved from the coming flood.

The Old Testament books reveal the call of Abraham, his faithful following and his arrival in a special place prepared for him and all future generations of his family line i.e. Canaan. The story reveals the birth of Abraham`s son Isaac, then Jacob comes on the scene and how he had to flee to Haran. Joseph is born but sold as a slave into Egypt by his own brothers.

Joseph became a ruler in Egypt, 300 years later Moses is born, he delivers his people from slavery in Egypt and leads them to a land "flowing with milk and honey", the land promised to Abraham all those centuries before. After  40 years in the wilderness travelling towards the promised land God speaks to Moses and reveals the "Ten Commandments", the law is developed as the word of God for the nation.

Joshua leads the Hebrew people into the land of Canaan.After establishing themselves as a nation the Judges lead the nation, Samson becomes a judge in 1075 B.C., the law is central to life and culture, the sacrifical system evolves and eventually a kingdom is ruled by the kings of Israel. Saul,(1050 B.C.) David (1010 B.C) and then Solomon (970 B.C.) ruled a united kindom of Israel, prosperity was experienced in so many different ways, the Temple was built (959 B.C.) and the law and sacrificial system was well established.

The kingdom was then divided into two,(930 B.C.) the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern kingdom of Judah, each ruled by their chosen kings. During this period the prophets became very active in the two kingdoms, a special time of revelation was mediated by God to the kingdoms through his servants the prophets.

Then the Assyrian army invades the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and leads it into captivity in 722 B.C. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians invade and conquer the Southern Kingdom and Judah like Israel are no more. In 539 B.C Babylon is overthrown by Persia and  Cyrus the king of Persia allows a remnant of the exciled Hebrews to return home to Jerusalem in 538 B.C.

By 516 B.C. the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, the law is re-established by Ezra in 458 B.C., the city walls restored in 445 B.C. by Nehemiah and then God was silent for 400 years until the beginnings of the New Testament period.

This brief overview leads to a systematic engagement with each of the books of the Old and New Testaments beginning with the first book of the Old Testament, i.e. Genesis. Genesis is the first book of the Pentateuch (Torah) which covers the early historical period of the people who would eventually become the children of Israel.

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