Study of Minor prophets

Introduction of why I started

Several months, could be even a year or more ago, I started on an adventure to study Minor prophets (the list is below).   I used http://www.easyenglish.info as my main study material.  For each book, they have a commentary of either 1200 or 2800 words, I normally used the 2800 word commentary.   I can’t say enough positive things about this resource.  It’s written in simple English and easy to understand.   After a bit research, I discovered Easy English were formally called (Wycliffe and Associates).   John Wycliffe was one of the first people who started translations in the 1300s.  I’m not sure if they are one in the same and related to Wycliffe or not.

This led me to do a short-study on bible translation history.  I was amazed by various history of different versions of the bible, I use NASB, NLT and ESV versions mostly.  In Easy English commentaries, references the Hebrew Bible as their source.  They put braces () around words that were added for clarity.  For more information about Easy English, they have published a PowerPoint describing the structure of their material, and goals to keep it simple.  I was grateful it was available during my study.  If you are looking for supplemental material for bible study, http://www.EasyEnglish.info is a positive resource.

The Journey begins

When I started my study, my goal was to “get back to the basics” of the old testament, undercover material not normally covered on Sunday sermons.

  • Hosea

Hosea was the first book in the journey.  The things I recall most about this study, Hosea loved God.  He wanted to be a good servant.  When God asked him to marry a prostitute (Gomer), knowing what was going to happen, not sure I could do it.  The example Hosea showed being faithful even in the toughest of times.   As the story went on, his example of being humble, God fearing and not being selfish were clear as day.  During the story, his example was a parallel to the story.  Israel lost it’s way and worshipped idols.   God punished Israel and yet still Loved his chosen people.   Regardless of what Israel did, like Hosea and what Gomer did to him (leaving and coming back), then Hosea staying with her.

After studying Hosea for a while, I had moved onto a few other books.  One day, I was out with breakfast with friends.  An older group of gentleman were doing a bible study, I asked them what they were studying, one of them responded kind of like “we are studying Hosea”, what you think.  I said, he is a good example for Christians to follow.   I had “just” finished up studying Hosea.  I didn’t follow a prompt from God to discuss this with them, I hope some day, the opportunity like that presents itself again.

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/hosea-lbw.htm

  • Joel

Joel was a short book and God used him to describe his love and there were consequences to not listening to God.  I recall not spending an extra amount of time in this book, some of the minor prophets I studied, I spent weeks or months just reading and re-reading, Joel was not one of them.  At that moment, one of the lessons older people should be wiser than young people.

In today’s world, the media does not portray that message rather, you can figure it out yourself.  Which really means, people have to fail for themselves before they figure it out, even though older people have already done it.  Generations go by, making the same mistakes as previous.   People change, culture changes, God does not change, he is Holy and Sovereign.

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/joel-lbw.htm

  • Amos

Much like Hosea, I spent a fair amount of time, reading and re-reading Amos.  There was a lot of much wisdom in this book, Amos communicated a difficult message to the Israelites.  God spoke through this book to me and I was able to relate while studying the book.  Many of the examples given, God punished various groups.  God is the Judge, God is loving but there are consequences to your actions.   It’s hard to realize from our culture today the Israelites knew God, God was part of their daily lives, yet they rejected him. One of the tidbits, was discussion of Bethel, and at the time it’s importance.   I didn’t know and spent time studying Bethel and it’s importance at the time in the Old Testament.

Unlike today, where many people don’t believe in God, reject him or just ignore him.   There was a lot of comparisons in Amos to what is happening in our culture today, like people don’t like to hear the truth, they only want to hear what pleases them.  That is the one of the biggest things that stood out in my reading of Amos.  Definitely a book to go back and study in the future, for wisdom and perspective.  I’m afraid as our culture goes more post-modern and not accepting a single truth from the God of Israel, much of the same will come to cultures of today and into the future.

  • Obadiah

Obadiah was a small book.  As with other small books, I focused on key phrases within the study and did some ‘side study’.  In this book, it talked about Edom, Esau.   These were bookmarks in the old testament.   It’s good to understand the history and provides perspective.

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/obad-lbw.htm

  • Jonah

I spent several weeks in this book, of my study, Hosea, Zechariah were as powerful.  There was a personal situation God used this book as a way to speak to many people.  I couldn’t get past Jonah 2 for weeks.  These 10 verses are a powerful prayer God shows he can recover us from even the deepest depths.  Jonah was on his way down and God showed mercy and retrieved him.   Jonah was running away from God, God was patient with Jonah and eventually Jonah gave in and did God’s will.  Jonah was comforting and I wrote four or five in-depth poems.

I did a separate study of Nineveh, the background of this town, it’s significance.     This is definitely a popular story due to Jonah living in a fish for a few days.    There is a powerful message to share, good to study this book!

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/jonah-lbw.htm

  • Micah

I loved Micah, as with some of the prophets.  I felt led to read and re-read scripture and notes.  I can imagine someone like Micah would shake his head in today’s culture.  Much of the letter reminded me Micah told Israel over and over, he was God’s messenger.  People didn’t want to listen.  I studied Babylon, which by today’s standards, things are similar.  I’m sure some people would disagree with my observation.  One of my side studies was King Hezekiah.   This minor prophets has a lot of wisdom.  I will be referring to this book in a future study.

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/micah-lbw.htm

  • Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah

After my study of Nineveh in Micah, I briefly read through these three books.  Some of the information was God speaking similar messages to Israel.   I could understand God’s frustration with his people, much like today’s culture.    There is a selfishness and blatant disregard for God.  As I read through many of the minor prophets, this theme God made crystal clear.  Although God made himself clear, follow him, mankind had different plans.   I did a short study on Assyria, they were involved in this story.

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/nahum-lbw.htm

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/nhz-law.htm

  • Haggai

Interesting short, short book.  I mainly did side studies about King Darius, among other characters and places.

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/haggai-law.htm

  • Zechariah

This was probably my favorite book in the study of minor prophets.  There is so much wisdom shared in this story, as I’ve referenced in other summaries, God had me read and re-read.  In my daily walk, I could relate in-depth information.  I never realized there was 14 chapters in this book. The author shared many supporting scripture study which helped expand my knowledge and perspective.

God loves us, this book clearly communicates this.  If you are looking for a Old Testament book to do an in-depth study, consider Zechariah, many examples directly relate to Jesus ministry on earth.

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/zechariah-lbw.htm

  • Malachi

This was a brief study of the book.  Two things stood out and I wrote a poem called Grime, in Malachi 3, it talks about Jesus Holiness, when he enters a room, people will bow and all that remains will be Holy.  Sin can’t stand to be in his presence.  He will purify things like Gold and Silver, it made me smile.  All that is left when Jesus enters our presence is Love.   Think on that!  + in Malachi, this is the only scripture that mentions God to test him.

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/malachi-lbw.htm

Summary

All and All, I probably spent around a year studying these books.   The wisdom displayed in each book and God clearly shows what happens to a country when it doesn’t follow God, bad things happen.   I’m glad God directed to study these less popular books.  God is good!  I encourage if you are looking to expand your bible knowledge, perspective in life a study of God’s minor prophets is a must. God Bless.

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