Illustrated Bible Survey: An Introduction, page 1
Illustrated Bible Survey, Digital Edition
Based on Print Edition
Illustrated Bible Survey
Copyright © 2013 by Ed Hindson and Knowing Jesus Ministries
All rights reserved.
Published by B&H Publishing Group
Dewey Decimal Classification: 200.07
Subject Heading: BIBLE—STUDY AND TEACHING
Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible ® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked GNT are taken from the Good News Translation® (Today’s English Version, Second Edition). Copyright © 1992 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.
Scripture citations marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible. ©The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked NIV 1984 are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture marked NKJV are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Image credits are on page 607. At time of publication, all efforts had been made to determine proper credit. Please contact B&H if any are inaccurate.
To the more than 100,000 students
we have been privileged to teach
at Liberty University
over the past 40 years.
May God use you to change the
world in your generation.
The Migration of Abraham
The Route of the Exodus
Egypt: Land of Bondage
The Journey from Kadesh-barnea to the Plains of Moab
The Tribal Allotments of Israel
Location of the Judges throughout Israel
Kingdom of David and Solomon
The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
The Return of Jewish Exiles to Judah
The Persian Empire
The Rise of the Neo-Babylonian Empire
Jewish Exiles in Babylonia
World Powers of the Sixth Century
Prophets of the Eighth Century
The Passion Week in Jerusalem
Expansion of the Early Church in Palestine
The First Missionary Journey of Paul
The Second Missionary Journey of Paul
The Third Missionary Journey of Paul
Paul’s Conversion and Early Ministry
The Seven Churches of Asia
AB Anchor Bible
ANET Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament
AUSS Andrews University Seminary Studies
BAR Biblical Archaeology Review
BCOT Baker Commentary on the Old Testament
BECNT Baker Evangelical Commentary on the New Testament
BKC Bible Knowledge Commentary
BKCNT Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament
CBC Cambridge Bible Commentary
DSB The Daily Study Bible
EBC The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
FOTL Forms of the Old Testament Literature
HNTC Holman New Testament Commentary
ICC International Critical Commentary
ISBE International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ITC International Theological Commentary
IVP InterVarsity Press
JSOT Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
JSOTSup Journal for the Study of the Old Testament: Supplement Series
KJBC King James Bible Commentary
NAC New American Commentary
NCBC New Century Bible Commentary
NT New Testament
NICNT New International Commentary on the New Testament
NICOT New International Commentary on the Old Testament
NIGTC New International Greek Testament Commentary
NIVAC New International Application Commentary
NT New Testament
NTC New Testament Commentary (Baker Academic)
OT Old Testament
OTL Old Testament Library
OTSB Old Testament Study Bible
PNTC Pelican New Testament Commentaries
SJT Scottish Journal of Theology
TNTC Tyndale New Testament Commentary
TOTC Tyndale Old Testament Commentary
TWOT Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
VT Vetus Testamentum
WBC Word Biblical Commentary
WEC Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary
ZECNT Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
ZIBBC Zondervan Illustrated Background Commentary
Edward E. Hindson (Th.D., Trinity Graduate School; D.Min., Westminster Theological Seminary; D.Litt et Phil., University of South Africa; F.I.B.A., Cambridge University) is the distinguished professor of religion and biblical studies at Liberty University.
Elmer L. Towns (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Min., Fuller Theological Seminary) is the distinguished professor of systematic theology and dean of the School of Religion at Liberty University and dean of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
John Cartwright (M.Div., Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary; Ed.D. student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is department chair, School of Religion, LU Online at Liberty University.
Gabriel Etzel (D.Min., Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Ph.D. student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate dean, School of Religion at Liberty University.
Ben Gutierrez (Ph.D., Regent University) is professor of religion and administrative dean for undergraduate programs at Liberty University.
Wayne Patton (M.Div., Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary; D.Min. student at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate dean, College of General Studies at Liberty University.
James A. Borland (Th.D., Grace Theological Seminary)
Professor of New Testament and Theology
Wayne A. Brindle (Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary)
Professor of Biblical Studies and Greek
David A. Croteau (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)
Professor of New Testament and Greek
Alan Fuhr Jr. (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies
Harvey Hartman (Th.D., Grace Theological Seminary)
Professor of Biblical Studies
Gaylen P. Leverett (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)
Associate Professor of Theology
Donald R. Love (Th.M., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies
Randall Price (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin)
Distinguished Research Professor and Executive Director,
Center for Judaic Studies
Michael J. Smith (Ph.D., Dallas Theological Seminary)
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies
Gary Yates (Ph.D., Dallas Theological Seminary)
Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew
The Bible is the most important book ever written. It contains sixty-six individual books from Genesis to Revelation. These were collected over 1,500 years into one grand volume that we call the Word of God. Christians accept the Bible as uniquely inspired of God and, therefore, authoritative for our beliefs and practices. The Bible itself proclaims that its authors were “moved by the Holy Spirit” so that “men spoke from God” (2 Pet 1:21).
We have taught Bible survey courses for a combined total of nearly one hundred years at various institutions but mostly at Liberty University where we have been privileged to serve together for over 30 years. We have taught thousands of students from every walk of life, majoring in everything from accounting to zoology—business, history, journalism, philosophy, psychology, nursing, premed, prelaw, religion, you name it. Our goal has always been to challenge them academically, inspire them spiritually, and motivate them effectively to discover and apply the great truths and practical wisdom of the Bible in providing them with a biblical basis for the Christian worldview.
Introducing the basic content of the books of the Bible generally includes the examination of their authorship, background, message, and application. Our purpose is to provide a college-level textbook that is accessible to students and laymen alike. Therefore, we have left the more technical discussions of authorship and genre to seminary- and graduate-level introductions such as B&H’s The World and the Word by Merrill, Rooker, and Grisanti and also The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown by Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles, which we highly recommend.
For us the Bible is not merely a combination of ancient documents, historical details, and religious information. It is the living Word of God that still speaks to the minds, hearts, and souls of men and women today. It confronts our sin, exposes our selfishness, examines our motives, challenges our presuppositions, calls us to repentance, asks us to believe its incredible claims, stretches our faith, heals our hurts, blesses our hearts, and soothes our souls.
Jesus spoke often of His confidence in the Bible with such phrases as “the Scripture must be fulfilled” (John 13:18); “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35); “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32); “I did not come to destroy [the Law or the Prophets] but to fulfill” (Matt 5:17); “man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4); “today . . . this Scripture has been fulfilled” (Luke 4:21). Jesus read and quoted the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures with assurance that they were the Word of God. He also promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit of truth will “guide you into all truth” and “declare to you what is to come” (John 16:13). This promise was realized when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles enabling them to remember all that Jesus said and taught (John 14:26).
Teaching the Bible is one of the great privileges and blessings of the Christian life. We believe it is our greatest calling to proclaim, clarify, and explain the biblical message. It is not our story; it is God’s story. It is the story of His love and grace that has pursued human beings down through the tunnel of time, through the halls of history and into the vast canyon of eternity. The Bible is a story of an infinite, yet personal Being who loves us with an inexhaustible love that is expressed in His amazing grace which reaches out to us time and time again.
We want to thank the editorial team of biblical scholars from Liberty University and the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary for their advice, assistance, and encouragement in this endeavor. We also want to thank Dr. Gary Smith who served as the external editor for B&H and Michael Herbert, B.S. of Liberty University, who served as the managing editor of the electronic file. It is our prayer that this survey of the Bible will enlighten your mind and open your soul to the One who dared to say, “Everything written about Me . . . must be fulfilled. Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44–45).
Ed Hindson and Elmer Towns
Liberty University in Virginia
The Bible is a collection of sixty-six books that are recognized as divinely inspired by the Christian church. They are divided into the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books). Collectively these books included law, history, poetry, wisdom, prophecy, narratives, biographies, personal letters, and apocalyptic visions. They introduce us to some of the most amazing people who have ever lived: shepherds, farmers, patriarchs, kings, queens, prophets, priests, evangelists, disciples, teachers, and most of all—the most unique person who ever lived—Jesus of Nazareth.
How We Got the Old Testament
God revealed His Word to ancient Israel over a thousand-year period (c. 1400–400 BC), and then scribes copied the biblical scrolls and manuscripts for more than a millennium after that. The process by which the Old Testament books came to be recognized as the Word of God, and the history of how these books were preserved and handed down through the generations enhances our confidence in the credibility of the Old Testament as inspired Scripture (2 Tim 3:16).
What Books Belong in the Old Testament?
The canon of Scripture refers to the list of books recognized as divinely inspired and authoritative for faith and practice. Our word canon is derived from the Hebrew qaneh and the Greek kanon, meaning a “reed” or a “measuring stick.” The term came to mean the standard by which a written work was measured for inclusion in a certain body of literature. The books of the Bible are not inspired because humans gave them canonical status. Rather, the books were recognized as canonical by humans because they were inspired by God. As Wegner explains, the books of the Old Testament “did not receive their authority because they were placed in the canon; rather they were recognized by the nation of Israel as having divine authority and were therefore included in the canon.”1
The order and arrangement of the Hebrew canon is different from that of our English Bibles. The Hebrew canon consists of three major sections, the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi’im), and the Writings (Kethuvim). Collectively they are referred to as the Tanak (an acronym built on the first letters of these three divisions—TNK).
The Hebrew Canon
1 and 2 Samuel
1 and 2 Kings
Minor Prophets (Book of the 12)
Song of Songs
Jewish rabbi copying Hebrew Scripture.
The Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament, first employed the fourfold division of the Old Testament into Pentateuch, Historical Books, Poetical Books, and Prophetic Books that is used in the English Bible. The
How Were the Old Testament Books Selected?
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Commandments God gave him, the people of Israel immediately recognized their divine authority and promised to obey them as the words of the Lord (Exod 24:3–8). The writings of Moses were stored at the central sanctuary because of their special status as inspired Scripture (Exod 25:16, 21; Deut 10:1–2; 31:24–26). In Deut 18:15–22, the Lord promised to raise up a succession of prophets “like Moses” to speak His word for subsequent generations, and the pronouncements of these messengers of God would also be recognized as possessing divine authority.
When Was the Process Completed?
A Torah scroll being held in its wooden case at a celebration in Jerusalem.
Jewish tradition affirmed that prophecy ceased in Israel about 400 BC after the ministry of Malachi. First Maccabees 9:27 states, “So there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that the prophets ceased to appear among them.” Baruch 85:3 makes a similar claim, and the Jewish Talmud states that the Holy Spirit departed from Israel after the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi in the early postexilic period. While some questions remained regarding some of the “writings” that were already included in Scripture (e.g., Esther) even until the Council of Jamnia in AD 90, the evidence suggests that the Hebrew canon was essentially completed and fixed by 300 BC. All of the canonical books of the Old Testament, except for Esther, appear among the copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls (250 BC–AD 70).3
How Does the New Testament View the Old Testament?
Jesus and the apostles accepted the inspiration of the Old Testament Scriptures and often referred to or quoted them as authoritative. According to Jesus, the words written by the human authors of Scripture were the “command of God” and “God’s word” (Mark 7:8–13; cf. Matt 19:4–5). As God’s Word every part of the Old Testament would be accomplished and fulfilled (Matt 5:17–18; 26:54, 56; Luke 24:27, 44; John 7:38), and nothing it predicted could be voided or annulled (Luke 16:17; John 10:35). Jesus described the Old Testament canon as extending from Genesis to Chronicles when speaking of the murders of Abel and the prophet Zechariah in Matt 23:34–35 and Luke 11:49–51 (cf. Gen 4:8 and 2 Chr 24:20–22).