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5 Old Testament Summaries

Summary of 5 books of the Old Testament Books


The book of Leviticus is law. Key personalities include Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Key purpose is God giving the Israelite’s instructions for society. Leviticus provides the foundation to live with one another and with the Lord. The major events start with how sacrifices and offerings are to get carried out. Next is the priestly ordination of Aaron and his sons, Nadab and Abihu. This serves a dual purpose. The three represent God to the Israelites. and the Israelites to God. When Nadab and Abihu offer unauthorized fire to the Lord they die. Eleazar and Ithamar are appointed to succeed their brother’s places. Moses teaching important procedures for things that are unclean is the next series of events. The Lord gives instructions for the Day of Atonement to Moses. Leviticus consists of laws for living a holy life. Readers might think Leviticus has excessive regulations. God wants you to live right with him. Leviticus consists of God’s principals. Obedience to God’s principals leads to a good life.


The book of Joshua is narrative material. Key theme is showing how God kept his covenant promise to give the Promised Land to Israel. Key figure is Joshua. Major personalities include Rahab, Achan, Caleb, Phinehas, and Eleazar. Joshua and the Israelites enter the promise land by crossing the parted Jordan River. Joshua follows God’s orders and first conquers the central of the Promised Land. Jericho is a famous victory helped by Rahab hiding the spies. Rahab is the ancestress of David. Ai took two tries because of disobedience of Achan. After the covenant is renewed, the Gibeonite deception occurred along with the sun standing still before the Israelites occupied the southern land and next the northern land. Total control of the land is not achieved. The land is divided up and distributed among the tribes of Israel along with cities for the Levitates. The covenant is renewed before the book closes with Joshua’s death but not before his challenge to the Israelites to choose serving the Lord.


The book of Ruth is narrative material. Key theme is the pocket of faithfulness during the time of Judges. The loyalty of Ruth to Naomi and the righteousness of Boaz form the circumstances to God’s provision of offspring to Naomi that preserves the messianic line. The major events start when Naomi and her daughter-in-law’s husbands had died during a famine. Ruth remained loyal to her mother-in-law Naomi and moved home with Naomi. Upon returning to Naomi’s home Ruth went to glean in the fields. It was during this gleaning when Boaz took favor upon Ruth. Because of this favor and Boaz as a Kinsman-redeemer Naomi told Ruth to visit Boaz to ask for marriage. Boaz went to the town gate. He wanted to make sure he could redeem Ruth. There is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than Boaz. That man didn’t redeem Ruth. Boaz and Ruth are married and conceive Obed, the grandfather of King David, in the lineage of Christ.


The book of Ecclesiastes is wisdom. Key theme in the book is to offer the “conclusion of the matter” (12:13-14): “Fear God and keep his commandments.” Solomon is the writer of the book although there is disagreement. Solomon comes to realize the mistakes of his life. Teaching the reader to avoid the mistakes of life is a key theme of Ecclesiastes. The major issues and concerns start with the writer’s personal experience that everything is meaningless. Solomon had endless wisdom and pleasures, which ended up meaning nothing. Solomon continues on by telling the reader what he has observed: how possessions, achievement and advancement are useless in the end. Our sinful nature tends towards materialism. Next Solomon gives wisdom for living life by asking us to consider what God has done. Test everything by wisdom. He ends by reminding us of our common destiny in death and everything we do is useless without God. We must obey and seek the Lord.


The book of Malachi is prophecy. Malachi presents word from God, followed by complaining from the people and response from God. Key theme of the book is to attack complacency and indifference. Issues and concerns start with addressing how the people had missed the heart of worship. Offering of sub par animals and complaining that sacrifices are a burden is the evidence. Malachi gives the Levi priests and Judah a scolding for their unfaithful spirit. Malachi gives a warning. There is a Day of Judgment coming. Malachi’s first promise is for a messenger to arrive. People are accused of robbing God, which causes those who feared the Lord to write a scroll of remembrance. Malachi closes with his second promise. Before “The day of the Lord” comes Elijah will arrive. The book and Old Testament ends in stark contrast to how it began. In the beginning God created the Heaven and Earth perfect. Malachi paints the picture of fear and separation from God. His people need the savior.



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