DEV 16FN Old Testament Survey

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Session 16: Old Testament Survey

In this session, you will be introduced to an overview of the Old Testament and be given a summary of each major section.

Heart of a Leader (40 min)

  • Worship together in the big group
  • Have participants get into groups of 3-4 people and discuss the following:
    • What are you learning and how are you abiding in Christ through word, prayer, obedience, PCS, relationships and fellowship?
    • What unresolved conflict do you have?
    • What areas of your life is obeying God a challenge?
    • What happened as you trusted God with your goals from our last meeting?

Vision Casting for the Heart

Read Luke 10:38-42. There are often times in life when there are so many things that need to be done and demanding our attention that we get worried and distracted. When that pressure takes over we lose our joy. Jesus and his disciples were visiting in the home of Mary and her older sister Martha. It was a big deal, a very special occasion. Both sisters were excited and aware of the significance of the occasion but they responded very differently. Martha was driven by her desire to serve well by being the perfect host, doing all she could to honor and bless Jesus through her hard work. Mary on the other hand was driven by her desire to listen, learn and receive every blessing she could from Jesus. When Martha in frustration at her sister asked Jesus to direct Mary to come and help, Jesus affirmed Mary’s priority above hers. We must never let our motivation of doing ministry for Jesus get in the way of personal time with him. Both are important but first and foremost is the need to ‘sit at his feet listening to him’ and avoid becoming worried and distracted by all the good work. Guarding this priority requires constant discipline helped by accountability. How do you maintain your priority of sitting at Jesus feet listening to his words?

Celebration of Faithfulness (20 min)

[NOTE: Celebrate Faithfulness in the large group so that all can benefit and be encouraged.]

  • Give opportunity for participants to share what has happened since the last meeting. Ask them to relate it to goals from the last meeting.

Iron on Iron: Sharpening Myself and Others (45 min)

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.”

  • Have everyone return to their Iron on Iron small groups, draw their network of missional communities and churches then share and evaluate with their group.
    1. What is going well?
    2. What is not going well? What obstacles are you facing?
    3. What are possible solutions from the other group members?
    4. What do you need to do to add the missing characteristics into each group?
    5. Where will you start a new group or church this month?
  • Have everyone set goals for improvement from their evaluation and share their goals with their small group. Then have them pray for one another.

New Lesson (45-60 min)

Relevant Topic: Why is it helpful to understand the contents of the Bible?

  • Have participants get into new groups of 4-5 people (or they can continue in their Iron on Iron groups)
  • In the following sections, each group assign verses to each participant. Each participant will then read the passages below and tell what they learned.

Discovery Bible Study – Survey of the Bible

Section 1: All Books are About Jesus the King

It’s about Jesus: Luke 24:36-49; John 5:39-40

Descendant of a Woman: Genesis 3:15, 1 John 3:8

An Only Son: Genesis 22:1-2; John 3:16; Matthew 14:33; Mark 3:11

Lifted Up for Salvation: Numbers 21:9; John 3:14-15

Son of David: 2 Samuel 7:8-16; Matthew 1:1

Son of Man: Daniel 7:13-14; Luke 24:6-7

Born as a Child: Isaiah 9:5-6; Isaiah 7:14; John 1:14; Matthew 1:22-23

Place of Birth: Micah 5:1; Luke 2:1-7

Sacrifice for All: Isaiah 53:6-12; John 1:35-36; 2 Corinthians 5:21

  • After they have all shared their assigned verses, have each person in the groups share:
    • What caught your attention? (or What did you like best?) Why?
    • What is most amazing to you as you think about fulfilled prophecy about Jesus?

Summary: Jesus Christ had been with his disciples for a long time. Jesus taught them with Wisdom from Heaven and performed miracles and incredible signs. Toward the end of His ministry in the world, He told His followers that He would be given over to evil people who would kill Him. But three days later, He would be raised to life again. Indeed all these things happened just as He said they would. After Jesus rose again, He revealed that all of the things Jesus that He did and that happened to Him were written in the Old Testament scriptures (none of the New Testament letter were written at that time). These are only a sample, there are still more prophecies like these show the majesty of Christ.

Section 2: Old Testament Survey

The whole bible is about the reign of God over what He created. God and His Kingdom are without beginning and without end. He will always be the King of the Universe and therefore God is your King. You are His subject, a citizen in His Kingdom. Regardless of your ethnic background, culture or birth place, your highest commitment belongs to the Kingdom of God.

The Bible is divided into two parts: 39 books are included in the Old Testament (or Old Covenant) and 27 books are in the New Testament (or New Covenant).

The Old Testament is comprised of four kinds of books:

  • Law,
  • History,
  • Wisdom,
  • The Prophets

Knowing the type of books when we read it is helpful for understanding better the book’s meaning.

The Old Testament is a report about God’s revelation of Himself to mankind, especially to the Israelites. The Old Testament teaches us about God and how to live in His will. It was written over a period of 1,000 years when the prophets and certain other holy people received words from God by the Holy Spirit.

In other words, it was the Holy Spirit who wrote God’s Word. Although the Word was penned by men who conveyed the message of the Holy Spirit to God’s people. Perhaps you have already heard about people such as the prophet Moses. Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament.

A. Law: First five books of the Bible written by the prophet Moses. These books are called the Law. The Law was given to the nation of Israel through the prophet Moses. Laws from this part contain the procedures for Israel’s religions ceremonies, also ethical and moral laws related to everyday life in the nation of Israel.

Read aloud together the names of the books of the Law: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

B. History: The section following the Law in the Old Testament tells the history of God’s people, the Israelites, both the positive parts and the negative parts. That is why both the nation’s successes and failures were written. The history books note what actually happened not what would hopefully happen. These are recoded in order to teach us (1 Corinthians 10:11). Events in these books are often used as examples in other parts of Scripture. The purpose of these books is to show God’s purposes for His people as related the history of the world.

Read aloud together the names of the books of History: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.

C. Books of Wisdom and The Psalms

  • The first book of Wisdom is Job, which tells how Job was befallen by many tragedies, however his faith remained strong. Finally, Job was healed and his life was restored.
    • Read aloud Job 2:9-10.
  • The second book of Wisdom is Psalms. Much of the Psalms were written by King David, although some were written by the prophet Moses and other authors. The book of Psalms contains 150 psalms (songs or verses) – praises and struggles sung to God by His people. Further, the book of Psalms contains prayers of God’s people lifted to Him during both public and private worship. Psalms usually were written to be sung. The Psalms are used by God’s people for worship, devotions, and examples of how to live.
    • Read aloud Psalms 1, 23 and 150 to illustrate their use among God’s people.
  • The Wisdom of King Solomon is included in the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Proverbs contains short verses about how to live righteously before God; Ecclesiastes is the story of King Solomon’s efforts to find happiness followed by a summary. Song of Solomon is a story of love between a husband and a wife.

Generally, advice in the books of Wisdom is not commanded yet it gives principles for practical living. Usually, the Wisdom books are heart-felt expressions to God from people just as they are. Finally, there is a way out of life’s problems through an attitude of the heart that fears God and obeys His commands. Proverbs and advice presented in the Wisdom books are things to remember, so they were written in the form of short phrases. Although there’s no guarantee of prosperity in each of life’s conditions, instruction from the Wisdom books teaches life principles in accordance with the will of God.

  • Read aloud Proverbs 3:5-6 together.
  • Read aloud together the names of the Wisdom books: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.

D. The Prophets: The prophetic books have two purposes: to call God’s people back to the covenant they had made with Him and to reveal God’s plan for redemption in the coming Messiah. The prophets made utterances in the name of the LORD to mankind at that time. All prophets spoke and applied their messages that were given from God. So, to understand the meaning of their messages and prophecies, the reader must know the problem that was being addressed by the prophet. Only then could the reader know how to apply the prophet’s message properly today.

The books of the prophets are separated into two sections: the “Major Prophets” are longer and the ‘Minor Prophets’ are equally important, but they are called Minor they were shorter in length.

  • The books of the Major Prophets include: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
  • The books of the minor prophets include: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Preparing for Mission (20 mins)

  • To solidify memorization of the Old Testament books, divide the participants into two. Say the name of one Old Testament book, then ask the groups to say whether the book is from the Law, History, Books of Wisdom or Prophets
  • In small groups, have each trainee Practice listing the major sections and books of the Old Testament. Have them review the uniqueness of each part.
  • Write “I will by when” statements. Include “who will you teach this lesson to?”
  • Practice any additional skill that the leaders need in leading their groups or starting new ones


Law Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy


Joshua Judges Ruth 1 and 2 Samuel 1 and 2 Kings 1 and 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Esther

Wisdom and Psalms

Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Solomon

Major Prophets

Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel

Minor Prophets

Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi

Sending the Laborers

  • Reinforce the overall vision: a church or faith community for every 1,000 people
  • Spend time in prayer:
    • committing everyone’s goals to the Lord.
    • for God to raise up a movement of churches.
    • for more laborers to come out of the harvest.