The Bible Book by Book
The Author. (1) His name means "Exalted of Jehovah," and he is ranked second among the great Old Testament writers. (2) He lived the last of the sixth and the first of the fifth centuries before Christ. His ministry began in 626 B. C., the thirteenth year of Josiah (1:2), and lasted about forty years. He probably died in Babylon during the early years of the captivity. (3) He was of a sensitive nature, mild, timid, and inclined to melancholy. He was devoutly religious and naturally shrank from giving pain to others. (4) He was uncommonly bold and courageous in declaring the message of God, it was unpopular and subjected him to hatred and even to suffering wrong. He was unsparing in the denunciations and rebukes administered to his nation, not even sparing the prince. (5) He is called the weeping prophet. He was distressed both by the disobedience and apostasy of Israel and by the evil which he foresaw. Being very devoutly religious, he was pained by the impiety of his time.
Condition of the Nations. (1) Israel, the northern kingdom, had been carried into captivity and Judah stood alone against her enemies. (2) Judah had fallen into a bad state, but Josiah, who reigned when Jeremiah began his ministry, attempted to bring about reforms and restore the old order. After his death, however, wickedness grew more and more until, in the later part of the life of Jeremiah, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and Judah was led away in captivity. (3) The world powers of the time of Jeremiah's birth were Assyria and Egypt. They were contending for supremacy. But Jeremiah lived to see both of them subdued and Babylon mistress of the world. He foresaw also how Babylon would fall and how a kingdom greater than all would rise wherein there would be righteousness and peace.
The book of Jeremiah is composed principally of sketches of biography, history and prophecy, but the events and chapters are not in chronological order. It closes the period of the monarchy and marks the destruction of the holy city and of the sanctuary and tells of the death agony of the nation of Israel, God's chosen people. But he saw far beyond the judgments of the near future to a brighter day when the eternal purpose of divine grace would be realized. The book, therefore, emphasizes the future glory of the kingdom of God which must endure though Israel does perish. He made two special contributions to the truth as understood in his time. (1) The spirituality of religion. He saw the coming overthrow of their national and formal religion and realized that, to survive that crisis, religion must not be national, but individual and spiritual. (2) Personal responsibility (31:29-30). If religion was to be a spiritual condition of the individual, the doctrine of personal responsibility was a logical necessity. These two teachings constitute a great step forward.
I. The Prophet's Call and Assurance, Ch. 1.
II. Judah Called to Repentance, Chs. 2-22.
1. Her sins set forth, Chs. 2-6
2. The call to repentance, Chs. 7-10.
3. The appeal to the covenant, Chs. 11-13.
4. Rejection and captivity foretold, Chs. 14-22.
III. The Book of Consolation, Chs. 23-33.
1. The restoration of the remnant, Chs. 22-29.
2. The complete restoration, Chs. 30-33.
IV. The Doom of Jerusalem Due to the People's Wickedness, Chs. 34-36.
V. The History of Jeremiah and His Times, Chs. 37-45.
VI. Prophecies Against Foreign Nations, Chs, 46-51.
VII. Historical Appendix, Ch. 52.
THE BIBLE BOOK BY BOOK: A MANUAL:
For the Outline Study of the Bible by Books by J.B. TIDELL, A.M., D.D. Professor of Biblical Literature in Baylor University, Waco, Texas
1916 BAYLOR UNIVERSITY PRESS Waco, Texas