The Bible Book by Book
The Prophet. His name means "Messenger of the Lord." or "My Messenger". He was connected with the reform movement of Nehemiah and Ezra and condemned the same sins which they condemned. He must, therefore, have lived about 100 years after Haggai and Zechariah, or about 430-420 B. C. He was the last of the Old Testament inspired prophets.

The Condition of the Time. The people had been restored to Jerusalem and the temple and walls rebuilt. They had become sensual and selfish and had grown careless and neglectful of their duty. Their interpretation of the glowing prophecies of the exilic and pre-exilic prophets had led them to expect to realize the Messianic kingdom immediately upon their return. They were, therefore, discouraged and grew skeptical (2:17) because of the inequalities of life seen everywhere. This doubt of divine justice had caused them to neglect vital religion and true piety had given place to mere formality. They had not relapsed into idolatry but a spirit of worldliness had crept in and they were guilty of many vices such as we see today in professedly Christian communities.

The Prophecy. The purpose of this prophecy was to rebuke the people for departing from the worship of the law of God, to call the people back to Jehovah and to revive their national spirit. There are in it: (1) Unsparing denunciations of social evils and of the people of Israel. (2) Severe rebukes for the indifference and hypocrisy of the priests. (3) Prophecies of the coming of the Messiah and the characteristics and manner of his coming. (4) Prophecies concerning the forerunner of the Messiah.


Introduction: Jehovah's love of Israel. 1:1-5. This is seen in the contrast between Israeli and Egypt.

   I. Israel's Lack of Love of God, 1:6-2:16. It is proved.

1. By their polluted offerings, 1:6 end.

2. By the sins of the priests. 2:1-9.

3. By their heathen marriages and by their divorces, 2:10-16.

 II. God Will Come and Judge His People, 2:17-4:6 end.

1. His messenger will separate the righteous from the wicked, 2:17-4:6.

2. This is seen in the effect of their withholding or paying tithes. 3:7-12.

3. Faithful services will be rewarded. 3:13-4:6 end.

For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the particular sins rebuked. (2) Make a list of all the different things said about the Messiah and his mission and also that of the forerunner. (3) Analyze and study each of the seven controversies. 1:2, 7; 2:13, 14, 17; 3:7, 8, 14. (4) Compare the future destinies of the righteous and wicked as revealed in this book, making a list of all that is said of each. (5) Make a list of all the promises of the book.

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
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