Bible Reading Plan | Minor Prophets
There’s a portion of our Bibles that many of us have never read. It’s not that we don’t think they’re important, we just don’t understand them and, to be honest, the books just sound weird. The Minor Prophets don’t get preached on often, rarely get read, and we mispronounce their names a lot. But, the Lord put these 12 books in the Bible for a reason and they can be serious encouragements if we will take the time to read them.
How to Read the Minor Prophets
The first thing you need to know is that they aren’t minor because their messages are any less important. They are minor because of their size. The Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel) are all larger books, whereas the Minor Prophets are pretty short. In fact, in Old Testament time, they would just package them all together and refer to them as “The Twelve.”
While they are short, they have big messages. In fact, some of the most memorable passages in the Bible can be found in the Minor Prophets, like the story of Jonah.
To read the Major or the Minor Prophets, you need to know who the books are being written to and when they are being written. A simple guide for the Minor Prophets is the lens of pre-exile, mid-exile, or post-exile.
- If a prophet is writing before an exile (north to Assyria or south to Babylon), they are writing to warn and prayerfully correct Israel or Judah.
- If they are writing in the middle of one of the exiles, they are writing to explain the exile and to encourage God’s people to seek Him.
- If they are writing after an exile, they are writing to encourage God’s people to learn from the past and to seek the Lord with all their heart.
Below is a chart to help you understand who is being written to in each of the Prophets and when they are writing:
Application from the Minor Prophets
The prophets individually and collectively help us understand the Gospel.
God is holy. God isn’t just good or king, but He is morally perfect. That is His standard. We, on the other hand, are sinners. We have broken God’s laws and have lived lives that ignore God and elevate other things as more important to us than God.
God deals with sin. He punishes Israel and Judah for their sin by sending them into captivity. For us, He has punished Jesus in our place. Jesus bore the wrath of God on the cross so that we could be forgiven, have our sin debt paid, be reconciled to God, and be given Christ’s righteousness so that when God looks at us all that He sees is Christ.
The Minor Prophets show us the rhythm of God, man, Christ, and response. Each book helps us to see our need for Jesus, like Zechariah 3, where we see a beautiful picture of atonement. We also see the heart of God for His children, like in Hosea, where we see a husband redeem and pursue his bride.
Second, we can see that if we have been saved, we have been called to live lives for God’s glory and on mission for Him. Jonah shows us that we have people to whom we need to take the hope of the Gospel. Nahum shows us that God will judge sinners for their sin if they do not trust in Him. Joel shows us that God is after the nations, His heart is for the peoples of the whole earth, which means we have work to do to reach our lost neighbors and to go to the hard places around the globe with the hope of Jesus.
The last thing we can see from the Minor Prophets is that God can do anything with any of our lives. Who was Obadiah? Who was Micah? Most Christians have no clue. God doesn’t just use important people or the most obvious people to do His will and work; He instead uses humble people.
God has a plan for each of our lives. That plan involves us knowing Him, making Him known, and finding joy in our lives as we walk with Him and His people. You have no clue how God can use you today to change a life eternally. Be encouraged that you matter, and that God has you alive right now for a reason!
So, pray about joining us for the next few days and reading through the Minor Prophets. If you’ve never read them before, this is a great time to do it. It is a 13-day journey, but one that will encourage you and expand your knowledge of God and His Word.
Jump in to the Bible Reading Plan with us!