The Major and Minor Prophets of the Bible
By: Seth Gogo Egoeh
There are 66 books that made up the Bible, comprising of 39 Old Testament (OT) and 27 New Testament (NT) books – these books are canonised. i.e. These 66 OT and 27 NT books are considered to be divinely inspired, therefore belong in the Bible. Of the 39 OT books, 17 are considered books of the prophets – 5 Major Prophets and 12 Minor Prophets. The “minor” prophets are so called not because the “major” prophets are more important, but because the books of the Major Prophets are lengthier whereas the books of the Minor Prophets are not. Below is a summary of the books.
The Five (5) Major Books of the Prophets:
The five major books are written by 4 prophets, with Jeremiah writing two: Jeremiah and Lamentation.
- Isaiah: Considered the greatest of the writing prophets, is the son of Amoz. His name means, “The LORD saves”. The prophecy is about the sins of Judah and God’s judgement and salvation.
- Jeremiah: Was called by God to proclaim judgement to Judah, which happened. God establishes a New Covenant with Judah.
- Lamentations: It contains series of poetic and powerful laments of the fall of Jerusalem.
- Ezekiel: Ministered to the Jews in captivity in Babylon. The book also contains description of the end times.
- Daniel: Daniel had a vision of the future for both Gentiles and the Jews.
The Twelve (12) Minor Books of the Prophets:
- Hosea: Contains the story of Hosea and his unfaithful wife, Gomer. The book is symbolic of God’s love and faithfulness and Israel’s spiritual adultery. Israel will be judged and restored.
- Joel: This book tells of a terrifying future using the imagery of locusts. Judgement of God will come but blessing will follow.
- Amos: Prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah over Judah (792-740 B.C.) and Jeroboam II over Israel (793-753). He warned Israel of God’s coming judgement, of which Israel rejects the warning.
- Obadiah: Saw a vision concerning the utter destruction of Edom, a neighbouring nation of Israel that gloated over Jerusalem’s judgements.
- Jonah: Contains a narrative account of Jonah’s mission to Nineveh. He proclaims a coming judgement upon the people of Nineveh, but they repented and God spared them of judgement.
- Micah: Prophesied between 750 and 686 B.C. during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Israel was in an apostate condition. Micah predicted the fall of her capital, Samaria, and also foretold the inevitable desolation of Judah.
- Nahum: Had a vision of Nineveh going into apostasy (i.e. abandonment of their faith in God) – (approx. 125 years after Jonah) and will be destroyed. They will be judged for their oppression, cruelty, idolatry and wickedness.
- Habakkuk: Near the end of the kingdom of Judah, Habakkuk asks God why He is not dealing with Judah’s sins. God says He will use the Babylonians. Habakkuk asks how God can use a nation that is even worse than Judah. He was encouraged to have faith.
- Zephaniah: The theme is developed of the Day of the Lord and His judgement with a coming blessing. Judah will not repent except for a remnant, which will be restored.
- Haggai: The people failed to put God first by building their own houses before they finished God’s temple. Therefore, they had no prosperity. The people were promised that the glory of the second temple will be greater than the first.
- Zechariah: Zechariah encourages the Jews to complete the temple. There are many prophecies concerning Christ. Those who fight against Jerusalem will be destroyed by God on the Day of the LORD.
- Malachi: The Great King will come not only to judge his people, but also to bless and restore them.
- Anon., 2012. Bible Study Tools. [Online] Available at: http://www.biblestudytools.com/books-of-the-bible/ [Accessed 21 March 2014].
- Slick, M., 2001. Old Testament Books. [Online] Available at: http://carm.org/old-testament-books [Accessed 21 March 2014].