The first step in COMA is “Context.” In order to understand any particular passage in a book, we need to understand the context of the book as a whole. For any given book, don't feel like you have to consume everything provided.
1 & 2 Chronicles
In our Old Testament readings, we are currently reading books that come out of the context of the Exile. In 586 B.C., the people of Israel were taken captive by the Babylonians. Decades after this event, the people were permitted to return to their land. However, the kingdom of Israel was never fully restored. They remained under the thumb of empire after empire, even up to the time of Jesus.
The books of 1-2 Chronicles (which was composed as one book, but divided into two books because it didn’t fit on one scroll) tells the story of Israel’s pre-exilic history, but from the perspective of the people who have returned to the land after the Exile. It covers the same material as 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings. Those books were written to explain why the Exile happened, so they emphasize the failures of Israel’s leaders. Chronicles, however, emphasizes the faithfulness of Israel’s leaders. By highlighting Israel’s glory days, Chronicles gives models and inspiration for a new generation seeking to renew the nation in the wake of the Exile.
What do we know about the author of the book of Chronicles?
When was Chronicles written?
Who was the original audience of the book of Chronicles?
Watch the overview video about Chronicles from The Bible Project and pick out a couple of themes to look for as you read.
Chronicles is a narrative book. Look at the guide to Literary Setting in the back of this journal or and write down the rules for interpreting narrative.
Fair warning: The first 9 chapters of Chronicles is a series of long genealogies (a.k.a. a list of names). We’re going to help you out by having you read all of them in one day so you don’t get bogged down. But here’s a tip: Don’t get too focused on individual names. Read the headings to identify the groups. Then ask which groups get the most space. Then ask, why would the author want to emphasize those groups? Could it be that people from those groups are the main characters in the rest of the book?
The book of Psalms is the songbook of the Bible. It is full of worship songs and prayers that have been used by the people of Israel and the church for thousands of years. These are the words God gave us to pray, and they teach us so much about who God is and how we can approach him.
Who wrote Psalms? What did you discover about them?
When were the Psalms written and collected?
Read the section on “Theology: Major Themes” and the “Theology: Summary” in NIV Study Bible Introduction to the Psalms. Jot down a couple of key themes to be on the lookout for as you read the book.
All of the Psalms are written in the poetic genre. Look at the guide to “ Literary Setting and write down the rules for interpreting poetry in the Bible.
The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom—how to live life well in God’s world, under God’s rule. Proverbs is full of practical insight into ordinary things like work, relationships, money, leadership, words, family, and much more.
Who wrote Proverbs? What did you discover about them?
When were the Proverbs written and collected?
Read the section on “Purpose and Teaching” and “The Wise Man According to Proverbs” in NIV Study Bible Introduction to Proverbs. Jot down a couple of key themes to be on the lookout for as you read the book.
Proverbs is “wisdom literature,” and there is one very important rule for interpreting this kind of writing. Look at the guide to Literary Setting and write down the rule for interpreting proverbs in the Bible.
The Gospel of MATTHEW
SONG OF SONGS
1 & 2 kings
The Gospel of Matthew
THE GOSPEL OF MARK