Survey of Amos

Survey of Amos 

Amos’ bold proclamation is set early in the book.  “And he said, The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall morn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.” (Amos 1.2) The book of Amos contains three major sections.  The first section begins with oracles against the nations (chaps. 1-2), then by judgements against Israel (chaps. 3-6), and finally with five prophetic visions (chaps. 7-9).  Amos is concerned with social injustice and the treatment of the poor.  This is a concern also viewed by the early Christians in 1 Corinthians 11:22; James 1:27; 5:1-6) God has a genuine concern for the poor as discussed in James 2:5.  The fierceness of the Word of the Lord should have caused a great repentance in the land.  However, the words that Amos brought to the kingdom of Israel only infuriated the rebellious inhabitants of the land, and Amos was required to return home. 


Amos 1.1 tells us that Amos from Tekoa is the author of this book.  While he is identified as a shepherd or a herdsman, and a caretaker of Fig trees, the general impression of most theologians is that Amos would have been in the middle to upper-class of society.  Tekoa was approximately five to ten miles south of Bethlehem.  This is located in the southern kingdom, so he was called to basically be a foreign missionary, as his mission was located in the norther kingdom in the area of Beth-el.  He was not a professional profit and he declared this to Amaziah in chapter 7.4.  Instead it appears he was called by God for a specific prophesy and then retired to write his book. 

Historical Settings 

During the time of Amos, Judah was under the direction of King Uzziah (791-740).  
Even though Judah was prosperous during this time King Uzziah was under the influence of King Jeroboam II, of Israel (793-753).  Israel in outward appearances was at the highpoint of power, however inwardly it was full of idolatry and corruption. Idolatry and sexual immorality had taken root in Israel and Judah was in apostasy.  “And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed above all that their fathers had don, For they also built them high laces, and images and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.  And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.” (2 Kings 14:22-24)   
Social evils characterized the times (2.6-8; 3.10; 4.1; 5.10-12; 8.4-6). 

Key Verse

But let judgement run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream – Amos 5:24

Major Themes 

There are four major themes in the book of Amos.  Amos attacked social evils, idolatry and false worship within the kingdom.  Amos issued urgent pleas for repentance in order to escape the judgement of God. “That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Beth-el: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.” (Amos 3.14) The themes are: 

  • Everyone answers to God 
  • Cruelty (1.6-8,11,13) 
  • Sexual Immorality 
  • Complacency (2.4,7-12) 
  • Oppressing the poor (2.6) 
  • Selling the poor into slavery  
  • Exploiting the poor 
  • Unlawful Usury 
  • Superficial Religion (5.18-27) 
  • Idolatry 

The end result of the book is a stern warning that no one escapes the judgement of the Most High. “Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.” (Amos 5.1). “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nation, to whom the house of Israel came!” (Amos 61) Israel’s or no one’s status, for that matter, is no reason to take advantage of the blessings of the Lord.  God’s moral character must be satisfied.  Amos’ message is largely a “cry for justice”.   

The ending of the book is a promise that when the Lord has finished his chastisement of Israel, He will again restore her and keep her forever. “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:” (Amos 9.11)… “And I will pant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” (Amos 9.15) 

Outline of Amos 

  1. Identity of Author and Theme of the Book 1:1-2 
  2. The Prophecies 1:3-2:16 
    1. Damascus 1:3-5 
    2. Philistia 1:6-8 
    3. Tyre 1:9-10 
    4. Edom 1:11-12 
    5. Ammon 1:13-15 
    6. Moab 2:1-3 
    7. Judah 2:4-5 
    8. Israel 2:6-16 
  3. The Sermons 3:1-6:14 
    1. Doom of Israel 3:1-15 
    2. Depravity of Israel 4:1-13 
    3. A Dirge over Israel 5:1-6:14 
    4. Destruction in Judgement 5:1-17 
    5. Rebuke of the Religious 5:18-27 
    6. Reprimand of a nation 6:1-14 
  4. The Visions 7:1-9:15 
    1. Vision of Devouring Locusts 7:1-3 
    2. Vision of Fire 7:4-6 
    3. Vision of a Plumbline 7:7-9 
    4. Historic Interlude 7:10-17 
    5. Vision of a Basket of Summer Fruit 8:1-14 
    6. Vision of Future Blessings 9:11-15 


King James Easy-reading Study Bible. Goodyear, AZ, 2002. Print. 

Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible: King James Version. Chicago: Moody, 2008. Print. 

Longman, Tremper. “The Book of Amos.” Introducing the Old Testament: A Short Guide to Its History and Message. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012. N. pag. Print. 

Survey of Jonah

Survey of Jonah

The Book of Jonah is one of the few books of the Bible that is actually written about a prophet, with the prophet being the center of the story.  In the story, Jonah received a commandment from God to go to Nineveh and preach what the Lord would tell him to preach.  Jonah, however; did not immediately do what the Lord had required him to do.  Instead Jonah went the opposite direction.  Jonah rebelled from God out of prejudice and selfishness.  Jonah knew that if the people of Nineveh were to hear the message of the Lord that they might repent.  Jonah also knew the Lord, and that He is merciful.  Jonah knew that God would have mercy on the people of Nineveh if they repented.  In his rebellion, Jonah has to be chastised severely.  Jonah then repents and cries out to the Lord for deliverance. The Lord, in His mercy, gives Jonah a second chance to go to Nineveh and deliver the message the Lord tells him.  The story of Johan is referred to by Jesus himself as a sign that the story of Jonah is a revelation from God concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah.


Jonah is accepted to have been written by the prophet himself, although there is no direct evidence of this.  The story itself is anonymous, as the story does not identify the writer or when it was written.  It is believed that the story took place around 760 B.C. In 2nd Kings 14:27 Jonah is connected with the reign of Jeroboam II of Israel (793-753 B.C.). There was a plague in 765, an eclipse in 763, and then a second plague in 759 that may have made the Ninevites prepared to receive the preaching of Jonah.  The theory for this is that the signs of the plagues and the eclipse would have been seen as judgements of God and would have prepared the hearts of the Ninevites.  The king calls for fasting and repentance and the Lord hears their cries and shows mercy, even though, none was promised in the preaching of Jonah.

Historical Settings

Nineveh is probably the most famous of the capitals of Assyria.  Nineveh became the capital of Assyria during the reign of King Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.).  During his rule the empire expanded and became prosperous.  Nineveh was strategically located east of the Tigris River and 250 miles north of Babylon, in a very fertile region.  Nineveh was the center of worship of Ishtar, the fertility goddess.  The size of Nineveh as revealed in the bible (Jonah 3.3 and 4.11) was over 120,000 people and took approximately 3 days to walk across.  Scholars believe the circumference to have been from 55-60 miles.  Some of the inventions we use today that come from Nineveh during this time period are, locks for doors, a time system that kept track of time in a 360 degree circle, paved roads, the first postal system, and flush toilets and aqueducts.  Military leaders were known for being exceptionally brutal, and used terror to keep areas under control.

There are a number of miracles in the story of Jonah that are also reflective in the gospels. That include the calming of the sea, Jonah’s being in the belly of the whale for three days, and the grace shown by God to his servant Jonah. These also include the following by chapter and verse:

  • Calming of the sea (1.15)
  • Preparing of the great fish (1.17)
  • Throwing up of Jonah on dry land 3 days latter (2.10)
  • Preparing of the gourd (4.6)
  • Preparing of the worm (4.7)
  • Preparing of the wind (4.8)
  • Salvation of the people of Nineveh


There are twelve doctrinal issues that can be drawn from the story of Jonah.  James in the epistle of James 1:15 tells that sin in its ultimate form brings death. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1.15) Sin comes from our own selfish desires.  This is then the root that sin has in our lives, that we only seek what is in our own interest.  This is the problem that Jonah had.  Even though he wanted to rid the world of the wickedness of Nineveh and therefore remove a threat to Israel, God had other plans.  Quite possible, God chose the Nineveh, because He knew they were among the most evil people on the earth at that time.  In showing them mercy to the people of Nineveh, He lets us know that it is not by our own works that we deserve mercy, but by his grace. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3.5-7) Even as this is a direct show of the mercies of God towards us, no matter what the condition of our life, the portion of Johan being in the belly of the whale was given to us as a testimony of the resurrection of Jesus.

Matthew 12:38-45 tells us that Jesus confirmed the importance of this story.  Jesus told the scribes that the sign of his being the Christ was the sign of Jonah being in the belly of the whale.  Jesus used this story as a fact that Jonah’s plight in the big fish was accurate and true, and as it was, so would his death, burial, and resurrection.  Even more so, if you look at this, Jonah then went and preached and the people were saved.  Well the apostles, after Jesus’ ascension, went and preached, and people were saved.  “How then shall they call on him in which they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10.14 KJV).

12 Lessons from Jonah

  • Sin always has consequences (Jonah 1:4)
  • Sin always affects others eventually (Jonah 1:5,8)
  • It is a sin to serve God in the wrong place (Jonah 1:3)
  • God’s chastening can be unusually strong (Jonah 2)
  • Pay your vows (Jonah 2:9)
  • Our God is the God of a 2nd chance (Jonah 3:1)
  • God is more merciful than some of us expect him to be (Jonah 3:9-10)
  • God blesses the city whose king orders them to turn to God (Jonah 3:5-10)
  • It is possible for an entire city to get right with the Lord (Jonah 3:5-10)
  • Suicide is nearly always a selfish act (Jonah 4:3)
  • We should be merciful to others as God has been merciful towards us (Jonah 4:10-11)
  • If you don’t believe the story of Jonah then you don’t believe the Gospel (Matthew 12:38-45)

God’s mercies with Assyria did not end with this story.  Even though, later in time he still had to judge Nineveh, when they were finally conquered their people were not wiped off the face of the earth.  Instead they were ruled by other nations, like Babylon.  Assyrians were among the first converts listed by the early church.  Assyria became a thriving Christian community that still exists today.

Short Outline

  1. Jonah Fleeing, 1.1-17
  2. Johan Praying, 2.1-10
  • Jonah Preaching, 3.1-10
  1. Jonah’s Lesson, 4.1-11


King James Easy-reading Study Bible. Goodyear, AZ, 2002. Print.

Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible: King James Version. Chicago: Moody, 2008. Print.

Longman, Tremper. “The Book of Jonah.” Introducing the Old Testament: A Short Guide to Its History and Message. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012. N. pag. Print.

“Ancient Nineveh – Background Bible Study (Bible History Online).” Ancient Nineveh – Background Bible Study (Bible History Online). N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2016.