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Books of the Bible

Expanded Esther

The Book of Expanded Esther in the BibleSome versions of the Bible include additional text for the book of Esther, which isn’t found in most Protestant versions of the Bible. This additional text rounds out the story and reveals deeper insight into the life of Esther and her guardian, Mordecai.

This complete text of Esther includes five additional sections inserted into Esther’s story:

Prologue: Added prior to Esther 1:1, this section tells of Mordecai’s prophetic dream and his successful efforts to save the king from an assassination attempt. This sparks Haman’s hatred of Mordecai and establishes the reason for the king’s future honoring of Mordecai.

Haman’s Letter: Inserted between Esther 3:14 and 3:15 is the text of Haman’s letter, under the seal of the king, that orders the annihilation of all Jews living across the land.

Prayers: Added after Esther 4:17 are two prayers. Mordecai’s prayer comes first, followed by a longer prayer from Esther. Esther’s prayer reveals her thoughts about her position as queen, which she loathes as an anathema to her devote Jewish faith. This section concludes with Esther approaching the king and God’s provision when she does.

Counter Decree: Inserted between Esther 8:12 and 13 is the decree issued my Mordecai, also under the king’s authority, to allow the Jews to defend themselves and seek revenge against their enemies.

Epilogue: Added after Esther 10:3 is a follow-up text, mostly a quote of Mordecai.

The expanded version of Esther is an Apocrypha text and not included in all versions of the Bible. The New Jerusalem Bible, Revised Standard Version (RSV), New American Bible (NABRE), Wycliffe Bible (WYC), Common English Bible (CEB), Douay-Rheims (DRA), and Eastern Orthodox Bibles all include the expanded version of Esther. Interestingly, the original Authorized King James Version (KJV) contains these additional passages, but the text was removed almost two centuries later. The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, which was widely used in Jesus’s day, also includes the additions of Esther.

For more information, see why “Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.”

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Books of the Bible

Acts

The Book of Acts in the BibleThe book of Acts, or “the Acts of the Apostles,” is the story of the early church. Written by Dr Luke, Acts continues the story where the book of Luke left off. As such, Luke and Acts are a powerful and compelling two-book combination.

Acts begins with Jesusascension into heaven and his followers’ (the disciples) efforts to continue on without their leader. They wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised to send to them; the Holy Spirit would provide them guidance, direction, and counsel.

The Holy Spirit arrives in a mysterious and powerful manner, producing phenomenal results in Jesus’ followers and causing the church to grow quickly.

Noteworthy in Acts is the frequent mention of the work and function of the Holy Spirit. With about 100 references, Acts provides a close and personal insight into the function and mystery of the Holy Spirit.

Many people look to Acts for a model for how the church can (or perhaps, should) function. If you ever hear of an “Acts chapter two church,” it is a reference to the early church as exemplified in Acts, particularly in chapter two.

For more direct insight into how the church should function, look to the life and example of Jesus in the Gospels.

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Books of the Bible

Amos

The book of Amos in the BibleThe book of Amos is a record of the messages of the prophet Amos. As with most prophets, Amos’s message focused on current events for the people of Israel (the Northern Kingdom of Israel), but also had a secondary meaning, anticipating the life of Jesus.

Amos was a preacher, or prophet, in Israel; he lived during the reign of King Jehoash (Joash) of Israel. He spoke of a coming doom for Israel and the surrounding nations, of Israel’s disobedience and coming destruction, and of visions of the future.

Amos is sometimes called a minor prophet. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t important, but merely that the book named after him is shorter. (Compare this to the major prophets, whose books are much longer.)

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Books of the Bible

Baruch

The Book of Baruch in the BibleBaruch is a disciple, follower, and trusted friend of Jeremiah. He is also the scribe who wrote down Jeremiah’s words as dictated to him (Jeremiah 36:4).

Baruch is the author of the book of Baruch (or at least the first part of it), which serves as a follow-up to the book of Jeremiah since it was written after the people are exiled.

After the introduction, Baruch contains a confession of the nation of Israel‘s guilt and prayer for deliverance (similar to a prayer by Daniel in Daniel 9). This is followed by a section of poetry.

In Baruch 6, the book concludes with a letter, which is comparable to, but different then Jeremiah’s letter recorded in Jeremiah 29. Also, Jeremiah 10:2-15 contains some similar language to Baruch 6. Some versions of the Bible pull out Baruch 6 and include it as a separate one-chapter book, called the Letter of Jeremiah or the Epistle of Jeremiah.

Baruch is an Apocrypha book and not included in all versions of the Bible. The New Jerusalem Bible, Revised Standard Version (RSV), New American Bible (NABRE), Wycliffe Bible (WYC), Common English Bible (CEB), Good News Translation (GNT), and Douay-Rheims (DRA) all include Baruch. Interestingly, the original Authorized King James Version (KJV) contains Baruch, but the text was removed almost two centuries later. The Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures, which was widely used in Jesus’s day, also includes the book of Baruch.

For more information, see why “Christians Should Consider the Entire Bible.”

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Books of the Bible

First and Second Chronicles

The Book of First and Second Chronicles in the BibleThe books of First and Second Chronicles are two of the historical books in the Old Testament. Originally they were a single book (and still are in the Hebrew Bible).

After an initial historical review (chapters 1 through 9), the book of First Chronicles focuses on the reign of king David (also covered in Second Samuel).

The book of Second Chronicles covers the reign of David’s son and successor, Solomon. After Solomon, his son, Rehoboam, succeeds him as king, but following the bad advice of his peers, the nation is ultimately split in two. The smaller part (the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) is called Judah and is ruled by Rehoboam and his heirs (who are king David’s descendents). The nation of Judah is the focus of the remaining part of Second Chronicles, with only brief attention to what happens in their sister nation of Israel. Second Chronicles coincides with the events of First and Second Kings.

The nation of Judah is ruled exclusively by descendants of king David, some of who are good and godly rulers, others are not. Resulting from their reoccurring disobedience, they are conquered and all but the poorest people are deported to Babylon.

Most of the prophets lived during the timeframe covered in Second Chronicles. Their ministries and messages give additional insight into the reoccurring tendency of the nations of both Israel and Judah to turn their backs on God.

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Books of the Bible

Colossians

The Book of Colossians in the BibleThe Book of Colossians was written by the Apostle Paul (who wrote about half of the New Testament). It’s a letter, or epistle, to the church in the city of Colossae.

The main purpose of the book of Colossians is to counteract heresy, that is, false teaching, that crept into the church. Despite its brevity, it contains many profound passages that give readers much to consider.

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Books of the Bible

First Corinthians

The Book of First Corinthians in the BibleFirst Corinthians, or First Corinthians, was written by the Apostle Paul (who wrote about half of the New Testament). It is a letter, or epistle, to the church in the city of Corinth (the first of two that Paul wrote; see Second Corinthians for the second letter). It was written about the same time as Romans.

The book of first Corinthians is a practical letter of instruction revolving around life issues and addressing problems. As such, it is not a cohesive book with a unifying theme, but instead a series of teachings that were appropriate to the issues and struggles that faced the Christian church in Corinth.

A reoccurring theme in First Corinthians is the tension between the church and the world, that is godly living versus a worldly lifestyle. As such it’s a most appropriate and applicable book for our present age.

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Books of the Bible

Second Corinthians

The Book of Second Corinthians in the BibleSecond Corinthians, or Second Corinthians, was written by the Apostle Paul (who wrote about half of the New Testament). It’s a letter, or epistle, to the church in the city of Corinth (the second of two that Paul wrote; see First Corinthians for the first)

The book of second Corinthians is a letter in which Paul defends himself against detractors who seek to discredit him and advance their own agenda with the people in the church of Corinth. This was not to enable Paul’s ego or personal advancement but instead a reflection of his desire to protect the work he had done there and to keep the struggling church on track and properly focused.

In this book, we’re treated to many personal insights into the person of Paul and are shown the nature of Christian work.

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Books of the Bible

Daniel

The Book of Daniel in the BibleThe book of Daniel begins with six stories about Daniel and his three friends; these are found in the first six chapters of the book. Included in this section is the familiar story of Daniel in the lion’s den.

The last half of the book (chapters 7 to 12) contains four visions from God about the future. Because of this, the book of Daniel, along with the book of Revelation, is sometimes called an apocalyptic book, or book about the end times. These visions are easy to understand on a basic level, but their deeper meaning can be challenging to fully grasp.

In some versions of the Bible (the Apocrypha) there are two additional chapters included in the book of Daniel, giving more accounts of his life and actions.

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Books of the Bible

Deuteronomy

The Book of Deuteronomy in the BibleDeuteronomy is the book of laws, but not laws in a narrow, legal sense, but rather in a narrative format as presented by Moses at God‘s direction.

The book of Deuteronomy is comprised of three speeches of Moses that cover these laws (chapters 1 to 4), regulations (chapters 4 to 28), and expectations (chapters 29 to 30).

The book ends with a change in leadership from Moses to Joshua.

Deuteronomy is one of the four most quoted books in the New Testament (the others being Isaiah, Psalms, and Genesis).

The authorship of Deuteronomy is attributed to Moses, since he was the orator of the three messages (or sermons) contained in the book.