Those of us who are using the Christian Light Publications Sunday School booklets will be studying excerpts from the OT books of Kings and Chronicles during September and October. (You can purchase an e-book teachers’ guide here.)
How can you best prepare to be a contributing class member or teacher as you study these books?
First, nothing beats prayerfully reading and re-reading Scripture itself. See here for Bible reading tips that are sure to increase your understanding.
That said, don’t imagine the “just me and Jesus” approach to Bible interpretation is best! Carefully reading what other Bible students have discovered about Scripture can bring amazing payoffs! (See here for “Why I Use Commentaries” and other study resources.)
So here are some resources I would consider for studying Kings and Chronicles. A good commentary or two will be helpful:
- Iain Provan’s commentary on 1 and 2 Kings. This is an obvious choice—many reviewers agree it is the single best commentary on Kings, it is designed for ordinary Bible students, the author believes that Kings is historically trustworthy, and it is even cheap. (I own this one but have not used it much yet.)
- You will also find Dale Ralph Davis’s expository commentaries (1 Kings, 2 Kings) both theologically insightful and entertaining. (I own five of Davis’s commentaries and have enjoyed using the ones on 1 and 2 Samuel.)
- For more Kings commentaries, see my OT Detailed Lists.
- Raymond Dillard’s commentary on 2 Chronicles is the classic scholarly evangelical work on that book.
- Andrew Hill’s commentary is newer, well-researched, but less technical, designed for preachers, with both exegesis and application suggestions. (I own this one but have not used it much yet.)
- Martin Selman’s commentary is also accessible, conservative, and based on good scholarship (but not as new as Hill’s).
- For more Chronicles commentaries, see my OT Detailed Lists.
Books on the history of the nation of Israel might also be helpful. (Note that these span much or all of Israel’s biblical history, not just the time of Kings and Chronicles.) Here are some history books I would consider:
- McConville and Satterthwaite’s book Exploring the Old Testament, Vol. 2: A Guide to the Historical Books. This is a good place to start—it’s very recent, designed for students, and not too long.
- David Howard’s book An Introduction to the Old Testament Historical Books covers similar ground, but more deeply.
- For those who want to study Israel’s history more deeply, John Bright’s book A History of Israel remains a classic conservative scholarly book on the topic.
- Denver Seminary professors have many more suggestions.
Many online resources are also available, but I have not reviewed many for usefulness. (While I use online Bibles and concordances regularly, I usually stick to print or e-books for commentaries and other resources. Often these have been edited and tested more carefully.) However, here are two online resources from basically reputable sources—a tiny hint of much more you might find:
- An article on “The Reliability of Kings and Chronicles” which focuses on chronological problems and includes a possible timeline of the kings.
- An 8 minute video on the decline of Israel during the time of the kings. (Click on “Decline” and scroll down to “Learn” for the video.) This is part of a free online Bible study tool that surveys the whole Bible. It is designed for both individuals and groups.
What other resources would you suggest? Share your favorite resources in the comments below. Thank you!