Inductive Bible Studies,

[Copyright by W. R. HARPER, 1887.]

PREPARED BY PROFESSORS W. R. HARPER (Yale University), W. G. BALLANTINE (Oberlin Theol. Sem.), WILLIS J. BEECHER (Auburn Theol. Sem.), and G. S. BURROUGHS (Amherst College).


First Study.—Introductory.

[The material of this "study" is furnished largely by Professor Beecher, though in part by Professors Burroughs and Harper. It is edited by Professor Harper.]



[These "notes," though in small type, are introductory both to the short and to the long courses.]

1. Plan. In these "studies" it is proposed to furnish directions for definite work, suggestions as to the best methods of work, references to the best authorities on general and particular topics. The plan of the " studies," as well as the space allotted them, forbids the furnishing of any considerable amount of material.

2. Subject. The Bible itself, not men's ideas about the Bible, will be studied. The events of Bible-history will be taken up in order, and along with these events the different Old Testament writings connected with them.

3. Form. The matter in large type will in itself be complete, and the course thus outlined is intended for those whose time for the study of the lessons is quite limited. The matter in small type is supplementary, for the use of students who have more time. To accomplish the best results, both parts of the " study" should be taken.

4. Requirements.

(1) Absolute mastery of the contents of the biblical passages considered;

(2) Thoughtful study of the biblical topics proposed;

(3) Conscientious verification of biblical references cited;

(4) Careful testing of all statements made by the authors of the studies;

(5) Reading (with pencil and note-book in hand) of such references to the general literature of a topic as time and opportunity will permit;1

(6) Rigid classification of results from whatever source obtained.


1. Classification of Books.

(1) Learn the following general classification:

(a) Pentateuch with Joshua (often called Hexateuch);

(b) Judges (with Ruth), and 1 and 2 Samuel;

(c) 1 and 2 Kings;

(d) 1 and 2 Chronicles with Ezra and Nehemiah.

(2) Classify roughly the poetical and prophetical books of the O. T. according to the connection which they sustain historically to one or another of these four principal works or series of works.

2. Periods of O. T. History.

(1) General periods of these four works:

(a) The first treats of the period up to the time when Israel and the sanctuary were established in Palestine;

(b) The second, of the period when the sanctuary was wandering from place to place (1 Chron. 17:5);

(c) The third, of the period when Solomon's temple was the sanctuary;

(d) The fourth, after reviewing the history contained in the other three, of the times after the destruction of Solomon's temple.

(2) Special periods: The ground covered in these studies, viz., the latter part of the second of these periods, and the whole of the third, may for convenience be subdivided into periods named from the relations then existing between Israel and the great powers of the east:

(a) Pre-Assyrian, including the times of Samuel and David (belonging to our second general period), and from the accession of Solomon to that of Omri (1 Kgs. 16:22, 23).

(b) Early Assyrian, from the accession of Omri to that of Jeroboam II. (2 Kgs. 14:23)-the times of Shalmaneser II. and his immediate successors.

(c) Middle Assyrian, from the accession of Jeroboam II. (of Israel) to that of Hezekiah (of Judah)-the times of Pul (2 Kgs. 15:19; 1 Chron. 5:26), Tiglath-pileser (2 Kgs. 15:29; 16:10; 1 Chron. 5:6), Shalmaneser IV. (2 Kgs. 17:3; 18:9).

(d) Later Assyrian, from the accession of Hezekiah to that of Jehoiakim (2 Kgs. 18:1)-the times of.Sargon (Isa. 20:1), Sennacherib (2 Kgs. 18:13; 19:16; 2 Chron. 32:1), Esar-haddon (2 Kgs. 19:37; Isa. 37:38; Ez. 4:2), Assur-banipal (Ez. 4:10?).

(e) Babylonian, extending to and beyond the destruction of the temple (2 Kgs. 25:8, 9).

3. Sources of Information.

(1) Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles;

(2) Other Old Testament books belonging to the period;

(3) The geography of the localities named;

(4) Literature and monuments outside of the Old Testament (before the Assyrian periods, meagre).

4. Special Topics.

(1) Duration of each kingdom after the division;

(2) Number of kings, number of dynasties, in each kingdom; (3) Average length of reigns;

(4) General attitude of prophets toward the kings in each kingdom;

(5) Causes leading to the earlier fall of northern kingdom (2 Kgs. 17:7-23);

(6) The use of geographical material in historical and literary study;

(7) The sources, varieties, contents and character of what is called monumental literature.

5. Distribution of the Books. Either because of the date when they were written, or because of the connection between their contents and the events of the periods, the following books come within the scope of these studies:

(1) To the times before Solomon, such Psalms as were written by David and his contemporaries.2

(2) To the Pre-Assyrian times, Prov. 1-24, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, and the Solomonic Psalms.

(3) To the Middle Assyrian, Joel and Obadiah(?); Jonah, Amos, and Hosea; and Zechariah (9-14) (?).

(4) To the Later Assyrian, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, the last chapters of Proverbs, and some Psalms.

(5) To the Babylonian, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations. Ezekiel and Daniel are to be taken as post-exilic, though the events mentioned in them are largely contemporaneous with those mentioned in Jeremiah. Job is omitted, though assigned by many to the period here treated. This classification is in several instances somewhat uncertain; but the doubtful cases must be left for later consideration.

6. Chronology. For events previous to the later Assyrian period the chronology will not be given in terms of the year B. C. The differences of opinion are here so radical that such dates can be nothing but a source of confusion, except to one who has studied the conflicting systems now current; but one can gain a clear time-conception of these events if he will keep distinct

(1) the dates up to the death of Solomon,

(2) the remaining dates of the pre-Assyrian and early Assyrian times, and

(3) those of the middle Assyrian times. With such a time-idea, one can form his own opinion as to the date B. C.


1. Study upon a map the outline of Palestine, until you can draw, rapidly and without aid, a rough sketch of the country, including

(1) the coast-line;

(2) the Sea of Galilee with the Jordan and the Dead Sea; and

(3) the mountain ranges.

2. Ascertain

(1) the length and average breadth of the country;

(2) the height of Mt. Zion and the depth of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea below the Mediterranean.

3. Locate upon the map ten of the principal mountains and cities or villages, calculating their relative distances from one another, and indicating the routes of communication between them.4

4. As an exercise, combining history and geography, select particular sites, e. g., Bethel (1 Sam. 7: 16),and

(1) collect from the concordance (Young's is the best) the several passages of Scripture connected with it.5

(2) Note all geographical allusions made to it.

(3) Note in chronological order the historical events referred to.

(4) Picture the events in connection with the site, filling in with details relating to customs, manners, dress, etc.


1) Helpful information in connection with these studies will be found in Smith's "Bible Dictionary," Boston, Houghton,Mfflin & Co.; the Schaff-Herzog "Enc. of Biblical Knowledge," New York, Funk & Wagnalls; McClintock and Strong's "Cyclop.," New York, Haper Brothers; Geikie's " Hours with the Bible," New York, James Pott & Co.; Stanley's " Jewish Church," New York, Chas. Scribner's Sons; Lenormant's "Ancient History of the East," book ii.; Blaikie's " Bible History," including history of social life, the history of other nations, etc., New York, T. Nelson & Sons; Smith's "O. T. History;" Briggs' "Bible Study" and "Messianic Prophecy," New York, Chas. Scrbner's Sons; Orelli's " O. T. Prophecy," New York, Scribner& Welford; Delitzsch's "O. T. History of Redemption," New York, Scribner & Welford; Edersheim's "Prophecy and History in Relation to the Messiah," New York, A. D. F. Radolph, etc.

Among commentaries should be placed first, for convenience of size, cheapness of cost, and concise, valuable information, the series in the "Cambridge Bible for Schools," e. g., Kirkpatrick's 1 and 2 Samuel,2 vols., price 3s. 6d. each; handy, condensed, clear, with Introduction, Appendix, and Index; good books to buy. Valuable are Lange's Commentaries, New York, Chas. Seriber's Sons; Keil and Delitzsch's Commentaries,New York, Seribner& Welford; The Pulp i Commentary, New York, A. D. F. Randolph.

2) The Psalms whose claim to belong to this class should be considered, include, among others, the following classes: (1) Those of the first of the five books of the Psalter, (2) all additional Psalms that, in the Hebrew, and therefore in the English, have the name of David, Asaph, Heman, and Ethan or Jeduthun in their titles, and (3) all additional Psalms that seem to be attributed to David by the New Testament, the books of Chronicles, the additional titles found in the Septuagint, or other ancient sources of information. Of course we cannot delay to determine in how many cases the considering of these claims would result in substantiating them, and this is unnecessary, since our study must, at best, include but a few of the whole number.

3) Henderson, "Palestine " (Hand-books for Bible-classes), Edinburgh, T.&T. Clark; Hurlbut, "Manual of Biblical Geography," Chicago, Rand, MeNally & Co.; H. B. Tristram, "The Topography of the Holy Land; The Natural History of the Bible," New York, James Pott & Co.; Merrill's " East of the Jordan," New York, Chas. Scrbner's Sons; "The Land of Moab," New York, Harper Brothers; Stanley's "Sinai and Palestine," New York, A. C. Armstrong & Son; the well known "The Land and the Book " of W. M. Thomson, New York, Harper &Brothers; "Tent Work in Palestine," C. R. Conder, New York, D. Appleton & Co.; the books of Edward Robinson, "Physical Geography of the Holy Land," "Biblical Researches in Palestine and in the Adjacent Regions," " Later Biblical Researches," etc., Boston, Houghton, Miffin & Co. Particularly serviceable are the articles in Smith's " Bible Dictionary."

4) The student is recommended to purchase the cheap wall-map prepared by Dr. H. S. Osborn, Oxford, Ohio, or for more accurate study the maps of Western Palestine, published by the Palestine Exploration Fund, illustrating the Old Testament. London, Edward Stanford.

5) Gen. 28:19; 12:8; 13:8; 81:13; 35:1, 8, 6, 8,15,16; Josh. 7:2; 8:9, 12, 17; 12:9, 16; 16:1, 2; 8:1 13,22; Jud. 1:22,23; 4:6; 21:19; 1Sam. 7:16; 10:3; 13:2; 30:27; 1 Kgs. 12:29,32,33; 13:1,4,10,11, 32; 2 Kgs. 2:2,3, 23; 10:29; 17:28; 23:4,1,17, 19; 1Chron.7:28; 2 Chron. 13:19; Ez.2:28; Neh. 7:82; 11:31;Jer. 48:13; Hos. 10:15; 12:4; Amos.8:14; 4:4; 5:5,6; 7:10,13.