Welcome to our new study: Judges! The era of the judges was a dark time for the people of Israel – a time of rampant sin, idolatry, and rebellion against the God who loved them and kept calling them back to Himself. The theme verse of Judges paints a picture of just how bleak things really were:
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.Judges 21:25
The title pic for this study is meant to evoke the image of the people of God walking down a road broken by their sin, surrounding themselves with so much darkness and evil it all but blocks out the lamp for their feet and the light for their path. But we will see the love of God continuing to beam down on His people, dappling their darkness with spots of His marvelous light.
Could it be that Judges is just the book God’s people should be studying today?
If you’re new to using my Bible studies, just a few housekeeping items and helpful hints:
The studies I’ve written (you can find all of them at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) are like “training wheels”. They’re designed to teach you how to study the Bible for yourself (or teach it to others) and what kinds of questions to ask of the text so that, when you get the hang of it, you won’t have to depend on other people’s books and materials – even mine – any more. To that end, I do not provide answers for the study questions in the studies I’ve written.
My studies are meant to be extremely flexible and self-paced so that you can use them in the way that works best for you. You can do an entire lesson in one day or work on the questions over the course of the week (or longer). You do not need to feel obligated to answer all (or any) of the questions. If the Holy Spirit parks you on one question for several days, enjoy digging deep into that one aspect of the lesson. If He shows you something I haven’t written a question about that captures your attention, dive in and study it! Those are ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word. This is your time to commune with the Lord, not a school assignment or work project you are beholden to complete in a certain way by a certain deadline.
I will post a new lesson on the blog every Wednesday, so there is nothing to sign up for or commit to. Simply stop by the blog each week, or subscribe to the blog via e-mail to have the lessons delivered to your inbox.
I use hyperlinks liberally. The Scriptures for each lesson will be linked at the beginning of the lesson and in the lesson questions. As you’re reading the lesson, whenever you see a word in a different color text, click on it, and it will take you to a Scripture, article, or other resource that will help as you study.
All of the studies I’ve written are suitable for groups or individuals. You are welcome to use them as a Sunday school or Bible study class curriculum (for free) with proper attribution.
You are also welcome to print out any of my Bible studies (or any article I’ve written) for free and make as many copies as you’d like, again, with proper attribution. I’ve explained more about that in this article (3rd section).
Introduction to Judges
Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…
Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.
Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.
What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.
What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?
What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.
When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.
So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of Judges, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.
Read the following overviews of the book of Judges, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:
Bible Introductions: Judges at Grace to You
Overview of the Book of Judges at Reformed Answers
Summary of the Book of Judges at Got Questions
1. Who wrote the book of Judges? How do we know (or why do we not know) this?
2. Approximately when was Judges written? What is the geographical setting of the book of Judges? Here are some maps (scroll down to “Judges”) that may be helpful as you study through the book of Judges.
3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of Judges? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of Judges.
4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of Judges: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?
5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Judges?
6. What are some of the major topics of instruction or exhortation in the book of Judges? How do these topics relate to the theme of Judges?
7. What are some ways Judges points to and connects to Jesus?
8. What else did you learn about the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?
Take some time in prayer this week to begin preparing your heart for this study. Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding for the text, and an increased hatred for sin and hunger for holiness, as we study Judges together.