Overview of Minor Prophets

The minor prophets span a period of the Old Testament of over 400 years, beginning approximately around 820 BC with Jonah and ending in 400 BC with Malachi.

The Minor prophets serve not only in the northern and southern kingdoms but also take their messages to the Assyrians and Edomites.  In all, three prophets – Hosea, Amos, and Micah – preach to the northern kingdom.  Jonah, Obadiah, and Nahum are sent to speak to the Gentiles.  The other six minor prophets preach to the southern kingdom – or the returned exiles of the southern kingdom.

The minor prophets tell a considerable amount about what will take place in the future and give us just as much information about the coming of the Messiah as the “major” prophets do.  However, prophecy is often misunderstood the job of a prophet is not just to tell the future.  Instead, a prophet’s job is actually just to speak for God.  Some of this takes the place in predicting the future but often it is just a matter of warning of impending judgment.

There is no apparent order in the way that the minor prophets have been placed in the Old Testament.  If there was a specific reason when they were compiled, that reason has been lost to antiquity.  The books are not separated by size, by recipient, nor chronologically.  However, the last three books of the Old Testament do happen to be the last three books written.

The overview of the minor prophets below is taken in part by “Grow in His Word” by Dennis Miller.

Hosea

  • Theme – Israel’s harlotry
  • Purpose – To show how God’s wife had become unfaithful
  • Key word – prostitution (14 times)

Joel

  • Theme – Day of the Lord
  • Purpose – Plague becomes a reminder of sin
  • Key word – Day of the Lord (20 times)

Amos

  • Theme – God must judge sin
  • Purpose – Prosperity has led to sin and judgment
  • Key word – transgression (12 times)

Obadiah

  • Theme – Judgment of Edom
  • Purpose – Judgment because of pride
  • Key word – Edom (9 times)

Jonah

  • Theme – Repentance from sin
  • Purpose – God’s concern for all men, even Gentiles

Micah

  • Theme – Enough is enough
  • Purpose – Sin is too much, God must judge
  • Key word – desolate (4 times)

Nahum

  • Theme – Nineveh’s sin/judgment
  • Purpose – Nineveh in sin again, God must judge
  • Key word – vengeance (3 times)

Habakkuk

  • Theme – Just shall live by faith
  • Purpose – God answers a prophet’s questions

Zephaniah

  • Theme – Judgment of sin
  • Purpose – To warn the people and remnant of judgment
  • Key word – Day of the Lord (20 times)

Haggai

  • Theme – Building the temple
  • Purpose – Encourage people to rebuild the temple
  • Key word – Lord’s House (8 times)

Zechariah

  • Theme – Two advents of Christ
  • Purpose – Show the two advents of Christ
  • Key word – Word of the Lord (14 times)

Malachi

  • Theme – Israel turns, again!
  • Purpose – Backslidden again, God’s disgust
  • Key word – “You say” (11 times)

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