Minor Prophets Introduction

Minor Prophets Introduction

Minor Prophets Introduction.

The twelve “minor prophets” were so named because Augustine, about 17 centuries ago, thought that would be a suitable term for them. His thought was that since these twelve books were generally shorter in length than the “major prophets” (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel), then they should be called “minor.” The problem with that train of thought is that readers are misled into thinking that the minor prophets are lessĀ  important, have nothing especially meaningful to say. So, compared to the majors, some might think, these minors can rightfully be ignored. That’s too bad, of course, because the minor prophets are still Scripture, and they have a lot to say about ancient Israel and God’s character. And they have important insights for us in the 21st century. In this case, it’s entirely okay to major in the minors.

In the Christian Old Testament, the minor prophets are separate books tucked away in the end of the OT. In the Hebrew Bible, these prophets are considered one book, a collection of prophetic books which is named “The Twelve.” Although the dating of the books are much debated, we do know the minor prophets were written between the 8th and 4th centuries BC. Because the dates of the books are somewhat uncertain, their historical chronology is uncertain as well. The minor prophets are listed below according to the latest biblical scholarship. You’ll find this chronology below varies from the list given in the Bible.

The twelve minor prophets preached the word of the Lord in a variety of ways. They wrote using many genres, including poetry, song, apocalyptic, narrative, wisdom literature, and sermons. Regardless of style of communication, the minor prophets had a mission from Yahweh, and nothing was going to get in their way. Even a giant fish helped a prophet to complete God’s mission. These prophets were tapped on the shoulder by the Lord, and they all had their work cut out for them. Whether it was encouraging disobedient people to repent, or directing wayward people to return to God, or reminding the people of God’s eventual but certain triumph, the prophets would easily switch from preaching the word (forth-telling) to proclaiming future deliverance and restoration (fore-telling). They consistently warned of impending judgments, expressing God’s indignation of evil. Social justice was a common theme, as was the call to righteousness. The gloom and doom was usually balanced by a joyful hope in the eventual future. When one reads the minor prophets, the reader acquires a first-hand look at ancient Israel, a taste of Jesus’ gospel story, and God’s promise of glory in the age to come.