Friday, December 15, 2017




  • Heidi was the featured artist at the "Bell Tea" for Downey First Baptist. This annual event always sells out to a crowd of about 300. Heidi did a live painting of an original piece of art while she sang, quoted extensive portions of scripture, and intermittently shared a devotional message. She also prepared inspirational jewelry and prints for purchase. You can watch it here on Heidi's YouTube channel: "Love Came Down: The Bell Tea at Downey First Baptist."

  • At church we've been encouraged to see some growth and a good spirit of service. We received 10 new members in December. All this despite losing our steeple to termites! A replacement campaign is underway.
  • Rebekah and Hannah both performed very well in various concerts for the Orange County Music Association and at church. Hannah turned 6 shortly after Thanksgiving, and Rebekah will turn 8 before the year turns.
  • In addition to teaching Art at Village Bible Academy, Heidi also began teaching a course in Bible Memorization.
  • In the middle of the semester, Scott began to teach an online course (undergraduate) for The Master's University. 
  • Early in the Fall we were encouraged by some new attenders who began working on our church's social media platforms. We now have a  better footprint on Facebook and a YouTube channel:


  • In June we traveled to Sacramento for the wedding of Seth (Heidi's nephew) and Jessica. It was a beautiful wedding on a hot day. We spent a few days in the delta basin before driving down to Morrow Bay on the central coast where we stayed for a few relaxing days.


  • In April Heidi and Scott traveled to Fiji to minister at the Easter Convention for the Fellowship of Bible Churches. Scott had been to Fiji for a conference in 2013, but this was Heidi's first time. Scott spoke 5 times in the 4 day conference, and Heidi spoke each day to one of the kids' sessions and once to a combined ladies' meeting. After the convention, we enjoyed a few days seaside as we belatedly celebrated our 10 year anniversary (Mar 24, 2007). It was wonderful to spend good quality time with our friends, the Choys. We were thankful for family & friends who watched the girls and Shadow during our 9 days away.


  • The year began with a flurry of new activity
    • Heidi began leading the girls in another semester of homeschooling
      • They join with other students on Tuesdays for classes such as Art (which Heidi teaches for the co-op).
      • On Wednesday they took music classes, and Thursdays they took dance classes.
    • Scott began another busy semester of teaching at the seminary, and at church he began a new preaching series in the book of 2 Peter.

  • Scott's book was published digitally at the end of 2016, and a big sales push in mid-January was very successful. Another edition of it will be worked on for the future. Read more about the book at the landing page,

Monday, May 27, 2013

Overview of the Old Testament

I recently taught a 4 part overview of the Old Testament, describing most OT books in 3-6 sentences. Some folks found this quite informative and edifying. The discussion is arranged mostly in the order of books as found in the Hebrew Bible: The Torah, The Prophets, and The Writings. The highlights in the text represent places where the handout that was distributed had blanks.

Review of the Old Testament
M. Scott Bashoor (c) 2013

I.   The Old Testament reveals God’s workings in the world, primarily through his chosen nation Israel, in preparation for the comings of Christ as Lord and Savior of the world.

A.  The Old Testament was written over a 1000 year period.

1.   The oldest portion of the Old Testament is the Torah, written by Moses around 1400 BC.

a.   Now, the Torah begins by recounting the creation and many other events long before Moses’ day.

b.  But the material was written to the generation of Israelites poised to enter the Promised Land.

2.  The book of Job describes earlier events, but it may well have been written much later (perhaps by Solomon).

3.  The last book written was probably Chronicles, written as late as 400 BC.

B.  The term “Testament” is another word for covenant.

1.   The OT speaks of several different covenants, but the one looming largest over it is the Mosaic Covenant.

2.  Not all OT books & passages are about the Mosaic Cov-enant, but all of them were written under its shadow.

C.  The title “Old Testament” is a distinctly Christian one because it implies there is an inspired New Testament.

1.   The Jewish community generally rejects this title or uses it only when in dialogue with Christians.

2.  Most Jews today prefer the title Tanakh, an acronym for the three traditional portions of their Bible.

a.   T” stands to Torah, the Hebrew term for “Law.”

b.  N” stands for Nebi’im, the Hebrew word for “Prophets.”

c.   K” stands for Kethubim, the Hebrew word for “Writings.”

The Stucture of the Hebrew Bible
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Former Prophets
Latter Prophets
Ezra/ Nehemiah
Song of Sol.
The Twelve

d.  Some Jews simply refer to it as the Hebrew Bible.

3.  In politically correct academia, it is common to hear the labels “First Testament” and “Second Testament.”

D.  The arrangement of the Old Testament books in the order in which Christians know it is due to the Septuagint.

1.   The Septuagint (LXX), a project begun around 200 BC, was the first translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek,

2.  Because it was written for Hellenized Jews, it sought to arrange the books according to a more Greek-type logic.

3.  Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Bibles generally follow the order of the LXX, but Protestant Bibles follow the Heb. tradition in excluding the Apocrypha.

4.  The order of the books within each section generally follows a chronological order, but only within sections.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

E.   Each book and section of the OT has a unique contribution to the story of God’s work in the world before Christ.

1.   Sometimes the same lessons are stressed again and again over the centuries, often highlighting man’s brokenness.

2.  But each book has a unique purpose for the original recipients that should be appreciated for all its worth.

3.  The Old Testament will now be reviewed, generally following the order in the Hebrew Bible.

II.  Review of the Torah.

A.  Torah is primarily about how God called the nation Israel to be a kingdom of priests through whom he would make His presence, blessing, & kingdom known to the world.

B.  The five books of Moses were originally one long book.

1.   GENESIS:  An extended introduction to the Mosaic Covenant.

a.   It explains how the world came to be, how it became so corrupt, and how God set out to restore blessing in the earth through chosen people.

b.  The first covenant mentioned in the Bible is the one made with Noah (Gen 8-10). In this covenant God reveals that He has a disposition of grace toward the fallen world which is nonetheless liable to judgment.

c.   In the Abrahamic covenant, God promises to one man that He will use his offspring to bring even greater blessing to the world than what was promised to the creation in Noah’s day.

d.  Many of the stories in the book highlight how God is faithful to His Word even though Abraham’s off-spring find themselves in all kinds of trouble and sin.

2.  EXODUS: Explains how God brought Abraham’s chosen descendants out of profound slavery and established them as a covenant nation.

a.   Moses is raised up by God through unusual circumstances to be God’s mouthpiece and leader.

b.  The people are saved from national and historical bondage, but not necessarily spiritual bondage.

c.   At Mount Sinai, God reveals Himself in spectacular form, announcing that His mighty presence will be with them perpetually, provided they keep the terms of the Mosaic covenant he makes with them there.

d.  The book ends with the laws governing the Tabernacle, the mobile temple in which God’s presence would reside with them.

3.  LEVITICUS: Detailed discussion of the sacrifices, rituals, and regulations to govern worship and everyday life.

a.   Specifies that God requires sacrifices and rituals for the nation to continue to enjoy His presence. (1-10)

b.  Highlights the holiness of God & sinfulness of man.

c.   Establishes the scheme of clean/unclean that impacts all of life; symbolizes the need for purity. (10-15)

d.  Instates the Day of Atonement when all sins can be ritually dealt with, maintaining God’s presence. (16)

e.   Legislates against moral, religious, and symbolic sins which the nation must be on guard against. (17-27)

4.  NUMBERS: Shows God’s mercy in not eliminating Israel for their gross covenant unfaithfulness before they even entered the Promised Land.

a.   Israel leaves Sinai as an organized, obedient nation of about 2 million people. (1-12)

b.  The obedience was short-lived (5 months). After the spies give their report, Israel decides the exodus was a mistake & they should return to Egypt. (12-14)

c.   God is furious but relents in destroying them all. He allows most of the first generation to die off somewhat naturally over 40 years. (15-19)

d.  The 2nd generation prepares to enter the land (20-36).  Happily, 2nd census is almost as high as the 1st.

e.   Unfortunately, they are no less degenerate than their parents. (25). But God keeps His promise to make them a great nation to use them for blessing. (22-24)

5.  DEUTERONOMY: Moses’ last 5 speeches to the 2nd generation of Israel in his last month of ministry.

a.   Speech 1 (1-4): Remembers God’s goodness to Israel, especially in revealing Himself in a world of idolatry.

b.  Speech 2 (4-28): Repeats the 10 Commandments and clarifies/specifies many other points of Law.

1.     All Mosaic Laws somehow connect to those 10.

2.    Ends with the promise of blessings & curses (28).

c.   Speech 3 (29-30): Moses prophesies that Israel will break the covenant, forfeit God’s presence, and be exiled. But God will restore them and one day make a new covenant with them.

d.  Speech 4 (31-32): The Song of Moses. Prophecies about Israel’s apostasy & God’s glorious redemption.

e.   Speech 5 (33-34): A prophecy foretelling God’s bless-ing on the nation, tribe by tribe (cf. Gn 49).

III.Review of the Former and Latter Prophets

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Former Prophets
Latter Prophets
Ezra/ Nehemiah
Song of Sol.
The Twelve


A.  In the Hebrew tradition, many of the books we regard as historical books are considered to be prophetic books. They are prophetic not because they foretell events but because they provide an inspired perspective on Israel’s history.

B.  Each of the four Former Prophets is a logical extension of Deuteronomy, showing how Israel experienced either the blessings or the curses promised in Deut. 28.

1.   JOSHUA: Describes how God led Israel to take the land of Canaan as He promised Abraham in the Torah.

a.   Joshua is charged to be a man of Torah (1) and God miraculously enables Israel to enter the land (1-5).

b.  God enables miraculous victory (when Israel is obedient) thru 3 national military campaigns in the Center, South, and North. (6-12)

c.   Joshua divides the land amongst the tribes; tells them each to complete the conquest of their land. (13-21)

d.  The tribes sin in not taking the land fully, leaving Abraham’s land promise partially unfulfilled. (22-23)

e.   Joshua calls them to follow God alone and warns of inevitable judgment to come. (24)

2.  JUDGES: Describes the incredibly horrific fallout of Israel’s unfaithfulness to the Mosaic Covenant

a.   The tribes fail to clear out the Canaanites as the Law required so the pagans become a snare to them. (1-3)

b.  Israel falls into vicious cycles of gross sin, judgment, desperation, and deliverance. God intermittently raises up 12 judges to deliver & govern Israel. (4-13).

c.   The prophetic author writes an appendix of stories from the period which show how morally decrepit and apostate the nation had become. (17-21)

d.  The repeated refrain is that because there was no king in Israel, people did whatever they wanted. They needed the right leader to guide them in the ways of God to inherit the promises.

2b. RUTH (from The Writings): Describes how God’s sover-eign grace was at work in the dark days of the Judges.

a.   The story of a family from Bethlehem that knew only tragedy, bad decisions, and a bleak future.

b.  God sovereignly intervenes and restores their place in the society, and secures them a place in history.

c.   Shows how God was at work in the line of David (God’s choice) before Saul was ever even heard of.

3.  SAMUEL: Describes how Israel transitions from a being nation to a kingdom governed by the line of David.

a.   The nation emerges from the dark time of the judges under the national leadership of Samuel.

b.  The nation wants a king like the other nations but are not content to wait for God’s choice.

c.   God allows them to have a king of their liking so they can see the folly of their sinful choices.

d.  David was God’s choice all along, and God enacts a covenant with him that his line would never die.

e.   Sadly, David fails to lead fully need the nation into covenant faithfulness as he himself falls into sin.

4.  KINGS: Describes how the kingdom slid further and further into covenant unfaithfulness, finally bringing the curses of the Mosaic Covenant to fulfillment.

a.   Solomon leads Israel into its greatest physical glory, but he’s no David in terms of his devotion.

b.  The kingdom splits into North and South as part of God’s discipline on the house of David.

c.   God’s choice still lays with David’s line, however—a choice that’s evident by the apostasy of the North.

d.  God raises up many prophets to warn both realms, but the covenant curses finally fall in 722 & 586 BC.

C.  The Latter Prophets are recorded oracles of individual prophets who expose the sins of the North and South and foretell of coming judgment and glory.

1.   ISAIAH:  Prophet in Jerusalem in the late 700’s BC who warned that God would go to war for the holiness of Judah/Israel.

a.   He prophesied over a period of 40 years, and many of his messages were compiled into a massive book.

b.  The first half of the book focuses mostly on Judah’s sins and how God was going to war against her.

c.   Near the end of the century, God delays the fall of judgment due to King Hezekiah’s faithfulness.

d.  The 2nd half of the book is written largely for the benefit of Jews who’d come out of the exile, assuring them that God would redeem them.

e.   The ultimate hope of their redemption would come in the form of Suffering Servant who would save Israel from its greatest enemy—its own sin.

2.  JEREMIAH: Prophet in Jerusalem who warned about and witnessed the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

a.   Most of the book is a collection of sharp indictments and dire warnings of nearly inevitable judgment.

b.  But he holds out hope to the nation to the end.

c.   He personally suffers under tremendous opposition.

d.  The middle chapters announce that God will one day enact a New Covenant with Israel that will change them internally, making them faithful.

2b. LAMENTATIONS (from the Writings): Jeremiah laments the Jerusalem’s destruction, writing 5 poems of mourn-ing & repentance to channel the grief for the survivors. Middle verse is, “Great is Your Faithfulness.”

3.  EZEKIEL: Aspiring priest taken into Babylonian exile who foresaw the departure of God’s glory from Jerus-alem & its ultimate return when He restored His people.

a.   His entire prophetic ministry was lived out in Babylon, but he was transported in spirit to witness the apostasy and devastation of Jerusalem.

b.  He witnessed the glory of God numerous times: his calling, God’s departure from Jerusalem, and God’s eventual return to His people.

c.   He reveals that though Israel was under judgment, they had not utterly lost God’s presence.

4.  THE TWELVE: The Minor Prophets, traditionally bound together in a single scroll, warn of judgment and glory associated with “The Day of the Lord.”

b.  Prophets during the Divided Kingdom:

(1) HOSEA: Northern prophet who signified God would divorce Israel but one day bring her back.

(2)JOEL: Early prophet who warned of impending judgment and the final Day of the Lord.

(3)AMOS: Shepherd turned prophet who went North to confront Israel for its luxuriant iniquity.

(4)OBADIAH: Announces judgment on Edom for gloating over one of Jerusalem’s invasions.

(5)JONAH: Reluctant prophet from Israel to Nineveh who sees the city repent & God spare it. Teaches Israel to desire the repentance of nations.

(6)MICAH: Contemporary of Isa; Judgment is com-ing to Jerusalem, but God will one day raise up a righteous Ruler to bring in the promised glory.

c.   Prophets during the Surviving Kingdom:

(1) NAHUM: Dramatically foretells the fall of Nineveh a few months before it occurs.

(2)HABAKKUK: Contemporary of Jer.; Records his dialogue with God about the fairness of coming judgment; finds hope in the ancient promises.

(3)ZEPHANIAH:  Contemporary of Jer.; Foretells judgment will fall on all the nations before a time of unparalleled blessing in restored Israel.

d.  Prophets after the Exile

(1) HAGGAI: Challenges returnees to put God first & rebuild the temple before improving their homes.

(2)ZECHARIAH: Encourages returnees that God re-members His ancient promises, & will place the Davidic throne over all the troubled world.

(3)MALACHI: Tackles the sins of the returnees with 6 disputations, urging them to repent and wait for the next installment of God’s plan.

IV.Review of the WRITINGS:  Books with a stronger focus on God’s dealing with individuals who often serve as examples. Contains some of the most perplexing books (e.g. Job, Eccless, Song of Sol., Esther) & wide-spread books (Psalms, Chronicles).

A.  PSALMS: Collection of musical prayers & praises centered around God’s kingship & the earthly kingdom he founded.

1.   Half are written by David, but others by various persons over a 1000 year period, the whole span of OT writing.

2.  Includes songs of the individual & for the congregation.

3.  Includes psalms with lament, pleas, praise, thanksgiving, remembrance, royal promise, and wisdom.

B.  JOB: Records the extreme suffering of a righteous man and the faulty assessments he and his friends make about it.

1.   Satan wagers with God that righteous Job will forsake Him if his wealth and health are taken away.

2.  Job suffers terribly, not knowing the cosmic cause.

3.  His friends assume he earned his sorrows, an idea he angrily rejects. Most of the book is their disputes.

4.  God corrects Job for the way he responds to the trials, teaching him that God is over all and trustworthy.

C.  PROVERBS: Collection of insightful sayings about living life wisely in a fallen world.

1.   Written mostly by Solomon, but includes the words of other wise men in the latter third of the book.

2.  Presented as instruction of a father to his son.

3.  Provides proverbs (not promises) on how wise & godly action leads to blessing & avoids bad consequences.


D.   Ruth (discussed earlier)


E.   SONG OF SOLOMON: Poems celebrating the bliss of marital love and sexuality.

1.   Written by Solomon about his (?) pursuit of a young woman and the tenderness and difficulties involved.

2.  Shows how that even in a fallen world, God desires marriage to be a union of intimate love and joy.

F.   ECCLESIASTES: Musings of Solomon about the meaning of life in light of its perplexities, irregularities, & inequities.

1.   Provides an alternative form of wisdom for life’s problems when proverbial wisdom doesn’t fit.

2.  Long, sometimes rambling discussions mirror the complexities and ambiguities of life.

3.  Life may seem futile, temporal, and meaningless, but there’s a God above it all who sees more than we.

G.   LAMENTATIONS: Discussed earlier


H. ESTHER: Shows God’s providence in preserving His people in a godless land in godless era of their history.

1.   Esther and her older cousin Mordecai, Jews living in the Babylonian exile, are thrust into pivotal positions.

2.  Haman, another exile from Palestine, convinces the king of Persia to eliminate the Jews. But the Jewess Esther has become Queen & convinces the king to spare the Jews.

3.  God’s name is never mentioned, and the Jews involved may not be godly—but God is preserving His people.

I.   DANIEL: Reveals God’s plan to reinstate his kingdom on earth after a long period of Gentile world domination.

1.   Daniel was a young Jew taken away into Babylonian exile who ascended into high ranks of servitude.

2.  He and his friends serve as examples of godliness while living in the midst of a godless culture in a godless age.

3.  He adds to Jeremiah’s revelation about the restoration: The Jews would return home after 70 years, but the kingdom would not be restored for 70 times 7 years.

4.  Foresees the rise of Persia, Greece, Rome, and the work of Anti-Christ in the end times.

5.  Celebrates the coming King, His Kingdom, and the resurrection through which the saints of the ages will inherit the kingdom on earth.

J.   EZRA/NEHEMIAH: Describes the struggles of the Jews who return from Babylonian exile, God’s faithfulness to them, the godly leaders raised up, and the people’s continued failure to live up to the requirements of the Torah.

1.   Three waves of returnees come back over the course of a century. Ezra and Nehemiah come back in the last 2 waves and lead the people in religious reforms.

2.  Some progress is made, but it’s clear that things will never be what they were until something new happens.

3.  The people are back, the temple is rebuilt, but the Shekinah is not there, and the people are not renewed.

4.  The stories confirm that Israel must wait for the New Covenant of which Jeremiah foretold and the Messiah who will enact it.

K.  CHRONICLES: Retells the major points of the Old Testament to encourage Jews after the exile of God’s plan to reestablish the throne of David and to dwell with His people in a glorious kingdom.

1.   Begins with a long series of genealogies which help the Jews understand their place in the world.

2.  Ends with the decree of Persian King Cyrus authorizing the repatriation and rebuilding of Judah; But the book is written at least a century later (as the genealogies indicate). Probably the last OT book written.

3.  Highlights the rise of the House of David and his work in preparing for the House of God.

4.  Focuses on the kings of the South through which the Davidic line was maintained.

5.  Acknowledges their covenant failures & God’s judgment but lifts up their virtues as worthy of emulation.

6.  Indicates that the descendants of David were still with Israel after the exile, leaving alive the ancient promises of a glorious kingdom to come.