How to Read the Major Prophets Devotionally

Mike McKinley | November 28, 2016

Some things are easier to read than others. When we open a newspaper or a website or a novel, we normally know intuitively what’s going on. We don’t have to labor to understand what the author is trying to say or what literary devices he’s using to communicate his message. But when we try to read the prophetic books of the Old Testament, we’re often waist-deep in a mix of unfamiliar genres with rules and conventions we don’t understand. Add in a few thousand years and a vast cultural difference, and it can be hard to know what to do with these books. As a result, many Christians are intimidated by the idea of reading them devotionally.

This is especially true of the “Major Prophets.” We often divide Old Testament prophetic books into “major” prophets (like Jeremiah) and “minor” prophets (like Amos)—not because one is more important than the other, but because of the length of their writing. And that length can add to the difficulty; if reading a minor prophet feels like crossing a river, reading a major prophet can feel like swimming across an ocean.

Mining the Major Prophets 

The New Testament authors repeatedly mine these Major Prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel—for themes and prophecies…

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