Who wrote the Psalms? Hint: it wasn’t just David

I grew up assuming two things about the book of Psalms, and they both turned out to be wrong:

  1. Psalms is the longest book of the Bible (see what the longest book actually is).
  2. Psalms was written by David.

David didn’t write the book of Psalms. In fact, David only wrote about half of the Psalms—73 out of all 150, to be precise (though the Latin Vulgate and Septuagint credit a few more to him).

Continue reading “Who wrote the Psalms? Hint: it wasn’t just David”

Exodus: God saves His people from Egypt

Overview of Exodus

The book of Exodus is the story of God rescuing the children of Israel from Egypt and making them His people. Exodus is the second book of the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses), and it’s where we find the stories of the Ten Plagues, the first Passover, the parting of the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments.

Continue reading “Exodus: God saves His people from Egypt”

“How Blessed”: based on Psalm 1

Some of you may know that Laura is a composer, and fewer of you know that I like writing songs here and there. =)

One thing we’ve found to be a particularly rewarding weekend activity: writing singable worship songs based on the Psalms. I’ll share more on this soon, but in the meantime . . .

Jonah: God’s compassion for all nations

Jonah free bible icon

Author: Jonah
Group: Minor Prophets
Theme verse: “Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.” (Jon 4:2)

Summary of Jonah

God had created all mankind, but He’d chosen one special nation as His own: Israel. Through Israel, all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gn 12:3). God had given Israel His laws through Moses (back in Exodus), and called them by His name (2 Sa 7:23). Through Israel, the world would know who God is.

Nineveh, on the other hand . . .

Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and a place of great wickedness. So the Lord tells a prophet named Jonah to “Arise, go to Nineveh, and cry against it” (Jon 1:2).

But Jonah does something entirely unexpected: he boards a ship headed in the opposite direction. The Lord sends a mighty storm after him, which threatens to destroy the vessel. Jonah confesses to the sailors that he is a Hebrew, and that he is trying to escape Yahweh’s presence.

His proposed solution: “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you” (Jon 1:12). They do so, and the sea calms—and all the sailors recognize the God who spared them.

Then comes the part everyone remembers: Jonah is swallowed by a “great fish.” He prays from within the fish, and God has it vomit him onto the land.

Now we’re back to square one. God tells Jonah to arise and go to Nineveh, and this time Jonah obeys. He walks through the evil city, heralding Nineveh’s impending doom: in just 40 days, Nineveh will be overthrown.

The Ninevites do the unexpected: they repent.

And God relents.

And Jonah is not OK with this.

The author of JonahAuthors of the Bible Jonah

Jonah is traditionally credited as the author of the book named after him. If that’s the case, he must have had a moment of clarity after the events took place!

The structure of Jonah

Jonah has only four chapters, which makes it easy to outline the book chapter-by-chapter:

  1. God directs Jonah, Jonah disobeys (Jon 1)
  2. God has compassion on Jonah (Jonah 2)
  3. Jonah preaches to Nineveh, Nineveh repents (Jonah 3)
  4. God has compassion on Nineveh, but Jonah does not (Jonah 4)

But it gets more interesting if we look beyond the chapter layer.

The book of Jonah can be divided down the middle to show two short episodes: God’s compassion to Jonah and God’s compassion through Jonah. And when you look at these two episodes side-by-side, you’ll see some rather obvious similarities:

Jonah 1–2, God’s compassion to Jonah Jonah 3–4, God’s compassion through Jonah
1. God sends Jonah to Nineveh. 1. God sends Jonah to Nineveh.
2. Jonah disobeys. 2. Jonah obeys.
3. God’s judgment comes after Jonah in a storm, and Jonah tells his shipmates that the storm is from Yahweh, the Hebrew God. 3. Jonah warns that God’s judgment is coming to Nineveh.
4. The sailors pray to Him, “do not let us perish.” 4. Nineveh repents and calls on God “so that [they] will not perish.”
5. The storm subsides, and the crew is spared. 5. God relents, and Nineveh is spared.
6. Jonah prays to God when he is in trouble (in the fish). 6. Jonah prays to God when he is in trouble (in the scorching heat)
7. Jonah is answered: the fish spits him onto dry land. 7. Jonah is answered: God chides him for not having compassion on Nineveh

Jonah’s role in the Bible

Jonah is the most widely known of the Minor Prophets, the last 12 books of the Old Testament. When God had a message for the people, He spoke through the prophets. His word came in visions, oracles, dreams, parables, and the like. Most of these book were written to the people of Israel and Judah, but Jonah, Obadiah, and Nahum are more concerned with surrounding nations.

These Minor Prophet books record those messages. They outline the people’s sins, the consequences of those sins, and the proper response to God. 

Well, except the book of Jonah. It’s a story, not a sermon. It focuses on the prophet, not the people. And Jonah contains hardly any prophecy at all . . . only one line: “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown” (Jon 3:4). Among the books of the Bible, Jonah is a bit of an oddball.

But fast-forward to the New Testament, and you’ll see Jesus referring to Jonah as a sign of the Messiah:

Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” (Mt 12:40–41)

Jonah’s life events told some of Christ’s story, and his message foreshadowed Christ’s message: repent!

But Jonah isn’t all about repentance. It’s also a story of God’s compassion for all peoples, not just Israel. Remember the two-episode breakdown of Jonah above? In both episodes, the Hebrew (Jonah) gets people from other nations to recognize God’s sovereignty and compassion . . . even when he disobeys.

The book of Second Kings tells us that Jonah had a prophesied about Israel’s king Jeroboam II (2 Ki 14:25), which means his ministry may have overlapped with those of Hoesa (Hos 1:1) and Amos (Am 1:1; 7:11), who also preached to Israel during Jeroboam’s reign.

Through the book of Jonah, we see God’s compassion for Nineveh when they repent. But Nineveh’s repentance is not permanent: they return to violence and wickedness. The Assyrians (whose capital is Nineveh) come against Israel and carry her off into exile (2 Ki 17:6). Nineveh becomes so wicked that the Lord chooses another prophet, Nahum, to speak against it. But this time, there’s no way out (Na 2:13).

However, God’s story of compassion for the nations has only just begun. Later, there will arise yet another Prophet who will obey and submit to God (Php 2:8), who will be a light to the Gentiles (Lk 2:32), who will make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19–20) . . .

More pages related to Jonah

  • Nahum (a follow-up prophecy to Nineveh)
  • Obadiah (also written to one of Israel’s neighboring nations)
  • Hosea (also a prophet in the Northern Kingdom)
  • Amos (also a prophet in the Northern Kingdom)

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 Bible verse art by Laura Kranz.

All 66 Books of the Bible

siteheader.overviewbible.com-online-bible-guide.pngNews flash: the Bible is huge: about 611,000 words long, all divvied up across 66 smaller documents called “books.”

That’s because the Bible is a collection of writings from different authors writing at different times. In some ways, that makes it easier to approach the Bible: we can read it in “chunks” rather than needing to read the whole Bible at once.

But it also makes it a bit confusing. The Bible itself is a book. In fact, the word “bible” comes from the Latin and Greek words for “book” (biblia and biblos, respectively). But it’s a book of books. That means if you want to know the Bible better, you’ll need to get acquainted with the 66 documents it comprises.

That can take a while, so . . .

Here’s a snapshot of every book of the Bible

I’ve written a one-sentence overview of every book of the Bible. They’re listed in the order they show up in the Protestant Bible. If you want more, I’ve linked to quick, 3-minute guides to every book of the Bible, too.

This is a lot to take in, so if you want to take it slow, I can email you an intro to one book of the Bible every week. Or if you want to start with baby steps, check out this list of the shortest books of the Bible.

Old Testament

(These are the books written long before Jesus was born.)

1. Genesis Genesis free bible icon

Genesis answers two big questions: “How did God’s relationship with the world begin?” and “Where did the nation of Israel come from?”

Author: Traditionally Moses, but the stories are much older.

Fun fact: Most of the famous Bible stories you’ve heard about are probably found in the book of Genesis. This is where the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Ark, the Tower of Babel, Abraham and Isaac, Jacob’s ladder, and Joseph’s coat of many colors are recorded.

2. ExodusExodus free bible icon

God saves Israel from slavery in Egypt, and then enters into a special relationship with them.

Author: Traditionally Moses

3. LeviticusLeviticus free bible icon

God gives Israel instructions for how to worship Him.

Author: traditionally Moses

4. NumbersNumbers free bible icon

Israel fails to trust and obey God, and wanders in the wilderness for 40 years.

Author: Traditionally Moses

5. DeuteronomyDeuteronomy free bible icon

Moses gives Israel instructions (in some ways, a recap of the laws in Exodus–Numbers) for how to love and obey God in the Promised Land.

Author: Traditionally Moses

6. Joshuaoverview of Joshua free bible icon

Joshua (Israel’s new leader) leads Israel to conquer the Promised land, then parcels out territories to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Author: Nobody knows

Fun fact: You’ve probably heard of a few fantastic stories from this book (the Battle of Jericho and the day the sun stood still), but most of the action happens in the first half of this book. The last half is pretty much all about divvying up the real estate.

7. JudgesJudges free bible icon

Israel enters a cycle of turning from God, falling captive to oppressive nations, calling out to God, and being rescued by leaders God sends their way (called “judges”).

Author: Nobody knows

8. RuthRuth free bible icon

Two widows lose everything, and find hope in Israel—which leads to the birth of the future King David.

Author: Nobody knows

9. 1 SamuelSamuel free bible icon

Israel demands a king, who turns out to be quite a disappointment.

Author: Nobody knows

10. 2 Samuel

David, a man after God’s own heart, becomes king of Israel.

Author: Nobody knows

11. 1 KingsKings free bible icon

The kingdom of Israel has a time of peace and prosperity under King Solomon, but afterward splits, and the two lines of kings turn away from God.

Author: Nobody knows

12. 2 Kings

Both kingdoms ignore God and his prophets, until they both fall captive to other world empires.

Author: Nobody knows

13. 1 ChroniclesChronicles

This is a brief history of Israel from Adam to David, culminating with David commissioning the temple of God in Jerusalem.

Author: Traditionally Ezra

14. 2 Chronicles

David’s son Solomon builds the temple, but after centuries of rejecting God, the Babylonians take the southern Israelites captive and destroy the temple.

Author: Traditionally Ezra

15. Ezraoverview of Ezra free bible icon

The Israelites rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and a scribe named Ezra teaches the people to once again obey God’s laws.

Author: Ezra

16. NehemiahNehemiah free bible icon

The city of Jerusalem is in bad shape, so Nehemiah rebuilds the wall around the city.

Author: Nehemiah

17. EstherEsther free bible icon

Someone hatches a genocidal plot to bring about Israel’s extinction, and Esther must face the emperor to ask for help.

Author: Nobody knows

18. JobJob free bible icon

Satan attacks a righteous man named Job, and Job and his friends argue about why terrible things are happening to him.

Author: Nobody knows

19. PsalmsPsalms free bible icon

A collection of 150 songs that Israel sang to God (and to each other)—kind of like a hymnal for the ancient Israelites.

Author: So many authors—meet them all here!

20. ProverbsProverbs free bible icon

A collection of sayings written to help people make wise decisions that bring about justice.

Author: Solomon and other wise men

21. EcclesiastesEcclesiastes free bible icon

A philosophical exploration of the meaning of life—with a surprisingly nihilistic tone for the Bible.

Author: Traditionally Solomon

22. Song of Solomon (Song of Songs)Song of Solomon free bible icon

A love song (or collection of love songs) celebrating love, sex, and marriage.

Author: Traditionally Solomon (but it could have been written about Solomon)

23. IsaiahIsaiah free bible icon

God sends the prophet Isaiah to warn Israel of future judgment—but also to tell them about a coming king and servant who will “bear the sins of many.”

Author: Isaiah (and maybe some of his followers)

24. JeremiahJeremiah free bible icon

God sends a prophet to warn Israel about the coming Babylonian captivity, but the people don’t take the news very well.

Author: Jeremiah

25. Lamentations Lamentations free bible icon

A collection of dirges lamenting the fall of Jerusalem after the Babylonian attacks.

Author: Traditionally Jeremiah

26. EzekielEzekiel free bible icon

God chooses a man to speak for Him to Israel, to tell them the error of their ways and teach them justice: Ezekiel.

Author: Ezekiel

27. DanielDaniel lion free bible icon

Daniel becomes a high-ranking wise man in the Babylonian and Persian empires, and has prophetic visions concerning Israel’s future.

Author: Daniel (with other contributors)

28. HoseaHosea free bible icon

Hosea is told to marry a prostitute who leaves him, and he must bring her back: a picture of God’s relationship with Israel.

Author: Hosea

29. JoelJoel free bible icon

God sends a plague of locusts to Judge Israel, but his judgment on the surrounding nations is coming, too.

Author: Joel

30. AmosAmos free bible icon

A shepherd named Amos preaches against the injustice of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Author: Amos

31. ObadiahObadiah free bible icon

Obadiah warns the neighboring nation of Edom that they will be judged for plundering Jerusalem.

Author: Obadiah

32. JonahJonah free bible icon

A disobedient prophet runs from God, is swallowed by a great fish, and then preaches God’s message to the city of Nineveh.

Author: Jonah

33. MicahMicah free bible icon

Micah confronts the leaders of Israel and Judah regarding their injustice, and prophecies that one day the Lord himself will rule in perfect justice.

Author: Micah

34. NahumNahum skull free bible icon

Nahum foretells of God’s judgment on Nineveh, the capital of Assyria.

Author: Nahum

35. HabakkukHabakkuk free bible icon

Habakkuk pleads with God to stop the injustice and violence in Judah, but is surprised to find that God will use the even more violent Babylonians to do so.

Author: Habakkuk

36. ZephaniahZephaniah free bible icon

God warns that he will judge Israel and the surrounding nations, but also that he will restore them in peace and justice.

Author: Zephaniah

37. HaggaiHaggai free bible icon

The people have abandoned the work of restoring God’s temple in Jerusalem, and so Haggai takes them to task.

Author: Haggai

38. ZechariahZechariah free bible icon

The prophet Zechariah calls Israel to return to God, and records prophetic visions that show what’s happening behind the scenes.

39. MalachiMalachi free bible icon

God has been faithful to Israel, but they continue to live disconnected from him—so God sends Malachi to call them out.

New Testament

(These books were written about Jesus, and what it means to follow him.)

40. The Gospel of MatthewMatthew free bible icon

This is an account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, focusing on Jesus’ role as the true king of the Jews.

Author: Matthew

41. The Gospel of MarkMark free bible icon

This brief account of Jesus’ earthly ministry highlights Jesus’ authority and servanthood.

Author: John Mark

42. The Gospel of LukeLuke free bible icon

Luke writes the most thorough account of Jesus’ life, pulling together eyewitness testimonies to tell the full story of Jesus.

Author: Luke

43. The Gospel of JohnJohn free bible icon

John lists stories of signs and miracles with the hope that readers will believe in Jesus.

Author: John

44. ActsActs free bible icon

Jesus returns to the Father, the Holy Spirit comes to the church, and the gospel of Jesus spreads throughout the world.

Author: Luke

45. RomansRomans free bible icon

Paul summarizes how the gospel of Jesus works in a letter to the churches at Rome, where he plans to visit.

Author: Paul

46. 1 Corinthians1 Corinthians free Bible icon

Paul writes a disciplinary letter to a fractured church in Corinth, and answers some questions that they’ve had about how Christians should behave.

Author: Paul

47. 2 Corinthians2 Corinthians free Bible icon

Paul writes a letter of reconciliation to the church at Corinth, and clears up some concerns that they have.

Author: Paul

48. GalatiansGalatians free Bible icon

Paul hears that the Galatian churches have been lead to think that salvation comes from the law of Moses, and writes a (rather heated) letter telling them where the false teachers have it wrong.

Author: Paul

49. EphesiansEphesians free Bible icon

Paul writes to the church at Ephesus about how to walk in grace, peace, and love.

Author: Paul

50. PhilippiansPhilippians free Bible icon

An encouraging letter to the church of Philippi from Paul, telling them how to have joy in Christ.

Author: Paul

51. ColossiansColossians free Bible icon

Paul writes the church at Colossae a letter about who they are in Christ, and how to walk in Christ.

Author: Paul

52. 1 Thessalonians1 Thessalonians free Bible icon

Paul has heard a good report on the church at Thessalonica, and encourages them to “excel still more” in faith, hope, and love.

Author: Paul

53. 2 Thessalonians2 Thessalonians free Bible icon

Paul instructs the Thessalonians on how to stand firm until the coming of Jesus.

Author: Paul

54. 1 Timothy1 Timothy free Bible icon

Paul gives his protegé Timothy instruction on how to lead a church with sound teaching and a godly example.

Author: Paul

55. 2 Timothy2 Timothy free Bible icon

Paul is nearing the end of his life, and encourages Timothy to continue preaching the word.

Author: Paul

56. TitusTitus free Bible icon

Paul advises Titus on how to lead orderly, counter-cultural churches on the island of Crete.

Author: Paul

57. PhilemonPhilemon free Bible icon

Paul strongly recommends that Philemon accept his runaway slave as a brother, not a slave.

Author: Philemon

58. HebrewsHebrews free Bible icon

A letter encouraging Christians to cling to Christ despite persecution, because he is greater.

Author: Nobody knows

59. JamesJames free Bible icon

A letter telling Christians to live in ways that demonstrate their faith in action.

Author: James (likely the brother of Jesus)

60. 1 Peter1 Peter free Bible icon

Peter writes to Christians who are being persecuted, encouraging them to testify to the truth and live accordingly.

Author: Peter

61. 2 Peter2 Peter free Bible icon

Peter writes a letter reminding Christians about the truth of Jesus, and warning them that false teachers will come.

Author: Peter

62. 1 John1 John free Bible icon

John writes a letter to Christians about keeping Jesus’ commands, loving one another, and important things they should know.

Author: John

63. 2 John2 John free Bible icon

A very brief letter about walking in truth, love, and obedience.

Author: John

64. 3 John3 John free Bible icon

An even shorter letter about Christian fellowship.

Author: John

65. JudeJude free Bible icon

A letter encouraging Christians to content for the faith, even though ungodly persons have crept in unnoticed.

Author: Jude

66. RevelationRevelation free Bible icon

John sees visions of things that have been, things that are, and things that are yet to come.

Author: John

The 35 authors who wrote the Bible [chart + illustrations]

If you’ve ever asked your pastor or Sunday school teacher, “Who wrote the Bible?” you probably got one of two responses:

  1. “God wrote the Bible.” The Holy Spirit moved prophets like Moses and apostles like Paul to write about God’s relationship with the world (1 Ti 3:16; 2 Pe 1:20–21).
  2. “About 40 people wrote the Bible.” The individual books were written by many authors over many years in many places to many different people groups.

Both of these answers are true, but by now you’re probably looking for a little more detail about the authors of the Bible. And rightly so: when you’re studying a book or passage of the Bible, it’s pretty important to know who wrote it. Continue reading “The 35 authors who wrote the Bible [chart + illustrations]”

Psalms: 150 songs and poems to God

Psalms free bible icon
Click to see icons for every book of the Bible.

Authors: Various
150 psalms
Theme verse: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Ps 1:1–2)

Summary of Psalms

Psalms is a collection of 150 poems written over hundreds of years. Many were originally put to music, and used in the Jewish temples to praise the Lord. It all begins with an invitation:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night. (Ps 1:1–2)

The man who meditates on the Law of the Lord will be blessed, and by contrast, the wicked will perish (Ps 1:6). Why? Because God is King, and His Messiah will one day rule1.

Psalms has it all.

History, poetry, prayer, song, chant, prophecy—Psalms runs the gamut when it comes to the kind of content covered in the Bible. The Psalms address every major Old Testament event:

Psalms takes us through the spectrum of human experience, and shows us that no matter what we go through, there is a God who listens to those who call on Him. He walks beside us, goes before us, encamps around us, reigns above us, and dwells among us.

He is God, and we should praise Him.

The authors of Psalms

Psalms has more authors than any other book of the Bible, by far. Psalms credits five individual authors and two families (who wrote psalms over the centuries). Many psalms are still not attributed to any authors today.

Here’s the spread:

David: 73 psalmsAuthors of the Bible David

(The Septuagint and Latin Vulgate credit a few more to him.2)

Half of Psalms was written by King David at various points in his life—and not all of them were good times. David’s psalms show how a man of God prays during times of hardship, loss, joy, and guilt.

Asaph (the family): 12 psalmsPsalmist Asaph

This family was ordained by David to lead the people in worship, and was recommissioned when Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem (1 Ch 25:1; Neh 7:44; 12:46–47).

The sons of Korah: 11 psalmsPsalmist sons of Korah

Back in the book of Numbers, a man named Korah rebelled against Moses and Aaron—and God caused the earth to swallow him up. His sons survived, though (Nu 26:11), and continued to serve in the house of the Lord. They share one psalm (Ps 88) with the wise man Heman.

Solomon: two psalmsPsalmist Solomon

Solomon is better known for his work in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, but he also contributes a few lines to Psalms.

Moses: one psalm. Psalmist Moses

In addition to writing Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, Moses also wrote the ninetieth psalm (Ps 90).

Ethan the Ezrahite: one psalmPsalmist Ethan

We don’t know much about Ethan, except that he was very wise, and Solomon was wiser (1 Ki 4:31). Sorry, Ethan.

The remaining 50 psalms aren’t credited to any one author.

The structure of Psalms

Psalms is really five smaller books in one. And since each of these smaller books is an anthology, there’s really not a single narrative to follow throughout the book; however, there are a few things we can learn from the book’s structure:

Book One (Ps 1–41) is mostly written by David, and focuses on God’s ability to deliver those who fear Him. We see David pour out his heart to God, beg for protection, and ask for help against his enemies. Of all the books, this is the most personal, and has the feel of a one-on-one interaction with God. In Book One, we see the Lord beside us during times of trouble.

Book Two (Ps 42–72) focuses on God as the mighty Judge and King. He is the executor of justice on all nations, and the rescuer of those who delight in Him. In Book Two, we see the Lord going before us to execute justice on His enemies.

Book Three (Ps 73–89) is mostly written by the sons of Asaph, a family devoted to leading the people in worship to God in His temple (1 Ch 25:1). This book focuses on God’s relationship with the whole nation of Israel, not just the psalmist. It emphasizes God’s faithfulness—a faithfulness that spans generations. In Book Three, we see the Lord around us, remaining faithful to His people through the generations.

Book Four (Ps 90–106) directs our eyes to the Lord who rules over all the earth. Several of these psalms begin with simply, “The Lord reigns,” or “Praise the Lord!” This part of Psalms shows the Lord above us, the kind and righteous God who deserves our worship and praise.

And in Book Five (Ps 107–150), we are called to thank Him. He’s the Savior, deliverer, and God of all. In Book Five, we see the Lord among us, in His temple with his people.

Theme verses in Psalms

20150218-theme verse psalms

Psalm’s role in the Bible

Psalms is the second book of poetry in the Bible. While the poetic books of Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon read as whole pieces, Psalms is a collection of 150 small units in one book—somewhat like today’s hymnals.

Which brings up an interesting point: Psalms is the only book of the Bible that isn’t given chapters. Most books of the Bible were divvied up by chapters around 1227 A.D., but Psalms is (mostly) divided according to the original documents. Most of the psalms have titles designating their composers, and some even include a little historical backdrop (example: Ps 51). Since Psalms is naturally divided by poem, you don’t find a “Psalms chapter 23,” instead, you’ll just find “Psalm 23” or “the twenty-third Psalm.”

Oh, and don’t let the psalm count fool you. Although there are 150 psalms, Psalms is not the longest book of the Bible—that’s Jeremiah.

But here’s my favorite thing about Psalms: while most of the Law and Prophets deal with God’s messages to men, the Psalms give us examples of how we can respond to God. While every other book of the Bible is written to people, the Psalms are directed to God.

They’re still inspired by God (2 Ti 3:16), but they feel incredibly human. Through the Psalms, we see how godly people spoke to a holy God in all kinds of circumstances.

More pages related to Psalms

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 Bible verse art by Laura Kranz.

1 Limburg, James. “Psalms, Book of.” Edited by David Noel Freedman. The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume 5. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

2 Cundall, Arthur E. “Psalms, Book of.” Edited by Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volumes 1 and 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.

Jeffrey Kranz is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Logos Bible Software discounts that don’t expire

(TL;DR: Logos Bible Software is expensive, but there are all kinds of ways to save money on it, including my affiliate discount code.)

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that there would be no OverviewBible.com without Logos Bible Software. You may have read my (super-long) review of Logos. You may have read my case studies on how I used Logos to write my most-popular-of-all-time blog post.

But whether you’ve read this blog for years or you’re just now showing up from a Google search, you probably know that Logos Bible Software isn’t exactly . . . cheap. Aw, let’s be honest: Logos is expensive.

Like, expect-to-spend-$300ish-for-the-bottom-of-the-line expensive.

I know you believe me, but I just can’t resist the opportunity to screenshot this:


(Seriously. I’m a bit of a fanboy, and I never would have been able to afford it if I didn’t have that employee discount once upon a time!)

Logos is expensive. But take it from a guy who used to work there (and who is a current affiliate):

You can save some money on Logos Bible Software.

Granted, you’ll still spend (a lot of) money on Logos. It’s a for-profit company. You won’t get it for free unless you win a giveaway, or become really, really good friends with a current employee. Or become an employee.

But you do NOT have to pay full price.

In fact, Logos has created several ways to get their killer software (and Bible-study resources) at a discount—and in some cases, free.

6 ways to get a discount on Logos Bible Software

I’m going to walk you through a TON of ways to save money on either Logos base packages or add-on books.

1. You can use my 10% off coupon code

I’ll be frank: I’m an affiliate of Logos.

They know that the kind of people who read this blog are likely the kind of people who would really get a kick out of using their tools. And so we have an agreement: I send fellow Bible geeks like you their way, and if you purchase, I get a modest kickback.

No, you don’t pay any extra—they’re essentially rewarding me for pointing awesome folks their way. ;-)

In fact, you’ll save 10% on your purchase of a Logos base package if you use my coupon code at checkout:


You can redeem that coupon code here.

You can use this discount on base packages and crossgrades. (What are crossgrades? Oh, about that . . .)

2. You can buy a crossgrade (and save a few hundred dollars)

Time for some more honesty. When you purchase Logos, you’re not just buying the software. You’re buying a few things:

  • The features and datasets: all the software-y things that make the tool do what it does.
  • Hundreds of books.

Some of those books are helpful. After all, you need some resources in order to pull off any amazing feats of Logosmanship.

For example, I found out how long the books of the Bible are using the Word Lists feature. That feature lets me make a spreadsheet of every word in the Bible. Nifty, right? But that only works if I have some Hebrew and Greek Bibles on hand to pull the words from. ;-)

Logos sells the software and the books together in what’s called a “base package.” Those Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum products? They’re base packages. They “package” the software with lots of resources to use the software on.

But here’s the thing: I’m currently using Logos 6 Gold, which has more than 1,000 resources included. And that’s atop my Logos 4 and 5 Gold packages. I own about 4,700 resources in Logos format.

But you know how many I regularly use? Maybe 20. 

Here’s the deal. With a Logos base package, you’ll get “hundreds of books for pennies on the dollar.” And unless you’re a hardcore librophile,  you’ll also get hundreds of books you will probably never open.

That’s why I often recommend the Crossgrades. 

What’s a crossgrade? It’s basically the software functionality plus the bare minimum books you need to use it. It’s a starting point for building your own Logos library with only the books you want, not a mammoth stack of books you’ll never reference.

Is it less expensive? I suppose that depends on the prices of the books you choose to add! But while Gold (middle of the road) is about $1,500, the most expensive crossgrade is about $800.

In fact:


Now you’re probably thinking, “Hey! What if I go with the crossgrades—can I save any money on those books?”

You bet!

3. Pre-order books with the Pre-Pub program

Logos tries to cover their costs ahead of time before taking on the task of integrating new titles into their system. They do this by first making sure that there are enough people out there who even want a given book (or collection of books).

It’s called the Pre-Publication program, or “Pre-Pub,” for short.

It’s a win-win scenario with Pre-Pub. You win because you get a low price—in fact, the rule is that Logos can’t ever offer a product below its final Pre-Pub price. And Logos wins because they know that there’s enough demand to cover the cost of putting new books in their system.

It’s a cool model. In fact, back in the day, I wrote a video script to explain it:

4. Bid on Community Pricing resources

For even more obscure (or high-involvement) books, Logos has the Community Pricing program. This is kind of like an auction: Logos gets the word out that there’s a book they’re considering for their format. But they don’t set a price.

Instead, they turn pricing over to the Logos users. People bid on the book at various prices—as soon as enough bids are made at a certain price point to cover the cost of producing the book in Logos, the price is set, and the resource moves into Pre-Pub (which we just covered).

It’s a heady process, so . . . here’s another video explaining it. =)

5. Join the Academic Discount Program

Are you in seminary, Bible college, or taking any higher-ed course on theology? You may want to see if you qualify for Logos’ Academic Discount Program. If you’re accepted to the program, you get a percentage off certain products.

You can kick off that process here.

6. Get a free book every month

And then, there’s always the free book you can get every month. Sometimes these books are top-notch. Other times, meh. (It depends on who’s calling the shots that month there.)

Want a discount on Logos? Go get it!

Again, Logos Bible Software isn’t cheap. I stand by the metaphor that it’s like the Batmobile: It’s expensive, it’s not easy to use, and few people need it. But if you’re the kind of person who needs it, there’s no substitute.

So, if you’re the kind of person who could really use Logos, now you know how to get your hands on it without paying full price. =)


(You can go to my page on Logos.com to use my discount, if you like.)

The 5 shortest books of the Bible, in order


What’s the shortest book of the Bible? (Spoiler alert: it’s 3 John, and I’ll explain why later.) The Bible is a pretty long book, and that might give the impression that every book of the Bible is long, too.

But good news! Not every book of the Bible is so long. It has some tiny documents in it. In fact, the shortest books of the Bible are shorter than this blog post.

Continue reading “The 5 shortest books of the Bible, in order”

Bible verse art: one drawing for every book of the Bible

This post includes one piece of Bible verse art for each of the 66 books of the Bible. Jeffrey has identified a verse that sets the tone for the whole book.  I’ve undertaken the project of hand-writing and illustrating each of these theme verses.

This series is in progress, and should be completed by August of 2016.

You can see all the Bible verse art that I’ve created for the series below, in order of books in the protestant Bible. I’ll be adding about one verse per week until the whole series is complete.
Continue reading “Bible verse art: one drawing for every book of the Bible”