3 Reasons Not to Skip

the Kings and Prophets

How to Read Unfamiliar Books of the Bible

By Bennett Rolan – BSF Editorial Manager

A year ago, I could confidently say that I had read the books of Amos and Obadiah. But beyond being checked off my Bible reading plan, I honestly could not tell you the difference between the two. Maybe you can relate? If you have skimmed these passages, like me, you likely missed the nuances that make them so gripping. From action-packed accounts to inspiring poetry, these books are beautifully written.  

When we slow down long enough to really read these books – as Bible Study Fellowship will do this year in People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided – we discover that the God of the Old Testament still speaks to His people today. Here are just three of the ways God spoke to me through His Word:

1. The God of the Kings and Prophets is the God of the Church today 

If we are looking to discover more about the Holy Spirit, an easy place to start is the book of Acts. To understand the life and teachings of Jesus, we turn to the Gospels. But where can we go to uncover the character of God? While all of Scripture reveals Him, studying God’s words through the Old Testament prophets provides a closer view of His character.  

We see that the God who upheld justice and mercy in Micah is also the One who offers pure justice and mercy today. The God who was faithful to the unfaithful in Hosea continues to faithfully pursue wayward people now. And the One who kept His promises to ancient kings will keep His promises to His people in modern day.   

While we can’t directly apply God’s words and promises to Israel to the Church today, there are many lessons we can learn from this study. Through the Kings and Prophets, we learn to hold fast to God’s character, uncovering new facets of who He was, is, and will always be.  

2. The Kings and Prophets highlight humanity’s need for a Savior 

If studying the Kings and Prophets reveals God’s unshakable character, these books also highlight humanity’s enduring struggle with sin. 

A group of ancient kings may not seem relatable on the surface, but when we slow down and study their lives, we uncover their pride, greed, fear, and faithlessness. In one verse they boldly followed the Lord, and in the next, they relied on their own strength. In one chapter they stood for righteousness, and in another they bowed to the culture around them. (Sound familiar?) 

Through the kings and prophets, we learn that sin is not new to God, and He takes it seriously. The waywardness of the Israelites during the Divided Kingdom reveals humanity’s desperate need for a Savior. This time in God’s history also forces us to examine our own hearts. When we see our own sin clearly, we can do nothing but fall to our knees in gratitude before the One who saved us from it.  

3. The Kings and Prophets offer unique insight into the New Testament 

These books are deeply integrated into the fabric of the New Testament. The Gospel writers relied heavily on Old Testament prophecies to recognize Jesus as the One True Messiah. Quoted by the apostles, including Paul and John, books like Isaiah, Hosea, Nahum, and more, served as foundational truths for the New Testament authors.  

Jesus quoted the Old Testament often, like quoting from Hosea 6:6 when He forgave and healed the paralytic man in Matthew 9:13. If we skip reading Hosea in context, we miss the depth of sin that Jesus uncovered and the wrath it deserved. When we understand fully why Jesus desires mercy, not sacrifice, and calls not the righteous, but sinners, we are left with a tremendous sense of awe and gratitude.  

When we study the entirety of God’s narrative, His Word takes on a deeper and more intimate meaning. New Testament passages come to life, gaining greater depth and resonance, when we study the Old Testament references they contain. 

In 2 Chronicles 16:9a we read, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” As Christians, we long to have hearts that are “fully committed” to God, but how do we get there? A simple way to begin is by knowing Him through His story and His character. We may be tempted to skip or skim books like 1 and 2 Chronicles or Obadiah, but we would miss intimate insight into who God is. And when we understand our sin and the One who saved us from it, the Holy Spirit softens our hearts in worship toward the unchanging God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  

Ready to read the kings and prophets? Join a BSF group today and explore our new study on these thrilling and important books.

Bennett Rolan

Editorial Manager

Bennett Rolan joined the BSF staff in 2017 after working for several secular media outlets and Christian ministries. She loves to combine her passion for God’s Word and her journalism background to share stories of God’s Work in and through BSF. As a wife to a busy college football coach and a mom to four young children, BSF studies keep her relationship with the Lord grounded and focused. She loves to learn from fellow believers as God faithfully grows her each day.

 

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80 Comments

  1. Wonderful encouraging words. I shared with my BSF group. Thanks

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  2. Bennett, that was very confirming to me of why I’m doing this study!

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  3. Bennett can you send me the three pages with summary charts of the Kings and Prophets? I saw this online last Friday 11/18 but now that post appears to have changed. I am a Small Group Discussion leader for a BSF men’s group.

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  4. This is an anointed writing.
    I have been for eight years in BSF
    and has been the greatest and wise decision. It keeps tuned in God’s word.
    Yes by going through the kings we can appreciate and understand God’s character. We thank you!

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  5. I really .can relate to point the #2. This study surely highlights the need for a savior today. As I read and study – Kingdom divided it really mirrors what is going on our world today. So much division, so much sin that is in one’s face everyday due to our media and so much of just everything that is the opposite of our Father God. There are tremendous battles where thousands upon thousands lose their lives because of the whims/egos of evil kings and whole kingdoms are destroyed and it looks like on the the surface that God is just done with the folks back then. He allows their idol worhship and all kinds of things. But – there is the over present feeling/knowledge that still is around even with all the wars and murders. God is still God and His grace and mercy was given even in the midst of the mess. His character remains the same – first of all loving but also just. He continues to give so many of the kings the opportunity to clean up their act but most don’t. He even shows how two of the most evil kings – Ahab and Manassah – humble themselves at towards the end of their lives and God extends His Grace and Mercy towards them. Who does that! Only our Almighty God. So many of us wouldn’t even consider extending that kind of love – but God does the same for us – did the same for us with His son. Sometimes I wonder why we can’t see that? I thank God that the more I pray and study His Word I am reminded of my own sins, and that I would be lost if not for the blood of Jesus Christ that saves me. I can now see the times I should have extended grace to someone and now have been made more aware of when I should. Thank God for Jesus!

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  6. I’m so blessed that after years I just join to BSF to study the Bible. I’m so grateful for all the effort and professionalism of BSF to give us such simple but rich deepest profound knowledge of the Word in each lesson. I started to discover your amazing web.
    I identify with Mrs. Roland with her deep wisdom and anointed to make the analogy of the books of Kings and Prophets as well, books that I felt lazy and not interested to read, but she makes it easy and fascinating, as well the comparison with the New Testament. God Bless all BSF Team.

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  7. I once heard it said, Bible Study gives one the knowledge of God. Obedience gives one the knowledge of who God is. (Adrian Rogers) Forty nine years ago I bought a Bible for $3.99 after I had already surrendered my life to Jesus. I read it everyday and even into the nights. While wiping the tears from my eyes, I cried and was sad because I felt I was kept from knowing this book as a child. One Wednesday afternoon reading from the Bible I read the Holy Spirit was my teacher. At that moment God showed me who He is. I heard many pastors preach over the many years that it doesn’t take our performances, are agonizing with emotions praying like I did in the beginning. God’s desire is for Heaven to come to us. Jesus said, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.” I heard it said, God has given us the privilege to work with Him. God let’s us know who He is in our obedience in reading His word, believing God’s purpose is to bring Himself to us, through His Son and the Holy Spirit. Even Jesus Himself looked to the Father in obedience.

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  8. I like this very much. It would be nice if i could print a copy. :]

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  9. Was not planning to skip Kings and Prohets…! Great article! Thank you.

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  10. I am really looking forward to being challenged AND encouraged with this year’s study! I will be forever grateful for a dear friend who introduced me to BSF and the wonderful leaders that continue to amaze me and inspire me to pursue a deeper relationship with our Lord!!

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  11. Why? Why study the kings, they’re mostly bad? OT shows us our sins and the need for our Savior.
    Answers to that questions have always help me to learn. You did a wonderful job encouraging us and creating enthusiasm for WHY we study these OT scriptures. You have given me some insights how to approach questions about this study to my class CM this year and others that we invite.
    Thank you!

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  12. This will be a new adventure for me and I’m very excited to find out what the Lord wants to show me! Also looking forward to meeting more members of my Christian family!

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    • Renee – so grateful to have you in BSF this year!

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  13. What a beautiful and meaningful introduction to this new exciting study! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and love for God’s Word!

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  14. Thank you for your encouragement in the study of the Scripture. Reading this blog make my heart rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ with great expectations for this year BSF on Kingdom Divided 2022-2023. Praise the Lord!

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  15. Thank you for the blessed insight into the reading of the unfamiliar books of the Bible. I am encouraged. God bless!

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  16. Thank you from a very reluctant student regretting she even purchased the study guide.
    Honestly I took Israel and the Minor Prophets in the 80’s and it was the only study I hoped I would never encounter again. Confess I have felt guilty about trying to avoid attending ever since it was announced last spring. However your article reminded me of all the value and truths stored in the OT. Also working through the 6 lessons of the introductory study has helped to make me willing to give it a try.

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    • Hi Marg,

      Would you be willing to share with me where you found the 6 lessons of the introductory study for the Kings and Prophets. I was inspired when I read your blog and was hoping to read them.. I asked my Bsf leader and she didn’t know in what direction to point me. Happy to hear you’ve decided to give it another try.

      gratefully,
      amber

      Reply
  17. I’m a 76 year old woman, never really liking to read much. Asked by a BSF friend to join a group, I couldn’t give a reason not to join. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and enjoyed reading the WORD! This is my third year and I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in store for me. Thank you

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  18. Thank you for sharing your insight! I am delighted that our group has grown from one very large one last year to three classes for this coming study! I pray that the Spirit brings clarity into our own hearts and minds of His perfect plan, love and grace. My first BSF attendance was in the late 1980s in an earlier version of this coming study.

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  19. I am so excited about this study. Back in the 1980s, this study was called Israel & the Minor Prophets & it has been my favorite of all the studies. I’ve been in BSF off & on since then, but I seemed to miss out every time it came into the rotation. It was so meaningful to me because I was raised in a church that was primarily focused on the NT & taught little from the OT except for the big things like creation, the flood, etc. It was the first time I read the prophets & studied them. And it brought so much fullness into my life in Christ. I’m getting back into BSF after many years & I’m looking forward to it quenching my thirst for knowledge.

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    • We are so glad to have you back! And we even have a few new books to study in Kingdom Divided this year!

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      • I have waited 18 years for this study on the minor Prophets!
        I’m absolutely delighted, at last, to embark on this study and to complete part two of ‘People of the promise’ (2018-19).

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  20. It’s been so helpful to study God Character through the Prophets and Kings of the Old Testaments. This study has made me to dig deeper into his word and it has improved my walk and character: I am intentionally trying to be humbler and forgiving. It has help me to learn more patience and to wear this world as a loose garment. I have made an effort to stop looking at the world’s Turmoil and Choas, I have started looking at our coming Savior. I look forward to participation in the next BSF Series.

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  21. When will this study be starting? I’ve asked to join my local group, but haven’t heard back from a leader and not sure when it actually starts. Thanks!

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    • Glenna, most classes start the second week of September, but each class has a unique start date. Your leader should contact you soon or your Class Administrator can help!

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      • Thank you! Any way to find out who the class administrator is for a particular location? Haven’t heard anything from that person either.

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        • Hello! If you go to join.bsfinternational.org and search for your class, you can press “more info” and then “contact” to get into touch with your CA. Thank you!

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          • Tried that and still haven’t heard a thing, but thank you.

          • Oh no! I hope that we can help you with this issue. If you log onto mybsf.org, locate either the Support Desk or “Submit Questions” widget to get into contact with member support who can help find your class schedule and leader information. Thank you!

  22. Find me a Class on Zoom in the Atlanta area.

    Reply
  23. I appreciated the insights of this blog as I have been a skimmer for sure. I will approach it with a new perspective. In addition I noticed some wording I wanted clarification on please.

    1Samuel 15:22
    22 And Samuel said,
    “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
    Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to listen than the fat of rams.

    In your blog you stated Jesus desire mercy not sacrifice. Why did you state mercy instead of obedience?
    GraceUponGrace

    Reply
    • Hello! The phrase “I desire mercy not sacrifice” comes from one of the books in our upcoming study — Hosea! The verse reference is Hosea 6:6, quoted by Jesus in Matthew 9:13 (NIV). Thank you!

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  24. Loved the 3reasons not to skip, it gave me pause to wonder what I have missed over the last 20 years of studying God’s word and just skimming over many of the books of the Bible. I am excited and look forward to see how the Lord uses this study in my life and the lives of so many others..

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  25. What is the discount code for the lesson book Kingdom Divided. The shipping is almost as much as the purchase price of the book.

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    • Hi Pat! Good question. Here is the answer according to the BSF Store FAQ page:

      Why does the shipping cost almost as much as the book?

      Gulf Business Printing works diligently with BSF to produce the annual study material in the most efficient and economical way possible for BSF members. As a result, the books are provided to BSF members at a deep discount in order to offset the price of shipping an extensive, spiral-bound workbook containing several hundred pages.

      You can always choose to print your own lessons or complete them digitally using the BSF App and mybsf at no charge.

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  26. I so can relate Bennett! Thank you for sharing! What date will this class begin? I’m waiting to hear back from my local class; I just sent a message to them yesterday. I wasn’t able to attend last year and I am so excited to be back in BSF this year! I’m so looking forward to this study!

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    • Susan, we are so excited you are studying with us this year! Each class has a different start date but most begin the second week of September. Your local Class Administrator should be able to help and you should hear from your group leader soon!

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  27. Thank you Bennet for your encouraging words!

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  28. Thank you, BSF for your faithful service to the Kingdom.

    Via, Veritas, Vita

    Amen.

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  29. Where can I order the booklet?

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    • Hi Tracy! You can order the book at the BSF Store, which you can access through your mybsf account. For more questions about the BSF store, you can email bsfstore@gulfprinting.com.

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  30. I wish I could recite it back word for word!

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  31. I’ve been in BSF many years and love studying God’s word. The Old Testament always teaches me more about God’s love, his Grace, mercy and judgment and his other attributes. I also see myself in the bible characters both their triumphs in following the Lord and their failures, causing me to examine my heart and my motives. Thank you for all the hours the staff of BSF contributes and our teacher leaders and leaders. My leader (Betty) last year and my class were so supportive and encouraging and praying for me as I lost my husband last January after 61 years of marriage. Thank you again everyone at BSF.

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  32. The story of OT Israel is my story too – a story of disobedience and rebellion against the Lord, a story of the extremes of human unfaithfulness pitted against God’s undeserved faithfulness and grace. Looking forward to this study in all humility and praying for a teachable spirit!
    Thank you BSF team for putting this study together.

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  33. Thank you, I am so looking forward to this time in study. ❤️

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  34. God’s Word is all that matters, been in BSF for 20 years, very thankful for the opportunity to serve and immersed in His Word and Prayers.

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  35. where is the Exploring God’s Character Devotional on line for Kingdom Divided — I saw it posted from a link in facebook…

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  36. First of all, thank you for all the work you do for all of us!!! I’ve been in BSF since January 1975 & among other things was a TL for 20 years. I am now teaching 9-14 year olds in the Student Program. I recall hearing that college credits could be received for time in BSF. Could you please enlighten me on that prospective? Thank you.

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    • Hello! Thanks for asking. We do offer Continuing Education Credits under certain conditions. You can email CEU@bsfinternational.org for more information!

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  37. Hi . Bless you.
    I have a quick question 🙋🏻‍♀️
    To find in Spanish o get a translation how I can go or how I can proceed.
    Or Is there a page that show everything in Spanish?
    Thank You.
    Have good weekend

    Reply
    • Hi Christina! Spanish translation for lessons is available wherever you normally find your lessons. The blog is not translated except for particular resources. For more questions about translation, you can email translationfeedback@bsfinternational.org. Thanks!

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  38. To all the BSF staff,
    Thank you for all your dedication and hard work .
    I have benefitted much from all the studies I have done.
    I really appreciate all that you guys are doing at BSF.
    Keep up the good work!

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  39. beautifully written.

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  40. I have moved from Twin Falls, Idaho to Sebring, Florida and the website does not seem to allow me to join an online discussion group. I have been with BSF for 5 years and would love to continue to be a part of this fantastic organization. I would appreciate any help in trying to connect to an online discussion as I will be 78 on the 18th (God willing) and the nearest in person is Lake Wales which is too far for me to drive weekly. Thank you in advance for your help

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  41. I have had many BSF bible studies and would love to do this one but I would like to do it on line this year. Do you have it on line and if so how can I get it. Thank you.

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  42. I’ve been coming to grips about this study via utube. This blog summarised very well what to expect ahead of the actual study.
    I feel more confident and less anxious!

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  43. i have submitted so many email to try and join a group for this upcoming study, but have gotten no response. when does this study start??

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    • Dear Tryna, I’m so sorry that you are having issues! I’ve sent your message to our member support group. They will contact you.

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  44. 🙏 Praise God for the wonderful start to our new study. Thanks for all your efforts.

    *Consider these, if feasible…*

    1. _The BSF App does not have the current study… May be you could take up the matter.

    2. Mark Bailey’s talk could be scripted to have a printable PDF format and shared, if it’s not a struggle. (The introductory talk for the study on KINGDOM DIVIDED).

    God bless you abundantly!

    Johnson

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    • I have joined BSF today. To start with I am really happy to see the way it starts. Hope I will explore more in the word of God as it progresses. Thank you Bennett for the effort taken.
      May God bless you to be a blessing to many.

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  45. Thanks for pointing out reasons (as given to you by God) for doing the study. Looking forward to diving into the new study. I promise I will try to slow down & try to absorb a little more!

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  46. Hi! I am joining BSF this fall but have not received an email yet about when it starts and how I can prepare. Also, where it is held and which night.

    Thanks in advance for helping me!~

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    • Dear Kim – we are so excited you are joining BSF! Your group leader will contact you will all of that information. To get started, you can also create your member account on mybsf.org or download the bsf app.

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  47. So amazing how The Old Testament paralleling with The New has such reflections of correction.
    It would probably make a grave difference with most, if it was read, studied and perceived in the context of its relevance.

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  48. Thank you dear Bennett for your encouragement to good deeper still in His Word. I have been prompted to adjust my schedule so I have time to slow down and read carefully and prayerfully expect insights through this year’s study. Blessings.

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  49. Your insights are thought provoking and encouraging to look more into bible; because there is a lot to learn and apply. I am looking forward to God to learn all He has planned for me!

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  50. Bennett, it’s Kathy from St George. How sweet it is to read your article today. I thought I”d search BSF before bed to see what we are going to learn this coming year, and you’ve got me more excited than ever to see what God will teach me. When you moved, I think it was the following year, we got our first BSF at south mountain bible church. So many women from St George attended, some women who had never heard of BSF… It’s so great. I love how you put together Word Go when I first moved here from CA. You’ve got many talents, and God is using you mightily. God Bless..

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    • Kathy! So amazing to hear from you! I love how the Lord has continued to use BSF in St. George. I’ll continue to pray for your class there, what a wonderful gift!

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  51. I loved reading your insights, Bennett! It makes me get even more excited for the upcoming study 🙂

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  52. As I read and internalize the things you shared Bennett, I am reassured that no matter how much I think I know – there’s much more to it than this…I look forward as we move into this new Season, to finding out “the more thru this Study!”

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  53. I’m looking forward to all God has for me and my group in this years study

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  54. What are the specific scriptures for the next study, September 2022?

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    • Rachel – great question!

      Here’s how next year’s People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided study unfolds

      1 and 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles
      Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah are situated where they fit into Israel’s storyline.  
      The study of Isaiah is folded into a four-week segment
      New to our BSF study content: Jeremiah and Lamentations!  

      Reply

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