I recently taught another inductive lecture, this time on the book of Haggai. Like the book, this lecture was shorter than usual (2 hours-ish), so do have a download if audio teachings are helpful for supplementing your own Bible study.
As for the book of Haggai, have you ever read it? It takes about 7 minutes to read and it is small but mighty. This isn't a dusty ancient book whose relevance has expired, but actually one full of principles that I think are paramount to today. It addresses priorities, distraction, passivity, obedience, holiness and more. So if I've tempted you to get your teeth into this wee book, let me first give a brief history lesson for when Haggai slots into the Hebrew history.
Haggai was a prophet (a 'minor' prophet if you want to give him a label) whose prophetic ministry was in 520BC in Palestine. He is one of three 'post-exilic' prophets (as well as Zechariah and Malachi) which means that he spoke his messages after Judah had endured their 70 years of exile outside of their land (Palestine) in Babylonia. After this exile and once Babylon fell to the next big cats on the scene, Persia, the reigning Persian king (Cyrus) permitted all the exiles/captives to return to their homelands should they choose. He even told the Jews that he would fund them rebuilding their temple. Although this offer was generous/miraculous/surprising, only a small minority of Jews chose to return to their former land (about 2-3% initially). These people get called the 'faithful remnant' or 'returnees'. They got off to a good start once they arrived in Palestine, but they were faced with opposition from neighbouring peoples and consequently stopped rebuilding the temple. For 16 years the temple remained unbuilt, but that's where Haggai comes in. He confronts the people's apathy, bearing God's message which challenges why they've been building their own houses but not His house. The temple was an integral part of the Hebrew covenant with God and in my lecture I explain the history and significance of the temple, so don't worry if you're questioning why it was important for them to rebuild it. Ultimately, God spoke through Haggai to show the Jewish people that He was planning something better than a physical temple, He was planning for a way to dwell amongst His people once more, fulfilled through the spiritual temple of the Church.
Below are some of the important/helpful slides from my presentation, and a quick catch-up on the jargon I used in my lecture...
- 'BRI' - this is 'Basic Required Information' and refers to a part of the student's homework where they have to write an explanation on the book before they study it, looking at authorship and relevant history (etc.)
- 'OA' - this is 'Original Audience', a term used to refer to the characters in the story, such as Haggai and the returnees
- 'OR' - this is 'Original Readers' and refers to those the book of Haggai was written to