Stretching outside your comfort zone by reading some overlooked books of the Bible can help you learn more about the character of God and allow you to grow even deeper in your relationship with Him.
Sadly, many books of the Bible are often overlooked or are seen as “inferior” to other books in Scripture. It is a great disadvantage to overlook books of the Bible because they are all important. As Christians, it is vital that we study the entire Bible and abstain from picking and choosing only our favorite books of the Bible to study. Stretching outside your comfort zone by reading some overlooked books of the Bible can help you learn more about the character of God and allow you to grow even deeper in your relationship with Him.
Let's look at five of the most overlooked books of the Bible:
The first most overlooked book of the Bible is Nahum. Most of us are familiar with the city of Nineveh from the book of Jonah, but not many are aware that Nineveh shows up again a second time in the book of Nahum. In the book of Jonah, God had spared Nineveh because they repented and obeyed the Lord; however, in Nahum, Nineveh is destroyed. The book of Nahum teaches us that we should not go back to our old ways. Nineveh had repented at the time of Jonah, but over time, they turned back to their old ways. Since they turned back to their rebellious ways and did not obey God, they were destroyed.
In our lives, we need to heed this same warning. We should not turn back to the same lives we had before we accepted Christ. Since we know Christ, we should strive to obey Him and follow His teachings even when things get hard. The book of Nahum teaches us the vital truth of not surrendering to sin. If we overlook this book of the Bible, then we will miss out on the ultimate fate of Nineveh and the warning it provides for our lives.
A second overlooked book of the Bible is Joel. Joel is one of the minor prophets of the Old Testament, and his book is often forgotten within Christian circles. The book of Joel shares the vital truth that God will one day judge the world and its inhabitants. This book also stresses the importance of turning to God in repentance (Joel 2:1-17). Yes, Jesus forgives us when we come to know Him, but He also tells us to repent (Mark 1:15). Repentance is a crucial part of growing in one’s relationship with Christ.
Also in the book of Joel, a future prophecy is mentioned. In Joel 2:28, it says “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Oftentimes in the Old Testament, there are future prophecies contained within its pages, but we have to read the books of the Old Testament in order to know these prophecies. It might be hard to relate to the time period of the Old Testament, but these books have important lessons about the character of God, the coming of Christ and His Spirit, and man's ultimate redemption.
In the context of the book of Joel, it is important that we repent and turn away from sin in our life. God doesn’t want us to live a life of sin. There is no true happiness or joy in living in sin. Repentance is often overlooked in our modern culture, yet it is vital for up to repent just as Joel preached to the people during his lifetime. Talking about repentance can be a touchy subject for many of us, but it is important that we don’t overlook this teaching and that we don’t overlook this book in the Bible.
A third book of the Bible that is overlooked is the book of Malachi. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. After the book of Malachi, there are no prophets until John the Baptist comes on the scene, which equates to about four hundred years without the Word of God being spoken to Israel. Malachi was mainly written to the people of Israel because they had turned astray and rebelled against the Lord.
Another main teaching in Malachi is the prophecy of John the Baptist (Malachi 3:1-6). Malachi prophesied during his lifetime the precursor of Christ, who would prepare the way for Him. If we ignore Malachi, we will miss out on this important knowledge and information. In addition to missing out on the prophecy of John the Baptist, we would also miss out on the important teaching of not going astray as the Israelites did. We can apply this same teaching to our lives by doing our best not to drift away from God’s commands and teachings. When we find ourselves going astray, we need to turn back to God and ask for His help. The Lord loves us and He will help us to get back on track.
A fourth overlooked book of the Bible is Philemon. Philemon is a book of the New Testament that was written by the Apostle Paul. Often, this book is overlooked because it is so short, and many individuals do not believe it applies to their lives. It is important that we don’t skip over the book of Philemon because it does contain great truths that we need to know in understanding and spreading the Gospel.
Philemon was a Christian who hosted a church in his own house. He was also a slave owner and one of his slaves was Onesimus. Onesimus had robbed Philemon and ran away to Rome, which is where he met Paul. Paul wrote this letter that we now have as the book of Philemon in our Bible. In this letter, Paul was urging Philemon to welcome Onesimus back as a brother. During Paul’s time with Onesimus, Onesimus became a Christian and decided to follow Christ for the rest of his life. In Paul’s writing to Philemon, he urged Philemon not to just receive Onesimus back as a slave, but rather as a brother in Christ (Philemon 16).
While this book is often overlooked, it is crucial that we study this book of the Bible and apply it to our lives. Despite Onesimus having stolen from Philemon, Paul urged Philemon to forgive Onesimus and to receive him back as a brother in Christ rather than as a slave. In our own lives, we too need to learn to forgive and extend kindness to other people in our lives, treating them as brothers and sisters in Christ.
A fifth book of the Bible that is often overlooked is Revelation. The book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible. Many individuals overlook this book because they either think it’s too difficult, it’s all allegory, or it’s not relevant to their own life. Revelation is extremely important to our lives because it tells us what will happen in the future. It is not a book that should be overlooked or discarded. Rather, it's the fulfillment of God's redemption.
During undergrad, as part of my theology program, it was required for us to take a class on the book of Revelation. Through this class, I was able to learn and understand the mysteries of this book. For so long, I too skipped over this book because it was intimidating, and I believed it to be full of allegories that could not be understood.
I learned during this class that Revelation is a book we should not overlook just because it is difficult. Within the pages of Revelation, we are taught about our future with Christ, the great judgments, the tribulation, the thousand-year reign of Christ, and the New Heaven and New Earth. Wonderful promises are made to us in the book of Revelation, such as knowing that one day all will be made right and we will live with God forever in the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21).
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.