The other day on his blog Justin Taylor highlighted a note by David Talley—a theology professor—who has pointed out that the majority of the story or narrative told in the Old Testament is found in the following 11 books:
- 1 Samuel
- 2 Samuel
- 1 Kings
- 2 Kings
If you were to read these eleven books, beginning with Genesis and reading them in succession to Nehemiah, you would read through almost the entire story of the Old Testament. The reason it must be stated that it is “almost the entire story” is because there are some additional stories isolated in parts of other books.
This is a really helpful pedagogical move, as it allows readers to distinguish between the main ongoing narrative and then to examine the way the other 28 books of the OT interpret, reinforce, and supplement this storyline.
I agree! One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself, if you want a better understanding of the Bible in General, and the Old Testament in particular, is to get a firm grasp on the storyline–What is the basic story that is being told? The history that the Bible recounts is a primary piece of this storyline.
If you feel shaky in that area, why not read those 11 books, take some notes, and get it down?