- Cover the entire book of Exodus in 18 lessons
- Equip yourself to lead a Bible study
- Imagine the Bible’s historical world
- Study word origins and definitions
- Explore thoughtful questions on key themes
- Go deeper with optional projects
- Add your notes with extra space and wide margins
- Find the flexibility to fit the time you have
About the Author
The Navigators is an interdenominational, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people "know Christ and make Him known” as they look to Him and His Word to chart their lives.
Navigators have invested their lives in people for more than seventy-five years, coming alongside them life on life to study the Bible, develop a deepening prayer life, and memorize and apply Scripture, The ultimate goal is to equip Christ followers to fulfill 2 Timothy 2:2—to teach what they have learned to others.
Today, tens of thousands of people worldwide are coming to know and grow in Jesus Christ through the various ministries of The Navigators. Internationally, more than 4,600 Navigator staff of 70 nationalities serve in more than 100 countries.
Read an Excerpt
To read the Bible with understanding requires that we see both the "forest" and the "trees," the larger context and the small details. We will begin and conclude our study of Exodus by looking at the book as a whole. Once you have a broad grasp of its contents, you will be more able to comprehend its parts. (You may want to just skim some of chapters 25–40.)
1. Read Exodus through, at one sitting if possible. Jot answers to question 2 as you read. Use the map to find the places mentioned.
2. For each of the following portions of the book, list the principle persons, places, and main events or contents.
Chapters 1–4 (persons) ______________________________
3. From this list, what persons, places, events, and themes would you say are the focus of the book?
persons _____________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ places ______________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ events ______________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ themes _____________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________
4. What contrasts do you find between the beginning and end of the book? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________
5. What characteristics of God does Exodus emphasize? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________
6. After one reading, how would you summarize the portrait of man (the Egyptians, the Israelites, Moses) that the book presents? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________
7. Summarize the message of Exodus in one or two sentences. (What is it about? What themes run through it? What seems to be the Holy Spirit's chief aim in giving this book to Israel or the church?) ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________
Now that you've had a chance to form your own impressions of Exodus, here is some background you might find helpful.
The birth of a nation
In the book of Genesis, God began His strategy to restore mankind to intimacy with Him by focusing on a single family: the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Exodus, the next stage of the story, documents four fundamental transformations in this family:
1. Numerical growth, as Israel multiplied from a clan of seventy to a nation of some two million people
2. Geographical movement from Egypt to Sinai
3. Theological development, as Israel exchanged the natural spontaneity of its worship for a structure the Lord Himself revealed
4. Social and spiritual maturation, from human slavery to divine service
As momentous as these changes were, they took place not over decades or years, but within months, weeks, and even hours. In a single night, God not only liberated, but also enriched, His people (see Exodus 12:29-36). Even more, He accomplished all four revolutions in spite of human indifference and opposition.
In recounting Israel's transformation, Exodus never idealizes its characters. It challenges our comfortable theological generalizations. God's people grow suspicious of the very one He used to free them from slavery; they turn to serve idols after they have left Egypt far behind. The lines between the "world" and the "church" (to use our terminology) pass, not between nations or groups, but rather through the souls of individual men and women. Not only Pharaoh, but Israel also hardens its heart against the Lord (see Exodus 4:1; 17:1-7; Psalm 95:7-11). Yet at the same time, the Lord defies our modern individualism by dealing with a whole nation as one.
In stark contrast to Israel's conduct, Exodus sets before us Moses. Amidst the confusion, unbelief, and even rebellion of God's people, this man grows to a maturity, authority, and intimacy with God that challenges us to imitate him. In fact, Moses often foreshadows what Christ will be centuries later. He is first God's instrument in delivering Israel, then the mediator between God and Israel. Yet the story does not attempt to hide Moses' failings.
In Exodus, God lays a foundation for Israel's relationship to Him. He reveals His name and its meaning: His character, attributes, and mighty deeds of redemption. He declares His Law that sets the terms of His covenant with Israel under a new administration. Those terms tell how God's people will treat and worship Him, and outline the ethical principles for how a holy people will treat each other. Redemption from slavery, ethics between men, and worship of God are the three great themes of the book, as God explains to Israel, "Who is the Lord, and how shall we relate to Him?" We can break the book into three large sections:
I. Divine Deliverance — Israel created and liberated (1:1–15:21).
II. Divine Decrees — Israel's devotion created and channeled (12:1–13:16; 15:22–24:18).
III. Divine Dwelling — a sanctuary for God's glory in Israel's midst, designed and created (25:1–40:38).
Author and title
Many modern scholars have abandoned the ancient tradition that Moses or someone close to him wrote the bulk of Exodus as a factual historical record. They believe that Exodus is the product of several centuries of experience and reflection, and multiple editings and reelaborations. However, both Exodus and other passages of Scripture say that Moses wrote at least parts of the book (see Exodus 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Joshua 8:31; Mark 7:10; 12:26; Luke 2:22-23). Furthermore, everywhere in the Old Testament we find references to Moses, the judgments on Egypt, Israel's exodus, and the revelation of the Law through Moses. The Hebrews knew what happened, so we would be foolish to treat Exodus as fiction.
Exodus is a Latin word derived from the Greek word exodos, which means "exit" or "departure" (see Luke 9:31; Hebrews 11:22). When the Jews translated the book into Greek around AD 200, they named it Exodos. The Hebrew name comes from the book's first two words, we'elleh shemoth ("These are the names of"). The same phrase occurs in Genesis 46:8. In both places, it introduces a list of those "who went to Egypt with Jacob" (Exodus 1:1). This repetition shows that Exodus was not meant to be a separate book, but continued a narrative that began in Genesis and extended through Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These five books are known as the Pentateuch ("five-volumed book") or the Torah ("law" or "teaching").
8. What passages, events, or persons in Exodus seem especially significant to you? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________
9. In your first reading, did you find any truths that are relevant to your life? If so, was there anything you would like to commit to memory, pray about, or act on? If so, write down your plans. ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________
10. Was there anything in the book that bothered you or that you did not understand? Write your questions here, and plan to pursue answers in one of the books listed in Study Aids, from another Christian whose biblical knowledge you trust, or from your study group. ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________
For the group
This "For the Group" section and the ones in later lessons are intended to suggest ways of structuring your discussions. Feel free to select what suits your group. The main goals of this lesson are to get to know the book of Exodus as a whole and the people with whom you are going to study it. If you have never done a LifeChange study before, you might want to take one meeting to do the "warm-up" below and discuss the "How to Use This Study" section, and a second meeting to discuss lesson 1. This will also give the group more time to read all of Exodus and answer the questions in lesson 1.
Worship. Some groups like to begin with prayer and/or singing. Some share requests for prayer at the beginning but leave the actual prayer until after the study. Others prefer just to chat and have refreshments for a while, then open the study with a brief prayer for the Holy Spirit's guidance, and leave worship and prayer until the end.
Warm-up. The beginning of a new study is a good time to lay a foundation for honest sharing of ideas, to get comfortable with each other, and to encourage a sense of common purpose. One way to establish common ground is to talk about what each person hopes to get out of your study of Exodus, and out of any prayer, singing, sharing, outreach, or anything else you might do together. You can also share what you hope to give as well as get. If you have someone write down each member's hopes and expectations then you can look back at these goals later to see if they are being met. Goal setting at the beginning can also help you avoid confusion when one person thinks the main point of the group is to learn the Scripture, while another thinks it is to support each other in daily Christian life, and another thinks prayer or outreach is the chief business.
How to Use This Study. Advise group members to read the "How to Use This Study" section if they have not already done so. You might go over important points that you think the group should especially notice. For example, point out the optional questions in the margins. These are available as group discussion questions, ideas for application, and suggestions for further study. It is unlikely that anyone will have the time or desire to answer all the optional questions and do all the applications. A person might do one "Optional Application" for any given lesson. You might choose one or two "For Thought and Discussion" questions for your group discussion, or you might spend all your time on the numbered questions. If someone wants to write answers to the optional questions, suggest that he use a separate notebook. It will also be helpful for discussion notes, prayer requests, answers to prayers, application plans, and so on. Invite everyone to ask questions about the "How to Use This Study" section.
Overview. Ideally, everyone should have read the whole book of Exodus and the background before you meet together. However, some may not have done so, and others may not retain much of what they read quickly. Encourage any group members who found the overview to be a lot of work; it is by far the most time-consuming lesson of the study.
Begin by asking for everyone's overall impressions of Exodus. Did you enjoy the book? Was it dull or exciting? Which parts did you find the most fun or the most edifying? Which parts seemed to be less relevant to your lives?
You might use a chalkboard to jot the group's answers to question 2. Circle people, places, events, and themes that seem most important in tying the book together (question 3). Then discuss questions 4 through 7.
Next, ask someone to tell briefly how the story of Exodus relates to what happens in Genesis. Then, have someone else quickly link Exodus to what happens in the rest of the Old Testament. Finally, what does Exodus have to do with the events of the New Testament? If the group has trouble with any of these questions, a Bible handbook, commentary on Exodus, or Old Testament survey will give answers. Ask a group member or the leader to come next time with this information.
Let everyone share questions he or she has about the book. Save these to answer as you study in detail, and come back to them at the end to see if you have answered all of them.
Don't spend a lot of time on application in this lesson. Later lessons will attempt to guide those who are unsure how to apply Scripture to their lives. However, do share any ways you were able to identify with the characters and incidents in the story, and any ways you found the book relevant to your lives. Questions 9 and 10 should help you get to know each other better and give everyone something to think about during the week.
Wrap-up. Briefly tell the group what to expect in lesson 2. Whet everyone's appetite, and ask the group to think about any optional questions that you plan to discuss.
Worship. Many groups like to end with singing and/or prayer. This can include songs or prayers that respond to what you've learned in Bible study or prayers for specific needs of group members. Some people are shy about sharing personal needs or praying aloud in groups, especially before they know the other people well. If this is true of your group, then a song and/or some silent prayer and a short closing prayer spoken by the leader might be an appropriate ending.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Exodus"
Copyright © 2013 The Navigators.
Excerpted by permission of NavPress.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
How to Use This Study, 5,
One — Overview, 9,
Map — From Egypt to Sinai, 18,
Two — Birth Pains (1:1–2:25), 19,
Three — Whom God Called, and Why (3:1–4:31), 29,
Four — The Word and Name of the Lord (5:1–6:27), 39,
Five — Judgments on Egypt: 1 (6:28–10:29), 47,
Six — Judgments on Egypt: 2 (7:14–11:10), 55,
Seven — Last Night in Egypt (12:1-51), 63,
Eight — Consecration, Salvation, Celebration (13:1–15:21), 71,
Nine — Grumbling and Grace (15:22–17:7), 81,
Ten — War and Peace (17:8–18:27), 89,
Eleven — Laws for a Priestly People (19:1–20:21), 97,
Twelve — Life Under God's Lordship (20:22–23:19), 105,
Thirteen — Covenant Confirmed (23:20–24:18), 115,
Fourteen — The Tabernacle: Its Specifications (25:1–27:21;30:1–31:18), 123,
Fifteen — The Tabernacle: Its Servants and Sacrifices (28:1–29:46), 133,
Sixteen — Idolatry and Intercession (32:1–33:6), 141,
Seventeen — The Glory of the Lord (33:7–40:38), 149,
Eighteen — Review, 155,
Study Aids, 163,