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First of all, the Minor Prophets are part of the Scriptures, so that is one answer. We should be students of the whole Bible, not just the New Testament and the book of Psalms, but the whole Bible—and the twelve Minor Prophets conclude the redemptive message of the Old Testament.

These books vary considerably. I suppose the entry point would be Jonah—and who doesn’t like the story of Jonah? It’s a story about the immense love of God for people who are gentiles. It’s a narrative of a prophet being sent to the Ninevites with the gospel. But Jonah didn’t think the Ninevites deserved the gospel, so he ran hundreds of miles in the opposite direction, only to be thrown into the sea and swallowed by a whale. Even at the end of the book, Jonah is still disgruntled. So, it teaches us many things, such as how God uses broken people.

My entry point into the Minor Prophets as a young Christian was the book of Amos, and Amos uses very simple country Hebrew, though I was reading it in English at the time. I discovered Alec Motyer’s commentary on it, which is absolutely fabulous, and it brought Amos to light and made it tremendously relevant.

Micah is a prophet who is Isaiah Mach 2. He’s not as wordy as Isaiah, but he is a contemporary of Isaiah. Micah was more out in the country, whereas Isaiah was in Jerusalem. But the message of Micah is similar to Isaiah: it’s a message about Christ, the coming Redeemer, and the fulfillment of the promise of God that a King like David would rule and reign.

Many of the Minor Prophets have aspects of genre and literature that make them, perhaps, initially difficult to understand. Many of them have visions of the day of the Lord, the coming apocalypse, the coming day of judgment, and the promise of a new heavens and new earth. They’re visionary and many of them use poetic language, so it’s a left brain, right brain kind of thing whether you can go with the flow of poetry and imagery. This is probably true of every book of the Bible, but the Minor Prophets require a good commentary and a good study Bible, like the Reformation Study Bible, to understand the nuances of what they’re saying.

Once you fall in love with the Minor Prophets and how they anticipate the coming of Christ—in Joel, for example, Peter quotes Joel about the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost—it helps you understand the total narrative of redemption from beginning to end.

This transcript is from an Ask Ligonier Podcast session with Derek Thomas and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email ask@ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.