Two Papers On Haggai


Let us gather together the chief points we have learned from the five papers on Bible Study in the Postal Sunday School Course and the previous paper in this series. If we are to enjoy our Bibles we must read them often. As we notice them, we follow up word themes, subjects, ideas which through their repetition are given a certain emphasis. By noting these we become acquainted with the keynotes of a given book of the Bible. We seek to learn what the book teaches about our God. We note the essential details of the times which throw light on the meaning of our book. We have been keeping a note of the various things we have learned as we have gone along.

What now! Well all the work we have done so far has only scrappily approached the book we are studying. We have learned lots of disconnected things but have not as yet seen their bearing on the whole. For this aspect of our work we need to look more closely at each paragraph in turn, taking time to ponder and digest. Ask yourself “what does this mean?” Word follows word, sentence follows sentence, making up the series of paragraphs which together form the book. Are there words you do not understand? Look them up in a dictionary.

Are there verses or phrases you do not understand ? Look them up in a Bible Commentary (you can borrow these from a library if you do not have any of your own). Make notes on your findings on the paragraphs and always sum up in your own words. You will become more adept at this as you go along.

Let us make a few jottings on paragraph three of Haggai.

  • 3. A Message of Cheer – Keynote: Continue, 2. 1-9.

Circumstances out of which the prophecy arose. Builders dejected and discouraged when their work was compared with the glory of Solomon’s temple.

vv. 1-3. Comparison with the past. Note

the Prince, for rule;

the Priest, for worship;

the People, to work.

Past glory greater than present glory.

vv. 4-5. Courage for the present. Note

God’s Presence, I am with you;

God’s Promise, the word I covenanted;

God’s Plea, fear ye not.

vv. 6-9. Crisis in the future. Note Convulsions, God’s might; Christ, coming glory;

Calm, I will give peace.

Latter day glory to exceed former glory.

If we were to consider each paragraph in turn and then work out and set out a simple summary of the message such as this, we would then be coming to grips with Haggai.

When each paragraph of the book has been considered we should be able to look at the book as a whole and produce a

Simple Analysis.

Let us attempt this now!

September, 6th month October, 7th December, 9th
1. 1-11 Challenge 1. 12-15 Commendation 2. 1-9 Cheer 2. 10-19 Review 2. 20-23 Reassurance
Keyword for each paragraph of the message
Work Obey Continue Think Hope

At first you will find it easier to accept (after testing) the outline suggestions that you may find in some of the books to which reference has already been made. However it is a good exercise to attempt your own brief outline of the contents of each book you study after the fashion suggested. In this way you will arrive at a pictorial view of the contents of the whole book assisting in memorising the gist of the message.

So much for analysis which involves taking a book apart to see more clearly all its separate parts and how they each contribute to the whole. Another phase of study necessary to take us on a little further is to approach the Bible


This involves bringing together all the various separate books and blending them together to grasp the whole history, the whole picture or the whole subject. The Bible contains many “twice told” incidents. By blending together the two or more accounts of an incident in the life of our Lord recorded in the different Gospels we gain a vivid picture of the whole scene. By reading the history books alongside the prophets written at the same time., we enter into the atmosphere of the times and grasp the force of the messages of the Old Testament more clearly. In the light of this., it is wise to study the group of books associated in time or subject-matter together. In this way, the spadework necessary to get the background for one will be of great use in approaching the other and the teaching of one book completed will in some way be found to be complementing another book to be commenced. We have noticed, for instance, that Haggai ministered in the same era as Zechariah. This means that the facts we have unearthed from Haggai would set the scene in which Zechariah witnessed for God also. By observing dates referred to in Zechariah we would see that these two prophets alternately appeared with a lasting message for the people of God.

Hag. 1. 1-15 Hag. 2. 1-9 Zech. 1. 1-6 Hag. 2. 10-23 Zech. 1. 7 to 6. 8
6th month September 7th month October 8th month November 9th month December 11th month February
Ezra 5-6 covers and extends beyond this period

After completing our study of these two books we could compare and contrast their ministries and see their contribution to the whole work. For instance

  • In Haggai the emphasis is on the House of God;
  • In Zechariah the emphasis is on the God of the House.
  • Haggai is simple and plain;
  • Zechariah is profound and mystical.
  • Haggai is directed to the conscience;
  • Zechariah is directed to the heart.
  • Haggai is occupied more with the present;
  • Zechariah is more occupied with the future.

There is much more gained from synthetical study than space permits us to develop here.

Of course, once we find the main topic or topics of a given book of Scripture, we connect other books or passages where a similar topic is discussed. There is immense profit from pursuing the

Study of Topics.

The book Haggai has brought the subject of building to the forefront. The Bible has much to say about building. By giving consideration to this we find a challenging topic developed.

  • Some build their own houses but neglect God’s house, Haggai.
  • Some build on good and some on bad foundations, Matt. 7.
  • Some begin to build and never finish, Luke 14.
  • Some build on a good foundation with right and wrong materials, 1 Cor. 3.

Add any others you may be able to find and keep a note of this topic on a piece of paper.

We have said enough to give you a start with the principles of Bible study. We are far from exhausting this but as you undertake more work of your own, other important points will be brought to light. The simple rules of interpreting a passage of Scripture may be set out as follows:

  1. The words must be understood.
  2. The context of the words will help in understanding the meaning.
  3. The wider context of the whole book further contributes to our correct assessment of its meaning.
  4. What we learn must be seen against the light of the whole Bible.
  5. there are no contradictions;
  6. difficult passages have to be interpreted in the light of the simple and crystal clear teaching of other passages bearing on the subject.

Remember the Bible contains “the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, the happiness of believers. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy”.


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