There are, of course, a number of ways one may approach the study of the Bible: Synthetic—an overview of the Bible as a whole to provide a grasp of the overall message, Analytical—the process of viewing the Bible verse by verse to get an in depth understanding, Topical or Doctrinal—a study of the Bible according to its many topics and doctrines, and Typical—a study of the many pictures or types found in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, that portray the truth of the New Testament. The synthetic or overview approach is extremely helpful for the beginning student or for those who have never undertaken such a study. Through the synthetic approach, we are not only able to grasp the big picture or see the whole forest, but such an overview will help in understanding the details later on in one’s study of the Bible.
We are calling this a short survey because this study is more of a nutshell approach to the books of the Old and New Testaments. The goal is to give the reader key terms, verses, themes or purposes of each of the books along with a brief description of the content.1
1 Some of the ideas and the plan used in this Survey for each of the books of the Bible (author and title, date, purpose and theme, key verse(s), etc.) are similar to and drawn from other survey materials such as, Briefing the Bible, J. Vernon McGee, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1949; A Popular Survey of the Old Testament, Norman L. Geisler, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1977, “Old Testament Survey,” Alban Douglas, class notes, Prairieview Bible College, and Talk Thru the Bible, Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1983.