Joshua: An Introduction ‘These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come. (1 Cor 10:11)
Today we begin a 5-week series from the Book of Joshua. The aim is to read one chapter each day – so the set readings will occasionally be quite long. Some of the chapters even seem to make quite boring reading – just long lists of place names. It is worth reading through each chapter however, rather than just taking note of the verse for the day. This is because the book is not a theological treatise, revealing profound truths about God and the human condition, as are for example many of the New Testament letters. It is a history, telling of the way the Hebrew people entered the Land of Promise, taking possession of it, demonstrating over and over again the faithfulness of God. The central character is of course Joshua. From the very first verse of the book when God speaks to him and Joshua is seen as successor to Moses, right to the last few verses that describe the spiritual condition of the nation as Joshua dies, there is no doubt about Joshua’s authority, leadership and total dependence on God. So while Joshua is central to the story, even more so is the character, plan and purpose of God unfolded as we read the stories carefully.
So take time over your readings in this series! Be prepared to ask yourself questions such as ‘What do I see of the character of God in this story?’ Or ‘Is there an example to be followed, or a mistake to be avoided?’ Consider the stories well to see if the issues they deal with and the circumstances surrounding them have any bearing on life as we face it in the 21st Century.
More than most series of readings it raises questions of life and practice that need to be faced, and qualities of character that need serious reflection.
One writer compares the book to the New Testament story of Acts, suggesting that just as the Four Gospels lead on to Church expansion in Acts, so the Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy) prepares the way for the Hebrew expansion into the Promised Land recorded here in Joshua. Acts and Joshua both record the faithfulness of God as the people expand their horizons.
It has been hard to find many suitable or helpful commentaries on Joshua – and nothing in the way of a study guide that might suggest questions and lines of thought. So come to the book and these daily readings asking questions of your own.
More than ever before too, be prepared to add your comments about the stories you read! Send them to me at and I will collate any comments I receive and perhaps add them to the daily readings for others to look at too! Our passage for further consideration today reflects a significant purpose for reading the Old Testament. It certainly lies behind the approach that I have taken in preparing them.