How to Study 1 Chronicles
If possible, study 1 and 2 Samuel and then 1 and 2 Kings before you study 1 and 2 Chronicles. Chronicles is to these other historical books what John is to the synoptic Gospel (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Both John and Chronicles are supplemental and yet bring unique insight and understanding. Study the Historical Parallel of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles (on 1 Ch Graphics).
First and 2 Chronicles have time gaps in them. Keep this in mind as you study. When you wonder about the timing of something, look at the Historical Parallel of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.
Watch for and mark references to time with a clock ¹. Double-underline in green all geographical references.
When you finish observing each chapter, record its theme on Structure of 1 Chronicles and in your Bible.
Chapters 1-9: The Genealogies of the Nation of Israel.
this section may seem boring because it is primarily genealogies with a a few historical sidelights. However, remember that this information has a purpose, and that is why God included it in His Word. Some genealogies, such as 4:1-23, are not included anywhere else.
Don't skip this section; you will gain valuable insights which will help you in the study of the rest of the book.
To discover the scope of the genealogies, read verses 1:1 and 9:1-2. Then write in the margin of 1:1 when the genealogies begin and end according to the historical events they represent. Keeping in mind what was said in the introduction to 1 Chronicles, notice in 9:2 the words "the first who lived in their possessions in their cities."
In this segment the key words to mark or underline are the names of people who play vital roles in Israel's history.
Mark the following key words in a distinctive way: Adam, Noah, and Noah's three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Then mark the phrases the sons of Japheth, the sons of Ham, and the sons of Shem.
Mark the sons of Abraham were Isaac and Ishmael, and Abraham became the father of Isaac, and the sons of Isaac were Esau and Israel (remember that Israel was called Jacob until God changed his name to Israel)
In chapter 2 mark these are the sons of Israel. Then count the sons. How many were there? They became the heads of the tribes of Israel. Record their names on an index card and look for any place where they are repeated in this segment. Use this card as a bookmark. Read Genesis 49:1-28, where Jacob (Israel) gives a prophetic blessing to each of these men.
In 2:3-15 mark the sons of Judah and then look for David. In the margin, list David's genealogy from Judah through David's immediate father, Jesse. Remember that the author of Chronicles gives the genealogy of Judah before the other sons of Israel. Why? What would be important to the exiles who now repossessed their cities? Wouldn't it be God's promises to David? Keep this in mind as you study the second-to-last segment of 1 Chronicles.
In 3:1, mark the names of the sons of David and list their names in the margin. Refer to "David's Family Tree"
First Chronicles 3:10-16 gives the line of kings that come from David through Solomon. List this names in the margin.
First Chronicles 3:17-24 list the genealogy through Jeconiah (Jehoiachin). He was the king who reigned three months and ten days before he was taken into exile in Babylon, put in prison, and then released. See 2 Kings 24:8:16 and 2 Chronicles 36:9-10
When you read chapters 4 through 9, watch for any mention of the 12 sons of Israel and their genealogy. As you do:
Notice that not all 12 are mentioned in the chapters 4 through 9.
Joseph's sons Manasseh and Ephraim are mentioned in Scripture as part of the 12 tribes of Israel. The reason for this is given in 1 Chronicles 5:12. Take special note of this.
Write "Joseph's son" next to any mention of Manasseh and / or Ephraim.
Manasseh is named twice. The tribe split when Canaan was divided. Half the tribe of Manasseh took land east of the Jordan and the other half went west of the Jordan; thus the reference to the "half-tribe of Manasseh."
Read the section on the sons of Levi carefully and either underline what they were to do or note in the margin. Also observe and note what Aaron and his sons were to do. This will help you come to the final chapters of 1 Chronicles.
Don't forget to record the chapter themes in the text and on Structure of 1 Chronicles.
Chapters 10-19: God Turns the Kingdom to David.
As y read this segment, see how it fits with 1 and 2 Samuel. To do this consult the Historical Parallel of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.
Read 1 Chronicles 10, mark any reference to kingdom, and list the events of that chapter.
Also note where it says whose son David was. Keep in mind what you just studied in the first segment.
Note in the margin why Saul died, who died with him, and what happened to Saul's body.
Read this segment chapter by chapter and do the following:
Mark the following key words: city of David, ark, covenant, and inquired of God. Observe what you learn from these words and record your insights in your notebook.
Ask the "5 W's and an H" as you read each chapter. Who are the key characters? What happens? When? (Mark references to time with a ¹.) Where do events occur? Why do they occur? How do things happen? Record your insights in your notebook.
Don't forget to record the chapter themes on Structure of 1 Chronicles and in the text next to the chapter number.
Watch for any prophecies (promises), speeches, songs, or psalms of praise. Who gives them? Why? What is said in each? Record your insights in your notebook. Also ask: How can I apply these truths in my life?
Chapters 20-29: David Builds an Altar and Prepares for God's House
Note where this portion of 1 Chronicles comes in respect to 2 Samuel.
When you read chapter 20, compare the wording of verse 1 with 2 Samuel 11:1. Then as you look at the content of 2 Samuel 11-12, note what the author of Chronicles leaves out.
Now compare 1 Chronicles 21 with 2 Samuel 24. Why was this event included in 1 Chronicles when David's other sin was omitted? Remember, the temple is very important to returning exiles.
As you read each chapter, mark the following key words and note in the margin what you learn from each: house (home, temple, sanctuary), ark, heart, Levi (Levites), and Aaron.
The words house has been used numerous times in 1 Chronicles; however, whit one or two exceptions "house" referred to someone's family, such as the house of David. In this segment it is used primarily for the house of the Lord. As you mark it, note what you learn. Keep in mind that this is the book for the exiles who had returned to rebuild the temple and thus the emphasis is on the house of God and its importance. When difficulties arose, this historical account would affirm God's enduring purpose and promises.
As you mark the references to the Levites and to Aaron and his sons, observe carefully the types of duties they were to perform and which Levite family was to perform each type of duty.
Read each chapter as you did in the last segment, asking the "5 W's and an H." Note in the margin what you observe. Also as you did in the last segment, watch for any speeches, prophecies, etc., and note the same things you looked for previously.
Complete 1 Chronicles Structure. There are two lines for any additional segment divisions you might see and want to mark.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in 1 Chronicles
Blessing - when the king obeyed and trusted the Lord, God blessed and protected him (11:4-9; 14:8-14; Ex 23:22; Deut 11:27; 1Sam 15:22; Ps 5:12; 106:3; Eccles 12:13; Is 30:18; Matt 5:6; Luke 11:28)
Judgment - when the king disobeyed God and put his trust in something else, God withdrew His blessing (10:1-7); Det 28:41; Job 12:23; Ps 78:32, 33; Is 42:24; Ezek 39:23; Hos 4:17; Amos 3:6; 4:10; Mic 6:9; Mal 2:2; Matt 7:22, 23; 13:40-42; John 12:48)
The Davidic covenant - God's promise to Israel to restore a king was not abandoned because of the Exile (17:7-15; 2Sam 7:1-17; 2Chr 3:1, 2; Jer 31:31-34)