How to Study Joshua
If you are not familiar with who Joshua is, before you begin studying the book, read Numbers 13; 14; 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9.
As you study Joshua one chapter at a time, it will help you keep everything in context if you keep in mind that the book of Joshua falls into four segments. In chapters 1 through 5 the children of Israel prepare to enter the land. Chapter 6 through 12 describe the conquest of the land. Chapters 13 through 21 tell of the allocation of the land. In chapters 22 through 24 Joshua calls Israel to serve the Lord, who gave them the land.
As you read each chapter, ask the "5 W's and an H": Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? For example, in a historical book such as Joshua, ask: What is this chapter about? Who are the main character? What is taking place? Where is it happening and when? Who is involved? Why is this occurring, being said, or to be done? What are the consequences? How is going to happen? How should it be done? Record the main points or events of the chapter in the margin if your Bible. Double-underline every geographical location in green.
Look on a map to find the various cities and places mentioned throughout this book. This will help you keep the book in its geographical context.
Mark every reference to time with a clock. This will help you see when events occurred and the chronological relationship of one event to another.
After you finish studying each chapter, write the theme or event covered in that chapter at the beginning of the chapter in your Bible. Then record it on the Structure of Joshua chart.
As you read these chapters, mark the following key words and their synonyms: Joshua, land, strong, courageous, firm, command (commanded, as the Lord commanded, in accordance with the command of the Lord), posses, covenant, ark of the Lord (ark of the covenant), and Israel. Write these on an index card that you can use as a bookmark white studying this segment.
Watch how the events or the instructions prepare the Israelites to enter the land. Also note the procedure for entering the land and the requirements placed on them as they arrive in the land. You might list these in the margin under the heading "Possessing the Land."
If while reading chapter 5 you need a review of circumcision, read Genesis 17 and Exodus 4:24-26.
Don't forget to record the theme of each chapter in your Bible and on Structure of Joshua.
As you study this section keep in mind the general instructions above.
Although you will mark many of the same key words, make a new bookmark with the following key words: God, Lord, Joshua, covenant, strong, courageous, land, fear, command (commanded), fight (fought), captured, ark of the Lord (of the covenant) and Israel.
Carefully observe what God tells the people to do when they conquer a city. Read Genesis 15:7-21 and note that God told Abraham He would bring this descendants into Canaan when the iniquity of the Amorites was complete. Also recall the covenant God made with Abraham on that day. You might write "Genesis 15:7-21" in the margin of this section as a cross-reference.
As you read, watch what happens when the people fail to consult God or to obey His commands regarding the inhabitants of the land. Note this in the margin.
When you come to chapter 8, note where Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim are located and what takes place there. Refer back to Deuteronomy 11:29 and Deuteronomy 27:11-14. Use a map to locate these places. Also mark all clues to time with a clock.
Record the theme of each chapter.
Once again make a new bookmark and write the following key words on it, although some words will remain the same: Israel, land, Joshua, Caleb, strong, fear, command (commanded, commandments), fought, captured, inheritance, possession, possessed (also mark possession in chapter 12), and promised.
Double-underline the geographical locations in green, then locate them on a map. Also mark in the text the name of each tribe as it is allotted its portion of the land.
As you read, watch for any mention of Caleb. Remember what you read about Joshua and Caleb in Numbers 13 and 14. There are important lessons to be learned from their example.
Pay careful attention to chapter 20 and what you learn about the cities of refuge.
Also note the inheritance given to the Levites in Joshua 21.
Don't forget to record the chapter themes.
Make one final bookmark for the key words you want to mark in the text: land, possess (possession), covenant, strong, firm, fear, command (commandment, commanded), serve (served), Israel, Joshua, promised, fought, and inheritance.
List God's instructions and what the people are to do in order to keep them. Also note the consequences of disobedience.
As you read Joshua 23, mark the word cling. Then read Jeremiah 13:1-11.
Complete Structure of Joshua. Fill in the four main segment divisions and any others you see.
Compare what Joshua tells the children of Israel in chapter 23 with God's word to Joshua in chapter 1. You might write "Joshua 1:7-9" in the margin of Joshua 23.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in Joshua
God's faithfulness in giving the Promised Land to Abraham's descendants (5:14-6:2; 11:23; 21:45; 22:4; Gen 12:7; 15:18-21; 17:8; Ex 33:2; Num 34:2-15; Deut 12:9, 10; 25:19; Heb 4:8)