How to Study Zephaniah
Zephaniah 1:1 gives the genealogy of Zephaniah and also the historical setting of the book. Record your insights about the author on the Structure of Zephaniah chat. If you want a more thorough picture of the historical setting of Zephaniah, read 2 Kings 22:1-23:30 and 2 Chronicles 34:1-35:27.
Consult the historical chart to see the relationship of his prophecy to the Babylonian captivity and the destruction of Nineveh.
Read Zephaniah paragraph by paragraph, watching carefully for the references to the different peoples and places. Double-underline in green every reference to the various peoples and cities (Moab Ammon, etc). Note what is said about each one.
Be careful to note when there is a change of subject. Watch carefully what happens in 3:1. Although Jerusalem is not mentioned by name at the beginning of chapter 3, the prophecy changes from Nineveh (the Assyrian capital) to Jerusalem.
Decide on the theme or subject covered in each paragraph and record this under "Paragraph Themes" on Structure of Zephaniah.
Now read Zephaniah chapter by chapter and mark the key words: I will (the Lord will, He will), the day of the Lord (the day, in or on that day), remnant (remainder), every reference to God's people, nation (daughters of Zion), nations (kingdoms, peoples), desolation (destruction), in your midst, woe, seek, anger, all the earth (face of the earth), Assyria (and Nineveh).
Watch for any other words as you read chapter by chapter and mark these.
As you mark the day, in or on that day, and the day of the Lord notice what will happen in that day and how it relates, if at all. to the day of the Lord. (Remember, prophecy can have a near and a distant fulfillment.
Note what God will do, to whom, and why. Also note what effect it will have on Israel.
Record what you learn about the day of the Lord.
Fill in Structure of Zephaniah. Record the theme of each chapter and of the book in the designated spaces. Then record the chapter theme in your Bible.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in Zephaniah
The Day of the Lord (1:7, 14-16, 18; 3:8; Is 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezek 13:5; 20:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18-20; Obad 1-21; Zech 14:1; Mal 4:5)
God's grace in the midst of judgment (2:3; 3:14-20; Ps 45:2; IS 26:20; Joel 2:14; Amos 5:14, 15; Zech 12:10; Rom 5:21; 2Cor 12:9; Heb 4:16)
Salvation for the believing remnant (2:7; 3:9-20; Is 35:4; 45:17; Jer 29:14; Mic 5:7, 8; Zech 9:16; John 3:16; Luke 1:68; Acts 5:31; Rom 11:26)