The following catechism on Old Testament history was part of the curriculum used in the Summer Bible School program. This particular catechism was used for the fifth and sixth grade curriculum, as shown here. An orginal copy of the catechism is preserved at the PCA Historical Center.


Old Testament History


by A. L. LATHEM, D. D.


Copyright 1924

(Note: —The History outlined in questions 1-60 is found in the Book of Genesis)

1. Repeat the first sentence of the Bible.
The first sentence of the Bible is:
“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.”
(Note: —The word create means to make something out of nothing.)

2. How long a period was used in preparing the Earth for the habitation of Man?
Six days.

3. What was the work of the first day?
God said “Let there be light, and there was light.''

4. What was the work of the second day?
The second day, God made the Firmament.

5. What was the work of the third day?
The third day, God caused the Earth to bring forth grass and green herbs.

6. What was the work of the fourth day?
On the fourth day, God made the Sun, Moon and Stars to appear in the Heavens.

7. What creative act did God perform on the fifth day?
During the fifth day, God created the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air.

8. What was the work of the sixth day?
The sixth day, God created the beasts of the field, and other living creatures. He also created Man in His own image.

9. What were the names of the first human pair?
The names of the first human pair were Adam and Eve.

10. What did God do for Adam soon after creating him?
Soon after creating Adam, God placed him in a beautiful garden called Eden, which He specially prepared for him. God then made Eve from a rib taken out of Adam and presented her to him.
(Note: —The location of the Garden of Eden is not known).

11. What was the sin of our first parents?
The sin of our first parents was disobedience. They ate of the fruit of the Tree of which God commanded them not to eat.

12. Was any hope given Adam and Eve?
Yes: God promised that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. This seed was the Savior. Gen. 3:15.

13. What were the names of the two older sons of Adam and Eve?
The first born son of Adam and Eve was named Cain. The second son was called Abel.

14. By whom was the first murder committed?
The first murder was committed by Cain, who killed his brother Abel.

15. What other son of Adam is mentioned in the Bible?
The other son of Adam mentioned in the Bible is Seth. Seth was born when Adam and Eve were 130 years old. From him is descended the present human race.

16. Name the antediluvian patriarchs.
The antediluvian patriarchs were Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah.
(Note: —Antediluvian means before the flood.)

17. What was the history of Enoch?
Enoch walked with God, and was translated to Heaven without seeing death.

18. Who was Noah?
Noah was the tenth from Adam. He walked with God, and enjoyed the Divine favor, and was made the founder of a new race.

19. What terrible judgment was sent upon the ancient world because of flagrant sin?
The ancient world was over-whelmed by a flood of waters, which destroyed everything which breathed except Noah and his family and the animals that were with them in the Ark.

20. About what time in the world's history did this flood occur?
The flood occurred about 2349 years before Christ.

21. Was the ancient world warned of the impending judgment?
Yes; one hundred and twenty years before the flood came, God through Noah, warned the ancient world of its coming, and called upon men to repent.

22. Of whom did Noah's family consist?
Noah's family consisted of himself, his wife, his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their wives.

23. How long was the flood of waters upon the earth?
From the beginning of the flood until the earth was dried was a period of one year.

24. Into what covenant relation did God and Noah enter after the flood?
After the flood, God entered into a covenant relation with Noah, promising him His blessing, and setting His bow in the cloud as a token that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood of waters.

25. Of what race was Shem the father?
Shem was the father of the Hebrew race, and most of the peoples of eastern and southeastern Asia.

26. Of what race was Ham the father?
Ham was the father of the aboriginal inhabitants of Caanan, India, and of the African races.

27. Of what races was Japheth the father?
Japheth was the father of the peoples of Europe, northern Asia, and of the nations descended from them.

28. What notable event occurred several hundred years after the flood?
Several hundred years after the flood was built the Tower of Babel, apparently for the purpose of defying God.

29. What momentous event took place in connection with the building of the Tower of Babel?
Because of the defiance of the people in building this tower, God confounded their language, so that they could not understand one another.

30. What took place when human language had been confounded?
When God had confounded their language the people separated. Those speaking similar tongues going off together.

31. Who was the leading spirit in building the Tower of Babel?
The leading spirit in building the Tower of Babel was Nimrod, a founder of cities, and famous as a mighty hunter.

32. Who was Abraham?
Abraham, called Abram until he was ninety-nine years old, was a descendant of Shem, and father of the Hebrew and other races.

33. Where was his original home?
The original home of Abraham was in Ur, a city built by Nimrod, near the Persian Gulf, not far from the river Euphrates.

34. What sort of a man was Abraham?
Abraham was a man of great faith, who feared God and always endeavored to do His will.

35. What caused Abraham to leave his home city and travel westward?
Abraham had a definite call from God to leave Ur simply trusting God. He also had a definite promise that through a son whom God would give him all the families of the earth should be blessed. See Acts 7:2.

36. About how long before Christ was it when Abraham received his call?
Abraham received his call between 1900 and 2000 years before Christ.

37. Into what land was Abraham finally directed to come?
Abraham was finally directed to come into the land of Caanan, and there to abide.

38. What was the name of Abraham's wife?
The name of Abraham's wife was at first Sarai, but, at the birth of Isaac, it was changed to Sarah.

39. When was God's promise of a son to Abraham fulfilled?
God's promise of a son to Abraham was fulfilled when he had attained the age of one hundred years.

40. What was the name of Abraham's son?
The son of Abraham in whom his seed should be called was Isaac.

41. What sort of a man was Isaac?
Isaac was a quiet man, who feared God, and was careful to do all His will.

42. What were the names of Isaac's sons?
The sons of Isaac, of whom Rebecca was the mother, were Esau and Jacob.

43. To which of these sons by birth did the birthright and blessing belong?
The birthright and blessing by birth belonged to Esau, but by lying Jacob obtained them both.

44. What was the punishment of Jacob for this unfair dealing with Esau?
Esau threatened Jacob's life, and Jacob escaped by fleeing to Haran, some 700 or 800 miles distant, where he lived with some of the relatives of his father.

45. Tell about the family of Jacob.
Several years after Jacob's arrival in Haran he married Leah and Rachel, daughters of Laban, his mother's brother.

46. What sort of a family had Jacob?
All of the evils belonging to polygamy were found in the family of Jacob. Later Jacob also married Bilhah and Zilpah, who were respectively the maids of Rachel and Leah.
Note: —A man is a polygamist who has more than one wife.

47. How many children were there in Jacob's family?
In the family of Jacob were twelve sons and one daughter.
Note: —There seems to have been other daughters whose names are not given.)

48. What were the names of these sons of Jacob?
The names of Jacob's sons were Reuben, Simon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Ashur, Issachar, Zebulin, Joseph, Benjamin. These are called the twelve patriarchs, and were the founders of the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel.

49. What was the character of these men?
With the exception of Joseph and Benjamin, they seem to have been wild and lawless, having little respect for what is holy and good.

50. What sort of a man was Joseph?
Joseph was a man of extraordinary talent, a prophet, very wise, and pre-eminently good.

51. Was Joseph beloved in his father's house?
Joseph was greatly beloved by his father, but bitterly hated by his brethren.

52. What wicked and shameful thing did Joseph's brethren do to him because of their hatred?
Because of their hatred toward him, Joseph's brethren sold him into slavery to a company of Midianites.

53. Why did Joseph's brethren hate him?
Joseph's brethren hated him because he dreamed dreams which seemed to show that some day they would have to do obeisance to him. They also hated him because he was good and they were evil.

54. What did the Midianites do with Joseph?
The Midianites sold Joseph into slavery in the land of Egypt.

55. What became of Joseph in Egypt?
Joseph was soon cast into prison in Egypt because of a false charge made against him, but the Lord greatly blessed him in prison.

56. How did it come about that Joseph was released from prison?
Because of having interpreted the dreams of his fellow prisoners, the Chief Butler and the Chief Baker, Joseph was later called upon to interpret dreams of Pharoah.

57. What did Pharoah’s dream foreshadow?
Pharoah’s dream foreshadowed seven years of plenty and seven years of famine which were to come upon the earth. Gen. 41.

58. When Joseph interpreted Pharoah’s dream what did Pharoah do to Joseph?
When Pharoah saw the wisdom of Joseph, he appointed him ruler, next to himself, throughout all the land of Egypt.

59. Why did Jacob and his family come down into Egypt?
The sons of Jacob came down into Egypt to buy food, because the famine was also in the land of Caanan, and at their second visit Joseph made himself known to them, and directed them to bring their father and all his household down into Egypt.

60. What was the history of the family of Jacob in Egypt?
They rapidly increased in number. After Joseph's death the Egyptians greatly oppressed the Israelites and reduced them to a condition of abject slavery.

(Note: —The History outlined from questions 61-78 is found in Exodus, chapters 1-15).

61. What wonderful man was born about 1572 B. C.?
Moses was born about 1572 B. C.

62. What cruel law had been made by the Egyptians about this time?
About this time the Egyptians had made a law that all boy babies born in the homes of the Hebrews should be cast into the river.

63. How did Moses escape being cast into the river?
Moses was a very beautiful child, and his parents decided to take the risk of saving him alive, but when he was three months old, fearing that he would be discovered, they placed him in a little waterproof basket among the reeds in the shallow water of the river, where he was discovered by Pharoah’s daughter.

64. What did Pharoah’s daughter do with Moses?
The daughter of Pharoah adopted Moses as her own son, and brought him up in the Egyptian Court.

65. Was Moses educated?
Moses was educated in all the wisdom and learning of the Egyptians.

66. How did Moses come to know about God?
Moses mother was employed as his nurse, and she taught him about God and his promises.

67. How long did Moses remain in the Court of Egypt?
Moses remained in the Court of Egypt until he was forty-years of age.

68. Why did he not continue in the Court of Egypt?
Moses left the Court of Egypt because the promises of God about the coming Christ were more valuable in his sight than all the treasures of Egypt.
(Note: —Let the teacher tell the story.)

69. Where did Moses go when he left the Court of Egypt?
When Moses left the Court of Egypt he went into the wilderness of Sinai, where he continued forty years, living the simple life of a shepherd, but in communion with God.

70. What book did Moses write while he was in the wilderness?
While he was in the wilderness, according to tradition, Moses wrote the book of Job.
(Note: —Moses was forty years in Pharoah’s Court; forty years in the Wilderness, and forty years the leader of Israel.)

71. What call did Moses receive at the age of eighty years?
When Moses was eighty years old, God appeared to him in the burning bush, calling him to lead the Children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.

72. Was Moses obedient to the call of God?
Moses gave heed to the call of God, and being used of God to execute judgment through the ten
plagues upon Egypt, he delivered the children of Israel out of the hands of the Egyptians.

73. What was the final plague executed upon the Egyptians?
The final plague executed upon the Egyptians was the death of the first born in one night in every home in Egypt, except in those of the Hebrews.

74. Why was not the first born slain in every Hebrew home?
The first born in the Hebrew homes were not slain because in obedience to God's command, every Hebrew household had slain a lamb and sprinkled the blood upon the lintel and door posts of their homes, which, when the destroying angel saw, he passed over, leaving them unharmed.

75. What feast was initiated on that same night?
On that same night was initiated the Feast of the Passover.
Note: “Passover” signifies the angel of death passing over.

76. Of Whom was the lamb slain a type?
The lamb slain at the Pascal Feast was the type of the slain Christ, whose blood cleanseth us from all sin.

77. When they went out of Egypt where did the children of Israel go?
When the children of Israel departed from Egypt they passed through the Red Sea, which was divided for them by a miracle, and entered into the Wilderness of Arabia.

78. How were the Children of Israel provided with food in the wilderness?
The Lord rained manna from Heaven for the Children of Israel. He also brought them water to drink out of the flinty rock.
(NOTE: —Both the manna and the flinty rock typified Christ. I Cor. 10:4.)

79. What was the most important event in connection with the religious life of Israel which occurred in the wilderness ?
The most important event which occurred in the wilderness in connection with the religious life of Israel was the giving of the law from Sinai, found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

80. How long did the Children of Israel wander in the wilderness?
The children of Israel, under the leadership of Moses, wandered forty years in the wilderness.

81. About how long before Christ was it when the Children of Israel entered the promised land?
It was about 1451 years B. C. when the Children of Israel entered the promised land.

82. Who was their great leader in the conquest of the land?
The great leader of the Children of Israel in the conquest of the land was Joshua.

Note: —Moses died at the age of 120 years on Mount Nebo, having viewed the promised land from afar. He was succeeded by Joshua.

83. What were the principal nations that inhabited the land at the time of the conquest?
The Canaanites, the Philistines, the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Moabites, and the Amonites.

84. Were all the tribes settled west of the Jordan?
No: two tribes and a half, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manassa were settled east of the Jordan.

85. How was Israel governed after the death of Joshua?
For a period of about 400 years the government of Israel was Theocratic, that is. God ruled.

86. What is this period called?
This period is called the period of the Judges. The Judges were men raised up from time to time as God saw fit, to direct the people.

87. Name the Judges.
The names of the Judges were Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Barak, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, and Samuel.

88. Which were the most noteworthy of these Judges?
The most noteworthy of these Judges were Deborah, who delivered the people from Jabin, King of Caanan, and Gideon, who saved the people from the Midianites, and Jephtha, who delivered them from the Amonites, and Samson, who saved them out of the hands of the Philistines by his great physical prowess, and Samuel, who also delivered them from the Philistines by prayer.

89. Why was it that Israel oft times fell into the hands of her enemies, and had need of special deliverance?
Always when Israel fell into the hands of her enemies it was because of shameful sin and apostacy.

(Note: —The History of Israel during the Life of Joshua is found in the Book of Joshua. The doings of the Judges in the Book of Judges and I Samuel).

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