A Teaching Outline for the Book of Amos

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“A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” So wrote the prophet Amos, concerning the message he had for the Northern Kingdom of Israel (cf. Amos 3:8). Like most of the Apostles, Amos had no theological credentials (cf. Amos 7:14). He was not a prophet (no formal role in prophesying) nor the son of a prophet (no formal training in prophesying), just as they were uneducated and untrained men (cf. Acts 4:13). But, like the Apostles, Amos was compelled to speak the message he was given, just as they were (Acts 4:20). And what a message it was.

Traveling from his home in Tekoa, a city in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, to Bethel, a major city of idolatry in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Amos found himself not only out of his element geographically, but spiritually. Although both kingdoms had fallen from the Lord, the Northern Kingdom’s fall was undoubtedly faster and further. Under the reign of Jeroboam II (the presiding king during Amos’ day), God had protected and prospered the nation (cf. 2 Kings 14:26-27). Yet, rather than repenting and thanking the Lord for His abundant grace, they spent their days in indulgent lifestyles: resting, relaxing, feasting, singing, entertaining, drinking, and primping, all while the nation continued its downward spiral into apostasy (cf. Amos 6:4-6). The audacity of the nation paralleled that of Joseph’s brothers centuries prior—they threw their brother into a pit and then “sat down to eat a meal” (Gen. 37:25).

In rebuke to the nation for their carelessness, unjust treatment of their fellow man, disregard for God’s Law, and pseudo-piety (among other things), Amos made it clear that the nation was irrevocably destined for destruction. Their houses would be destroyed (cf. Amos 6:11). Their crops would be seized (cf. Amos 5:11). They would be taken captive (cf. Amos 4:2). But perhaps the worst judgment of all would be the famine they would suffer—not for bread or water, but for “hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). They didn’t want God’s Word, and thus would get exactly what they asked for—divine abandonment.

Yet, to those with ears to hear Amos’ warning, to those with new hearts to “seek the Lord” (Amos 5:6), there was hope. Those who repented of their sins, trusting in the promised Messiah, would one day be returned to the land, restored from captivity, and receive rebuilt homes and crops (cf. Amos 9:13-15). Although that renewed kingdom has not found its earthly fulfillment yet, in the meantime that promised blessing is now graciously offered to Gentiles as well (cf. Eph. 2:12-13). The Lion of the tribe of Judah not only roars, but redeems.

Sadly, we too find ourselves today with a famine of God’s Word. Although we are not under a Mosaic Covenant curse as experienced by Israel, our land is almost just as parched due to churches that sinfully neglect verse-by-verse expository preaching, leaving the average churchman starving and malnourished. But there doesn’t need to be a famine in your home.

It was the late expositor S. Lewis Johnson who once said, “Amos is the kind of book that rewards constant study.”[1] To that end, the following outline is offered to help you feed your flock both the soul-sobering judgments and the heart-healing promises found in the book of Amos. May your family be blessed and rewarded through verse-by-verse study of this book.

Message: A Depraved Nation (Amos 1:1-2:16)

Syria: Torture (Amos 1:1-5)

Philistia: Trading of Slaves (Amos 1:6-8)

Phoenicia: Treaty Violation (Amos 1:9-10)

Edom: Tyranny (Amos 1:11-12)

Ammon: Treatment of the Unborn (Amos 1:13-15)

Moab: Torching the Dead (Amos 2:1-3)

Judah: Turning from God’s Law (Amos 2:4-5)

Israel: Transgressing God’s Law (Amos 2:6-16)

Message: A Doomed Nation (Amos 3:1-15)

Judgment Deserved (Amos 3:1-8)

Judgment Declared (Amos 3:9-12)

Judgment Described (Amos 3:13-15)

Message: A Defiant Nation (Amos 4:1-13)

Behold: Earthly Judgment (Amos 4:1-3)

Indulging Iniquity (Amos 4:4-5)

Refusal to Return: Famine (Amos 4:6)

Refusal to Return: Drought (Amos 4:7-8)

Refusal to Return: Pestilence (Amos 4:9)

Refusal to Return: War (Amos 4:10)

Refusal to Return: Fire (Amos 4:11)

Behold: Eternal Judgment (Amos 4:12-13)

Message: A Dead Nation (Amos 5:1-17)

The Song of Death (Amos 5:1-3)

The Summons to Life (Amos 5:4-15)

The Sorrow of the People (Amos 5:16-17)

Message: A Delusional Nation (Amos 5:18-27)

False Hope (Amos 5:18-20)

False Worship (Amos 5:21-24)

False Gods (Amos 5:25-27)

Message: A Decadent Nation (Amos 6:1-14)

Self-Confidence (Amos 6:1-3)

Self-Indulgence (Amos 6:4-7)

Self-Destruction (Amos 6:8-14)

Visions: A Destroyed Nation (Amos 7:1-9)

Locusts (Amos 7:1-3)

Fire (Amos 7:4-6)

Plumb Line (Amos 7:7-9)

Confrontation: A Disinterested Nation (Amos 7:10-17)

Rejection (Amos 7:10-13)

Response (Amos 7:14-17)

Vision: A Deserted Nation (Amos 8:1-14)

Picture of Judgment (Amos 8:1-3)

People of Judgment (Amos 8:4-6)

Promise of Judgment (Amos 8:7-10)

Permanence of Judgment (Amos 8:11-14)

Vision: A Divinely-Governed Nation (Amos 9:1-15)

Afflicting the Comfortable (Amos 9:1-10)

Comforting the Afflicted (Amos 9:11-15)


References:

[1] http://sljinstitute.net/the-prophets/amos/amos-god-in-a-box-or-assurance-versus-complacency