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The Use and Abuse of Joel's Prophecy.
pp. 186 - 191
In these writings we shall assume that the reader has no knowledge of Joel's prophecy
and little, if any knowledge of the rest of the O.T. Thus we crave the patience of our
more knowledgeable readers but in this day and age, when so few are acquainted with
God's Word, this must be the right approach.
One may ask why deal with the prophecy of Joel? Is it a book of such great
importance for the new Christian? Are there not other, more important, parts of the Bible
that deserve people's time and attention? Answers to these questions may vary but
Peter's quotation on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 16-21) from Joel has thrown this
prophecy into the limelight. Sadly, however, few know the context of Peter's quotation
and this writing is an endeavour to look at Joel's prophecy as a whole and in its O.T.
setting. When we have done that then we will look at Peter's usage of the prophecy.
Where is Joel's prophecy?
Towards the end of the O.T. is a group of relatively small books called the Minor
Prophets. These start with Hosea and then comes Joel, Amos, Obadiah . . . . . and so on
till we get to the last book of the O.T., Malachi. In all, there are twelve Minor Prophets
and they make interesting reading. Now -- before studying Joel we will need to read it
and this will not take long. There are only 73 verses and these are split into three
chapters and to read the whole book takes less than ten minutes.
Most of the book of Joel is written in Hebrew poetry and if you have read the King
James Authorized Version (A.V.) or the Revised Version (R.V.) or J. N. Darby's
translation (J.N.D.) this will have escaped you for these do not attempt to put the English
into any type of poetry or verse form. However The Revised Standard Version (R.S.V.),
Moffatt (Mft.), the New English Bible (N.E.B.) & the New International Version (N.I.V.)
do their best to translate the Hebrew poetry into some equivalent English form.
It is probably a good idea to read Joel's prophecy in two different translations and the
A.V. & the N.I.V. go well together. When you first read this prophecy the meaning of
some of the verses will be obvious--others will be perplexing! In certain cases it is clear
that the words should be taken literally and in others figuratively but in some cases . . . . .
it is hard to tell. However before studying any book of the Bible it is a good idea to read
it through--if possible two or three times. Thus before proceeding please read Joel's
prophecy through two or three times. This will take about twenty minutes.