If I asked you to turn to the book of Joel in your Bible, what would your initial response be?
Would you be able to turn there immediately? Would you need to look at the table of contents? Maybe you would break out in a sweat, knowing you have to search through all those thin pages in the middle of your Bible.
Have no fear, friend! I have been there and done and felt each of these things when searching for the minor prophet books of the Bible.
If you are unfamiliar with the minor prophets, the minor prophets are a group of twelve books found in the Old Testament, and they are often the most neglected in Bible study. What is it about these little books nestled in the center of our Bibles that elicit fear, indifference, or confusion?
There are multi-layered answers, but we can likely boil them down to a lack of understanding and an inability to rightly apply the truths within them. After all, these prophets lived in a different time and culture. Their message no longer applies to us, right?
Actually, it does. And here’s why.
Why You Should Study Joel
When I set out to study and write about the book of Joel, the same thoughts and questions as mentioned above entered my mind. And what I learned over time is that even a minor prophet book like Joel is just as living and effective as every other book of the Bible because it is the very Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). God gave a specific message to His people through Joel, and that message transcends time and leads Christians today to a better understanding of restoration and salvation. And this is why we should study Joel—we should study it to better understand the restoration Christ provides and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Below, we will take a deeper look at these two concepts and how studying Joel will aid you in your walk with Christ.
1. It is important to understand how restoration is woven throughout the Bible
Restoration is the driving force for the new study Restored: A Study on the Book of Joel. To fully appreciate the restoration Christ provides, we must understand how our relationship with God was severed and the beautiful plan He instituted to fix it. The book of Joel helps us do this as we study God’s message of judgment and restoration to the southern kingdom of Judah.
Joel’s message has many layers. What I mean by that is his prophecy from the Lord has near or partial fulfillment for the people of Judah, as well as fulfillment that came in Christ and future fulfillment that Christians still await today. Through Joel, God promised to judge the people of Judah for their sin, and indeed, they went on to face destruction and exile. But God also promised that a remnant would one day return. Restoration came partially through that return. But true restoration comes through Jesus Christ, who came and restored us to a right relationship with God through His death and resurrection. And we now await complete restoration, when Christ will return and we will dwell with Him eternally.
If that glorious truth was all we found in the book of Joel, it would be more than enough reason to study it, but there is more!
2. It is important to see how the Holy Spirit was promised to God’s people
Another prophecy that is extremely important in the book of Joel is the promise of the Holy Spirit found in Joel 2:28–32. Even in this small book, God tells the people that He will pour out His Spirit on humanity. This is the same Spirit and Helper that Jesus teaches about in the book of John (John 14:15–17, 15:26, 16:13). And when we come to Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit comes like tongues of fire, Peter preaches to the multitude in Jerusalem and quotes these very verses from Joel.
From Joel to Jesus to Peter to believers today, God’s promise to send the Holy Spirit—and His fulfillment of that promise—reveals His faithfulness. For those who follow Christ, the Holy Spirit now dwells within our hearts, and we are sealed for eternity (Ephesians 1:13–14).
These truths are just a taste of all there is to learn in the book of Joel. Each and every book of the Bible, even this small minor prophet, has much to teach us. We all need restoration. God’s people needed it when Joel prophesied to them, and we need it today. Joel teaches us that through Christ, we are restored. Jesus Christ was always God’s plan. And Joel’s message of restoration declares His sovereignty and leads our hearts to worship Him.
I hope this brief glimpse into some of what God taught me from the book of Joel sparks interest for you to dive in as well. Restored: A Study on the Book of Joel is a great place to start!
In this three-week study, you will have the chance to walk through each verse of Joel’s three chapters and see how Joel’s message points to Christ, the coming Holy Spirit, God’s character, and the gift of restoration. Joel is small yet mighty, and through this book, we worship and celebrate our good God.
Additional resources to aid in your study of the book of Joel: