Join us for worship this Sunday at 10:30AM!

xclose menu

Structural Outlines for Old Testament

bible_study-title-1-Wide 16x9






The Book of Ruth

A. Emptied Out (1)

      B. Ruth Goes Out to Boaz's Fields (2)

      B'. Ruth Goes Out to Boaz's Threshing Floor (3)

A'. Filled Up (4)


The Book of Ecclesiastes

Title (1:1)

a. poem about the brevity and insignificance of life (1:2-11).

      b. wisdom's failure to discover life's meaning (1:12-2:26)

            c. poem about time (3:1-15)

                d. the world's moral problems (3:16-4:16)

                      e. CENTER: Fear God! (5:1-7)

                d'. the world's moral problems revisited (5:8-6:12)

           c'. poem about time revisited (7:1-14)

      b'. wisdom's failure revisited (7:15-11:6)

a'. poem about life's brevity revisited (11:7-12:8)

Conclusion (12:9-14)


The Song of Songs

a. Their Story Begins: Opening words of mutual love and desire (1:2-2:7)
   b. Invitation to Enjoy a Spring Day: young man to young woman (2:8-17)
       c. Night of Separation Preceding Wedding (3:1-5)
            d. Wedding Day and Night (3:6-5:1)
        c'. Night of Separation Following Wedding Night and speeches of admiration and                     longing (5:2-7:9)
    b'. Invitation to Enjoy a Spring Day: young woman to young man (7:10-8:4)
a'. Their Story Complete: Closing words of mutual love and desire (8:5-14)
I've adapted this from S. Craig Glickman, Solomon's Song of Love  (West Monroe, LA: Howard Publishing, 2004), 241. Also found in HCSB Study Bible.
The Wedding Day and Night (3:6-5:1)
a. approach of the young woman in wedding procession (3:6-11)
   b. young man's lengthy speech of admiration (4:1-5)
       c. his short speech of desire (4:6)
           d. CENTER: his very short speech of admiration (4:7)
        c'. his short speech of desire (4:8)
   b'. his lengthy speech of admiration (4:9-11)
a'. union of the lovers (4:12-5:1)
From David A. Dorsey, The Literary Structure of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1999), 200.


a. Lady Zion's Desolation (Lamentations 1; 66 lines)
     b. God's Just Wrath (Lamentations 2; 66 lines)
           c. God's Righteousness and Faithful Love (Lamentations 3; 66 lines)
     d. Suffering God's Wrath (Lamentations 4; 44 lines)
e. Jerusalem's Prayer for Restoration (Lamentations 5; 22 lines)
Lamentations Pyramid
The central poem of the book (chapter 3) has a center itself, 3:19-33. This center of the center is the climax of the book, recalling God's character and renewing hope for the future because of his covenant faithfulness to his people.

 The Book of Esther

a. King’s proud feast (1:1-22)
   b. Esther becomes queen (2:1-18)
      c. King’s life is saved (2:19-23)
         d. Haman’s plot (3:1-4:3)
           e. Mordecai learns of Hama’s plot and appeals to Esther (4:4-17)
              f. Esther’s first banquet for King and Haman (5:1-14)
               g. CENTER: Haman’s fortunes turn; Mordecai the Jew is honored

              f’. Esther’s second banquet for King and Haman (7:1-10)
            e’. Mordecai and Esther given Haman’s estate (8:1-2)
         d’. Haman’s plot foiled (8:3-17)
       c’. Jews’ lives are saved (9:1-10)
    b’. Esther winds second day for Jews in Susa (9:11-19)
a’. Jews’ Feast of Purim (9:20-10:3)

From David A. Dorsey, The Literary Structure of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1999), 163.