Malachi outline for studying

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DATE:  c. 435-430 BC[1]

I.           Introduction (1:1)

II.         Blindness to the love of God (1:2-5)

A.       God’s love seen by His dealings with Esau (1:3-4)

B.       God’s love seen by contrasting Esau’s destiny with Israel’s (1:5)

III.      Disservice to the Great King (1:6-2:9)

A.       Exposure of the priests’ failure to give proper honor to the name of God (1:6-14)

B.       Indictment of the priests for their unfaithfulness to the covenant of Levi (2:1-9)

1.       Penalty for failing to hear this commandment of the Lord (2:1-4)

2.       The covenant with Levi that they had broken (2:5-9)

IV.       Unfaithfulness in human (marriage) covenants (2:10-16)

A.       The indictment:  unfaithfulness to the covenant (2:10-11)

B.       The consequences:  sacrifice rejected (2:12-13)

C.      Israel’s protest and God’s reply:  Divorce, which God hates, is a breach of covenant (2:14-16)

V.         Criticism of God’s justice (2:17-3:6)

A.       Israel’s words:  God’s justice is inconsistent (2:17)

B.       God’s answer:  Wait for God’s justice which will be revealed at the coming of His Messenger (3:1-5)

C.      God’s character:  Israel’s preservation is due to God’s unchanging character (3:6)

VI.       Disobedience to the Lord’s statutes (as evidenced by Israel’s lack of giving) (3:7-12)

A.       The root problem is a failure to return to the Lord and to obey His commandments (3:7)

B.       The issue of tithing is cited as one example of their disobedience (3:8-12)

VII.    Unbelief in the value of serving God (3:13-4:3)

A.       Israel’s words:  Serving God is not worthwhile (3:13-15)

B.       Yahweh’s words:  He remembers those who fear Him (3:16-18)

C.      The coming Day: God will distinguish those who fear Him from the evildoers (4:1-3)


VIII.  Conclusion (4:4-6)

A.       Remember the Law of Moses (4:4)

B.       Look for the Messenger (4:5-6)



I.        Foundationally,[3] one of the causes or characteristics of dead religion is blindness to God’s love (1:2-5). 

II.         “Insincere worship”[4] (1:6-2:9).

A.      Blemished sacrifices (1:6-14)

B.      Blighted religious leaders (who had failed to fulfill their ministerial obligations) (2:1-9)

III.      Unfaithfulness in human (marriage) covenants (2:10-16). 


IV.       Criticism of God and His ways (2:17-3:6).

V.         Disobedience to the revealed will of God (3:7-12).

VI.       Unbelief in the value of serving God (3:13-4:3). 


I.   Fear (honor) God.

II.         Prepare to meet the coming Messenger[5] (in the Day of the Lord).


[1] Malachi uses the Persian word for governor (1:8), suggesting that his ministry falls during the interlude between Nehemiah’s first and second governorship (ca. 435-430).

[2] Michael P. V. Barrett, “The Message of Malachi:  An Analysis of Dead Religion,” in Biblical Viewpoint (Nov 1998), 34.  Barrett notes, “Malachi meticulously examines, exposes, and identifies the causes and signs of dead religion and spiritual decay.  With a series of six cutting propositions, he penetrated to the core issues that marked Israel’s religion” (p. 34).

[3] Malachi begins his book with this oracle, suggesting that it is the “footing” upon which the rest of the book builds.

[4] Barrett, 35.

[5] Note the emphasis on the word messenger (1:1—Malachi!; 2:7; 3:1; 4:5).

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