Sunday School Bible Survey:      I KINGS

Theme: The glory of the LORD

Key verses: "And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD" (I Kings 8:10, 11).

From the Scofield Study Bible:
First Kings records the death of David, the reign of Solomon, the building of the temple, death of Solomon, division of the kingdom under Rehoboam and Jeroboam, and the history of the two kingdoms to the reign of Jehoram over Judah, and Ahaziah over Samaria. Includes the mighty ministry of Elijah.

The book is in seven parts:

  1. From the rebellion of Adonijah to the death of David (1:1—2:11).
  2. From the accession of Solomon to the dedication of the temple (2:12—8:66).
  3. From the confirmation of the Davidic Covenant to the death of Solomon (9:1—11:43).
  4. From the division of the kingdom to the death of Jeroboam and Rehoboam (12:1—14:31).
  5. The kingdoms to the accession of Ahab (15:1—16:28).
  6. Accession of Ahab to his death (16:29—22:40).
  7. From the reign of Jehoshaphat to the accession of Jehoram over Judah, and Ahaziah over Samaria (22:41-53).

The events recorded in First Kings cover a period of 118 years (Ussher).


  1. Just as the first and second books of Samuel were originally one book in the Hebrew Bible, so were the two books of Kings.
  2. The Authorized King James Bible says, "The First Book of the Kings, Commonly Called the Third Book of the Kings."
  3. First and Second Kings are closely linked with First and Second Samuel for they continue the historical record begun in them and complete the story of the kings right up to the Babylonian captivity.
  4. However, the two books of Kings cover four centuries and give far less detail than First and Second Samuel, which cover only one century.
  5. The same time period is covered in I & II Chronicles.
  6. "One interesting practice is that the writer gives a verdict upon the king's reign that he has recorded. This religious summing-up is sometimes favorable, sometimes unfavorable and occasionally an in-between estimate, approval modified by disapprobation" — Eric W. Hayden, Preaching Through the Bible.
  • "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days" (I Kings 15:11-14).
  • "But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him" (I Kings 16:25).
  • "And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him" (I Kings 16:30).
  • "Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places" (I Kings 22:42, 43).
  1. There is much emphasis on the ministry of the prophets, especially the prophets Elijah and Elisha, in I & II Kings.


  1. First Kings begins with the death of David, Israel's greatest king, and ends with the death of Ahab, Israel's worst king
  2. King Solomon is the prominent character in the book of I Kings.
  3. Solomon was blessed like no other king. Twice God appeared to Solomon. Solomon was given great wisdom and wealth.
  4. His reign was one of peace and prosperity.
  5. Solomon built the magnificent temple in Jerusalem.
  6. The first eleven chapters deal with the reign of King Solomon.
  1. His anointing as king (1).
  2. David's charge to Solomon, and the death of David (2).
  3. Solomon's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh, and Solomon's prayer for wisdom (3).
  4. Solomon's princes, scribes, officers, etc. (4).
  5. Solomon's building projects (5—8).
  6. Solomon's wealth and splendor and great fame (9, 10).
  7. Solomon's idolatry and apostasy (11).


  1. First Kings 12 through the book of II Kings deals with the divided kingdom and the various kings of Israel and Judah.
  2. The tribe of Benjamin stayed with Judah.
  3. At first, Israel's capital was Tirzah, then later Samaria; Judah's was Jerusalem.
  4. All of the kings of Israel were bad, and some such as Ahab and his father Omri were very bad.
  5. King Ahab was married to the wicked Queen Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Zidonians (16:31).
  6. Some of the kings of Judah were good (e.g. Hezekiah, Josiah) and some were bad.


  1. Rehoboam — son of King Solomon, a bad king (12-14).
  2. Abijam — son of Rehoboam, a bad king (15:1-8).
  3. Asa, son of Rehoboam, a good king (15:9-34).
  4. Jehoshaphat, son of Asa, a good king (22:41-50).
  5. We are introduced to King Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, at the end of I Kings (22:50; cf. II Kings 8:16-19).


  1. Jeroboam — he was "Solomon's servant" (11:26), chosen by God to take ten tribes from King Solomon (11:29—14:20). Early in his reign he attempted to sever all religious ties with Jerusalem by setting up golden calves in Bethel and Dan (cf. 12:25-33).
  2. Nadab, the son of Jeroboam (15:25, 26).
  3. Baasha murdered Nadab and seized the throne (15:27—16:7).
  4. Elah was the son of Baasha and a drunkard (16:8-10).
  5. Zimri murdered Baasha and seized the throne (16:10-20). He only reigned for seven days (cf. 16:15).
  6. Omri was the captain of the host (16:16). The people chose him to be king over Israel so he besieged Tirzah (16:17). Finding his position untenable, Zimri set fire to the palace and died in the fire (16:18).
  7. Ahab, the son of Omri, was the most wicked king of all (cf. 16:30-33). His reign is described in I Kings 16:28—22:40.
  8. Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, reigned two years (22:40, 51-53).


  1. The most prominent prophet was Elijah the Tishbite (I Kings 17:1).
  2. Elisha succeeded Elijah. The LORD told Elijah, "Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room" (I Kings 19:15, 16).

Other prophets include Nathan (I Kings 1), Ahijah (I Kings 11, 14), the unnamed prophet who prophesied the birth of King Josiah (I Kings 13), the old prophet from Bethel, who deceived the unnamed prophet (I Kings 13), Jehu the son of Hanani (I Kings 16, 19), the unnamed prophet who told King Ahab that the LORD would deliver Syria into his hand (I Kings 20:13, 14, 22), an unnamed "man of God" who gave King Ahab similar news (I Kings 20:28), "a certain man of the sons of the prophets" who admonished King Ahab for allowing Benhadad, the king of Syria to escape (I Kings 20:35-43), and Micaiah, the prophet hated by King Ahab (I Kings 22:8).

These are simple Sunday School survey notes. They are not for sale. The author used many outlines from popular Bible teachers such as C.I. Scofield and J. Vernon McGee, and he has tried to give credit when using their material.

—  Pastor James J. Barker  —