Sunday School Bible Survey:      JEREMIAH

Theme: God's love and compassion

Key word: Backsliding

Key verses: "The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot" (3:6).

"Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God" (3:22).

From the Scofield Study Bible:
Jeremiah began his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah, about 60 years after Isaiah's death. Zephaniah and Habakkuk were contemporaries of his earlier ministry. Daniel of his later. After the death of Josiah, the kingdom of Judah hastened to its end in the Babylonian captivity. Jeremiah remained in the land ministering to the poor Remnant (II Kings 24:14) until they went into Egypt, whither he followed them, and where he died, early in the 70 years' captivity. Jeremiah, prophesying before and during the exile of Judah, connects the pre-exile prophets with Ezekiel and Daniel, prophets of the exile.

Jeremiah's vision includes: the Babylonian captivity; the return after 70 years; the world-wide dispersion; the final regathering; the kingdom-age; the day of judgment on the Gentile powers, and the Remnant.

Jeremiah is in six chief divisions:

  1. From the prophet's call to his message to the first captives (1:1—29:32).
  2. Prophecies and events not chronological (30:1—36:32).
  3. From the accession to the captivity of Zedekiah (37:1—39:18).
  4. Jeremiah's prophecies in the land after the final captivity of Judah (40:1—42:22).
  5. The prophet in Egypt (43:1—44:30).
  6. Miscellaneous prophecies (45:1—52:34).

The events recorded in Jeremiah cover a period of 41 years (Ussher).


  1. We know a great deal about the ministry of Jeremiah, from his prophetic call at a young age (1:1-3) in the thirteenth year of the reign of King Josiah, to the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
  2. Jeremiah was forbidden by the Lord to marry (16:1-4).
  3. He prophesied during the reigns of five kings: Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. (Josiah was the last good king of Judah.)
  4. Jeremiah's ministry took place during the final days of the kingdom of Judah, including the destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of its inhabitants to Babylon.
  5. After the destruction of the temple (about 587 BC), King Nebuchadnezzar left Jerusalem, and placed Gedaliah in charge of the city.
  6. Jeremiah was allowed to remain in the city under the protection of Gedaliah, the man appointed governor by King Nebuchadnezzar (cf. 39:13, 14).
  7. Gedaliah was instructed by Nebuzar-adan, the captain of the guard, to look after Jeremiah's safety and welfare (39:11-14).
  8. Gedaliah was kind to Jeremiah, as was his father Ahikam before him (cf. 26:24). Jeremiah stayed with Gedaliah in Mizpah, a city close by (40:8).
  9. Unfortunately, Ishmael, an ambitious and treacherous member of the royal family, in league with the Ammonites, was jealous of Gedaliah and conspired to have him killed.
  10. Gedaliah was warned by Johanan of Ishmael's evil intentions but could not believe that Ishmael would do such a thing (40:13-16). So Gedaliah, along with some of his Jewish and Chaldean friends and soldiers, was murdered only two months after his appointment by King Nebuchadnezzar (41:1-7).
  11. After his murder, the Jews expected trouble from King Nebuchadnezzar, and were determined to flee into Egypt (41:16-18).
  12. Johanan, the leader of the group, asked Jeremiah to pray for them but it was obvious to Jeremiah that they would not listen to the LORD. Jeremiah told them to stay in Israel, and if they went to Egypt they could expect nothing but trouble and would surely die (42).
  13. But they disobeyed the message from God, and then fled to Egypt, forcing Jeremiah to accompany them (43).

  1. The prophecies of Jeremiah constitute a strong warning to Judah, and its capital city, Jerusalem, to repent of their idolatry and apostasy.
  2. If they would not repent, they would be invaded by Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon and his army.
  3. In Jeremiah 25:9, the Lord refers to King Nebuchadnezzar as his "servant."
  4. The people did not respond well to Jeremiah's stern message. Because he predicted the triumph of Babylon and the 70-year captivity of Judah, he was persecuted and imprisoned.
  5. Wicked King Jehoiakim (the son of King Josiah) took the roll containing Jeremiah's prophecies (which were the word of God) and cut it with his penknife, and "cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth" (36:23).
  6. This evil deed was quickly judged by God (36:24-32).
  7. Against this dark backdrop of impending judgment, Jeremiah also prophesied about the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His kingdom (cf. 23:5, 6; 31:31-37; 33:14-18).
  8. Jeremiah prophesied about the coming tribulation preceding the second coming of Christ. In Jeremiah 30:7, he calls it "the time of Jacob's trouble."
  9. Eric W. Hayden said, "Perhaps in his life of suffering we see in Jeremiah a man most near to the Man of Sorrows, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself" (Preaching Through the Bible).


  1. Jeremiah is often referred to as "the weeping prophet." "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" (9:1; cf. "The Lamentations of Jeremiah").
  2. Jeremiah dictated to his secretary, Baruch, all his prophecies from the beginning of his ministry up till the fourth year of King Jehoiakim (36:1-4).
  3. After King Jehoiakim destroyed this roll (record of over half of the prophet's ministry), Jeremiah dictated another edition, which included many additions to the first roll (36:23-32).
  4. Jeremiah was fiercely opposed because he preached hard against sin (5:3-9). His vigorous attacks against idolatry brought down the wrath of the people, including the kings of Judah (not Josiah).
  5. Though Jeremiah's message was from the LORD (the phrase "saith the LORD" is found over 300 times in the book of Jeremiah), the people were determined to continue backsliding and so they rejected the message and the messenger (cf. 5:9, 11, 14, etc.).
  6. The book of Jeremiah was apparently written in several stages; therefore, the contents are not always in strict chronological order.
  7. Though liberal critics have questioned Jeremiah's authorship, Daniel refers to Jeremiah's prediction of the seventy-year captivity. Furthermore, the book is quoted several times in the New Testament (cf. Matt. 2:17, 18; 21:13; Heb. 8:8-13, etc.).

  1. Jeremiah's call (1)
  2. Prophecies against Judah and Jerusalem (2—45)
  1. During the reigns of Kings Josiah and Jehoiakim (1—20)
  1. First sermon — sin and ingratitude of the nation (2:1—3:5)
  2. Second sermon — devastation from the north (3:6—6:30)
  3. Third sermon — threat of exile (7—10)
  4. Fourth sermon — the broken covenant and the sign of the girdle (11—13)
  5. Fifth sermon — the drought (14, 15), the sign of the unmarried prophet (16:1—17:18)
  6. Sixth sermon — the sign of the potter's house (17:19-27)
  1. At various periods leading up to the fall of Jerusalem (21—39)
  1. Punishment upon King Zedekiah and the people (21—29)
  2. Future Messianic Kingdom (30—33)
  3. King Zedekiah's sin and the loyalty of the Rechabites (34, 35)
  4. Opposition from King Jehoiakim (36)
  5. Jeremiah's imprisonment by King Zedekiah (37—39)
  1. After the fall of Jerusalem (40—45)
  1. Prophecies against the Gentile nations (46:1—51:64)
  1. Against Egypt (46)
  2. Against Philistia (47)
  3. Against Moab (48)
  4. Against Ammon (49:1-6)
  5. Against Edom (49:7-22)
  6. Against Damascus (49:23-27)
  7. Against Arabia (49:28-33)
  8. Against Elam (49:34-39)
  9. Against Babylon (50, 51)
  1. Historical Appendix (52)
  1. The fall and captivity of Judah (52:1-30)
  2. The latter days of King Jehoiachin (52:31-34)

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  —