Introduction to Joshua

(Pas. Baines, Jr. 8/2013)

The authorship of this book is debatable, but many traditionalists ascribe it to Joshua. There is debate about when the text was written (i.e., many say around 1370 b.c.).  

The major plot or story line in the book is an account of how Joshua obeyed God in leading the Jews into the conquest and division of Canaan, the promised land. A key idea in the book is that God will bless obedience.

It is interesting to note that Joshua is the equivalent of Jesus in Greek and has been interpreted to mean “Jehovah saves.” Joshua was a faithful assistant to Moses, before he became the leader.

The following outline comes from the Ryrie Study Bible:

I. Entering the Land of Canaan, 1:1-5:15
            A. The Commission of God to Joshua, 1:1-9
            B. The Command of Joshua to the People, 1:10-18
            C. The Canvassing of Jericho: Rahab and the Spies, 2:1-24
            D. The Crossing of the Jordan River, 3:1-17
            E. The Commemoration of the Crossing, 4:1-24
            F. The Circumcision of the People, 5:1-12
            G. The Captain of the Lord’s Army, 5:13-15

II. Conquering the Land of Canaan, 6:1-12:24
            A. Conquest of Central Canaan, 6:1-8:35
                        1. Victory at Jericho, 6:1-27
                        2. Defeat at Ai: Achan’s sin, 7:1-26
                        3. Victory at Ai, 8:1-29
                        4. Worship at Ebal, 8:30-35
            B. Conquest of Southern Canaan, 9:1-10:43
                        1. Deception of the Gibeonites, 9:1-27
                        2. Destruction of the Amorite coalition, 10:1-43
            C. Conquest of Northern Canaan, 11:1-15
            D. Summary of the Conquest, 11:16-12:24

III. Dividing the Land of Canaan, 13:1-24:33
            A. Instructions to Joshua, 13:1-7
            B. Division of Transjordan, 13:8-33
            C. Division of Canaan, 14:1-19:51
                        1. Introduction, 14:1-5
                        2. Inheritance of Judah, 14:6-15:63
                        3. Inheritance of Ephraim, 16:1-10
                        4. Inheritance of half-tribe of Manasseh, 17:1-18
                        5. Survey of remaining land, 18:1-10
                        6. Inheritance of Benjamin, 18:11-28
                        7. Inheritance of Simeon, 19:1-9
                        8. Inheritance of Zebulun, 19:10-16
                        9. Inheritance of Issachar, 19:17-23
                        10. Inheritance of Asher, 19:24-31
                        11. Inheritance of Naphtali, 19:32-39
                        12. Inheritance of Dan, 19:40-48
                        13. Special inheritances, 19:49-51
            D. Cities of Refuge, 20:1-9
            E. Cities of the Levites, 21:1-45
            F. Joshua’s Farewell Messages, 22:1-24:28
                        1. To the two-and-a-half tribes, 22:1-34
                        2. To the rulers, 23:1-16
                        3. To the people, 24:1-28
            G. The Death of Joshua, 24:29-33"


The following resources were used by the Pastor in developing the teaching notes:


Joshua by Donald H. Madvig in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 3 (Frank E. Gaebelien, General Editor; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992).


The New Unger Bible Dictionary by Merrill F. Unger (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1988).


Joshua by Trent C. Butler in Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 7 (David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker, General Editors; Waco, TX: Word Books, Publisher, 1983).

Review Questions


1. Who wrote this book? What is the major plot or story line?



2. Where did the outline that we are using come from?



3. What is a key idea in the book that we will be highlighting in our studies?

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