The Minor Prophets The common title for these twelve books of the English Bible is “minor prophets.” This title originated in Augustine’s time (late fourth century A.D.), but they are minor only in that they are each much shorter than the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (called “major prophets”). In Old and New Testament times, the Old Testament was called “The Law and the Prophets.” This title looked at the Old Testament from the standpoint of its divisions, but it also included the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, which constituted a 24-book division. When we study the prophets we find they all pretty much have the same basic ingredients: (1) warning of impending judgment because of the nations’ sinfulness; (2) a description of the sin; (3) a description of the coming judgment; (4) a call for repentance; and (4) a promise of future deliverance. If you want to outline a prophetic book, how do you recognize where one unit begins and ends?72 They use an introductory or concluding formula like “This is what the Lord says…” They then use what is called “inclusio” (they begin and end a section with the same word or phrase). And they use several common literary forms: 1. Judgment speech which contains two parts: (a) Part One—The Accusation; (b) Part Two—The Judgment 2. A Woe oracle—like a judgment speech, except that it starts with “Woe…” 3. Exhortation/call to repentance—consists of appeal with motivation (in the form of a promise and or threat). (Amos 5:4-6; Joel 2:12-14) 4. Salvation announcement—often alludes to a lamentable situation and focuses on the Lord’s saving intervention (Amos 9:11-12) 5. Salvation oracle—introduced by the exhortation “fear not” (Isa 41:8-16) 6. Salvation portrayal—a description, often idealized and in hyperbolic terms, of God’s future blessings on his people (Amos 9:13).