1 Samuel: A Catalog of Lives to Learn From

Book Introduction from the Life Recovery Bible

The book of 1 Samuel begins with the birth of the prophet Samuel and ends with the death of King Saul. It contains a catalog of lives for us to learn from—some exemplary, others not. Samuel was born in the time of the judges, when “people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6). The people were far from God. Eli was high priest, but the flaws in his leadership can be seen in the dysfunctions of his own family. Since Israel lacked strong spiritual leadership, God chose Samuel and prepared him to lead the Israelites back to God.

Near the end of Samuel’s ministry, the people demanded a king; they wanted to be like the surrounding nations. God was not pleased with Israel’s demand, but he chose Saul to lead them anyway. Saul, though a man of great potential, was self-centered and disobedient; he never achieved what God had intended for him.

While Saul was still king, Samuel anointed David to be the next king. David became a national hero by killing Goliath, and he won numerous other great battles with God’s help. But when Saul realized that David was in line for the throne, he was consumed by bitterness and tried to kill him.

Finally, faced with defeat in battle, Saul took his own life. This book portrays some who moved toward God and toward wholeness and others who moved away from God and toward disaster. Jealousy, bitterness, and disobedience destroyed the life of King Saul. But forgiveness, trust, and obedience brought David great success. This book clearly shows that the only way to wholeness is by trusting and obeying God and following his program.


PURPOSE: To track Israel’s transition from the period of the judges to the era of kingly rule. AUTHOR: Unknown, but probably most of it was written by Samuel. Nathan and Gad were also contributors. AUDIENCE: The people of Israel. DATE WRITTEN: The book was probably started during Samuel’s lifetime and finished around 930 b.c. SETTING: In Israel, between 1120 and 971 b.c. KEY VERSE: “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice” (15:22). KEY PLACES: Shiloh, Gilgal, Ramah, Bethlehem, Gath, Adullam, Hebron, the wilderness of Judah, Ziklag, Endor, Beth-shan. KEY PEOPLE AND RELATIONSHIPS: Samuel and Eli, Samuel and Saul, and Samuel and David.

The authors of the Life Recovery Bible have recently released four workbooks that meet the needs of people dealing with compulsive behaviors that go beyond alcohol and substance abuse. These workbooks complemenThe Life Recovery Bible and focus on developing a biblical foundation for both understanding and successfully overcoming specific areas of struggle. Learn more

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