Encountering the Old Testament, 3rd Edition

A Christian Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


7. Leviticus: Instructions for Holy Living

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • Compare the uses of sacrifice in Israel with uses of sacrifice in Mesopotamian cultures
  • Compare the emphasis on worship in Leviticus with that in Exodus
  • Outline the basic content of the book of Leviticus
  • List the types of Old Testament sacrifices and explain their usage
  • Identify the three basic themes of the book of Leviticus
  • Describe how modern Christians relate to Old Testament law

Chapter Summary

  1. Sacrifice was common throughout the ancient Near East, but Israel used it in a unique manner.
  2. The Levites were descendants of Levi, and they served as priests.
  3. The contents of Leviticus are: the offerings, the priesthood, cleanliness, uncleanliness, and the Holiness Code.
  4. The basic types of sacrifices are: burnt offering, cereal offering, peace offering, sin offering, and guilt offering.
  5. On the Day of Atonement, the priest made a sacrifice to make atonement for himself and the nation.
  6. The scapegoat symbolized the removal of the sin of the nation.
  7. Leviticus established laws for proper covenant worship and for ritual cleansing.
  8. Through the use of blood, God made clear that nothing less than life itself must be presented to him as an atonement for sin.
  9. In Leviticus God called Israel to live a holy life, and he calls us to do the same.

Study Questions

  1. Why is Leviticus one of the most neglected books of the Bible?
  2. What are the major differences between the Israelite sacrificial system and those of the ancient Near East?
  3. Who were the Levites? Why is the book named for them?
  4. What are the four main divisions of the book?
  5. Distinguish the two main categories of sacrifices.
  6. What was the function and ritual of the Day of Atonement?
  7. What are the three major themes of Leviticus?
  8. What is the basis of God’s call for Israel to live a holy life?