How to Read Daniel

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During the month of November, our church will be reading the book of Daniel. Use this study guide to help you as read this amazing book.

What’s Daniel All About?

The book of Daniel is all about living faithfully to God in a world that is not our home. Daniel and his three friends are taken to Babylon during the Exile of Judah. Daniel and his friends represent faithful Israel but they must work to stay faithful to the Lord even as they live in the belly of the beast.

The book is made up of two main sections: a block of stories in the first half and a block of visions in the second half. While the book can be confusing at times, it is a helpful word to us about living in a world that is not our home. Our citizenship is in Heaven and from it we await a Savior. But, for now, we live there in this world and we are called to be faithful to God even in a hostile and faithless world. The book of Daniel encourages us to be faithful to and to set our hope not in the kingdoms of man but in the Lord and his coming Kingdom.

Outline of the Book

1 | Faithful Living in a Land of Exile
2 | Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
3 | The Statue and the Furnace
4 | Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream
5 | Belshazzar’s Feast
6 | Daniel in the Lions Den
7 | Vision of the Beasts & the Son of Man
8 | Vision of the Ram & the God
9 | Daniels Prayer of Repentance
10 | Vision of the Heavenly War
11 | Vision of the Earthly Wars
12 | Vision of the End of Days

Things to Look For

Look for God's sovereignty. The book of Daniel sees the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms. And through it all there is a true King in Heaven who is ruling and reigning over all things. Daniel rests in the sovereignty of God. Let the book help you to do the same.

Look for Old Testament connections. The book of Daniel is filled full of connections to other people and ideas in the Old Testament. Look for connections to Adam and Joseph, to Isaiah and Ezekiel, to David and the Psalms. Ask yourself as you read—who does this sound like?

Look for patterns. The visions of Daniel are tricky. It can be easy to think that they are about one specific event. In some ways they are. But they are also creating patterns that repeat through human history. For example, any nation that exalts itself and demands worship becomes the beast and will act like it.

Look for wisdom. The book of Daniel is not about us, but it does give us wisdom on how to live in a world that is not our home. The book is not a guide for healthy diets or a manual on dream interpretation. But the book is full of wisdom for living in a land of exile.

Look for Jesus. Daniel’s message about living in exile leaves us awaiting the day when the exile when end. This book points us to the coming of Jesus who is the faithful Israelite. He is the Son of Man. And he is the King who will bring God’s Kingdom and put an end to the evil reign of the beastly kingdoms on the earth.

Tips for Reading

The book of Daniel has some of the most familiar stories in the Bible and some of the most confusing visions. Don’t let that stop you from reading. Take your time to read slowly through the book and you’ll be blessed as you do.

Read a chapter a day to read through the book twice this month. Read half a chapter a day to read through the book once this month.

Ask the Lord to speak to you as you read. This book has a powerful message to us today. Ask God to help you hear the message and apply it to your life.