The book of Jeremiah is one of the 39 books of the Old Testament that Jesus mentioned in Luke 24:44 as belonging to a section of Scripture known in the Hebrew Bible as “The Prophets.” A summary and key verses review of the book of Jeremiah not only provides understanding for God’s dealings and plan for Israel, but also serves as a model that applies to the heart of every believer.
Context of Jeremiah
The book of Jeremiah is an account of the prophecies given to the prophet Jeremiah by God beginning around 626 B.C. and continuing for about 40 years. Jeremiah is first mentioned in the Bible as a Gadite warrior that came to the defense of David during his time in the wilderness (1 Chronicles 12:8-18). Jeremiah was also the father of Hamutal, who later became the wife of King Josiah.
God commanded Jeremiah to take a roll of a book and write the words so that the house of Judah would hear the words and repent of their sins (Jeremiah 36:1-3). Jeremiah called Baruch, the son of Neriah, and instructed him to write down the words that the Lord had given him (Jeremiah 36:4). The book of Jeremiah is not written in exact chronological order, but it served to warn the Jewish people of their sins before God and to submit to their calling as His chosen people .
The calling (Jeremiah 1-10)
Jeremiah was called as a prophet in the thirteenth year of King Josiah (Jeremiah 1:6-9) and was greatly involved in the work of the king to turn the people back to God (2 Kings 23:1-25). Upon King Josiah’s death, Jeremiah was so grieved that he wrote Lamentations to express his grief and anger over the rejection of the king’s calling to lead the people back to God (2 Chronicles 35:25; Lamentations). Key verses: Jeremiah 1:4-10.
The warning (Jeremiah 11-28)
Jeremiah warned of destruction that would be poured out by God on Judah because of their refusal to repent of their sins, idolatry, and worship of false gods. He warned of God’s holy anger and how Judah would suffer and that God would refuse to hear their cries for help. Practically speaking, the warning foretold of the overthrow of Jerusalem by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and the carrying away of Judah to Babylon as slaves (Jeremiah 34). However, at the same time God instructed that their time in bondage would serve to cause them to realize their need for God again. Key verses: Jeremiah 12:7-17.
The rejecting (Jeremiah 29-38)
It is not uncommon that the bearer of bad news and those that point out sin are persecuted and Jeremiah was no exception. Despite Jeremiah’s warning about God’s rebuke and prophecy that they would be carried away in captivity, his message was rejected by the people. When things started going bad, the current king, Zedekiah, asked Jeremiah to pray. However, when Jeremiah tried to go to the land of Benjamin, he was accused of being a traitor, mocked, beaten, and put in prison. Despite this, when things got worse for Judah, Jeremiah advised the King to surrender so that he would not be killed when Judah was defeated. Key verses: Jeremiah 37-38.
The falling (Jeremiah 39-52)
Jeremiah recorded the falling of Judah into the hands of their enemies. Historically, this event took place about 586 B.C. Like the northern Kingdom of Israel before them in 722 B.C., the land of Judah was now occupied by conquerors and the Jewish people were carried away into exile. As foretold by Jeremiah, King Zedekiah was captured and he had to witness his own son being killed before being blinded and his house burned (Jeremiah 39:6-7). Likewise, the house of the Lord and the people’s houses were burned by fire by King Nebuchadnezzar and they were carried away to Babylon. Key verses: Jeremiah 39; Jeremiah 52.
The rescuing (Jeremiah 50)
Despite the sequence of events, mixed in the account are God’s promises to rescue His people from captivity. Reference is made of the earlier overthrow of the northern kingdom of Israel, but in the context that one day, God would also deliver Judah from their oppressors. Likewise, prophecies of how God will deal with the oppressors of His people are mentioned in the surrounding chapters (Jeremiah 46-51). Key verses: Jeremiah 50:17-18.
Life lessons from Jeremiah
As Christians, we can count on the example of Jeremiah. We must keep in mind that we become children of God and Abraham by faith in Christ (Galatians 3:6-29). As children of God, we are called to live our lives in a way that reflects holiness of our Father and the example of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2 Peter 3:11-14). However, at the same time, God warns us that living our lives in a way that rejects Godly counsel or mocks God can come with consequences that can range from loss of blessings to physical death (Acts 5:1-11; Galatians 6:7-10; James 5:19-20).
Sadly, many people like Jeremiah will come into our lives to warn us and their message will be rejected. In fact, some will suffer persecution  and even death for standing on the Word of God. They will be labeled as hateful, intolerant, or even bigoted. Some, also like Jeremiah, will be put into prison for doing what is right. However, God will make things right in the end and He will rescue and restore them in due time. We should hold onto the promises of God that He will do the same for us when we make bad choices, but repent of our ways and continue to seek Him.
The book of Jeremiah is an account of the prophecies given to the prophet Jeremiah by God. The book addresses events and concepts that impacted not only Judah, but our lives as believers today. God calls us and warns us to live in holiness. When we reject His warnings, God allows us to suffer the consequences of our sinful choices. However, God also provides a way of escape or rescue from our bad choices through repentance and restoration. This process gives us hope that as His children, He may discipline us, but will never leave us or forsake us.
Related reading: Prophets in the Bible 
Resources – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version