You will find an introduction and outline of Joshua, here.
Here is a prayer from the Book of Common Worship to use before reading:
Eternal God, your wisdom is greater than our minds can attain, and your truth shows up our learning. To those who study, give curiosity, imagination, and patience enough to wait and work for insight. Help us to doubt with courage, but to hold all our doubts in the larger faith of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I. Joshua receives his commission 1:1-18
II. Joshua conquest Canaan 2:1-12:24
III. Joshua Redistributes the land 13:1-21:45
K. 21:1-45 Towns with pasture lands for the Levites: The Levites do not receive land when Joshua redistributes it. But the Levites do receive cities and therefore live among the other tribes. Forty eight cites are named, perhaps as a multiple of the twelve tribes. Verses 43-45 summarizes the division of the land in a way that is not consistent with what we have been told in the rest of the book of Joshua. These verses reflect a theological perspective.
IV. A Second Altar: Legal or Not? 22:1-34 Now the fighting is over and the two and a half tribes from the east of the Jordan are dismissed by Joshua and can go home. They build an alter which is so disturbing to the other tribes that they are ready to fight their own people. The west bank tribes are worried that God will punish all Israel over this alter. The east bank tribes respond that the alter is a “witness” that they are part of Israel.
V. Joshua bids farewell 23:1-24:28
A. 23:1-16 Love Yahweh or lose your land: Joshua in his farewell speech reminds Israel of what God has done for them and reminds them to be faithful to the covenant. This speech recalls Moses’ farewell speech and is similar to David’s farewell in 1 Kings 2:1-9.
B. 24:1-28 Covenant at Shechem: Now Joshua gathers Israel at Shechem and recalls God’s faithfulness to Israel starting with Terah until Joshua’s time. Israel is asked to choose who it will serve and Israel declares they “will serve the Lord, because he is our God.” (v18) Joshua challenges Israel’s loyalty.
VI. Joshua is buried 24:1-28: Joshua dies and is buried. Joseph’s bones are buried. Eleazar the priest dies and is buried.
Now that you have read the book of Joshua, what did you think? What would you say were the important themes? What surprised you?
Read More About It.
The following are several good general reference works to aid your reading of Joshua.
Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.
Cooke, Robert B. “The Book of Joshua”, in The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 2 Keck, Leander E., ed. (Nashville”Abingdon Press) 1994.
Dentan, Robert C., Leslie J. Hoppe “Joshua” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books Metzger, Bruce M., Roland E. Murphy, eds.(New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.
Rast, Walter E. “Joshua” in HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.
Younger,Jr. K. Lawson “Joshua” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Aporcryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, Fully Revised 4 th Edition, Michael Cougan, ed. (New York:Oxford University Press) 2010.