You will find an outline and introduction to Jeremiah here.

Here is a from the Book of Common Worship to use before reading.

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


An Outline of Jeremiah (based on Overholt)

I. 1:1-25:38 Confronting the People with Words and Deeds

A. 1:1-3 Superscription

B. 1:4-19 Jeremiah’s Call

C. 2:1-4:4 Accusations and Exhortations

D. 4:5-6:30 An Enemy from the North

E. 7:1-15 The Temple Sermon

H. 11:1-17 The Broken Covenant:This is a prose sermon, similar to the temple sermon. Notice the language used here. It recalls the Mosaic covenant and uses language and phrases familiar from Deuteronomy.

I. 11:18-12:6 Jeremiah’s First Complaints: This is the first of six personal laments of Jeremiah. In verses 11:18-20 Jeremiah describes how God revealed the plot of Jeremiah’s enemies. Notice how “psalm-like” these verses are. Verse 21 begins God’s response. Remember that Anathoth is Jeremiah’s home town. Verses 12:1-4 are Jeremiah speaking to God. Notice the legal language of “charges”. Typical Deuteronomistic thinking was that the good prosper and the bad suffer. Here Jeremiah asks why that is not happening. Verses 5-6 are God’s response to Jeremiah, using two proverbs.

J. 12:7-17 God’s Response to Disaster:These verses are God’s lament over the over the peoples actions and God’s response. Notice the images used. In verse 8, “hate” has a technical use in treaties referring to becoming the enemy of another nation. Verses 14-17 are a shift from the previous poetry to prose and are directed at Judah’s neighbors rather than Judah itself. God’s actions are not limited to Judah but now set in a larger context.

K.13:1-11 A Vision of Destruction: Sign-acts were a common action of prophets. The image is a metaphor for the intimate relationship between Judah and God.

L. 13:12-27 More about Judah’s Fate Verses 12-14 are an allegory about a wine jar using a proverb. The image moves from social drinking to drunkenness and the destruction that brings.  Verses 15-17 are a call to Judah to repent. Notice the reference to captivity. Verses 18-19 are addressed to the king and Queen Mother about exile. Verses 20-27 is about Jerusalem’s shame and destruction from the enemy from the north. Once again sexual imagery is used to describe Judah’s situation. In verse 27 the “neighings” the image of horses and lust were to describe sexual depravity.

M. 14:1-15:9 Reflections on the People’s Lamentations: Verses 1-10 are a lament and cry for intercession over a drought. Verses 7-9 are a confession and plea for help. In verse 7 the people how that God will act to preserve God’s reputation in spite of their behavior. Verse 10 is God’s response. Verse 11, Jeremiah is again forbidden to intercede. Here Jeremiah and God talk about prophets who prophesy something different than Jeremiah has. Verses 17-18 are a lament, as are verses 19-22 where the people confess their sin and ask for mercy. In 15:1-4 even Moses and Samuel, the greatest intercessors, could not avert what will happen, pestilence, sword, famine and captivity. Verses 5-9 are God’s lament over Jerusalem.

N. 15:10-17:27 Complaints and Interpretations: Jeremiah’s second personal lament is in 5:10-21. Verses 10-14 are somewhat difficult to understand who is speaking, Jeremiah or God. Verses 11 and 13 appear to be God’s response. Verses 19-21 are also God speaking, not promising a trouble free life but rather God’s constant support. Notice again how much like a psalm these laments of Jeremiah are. What do Jeremiah’s laments tell us about Jeremiah?

Here are several good sources to aid your reading.

Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.

The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol 7, Keck, Leander E. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 2001.

Hutton, Rodney R. “Jeremiah” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version.Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Marc Z.; Perkins, Pheme; Newsom, Carol A. (2010-01-20) Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Gold, Victor R., William Holladay, “Jeremiah” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, Metzger,Bruce M.;Murphy,Roland E., eds. (New York:Oxford University Press) 1994.

Overholt,Thomas W. “Jeremiah” in  HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.