Summary of Elijah’s Life

I Kings 17:1 Unheralded, Elijah dramatically appears before Ahab and announces a drought in Israel.

I Kings 17:2-7 God commands Elijah to go to the brook Cherith, where he is fed by ravens and drinks from the brook, until it dries up.

I Kings 17:8-16 God sends him to the home of a widow and her son, where all three are miraculously fed by an undiminishing barrel of meal and cruse of oil.

I Kings 17:17-24 The widow’s son dies, and Elijah travails in prayer until his life is restored.

I Kings 18:1-16 Elijah comes out of hiding, reveals himself to Obadiah, a God-fearing man who helped the prophets, and then to King Ahab.

I Kings 18:17-40 Elijah challenges the Baal worshippers on Mount Carmel; proves the true God by fire from heaven; slays the prophets of Baal.

I Kings 18:41-46 Elijah teaches his servant a lesson about persevering prayer by praying seven times for rain, then preparing Ahab for the deluge of rain.

I Kings 19:1-18 Jezebel, angry at the slaying of her prophets, threatens Elijah’s life. Feeling he is the only true worshipper of God left, he hides in the wilderness and wishes to die. God prepares food for him and touches him twice to renew his strength, then speaks to him with a still, small voice in a cave, and gives him three missions, assuring him there are still 7,000 true worshippers in Israel.

I Kings 19:19-21 Elijah casts his mantle upon Elisha, who bids farewell to his parents and follows Elijah as his assistant.

I Kings 21:1-29 Ahab cruelly and dishonestly gains land by having Naboth killed; Elijah pronounces judgment from God upon him until Ahab humbles his heart. Later, Ahab and his wife Jezebel both die just as Elijah prophesied.

II Kings 1:1-18 Evil King Ahaziah (Ahab’s son and successor) is injured and Elijah pronounces death upon him; he sends soldiers to capture Elijah, but because of their arrogant spirit they are destroyed. An humble captain is spared, but Elijah still gives the sentence of death to the king, and he dies, as God has said.

II Kings 2:1-25 Elijah goes up in a fiery chariot to heaven; Elisha asks for a double portion of his spirit, which Elijah promises if Elisha sees his departure. Elisha remains vigilant, receives his mantle and goes forth working miracles and endued with the powerful double- portion of Elijah’s spirit.

Malachi 4:5 The prophet Malachi points forward to John the Baptist, who would come in the fiery spirit of Elijah, as forerunner and herald to the Messiah, a fearless messenger and reformer who would call for repentance.

Luke 9:28-36 Elijah, with Moses, appears in a glorious scene with Jesus, and talks with him about his death.

James 5:17-18 James speaks of Elijah as just a man with human passions, yet prevailing in prayer.


MEMORY VERSE: And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. —I Kings 18:21


CENTRAL THOUGHT: One of the most unique and dramatic characters in the Bible, Elijah brought God’s words to Israel’s kings in a time of great apostasy.




I Kings 17:1 “Elijah”: Yahweh is my God. “The Tishbite”: of Tishbe in Gilead, to distinguish it from another Tishbe in Galilee. “Who was of the inhabitants of Gilead”: the rocky region that lay on the east of Jordan. “In forming to ourselves a conception of the great Israelite prophet, we must always bear in mind that the wild and mountainous Gilead, which bordered on Arabia, and was half Arab in customs, was the country wherein he grew up” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible). “Ahab”: son and successor of Omri; he reigned over Israel 22 years. He was more evil than all before him, because he introduced the actual worship to Baal, not just to the golden calves which Jeroboam had set up. The calves were supposed to “represent” the true God, but this was actually a false god, or devil.




Our lesson structure is somewhat different today. Since Elijah’s biography extends throughout several chapters, I have only summarized the main points of his life with their chapters and verses. There are several special points of interest which I will add.

Elijah appears in Scripture as abruptly as priest Melchisedek; no mention of beginning, no father or mother, and no record of his call to office.

John the Baptist closely mirrored his spiritual predecessor, Elijah, even in appearance. Elijah was described as “an hairy man” girded with leather; John wore camel’s hair and leather as well. The ministries of both were like a “voice in the wilderness,” and both chose to live in rugged, desert conditions. Both spoke fearlessly to kings and queens. Jezebel’s wrath had Elijah on the run while Herodias violently ended John’s life.

There are similarities between Moses and Elijah as well. Both were taken from this life in uncommon ways: God Himself disposed of Moses’ body, and no one ever found it, and Elijah was lifted up in a fiery chariot with a whirlwind. Both rebuked wicked kings, evoking great wrath. Both were especially honored by God to appear with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. I wonder what they said as they discussed Jesus’ death?

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




  1. I Kings Chapter 17: Give the promise and its fulfillment concerning the widow’s meal and oil.
  2. I Kings Chapter 18: How many of God’s prophets had Obadiah kept sustained and hidden in a cave?
  3. I Kings Chapter 18: How many total barrels of water did Elijah pour over his altar?
  4. I Kings Chapter 19: How many times did the angel touch Elijah and feed him, and how many days was he strengthened by that food?
  5. II Kings Chapter 1: Of whom had King Ahaziah enquired when he was seriously injured by a fall? How did Elijah rebuke him?
  6. II Kings Chapter 2: What did Elisha say as Elijah was taken up to heaven?





“As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand…”(I Kings 17:1)

“How distinct and abiding must the vision of God have been, which burned before the inward eye of the man that struck out that phrase! ‘Wherever I am, whatever I do, I am before Him. To my purged eye, there is the Apocalypse of heaven, and I behold the great throne, and the solemn ranks of ministering spirits, my fellow-servants, hearkening to the voice of His word.’ No excitement of work, no strain of effort, no distraction of circumstances, no glitter of gold, no dazzle of earthly brightness, dimmed that vision for these prophets [Elijah and his successor, Elisha]… action not interrupting vision, nor vision weakening action. To preserve thus fresh and unimpaired, amidst strenuous work and many temptations, the clear consciousness of being ‘ever in the great Taskmaster’s eye,’ needs resolute effort and much self-restraint. It is hard to set the Lord always before us; but it is possible, and in the measure in which we do it, we shall not be moved” (MacLaren’s Expositions).

Truly, this must be the motive and guiding principle of every gospel worker!

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




Our nation and the entire Western Culture are far along the path of apostasy as Elijah’s Israel was. Christians in the West are entering an ever increasing era of persecution. We pray that God will call and embolden each of us to unashamedly declare the Word of God in our circles of influence.

We are also praying that God will raise up fearless gospel ministers like Bro. D. S. Warner with “foreheads of an adamant harder than flint.” An adamant is something that pricks like a thorn and can leave a scratch on any surface because it is as hard as a diamond.

God wants to give us authority over everything that opposes His righteousness and He wants us to exercise this authority. David was motivated by this authority when he faced Goliath. Thankfully we have many modern examples of Christians who boldly proclaimed the gospel with authority amidst great persecution.

Bro Yun was a poorly educated Chinese youth to whom God miraculously revealed Himself and called to preach during the end of the bloody Chinese Cultural Revolution. He was called “The Heavenly Man” because of his boldness to proclaim the gospel amidst great persecution. Upon being commanded to bow before the power of judges and the godless leaders torturing him, he was inspired to command them to bow immediately before the Almighty God.

God worked many miracles for and through him including simultaneously opening the doors of the prison and healing his dead legs that he could walk through the guards and out of prison in broad daylight.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit may we each “count not our life dear unto ourselves” and “shun not to declare all the counsel of God to” others.

—Bro. Jeremy Booher