Introduction to the Book of Leviticus

Book Of Leviticus
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Leviticus is a challenging book, both for new Christians and casual Bible readers. Gone are the fascinating characters and suspenseful stories of Genesis. Gone are the epic Hollywood plagues and miracles found in Exodus.

Instead, the book of Leviticus contains a meticulous and often tedious list of rules and regulations. Yet, if understood properly, the book supplies readers with rich wisdom and practical instruction.

Leviticus opens with the people of God camped at the foot of Mount Sinai after being delivered from slavery in Egypt. The glory of the Lord has filled the wilderness tabernacle and now God tells Moses to teach the people and the priests concerning sacrifices, offerings, feasts, celebrations, and holy days.

Thus, Leviticus is best explained as a guidebook for instructing God's people about holy living and worship. Everything from sexual conduct to the handling of food, to instructions for worship and religious celebrations, is covered in detail in the book of Leviticus. This is because all aspects of our lives--moral, physical, and spiritual--are important to God.

The title of Leviticus comes from the ancient Greek Septuagint, which named the book Leueitikon, meaning "The Book of the Levites." Rather than being about the Levites, the title refers to the usefulness of book's contents to the Levites in their ministry as priests, worship leaders, and teachers of morality.

The central message in the book of Leviticus is that God, who is holy, requires his people to be holy. It also shows that God graciously provides a means of atonement for sin through the sacrificial shedding of blood.

Author of the Book of Leviticus

Traditionally, both Jews and Christians credit Moses as the author of Leviticus.

Date Written

The book of Leviticus was written between 1440-1400 BC, covering events between 1445-1444 BC.

Written To

The book was written to the priests, Levites, and the people of Israel for generations to come.


Throughout the book of Leviticus, the people were camped at the foot of Mount Sinai in the desert Peninsula of Sinai. God had just delivered the Israelites from slavery and taken them out of Egypt. Now he was preparing to take Egypt (and slavery to sin) out of them.

Themes in the Book of Leviticus

There are three significant themes in the book of Leviticus:

The Holiness of God: Holiness is spoken of 152 times in the book of Leviticus. It is mentioned here more than any other book of the Bible. God was teaching his people that they were to be set apart or "separated" for holiness. Just like the Israelites, we are to be different from the world. We are to devote every area of our lives to God. But how can we, as sinful people, worship and obey a holy God? Our sin must be dealt with first. For this reason, Leviticus opens with instructions for offerings and sacrifices.

The Way to Deal With Sin: The sacrifices and offerings detailed in Leviticus were a means of atonement or symbols of repentance from sin and obedience to God. Sin required a sacrifice--a life for a life. The sacrificial offerings had to be perfect, spotless, and without defect. These offerings were a picture of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who gave his life as the perfect sacrifice for our sin, so we would not have to die.

Worship: God showed his people in Leviticus that the way into God's presence, the path into worship, was opened through the sacrifices and offerings made by the priests. Worship then, is about relationship with God and letting him into every part of our lives. This is why Leviticus carefully detailed rules of conduct for practical, daily living.

Today, Christians believe that true worship begins with accepting Jesus Christ's sacrifice for sin. Worship as a Christian is both vertical (toward God) and horizontal (toward men), involving our relationship with God and how we relate with other people.

Key Characters

Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, Ithamar.

Key Verse

Leviticus 19:2
"Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy." (NIV)

Leviticus 17:11
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. (NIV)

Outline of the Book of Leviticus

  • Instructions for Offerings - Leviticus 1-7.
  • Instructions for God's Priests - Leviticus 8-10.
  • Instructions for God's People - Leviticus 11-15.
  • Instructions for the Altar and the Day of Atonement - Leviticus 16.
  • Practical Holiness - Leviticus 17-22.
  • Sabbaths, Seasons, Festivals, and Feasts - Leviticus 23-25.
  • Conditions for Receiving God's Blessing - Leviticus 26-27.
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Your Citation
Fairchild, Mary. "Introduction to the Book of Leviticus." Learn Religions, Sep. 10, 2021, Fairchild, Mary. (2021, September 10). Introduction to the Book of Leviticus. Retrieved from Fairchild, Mary. "Introduction to the Book of Leviticus." Learn Religions. (accessed June 8, 2023).