Like a lot of the language in the Bible, the minor in minor prophets does not refer to these books being less important than others. The minor prophets are not minor of importance just as the major prophets are not major in importance. The minor prophets are short and the major prophets are long. In Hebrew, they are referred to as the Twelve. They are Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. These books are not long but they are rather deep in meaning and quite jarring to read. The first book, Hosea, begins with God calling the prophet to marry a prostitute. Amos 1:-4 says “The Lord proclaims: For three crimes of Damacus, and for four, I won’t hold back the punishment, because they have harvested Gilead with sharp iron tools. I will send down fire on the house of Hazael…”
Jonah is by far the most often quoted and read of the minor prophets in the modern church, but I think that has as much to do with its narrative structure as it does with the content.
Neither major nor minor prophets are easy to jump into. And this, I feel, is important. The bible isn’t there to be easy. God didn’t give us the revelation of Holy Scripture to simplify things for us. Nor is every chapter and book a helpful list of aphorisms or fables.
What is important to remember, as well, is that there is not a different God in the Old Testament from the New Testament. There is not an angry God long ago and then a God of love later on. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the same of God of all creation is the same Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We always must remember not to judge Scripture too quickly. If something seems harsh or confusing, it probably is, at least, confusing to us in 2018. That does not mean that it is incomprehensible. Instead, with eyes on the God is who love in Jesus Christ.
The Christian Bible is structured differently than the Tanakh, or the Jewish scriptures. The Tankh ends with 2 Chronicles with Cyrus’s decree:
"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the LORD their God be with them.’" (2 Chron 36:23, NIV)
The Christian Scriptures end the old Testament with the Minor Prophets, specifically, with the book of Malachi. “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” (Mal 4:5-6, NIV).
The prophets lead to the Messiah. The speak in the midst of exile and pain and point to a hope found in God, who will come. They are not just history but point to the shattering of history in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is and was and is to come.