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Lesson 1: The Bible – The Word of God

  1. The Bible the inspired Word of God
  2. The Bible – a  “difficult” book.
  3. The Bible a book of oneness
  4. The Bible – a book of special power
  5. The command: To study the Bible

INTRODUCTION:

It is very important that a new believer in Jesus Christ  starts right. If you enroll in a course of study in your high school or college, the first thing the professor prescribes is the proper text-book or study guide. As a new believer you are starting a course of study in your new-found faith, and so your textbook will be the Bible – the Word of God.

As you study  – and the deeper you go – you may use other books – concordances, Bible dictionaries etc – but the Bible will remain your primary text. But it is not just one text,  it is a series of texts that make up the whole canon of scripture. The Bible is made up  of sixty-six books, starting with the book of Genesis 9the first book of the Bible)  right through to the book of Revelation 9 the last).

Keep in mind as you study that the Bible is not a book of philosophy although it is philosophical; it is not a book of science, though it references scientific things; it is not a book of history, though it is historical in nature and has been found to be accurate when recording history.
 
PURPOSE: 
The Bible was given to man by God revealing Jesus Christ the Son of God and only Savior and the only way to the Father. To the disciple Thomas Jesus declared: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 –NIV) Plain and simple, the Bible is about Jesus. He is the center and circumference of the scriptures.  As you plumb the depths of the scriptures it will become clear that from Genesis to Revelation, the bible is about Christ.  In speaking about His ministry here on earth Jesus said: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me…”
 
  1. THE BIBLE – THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD

KEY VERSE: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.“ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Evangelical Christianity stands on the fact that the scriptures are given by the inspiration of God or that they are “God-breathed.”  By this we mean the Holy Spirit exerted His supernatural influence upon the writers of the Bible allowing them to produce this literary gem, this ‘book of books.’  Even a casual reading of the Bible makes it abundantly clear that simple human beings could not begin to write with such depth and power.

The Holy Spirit is the true author of the Bible. The apostle Peter says: “…you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. “ 2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV

Man is only an instrument used by God, to write. The result – the infallible (absolutely trustworthy and sure) and inerrant  (without error or contradiction) Word of God. Consider the following Scripture verses:Psalm 119:89 “Your word, O LORD, is eternal;  it stands firm in the heavens..” Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Revelation 22:18-19  “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

  1. THE BIBLE – A “DIFFICULT” BOOK

KEY VERSE: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. “ 1 Corinthians 2:14

The Bible is difficult because it came from the One who is infinite to the finite; from the unlimited God, to limited man
The Bible is from God and therefore spiritual. Before you can really receive it’s teaching in the fullness, you must be born of the Spirit and filled with the Spirit (John 3:6) “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. “ Ephesians 5:18 “…be filled with the Spirit.” You must always approach the Bible with prayer.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to a better understanding of His  word, Psalm 119:33 “Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;  then I will keep them to the end. “
  1. THE BIBLE – A BOOK OF ONENESS

KEY VERSE:  2 Peter 1:21 “…men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. “

The “oneness” of the Bible is in itself a miracle. It is a library of sixty-six books written by over thirty-five different authors in a period of about 1,500 years.  Among the authors, we find a cross section of humanity – educated and uneducated. These writers included kings, fishermen, public officials, farmers, teachers and physicians.  Included in the subjects covered in the bible are religion, history, law, science, poetry, dram, biography and prophecy. In spite of the variety of topics, the various parts of the Bible are as harmoniously united as the human body

It is evident through careful study of the whole Bible that  for 35 authors with such varied backgrounds to write so many subjects over a similar period  (1500 years) in absolute harmony is a mathematical impossibility. It cannot happen! So, how do we account for the Bible? The only adequate explanation is that Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy spirit.

  1. THE BIBLE  – A BOOK OF SPECIAL POWER

KEY VERSE: Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”

  • Dividing power as a sword:
    The Bible separates man from sin.  As a sword cuts, it has the power to cut away the things that divide and separate man from God.  The prophet Isaiah says: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you,  so that he will not hear. “ Isaiah 59:2

Paul refers to it as “the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

  • Reflecting power as a mirror:
    “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. “ James 1:22-25

As a mirror reflects a person’s image so the he / she may be able to see themselves, so too the Word of God reflects our image so that we see ourselves as God sees us – sinners. The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans tells us:  “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NIV)

  • Cleansing power as water:
    The Psalmist David prayed that God would “wash” him from iniquity and “cleanse” him from all sin ({Psalm 51:2). The Word of God is the only cleansing agent that can truly was away sins. David also asked the question and answered it for himself: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word” (Psalm 119:9) Paul says: “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:26-27
  • Reproductive power in making us children of God:
    We are children of God because we have been “born again” into family of God. This is referred to as the “new birth.” When a man by the name of Nicodemus came to Jesus one night, Jesus told him: “You must be born again!” (John 3:7)  Nicodemus did not quite understand what Jesus meant so he asked a legitimate question. He asked whether this meant that he had to go back into his mother’s womb. Jesus explained that,  “flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (John 3:6)
  • Nourishing power as food:
    In the same way that our physical bodies need food and water to survive, so too the soul must be nourished and watered. The Bible is spiritual food that must be consumed on a regular basis other wise we may stave and die spiritually. For the new Christian believer, this is extremely important. A consistent diet of the word on a daily basis will make the believer strong. The new believer also must be aware that he / she may not readily understand the deep theological things of the Bible so starting with the basics is the right way to go (as in this course). The Apostle Peter encourages the believers thus: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation…” (1 Peter 2:2)
  1. THE BIBLE COMMANDS THE BELIEVER TO STUDY THE WORD:

Key verse: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 1 Timothy 2:15

It is clear that there is a lot of misunderstanding and misapplication of the Word of God today. The new believer must be careful to develop a course of study that encourages a proper handling of God’s word. As you go deeper you will find there are a wealth of tools on the market today that will help with a better understanding of the word of God. But whatever tool or device that is used, there is none as accurate as the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth and He is the one that you can trust to help you in understanding His words.

As you study the Bible you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is speaking, God, Angel, spirit or man?
  • To whom is he speaking: to the nation of Israel; to the Gentiles; to the church; to man in general or to some other individual, man or being?
  • How van this scripture be applied to my own life to make me a better Christian?

REVIEW QUESTIONS:
  1. What is the purpose of the Bible?
  2. From the scripture verse 2 Timothy 3:16-17, list four  things that the Bible is useful for?
  3. Who is the “true author” of the Bible?
  4. Why is it necessary to always approach Bible reading with prayer?
  5. List two types of power that the Bible has