- Lesson One: Introducing the Book of Books
- Lesson Two; Genesis
- Lesson Three: Exodus
- Lesson Four: Leviticus
- Lesson Five: Numbers
- Lesson Six: Deuteronomy
- Lesson Seven: Joshua
- Lesson Eight: Judges and Ruth
- Lesson Nine: First Samuel
- Lesson Ten: Second Samuel
- Lesson Eleven: First and Second Kings
- Lesson Twelve; First and Second Chronicles
- Lesson Thirteen: Ezra and Nehemiah
- Lesson Fourteen: Esther
- Lesson Fifteen; Job
- Lesson Sixteen: The Psalms
- Lesson Seventeen: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon
- Lesson Eighteen: Isaiah
- Lesson Nineteen: Jeremiah and Lamentations
- Lesson Twenty: Ezekiel
- Lesson Twenty-One: Daniel
- Lesson Twenty-Two: Hosea, Joel, and Amos
- Lesson Twenty-Three: Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah
- Lesson Twenty-Four: Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah
- Lesson Twenty-Five: Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi
- Lesson Twenty-Six: The Period Between the Testament
Introducing The Book of Books
1. This lesson begins a book-by-book study of the Bible.
2. Our goal is to survey the entire Bible and to provide a foundation for a lifetime of careful study.
- Only a skeleton can be built in this program of study.
- Such a skeleton can be “fleshed out” over the course of a lifetime.
3. The motivation to attempt such a study is my conviction that many people do not know the gist of the Bible narrative.
- Where do the major books and characters of the Bible fit on timeline?
- Does every passage have equal authority over our beliefs and conduct as every other?
- Do you know the Bible well enough to teach it to your family, to answer a friend’s question, or to lead someone to salvation?
4. The method we will use takes us directly to the pages of the Bible itself.
- These notes are designed to systematize and to give helpful background to the study of the Holy Bible itself.
- The Bible is primary, and the notes are secondary; the notes are not designed to replace the careful study of the text itself.
5. Our first lesson is designed to establish an attitude of reverence for our task by calling attention to the uniqueness of scripture as the God-breathed revelation of heaven’s will for our lives. 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
Body of the Lesson
Five Key Premises About the Bible
- The Bible is inspired.
- The word translated “inspired of God” in 2 Tim. 3:16-17 is more literally rendered “God-breathed”.
- The claim is not that God infused power into word the prophets and apostles wrote, but that He actually gave them their message, 2 Pet. 1:21.
- This claim is everywhere in scripture, cf. 2 Sam. 23:1-3; Jer. 1:9; Mic. 3:8; Acts 1:16; 1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Thess. 2:13; etal.
- Inspiration entails infallibility or inerrancy, for God could not err either through ignorance or deception; thus a single error or contradiction in the Bible would overthrow the claim that it is the verbally inspired Word of God.
- The method of God in giving words to men varied.
- Verbal utterance, Ex. 20:1ff; Rev. 2:1ff.
- Visions, Acts 10:9-16.
- Guiding one’s research, Luke 1:1-4.
- Often no explanation of the method, 1 Cor. 11:23.
6. The controlling factor in this communication process was always the guidance of the Holy Spirit, John 14:25-26.
7. Note: It would be a serious mistake to claim inspiration for any Latin, English or other translation of scripture; the Spirit-guided persons were the original authors of the various books, and not later translators, copyists and printers.
B. Written scripture is the complete and final revelation of God’s will for human beings.
- In Old Testament times, the will of God was being made known gradually.
- When the Law of Moses was completely revealed and explained by the prophets, it was understood that more was to be given later, Jer. 31:31-34.
- Jesus came and revealed many things which had not been known before, Heb. 1:1-2.
- Toward the end of His life, He indicated that there was still more to be made known, John 16:12.
- He promised that the process of revelation would be completed in the ministry of His apostles, John 16:13.
- The Holy Spirit came to accomplish this work, and completed the giving of God’s will to man, Acts 2:4; cf. 1 Cor. 13:8-10.
- With the revelation completed, we must devote ourselves to its study and obedience, rather than indulge the fantasy of receiving still more, cf. Gal. 1:8-9.
- The Koran claims to supplement the Bible.
- Mormons claim to have received an even more recent revelation through the angel Moroni.
- Charismatics claim to have the Lord or angels speaking to them for the purpose of revelation.
- If the Bible itself is true, these claims to further revelation are patently false.
C. The Bible is the final authority on every spiritual issue.
- People look to different sources of authority in religion, and this creates confusion and division.
- The pope, cf. Matt. 23:9.
- History and tradition, cf. Mark 7:7-9.
- Personal conscience, cf. Jer. 10:23, Prov. 14:12.
2. All authority in spiritual matters belongs to Jesus Christ, Matthew 28:18.
- He has spoken, and His words are recorded and preserved, John 12:48.
- He has spoken through duly authorized “ambassadors”, 2 Cor. 5:20.
3. The words of Christ and the apostles are the content of scripture, and constitute the only proper authority in religion, cf. 1 Peter 4:11.
4. The authority of the Bible is absolute in every spiritual matter.
- Write Col. 3:17 – ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Understanding this verse leads us to respect both what the Bible says, and what it does not say.
- It is the wrong question to ask, “Where does the Bible forbid X?” The proper question is, “Where does the Bible authorize X?”
5. We dare not step outside of the sphere of divine authority, and then try to pretend that we are walking by faith, cf. Romans 10:17.
D. The scripture is God’s instrument to bring men unto salvation.
- Humankind has generally tended to disparage the written words of God, and to seek a personal encounter of some mystical sort instead, cf. Luke 16:27-31.
- The words of God are powerful, Heb. 4:12.
- His spoken words have always accomplished the purposes He intended.
- He spoke the world into existence, Gen. 1, Heb 11:3.
- Christ stilled storms and raised the dead with the utterance of a word.
4. Surely God’s written word is no less powerful than His oral word; in fact, we generally consider a written document even more binding that an oral statement to the same effect.
5. The gospel is God’s power to save us Rom. 1:16.
6. The scripture is not only powerful enough to convert an individual, but it can also equip that same person for spiritual life and service, 2 Tim. 3:17.
E. The Word of God can be understood by ordinary folk.
- The Bible was written in the common language of ordinary people of the time, with the expectation that they read/hear it and comprehend it.
- Believers were encouraged to desire and seek out the Word, cf. 1 Pet. 2:2.
- Paul wanted his epistles read widely among the people, cf 1 Thess. 5:27, Col. 4:16.
2. The notion that the Bible is too difficult for common folk to read with understanding is a preposterous charge against God.
- Can the Creator not speak with His creatures on a level they can comprehend?
- If we cannot understand the Bible, God is either defective in power (i.e. He could not give us a clear revelation) or lacking in goodness (i.e. He would not give it to us).
3. The spiritual renewal needed by our age cannot come about so long as people leave the Bible to specialists rather than undertake their own personal study of the Word of God.
- The Bible is available to English readers in clear and accurate translations.
- Study tools re on the market which are clear and helpful.
II. Some Basic Facts About the Bible.
- The Bible is a library of 66 books written by about 40 men over a 1600 year period; its parts were written in three languages by peasants, poets, fishermen, kings, etc.
- Yet its parts constitute one book with a single message to humanity.
- This remarkable unity is an evidence of its divine origin.
- The theme of the Bible is the redemption of sinful humanity by means of divine grace.
- Redemption was required by the race’s rebellion against heaven – related in the opening chapters of Genesis.
- Redemption was prepared for by means of God’s promise to Abraham and the constitution of Israel as a chosen people through whom the Messiah would come – related to the historical books of the Old Testament.
- Redemption was foretold through the prophets – related in the prophetic and poetical books of the Old Testament.
- Redemption became reality through the life and death of the Son of God – recorded in the four gospel accounts of the New Testament.
- Redemption was proclaimed and shared by the early church – related in Acts.
- Redemption is explained and its implications are traced out in the New Testament epistles – Romans through Jude.
- Redemption is ultimately realized in the triumph of God’s people over evil and their safe arrival in heaven – promised in Revelation.
C. The Bible is divided into two great sections: The Old Testament and the New Testament.
- The Old Testament…
- Was God’s covenant with the Jews during the preparatory time of the redemption process, Ex. 34:27-28; cf. Deut. 4:8.
- Was temporary and intended to end, Jer. 31:31-34; cf. Gal. 3:24-25.
- Was done away at the cross of Christ, Romans 7:4-6; cf. Heb. 9:15-17.
- Does not contain the will of God today.
- Is important for our study, Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11.
2. The New Testament…
- Was given through Christ, and is more glorious than the Law given through Moses, 2 Cor. 3:4-11.
- Is universal in scope and embraces all people, Mark 16:15-16; cf. Eph. 2:11-22.
- Is never to be replaced and will be in force until the age ends, Matt. 28:18-20.
- Gives guidance for salvation and right living to all people today.
D. The 39 books of the Old Testament are often grouped in the following manner:
- LAW (5): Genesis – Deuteronomy
- HISTORY (12): Joshua – Esther
- POETRY (5): Job-Song of Solomon
- MAJOR PROPHETS (5): Isaiah-Daniel
- MINOR PROPHETS (12): Hosea-Malachi
E. The 27 books of the New Testament are often grouped in the following manner:
- GOSPEL ACCOUNTS (4): Matthew-John
- CHURCH HISTORY (1): Acts
- PAULINE EPISTLES (13): Romans-Philemon
- GENERAL EPISTLES (8): Hebrews-Jude
- PROPHECY (1): Revelation
III. Spirituality and Bible Study
- The mere fact that God has given and preserved the Bible for us is reason enough to draw us to its pages with eager and reverence hearts.
- Nothing is so destructive to spirituality as ignorance of the Word of God, Hos. 4:6.
- The Bible is nourishment to the spiritual life of men and women, boys and girls.
- This program of study is designed to give you a “balanced diet” from the Holy Scripture.
- Participation in this program will be a rich spiritual experience for you.
- Write Psa. 119:11 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Write James 1:21 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Many characteristics set apart God’s people from the world of unbelievers.
- The fundamental difference – which is the cause for all the others – is an attitude toward the Bible.
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God, and we look to it for our knowledge of His will for our lives.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE NEXT LESSON:
Maxi Assignment: The Book of Genesis
Mini Assignment: Gen. 2, 6, 11:1-9, 12, 15, 28:10-12, and 39.
- The first five books of the Old Testament are known as the Torah (Heb: instruction or law) or Pentateuch (Gk: five books).
- They constitute the first division of the Hebrew canon of scripture; the Law of Moses, cf Josh. 8:34; 2 Chron. 17:9; Matt. 12:5; Gal. 3:10.
- They are foundational to everything in the Bible.
2. The name of the book is…
- Bereshith in the Hebrew Bible, where books are named for their first words. Thus, its title is “In the Beginning.”
- Genesis in the Septuagint and English translations. This Greek word means “origin” or “beginning”.
3. Genesis is quite accurately called the “book of beginnings,” for it relates:
- The origin of the universe, Gen. 1:1-25.
- The origin of man and woman, Gen. 1:26-31.
- The origin of sin and death, Gen. 3:1-7.
- The origin of the redemptive promise, Gen. 3:8-24.
- The origin of sacrifice, Gen. 4:1-15.
- The origin of civilization, Gen. 4:16-9:29.
- The origin of diverse languages and nation, Gen. 10-11.
- The origin of the Hebrew nation as a specially chosen people, through whom the Messiah would come into the world, Gen. 12-50.
4. Genesis covers the historical period from creation to the descent of the Hebrew people into Egypt in the days of Joseph.
Body of the Lesson:
- Background to the book of Genesis.
- Both Jewish and Christian sources attribute the book to Moses – along with the entire Pentateuch.
- He is the central figure of the Pentateuch, and is represented as writing certain parts of it. Ex. 17:14, 24:4-8; Num. 33:1-2; Deut. 31:9, 22, 24.
- The New Testament regards Moses as the author of the Pentateuch, Matt. 19:8; John 5:46-47; Acts 3:22; Rom. 10:5.
B. There are many lines of evidence which support the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.
- In the Ancient Near East, matters considered important for posterity were written down rather than left to oral tradition alone.
- The Ebla tablets found recently in Syria are from 2500 BC.
- The Code of Hammurabi dates from 1700 BC.
- Mari tablets are from the 18th century BC.
- Nuzi tablets date from the 18th century BC.
- Ras Shamra (Ugarit) tablets are from around 1400 BC.
2. Scribal skill was common in Egypt in Moses’ time (ca. 1500 BC), and he was educated in all of their knowledge. Cf. Acts 7:22.
3. First-hand knowledge of the culture and geography of both Egypt and Midian are reflected in the books.