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LESSON 1 – LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO THE BIBLE
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LESSON 1: LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO THE BIBLE! By William MacDonald
1. THE BIBLE AS A WHOLE
The Value of the Bible
Understanding the Bible
2. THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Contents of the Old Testament
The History Books
The Wisdom and Poetry Books
The Prophecy Books.
3. THE NEW TESTAMENT
The Book of Acts
The Book of Revelation
THE BIBLE AS A WHOLE
Let us begin by assuming that you have read very little of the Bible. You are unfamiliar with the Bible, but you want to learn about it. This book was written to help you learn about the Bible with readable, understandable descriptions that get right to the heart of the issue. May God bless you as you learn to enjoy the Bible the way it was meant to be understood.
The Value of the Bible
You should know, first of all, that the Bible is the unique Word of God. It contains all we need to know about faith and morals in this life, and all we need to know about everlasting life in the future. An anonymous writer has stated it beautifully: "This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be saved, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It will reward the greatest labour, and condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. It is the Book of books - God's Book - the revelation of God to man." The Bible is divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament contains 39 books and the New Testament contains 27 books. These 66 books were written by about 36 God-inspired men over a period of approximately 1600 years. Since these men were guided by God the Holy Spirit, their books all fit together to tell one consistent story. Because the Bible is the inspired Word of God, it is inexhaustible. While the basic truths of the Christian faith are easily understood, some things in the Bible cannot be fully understood until we get to heaven. In coming to the Bible, we must give God credit for knowing things that we cannot fully grasp. Yet we need to believe whatever God says, even if we cannot understand it fully. We cannot let our minds judge the Bible; instead, we must let the Bible judge our minds! In Deuteronomy 29:29 we read, "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of the law." Proverbs 25:2 tells us, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." We should consider it an honour to search out the treasures of truth that are hidden in God's Word!
Understanding the Bible
One of the greatest keys to understanding the Bible is obedience. Someone has said, "Obedience is the organ of spiritual knowledge." This means that if we obey the light God gives us, He will give us more light. The people who make the best progress in Bible study are those who have a single-hearted, pure desire to do whatever God says. There are other rules that will help us as we start reading the Bible. The basic rule of interpretation is this: if the obvious sense makes sense, do not look for any other sense. In other words, take the Bible literally wherever possible. It is also important to understand a passage in its immediate setting. First Corinthians 8:5 states, "... there are many gods and many lords." Taken by themselves, these words might suggest that there is more than one true God. But the larger context states that although there are many pagan idols and deities, yet for us "there is no God but one" (verse 4), and "for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him" (verse 6) (each quotation from The New American Standard Bible). It is also important to understand each passage in the light of all the rest of the Bible. No Scripture passage can contradict any other Scripture passage. Any particular truth must be in harmony with all the truth. Taken by itself, James 2:24 might seem to teach salvation by works, but the consistent testimony of Scripture is that salvation is by grace through faith, and that the works are the fruit of salvation, not the means. (James 2:24 actually teaches the importance of works as an outward evidence of faith.)
As you read the Bible, you will soon realize that it uses figures of speech in various places. For example, when Jesus accused the Pharisees of swallowing a camel (Matthew 23:24), He was using a figure of speech in which an intended exaggeration drives home the truth in an unforgettable way. Sometimes an object is used as a type or symbol of something else. When Jesus spoke of rivers of living water in John 7:38, He was referring to the Holy Spirit (see verse 39). Since we use figures of speech in our everyday conversation, we usually do not have too much trouble recognizing them in the Bible. Sometimes there are general statements in the Bible that must be understood as allowing for exceptions. For example, those who honour their father and mother are promised long life on the earth (Ephesians 6:2-3). Yet we know of certain young people who have honoured their parents but have died at an early age. But it is still true that as a general rule obedient children live longer than wild, rebellious young people. Sometimes the Bible speaks of God as "doing" things, which in actuality He only permits to be done. We know, for example, that God cannot do anything that is evil or wrong. Yet we read that "an evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul" (1 Samuel 19:9). God allowed this to happen but He did not cause it to happen. Sometimes God speaks of what is certain to be done as if it had already been done. In Romans 8:30 believers are said to be glorified. Actually we will not be glorified until Christ comes and takes us home to the Father's house. But the truth of this future glorification is so certain that God speaks of it as an accomplished fact. What a wonderful thing this is—that the most ungodly sinner cannot only be saved from hell through faith in Christ but can be as sure of the coming glory as if he already had it! The Bible sometimes uses what we call the language of human appearance. Joshua 10:12, for example, says that the sun stood still at Joshua's command. We know that it is the movement of the earth and not of the sun that causes night and day. But it appeared that the sun stood still because the hours of daylight were lengthened. This is the language of human appearance. The word "son" in the Bible may also mean grandson, great grandson, or other descendant. Likewise the words "daughter," "brother," and "sister" may have wider meanings. When you come to geographical directions in the Bible, they are almost always given in reference to the nation of Israel or the city of Jerusalem. Thus "north" usually means north of Israel or Jerusalem. Bible references are usually given as follows: John 3:16 means the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16. In the King James Version of the Bible, the words thou, thee, thy and thine always refer to a single individual, whereas ye, you, your, and yours refer to more than one person. This distinction is often helpful in understanding a passage. In modern English we have no way of distinguishing between the singular and plural you, and so modern translations of the Bible do not indicate whether you refers to one person or more than one. There is a balance of priorities in the Word of God. Some truths are touched lightly while other subjects are given great emphasis. We should try to take a balanced view of Scripture, not harping on one theme as if it were the only one, but holding it in its correct relative importance. When the Spirit-inspired writers of the New Testament quote from the Old Testament, they sometimes use the quotation in a different but entirely legitimate way, thereby giving the Old Testament passage an additional and richer meaning. As you read and study the Bible daily, you will enjoy a richer and richer understanding of our magnificent God and His wonderful plan of life for all who receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. Make that your desire for life!
MICROSOFT WORD FORMAT OF LESSON AND TEST FOR - LESSON 1 – (Click on the "Microsoft Word" word in blue to choose this option)
TEST LESSON 1: LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO THE BIBLE
Place a T (True) or F (False) for your answer at the beginning or end of the question
1. The Bible is unique, in a class by itself - True: ......... False: .........
2. We must not judge the Bible because we do not understand some of it - True: ......... False: .........
3. We should take a balance view of Scripture. - True: ......... False: .........
4. Sometimes the word “son” in the Bible means grandson - True: ......... False: .........
5. Often the Lord used figure of speech to teach, i.e. “I am the door.” - True: ......... False: .........
Fill in the blank with CAPITALS LETTERS in the spaces with the correct word/s
6. ......... it to be ......... believe it to be ......... and ......... it to be .........
. 7. It is the ......... of ......... God's ......... the ......... of God to ......... .
8. The ......... things ......... to ........., but those ......... that are ......... belong ......... us.
9. ......... of the greatest ......... to understanding the ......... is ......... .
10. No ......... passage can ......... any other Scripture .........
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Created by Harold Smith
Updated May 2012 by Shelly Allen