ciwlogo_sm.gif What is the Truth about the Bible?

Introduction:

This course of study is based on what the Bible says.  Its name is: “Your Word Is Truth.”  For these reasons it is only fitting that the very first lesson in this course should be about the Bible itself – God’s Word, which is the truth.  When we once have become agreed on what the Bible is, the Word of God, we then have a common ground on which we can agree on everything it says and teaches in all the lessons to follow in this Bible study course.

Surely we all have met and talked to strangers.  Maybe we met a stranger on a train, or in a bus station, or at a café, or wherever.  During such friendly visits, we probably talked about ourselves, where we live, our work, our likes and dislikes, and other such things.  Unless the stranger raised doubts in our minds, we did not think he was lying to us.  We accepted what he told us about himself without doubting it.

To begin this course of study we must come to the Bible with the same kind of an open mind that is willing to listen to what the Bible has to say about itself.  The purpose of this first lesson is to learn what the Bible says about itself, its teachings, and its use.

1. Who is the author of the Bible?

Heb.1:1,2  After God spoke to our forefathers long ago through the prophets at many times and in many ways, in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, . . .

1. God has spoken to us in the Bible through his prophets of the Old Testament and through his Son, Jesus Christ.  What the prophets and Jesus said is the Word of God.
2. Many passages declare God was the one who spoke to the prophets and told them what they should say to us.  For examples, see Lev.1:1,2; 2 Kgs.7:1; Isa.6:8,9; Jer.1:1,2; Ez.1:3; Ho.1:1; Joel 1:1; Jon.1:1; Mic.1:1, Zeph.1:1; Hag.1:1; Zech.1:1; Mal.1:1.

2 Pet.1:21  For not once has a prophecy been brought about by the will of man, but men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

1. Peter, writing in the New Testament, said that God the Holy Spirit moved his prophets to speak and to write what they did in the Old Testament Scriptures.  What they wrote, then, is the Word of God.

1 Cor.2:13  . . . which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual truths in spiritual words.

1. The apostles of the New Testament did not speak what human wisdom had taught them but what God the Holy Spirit had taught them.  What they spoke, then, was the Word of God.

2 Tim.3:16  All Scripture is God-breathed.

1. The entire Bible is Scripture.  From beginning to end it is the God-breathed, or inspired, Word of God.

The Truth Is:

God is the author of the entire Bible.

2. How did the Bible come to be written?

2 Pet.1:21  . . . men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

1. God used men to write the Bible.
2. Those men wrote what the Holy Spirit moved them to write.

2 Tim.3:16  All Scripture is God-breathed.

1. Everything the men wrote in the Bible was inspired, or breathed, by God the Holy Spirit.  The men did the writing, but the Holy Spirit breathed into them what they should write.

1 Cor.2:13   . . . which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual truths in spiritual words.

1. In addition to the thoughts the men wrote in the Bible, God the Holy Spirit inspired even the very Hebrew and Greek words they wrote in the original Scriptures.  This is called Verbal Inspiration.

The Truth Is:

1. The Bible was written by men as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
2. God the Holy Spirit gave his penmen every thought and every word they wrote in the Bible.  (Verbal Inspiration)
Note:
  The writers of the Old Testament were called prophets.  The writers of the New Testament were called apostles and evangelists.  The Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language, the New Testament in the Greek language.  In all, God employed about 40 men to write the Bible, beginning with Moses and ending with the apostle John.

3. What is the Bible?

Mk.7:10,11-13  For Moses said, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER, . . . But you say, If a man should say to his father or his mother, “Whatever thing of mine may have helped you is ‘Corban,” that is, “A sacrificial offering for God,” you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother, thereby invalidating the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.”

1. Jesus stated that what Moses had written in the Old Testament, referring to the fourth commandment in this verse, was the Word of God.

Jer.1:2  The word of the Lord came to him . . .

1. Other Old Testament passages that state what was written in the Old Testament was the Word of God were listed above in question #1.

1 Thess.2:13  . . . when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you received it not as the word of men but as it truly is – the word of God, . . .

1. What the apostles and evangelists wrote in the New Testament was also the Word of God.

The Truth Is:

The Bible is the Word of God.
Note: The Bible is divided into two sections, the Old and New Testaments.  The Old Testament was written from about 1500 B.C. to 400 B.C., and before the birth of Christ.  The New Testament was written after Christ went up into heaven and was completed by 100 A.D.  There are 39 books in the Old Testament, and 27 in the New Testament, for a total of 66 books.  Both the Old and the New Testaments point to Christ, the Savior of sinners, who are saved through faith in him.  The Old Testament believers looked to the Christ who would come to save them.  We New Testament believers look to the Christ who did come and saved us.

4. What does the Bible say is the way to eternal salvation and to escape from everlasting punishment in hell?

Acts 16:31  And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, . . .”
Jn.3:16 
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The Truth Is:

The Bible teaches us that the way to eternal salvation and to escape everlasting punishment in hell is to believe in Jesus Christ, whom God gave as the atoning sacrifice for us all.

5. What is the purpose of the Bible?

Js.1:21  Therefore, getting rid of all moral filth and the wickedness that is so abundant, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

1. The Bible’s chief purpose is to save us.  It does this by doing what is explained in the two following passages.

Ro.7:7  But I would not have come to know about sin except through the law.

1. The Bible shows us our sin and lost condition. It does so to lead us to repentance and to see our need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

2 Tim.3:15  And that from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

1. The Bible brings us to a knowledge of our Savior Jesus and teaches us that we are saved through faith in him.

Ps.119:93  I will never forget your precepts, For by them you have restored my life.

1. The Bible restores and awakens our spiritual life, preserving and strengthening our faith.

Ps.119:92  If your law (meaning God's Word) had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.

1. The Bible is a source of hope and comfort in our times of afflictions.

Ps.119:9  How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to your word.

1. The Bible guides us on the pathway of a holy life that is pleasing to God.

Isa.8:20  To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

1. The Bible is the measure by which we can judge all teachers and their doctrines, or teachings.  It enables us to pick out man’s falsehoods from God’s truth and to avoid the false teachers who would lead us into errors.

The Truth Is:

The purposes of the Bible are:
1. To save us, by leading us first to a knowledge of our sins and lost condition, and then to faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation.
2. To preserve and to strengthen our faith.
3. To comfort us in our afflictions and give us hope.
4. To guide us in living a holy life that is pleasing to God.
5. To enable us to see error and the errorists who teach the errors, so God’s truth and our saving faith are preserved.

6. What makes the Bible outstanding and different from other books?

2 Tim.3:16  All Scripture is God-breathed.
Jn.17:17 Your word is truth.
Num.23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie.

1. The above two verses tell us that God does not lie.  He speaks only the truth.  The entire Bible is the truth, including what it says about miracles, historical events, and people’s and places’ names.  Everything it says is accurate and trustworthy.
2. Since God speaks only the truth and he does not lie, and since the Bible is his Word, the Bible is without mistakes, errors, or contradictions.

2 Tim.3:15  And that from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

1. The Bible’s message is clear.  It can instruct us in the truths of God for our faith and salvation.
2. The Bible’s message is also sufficient.  It teaches us all that we need to know for our faith and salvation.

Rev.22:18  I certainly declare to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this book: If someone should add to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.

1. The Bible is a completed book.  No new revelations from God will be forthcoming.  It has told us everything we need to know for our faith and salvation.

The Truth Is:

What makes the Bible outstanding and different from other books is:
1. It is inspired by God.
2. It is inerrant (without errors) and without contradictions.
3. It is clear and can teach us the truths of God for our faith and life.
4. It is sufficient and complete, teaching us everything we need to know for our faith, life, and salvation.

7. What are the chief doctrines, or teachings, of the Bible?

Ro.3:20  . . . through the law comes a consciousness of sin.
Ro.1:16 
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe, both to the Jew first and to the Greek.

The Truth Is:

The chief doctrines, or teachings, of the Bible are:
1. The law.
2. The gospel.

8. What does the law teach us?

Mt.5:48  You shall be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Ex.20:3-17  You shall..., You shall not...
Gal.3:10 
For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED ARE ALL WHO DO NOT ABIDE BY EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW IN ORDER TO DO THEM.”
Ro.3:20  . . . t
hrough the law comes a consciousness of sin.

The Truth Is:

The law:
1. Demands perfection from us.
2. Commands what we must or must not do.
3. Threatens us with punishment.
4. Shows our sin to us.

9. What does the gospel teach us?

Jn.3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The Truth Is:

The gospel:
1. Tells us about God’s love for us and for all people.
2. Tells us what God has done to save us and all people.
3. Points us to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and invites us to believe in him for our eternal salvation and life.

10. How do the law and the gospel compare?

The Law
Lk.10:28  This do
Mt.5:48  Be perfect



Gal.3:10  Cursed are all


Ro.3:20 Through law
comes a consciousness of sin.


Ro.3:19  . . . whatever the law says, it speaks to those under the law, so every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become accountable to God
2 Sam.12:7  Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”
The Gospel
Jn.19:30 
“It is finished!”
Ro.3:21,22  . . . a righteousness from God through faith in Jesus Christ
Isa.40:1,2  Comfort, comfort my people...sin has been paid for
Jn.1:29 
“Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Mk.16:15
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.



2 Sam.12:13 David said,
“I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord has also taken away your sin. You will not die.

The Truth Is:

1. The law tells us what we are to do, while the gospel tells us that God has done everything necessary for our salvation.
2. The law tells us that God demands perfection from us, while the gospel tells us that God gives us a saving perfection through faith in Jesus Christ.
3. The law threatens us with punishment for our sins, while the gospel comforts us that God has forgiven our sins and we will not be punished for them.
4. The law shows us our sins, while the gospel shows us our Savior.
5. The law should be preached to all people, especially to the impenitent to lead them to repentance, while the gospel should be preached to all people, especially to penitent sinners to comfort them with God’s forgiveness.

11. When do we read the Bible correctly?

1. We read the Bible correctly when we read it in its context.  We must not rip passages out of their context and twist them to mean what we want to prove.  The passages must be read in light of what is stated before and after them, and we must understand them accordingly.
2. We must let Scripture interpret Scripture, using clear passages to shed a light of understanding on the passage we are trying to understand, all of which pertain to the same subject matter.
3. To understand a doctrine correctly, it is necessary that we read all the passages that pertain to that teaching so we do not overstate or understate it.
4. We must read the Bible as it was intended to be understood, that is reading historical narrative as historical narrative, poetry as poetry, a figure of speech as a figure of speech, a parable as a parable.
5. All in all, our reason and understanding must be subject to Scripture.  We dare not read our thoughts into the passage, but rather draw understanding out of the passage.

12. How does God want us to use the Bible?

Heb.10:25 . . . not forsaking the meeting of ourselves together as is the habit of some, . . .

  1. Christians meet together in worship to hear and learn God’s Word recorded in the Bible.  God does not want us to despise the Bible and to stop coming to worship to hear and learn his Word.

Ro.1:2 . . . which he himself promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, . . .

  1. God wants us to regard his Word in the Bible as holy.

Ps.1:1,2  O the blessedness of the man...his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in his law he meditates day and night.

  1. God wants us to delight in and to meditate on the Bible.

Jn.5:39  Search the Scriptures, because you indeed think that in them you have eternal life.

  1. God wants us to study the Bible.

Ro.10:17  Consequently, faith comes from hearing, and the hearing comes through the word of Christ.

  1. God wants us to hear his Word preached and taught.

Js.1:21  Humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

  1. God wants us to accept and believe what the Bible says.

Js.1:22  And be doers of the word and not only hearers who deceive themselves.

  1. God wants us to do what the Bible says.

Ps.51:13  Then I will indeed teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

  1. God wants us to teach his Word to others.
The Truth Is:

God wants us to:
1. Daily meditate on and study the Bible.
2. Hear his Word preached regularly for the strengthening of our faith.
3. Believe what the Bible says.
4. Do what the Bible says.
5. Teach his Word to others for their faith and salvation.

Review questions:

1. Who wrote the Bible?
2. Check which of the following statements is most correct.

a. The Bible contains the Word of God.
b. The Bible is the Word of God.

3. Some have said that all Scripture is inspired by God but not all the Bible is Scripture.  Only those parts of the Bible which are Scripture have been inspired by God.  On the basis of what we have learned in this study, what do you think of this?
4. What does the word “inspired” mean?
5. Some have said that because the Bible was written by men, it contains mistakes and contradictions.  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?
6. How can we learn what is the way to be saved and to obtain eternal life?
7. Do you know how you can be saved?  If so, how?
8. Do you know where you will go after you die?  If so, why will you go there?
9. Are we supposed to believe that Jonah was really swallowed by a big fish, that Satan spoke to Eve through a serpent, that God split the Red Sea, that Jesus walked on water, as well as believe the other miracles recorded in the Bible?  Why?
10. Since the Bible was written, Islam, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Seventh Day Adventists, and the Mormons, have claimed that they received further revelations from God.  Based on what we learned from the Bible in this study, should we believe they have received later revelations from God?  Why, or why not?
11. Look up the following passages and indicate whether each is law, gospel, or both.

John 3:16; 1 John 1:7;  Mark 16:16 ; Leviticus 19:2;  Romans 6:23; 1 Timothy 6:8; Romans 3:23 Acts 16:31; Matthew 11:28; Ephesians 6:1; Ephesians 5:22; Ephesians 5:25

12. What is the chief purpose of the law and what is the chief purpose of the gospel? What does each show us?
13. God wants us to hear his Word regularly.  How can we do this?
14. Would it make any difference to us and to our salvation if John 3:16 and passages like it were written by men rather than God?  If so, why?



Unpublished work. Copyright 1995 JCS of Christian Inconnect. All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced for distribution or publication without prior permission from Christian Inconnect.

All Scripture verses on this web page, unless otherwise indicated, are a translation of the pastor of Christian Inconnect and are a part of the Christian Inconnect Version (CIV), on which he is working. He reserves all rights to his translated verses and to their copyright ©. They may not be quoted without his prior permission.
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