- Bible Study Plans
Bible Study Plans
: If God is good and God created the heavens and the earth and looked at his handiwork and pronounced it to be good. How come there is so much disorder in the world? How come there is ugliness? How come there is moral evil in the created universe? Now you know the Bible does not speculate on the origin of moral evil in the world. It puts all the emphasis on the remedy for this moral evil. It puts the accent not on man's disgrace but on God's good grace. And yet the Bible does tell us something as to how sin entered the human race. It has to do with the story of Adam and Eve recorded in the first three chapters of The Book of Genesis. And we need to get the facts clearly fixed in our minds in order that we might see the seriousness of sin in order that we might discover traces of sin in our selves and come to repentance in order that we might look to Jesus alone for our salvation. If we have a shallow view of sin we will not really sense any need of a savior. What then does the Bible teach on the subject of sin on the entrance of sin into the mainstream of the human race?
: The Bible tells us that God made Adam and Eve He made Adam and Eve for each other and for himself. He created them with freedom freedom to act in conformity to the will of God. Freedom to disregard the will of God. Freedom to rebel against the will of God. They were not compelled or coerced to obey him nor were they under obligation to continue sinning. The freedom of choice was theirs. But God also gave them along with their freedom a word of commandment. We read in Genesis 2 at Verse 15 that the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Incidentally I can't resist the comment here that our doctrine of work is based on this passage of the Word of God. It wasn't after Man sinned that God told him from now on you must work, before man fell into sin as part of God's original intention from man something that was good for humanity, God put man in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Work is one of the greatest blessings that God ever gave us.
: It is our sin that turns work into drudgery and frustration. And the Lord God commanded the man. You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For when you eat of it you will surely die.
: Now do you see what God is saying? He is saying, If you disobey my commandment you will die, implying if you keep my commandment you will live. God makes a covenant with man, obey me and live, disobey me and die, obey me and you will win the prize of life, disobey me and you will be punished by death. God gave the commandment and then Satan the adversary of God through the instrumentality of the serpent spoke to the woman saw that through her he might reach Adam and cause both to sin. Sin is a transgression of the commandment of God. Sin is the failure to fulfill the demands of the commandment of God. We sin by doing what God has forbidden we sin by failing to do what God has required. Here in the book of Genesis God gave Adam an order. Later on in the book of Exodus in the 20th chapter God is going to give the people of Israel an order. He's going to express his will in ten tremendous commandments. And incidentally, nine of those ten commandments, only the one on the Sabbath being an exception,
: nine of those Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament letters as binding on the believer on the Christian. So we had better pay very careful attention to them. What does God require of us? What does the revelation of His will for our life? You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make to yourself a graven image to bow down and worship that image in the place of God who is Spirit no idolatry. You must not take God's name in vain. You must use one day in every seven for rest in worship. You must honor father and mother. You must not commit murder. You must not commit adultery because otherwise the structure of the family would be utterly shaken and caused to collapse. You must not steal regarding the rights of private property. You must not bear false witness, God hates a lying tongue. You must not covet.
: You must not look with greed and envy and jealousy on the possessions of others. God reveals His will in terms of commandments. If we do what God asks we live, if we disobey we are subject to punishment
: And death. The essence of sin is disobedience to God. What about the consequence of sin?
: The Bible tells us in the third chapter of Genesis that as soon as Adam and Eve had disobeyed God as soon as they had broken God's covenant or commandment they experienced a sense of shame, they experienced fear, they felt themselves to be guilty. Their conscience accused them, they ran away from God, they sought to hide from God, they tried to cover their nakedness by making for themselves a covering or apron of leaves. How many people there are in our day who are committing sin experienced the very same things? Shame, fear, guilt and accusing conscience running away from God trying to cover themselves no longer with fig leaves but with excuses of all sorts blaming somebody else for what they have done. Sooner or later, God who made us in His image and made us to live in fellowship with him and in obedience to him, will stir our conscience and convict us of our sin. For some that happens in this life and they are converted for others it will happen at the judgment before God's throne and then it will be no more time for repentance but only condemnation.
: When God confronted Adam and Eve with their sin. What did they do? The Bible tells us what they did.
: Adam blamed eve. Eve blamed the serpent. Neither Adam nor Eve were willing to confess their own fault and take the responsibility for the decision that they had made to disobey God. How is it with us? Sometimes people blame their heredity. I am the way I am because of what I inherited from my parents. And so we shift the blame from ourselves to them. Sometimes we blame our environment. It wasn't that we were bad but we were in bad company and bad company prevailed upon us as long as we shift the blame to our environment or to our heredity. We will never find the secret of forgiveness and inner peace. We must come to the point where we realize our own personal responsibility and in humility and with honesty we say God be merciful to me a sinner. When we sin there is no sense shifting the blame to somebody else. We must acknowledge our personal guilt. If we would receive God's personalized offer of pardon and peace. Adam and Eve sinned against God then ran away from God made excuses for themselves sought to blame others. But God is not mocked. God sees through our excuses God sees through our disguises God sees through our outward actions to our inward attitudes and he judges accordingly because Adam and Eve sinned against God,
: the paradise they might have enjoyed became Paradise Lost and the infection of sin which entered into their lives now through successive generations has spread to the ends of the earth and there is no tribe. There is no society there is no nation which is not afflicted with sin or infected by moral evil. And that is why when you die are aware of what is wrong on the inside of us. We must go to God confess our faults and ask of him create in me a clean heart to God and renew within me a right spirit. I must dare to believe that if I confess my sins he is faithful and just to forgive me my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. The Bible reveals to us God. The God who is revealed in the Bible is a God of creation. He made us in his image. We abused our freedom from the very beginning by rebelling against God instead of submitting to him. But God is merciful, God is gracious, and he offers us to the word of the Gospel the forgiveness of sins.
: The Bible is God's written word. And when we turn to the written word of God we find the story of creation. The Bible starts with the story of a God who is not lifeless but very much alive and life giving the book of Genesis as the Book of beginnings. And this is the way it opens in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the writer goes on to tell us how the earth was without form empty covered with darkness and yet the spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And then the Book of Genesis tells us about the living God and how he created the heavens and the earth God said Let there be light and there was light. God said Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water. And so God made that expanse and separated the waters beneath from the sky above. And God said let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear.
: And so it was. And God said Let there be lights and the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the light and to serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years and let there be lights and the expanse of the sky to give light on Earth. And it was so and God made the moon to govern that night and the sun to rule by day.
: And God said let the water team with living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky. so God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teams according to their kinds. And every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good and God said Let the land produce living creatures according to their kind.
: Livestock creatures that move along the ground wild animals each according to its kind and it was so. Have you noticed something God says and it is so God speaks and it come to pass.
: There is a power in the word of God. The word of the Creator is creative and what God speaks comes to pass. You can count on God's words do not fall empty to the ground. God's words accomplish their purpose.
: So you have a God who creates and the world that is created depends on his wisdom and depends on his power. Should also notice that there is progression in the work of creation. God doesn't first create the fishes he creates the sea and then he puts the fish in the sea. God doesn't first create birds and then think about building himself a sky. God makes the vastness of the heavens and then fills the skies with birds.
: God works in an orderly way. He is not the author of confusion but of harmony.
: God takes the initiative and God works in an orderly and progressive fashion from one stage of creation to another and all the while he speaks and it comes to pass then the Bible tells us in Genesis 1 at verse 26 God said Let us make man in our image in our likeness. Notice the plural. God doesn't say I will make man in my image. But let us make man in our image in our likeness and some Bible scholars have concluded and I think rightly so that this is a foreshadowing of the Doctrine of the trinity that the father speaks to his eternal son and to the Holy Spirit and says Let us make man in our image in our likeness. And then the Bible tells us that it is the will of God.
: That mankind should rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air that mankind should rule over the livestock on the earth and over all creatures that move along the ground.
: So God created man in his own image in the image of God created him male and female created he them.
: And God bless them and said to them Be fruitful and increase in number till the earth and subdue it rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
: This is a passage of the word of God that has some tremendous teaching in it. Let's not miss the point. For one thing we are told that you and I have been created in the image of God. And just what does that mean. Also very deep and mysterious statement but we're not left without clues to understand what it means. We are persons as God is a person. We have personality. We have thought we have a will that can choose. We have affections that can reach out. We have memory we have conscience. We are made for mastery to have dominion over creation and in all of this we are resemblances of God. We are in the likeness of God.
: That is the image of God in the broad sense regardless solved the way in which our society treats the crime of murder and nowadays there seemed to be more laws for the protection of the law breaker than for the protection of the law abiding citizen. The Bible looks on murder as the worst of crimes.
: Why. Because it's committed against a human being who is made in the image of God. It doesn't matter if that person is a sinner. The fact is that that individual is made in the image of God and therefore willful malicious premeditated homicide should never be treated lightly. But there is another side to this matter of the image of God in the New Testament. We are told that when we become new people when we are created as it were a second time we are created by God in His likeness with knowledge with holiness and with righteousness when man was first created. He had the image of God in a very special sense. He had a knowledge of God. He had an attitude of holiness and in his daily life he practiced righteousness when man sinned he didn't stop being a person. But he did lose that clear knowledge of God. He did lose that holiness of heart. He did lose that righteousness of life and he can only get that back by the special work of God's grace. When we become new people. So we were made in the likeness of God made to live in fellowship with God made to live in obedience to God made to live after his likeness if we were descended from apes what dignity would that give us.
: But the fact that we are descended from God made by God's creative handiwork in his likeness. That's the only thing that gives us inalienable rights which no man can take from us. That's what gives us our dignity. That's what gives us our manhood. God made us in His likeness. He also created the human race male and female. The difference between the sexes male and female is not something that came about accidentally. It is something that comes about by the definite design and will of God. We should not be ashamed of being men. We should not be ashamed of being women. Our sexuality is a gift of God. God made the male and female what we should be ashamed of is the way that human sin and selfishness have corrupted perverted and defiled God's gift of sexuality. And we need to get back to what the Bible teaches us about male and female. The Bible says that men and women were created for each other so that within the relationship of marriage they might fulfill their sexuality. In the New Testament we are told that wives should Old Bay their husbands we are told that husbands should love their wives.
: We are told that men should not be bitter and unreasonable and harsh and cruel in dealing with their wives. We are told that male and female within the bonds of marriage should be absolutely faithful to one another. We are told that they are to steer clear of fornication adultery and the practices of homosexuality and lesbianism. God made us male and female and we are to honor him within the relationship of marriage with faithfulness in matters of sex. One thing more that we should notice before we bring this particular study to a close and that is that after God had completed the work of creation the Bible notes that God saw all that he had made and it was very good. There is a goodness to the creation of God. How bad it is that we should spoil God's creation that we should waste the resources of the earth that the resources of the world should be destroyed by senseless wars that they should be hoarded by greedy people while others know only hunger and poverty. That the air and the streams and the land of the world around us should be polluted and corrupted because we do not take good care of God's creation. In the beginning when God made the world he looked at it and he said that it was good God enable us by His grace and wisdom to take good care of this creation. This is my father's world.
God's Word Revealed
God's Word Revealed
How can I know God. How can you and I have a knowledge of the supreme being in this universe. Is it by scientific research. Can we put God under a microscope and go through a minute examination of him. Is it through philosophical speculation. Through the imagination and guesswork of the human mind through mere feeling. Through polling the delegation and coming up with a consensus as to what our idea of God is none of these ways will bring us to our goal. The only way that you and I can really know God is if God is willing to make himself known to us. The initiative has to come from him.
The God of our faith is a God who has made himself known a God who has chosen to reveal himself to the human race. We can't arrive at a knowledge of God through our own unaided powers but we can come to know God because God is willing to make himself known to us. God has drawn near to us. God has given us definite clues concerning himself and if we put the evidence together we can begin to get a very clear idea of who God is and what God requires of us. For example God has revealed himself in the order of creation. In his works of Providence in the Old Testament and Psalm 19 we are told The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork from that which God has done We can get some understanding of who God is. If I go to an art gallery and I see a famous painting like the Mona Lisa I look at the enigmatic smile on that woman's face and I think of the artist who painted her. Leonardo da Vinci if I hear a piece of music I will think of the composer who put it together. If I look at a wristwatch which tells me time 24 hours all around I think of the watchmaker who put it together knowing that it just didn't happen by itself. And so from the marvelous work of the creation around me I learned some things about the creator who in the beginning made it all from the majesty of the mountains
I can think of the majesty of God from the beautiful waters of a Clear Lake. I can think of the beauty of God who created the world the work of creation tells me something about the creator. But you know I can look at the waters of a lake or I can survey a mountain landscape all I like that revelation of God which comes to me through the world of nature is not sufficient to deal with the basic questions to which I must have answers. I can look at a snow capped mountain peak it will not tell me what to do to get relief from a guilty conscience. I can look at a mighty waterfall. It will not tell me what to do in order to find eternal life. The basic questions of how to deal with my guilt and how to overcome death can not be answered by God's revelation in the world of nature to get the answers to questions like these I must have more than God's revelation in nature. I must have more than a natural revelation I must have a supernatural revelation and this God has given to us in his word. At the opening of the book of Hebrews and the New Testament we are told that the God of the Bible is no dumb deaf idol but he is a God who is alive and a God who speaks and in the beginning of the book of Hebrews we are told that God who at different times in different ways spoke to our forefathers by means of messengers the prophets they were the mouthpieces of God the God who in the past revealed himself to our ancestors by means of prophets has in these last days wrapped up everything he wanted to tell us in the person of his beloved son.
So you have a succession of spokesmen for God messengers of the Lord the prophets and then you have the goal and climax of it all. When God sends no longer a mere servant but his son no longer one who bears the word but one who is himself. The word made flesh. God has revealed Himself to us. He has not only sent us messages through His prophets he has come down to earth and visited this planet personally in Jesus Christ and when we look at Jesus Christ we can see what God is really like. We can see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He that has seen me said Jesus has seen the father. Do you really want to know what God is like. Then look at Jesus Christ in him.
You see the very character of God. And from him you learn about the dignity of man the depravity of sin and the glorious destiny of those who are saved by God's grace but you say the prophets are all gone. The son of God has come down to earth and visited this planet and return to heaven. How can we then get this revelation of God. How then can we really come to know God since they are no longer with us. The answer to that is that we have a written record a reliable written record of God's revelation through the profits and the revelation that he has given to us in his son and that a written revelation we have in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. They are the Word of God written concerning the Word of God written the Apostle Paul makes a very fascinating statement in the short letter that he wrote to a young man named Timothy in second Timothy. Chapter 3. Beginning at verse 15 the Apostle Paul writes this from infancy you have known the holy scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scriptures given by inspiration of God. And is therefore useful or profitable for teaching rebuking correcting training and righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Bible the sacred writings of the Old and New Testament are God's written revelation to us now grant you men wrote the Bible fishermen like Peter and John tax collectors like Matthew physicians like Luke teachers like Paul Shepards like David and Amos men wrote the Bible but men who were guided by the Spirit of God.
Now there are some who think as though the writers of the Bible were so many typewriter keys on which the fingers of the Holy Ghost exerted their pressure. And so the message was typed out nothing could be further from the truth. The Spirit of God didn't obliterate rate the personality of the writers. The Spirit of God transform their personalities and worked through the writers of the Bible the Holy Spirit guided them to draw on their experiences. The Holy Spirit guided them in their research the Holy Spirit guided them in putting their thoughts into words and each rider using his own writing style expressed accurately what was in the heart and mind of God. Nothing mechanical here. Something intensely personal people wrote the Bible but people guided by the Holy Spirit and guarded by the Holy Spirit so that they do not give us error but they communicate truth faithfully accurately for our good. Therefore if you and I really want to know God we must study the scriptures of the old and new testaments and we must listen for what God is saying to us through the pages of these sacred writings. How do we know that the Bible is the word of God. Well this is not the time or place to go into it in great detail. There are books that have been written on the subject but there is the great wealth of evidence that comes to us from the work of archaeology which confirms the extreme accuracy of many of the statements that are found in the Bible and that skeptics had doubted. Things have been uncovered with the removal of the rubble of the centuries to find that the location of certain cities and the characteristics of those places were precisely the way the Bible described them to be.
Archaeology supports and confirms the accuracy of the Bible and you can get further material on that if you wish. But I come to know that the Bible is indeed the word of God when the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of the Bible enlightens my mind and enables me to see that the Bible is telling me the truth about myself. Years ago I had a conversation with a young man who had come from the land of Greece and was doing graduate study in the city of Philadelphia in the field of chemistry and he wished to come into the membership of our church and he was asked about his Christian testimony and in the course of what he had to say he made a remark that runs like this he said I was a student in the field of science. I was skeptical I was agnostic. I wasn't sure of anything. I had my doubts about many things and then he says One day I discovered the Bible. Then he stopped and he corrected himself. He said No one day the Bible discovered me and when I read the Bible I found out the truth about myself. And I said a book that knows me so well a book that can tell me the truth about myself has to be more than a human production. It is nothing less than the written word of God. There are difficulties in the Bible. There are things that are very complex to understand. And yet on the major issues the Bible is crystal clear so much so that even a little child can understand what God is saying.
Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so the great American humorist Mark Twain who certainly was not guilty of any sympathy toward Christianity. One said that it wasn't the things that he didn't understand in the Bible that bothered him but the things he did understand the Bible is very very clear as to the road of duty in which we must go very clear as to what sin is and sin deserves. Very clear on teaching us the method of salvation which is through faith in a savior. One thing more I'd like to add and that is the sufficiency of the written word of God. I believe that in the writings of the old and new testament we have all that we need to know as to how we may find a remedy for sin how we may live to the glory of God and how we may prepare for eternity. The writings of mere men who are not inspired by the Holy Spirit can be very useful. They can be helpful to us but we can do without them. Whereas we cannot do without the Bible human tradition has its place but the Bible alone is sufficient to tell us what to believe and how to live. God's word is meant to be a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path. Let us follow what God has revealed to us in his word and then being faithful to him who is absolutely trustworthy. We will see him and know him face to face.