Fundamental Belief #1 The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.
What or who is the Word 1 John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. NIV Note: The word here refers not to a collection of letters or alphabet, but the Son of God Himself!
How is God speaking to mankind today? 2 Hebrews 1:1-4 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. NIV Note: God spoke through prophets in the Old Testament but in the last days God is speaking to us through His Son, Jesus. We need to be careful to listen to Him who speaks to us (Hebrews 12:25)
What evidence is there that God exists? 3 Psalm 19:1 “ The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” NIV Note: Everything in nature speaks of an intelligent design and not a chance evolution. Man has always known this, but chooses to ignore it (Romans 1:20). Sin obscures God’s self-revelation through creation by limiting our ability to interpret God’s testimony. In love God gave a special revelation of Himself to help us get answers to our questions. Through both the Old and New Testament God disclosed Himself to us in a specific way, leaving no question about His character and love.
Who is the source of the eternal life, promised in the Old Testament? 4 John 5:39-40 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, 40 yet you refuse to come to Me to have life. John 5:45-47 “ But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” NIV
Who is the source of the eternal life, promised in the Old Testament? 4 Note: Note: The Father through His Son Jesus is the Source of eternal life. This fact is presented repeatedly in the Torah, which is the first five books of the Old Testament, and written by Moses. When Jesus came He said “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” Moses wrote about Jesus saying that God will send a prophet like him and instructed the people to hear him. (Deut 18:18) Deut 18:18 “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. NIV
What is the focus of the Scripture? 5 Luke 24:25-27 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself. NW Note: The Bible reveals God and exposed humanity. It exposed our predicament and reveals His solution. It presents us as lost, estranged from God and reveals Jesus as the One who finds us and brings us back to God. Jesus is the focus of Scripture. The Old Testament sets forth the Son of God as the Messiah, the world’s Redeemer; the New Testament reveals Him as Jesus Christ, the Savior.
Who is the author of the Bible? 6 2 Peter 1:19-21 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, 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. NIV Note: Holy men spoke as they were moved or carried along by the Holy Spirit so the holy men or prophets were not the authors.
Who is the source of the message in the following Old Testament text? 7 Zechariah 7:12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by His Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry. NIV Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. NIV 2 Samuel 23:2 Note: It was the Holy Spirit of the Lord speaking but He was speaking through the Prophets. WOW!
Who was speaking through Paul as he wrote the books of the New Testament? 8 1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. NIV Note: God, through His Holy Spirit, has revealed Himself through the Holy Scriptures. He wrote them, not with His hands, but with other hands, about forty pairs, over a period of more than 1500 years. And since God by His Holy Spirit inspired the writings, God then is the author.
Did the prophets always understand what they wrote? 9 1 Peter 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” NIV
Did the prophets always understand what they wrote? 9 1 Peter 1:10-12 Note: The prophets themselves were only being used by the Holy Spirit to reveal the Scriptures. Many times, they themselves had to go back and study what they wrote to try to understand it. Even the Holy Angels desire to look into the Scriptures. Recall that both Daniel and John were greatly perplexed over their writings. (Daniel 8:27; Revelations 5:4) Dan 8:27 “I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king's business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.” NIV
Did God speak only through good and obedient humans? 10 Numbers 22:28 Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" 29 Balaam answered the donkey, "You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now." 30 The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?“ "No," he said. NIV Note: God even opened the mouth of a donkey to speak His words. Those who had a part in writing the Bible were not chosen because of natural talent. Nor did divine revelation necessarily convert the person or assure the person of eternal life. Balaam proclaimed a divine message under inspiration, while acting contrary to Gods counsel.
Through what process does God speak to us? 11 2 Timothy 3:14-1 7 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NIV
Through what process does God speak to us? 11 2 Timothy 3:14-1 7
Through what process does God speak to us? 11 2 Timothy 3:14-1 7 Note: The process was inspiration. The Greek word theopneustos, translated as “inspiration”, literally means, “God breathed”. God breathed truth into men’s minds. They in turn, express it in the words found in scripture. It is very important to note: God inspired men — not words. In some instances writers were commanded to express the exact words of God, but in most cases, God instructed them to describe to the best of their ability, what they saw or heard. In the latter cases, the writer used their own language, patterns and style.
What did the apostle Paul say about the prophets? 12 1 Corinthians 14:32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.” NIV Note: Genuine inspiration does not obliterate the prophet’s individuality, reason, integrity or personality. Remember what God said to Moses (Exodus 7:1, Exodus 4:15-16) The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not his pen (selected messengers). Inspiration acts not on a mans words or his expressions, but on the man himself, who under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts Ex 7:1 “Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.
What theories attempt to explain inspiration <ul><li>Infusion theory </li></ul><ul><li>Illumination theory </li></ul><ul><li>Dictation theory </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic theory </li></ul>13 Informed students believe in the Dynamic theory as opposed to the dictation theory which is probably the most popular explanation of inspiration among other Christians. The Bible writers were God’s penmen, not His pen. The following texts explains why the dynamic theory (thought inspiration) is preferred.
Dynamic Theory 13 Matthew 27:37 “Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” NIV Luke 23:38 “There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” NIV Mark 15:26 “The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.” NIV John 19:19 “Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” NIV
What method did God use to communicate His word to the Bible writers? 14 Numbers 12:6 Listen to my words: “When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. “NIV Note: The Holy Spirit frequently communicates knowledge by means of dreams and visions. Sometimes He spoke audibly to the inner senses (I Samuel 9:15). At other times the writer received symbolic representations with explanation (Zechariah 4). The visions of heaven that Paul and John received were accompanied by oral instructions (2 Corinthians 12:1-4; Revelations 4,5). Ezekiel observed events transpiring in another location (Ezekiel 8). Some writers participated in their vision.
What is the purpose of the historical accounts in the Bible? 15 1 Cor. 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.” NIV Note: Historical events written in the Bible are “types” or “examples” written for our admonition in the end times. Paul says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4). The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah serves as “an example” or warning (2 Peter 2:6; Jude 7). Abraham’s experience of justification is an example for every believer (Romans 4:10-25; James 2:14-22). Even Old Testament civil laws are filled with deep spiritual meaning (1 Corinthians 9:8-10).
What importance did Jesus place on the Scriptures? 16 John 5:39 “ You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, 40 yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.” NIV Note: Throughout His ministry, Jesus stressed the authority of Scriptures. His response when Satan tempted Him was “It is written”. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). When asked how to receive eternal life, He said “ What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it? (Luke 10:26). He rebuked the Jews for setting aside the Scriptures (Mark 7:7-9). He also told the Jews that if they believed Moses they would believe Him because Moses spoke explicitly about Jesus (Deuteronomy 18:15
What is the only way to interpret scripture? 17 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 “ For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 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. “NIV
What is the only way to interpret scripture? 17 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 Note: Without the Holy Spirits illumination of our minds, we could never correctly understand the Bible or even acknowledge it as God’s authoritative will. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture as well as the only one who can illuminate the preacher of the Scripture.
How can we test if a prophet’s message is from God? 18 Isaiah 8:20 “ To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” NIV Note: The gifts of the spirit do not supersede the Bible. All must be tested by the Bible and if not in accord with it, they must be discarded as not genuine.
How should we approach difficult passages of scripture? 19 2 Timothy 2:7 7 “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. “NIV Note: It is the Lord who gives us insight; it is the Lord who gives us understanding. It is our responsibility to reflect or meditate prayerfully over the Word of God. Recall that Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit who will guide us into all truth (John 16:13-15). For this very reason, one should never begin to study the Bible without first praying for the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth. If we don’t, we will eventually make the human mind or human logic the measuring stick of truth. Important
How does Jesus demonstrate the power of the gospel? 20 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 “ Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Note: The evidence of the power of the gospel is a people whose lives have been changed. People who are not conforming to the sinful practices around them, but who are being transformed by the Spirit. This message or this fact must not be hidden, but should be available for all around us to see. In this way, the gospel should go with every true Christian even in places where the physical book, the Bible is not available.
How does Jesus demonstrate power of the gospel? 20 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 Note: Just as the apostles wrote letters or epistles to churches or people they wished to communicate what the gospel can accomplish in our lives, Jesus himself has written letters or epistles to convince the world in our times about the power of the gospel. The Holy Spirit given by God in each Christian’s heart communicates through the fruits of the spirit to the world. Christians are the salt and the light to a rotting and dying world.
What will prayerful study of Scripture enable us to do? 21 1 Peter 3:14-17 “ But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. NIV”
What will prayerful study of Scripture enable us to do? 21 1 Peter 3:14-17 Note: We must be prepared to set apart Christ in our hearts, so that when faced with problems or terror or questions, we will be ready to respond appropriately. Our response must be with gentleness and respect. Our objective must never be to win an argument as in a debate, but to demonstrate the power of the gospel and win souls for Christ. When our lives are read as epistles by those around us, we should be prepared to give reasons for our way of life. This is true witnessing. We should have the same attitude as Christ (Philippines 2:5) who suffered unjustly so that He might bring us to God. In the same way, we are to be prepared to endure all unjust treatment with the aim of winning those around us to Christ.
How should we relate to other Christians who are not mature? 22 Romans 15 1:5 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, NIV Note: Mature Christians should demonstrate tolerance and love towards other Christians, even to the point of willingly giving up our rights for the cause of Christ.
Why should Christians seek to study the word? 23 1 Thessalonians 2:13 1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe . NIV Note: The Scriptures, as the word of God is not only able to make you wise (or knowledgeable) about salvation, but the word works in those who study it as they progress along the Christian walk. Christians should live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God! (Luke 4:4)
The Bible ahead of its time Evidence of the Bible’s Divine origin
Science and the Bible <ul><li>Many people believe that science and the Bible are at odds. This causes many to reject the Bible without investigating the facts. </li></ul><ul><li>The Bible is proving to be the most reliable source of facts about science and history. </li></ul><ul><li>The explosion of information and knowledge is providing enough information to understand scientific ideas presented thousands of years ago in the Bible </li></ul>
The Hydrologic Cycle Job 36:27,28 How great is God- beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out. 27 "He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; 28 the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. NIV The Bible very precisely identifies the hydrological cycle in several places (Eccl 1:7). Thousands of years before Christ the book of Job describes the evaporation of drops of water, which are then distilled to form clouds that later pour down rain. This is a simple concept, but it was not clearly recognized by science until Perrault and Mariotte correctly identified the process in the 1700s.
The Earth is round Isaiah 40:22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. NIV We are aware of misconceptions about the shape of the earth existing as late as the time of Columbus. Isaiah, speaking about 700 B.C., correctly identified the earth’s shape. Several translations of the Bible render the Hebrew word “khug” as “circle” (still indicative of the correct shape). Some scholars believe “sphere” is a more precise interpretation of the word.
The Earth hangs in space Job 26:7 He spreads out the northern [skies] over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. NIV Ancient thought from various cultures indicates some interesting impressions of the earth. The Chinese thought the earth was square. The Egyptians thought it was rectangular. Mesopotamians thought of the earth as a floating boat covered by an astrodome-like structure. In contrast, about 2000 B.C., the Bible indicated that the earth hangs on nothing but space.
Global wind patterns Ecclesiastes 1:6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. NIV Only with advanced satellite technology have we been able to accurately define global wind currents. Yet Ecclesiastes, written by Solomon a thousand years before Christ, describes the repeated cycle of wind blowing to the south, turning to north, and returning in the same pattern. Solomon had no satellite or tools to predict global air flow.
Circumcision Genesis 17:11 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised , including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner — those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." NIV
Circumcision Genesis 17:11 No one really knows for sure why God specifically chose the rite of circumcision as the sign of His covenant with Abraham. Circumcision has been shown to have medical value. Research in the mid-1900s found that Jewish women had a remarkably low rate of cervical cancer. Further studies identified the major cause of cervical cancer to be the smegma bacillus, which can easily be carried in the foreskin of uncircumcised males and transmitted to women having abrasions of the cervix (such as occur in childbirth).
Circumcision – eighth day? Genesis 17:11 Research shows that newborn infants are particularly susceptible to hemorrhaging from the second day after birth to the fifth. A small cut can be deadly. Vitamin K, necessary for the production of prothrombin (the body’s blood-clotting substance) is not present sufficiently until days five through seven. The prothrombin level is only 30 percent of normal on day three but skyrockets to 110 percent of normal on the eighth day before it levels off. God’s command to circumcise on the eighth day turns out to be the best time to circumcise the child. Science has only recently discovered the existence of vitamin K. Why the eighth day?
Scientists Speak Out “ I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.” – Sir Isaac Newton “ With regard to the origin of life, science ….. Positively affirms creative power.” – Lord Kelvin (established Thermodynamics as a science) “ It is as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of God…….. As it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.” – Wernher von Braun (past director of NASA)