Lesson 01 - The Word of God
- To show that the Bible is a book inspired by God and relevant to us today
- God has a message of love that He wishes to communicate to us
Bible verses to read:
- 2 Timothy 3:15-17
- 1 Peter 1:19-21
- Isaiah 46:9-10
- John 14:29
- Daniel 2:1-49
- 1 Thessalonians 2:13
Claims of the Bible:
Let's turn to 2 Timothy 3:15-17
- According to verse 15, what is the purpose of Scripture?
- Answer (highlight to read): to bring about the experience of salvation. God is interested in your salvation!
- According to verse 16, how much of Scripture is inspired?
- Answer: all of it!
In summary, all Scripture comes from God
Let's turn to 2 Peter 1:19-21
- According to verse 20, what is the first thing, we should know about Scripture?
- Answer: it is not to be privately interpreted
- According to verse 21, why is that?
- Answer: Scripture did not originate in mankind. Man was involved in documenting Scripture, but the actual document itself is a Divine document. God will tell us what it means!
In summary, the Bible comes from God.
Let's pretend that you went to Barnes and Nobles and decided to take all the books there and divide them into two piles: 1) books that claim to be from God and 2) books that do not claim to be from God. Which pile would be bigger? The non-inspired pile would number in the thousands. However, the other pile would be less than five books and the Bible would be one of those books.
- Ordinary claims require only ordinary evidence
- Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
Let me share with you two pieces of evidence that I personally find very persuasive to support the claims of the Bible. The first piece is the Bible's amazing content. We are going to look at some prophecy.
Turn to Isaiah 46:9-10
- According to verse 9, what claim does God make about Himself?
- Answer: He alone is God and there are none like Him.
- According to verse 10, what evidence does God offer to substantiate that claim?
- Answer: He says that He is going to prove it to us by showing what is going to happen in the future ("things not yet done").
Let's turn to John 14:29
- According to the words of Jesus, why did he tell His disciples things in advance?
- Answer: so that they would believe.
Prophecy is more than just a prediction. Prophecy is a foretelling of future events, which creates faith.
Now, let me share with you just one of the Bible's most astonishing prophecies that occurs in the book of Daniel.
Breakdown of Daniel 2:
- Verses 1-12 story part 1
- Verses 13-30 story part 2
- Verses 31-35 dream
- Verses 36-45 interpretation
Let us turn to Daniel 2:1-49. We are going to read through the entire chapter together. The hero of the story is Daniel, a Hebrew youth probably around 18-20 years of age, who was taken into captivity into Babylon. Daniel, along with the best and brightest of the Hebrew youth, was to be educated and indoctrinated into the Babylonian system under the tutelage of the Chaldeans, who were the wise men, magicians, and astrologers of the kingdom.
It was during this time that the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar, had a disturbing dream that he couldn't quite shake, but he couldn't quite remember. He summoned all his wise men, magicians, and astrologers to interpret his dream for him. However, King Nebuchadnezzar made an unusual request - he wished for his advisors to tell him the dream he had then interpret it for him. The advisors told King Nebuchadnezzar that such a request was impossible, and only the gods were the ones who could grant such a request.
King Nebuchadnezzar was so enraged by the inability of his wise men to follow through with his request, he ordered the execution of all the wise men in the kingdom, including Daniel and his Hebrew friends (verse 13).
In verse 16, Daniel does not know the dream either, but he know the only One who could know the dream - God. Daniel and his friends petition King Nebuchadnezzar to give them some more time to tell him his dream. They then earnestly pray to God for divine help.
In verse 21, God grants Daniel's request and gives him a vision of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. A principle of heaven that we can take from the story thus far is that God answers asked prayer. Daniel asked and God answered! When God gives you an answer, you can be sure that it is always the right one!
Daniel was able to stand before King Nebuchadnezzar because he knelt before God first. When you kneel before God, you can stand before kings!
In verse 30, Daniel begins to tell King Nebuchadnezzar his dream. It is a strange dream about a metal man. The interpretation of the dream is that it shows the succession of world empires. King Nebuchadnezzar's dream was actually a prophecy of the future! To give you some perspective of time here, note that the book of Daniel was written about 600 BC during the time of the Babylonian empire. The Roman empire would fall around 476 AD and eventually become what we know of today as Europe.
King Nebuchadnezzar dream contained 7 predictive elements
- Babylon would fall to Medo-Persia
- Medo-Persia would fall to Greece
- Greece would fall to Rome
- Rome would not be conquered, but divided
- There will be attempts to re-unite the divided kingdom through marriage, mighty men, and even money
- However, these attempt at unification will all fail
- The final event is God's eternal kingdom
If you review world history, there were attempts to unify different countries together through royal weddings. There have been many notable historical figures who have tried to unify Europe including Charles the 5th, Louis the 14th, Charlemagne, Napoleon, and Hitler. Even in modern times, Europe has tried to unify economically with mixed results. Isn't it amazing how God predicted all of this centuries before these events have come to pass?
Verse-by-verse review points - God knows the future!
- Verse 21 - "raises up kings"
- Verse 28 - "the latter days"
- Verse 29 - "would come to pass after this" and "what will be"
- Verse 39 - "after you" and "shall rule over all the earth"
- Verse 40 - "shall be"
- Verse 41 - "shall be divided"
- Verse 45 - "what will come to pass after this"
The second piece of evidence that speaks to me personally on the trustworthiness of God's Word is the uncanny consistency of the Bible. Let me "cite" for you three areas of Biblical consistency:
The Bible is trans-culturally popular in a way no other book has been before or ever since. There are many "classic" books in other cultures that are generally isolated to that particular culture. The Bible is a Jewish book that is steeped in Jewish culture, yet how is that the Bible is able to transcend the cultural barrier and appeal to so many radically different cultures around the world? There must be some truth in the Bible that people from all races, cultures, and times can identify with to this day.
2. Internal consistency:
The Bible was written in a period of roughly 1600 years by 35 authors from all walks of life across three continents. The Bible may like just one book to you, but it is actually 66 books bound together in a single volume. All the authors were inspired by the same God so that the picture they present is one of uniformity, despite the authors' different backgrounds and cultural sensibilities. Now compare the Bible to any other religious books out there. Those other books were usually written by only one man and over a maximum period of 20 years. The Bible must be divinely inspired from beginning to end, otherwise it would fall apart under carefully critical scrutiny.
People have claimed from time to time that there are contradictions in the Bible. However, things in the Bible that appear superficially contradictory can be resolved once an explanation is given. For example, let's say there is a married man who loves his wife. One day the man has a big argument with his wife. Would you say that there is a contradiction between those two statements? No, those statements merely require an explanation.
I have read the Bible for several years myself and have not found any of these so-called contradictions. Feel free to e-mail us if you have any questions on any Bible passages.
For such an ancient document, the Bible has been extraordinarily well-preserved. About 2,000 documents of the Old Testament and almost 6,000 documents of the New Testament exist and have been translated with 98% accuracy. I would say that the Bible has been supernaturally preserved!
Let's close the lesson by reading 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Hopefully, you can see that there is reasonable evidence to believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God! You may still have some questions or even doubts, but I hope you will keep studying the Bible and continue on with the lessons!