All Bible quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
A Reminder About Some of the Points in Lesson 1
In Lesson 1 you were given a great deal of information about the Bible.
The Bible is really a collection of books. The Old Testament was written before the time of Christ and the New Testament was written after the time of Christ. About forty different writers were involved in writing the books of the Bible over a period of 1,500 years. The Old Testament was written mainly in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. We are blessed that today we can read the Bible in a language we can understand.
Although the books of the Bible were written over a long period of time and in widely separated places, the whole Bible teaches the same message. Its teaching is consistent. The Bible is inspired by God. God caused the writers to set down the thoughts He put into their minds.
men ‘spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit’ (2 Peter 1. 21)
The Bible says that the writers were inspired — the phrase means that God breathed ideas into them, enabling them to speak by the power of the Holy Spirit. (2 Samuel 23. 2)
Look again at the words that Paul wrote to Timothy. (2 Timothy 3. 15-17)
There are a number of arguments for the existence of God.
The Watch Argument
If we found a watch on the ground, having never seen a watch before, we might pick it up and examine it. We might open the back and look at the complicated mechanism. We would notice the miniature circuit board, the microchip and the tiny wheels worked against each other and turned the hands on the face.
We would know that such an intricate mechanism must have been made. The watch must have been designed; it must have started as an idea, then been planned, the pieces made, and brought together to achieve the intended purpose of showing the correct time. The watch could not have made itself. The parts could not have come together by accident. The fact that the watch exists is evidence that there must be a designer — there must be a watchmaker.
The observable universe is made up of at least 10 trillion galaxies, with probably 100 billion stars per galaxy, in other words, the Universe we can see contains over a thousand billion trillion stars. Our nearest star, the Sun, is the centre of a marvellously intricate solar system, which includes our earth with its moon. Every part of this system is moving exactly along its appointed path. This is much more complicated than any watch.
This did not happen by accident. There must be a designer.
‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’ (Psalm 19. 1)
One of the most powerful arguments for the existence of God is contained in the Bible. The Bible contains many prophecies about the building up and destruction of kingdoms and nations; about individuals and about events. In many cases these prophecies were recorded hundreds of years in advance. This is something that man could not do. Only God, who controls all things could have caused these prophecies to be written. Read Isaiah 46. 9—10.
Some of these prophecies will be dealt with in future lessons. The purpose of this lesson is to explain what God has revealed about Himself in the Bible.
What The Bible Tells Us
God has revealed Himself as the Creator.
‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth'. (Genesis 1. 1)
‘It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.’ (Isaiah 45. 12)
God has revealed Himself as eternal. He has always been and will always exist.
‘Before the mountains were born, or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.’ (Psalm 90. 2)
‘Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.‘ (Psalm 93. 2)
There is only one God. Israel were reminded that the various gods the Egyptians worshipped had no power and were no more than man-made images.
‘For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.’ (1 Chronicles 16. 26)
God is all powerful. He knows all that is going on and is present everywhere by the power of His spirit.
‘You know when I sit and and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar…...you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD‘ (Psalm 139. 2-4)
David in this Psalm says that our minds are too small to understand the greatness of God (verse 6). But if we know that God sees and knows all things it can be a great comfort and a source of strength. ‘If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.’ (Psalm 139. 9,10)
The Bible tells us that God‘s ear is always open to hear the cry of His children and God has declared, too, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ (Hebrews 13. 5)
The Unity of God
The Bible teaching that there is one God is important, particularly as there are many people who do not believe this simple truth. It is the clear teaching of both Old Testament and New Testament. Read these verses — Isaiah 45. 5; 1 Corinthians 8. 6 and Ephesians 4. 6.
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy,
‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.’ (1 Timothy 2. 5)
Jesus himself emphasised the importance of this Bible teaching when he said,
‘Now this is eternal life: that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’ (John 17. 3)
The Love of God
If there is one aspect of the character of the God of the Bible which is different from the gods who have been invented by men, it is the love that He shows.
Think of the love that a parent shows to their children. God shows all that love — and more — to us.
‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3. 16)
Bible teaching about salvation from death, and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ are dealt with in later lessons. But the purpose that God has with the earth and with man needs to be outlined here.
It is the clear teaching of the Bible that God intends to completely change the world in the near future; to remove the evil (sin) which at present causes all the suffering and distress in our world.
God’s Plan For The Earth
God declared his purpose through the prophets,
‘For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the seas.’ (Habakkuk 2. 14)
The earth is certainly not filled with the glory of God now. But it will be. This is God’s purpose.
The apostle Paul spoke to the people of Athens and told them that one day the world would be ruled justly by a king appointed by God and that this was guaranteed by His raising the one appointed from the dead. (Acts 17. 31) (Read Psalm 72 and Isaiah 2. 2-4)
The world is certainly not governed with justice now. But it will be. When this time comes it will be called the Kingdom of God and Jesus will be the king. God’s purpose with the earth is the subject of the next lesson. One of the ways in which God has shown His love for man is that He has made His purpose known through the Bible. His love is also shown in the provision of His own son as the centre of that purpose.
A lesson about God would not be complete without mentioning two words which are associated with God and His work.
The word ‘spirit’ is often used in the Bible to mean the power of God, present everywhere.
‘Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?’ (Psalm 139. 7)
Jesus said about God, ‘God is a spirit’ (John 4. 24) and in the opening chapter of the Bible we read that, ‘the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.’ (Genesis 1. 2)
The word ‘holy’ means special, set apart, sacred, consecrated. When we read of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is speaking of the power of God when used for a particular, special purpose. The King James Version of the Bible sometimes has the word for spirit translated as ‘Ghost’ but more modern versions in English use the word Spirit and if we look at some of the places where the words appear the meaning will be clear.
When Mary, the mother of Jesus, was told that she was to have a son who was to be called Jesus, she was told that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and Luke emphasises the meaning by repeating ‘the power of the Most High shall overshadow you.’ (Luke 1. 35) Look at the verse. The angel is explaining that the birth of Jesus would be a miracle brought about by God’s special power operating upon Mary. Because of this, Jesus would be the Son of God.
Writing The Bible
We have already looked at a verse in the second letter of Peter which says that ‘prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1. 21). It was God’s special power that caused the prophets to speak and the writers of the scriptures to write down God’s Words. They were moved by the power of God.
The word ‘spirit’ is often a translation of a word in Hebrew (in the Old Testament) or a word in Greek (in the New Testament) that means wind or breath. So when the Spirit of God moved a man, it could be said that ‘God breathed’ into him. This meaning behind the word makes some of the passages which speak of the power of God particularly beautiful. This, too, is the reason that Paul, writing to Timothy (2 Timothy 3. 16), says the Scriptures are God-breathed.
The power of the Holy Spirit was given to Jesus as we read in the New Testament. The apostles later were also given this power that enabled them to perform miracles. The last verse in Mark (Mark 16. 20) tells us that the purpose of this was to enable the apostles to confirm the words that they spoke.
Paul speaks of the way in which the gifts of the Holy Spirit were used in the first century. The greatest attribute above all gifts which we should try to cultivate is Love. Read 1 Corinthians 12. 28-31 and 1 Corinthians 13. 1-13.
God has shown His love for us in many ways. We can best show our love for Him by trying to live our lives in a way that pleases Him.
Summary of Some Important Points
There is one God.
He is the Creator. He is immortal — from everlasting to everlasting.
God sees and knows all things.
God is righteous. God is loving.
God has revealed His purpose in the Bible.
The power of God is described as His Spirit.
The original writings of the Bible was by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was born as a result of the action of the Holy Spirit upon Mary.
It is important to our salvation that we should understand the nature of God.
Passages For Bible Reading
Acts 17 (In verse 11 notice what those in the city of Berea did in response to the preaching of the Apostle Paul)
1 Timothy 6