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Bible Study Notes

Impressions from God's Word 4

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Session 4: Introduction to the Bible

Session 4: Introduction to the Bible

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart- they do no wrong but follow his ways. Psalm 119:1-3

Psalm 73; Matthew 4:4; 24:35; Luke 24:32; John 10:10; 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-15; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 8:1; James 1:22-25

The Bible is God's story and ours as we are the products of His creation, love and redemption. You can have faith, life, and purpose and be your best for God's glory.

The Bible is not just a book, it is The Book--in fact, it is a Library of Books!

God gives us the Book--THE instruction manual. The Bible is actually a collection of sixty-six (66) books--thirty-nine (39) in the Old Testament, and twenty-seven (27) in the New Testament. They were written over a 1,600-year period, unified in theme and with a singular purpose to show Who God is, What He does, His Holiness, His Law, Plan, and precepts. It also contains who we are, what we are, our purpose and plan, and our sinful rebellion. It contains the Truth: Christ's plan for how He intercedes to redeem us for our salvation. From the Bible, we learn how we can be the people He created us to be. We can know His calls and concerns, His precepts and opportunities. We can know God's heart.

The written very voice of God has been transmitted through men and women, who were kings and shepherds, fishermen and noblemen, solders and farmers, religious leaders, the amateur and the professional scribe-each message unified in purpose, plan and call. There is no other book in all of history like it, nor will there ever be. It is banned in dozens of countries-death sentences to posses it in some and freedom to exercise it in others. This is no mere work of fables or diatribe of conjecture, because such a book would never be worth considering in banning, burning, or attempting to destroy.

The Bible, '66'

The Old Testament has 39 Books separated into 4 main divisions: Pentateuch, Narrative, Wisdom and Writings.

The New Testament has 27 Booksseparated into 4 main: Gospels, Historical, Epistles and Apocalyptic.

Old Testament: Books 1 to 39

New Testament: Books 40 to 66

The Pentateuch are the 5 books of Moses.

1. Genesis

2. Exodus

3. Leviticus

4. Numbers

5. Deuteronomy

The Gospels Narratives

40. Matthew

41. Mark

42. Luke

43. John

The Historical Narrative Books (there are 12) from Joshua through Esther.

6. Joshua

7. Judges

8. Ruth

9. 1 Samuel

10. 2 Samuel

11. 1 Kings

12. 2 Kings

13. 1 Chronicles

14. 2 Chronicles

15. Ezra

16. Nehemiah

17. Esther

Historical Books

44. Acts

Poetry and Wisdom Literature Books (5) from Job through Song of Solomon.

18. Job

19. Psalms

20. Proverbs

21. Ecclesiastes

22. Song of Songs

Epistles and Doctrinal Books

By Paul

45. Romans

46. 1 Corinthians

47. 2 Corinthians

48. Galatians

49. Ephesians

50. Philippians

51. Colossians

52. 1 Thessalonians

53. 2 Thessalonians

54. 1 Timothy

55. 2 Timothy

56. Titus

57. Philemon

Prophetical Books or Writings, include the 5 "Major Prophets," because of the extended length, from Isaiah to Daniel, and the writings of the 12 "Minor Prophets," because of the smaller work, from Hosea to Malachi.

General Epistles

58. Hebrews

59. James

60. 1 Peter

61. 2 Peter

62. 1 John

63. 2 John

64. 3 John

65. Jude

Major Prophets

23. Isaiah

24. Jeremiah

25. Lamentations

26. Ezekiel

27. Daniel

Apocalyptic Prophetical Book

Epistle by John

66. Revelation

Minor Prophets

28. Hosea

29. Joel

30. Amos

31. Obadiah

32. Jonah

33. Micah

34. Nahum

35. Habakkuk

36. Zephaniah

37. Haggai

38. Zechariah

39. Malachi


The Major Divisions of the Bible

When a thorough Bible curriculum is presented, there are two main views--Covenants and Dispensations. Covenant Theology is a system of theology that views God's dealings with man in reverence and reference to His Covenants, which are contacts. A Dispensationalist views this as dispensations, periods of time in which God works in a certain way and only in that way in that time period.

Why all the fuss, why the distinctions? All Biblical theologians recognize that God works differently in the Old Testament and the New Testament and also through the periods of Adam and Eve before the Fall, Abraham after the Fall, Moses and the Law, and Christ through Grace. So what approach will we take? That is how Dispensationalism came to be. Basically, there are different stages of faith and responsibilities given to humanity by God that were handled differently during the periods of the Law and the work of the Cross. The Jews' salvation looked to the work of Christ not completed yet. They were to show their faith by doing what God had commanded (Duet. 6) by the Law. When they could not keep the Law, God allowed the sacrificial system for atonement. Salvation came to the Jews, not by keeping the law, because none of them could do it, but to be fulfilled later--in Christ--if they had faith that looked to the acceptance and trust in Him. The Christian shows faith by gratitude for what Christ already did. Salvation came because Jews understood the true purpose of revealing sin, pointing toward the Christ to come, and turning to God.

A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theology

Issue

Covenant Position

Dispensational Position

Pattern of History

Covenant of Works with Adam; Covenant of Grace with Christ on behalf of elect (some distinguish between Covenant of Redemption with Christ and Covenant of Grace with the elect).

Divided into dispensations (usually seven); e.g., Innocence (pre-Fall), Conscience (Adam), Human Government (Noah), Promise (Abraham), Law (Moses), Grace (Christ's First Coming), Kingdom (Christ's Second Coming).

View of History

Optimistic: God is extending His kingdom.

Pessimistic: the Last Days are marked by increasingly worse wickedness in the world and by apostasy in the church.

God's purpose in history

There is a unified redemptive purpose.

There are two distinct purposes, one earthly (Israel), one heavenly (church).

View of the Biblical Covenants

They are different administrations of the, Covenant of Grace.

They mark off periods of time during which God's specific demands of man differ.

Relationship of Old Testament to New Testament

Acceptance of Old Testament teaching required unless specifically abrogated by New Testament.

Old Testament prescriptions are not binding unless reaffirmed in New Testament.

Relationship between Israel and the Church

The church is spiritual Israel, in continuity with true Israel of Old Testament.

The church is the spiritual people of God, distinct from Israel, the physical people of God.

Old Testament Prophecy

Refers to God's people, the church.

Refers to ethnic Israel.

Church Age

God's redemptive purpose continued to unfold.

There is a parenthesis between past and future manifestations of the kingdom.

Role of The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit indwells God's people throughout history.

The Holy Spirit indwells God's people only from Pentecost to the Rapture.

Baptism

Unified covenant generally used to support infant baptism.

Israel/church distinction often (but not always) used to support believers' baptism.

Social Implications

Emphasizes "cultural mandate."

The only way to save the world is to save individuals; therefore evangelism takes precedence over "social action."

Eschatology (end times)

Usually Amillennial; rarely Postmillennial; occasionally Premillennial.

Premillennial, usually pretribulational.

Millennium (end times)

Symbolic, often identified with present age.

Literal, earthly 1000-year reign after Second Coming.

Which view is correct? That is a matter of debate. Covenant Theology comes from the Bible as how God works through His people. Dispensationalism comes by reading into the Bible a point of view. Both give us insights; remember, though, to always seek God in the reading of the Bible-do not seek a man-made theory. Which view will we explore? Neither-as separate entities. Our study comes only from what the Bible actually teaches by inductive logic and context. (It is true that this usually falls within the Covenant perspective.

Keep in mind that good Bible interpretation comes from our careful interrogation and examination to discover the real truths of the Bible. This can only happen when we abandon ourselves to Christ, and engage the text in prayer with faith, reason, and logic. We are never to read into God's Holy Word our fears, hurts, ideas, or plans; rather, we are to look to Christ as our Lord. We are to never hold back with failure but rather look forward to what He has for us. We are not to hide in our theology, pride, complacency, or presumptions. Our drive must be to follow His Truth and character-not our own and certainly not what is trendy or societal.

The Bible is about History = His Story!

God's story. Our Story. Who am I? What am I here for? What is my purpose? Is there a God? Does He know me? Does He care? Does He love me? These are the timeless questions sought by humanity and philosophers--all answered in the Bible. It is a gift and purpose that the Bible is not contained just to the past; it is the Book for the here and now, too. It shows our flaws and failures, our hurts and setbacks, our heroes and victories and opportunities to come. Need some proof? The Bible has been proven by archeology and science--its precepts, facts, figures and personalities are all true. Ancient books like The Odyssey, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Plays of Sophocles, the philosophy of Socrates and the discourses of Plato are all locked in time with little relevance to us today. Plato gave us logic, but the Bible gives the timeless insights of faith and reason; the Bible is God's True truth for all time-yes, living and applicable to us right now, today.

The Bible is about His-story--how we are called to know and worship Him. It is about us; there is nothing in the Word that does not concern us. It is the answer book of life, death, and all that is in between and beyond. It is our history, our present, and our future; it is life. How do you worship the Lord? Do you worship for the Who, What, and Why He is? How about Who and What He is For? The Bible is God and you; it is about God, about you, about the church, life, liberty, God's love and relationship to humanity, and His desire for us to know and grow in Him.

The bottom line desire of God is that we receive Him as Lord, by faith take His offering of salivation, be grateful and move though the journey of our lives by faith, love and Fruit of His Spirit. This will give you precious information about life and things that matter. You will also receive insights to understand how God works through history and relationships, how He loves and equips, how He molds and shapes and how He is impacting you, too. You will be able to make better life decisions, have more joy and confidence, be assured that as God iss at work in you and in the world, you can persevere through all that a fallen world may bring you. You are not in isolation! You have a reason and purpose! God's love through time and through history is real and seeking to move through you.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

To be a good Bible student and a great Bible teacher, our interests must be surrendered to His; His interests must be ours (John 3:30; Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:5; 2: 20-21; Phil. 3:10)! Doing what we do not want to do in the first place becomes sheer pleasure because it is serving Him (John 15:13; 1 Cor. 9:22; 2 Cor. 12:15). When we are doing this, our understanding of the Bible will grow and consequently our faith, maturity, and character will also grow; we will be showing the love and care we are called to give to reach our neighbors for Christ!

Key Takeaway: If you understand the Bible, you will understand God, yourself, and the world! There is so much wisdom, wonder, and information in the Bible that you can commit a lifetime of study and immerse yourselves each day and never grasp or get it all. That is the wonder--so much for us to know, a lifetime to find it all and practice it; all that we need for our journey of life.

Questions to Ponder

1. Have you ever wanted an instruction manual for life?

2. How is the Bible your very manual? How can it be your plan and purpose for life and decisions?

3. Have you ever asked these questions: Who am I? What am I here for? What is my purpose? Is there a God? Does He know me? Does he care? Does He love me?

4. Have you ever viewed the Bible as a library or a collection of 66 Books instead of just one? How does this help you?

5. How do you feel that the Bible is banned in dozens of countries? Why do they do this so passionately?

6. How could a death sentence to posses the Bible give you motivation to read and exercise it?

7. God's Word has been transmitted through so many different types of people; why did God not just use professional scribes?

8. What do you think of Covenant Theology verses Dispensationalism? Why do people get so worked up about a particular theory and not in the veracity of what the Word teaches?

9. Did you know the Bible is about 'His-story,' God's story, your story? How does this help you know, trust, obey and worship Christ as Lord?

10. How would you describe a case for good Bible interpretation?

11. Have you ever had someone tell you the Bible is full of myths and contradictions? How did you respond? The best approach is to ask them to show you one, in kindness, and discuss it. Remember context, God's Glory, and your own humility; if you can't answer them, let them know that you will find out and get back to them.

12. How can you be a better showcase for Who is God, what He does, His Holiness, His principles, plan, and precepts?


© 2012 R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 
 
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