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Lesson 3: How Did We Get Our Bible?

In the first lesson, we looked at a few of the many prophecies of the Bible that reveal the certainty of Godís Word. In our last lesson, we studied what that Word says about Creation, and saw how unwise it is to think that the things that God made could have just "happened."

We all know that every new car comes with an instruction book that tells the owner how to best take care of the car, if he is to get the most satisfaction and benefit from it? This is because the manufacturer knows how the automobile should be operated and cared for, so he supplies a book of directions with each car. Certainly the Maker of the world would not start it off and leave it without a guide as to how its inhabitants were to live and what they were expected to do.

Yes, our Maker has given a Guidebook book of directionsóthe Bible. That book will be the basis of all our studies in these lessons.

Before beginning this lesson, however, remember to again kneel and ask for the guidance of Godís Holy Spirit to help you in understanding His truth.

Godís WordóOur Handbook

1. How did God communicate with man in the beginning? Genesis 3:8, 9.

"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?"

Note: It was not Godís original plan to give His Word to men in a written form. In the Garden of Eden, God visited Adam and Eve, speaking to them face to face. Angels were their teachers. After they had sinned, they were no longer able to enjoy this close companionship with their Creator.

2. How did God promise to speak to fallen man? Amos 3:7.

"Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

Note: It is wonderful that God knows what is coming, and that He has promised to reveal these things to us.

3. Who was the first man of God to be referred to as a prophet? Jude 14

"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints."

Note: Though God began to speak to men through His prophets very early in the history of the world, these messages from God were not at first put in a written form. For approximately the first 2,500 years of our worldís history, the instruction was oral. It was passed on from father to children and at that time manís memory was much better than it is today, if something was taught to them, they did not forget it like we tend to do.

4. Later, how did the prophets preserve the instructions from God, to be sure they were not misquoted? Joshua 24:26; 1 Samuel 10:25

"And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD."

"Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house."

Note: The prophets of God in olden times wrote as the Holy Spirit directed them. The prophets were instructed to write, and to preserve the inspired writings, which would be of importance for all time. It was Godís plan that those messages should be written in a book. See Numbers 33:2; Joshua 1:8.

5. How did these men gain a knowledge of Godís will? 2 Peter 1:20, 21

"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

Note: There are sixty-six books in our Bible, written by many authors. These men lived in different lands, some of them hundreds of years apart; yet their writings all agree. It is because the Holy Spirit guided them in the writing of the Bible, that it fits together so perfectly. When on earth, Jesus considered the Bible to be so important that He constantly quoted from the writings of the prophets of the Old Testament. The books of the New Testament had not, of course, been written yet when He lived here, and so the Old Testament was the only Bible men had at that time.

6. How did God generally make known His will to the prophets? Numbers 12:6

"And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream."

7. Who did Jesus say the Scriptures testified about? John 5:39.

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

Note: As the Old Testament was the only Bible in Jesusí day, we may know that it is not only in reading the New Testament that we learn about Him, but He is revealed in the writings of the Old Testament too. In fact without the prophecies of the Old Testament, we could not prove Jesus is the Messiah!

8. Whom did Jesus recognize as the first Bible writer to write of Him? Luke 24:27.

"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

Note: There is no record of inspired writings that pre-date Moses. Beginning with these first books in the Bible, the books of the Old Testament were written over the next 1,500 years.

9. What four things will Bible study give us? 2 Timothy 3:16.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

Note: It sounds like a teacher, doesnít it? As we pray and receive the Holy Spirit to help us understand as we read and study, we become students in the School of Christ!

Godís Purpose for Our Lives

10. For what purpose were we created? Ephesians 2:10.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

11. Are we able, of ourselves, to do these good works? John 15:5.

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

Note: People tend to say that man is basically goodóbut that is not the truth that the Bible tells us. Man, since the fall, has no goodness in him unless Jesus puts it there.

12. What is a study of Godís Word able to do in the life of the believer? 2 Timothy 3:15-17.

"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

13. How does it do this? 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

Note: When God spoke at Creation, His words made a world appear. In the Bible when His Spirit impresses the minds of the prophets with the words to write, it is the same. Godís Word is powerful and His words have in them the power to do the thing spoken. When God spoke and said, "Let the earth bring forth grass....," grass sprang up. God didnít have to do any special work to make it happen, the power was in His Word. When Jesus was on the earth, He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead, all by His powerful Word.

When we read in the Scriptures Godís will for our fives, the power to make this a reality in our lives is in that Word. All that is needed to make it happen, is for us to choose to allow it to work in us, doing the very thing He desires it to do in us. This is what this text means when it says that it works effectively in those who believe. Godís commands come with the power to obey them built right in and by our choice, we flip the switch to that power.

The entire Bible is Godís Book. It will show you the complete picture of life. To take away any part of it is to spoil that picture.

Prophecy Proves the Bible Inspired

14. What challenge does God make to any other who might claim divine power? Isaiah 41:23; Isaiah 46:9, 10.

"Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.

"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:"

Note: Wherever we go in the world there is confusion. Only the Bible tells us where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Only the Bible points to us a Saviour who is able to solve the problems that face us all so that we may walk with certainty in this life.
"Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." Isaiah 45:99

Some believe that the Bible is just a collection of old Hebrew writings that prove Jewish beliefs. Now it is true that most of the Bible writers were Jews (Hebrews), but the strange thing is that these very writings teach many things different from what is taught in ordinary Jewish histories and books on their religious beliefs. If the Bible had just been invented by Jews to teach their own religious ideas, then they would have no parts that contradicted their ideas, but the Bible is Godís Book. Any religion is true only to the extent that it agrees with the Bible.

15. Did the prophets recognize each otherís writings as inspired? Daniel 9:2.

"In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem."

Note: Here we see Daniel studying the inspired book of Jeremiah, for it was in the writings of Jeremiah that God had foretold that Israel would go into captivity to Babylon for 70 years.

16. How did Paul expect the believers to test his words? Acts 17:11.

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

Note: There are those who believe that the writings of the Old Testament are inferior to those of the New Testament, but here we have evidence that the apostles believed them to be inspired. As a matter of fact, Jesus, and the apostles, pointed to the Old Testament, which was the Bible of their day, as proof that He was the Messiah. See John 5:39

Many believe that it was the prophet Ezra who gathered together the Old Testament books (written by thirty different prophets) into one inspired volume. By the year 150 B.C. (Before Christ) the entire Old Testament was accepted as an inspired volume, and had been translated into the Greek language.

17. What did Jesus say of the importance of these Old Testament writings? Luke 16:31.

"And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

Note: Here Jesus said the writings of Moses and the other prophets are the greatest evidences of truth that can be found. The writings of the New Testament contain 263 direct quotations from the Old Testament, so we know the New Testament writers believed these prophets of old. The New Testament contains the story of the life of Jesus, the story of the early church, and the prophecies about the future of the church. As you continue to study, you will see that the Bible is indeed Godís letter to tell us about His Son Jesus and His plan to save us.


Godís Word; Our Only Safe Guide

18. Why have the events of the past and Godís picture of the future been written down so carefully in the Bible? 1 Corinthians 10:11.

"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

Note: We should be thankful for the Bible. It explains the past, helps us to understand the present, and gives us hope and comfort for the future.

19. What did Jesus say Godís Word is? John 17:17.

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

Note: Jesus says plainly, "Thy word is truth." When we read the Bible, we may have confidence in every word it speaks to us.

20. To what did the Psalmist compare Godís Word? Psalm 119:105.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Note: Have you ever tried to walk in the dark when you canít see where you are going? Remember how carefully you had to walk, being careful to avoid walking into something, or stumbling and falling over objects that you couldnít see? In the uncertainty of this world, Godís Word is a sure guide for us to follow, giving, as it were, a light for us to travel by. "But the path of the just (righteous) is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day." Proverbs 4:18

Now, in closing, kneel in prayer, asking God to help you to follow His Guidebook, the Bible. By taking time every day to study His Word, you will know the truth and be ready for what is coming.

Suppose that someone gave you a map to where there was hidden treasure. Think how you would feel, and how carefully you would study that map, in order to know exactly how to find the lost treasure. Well, Jesus has given us the Bible, which is our handbook to finding eternal life. In it we find how we may obtain eternal treasure beyond anything we can know in this world.

We need to be preparing now to live with Jesus. When He returns, He will not be coming to change us, but to take to their heavenly home those who have been preparing to go with Him. So, each day, we need to search the Scriptures, as for buried treasure.

Ask Jesus to help you learn of Him every day, so that you will be ready to go with Him when He comes.

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