July 24, 2017
Today we begin a series of studies (approximately eight) on the basics of Christianity.
The main aim is:
Consider the following;
There are many books today that claim to be the Word of God. The Koran—the Islam holy book—claims to be the Word of God. The Book of Mormon claims to be the Word of God. The Hindus believe the Bhagavad Vita is the source of eternal truth. Karl Marx, with an atheistic world view, claimed his writing, The Communist Manifesto, was the ultimate truth. We Christians believe the Bible to be the Word of God and the eternal source of truth we live by. How do we know the Bible is the Word of God? Can we actually prove that the Bible is truly the Word of God? The answer is “yes.” #
Later we will look at the evidence which shows the Bible is the Word of God.
Read and discuss the following:
The Bible is unique! It is not enough to say that it is a unique Book, for it is a collection of sixty-six ancient Books. Moreover, this unique collection of Books is bound together by a central theme and a unity of purpose which makes the books into One Book.”
“First, we must answer some of the questions many people have in their minds as they begin to read the Bible. Some say, for example, “Why should I read a book which is merely Jewish mythology?” Jewish mythology is quite different from what we find in the Bible. In fact the truth of the Bible will be quite evident to us as we continue our study. Others ask, “How could such an ancient Book still be relevant?” True, people today are much better educated than ever before; yet the Bible (in part or the whole) ranks as the “world’s best-seller.” Every year more than one hundred million copies are sold! So, when you read the Bible you are in good company, for millions of modern people are reading it! Moreover, it is not being read only by people in Western lands! The Bible (either in part or the whole) is being read today in more than twelve hundred languages. The Bible is being sold today in the languages of 97% of the world’s population and is being read in almost every country and island on earth. For this reason alone, no person is really educated if he has not studied the most widely read Book in the literature of the world.
You will find a copy of the Bible helpful as a textbook for use with this course. Have you got a Bible beside you now? The first thing that impresses most beginners is the size of the Bible—it contains more than 800,000 words. Most people hardly know where to begin! Well, let us begin at the very beginning! Open your Bible at the title page and you will find an index listing the names of the sixty-six Books of the Bible. Notice there are two major divisions, one called the Old Testament and the other called the New Testament; both sections are divided into many subsections…..
The Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language (except for a few small sections written in Chaldee) and the New Testament was written in the Greek language, which had become at that period the international language just as English is today.
The Old Testament begins with a concise account of the creation of the world. This unique narrative begins in the undated past, and records how God the Almighty Creator prepared the world, stage-by-stage, to be a home for mankind. When all was ready, God created man. From this logical beginning, the story continues for thousands of years until we reach the end of the Old Testament in the days of Malachi about 400 B.C. The New Testament covers a relatively short period from the birth of Jesus to the death of the Apostles. It was completed about 100 A.D. ##
Let’s summarize the above article by answering the following
A. External Evidence (outside the Bible)
Read and discuss possible reasons why the Bible has been attacked so much trying to destroy it?
The first external evidence is the indestructibility of the Bible. The Bible is the most well-known book in the history of the world, and no book has been attacked more. Skeptics have tried to destroy the authority of the Bible for the last eighteen hundred years. It has undergone every kind of scrutiny possible from archaeology, science, philosophy, and computers. Yet, despite all these attacks, the Bible proves itself to be true again and again. Each time the skeptics have been wrong, and the Bible has proven itself true. Just the fact that the Bible has remained steadfast in its authority after two thousand years is another piece of evidence supporting its divine origin. #
The second source of external evidence comes from archaeology. Middle Eastern archaeological investigations have proven the Bible to be true and unerringly accurate in its historical descriptions. Nelson Glueck, a renowned Jewish archaeologist, states, “No archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.”
Dr. William Albright, who was not a friend of Christianity, and was probably the foremost authority in Middle East archaeology in his time, said this about the Bible: “There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament.”
Another example is the story of Jericho recorded in the book of Joshua. For years skeptics thought the story of the falling walls of Jericho was a myth. However, in the 1930’s, Dr. John Garstang made a remarkable discovery. He states, “As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely, the attackers would be able to clamber up and over the ruins of the city.”
This is remarkable because city walls fall inward, not outward. The March 5, 1990 issue of Time magazine featured an article called, “Score One for the Bible.” In it, archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon claimed Jericho’s walls had fallen suddenly. Many scholars feel this was caused by an earthquake which may also explain the damming of the Jordan. Additionally, grain was discovered, which shows the city was conquered quickly. This find adds credence to the biblical account. Further study by Brian Wood found the date of the fall of Jericho to match the Bible’s date. #
B. Internal Evidence. (shown in the Bible itself)
The first fact is that the Bible claims to be the Word of God. The authors knew they were writing the words of God, even though they often did not fully understand what they were writing. #
Eg: Read what Isaiah said about the earth when everyone believed it was flat until Columbus sailed around it. Isaiah 40:22
Read and discuss what the following verses say.
Jesus Himself viewed the Old Testament as authoritative and quoted from it throughout His ministry. eg; Mark12:35-37.
Prophecies There are over three hundred prophecies made of Jesus in the Old Testament. Prophecies such as His place of birth, how he would die, His rejection by the nation of Israel, and so on. All these prophecies were made hundreds of years before Jesus ever came to earth. Because of the accuracy of the prophecies, many skeptics have believed that they must have been written after 70 A.D.—after the birth and death of Jesus, and the destruction of Jerusalem. They have thereby tried to deny that they are even prophecies.
However, in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. These scrolls contained the book of Isaiah and other prophetic books. When dated, they were found to be written from 120 to 100 B.C. well before Jesus was born. It would have been an incredible accomplishment for Jesus to have fulfilled all three hundred prophecies. Some say these prophecies were fulfilled by chance, but the odds for this would be exceptionally large. It would take more faith to believe in that chance happening, than in the fact that Jesus is God and these prophecies are divinely inspired. #
Look up some of these prophecies.
The Bible covers hundreds of topics, yet it does not contradict itself. It remains united in its theme. “Well, what’s so amazing about that?” you may ask. Consider these facts.
What have you learned about the Bible so far? Write down and share in your group.
In further studies we will be constantly referring to the Bible, God’s Word to learn more about the Truth.