Know Your Bible Course

By Gene Tope

I. UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE

Many believe that the Bible cannot be understood. But God has given us the Bible for this very purpose. "Wherefore be ye not unwise but understanding what the will of 'the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17). Even children can understand something of God's Word: "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" (2 Timothy 3:15).

The fact that you have enrolled in this course is evidence of your desire to know more about the Bible. We commend you for such a desire and encourage you to complete all six lessons. Your reward will be a greater knowledge of God's will. Since it is the Bible that will judge us in the last day, we need to know as much of it as we can (John 12:48; Romans 2:16).

BECOMING ACQUAINTED WITH THE BIBLE

Let us begin our study in a simple way by noticing the two major parts of our Bible. They are: 1) The Old Testament. 2) The New Testament. A consideration of these divisions and the differences that exist between them will be a primary aim in this first lesson. The Bible consists of 66 books: 39 of these are found in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The books of the Old Testament may be divided into four parts:

Law - 5 Books
History - 12 Books
Wisdom Literature - 5 Books
Prophets - 17 Books

Generally speaking, the Books Genesis - Deuteronomy contain God's law to His old covenant people, Israel (the early beginnings of mankind are also recorded in Genesis). Joshua - Esther tells the history of the Jewish nation. Job - Song of Solomon contain inspired instructions relative to man's daily problems; hence, wisdom literature. Isaiah - Malachi contain prophecies of the future: regarding the Jewish people, Gentile nations, and the coming Messiah. The prophets are a wonderful proof of the Bible's inspiration!

The 27 books of the New Testament may also be divided into four parts:

Biography - 4 Books
History - I Book
Letters - 21 Books
Prophecy - I Book

Matthew - John are four gospels telling of Christ's life, His mission and sufferings. These inspired biographies tell us just about everything we know concerning Jesus' life and teachings. Acts is the history of the early church. This book tells us how people become Christians and how the church of Christ was begun, organized and spread. Romans - Jude are to Christians giving instructions on how to live and serve God. Revelation, the New Testament book of prophecy, tells of events which John said "must shortly come to pass." In Revelation, we see the triumph of God's people over every evil, even Satan himself!

QUESTIONS ON SECTION I
YES or NO
  1. Does God want us to understand the Bible?
    Yes
    No
  2. Can man understand the Bible?
    Yes
    No
  3. The New Testament has more books than the Old Testament.
    Yes
    No
  4. The New Testament contains the history of the Jewish nation.
    Yes
    No
  5. We read of the life of Jesus in the New Testament.
    Yes
    No
FILL IN THE BLANKS
  1. What shall judge us in the last day?
    Our Friends
    The Word of God
    Society
    Our Parents
  2. What are the two major parts to our Bible?
    Old and New Testaments
    Law and Revelation
    Wisdom Literature and Letters
    History and Prophecy
  3. How many books are in the Bible, the Old Testament, and the New Testament?
    66: 27 Old, 39 New
    66: 39 Old, 27 New
    67: 39 Old, 28 New
    65: 38 Old, 27 New
  4. The first five books of the Old Testament are generally referred to as books of:
    Wisdom Literature
    History
    Law
    Prophecy
  5. The book of Genesis deals with:
    the prophets
    poetry
    the early beginnings of man
    the history of the Church
  6. Which are the 12 books of history in the Old Testament?
    Job through Song of Solomon
    Isaiah through Malachi
    Joshua through Esther
    Genesis through Deuteronomy
  7. Job through Song of Solomon are called books of:
    Law
    Prophecy
    Wisdom Literature
    History
  8. How many books of prophecy are in the Old Testament?
    5
    39
    17
    12
  9. Which group of Old Testament books is a wonderful proof of the Bible's inspiration?
    Law
    Prophets
    Wisdom Literature
    History
  10. How many books contain the biography of Jesus Christ?
    27
    21
    4
    1
  11. The history of the early church is found in:
    Romans
    Revelation
    Acts
    Matthew
  12. Twenty-one letters (telling how to live) were written to:
    Romans
    Christians
    Jews
    Prophets
  13. Which book shows the triumph of God's people over evil?
    Acts
    Matthew
    Genesis
    Revelation
II. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW TESTAMENTS
"In that he saith a New Covenant, He hath made the first old."
-Hebrews 8:13

We have thus far noticed that our Bible consists of an Old and a New Testament. Note also that the Old Testament law was given to the Jews, whereas the New Testament commands were given to all nations.

Another important difference to be noted is that the New Testament succeeded the Old Testament. God's people today are not under the Old Testament but the New. Let us be clearly understood: God has given us the entire Bible; both Testaments, but the first He intended to be temporary, the second permanent. As an example consider the man with a wife and child who decides to make a will. He leaves all his estate to them. As the years go by several other children are born into the family. Being a good father, he has planned to provide for these children as well. So, he writes a new will, changing it in some respects, and includes benefits for all of his family. Finally, he dies. Which will do you think would come into effect? The last one. Even so, God has had two wills; one for part of his children, a later one for all of his family. When Christ came to earth the first will was still in effect. He came to bring a better will, the New Testament. When he died on the cross the first one was taken out of the way that the second will might come into force. Notice that this is exactly what the Book of Hebrews teaches us in chapter 9:15-17 (please read).

Now let us consider some other scriptures that deal with the same subject.

HEBREWS 8:6-13

In this passage, we are told that Christ had obtained a more excellent ministry than the Levitical priesthood before him inasmuch as He was bringing a better covenant, based on better promises. God found fault with the first covenant and decided to make a new one with Israel and Judah. This new covenant would be different from the former: It would be a spiritual law, placed in the minds of the people; it would be personal, for all would know the Lord; it would be merciful, as God would remember their sins no more. Inasmuch as a new covenant was coming into being, the old covenant was waxing aged, decaying and ready to vanish away.

OLD COVENANT NEW COVENANT
1. Mediator - Moses. 1. Mediator - Christ
2. Made nothing perfect - Heb. 7:19. 2. Better covenant; Better promises.
3. God found fault. 3. Faultless.
4. Written on tables of stone -2 Corinthians 3:7. 4. Written in their hearts.
5. Had to be taught: "Know the Lord." 5. All would know God.
6. No actual forgiveness. 6. Forgiveness of sins.
7. Ready to vanish away. 7. Abiding.


ROMANS 7:4

In this passage we are again taught that God's people are no longer under the law of Moses. This the apostle Paul does, by mentioning the well-known laws of marriage. How many husbands may a wife have? Clearly, "only one." If her husband dies, only then may she be found guiltless in marrying another. In verse four the application is then made: "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ." What could be clearer than Paul's illustration? One can no more be "married" to the law of Moses and to Christ at the same time, than to two husbands at the same time. Such would be spiritual adultery! Christians are dead to Moses and the law; they are "married" to Christ who died for them.

MARRIAGE SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP
1. Wife bound to husband "so long as he liveth." 1. God's people once married to Law.
2. At death - "loosed from law of her husband." 2. Loosed from the law by Christ's death.
3. May marry another. 3. Now married to Christ.
4. If married to two - an "Adulteress." 4. If trying to be married to both - "adultery."

(The Student may also wish to read the following passages: 2 Corinthians 3: Colossians 2:13-17).

QUESTIONS ON SECTION II
TRUE OR FALSE
  1. God has had two Testaments.
    True
    False
  2. Christ is the mediator of the New Testament.
    True
    False
  3. The New Testament came into force after Christ's death.
    True
    False
  4. The first covenant was faultless.
    True
    False
  5. Under the new covenant sins would be remembered no more.
    True
    False
  6. Under the old covenant people had to be taught "know the Lord."
    True
    False
  7. "In that he saith, a new covenant, he hath made the first old."
    True
    False
  8. It is lawful for a woman to be married to two husbands at the same time.
    True
    False
  9. Christians have become dead to the law.
    True
    False
  10. Christians are married to Christ.
    True
    False

FILL IN THE CORRECT WORDS
  1. "For where there is a ________, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator."
    law
    testament
    scripture
    promise
  2. What succeeded the Old Testament?
    the New Testament
    the Flood
    the Ten Commandments
    the Creation
  3. Who is the mediator of the New Testament?
    Moses
    Jesus Christ
    the Pope
    the apostle Peter
  4. The New Covenant is a ________ covenant, established upon ________ promises.
    dead
    better
    false
    faulty
  5. A woman married to another man while her husband yet lives, is called an _______.
    associate
    aquaintance
    accomplice
    adulteress
  6. "Therefore, my brethren, you also have _________ through the body of Christ" (Romans 7:4).
    become dead to the law
    the old covenant
    the law of Moses
    the Ten Commandments
It is our pleasure to become acquainted with you through this course. We hope that we can serve you and become even better acquainted as time goes along.

Our only purpose in these lessons is to help the student gain a better understanding of God's word and to encourage obedience to the Gospel.

We ask you to determine now to complete each lesson of the course. Call on us if we can help you.

III. THE PURPOSE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

Only one question presents itself to us now: Since the law has been abolished, is there any value in studying the Old Testament? Yes. In Romans 15:4 we read, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Again, 1 Corinthians 10:11 says, "Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." As we read of Noah, Abraham and David let us take notice of their faithful lives and how God rewarded them. As we read of Cain, Esau and Jezebel let us note their infidelity and God's punishment for their sins. Though God's laws are different for us today, His attitude toward obedience and disobedience remains the same.

CONCLUSIONS FROM OUR FIRST LESSON

Christians live under the New Testament of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Nothing should be practiced in religion today that was not practiced by the early church.

A failure to distinguish between the two covenants has caused much religious division and the teaching of many "unauthorized" practices. Many denominations are doing what they ought not and leaving undone what the Lord has said they ought to do.

QUESTIONS ON SECTION III

YES or NO

  1. Has the law of Moses been taken away?
    Yes
    No
  2. Can we learn anything from things written aforetime?
    Yes
    No
  3. Examples of wickedness in the Old Testament should serve as warnings to Christians.
    Yes
    No
  4. Are Old Testament worship and New Testament worship identical in practice?
    Yes
    No
  5. Must Christians practice only those things authorized in the New Testament?
    Yes
    No

FILL IN THE BLANKS

A failure to distinguish between the two has caused much religious and the teaching of many practices. should be practiced in religion today that was not practiced by the .

A QUESTION FOR DILIGENT STUDENTS:

In view of our present study this question may present itself, "Have the Ten Commandments also been replaced by New Testament laws?" To help the student find the correct answer we direct your attention to the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5. There in verses 21 and 27 we find the sixth and seventh commandments introduced by these words, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time" (see also vss. 31, 33, 38, 43). Christ then follows by saying, "But I say unto you."

Question:

Did Christ present a new moral code or simply repeat the old Ten-Commandment code?

new code  same code

It is important that the student understand that the Bible is the Word of God. If you are interested in reading some of the evidences that it is God's Word, we will be glad to send you a tract on this subject. If you wish this free tract, send an email message.

What We Have Learned From This Lesson
  • The Bible is God's inspired message to mankind
  • We can understand and obey the Bible
  • The law of Moses was only for the Jewish nation
  • Christ's New Testament is for all men everywhere
  • The law of Moses ceased at the death of Christ
  • Today, we live under the New Testament

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Copyright (c) Know Your Bible Course 2011