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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
(The Student may also wish to read the following passages: 2 Corinthians 3: Colossians 2:13-17).
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.
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.
YES or NO
FILL IN THE BLANKS
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."
Did Christ present a new moral code or simply repeat the old Ten-Commandment 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.
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