UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
Do you want to understand the Bible? You can! God gave us the Bible so that we can understand His will. Wherefore be ye not unwise but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17)
Since God tells us to understand His will, it must be possible. So those people who say we cannot understand what God wants us to do are wrong.
This six-lesson Bible course will help you to understand your Bible. You will study important things about the will of God. You will learn things which will help you study the Bible for yourself.
The Bible will judge us in the last day. Jesus said, The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:48) We must understand His word, for we must obey it or be lost in the Judgment Day.
The Bible has two main parts. They are: 1) The Old Testament and 2) The New Testament. In Section II of this lesson we will notice the difference between them.
There are 66 books in the Bible. The Old Testament has 39, and the New Testament has 27.
The books of the Old Testament may be divided into four parts:
Genesis through Deuteronomy have God's law to Israel. (Genesis also tells us about the early beginnings of mankind.)
Joshua through Esther give the history of Israel (the Jewish nation.)
Job through Song of Solomon have God's instructions for man's daily problems.
Isaiah through Malachi have prophecies of the future. The prophecies are for Israel, the Gentile nations, and tell about the coming Messiah (Jesus). These prophecies have been fulfilled and are a wonderful proof that God gave the Bible.
The books of the New Testament may also be divided into four parts:
Matthew through John are the four GOSPELS which tell of Christ's life, His work and His suffering. These biographies tell us almost everything we know about Jesus.
The book of ACTS is the history of the early church. This book tells us how people became Christians and how the church of Christ began, was organized and spread. WE ADVISE THE BEGINNING BIBLE STUDENT TO STUDY THE BOOK OF ACTS FIRST. It is easy to understand and it teaches you how to become a Christian.
Romans through Jude are letters to Christians telling how we must live and serve God.
Revelation tells of things which John said must shortly come to pass – (Revelation 1:1). In this book we see how God's people win over every evil, even over Satan himself!
Our Bible has an Old Testament and a New Testament. The Old Testament was given to the Jews, the New Testament commands were given to all nations.
Also, the New Testament has taken the place of the Old Testament. God's people today are not under the Old Testament. We are under the New.
God gave all the Bible. But He gave the first Covenant as a temporary law. It stopped being God's law when Jesus died on the cross.
The reason that it is no longer God's law is that it finished its work. In the book of Galatians Paul, the apostle, tells us that we are justified (saved) by faith in Christ. Then he writes:
This means that the law (of Moses) was taking care of the Jews in the way a servant takes care of children. The law was keeping them until "the faith" was revealed – that is, until Jesus came and the whole plan of salvation by faith in Christ was given to men.
Here Paul calls the law a "schoolmaster."
If we are no longer under a schoolmaster, we are no longer under the law of Moses. That law did its work. It brought the Jews to Christ. Now its work is finished and we are not under it any more.
In his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul tells the Gentiles (those who are not Jews) that they can now be saved.
This verse says that the Gentiles were separated from God by two things – 1) their sins and 2) the fact that they were not circumcised.
Jesus came to correct both things. He came to forgive their trespasses (sins) and –
The word ordinances means laws. The thing which Jesus blotted out and took out of the way was made up of laws. It was the law of Moses which said that all male Jews had to be circumcised, etc. It was the law which kept Gentiles separate from the Jews.
The reason it was taken away when Jesus died on the cross is simple. That was when Jesus fulfilled everything necessary to take it away and bring the New Testament.
The law which said that Jews must not eat pork, and which said they must keep the Passover and the sabbath, was nailed to the cross. We must not let any man judge us by that law any more. It is gone. We have come to Christ. His word is the real thing for which the Old Covenant was preparing the world.
A testament is a will. Jesus died to bring His new testament, a will in which there is salvation from sins.
While Jesus was living, His testament (will) was not yet the law for men. The law of Moses was still God's law. But when Jesus died, He took the law out of the way and brought His new testament into power. Until He died, His testament had no strength. But when He died, His will became the law for all mankind. Therefore we must keep the New Testament, not the Old.
Is there any reason to study the Old Testament? Yes! In Romans 15:4 Paul wrote: For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 1 Corinthians 10:11 says, Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, (warning) upon whom the ends of the world are come.
When we read of Noah, Abraham and David, we see how God rewarded them because of their faithful lives. When we read of Cain, Esau and Jezebel we see how God punished them because of their unfaithfulness. These things teach us about God. God's laws are different today, but God's attitude toward sin is the same.
Christians live under the New Testament of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must do only the things commanded in the New Testament, and the things which the early church did.
Many wrong teachings come because people do not know the difference between the Old Testament and the New. Denominations are doing things which Jesus does not tell us to do, things which are not in His New Testament. We must listen to Jesus, not to Moses.
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