WELCOME... To the First in this Series of Bible Studies! We hope you will enjoy this study and that it will be profitable for you. Throughout each lesson there will be an opportunity for you to answers questions or fill in the blanks. We encourage you to look up each verse in your own personal Bible so you can see that we are not taking the verses out of context or misquoting them; however, we have also included those verses in this lesson for your convenience. Simply hover your mouse over a reference, or click on it, to read the verse in your browser. Each verse is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. After you complete the study, please click on the Send Lesson button at the end of the lesson to return it to us. When we receive the completed study, we will review it, answer any questions you may have asked, and then send you the next study in this series. If you would like to receive subsequent lessons by mail, also include your mailing address. Feel free to ask questions at the end of this study. Our prayer is that God will use this series of study to help you understand the Bible better as well as to establish a relationship with the God that made you. Ontonagon Baptist Church 615 Greenland Rd Ontonagon, MI 49953 Lesson One: Where Do We Find Truth? Where do you turn to be sure of the truth? Is there such a thing as truth? Some think not. In fact, the only thing they are sure of is...that they cannot be sure of anything. Some dismiss the Bible as only a good book, but not absolute truth. They are sure! If they are so sure, does it not stand to reason that their 'truth' is open to investigation? The Bible claims to be absolute truth. We invite you to 'check it out' for yourself. Do you not owe it to yourself to at least take the time to test the Bible, just in case it is really true? How can we arrive at truth? Men have developed many answers to this question. The Bible tells us of the fallacy of each of them. Some people believe in following their CONSCIENCE. "Let your conscience be your guide," they say. This sounds good, but according to: Titus 1:15 , The conscience may be 1 Timothy 4:2, The conscience can be 1 Corinthians 8:7, The conscience can be Is the conscience of a man really that good of a guide? We do not have to go very far in experience to find that what is acceptable to one is unacceptable to another. This is the reason we have had to build prisons and court systems in our day. Even with the establishment of government, however, we still do not find total agreement between governments or even those within an individual government as to what is permissible and what is not. Other people have accepted the CHURCH or man-made CREEDS as their authority. Again, such standards are unreliable because man is determining what is truth. Colossians 2:8 warns us against , vain and of men. (Also, look up and read Matthew 15:3,6,9 ) In fact, churches vary in beliefs and practices. Yet there is a standard by which all can be judged. That standard is the Bible. We will show you in this study some of the reasons we believe ALL TRUST can be placed in this amazing book that is better than all consciences, churches and creeds. As we approach the Bible we must realize that it is different from any other book. The Bible is the most objective, factual and un-opinionated account of history to be found on the face of the earth. God's men and women are revealed in their times of victory and also in times of defeat and failure. In the Bible man can find the answers to life's most perplexing questions. In this study we will go beyond just making statements, but will show you why they are true! If we are to take the Bible as THE WORD OF ALMIGHTY GOD, then surely there is some proof! Yes, there is!!! Study on... FIRST... What Is The Bible? The Bible is a collection of 66 books, divided into two major sections known as the OLD and NEW Testaments or Covenants. Please look at the very front of your Bible and look over the index. You will notice that the Old Testament has 39 books and the New Testament has 27 books. The Books of the Bible are not arranged chronologically, but rather topically. Both of the Testaments have their books set in Groups, as shown in the following. The LAW -- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy These are the books given from God to Moses to give to the Jewish people. They include laws for religious, social, and moral life. The HISTORY Books -- Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther These are the history books of the rise and fall of the Jewish nation. It tells the stories of victories and defeats. They tell of God's goodness to the nation in spite of their often sinning against Him. The POETICAL Books -- Job, Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon These books express the joys and sorrows of the authors and their interaction with God. We see them at their best and at their worst. The PROPHETS -- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekial, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi These books record the prophecies about and to the nation of Israel and record the promises of days to come. It is here that we will find many of the prophecies that were not fulfilled until many years later. This will help us to see that the Bible is not like any other book produced by man. In fact it is a book inspired by God! From the close of the Old Testament (Malachi) to the birth of Jesus Christ (Matthew), over 400 years transpired. These years are called the "Silent Years." The GOSPELS -- Matthew, Mark, Luke, John These books record the life of Christ. They are each a view of Christ from a different perspective, and the major portion of the books relate the last 3 1/2 years of His life, death and resurrection from the dead. The HISTORY Book -- Acts The book of Acts records the early advance of the church Jesus started during His earthly ministry. Here we see the church starting many other churches and making progress in spreading the gospel to all of the world. The EPISTLES -- Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, 1,2&3 John, Jude These books known as epistles are letters written to churches to set in order what is true, how to operate a church and how to please God as individuals. The PROPHECY Book -- Revelation This book is often called a mystery. Nothing could be further from the truth. To understand it, however, you must first know the author. We will save it for a future study. How Did We Receive The Bible? The Bible is not just a book, it is THE BOOK – different from any other book that has or will be written. The Bible is a SUPERNATURAL Book because of the way in which God gave it to mankind. It is wrong to say that men wrote what they "thought" God wanted us to know. Instead the Bible claims God wrote through the personalities of these men! A. Look Up 2 Peter 1:21 "For the prophecy came not in old time by the of man: but holy men of God spake as they were by the Holy Ghost." This verse of scripture teaches three vital facts concerning how we got the Bible: It wasn't made up by men. ("...came not by the will of man...") Men of God wrote the Bible. ("...holy men of God spake...") God authored the Bible. ("...as they were moved by the Holy Ghost...") B. God Used Human Writers To Pen His Words. God used about 40 different men from all walks of life to write the Bible. This was accomplished over a period of some 1,600 years. Since these men did not live at the same time and had not met each other in many cases, we must stand in amazement at the unity of this Bible. No contradictions! This is more than a human book! C. God Authored The Bible. A good way to illustrate this miracle is to consider how you would write things down on paper. It is the PEN which actually does the writing -- but only writes as you move it. Look Up 2 Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" The way in which God gave us the Bible is called INSPIRATION. "Inspired" literally means "God breathed." As we speak, we breathe. So it is with the Bible. It claims to be the breath of God, OR the very words of Almighty God. By inspiration we mean that the Holy Spirit moved the human writers of the Bible in such a way that they recorded the very words of God although in their own literary style. If the Bible is the INSPIRED Word of God we can take it as THE authority for all we believe and do. Surely if it is the Word of God, there will be some 'proofs' of this. And there ARE... 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