Christianity 101: The Bible

This material is from a class I taught a few years ago based on the book…

You can find the complete series here

It is in outline format so it might be a little difficult to follow but I think you will be able to get the main points.

We will pretty much follow along with the book as time allows.  The first section we will study is the Bible.

Enjoy the study.

Christianity 101

Know What you Believe

Chapter 1 The Bible


Who am I?

I am seeker of the knowledge and wisdom of God just like you I hope.

Raised a Catholic and realized while listening to a lot of KTIS that something was missing.  KTIS was preaching Christ.

I gave my life to Christ in ’93 while driving to work realizing that I was seeking empty things in life.  There had to be a better way.

Yes indeed I do not know everything.  I fact I know quit little.

Why this class?

·        The need for understanding the faith is so great.  Many Christians do not know what we believe and most non-Christians certainly do not know what the Church teaches.

·        Looking to deepen my knowledge.  Only way to really get myself to study is to teach a class.

·        After reading several books on basic Christianity and Christian Apologetics. “Know what you believe looked like the best tool for a class resource.  Other resources include.

“More than a Carpenter” Josh McDowell

“Letters from a Skeptic” Dr. Greg Boyd

“Surprised by Faith” Dr. Don Bierle

“Know why You Believe” Paul E. Little

Who is Paul E. Little?

“It doesn’t matter what you think of Play-Doh, Napoleon, or Richard Nixon.  It does matter what you think of Jesus Christ.”

·        Paul Little was a Professor, lecturer, apologist to college students worldwide.

·        Professor of evangelism at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Deerfield Ill.  This just happens to the



for the Evangelical Free Church.

·        Died in an auto accident in 1975

Class overview:

8 Weeks 10 Chapters???  My goal is to cover a chapter a week. 

I plan to skip chapter 8 and 9.

Please read the material before class so we can have great discussions.  Feel free to ask questions or have discussions at any time.  This class is for all of us to learn.

What is the Bible?

Bible means Book.  It is more like a library.

·        66 total Books in the Protestant Bible (More discussion on that later!)

·           39 in the Old Testament

·           27 in the New Testament

Skeptics say it is a human work, some nice stories.  By the qualities of the prophecies it is easy to show the Bible is not a human work.

Historic Christianity claims it is the “Written Word of God.”  It is God revealing Himself.

This question “What is the Bible” is crucial because it holds the key to

1.      Knowing that God exists. 

2.      And if he does, we can also know about him.

But God is Infinite.  How can limited creatures understand Him?

·        The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself.

·        He reveals his true character.

·        He reveals where we came from.

·        He reveals the purpose of our lives.

God’s Revelation

God unmasked (p10)

God the creator has revealed Himself in several ways.

·        Through Nature: Rom 1:20  “The heavens declare the glories of God.”

·        Through History: Through God dealings with


: Leading out of


, destroying enemies, creating a nation, punishing when necessary.

·        Through the words of the Prophets: revelation and interpretation of God’s will.

God’s Special Revelation (p11)

·        Jesus Christ is God’s Fullest and Clearest Revelation.  Many things in the Old Testament were masked or hidden. 

·        Read Heb 1:1-2

·        Read Acts 10:43

Why was a Written Record Needed? (p12)

Not all of us were there when God did his great works.  Obviously a written record was needed to reach all people from all generations.  The Bible is God’s chosen vehicle.

Testament means covenant or promise.

Old Testament had three parts:

1.      Land for


2.      A Nation for


3.      Blessing of all people of the earth through


The Old Testament covenant was fulfilled in the New Testament


Jews wrote Old Testament for Jews so it was written in Hebrew.

New Testament was written in a culture dominated by Greek Culture so it was written in common Greek called secular Koine Greek.

Roman Influence gave rise to the Latin Vulgate version translated roughly AD 400.  It became the authorized version of the Catholic Church. 

The Apocrypha (meaning hidden) was included in this version.


How was a book of history covering over 2,000 years written?

And how could it have a single theme?


2 Peter1: 20-21 Not from man’s mind.

2 Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is God breathed.

“The biblical sense of inspiration means: God so superintended the writers of Scripture that they wrote what He wanted them to write, disclosing the exact truth He wanted conveyed” (p13)

Every Word Inspired

·        Plenary inspiration: All “exactly what we need to know about Him, no more, no less.”

·        Verbal inspiration: The words themselves are inspired not just the ideas.

·        Plenary, verbal inspiration: Even though the word and thoughts are inspired the personality and individuality of the writers came out.

Only the originals were inspired and without error.  Over the centuries God has protected the copies and there are very few errors.  E.g. honor vs. honor.

The writers themselves view all Scripture as words from God.

“Scripture says” and “God says” is synonymous.

Some Words are from Evil People

·        To say that all scripture is inspired is not the same a saying all ideas and attitudes are God’s truth.

·        A good rule for any passage is to check the participants and their belief systems.

How can you tell which books are Inspired?

·        Canon of Scripture: Measuring Line

·        In Jesus’ time, all of the Old Testament (OT) was considered a complete collection.  This did not include the Apocrypha (means hidden).  Catholic bibles include the Apocrypha.

·        Most of the books in the OT are quoted in the New Testament (NT).

·        Approx. 32 % of NT is quotations of the OT.

·        327 AD Athanasius in his 39th Paschal Letter fixed the canon to what it is today.

·        Criteria Used:

1.      Was a book apostolic in origin?

2.      Was the book used and recognized by the churches?

3.      Did the book teach sound doctrine?

Based on the answers the Apocrypha was excluded.  Also, Jews never recognized these books as part of their OT.

Primary Sources of Religious Belief

·        Tradition: Roman Catholic Church places a high respect on this item.

·        Human Reason: Other religions, philosophies and unfounded ideas

·        Existential Encounter or Emotional experience: Word Faith movement. Counterfeit revival.  Can be mistaken as God’s revelation.

·        The Bible: Uses rational investigation and historicity of Jesus Christ himself.  Does not ignore tradition or human reason just uses the Bible as the measuring rod.

Tips on Interpreting a Biblical Passage

·        Don’t oversimplify as only “literal ” and “figurative”

·        Bible uses literary forms such as poetry, allegory, narrative, and parable

·        Figures of speech: consider the intent of the author.  It is important to know as much about the history of the people being discussed as possible.

·        Context, Context, Context psalms 14:1 says, "There is no God."

·        Who is the writer?  Who is address?  What is the relationship?

·        What is the primary teaching of the passage?

·        Is there an application for us?

·        Meditate on any truth about God.

·        Scripture is it’s own best commentary.

Phenomenological Language: Does the Sun Rise?

Do scientific facts and statements in the Bible conflict?

·        Scientists and all of us speak in Phenomenological Language.  We describe things as they appear.  The Bible has been easily understood throughout history because it uses this type of language.  The Bible does not claim to be a scientific textbook but where it touches on scientific issues it does not give misinformation.

·        When Bible information is incomplete it is not necessarily wrong.

·        Our presuppositions inevitably color our conclusions:  Christians base their presuppositions on God’s general revelation, written revelation, and special revelation

·        Be careful when there is a conflict between science and the Bible not to assume the Bible is wrong.

·        Modern Science was largely born and developed by earnest Christian searching for the truth from God.

Dating Problems Explained

In careful reading of parallel accounts of the same event in scripture there at times appears to be “Internal” contradictions.

·        Ancient system of dating explains some numerical problems.  Two Kings reign.

·        Archaeology is proving the Bible more and more reliable.

·        There are still some issues that we do not understand but it would not be unreasonable to withhold judgement until we have more information.

Holy Spirit Illumination is Essential

·        The Bible is foolishness to those who are perishing.

·        John 16:13 “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

·        We need to open our mind to the Holy Spirit.

Necessary Food

·        In this time of relativism we the members of the Church need God’s word more than ever.

·        Never study the Bible for purely academic purposes.  The Bible is the way we connect with God

·        Our faith is rooted in the Bible but we do not worship it, we trust it.  Every new idea and even our emotional experiences are to be tested by its teaching.

·        Acts 17:11: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

·        By all means anticipate joy and exhilaration as you respond to God’s word.


About waynem

As a Minnesota based photographer and artist I have been greatly influenced by the Upper Midwest. I focus my skills and energies on portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, architectural and fine art work. My best work comes from images first painted in my mind. I mull over a prospective image for weeks or months, seeing it from different angles and perspectives, then finally deciding what to capture. The result is images that deeply touch people's emotions and powerfully evoke memories and dreams. My images are used commercially by companies and organizations ranging from Financial Services firms, mom and pop Ice Cream shops and The Basilica of St Mary to communicate their shared vision and values. Book and magazine publishers have featured my images on their covers. My photographs also grace and enhance the decor of many fine homes.
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1 Response to Christianity 101: The Bible

  1. D. Glassman says:

    Why would G_D “mask” anything? The Intention of the TANAKH (the Old Test to you) is to make clear what is not. Its is PROVEN that ISAIAH 7, 9 and 53 is not about a Messiah nor your Jesus. Since I read my bible in original language there is NO Jesus in it. If you think there is a hidden message than please show me. The KJV was edited after 1550 after the council of trent and then published in 1611.. if you wish PROOF… This site compares the KJV and the REAL Translation of the TANAKH for Christians to see the TRUTH. You are free to believe in Jesus but to suggest the Jews have something hidden from them in their bible is 4th century propoganda from the council of Nicea…where your NT comes from.

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