God's Handbook for Man
Lesson 3

The Scriptures claim for themselves that which no other book can rightly claim—to be a revelation of God to man. Approximately forty writers penned the books that make up our Bible. Among those writers were men of every rank and class: men educated in Egypt, in Babylon, in Jerusalem, and some with very little education at all. Written over a period spanning nearly two thousand years by numerous writers from widely varying backgrounds, what an opportunity was afforded for variety of opinion and conflict, and yet, the books of the Bible are in perfect agreement.

God’s Word—Our Handbook

1. How did God originally communicate with man?

Genesis 3:8–9

Note: It was not God’s original plan to give His word to men in a written form. God and angels visited Adam and Eve, speaking with them face to face. The entrance of sin, however, broke this line of open communication, and man was no longer able to enjoy this close communion with his Creator. As we saw in our first lesson, rather than communicate on a one to one basis with individuals, God now chose various individuals as His spokesmen through whom He revealed His will.

2. Who is the first person to be referred to as prophesying?

Jude 14

Note: Though God began to speak to men through His prophets very early in the history of the world, these messages from God were not at first put in a written form. For approximately the first 2,500 years of our world’s history, the instruction was oral.

3. How did God generally communicate His will to His prophets?

Numbers 12:6

4. Did the prophets recognize each other’s writings as being inspired?

Daniel 9:2

Note: Here Daniel is pictured as studying the inspired book of Jeremiah, for it was in the writings of Jeremiah that God had foretold that Israel would go into captivity to Babylon for 70 years.

5. Who did Jesus say the Scriptures testified of?

John 5:39

Note: As the Old Testament was the only Bible in Jesus’ day, we may know that it is not only in reading the New Testament that we learn of Him, but He is revealed in the writings of the Old Testament as well.

6. How does seeing Jesus revealed in His Word change us?

2 Corinthians 3:18

Note: We all tend to become like that which we see. If we view immorality and violence, we tend to become immoral and fail to view violence as something unusual. On the other hand, if we spend our time thinking about and viewing pure and holy things, our lives will just as surely come into harmony with these higher principles. This is also what Jesus meant when He said, “Sanctify them (make them holy and free of all moral impurity) through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth.” John 17:17

7. Whom did Jesus recognize as the first Bible writer to write concerning Him?

Luke 24:27

Note: There is no record of inspired writings that pre-date Moses. Beginning with these first books in the Bible, the books of the Old Testament were written over a period of approximately 1,500 years.

8. In giving their prophetic utterances, what did the prophets seek?

1 Peter 1:9–10

9. What four things does Paul state Bible study will give us?

2 Timothy 3:16

10. What will this study of the Word accomplish in the life of the believer?

2 Timothy 3:17

Note: The New Testament was not completed until more than half a century after Christ’s death. The only Scriptures the church had during these early years were the writings of the Old Testament. From these texts we see that the inspired writers of the New Testament recognized the Old Testament as containing light, teaching true doctrine, and as necessary for salvation.

11. How did Paul expect the believers to test his words?

Acts 17:11

Note: There are those who believe that the writings of the Old Testament are inferior to those of the New Testament, but here we have evidence that the apostles believed them to be inspired. As a matter of fact, Jesus, as did the apostles, pointed to the Old Testament, which was the Bible of their day, as proof that He was the Messiah. It was those prophecies, a few of which we saw in our first lesson, that were fulfilled in His life and work that were our assurance that He was in fact the promised Messiah.

Many believe that it was the prophet Ezra who gathered together the Old Testament books into one inspired volume. By the year 150 B.C. the entire Old Testament was accepted as an inspired volume, and had been translated into the Greek language.

12. What did Jesus say regarding the importance of these Old Testament writings?

Luke 16:31

Note: Jesus recognized the writings of Moses and the other prophets as being the greatest evidence of truth and of sufficient importance that if they failed to convince the mind of truth, there was no further or more convincing evidence that could be given. It is interesting to note that the writings of the New Testament contain 263 direct quotations from the Old Testament, revealing the confidence of the inspired writers of the New Testament in the prophets that had preceded them.

13. Why have the events of the past and God’s picture of the future been written down so carefully in the Bible?

1 Corinthians 10:11

Note: Wherever we go in the world there is confusion. The Bible explains the past, helps us to understand the present, and gives us hope and comfort in facing the future. Only the Bible tells us where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Only the Bible points us to a Saviour who is able to solve the problems that face us all so that we may walk with confidence in this life.

14. To what did the Psalmist compare God’s Word?

Psalm 119:105

15. As we are guided by the Word of God, what does our path become?

Proverbs 4:18

Note: Everyone has at some time in their life experienced the uncertainty of finding their way through an unfamiliar situation in the dark. In the uncertainty of this world, God’s Word is a sure guide to follow, giving, as it were, a light for us to travel by, allowing us to walk with certainty and not hesitating and uncertain steps.

16. What is promised those who believe God’s prophets?

2 Chronicles 20:20

17. In seeking to understand these prophecies, what method of study is to be used?

Isaiah 28:10

Note: Not all truth is fully explained in all its aspects in any one place in the Bible. God inspired various writers, allowing them to express those thoughts in their own words. It is by studying, comparing text with text, that we are able to appreciate the full beauty of the truth that was revealed through these men. Paul was expressing the same thought when he admonished the believers to compare spiritual things with spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:13

Some believe that the Bible is merely a collection of Hebrew writings that prove Jewish beliefs. And, while it is true that most of the Bible writers were Jewish, it is also true that these very writings teach many things quite different from what is taught in Jewish histories and books on their religious beliefs. If the Bible had just been invented by Jews to teach their own religious ideas, then would it not be reasonable to expect that they would have cut out those parts that contradicted their ideas?

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