DISCOVER THE BIBLE
Q What is the BIBLE?
A The BIBLE is a unique book
The first verse of the first chapter of the first book in the BIBLE makes a simple yet profound statement:
This statement can be easily proven. . . . . . BY SIMPLY LOOKING AROUND! And since we can clearly see that creation has taken place, the BIBLE says there is no excuse for doubting the existence of its CREATOR, because . . .
"...the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen..." ROMANS 1:20
Creation reveals there is a God, but not what He is like, why are we here, or what happens when this life is over. So it would stand to reason that our Creator would not leave His creation without any hope of answering these questions. That is why He provided us with an "owner's manual" on life, a very unique book known as the BIBLE. It is God's gift to His creation, and was . . .
of the scriptures might have hope." ROMANS 15:4
This life is truly a dressing room for eternity. Our Creator has provided within the BIBLE, everything we need to know this side of heaven. It is a book that has been read by more people, has been published in more languages, and has affected the world more than all other books ever written combined. No wonder it is the best seller of all time with over seven billion copies printed since the invention of the printing press.
In the weeks to come, this course will give you an understanding of the only Book God has written.
Q What is the BIBLE?
A The BIBLE is a unique book - because of its
There are many reasons why the BIBLE is unique. Among them is the BIBLE'S influence. No other book has influenced mankind the way the BIBLE has. From the Ten Commandments to the teachings of Jesus Christ, the BIBLE'S influence can be seen throughout many aspects of our everyday lives. To illustrate this, let's imagine the following conversation taking place:
The above conversation illustrates just how much the BIBLE has actually influenced our lives, sometimes without us even realizing it! In fact for the last few thousand years the BIBLE has been influencing mankind like no other book.
n Western civilization including the U.S.A. was founded directly upon the BIBLE and its teachings. Its very manner of life has its origin in Acts 16:9, when Paul, obedient to his heavenly vision, directed his second missionary journey toward Europe instead of Asia and the East! Thus the BIBLE spread through England, and eventually to the U.S.
n The "seven day week" and the "yearly timetable" of our modern day calendar are based on the BIBLE, as are many of the major holidays.
n Famous authors and their works have been influenced by the BIBLE. Authors such as Longfellow, Hawthorne, Shakespeare, Ruskin and Irving quote thousands of BIBLE references in their writings.
n Art has also been influenced. Over fifty-two world famous paintings depicting well known scenes in the Old Testament, along with over sixty-five in the New Testament are preserved today. These paintings can be found in every important museum on Earth. Many great artists have been influenced, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Raphael, Michelangelo and others.
n Many music composers have been influenced by the BIBLE. For example, Mendelssohn composed two classic works known as "St. Paul," and "Elijah." Beethoven wrote "Mt. of Olives" and "Samson and Delilah." In his classic "Messiah[,]" Handel quotes from fifteen books of the BIBLE.
n The BIBLE has influenced the law of the western world. For example:
These were all influenced by the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments have also served as the basis for our morals and ethics.
n Christopher Columbus testified that it was certain texts in the Book of Isaiah (found in the Old Testament of the BIBLE) that prompted his fateful trip in 1492. He later wrote,
"In the name of the most Holy Trinity who inspired me with the idea and afterwards made it perfectly clear to me that I could go to the Indies from Spain by traveling the ocean westwardly. . ."
Perhaps he was reading the BIBLE where it mentions the following:
During his time, others thought the Earth was flat. The BIBLE had said all along it was round. Just think, if it wasn't for the BIBLE Columbus may never have discovered America!
n It was primarily people searching for religious freedom by which they could read their BIBLES and worship according to its precepts, that initially brought the Pilgrims to this country.
n In 1777 during the American Revolution, the British cut off the shipment of BIBLES to America during its greatest crisis. So important was the BIBLE to the founding fathers, that CONGRESS ordered BIBLES imported to the colonies from other European sources.
n The charter of every colony includes BIBLE language. For example, the charter of the colony at Salem contains within its words:
"We covenant with the Lord . . . to walk together in all his ways . . . as he has revealed . . . in his blessed WORD OF TRUTH."
n The Liberty Bell itself bears the scriptural injunction found in Leviticus 25:10 which says:
n It is possible that the 3 branches of the U.S. Government were inspired by the BIBLE, for it says . . .
the LORD is our king [Executive branch]; he will save us." ISAIAH 33:22
n Noah Webster, the author of Webster's Dictionary, used the BIBLE to help give the definition of words. Webster considered the BIBLE of great importance, others have also. Here are some quotes by famous people who were influenced by the BIBLE:
"The BIBLE is worth all other books which have ever been printed." (Patrick Henry)
"There are more marks of authenticity in the BIBLE than in any profane history." (Sir Isaac Newton)
This is just a small sample of the total amount of quotes too numerous to mention, from the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and many others! Did these men know something about the BIBLE'S uniqueness?
n Let's finally look at a very important example of the BIBLE'S influence on the United States of America. For most of this country's history, the BIBLE played an important role in our schools. Ivy League colleges such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton were all founded as Christian colleges for the purposes of teaching the BIBLE. The original declared purpose of Harvard College was to "train a literate clergy." In the early public schools, the BIBLE was one of the main textbooks. But on June 17, 1963 in Abington Vs. Schempp the Supreme Court removed BIBLE readings from public education.
LOOK AT WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THAT RULING . . .
Data is from the Center for Disease Control and Department of Health and Human Resources and Human Services and Statistical/Abstracts of United States.
*Taken from USA TODAY September 1985
When it came to education, Noah Webster (of Webster's Dictionary fame) stated:
"Education is useless without the BIBLE. God's word, contained in the BIBLE, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct."
President Lincoln understood the importance of the BIBLE and its
effect on a given society. He said . . .
Robert Charles Winthrop (1809-1894), an American Legislator, also knew its importance when he said:
Communism is a government system that totally excludes the BIBLE and its teachings. At the same time it governs its people in a very restrictive way. Communist countries always brag about having low crime rates, which is no surprise when you consider that the people are ruled with an "iron fist".
But now consider what happened when Russia rejected communism and tried to live in freedom - the crime rate shot straight up! Why? The "iron fist" was removed, but there was no Biblical moral basis to replace it.
A free society will only function correctly if its people practice self-control and morally restrain themselves. The source of all moral principles is the BIBLE. Remove the BIBLE with its teachings and people must be morally restrained by force.
Horace Greeley said: "It is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a BIBLE reading people. The principles of the BIBLE are the ground work of human freedom."
That is why the BIBLE says:
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD..." PSALM 33:12
the BIBLE'S unique ability to influence.
Q What is the BIBLE?
A The BIBLE is a unique book - because of its
Suppose you were going to write a book like the BIBLE. To duplicate the uniqueness of how the BIBLE was written, you would have to do the following:
n Hire 40 different writers representing 19 different occupations (e.g. King, fisherman, tax collector, Rabbi, Doctor, etc.), whose lives are scattered over a period of 1600 years (approx. 50 generations), and who are writing on 3 different continents.
When the writing is finally finished . . .
n Take all 66 chapters and compile them together to form your book, and have it all fit together in harmony without the chapters conflicting or contradicting each other.
The commonly used name BIBLE comes from the Greek
words "Biblos" (Book) and "Biblia" (Books).
You could say the "books" of the BIBLE are like the chapters in a book. A given number of chapters make up a book, likewise 66 "books" make up the BIBLE.
However, unlike chapters, the "books" of the BIBLE
can stand alone by themselves as a complete book.
Each one of these "books" is then broken up into chapters and verses.
FOR EXAMPLE: A reference such as John 3:16 means:
These chapters and verses make it easy to find specific passages.
The OLD TESTAMENT can be further divided into the following categories:
The NEW TESTAMENT can be divided as follows:
Considering the different writers, languages and subjects that make up the BIBLE, it is amazing that it all fits together in complete agreement and harmony without contradiction or error.
Let's consider how all this can happen!
THE BIBLE SAYS:
All the "books" that make up the BIBLE were inspired of God. God is the author of the BIBLE. This is what gives the BIBLE its continuity and is why all the books work together in spite of being written by different people at different times. So while men wrote the BIBLE, they were not its authors. This is why the BIBLE says:
but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." II PETER 1:21
Let's say that in the process of writing a book you decided
to write each chapter with a different pen.
God did the same thing in producing the BIBLE. He, as the author, chose different men as writing instruments. That is why each "book" reflects a different writing style, yet all work together as one Book without contradicting each other. There are many examples of God using men to write His word:
wKING DAVID, who wrote most of the Psalms, said:
wGod told the PROPHET JEREMIAH, the writer of the "book" of Jeremiah:
wThe APOSTLE PAUL sent the church members at the church of Thessalonica a letter and reminded them, that what he originally had taught them was the WORD OF GOD:
men, but as it is in truth, the word of God..." I THESSALONIANS 2:13
wThe APOSTLE PAUL wrote again to the church at Corinth:
No other book has ever been put together like the BIBLE.
Q What is the BIBLE?
A The BIBLE is a unique book - because of its
The Greek writer, Porphyry, tried to destroy the credibility
of the BIBLE back in 304 A.D. In the process he wrote fifteen
books against the BIBLE and Christianity in general. Did
ban, burn, destroy, outlaw, restrict, ridicule or discredit the BIBLE.
Here's another example: A Greek writer of satire, by the name of Lucian, wrote two books in the second century to ridicule the BIBLE. These books were named The Dialogue of the Gods and The Dialogue of the Dead. There's an extremely good chance that you don't have a copy of either of these two books in your personal library . . . Yet you probably have a BIBLE somewhere around the house; a testimony to the BIBLE'S ability to "out survive" its attackers. If Porphyry and Lucian would have just read the BIBLE instead of attacking it they could have saved a lot of time, because the BIBLE says:
Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." PSALM 12:6-7
In A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to stop Christians from worshipping and to destroy their scriptures. Twenty-five years later his successor, Constantine, issued another edict ordering 50 Bibles to be published at government expense. Too bad Diocletian didn't realize the promise from the BIBLE . . .
Atheist Robert Ingersoll once boasted; "within 15 years I'll have the BIBLE lodged in a morgue."
In the 1700's the atheist French writer Voltaire said, "within 100 years, the BIBLE and Christianity will be swept out of existence, and pass into history." Well, within 50 years, Voltaire was swept out of existence and passed into history, but the Geneva Bible Society used Voltaire's house and printing press to print and distribute thousands of BIBLES. This ironic twist of events should not have surprised anyone, because God had promised that . . .
The BIBLE has an uncanny ability to simply stick around, while at the same time other books just don't have the staying power. For example:
L A man named Herodotus wrote his Greek history in 425 B.C. and 1500 years later, there was only one copy left.
L The very year that Voltaire said "50 years from now, the world will hear no more of the BIBLE," the British Museum paid $500,000 for an old manuscript of the BIBLE, while at the same time in Paris, one of Voltaire's books sold for eight cents.
Neither of these authors could make their writings survive the test of time. However, God has always kept His Book, the BIBLE, flourishing more and more with time. And no wonder, since GOD INSPIRED King David to write. . . .
DOWN through the centuries many attacks against the BIBLE have come through bitter persecution along with outright attempts to destroy it . . .
- Christian martyrs in the 15th century were burned at the stake with a BIBLE tied around their necks.
- William Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536 because he translated the BIBLE from the Greek language into English. A few years earlier, the authorities had paid a large sum of money to a German man to have Tyndale's Bibles confiscated and burned. What the authorities didn't know was that the German was a friend of Tyndale and he used the money to help Tyndale further his efforts to print more Bibles.
MANY attacks against the BIBLE have come from scoffers. But there have been some, who after examining the facts have changed their opinion. Here are two examples:
- General Lew Wallace was a Territorial Governor following the days of the U.S. Civil War. He had been a Senator in Indiana at the age of 29 and was considered a very scholarly man. He had no confidence in Christianity or the BIBLE, so he set out to write a skeptical book to disprove both. In his study he instead found the BIBLE and Christ to be true, and became himself a devout Christian. General Wallace never wrote his book against the BIBLE. He wrote instead the classic Christian novel, Ben Hur.
- William Ramsey, the English scholar went to Asia Minor with the expressed purpose of proving the BIBLE was historically inaccurate. As he painstakingly poured over the ancient artifacts and details, to his amazement he found that the BIBLE was accurate down to the tiniest detail. The evidence was so convincing that Sir Ramsey himself became a Christian and a great Biblical scholar.
True history, science and archaeology will always line up with the BIBLE. Not a single scientific fact or discovery has ever disproven a Biblical statement. In fact, the advances of science, history and archaeology have repeatedly confirmed the accuracy of the BIBLE.
Down through the years, the BIBLE has been a mighty anvil that has worn out many of the puny hammers of the scoffers.
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Our next lesson will feature information dealing with the BIBLE'S amazing ability to predict the future. Over one third of the BIBLE is prophecy, and only God could foretell future events with pinpoint accuracy. You will learn about God's 100 percent accurate past track record in predicting things before they happened. God also foretold of many scientific facts in the BIBLE, before man discovered them. For example the BIBLE told us. . .
* The Earth hung in space (long before philosophers thought we were on a giant turtle)
Plus past prophecies concerning . . .
* The supernatural existence and survival of the Jews
THROUGH THE BIBLE
Move to Lesson #1's worksheet