The Bible is a collection of writings by
many different authors over a period of about 1,600
years. These authors were ordinary men like you and
me who chose to trust God and obey His
instructions. Because they were obedient, God could
use them as His spokesmen. The Bible calls them
"holy men of God" who were "moved by the Holy Ghost"
(2 Peter 1:21). The Bible is God’s Instruction
Manual for His children. In it we find the secret
of happiness. It contains an accurate history of
the past and reveals God’s plans for the future. It
explains the reason for suffering and death and
holds out the hope of eternal life for those who
believe and obey its instructions.
Many men have tried to destroy the Bible but God has
preserved it down through the centuries. Until the
invention of movable type in the fifteenth century,
every copy of the Bible was written by hand. In
recent times, with the discovery of ancient
manuscripts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, it has
been possible to check on the accuracy of these
copyists. The first discovery of these early
manuscripts of the Old Testament was made by Bedouin
shepherds in a cave near the Dead Sea in 1947.
Scholars have established that they were written
between 200 B.C. and 68 A.D. Portions of every book
of the Old Testament except Esther have been found.
As they have compared these ancient manuscripts with
the Bible we know today, scholars have been
surprised to see how accurately it has been
Critics have claimed that many of the stories in the
Bible were myths handed down from generation to
generation. However, with the development of the
science of archaeology, the historical accuracy of
the Bible has been confirmed. As archaeologists
have excavated ancient cities, they have discovered
many secular and business records. These documents
have verified that the Biblical records are accurate
and can be trusted.
Few people today realize what a privilege it is to
own a Bible. During the period of great moral
darkness called the Dark Ages, it was a crime
punishable by death to own a Bible. Copies of the
Bible were very rare and very expensive since they
were all hand written. Also, since they were in
Greek or Latin, only scholars could read them.
Martin Luther never saw a complete copy of the
Scriptures until he discovered a Latin Bible in the
library while attending the university. He and
other reformers risked their lives to give the Bible
to the people in their native tongues.
There are many versions of the Bible today and you
may be wondering which one to use. The texts quoted
in these lessons will be from the King James Version
(sometimes called the Authorized Version) unless
otherwise noted. This translation was completed in
1611 by a large group of scholars authorized by King
James I of England. We believe it is the most
accurate version and strongly recommend it. The New
King James Version is also good and a bit easier to
understand since the language is more up-to-date.
Many of the newer versions have been translated by
men who do not believe in the inspiration,
reliability, and historical accuracy of the Bible.
Thus, we do not recommend them. If our translation
of the Bible is not accurate, we will not be able to
come to a complete understanding of truth.
The Bible consists of 66 books divided into two
sections called the Old Testament and the New
Testament. The Old Testament contains 39 books
written over a period of about 1000 years. It
records the history of God's dealings with mankind
from creation almost to the time of Christ. It is
noteworthy that the Scripture which Christ quoted
from so often was the Old Testament since the New
Testament was not written yet. Some people say that
the Old Testament is not important any more but
Jesus said, "It is written, Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out
of the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) When he said
this, he was referring to the Old Testament
Scriptures and quoting from them (Deut. 8:3).
The New Testament contains the record of the life
and teachings of Christ and his disciples. It
consists of 27 books written from about 51 A.D. to
95 A.D. When correctly understood, there is
beautiful harmony between the Old and New
Testaments. This should not be surprising, since
they have the same Author. Jesus said that the
Scriptures (Old Testament) testified of Him (John
5:39). In fact, one of the strongest evidences that
Jesus is the Messiah is the fulfillment of the many
prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Him.
After Jesus' resurrection, he explained these
prophecies to His disciples (Luke 24:25-27,44).
When witnessing to others about Him, they used the
fulfillment of these prophecies as evidence that
Jesus was the Messiah. We will study these and
other prophecies in these lessons.
Remember as you study that the Bible is not just
another good book, but instructions from God. There
is wisdom and power in God's Word to help you solve
the problems of life. If you are anxious or
fearful, you can find peace. If you are lonely, you
can learn what true love is. If you are struggling
to overcome bad habits that are destroying your
life, there is power in God's Word to help you.
When you find a text that is especially helpful, jot
it down on a card and carry it with you so you can
review it throughout the day. Soon you will have it
memorized. David wrote, “ ”Thy word have I hid in
mine heart (mind), that I might not sin against
thee.” Ps. 119:11. If we have committed God’s Word
to memory, we will always have it with us when we
Some people feel that they cannot memorize, but just
like our muscles, our minds grow stronger through
exercise. Also, God has promised to write His Word
in our minds and hearts if we want Him to (see Heb.
8:10 and 10:16). To have it written in our minds is
to understand what it means. To have it written in
our hearts is to have a willing spirit to do what it
tells us to do.
The best time to study is when you first arise in
the morning. This is the time when your mind is the
clearest. God's Word is our spiritual food. Just
as we partake of food each day to maintain our
physical strength, so we need spiritual food each
day to become and remain spiritually strong. You
will find that your whole day goes better when you
begin it with God.
Someone has said, "You are what you eat". If you
eat unhealthful food, your body will become sick.
In the same way, if we allow our minds to be filled
with the wickedness that is so often portrayed and
even glorified in the entertainment world today, we
will become spiritually sick. If we desire to hear
God's "still small voice" speaking clearly to us in
His Word, we must carefully guard what enters our
minds through our eyes and ears. Paul says it this
way in his instructions to the Christians at
whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report,
if there be any virtue,
if there be any praise,
THINK ON THESE THINGS." Phillippians 4:8.
Jesus told a parable about two men. (See Matt.
7:24-27). One was wise and one was foolish. Those
who heard his teachings and obeyed them, he likened
to a wise man who built his house upon a rock.
Those who heard his teachings but did not obey them,
he likened to a foolish man who built his house upon
the sand. When the rains came, the wise man's house
stood while the foolish man's house was destroyed.
The principles that we learn as we study the Bible
will not help us unless we are willing to do what He
tells us to do.
We hope that these few thoughts will be helpful as
you begin your study of the Bible. If you have any
questions as you study, please feel free to share
them with us. We will try to direct you to God's