Bible overview notes

I typed this up as a quick recap for a series I just taught for an adult Sunday School Class and figured it might make a useful blog post.  These are mainly the conclusions, not the supporting points.  The PowerPoint slides are here.  I thoroughly enjoyed teaching the class.  Everyone was very engaged and eager to learn. 

Bible Overview

Always remember the big picture: We all rebel against God and are enemies of him and heading towards an eternity in Hell.  But God adopts, completely forgives and lavishes eternal riches on everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus (justification).  He makes us more like him over time (sanctification).  We do good works out of freedom and as a response to him, not to earn our salvation. 

As Christians, we should read the Bible often to better know God and what He wants us to know, but we aren’t saved by Bible trivia. 

The primary way we speak to God is through prayer.  The primary way He speaks to us is through the Bible.

Some of the many claims of the Bible:

  • Speaks for God ~ 3,000 times.
  • He will accomplish what He desires.
  • It is living and active.
  • It transforms us.
  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (2 Timothy 2:16-17)

Christianity has grace; all other faiths are works-based.

Truth is that which corresponds to reality.  The #1 reason to be a Christian is that Christianity is true.

In essentials, unity; In non-essentials, liberty; In all things, charity — Augustine of Hippo

The original writings of the Bible are the inspired words of God – turning out exactly as He wanted it to.

We’ve got lots of thorough answers to common objections about the Bible and Christianity – 2,000 years of answers by great minds.  Other worldviews have to answer their objections as well and are not as well grounded as Christianity. 

The Bible is not a science textbook but is accurate in many scientific facts (ex., the vast number of stars).

You can’t coerce faith, but we should share the truth of Jesus whenever we can.

If you get stumped: “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

Historical facts — Christianity is founded upon evidence and reason

  • Jesus was a real person who died on a cross
  • The disciples really believed He rose physically
  • The Apostle Paul . . .
    • persecuted Christians then converted after claiming to see the risen Christ.
    • wrote at least Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Galatians and Philemon — key doctrines and traditions at early dates. 
    • Was hostile to the faith and had no reason to believe.
  • We know what the original writings of the Bible said to 100% accuracy on major doctrines and 99.5% on the words, and the 0.5% are basically the equivalent of typos.  Even many skeptics will concede that.
  • More!

Old Testament – countless commands not to worship other Gods.  New Testament – Jesus is the only way to salvation (100+ passages).  If Christianity is true then all other religions are false.

“Archeology is the Bible’s best friend” – Dr. Paul Maier

Be very wary of anyone who claims that parts of the Bible are wrong.  The Bible has many warnings of false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Jesus agreed with all of the Old Testament.

Bible prophecies are accurate.  Example: Daniel’s prediction of the rise and fall of the Greek empire.  Even critics of the Bible agree that the description is accurate.  They just try (and fail) to rationalize that it was written after the fact.

If you read one chapter per day (less than 10 minutes even with reading the study notes), five days a week then you can read the New Testament in a year.

If you are an auditory learner, try the Audio Bible.  You can download the New Testament free here .

Try reading it as a family.  Just read a chapter then discuss.  Compare study Bible notes. 

How to read the Bible

  • Always in context – read what came before and after.
  • Use a study Bible or other tools.  Or just read it “unplugged.”
  • Find a good translation that you can and will read.
  • Read it the way the authors intended it – i.e., history, doctrine, parables, poetry

Sample reading approach

  • Read it – 1-3 chapters
  • Question it
    • What portion stands out to me?  Why? 
    • Is there an example for me to follow?
    • Is there an error for me to avoid?
    • Is there a duty for me to perform?
    • Is there a promise for me to claim?
    • Is there a sin for me to confess?
    • Plan it – make a plan for how you will use it
    • Pray it – pray scripture back to God
    • Share it – helps others and helps you to remember it

Just read it.

Highly recommended Christian web sites

Stand to Reason – clear thinking, accurate, understandable reasoning about Christianity and more

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry – don’t be put off by the title.  This site has tons of information that is easy to navigate.

Got Questions? — countless questions about Christianity and the Bible

Recommended Podcasts (search for these on iTunes)

Stand to Reason Weekly

Grace to You

Walk in the Word with James MacDonald

Family Life Today

Focus on the Family

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