For many people the word “God” does not mean very much. They do not know who God is or what he has done. They do not know whether there is only one God or many gods—or whether there is any God at all. They may have some general ideas about God and may even use his name in their ordinary conversation, but they definitely do not know him. And they aren’t at all sure that it is even possible to know anything about him. They are not terrified by his awesome holiness, they are not afraid of his perfect justice, and they are not comforted by his gracious promises. They have no idea whether or not God knows any more about them than they know about him. And they have no idea how to find out. Whether God truly exists or not, he definitely does not have a significant place in their present life or in their plans for the future. In this Lesson you will learn some of the things the Bible teaches us about the one true God. Whether or not you believe what the Bible says, you will at least learn what the Bible teaches.
1. Who is God?
God is the Creator of the world and the source of all life.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth . . . gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24-25)
You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. (Nehemiah 9:6)
2. How many true Gods are there?
There are millions of so-called “gods” in the world, but there is only one true God who is worthy of our worship and praise.
I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides me there is no God. (Isaiah 45:5)
Thus says the LORD . . . the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.”( Isaiah 44:6)
Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. (Isaiah 43:10-11)
3. How has God made himself known to us?
God has made himself known to people in many ways. One of the ways he has revealed himself to people around the world is through his work of creation.
The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)
His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
4. Is there any other way in which God has made himself known to us?
Yes. God frequently spoke to prophets and others so that they would know his will for their lives. He also provided them with comfort, encouragement, guidance, and other information that he wanted them to have. Those who received messages from God often wrote them down so that others could also benefit from them. Many of those written messages were collected together in The Holy Bible.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. (Hebrews 1:1)
Jesus said, “Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45)
Jesus said, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
5. How has God revealed himself to us most clearly?
God has revealed himself most clearly and fully in his Son, Jesus Christ.
In these last days he [God] has spoken to us by his Son. (Hebrews 1:2)
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:18)
[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15)
6. What does the Bible teach us about the holiness of God?
God himself is perfectly holy, free from imperfection or fault of any kind in his Person and in his dealings with others. Because of his own holiness, he also requires and demands that we also must be holy. Further, his holiness requires that all actions, thoughts, and words which are not holy must be punished in one way or another.
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory! (Isaiah 6:3)
Exalt the LORD . . . for the LORD our God is holy! (Psalm 99:9)
There is none holy like the LORD. (1 Samuel 2:2)
You who are of purer eyes than to see evil, and cannot look at wrong. (Habakkuk 1:13)
7. What does the Bible teach about the goodness and grace of God?
God gives us both material and spiritual blessings in abundance. All that we receive from him is given because of his kindness and grace and not because of anything we merit or deserve.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5)
The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Psalm 145:9)
The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. . . . He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:14, 19)
He did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. (Acts14:17)
8. Does God forgive the sins of those who truly repent?
Yes. Though God himself is perfectly holy and wants us to live holy and obedient lives, he is also slow to anger, merciful, and forgiving. When we are genuinely sorry for our sins and ask him to forgive us, he graciously does so.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:8-12)
You, O LORD, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression? . . . He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. (Micah 7:18)
9. Does God forgive those who do not love him or trust him or repent of their sins?
No. God is a God of mercy and love, but he is also a God of justice and holiness and will punish those who do not repent of their sins.
The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty. (Exodus 34:6-7)
Because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:5-6)
10. What does the Bible teach about the love of God?
Though God must punish the sins of those who do not truly repent, his love is far greater than we can measure or even imagine.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love for those who fear him. (Psalm 103:11)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. (Psalm 86:5)
God is love. (1 John 4:8)
11. Was there ever a time when God did not exist?
No. Though we cannot understand the eternity of God, the Bible clearly teaches that God did not have a beginning and he will never have an end. He is from everlasting to everlasting.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:2)
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 40:28)
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)
12. Is it possible for us to see God?
No. At times God did assume a physical form which made him visible to people he was talking to, but he is an eternal spiritual being that cannot be seen by human eyes.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
No one has ever seen God. (1 John 4:12)
[God] dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. (1 Timothy 6:16)
13. Is God’s power limited in any way?
No. God is all powerful and is able to do whatever he chooses to do. This attribute of God is referred to as his “omnipotence.”
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (Psalm 135:6)
All things are possible with God. (Mark 10:27)
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3)
Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17)
14. Is God able to be in more than one place at the same time?
Yes. God is always present everywhere. This, too, is something we cannot fully comprehend, but the Bible makes it very clear that there is no place where we can hide from God or flee from God. This attribute of God is called his “omnipresence.”
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! (Psalm 139:7-8)
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)
“Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24)
15. Is there anything that God does not know?
No. God knows everything about everyone everywhere. He not only knows what we say and do but he also knows our thoughts and desires. He knows the past as well as the future. There is absolutely nothing hidden from God. This attribute of God is called his “omniscience.”
O LORD, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. . . . You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (Psalm 139:1-4)
I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. (Isaiah 46:9-10)
God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20)
No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)
16. Does God rule over the entire world or only part of it?
God is the sovereign Lord who rules over the entire world. Though there are many human rulers who exercise authority over parts of the world, God has ultimate authority over every person, every ruler, every kingdom and every nation. He has always been Lord over all and he always will be.
The LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:39)
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. (1 Chronicles 29:11)
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. (Psalm 47:2)
17. May we make images or pictures of God to help us worship him?
No. God does not want us to make idols of any kind. No idol can begin to represent the eternal and invisible God or help us worship God in the way he wants us to worship him. Idols always lead people away from God and never draw them closer to him.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:4)
Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. (Acts 17:29)
18. Is it possible for us to understand everything about God?
No. Though we are made in the image of God and in some ways are like God, God is a spiritual and eternal being who is far greater than we will ever be able to understand. We should therefore not reject or deny things which the Bible teaches us about God simply
because they are beyond our human understanding.
Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven . . . Deeper than Sheol. . . . Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea. (Job 11:7-9)
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)
Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)
1. What are some of the most important things we should believe about God?
Among the most important truths about God are the following: There is only one true God. This one God is eternal, all-knowing, everywhere present, spiritual, invisible, all-powerful, wise, patient, compassionate, loving, just, holy, and unchanging in his being. He exists as three persons whom the Bible reveals as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons together form the Holy Trinity. God created the world in the beginning as a perfect world which he himself said was “very good.” He created a man and a woman in his own image and put them in charge of the earth and all creatures on the earth. He continues to maintain and sustain the world but will eventually judge all people who have ever lived. In his mercy he will grant everlasting life to all those who have repented of their sin and put their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. In his justice, he will destroy those who refuse to repent and refuse to put their trust in God and his Son Jesus. He will then establish a new heaven and a new earth and will reign forever with his redeemed people who will live in perfect and never-ending joy and peace.
2. Can we fully understand everything the Bible teaches about God?
No. Because God is eternal, infinite, and Triune (three in one), there are many things we cannot fully understand about God or his ways. We should not expect to be able to understand everything about God with our human limitations and finite existence any more than animals can fully understand us as human beings. It is important, therefore, that we do not reject something which the Bible says simply because we cannot understand it or do not like it. If we reject something which the Bible clearly teaches, we are making ourselves judges of the Bible rather than submitting our limited knowledge and understanding to the eternal truth of God’s holy Word. God’s truth stands eternal and supreme whether or not we can understand all if it.
3. Why is it significant for us that there is only one true God?
If there were more gods than the one true God, each god would be extremely limited by the existence, power, and authority of the other gods. We would live in constant uncertainty concerning the power and authority of OUR god in relation to other gods. And we would probably often wonder if the gods were jealous of one another or in conflict with one another—as people are. If there actually were many gods, it would be impossible for us to love and serve each one with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Our loyalties would always be somewhat divided. And we could never find the peace and confidence and joy we now have in knowing and serving the one and only true God.
4. What would your life be like if there were no God?
If there were no true God, we would not exist at all. But just supposing we somehow existed and God did not, we would have to depend completely on ourselves or other human beings for everything. There would be no way to find genuine forgiveness, no sure hope for the future, no divine power to bless, encourage, comfort and strengthen us, no divine power to administer justice, and no one with divine love and compassion to be concerned about our present or future well-being. The ultimate power on earth would be found in the persons with the greatest wealth, prestige, or influence, and no one could contest their judgments, decisions, or actions. There might possibly be some earthly authorities or powers who would encourage people to act justly and compassionately, but their powers would be very limited and their influence would be very temporary. Relatively few powerful dictators in history have been genuinely kind and benevolent, and none of them has stayed in power for more than (at most) a few decades. If there is no righteous and powerful Judge, the evils of this world would never be set right, life would have little meaning, and mankind would have little enduring hope.
5. What would your life be like if there was a God but you did not know Him personally?
Regrettably, there are millions and millions of people who do not know the true God. Some of these people live reasonably comfortable lives as they focus on their earthly activities and do not even try to deal with guilt, sin, or moral failure and do not believe in or bother with the possibility of life after death. As far as they are concerned, this life is all there is. Some of those who believe this way do demonstrate a significant concern about others and seek to help them make the most of their earthly life. Others focus on getting everything they can for themselves without bothering at all about others. Whether they are kind or selfish, however, they miss the greatest blessings possible for us on this earth—knowing the love and mercy and grace of God. They totally cut themselves off from the incredible eternal blessings which are promised to those who know and love and trust God as he has revealed himself to us in the Bible and in his Son Jesus Christ.
6. Why is it wrong to make idols or images of God?
God has strongly and repeatedly commanded us in the Bible not to make images or idols of himself. There is no way in which any image or idol can even begin to meaningfully represent the eternal, almighty, infinite, compassionate Creator and Judge of our world. Every image or idol, no matter how big or artistic or expensive, would belittle and misrepresent God, the eternal Spirit. Besides, if someone was able to make a beautiful idol of some kind, many people would soon be worshiping the idol rather than the God which the idol supposedly represented. Throughout history people have been led astray by their idols and images. God has never been glorified or honored by any human effort to represent him with a physical image. As Jesus himself said: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
7. What are some of the things people can learn about God if they do not have a Bible or someone to teach them?
God has revealed himself in history through his work of creation, through miracles, through changing the lives of those who trusted in him, and through his divine intervention at various points throughout history. Even without the Bible or a teacher, people can know from the created world that God is real, mighty, wise, orderly, and glorious. They can know from the growth of crops, the taste of food, and the enjoyment of other pleasures that God is generous and delightful. They can know from their own conscience that God is righteous, because their conscience can sense that right and wrong are defined by Someone outside themselves. By seeing that all people die and that all governments eventually fail, they can see that God is just and punishes sinful humanity with death. They can know from hearing about miracles or observing transformed Christians that God is supernaturally active among people still today. (See Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:19, Acts 14:16-17 Deuteronomy 10:17-18; Psalm 4:1-3, Psalm 50:6, Psalm 89:5-8, Psalm 97:6, Psalm 104:1-31, Psalm 147:16-18, Psalm 148:6-13, Isaiah 6:3, Isaiah 40:21-26, Daniel 2:21, 46-47.) It’s true, of course, that many people do not acknowledge God or praise him, even though they see God’s handiwork in creation, or taste God’s goodness in daily blessings, or sense God’s righteousness through the voice of conscience, or observe God’s just wrath in the reality of death. However, even when people suppress their knowledge of God, those who do so are without excuse, as Romans 1:19 says.
8. What can you learn about God from the Bible that you cannot learn in any other way?
The Bible teaches us many spiritual truths that cannot be taught through nature or natural events. For example, the Bible teaches us about the love and righteousness and holiness of God as well as other attributes of God. It also teaches us about right and wrong, obedience and disobedience, punishment, justice, forgiveness, compassion, hope, heaven and hell. The Bible clearly teaches us about Jesus, the way of salvation through Christ alone, and the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible also describes the kind of life that honors God and teaches us what displeases or dishonors him. In the Bible we read stories that encourage us, warn us, inform us, and enable us to better understand the ways of God in this world and in the lives of his people. The Bible teaches many other things that we do not learn just by observing nature or history—things about holiness, mercy, prayer, personal sacrifice, dedication, family, marriage, government, giving, witnessing, and other parts of daily life.
9. If you had only 20 minutes to teach someone about God, what are the things you would talk about?
Your answer may depend to some extent on a person’s age, background, education, interests, and circumstances. However, there are certain basic or fundamental truths about God which are so important that every person, young or old, well-educated or uneducated, rich or poor, weak or strong, should know. Included would be such things as the fact that there is only one true God who is perfectly holy and just, the creator of the world, the divine and righteous judge of every person, and a God of mercy, forgiveness, and love. Everyone should also know that God sent his only begotten Son into the world to give his life as an atonement for our sin and to give us the joy and hope of eternal life with him in glory. Helpful Scripture verses would include such passages as John 4:24, 1 Timothy 6:15-16, Exodus 34:6-7 and John 3:16. The primary purpose of asking this question is to help you focus on some basic truths which you should be able to present to any person at any time without hesitation and with strong Biblical support.
10. What are some of the truths about God which are most important to you personally?
Think about this, meditate on God’s awesome reality, and explore what truths of God have stirred your heart.