Lesson 1 – The Bible

Most people in the world believe there is a Higher Power of some kind who is far greater than any person on earth. People have different ideas, however, as to who or what this Higher Power is. Some people do not believe in a personal God at all. Others believe that there are hundreds or even millions of gods. The Bible, however, teaches that there is only one true God and that He alone is worthy of our worship and our praise. But you may ask, “Why should I trust what the Bible says?” That’s a fair question! It may not be possible to prove to you that the Bible is truly the Word of God, but there are some very good reasons why millions of people do believe that it is. Among those reasons are the following.

10 Reasons to Believe that the Bible is the Word of God

  1. No other book in the entire world is as old, as trustworthy and as comprehensive as the Bible is in teaching us about God, ourselves, and the future. The Bible begins with the story of the creation of the world and ends with the promise of a new world where there will be no sin, no sickness, no suffering and no death. And in between the accounts of the world’s wonderful beginning and its glorious future, the Bible gives us the history of man’s life on earth, including his fall into sin and his salvation from sin. It also tells us many of the marvelous works of God through the course of human history.
  2. The writers of the Bible taught and believed that their writings were inspired by God. Jesus Christ, who is honored and trusted by more people than anyone who has ever lived on this earth, also believed and taught that the Bible is truly the Word of God.
  3. The Bible provides answers to many of our sincere questions about God, our world and ourselves which we cannot find anywhere else. Neither nature nor history nor philosophy nor any other book provides the answers which our minds and hearts are looking for.
  4. The Bible not only teaches us what is right and what is wrong in the sight of God, it also teaches us how we can gain the power to do what is right and overcome what is wrong.
  5. The Bible has many prophecies concerning individuals, nations, and specific events. Many of these prophecies have already been fulfilled exactly as they were foretold. Since many of the Bible’s prophecies have already been fulfilled in the past, we can also trust what it teaches about the future.
  6. The Bible contains sixty-six different books or documents which were written over a period of 1500 years by forty different men who lived on three different continents. However, each part of the Bible, when properly understood, agrees with all the other parts.
  7. Scholars have carefully studied archaeological findings and other historical materials which confirm the accuracy of the Bible’s teachings about geography and history. Though the Bible is very old, it is clearly a very trustworthy book in everything it records.
  8. We have more ancient copies of the Bible (or parts of the Bible) than any other book that has ever been written. We can have complete confidence that the Bible we have today is essentially unchanged from the time it was first written. There is no other ancient book like it.
  9. The Bible has been the most influential book in the history of the world. It was the first book ever printed. It has been translated into more languages than any other book. It has been distributed more widely than any other book. And God has preserved it from every attempt of people to destroy it.
  10.  Millions of people have been dramatically changed for good through reading, studying, and believing what the Bible teaches. The Bible does not simply give us information about things that happened in the past. It gives us guidelines for living in the present and provides us with encouragement and hope regarding the future. It teaches us how we can find forgiveness, happiness and peace in our present life and shows us the way to an eternal life of glory, delight and joy in the presence of the one true God who created us and loves us.


1. Where did the Bible come from?
Every book of the Bible has a human author, but God himself was the ultimate author. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible is “God-breathed.” This means that God supernaturally “breathed out” his message through the human writers in such a way that the words they wrote were truly the words of God himself. Sometimes God spoke to the writers directly. Sometimes he dictated things to them. At other times he helped them to search out the truth so that they could share it with others. At all times he guided them in such a way that they wrote down in their own personal styles the things he wanted them to write. He also kept them from making errors in all that they wrote.
Scripture References
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)

2. What can we gain by studying the Bible?
a. The Bible teaches us many important truths that we cannot learn anywhere else.
b. The Bible introduces us to the real, living God.
c. The Bible teaches us how to live in a way that honors and pleases God.
d. The Bible promises us many wonderful blessings if we follow its teachings.
e. The Bible shows us how we may have an everlasting life full of joy and peace.
Scripture References
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
The rules of the LORD are true . . . In keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:9-11)
Blessed is the man . . . whose delight is in the law of the LORD . . . He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)

3. Can we trust what the Bible says?
Yes! God’s Word is true in every way and all its promises will be fulfilled. We should recognize, however, that some parts of the Bible were written in a poetic style or with figures of speech that should not be interpreted literally.
Scripture References
For the word of the LORD is upright. (Psalm 33:4)
All his precepts are trustworthy. (Psalm 111:7)
The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. (Psalm 119:160)

4. What did Jesus teach about the Bible?
When Jesus lived on earth, the New Testament had not yet been written. However, he quoted from the Old Testament, recognized it as the true Word of God, taught that it was completely trustworthy, said that all its prophecies would surely be fulfilled, and declared that the Scriptures were pointing to himself.
Scripture References
Jesus said: “Your Word is truth.” (John 17:17)
Jesus said: “Until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18)
Jesus said, “Scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)
Jesus said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.” (John 5:39)
Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he [Jesus] explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

5. Since the Bible was written many years ago, can it still be of help to us today?
Absolutely! The Bible is a living book which speaks to the hearts of people in every age, in every place and in every situation. Its truths continue to be a guide, an inspiration, a comfort, and a challenge to people around the world.
Scripture References
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

6. How can the Bible be a guide for us?
The Bible teaches us what is right and what is wrong in the sight of God. It also gives us important moral guidelines for every area of life—marriage, family, work, education, recreation, leisure, business, politics, and personal relationships. Though the Bible does not deal with every possible situation that may arise, it does give us general principles which can be helpful throughout our entire lives no matter where we live or what we are doing.
Scripture References
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalm 119:9)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies. (Psalm 119:59)
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23)

7. What are some of the other ways the Bible can help us in our everyday life?
The Bible provides us with comfort in times of sorrow, encouragement in times of special need, hope in times of distress, inspiration in times of personal challenge, peace in times of turmoil, and assurance of God’s loving presence at all times.
Scripture References
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. (Psalm 19:7)
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. (Psalm 19:8)
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. (Psalm 119:165)
I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. (Psalm 119:93)
This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. (Psalm 119:50)
Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

8. What is the greatest benefit we can receive from reading and studying the Bible?
The greatest benefit we can receive through reading, studying and believing the Bible is knowing God and finding the way to eternal life through faith in Jesus. All other blessings we receive in this life may be temporary, but the life we receive through faith in Jesus is eternal and glorious.
Scripture References
From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)

Exploring Further
1. What difference would it make in your life if you did not have a Bible or know what the Bible teaches?
For most of us, life would be very different. We would not know where we came from, where we are going, or how we should be living in order to honor and please God. We would not have the peace and joy that come from knowing Jesus. We would not have the comfort of knowing that God loves us, cares for us, forgives us, understands our weaknesses, and is preparing an eternal home for us in glory. We would not have the blessing of knowing how God wants us to live or what he wants us to do. We would basically be wandering in a broken world with few trustworthy guidelines for the present and very little hope for the future.

2. Why is it important that we can trust what the Bible says?
If we cannot trust what the Bible says, we will continue to live in confusion and uncertainty. There would be no authoritative answer for any of our questions. We would always wonder whether our own thoughts and ideas are right or wrong. And we would have no sure way to judge or evaluate the thoughts and ideas of others. We would continue to live day after day wondering whether our thoughts and ideas were really true or simply the product of our own desires and imagination.

3. In what ways does the Old Testament help us understand the New Testament?
The Old Testament gives us the story of creation, the story of man’s fall into sin, God’s first promises of redemption, and the history of God’s people during the centuries before the coming of Jesus. The Old Testament gives us a clear picture of humanity’s sinful nature and inability to earn or merit salvation and forgiveness by keeping the laws God gave to his people. It gives us a very clear presentation of human weakness and God’s greatness, man’s unfaithfulness and God’s faithfulness. Without the Old Testament, we could not fully
understand our sinfulness and our inability to obtain salvation on our own, nor could we as fully understand the majesty, power, mercy, and grace of God. Jesus was born into the family line of the Old Testament figures such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel), Judah and David. Jesus fulfilled the wonderful promises God made to Adam at the dawn of human history, and he also met all the demands and requirements God presented in the Old Testament hundreds of years before. It is impossible to fully understand who Jesus was, why he came, and what he did unless we also know at least some of the teachings of the Old Testament.

4. Are the words of Jesus recorded in the Bible more trustworthy or more important than other parts of the Bible?
No. In some Bibles the words of Jesus are printed in red letters to set these words apart from others. And in some ways that may be helpful. To know what Jesus said and taught can be very helpful. However, it’s important to remember that EVERY word in the Bible has been inspired by the Holy Spirit and is therefore trustworthy. At the same time, it’s also important to recognize that some passages in the Bible are more significant than others in helping us learn the way of salvation and helping us learn how God wants us to live. For example, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 and Paul’s teachings in Romans 12 are much more helpful for teaching us God’s will for our lives than some other passages are.

5. What is meant by “progressive revelation”?
“Progressive revelation” is the term used to describe the fact that God gradually gave people new information concerning himself and his laws and his plan of salvation. The information which he gave at every point was true and trustworthy, but later on he often gave additional information about himself, his will, his plans, and his purposes. So, for example, people in Old Testament times did not know that the God they served was a Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit. Neither did they know that God would someday come to this earth in the form of a man (Jesus) who would die on the cross for the sins of the world. And they did not understand that someday both Jews and non-Jews would have an equal status before God as they were joined together in Jesus Christ. Because the Bible contains progressive revelation on many subjects, we should be very careful not to read an early passage in the Bible as God’s final and complete revelation on a subject.

6. Since the Bible is a very old book, shouldn’t we look to newer books for better and more accurate information about God and the world?
The fact that the Bible is very old is actually something positive and not negative. In spite of the fact that the Bible has existed for so many years, it continues to be printed and translated and sold around the world in very large numbers. This by itself is an indication that the Bible is a most unusual book and worthy of careful study. Though there are some people who may reject it, the Bible still is the most influential book in the world. It continues to be a source of comfort, challenge, inspiration, information and life-changing power. It does not claim to be a textbook on science or mathematics or other subjects of that kind, but it does teach eternal truths about God, salvation, and the way to eternal life. We should be careful not to use the Bible as a textbook on subjects (such as science) which we can explore ourselves, but we should recognize that the Bible goes beyond science to reveal that God is the creator and sustainer of our incredible world filled with all its marvels and mysteries.

7. What is the strongest reason for believing what the Bible says?
There are many strong reasons, but the most important reason is that the Holy Spirit impresses on your mind and heart that the Bible is truly the Word of God.

8. Is it confusing or is it helpful to have more than one translation of the Bible in your language?
Since no single translation is absolutely perfect, there are advantages in reading the Bible in different versions. Some early versions were not done especially well, so these older versions can be corrected by new and more accurate versions. Further, language changes somewhat over the years, so an older version may contain language which is no longer used among the common people and will not be easily understood. In addition, by reading a different version, students may be led to look at a passage in a new way which they had not thought of before. They may also find that a strictly literal translation does not always helpfully represent the original text. For example, because each language has figures of speech of one kind or another, a strictly literal translation could be misleading. On the other hand, by having only one version of the Bible in a given language, everyone has the advantage of learning and memorizing and quoting exactly the same words. And that can be a very significant benefit!

9. What is the best way to respond to people who believe and teach the Bible has been changed and corrupted over the years?
Perhaps the best way to respond is to begin by asking them some questions.

For example:

  1. Why do you believe that the Bible has been changed or corrupted?
  2. Who do you think made the changes?
  3. Why did these people decide to make these changes?
  4. When were the alleged changes made?
  5. What happened to the original manuscripts of the Bible?
  6. What proof do you have that the alleged changes were made?

(If the originals no longer exist, how do we know that the Bible has been changed or corrupted?)

There are differences in some of the thousands of Bible manuscripts in existence. Most of these, however, are very minor and of little significance. Besides, most scholars who have made it their primary work to study the ancient Bible manuscripts agree that we can be very confident that there is nothing in the original Bible manuscripts that has been lost—even though we no longer have the originals themselves. Without any legitimate doubt, the Bible is extremely accurate and completely trustworthy.

10. What are some of the most fruitful ways to study the Bible and learn what it teaches?
We should read a portion of the Bible every day. We should try to find a time and a place to read the Bible where we will not be interrupted. We should ask the Holy Spirit (the author of the Bible) to help us understand what we read. We should, if possible, memorize at least something each time we read the Bible. We should immediately seek to put into practice the truths we have learned. We should seek to share what we have read or learned with someone else. We should read the Bible systematically and not simply jump from one part of the Bible to another. (For example, we might choose to read through an entire book of the Bible before going on to other parts of the Bible.) We should read something from both Old and New Testaments on a regular basis. We should read from different parts of the Bible (such as Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospel accounts, the Epistles, etc.) on a regular basis rather than spending most of our Bible reading time in just one part of the Bible. We should seek to read with understanding rather than simply spending time reading the Bible without understanding it. In this connection, we may wish to read a Bible commentary (if available) to help us understand what we are reading. Or, if we do not have access to a commentary, we might choose to ask someone else to help us understand what we have read. We should also make a definite effort to put into practice the truths we have read rather than simply reading them and then forgetting them. It can be helpful to write down in our own words some of the truths we have learned through our reading of the day.