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These lessons are the result of many years of diligent and prayerful study of Scripture. They are presented here with the hope that they will be a blessing to others seeking to learn more of what the Bible teaches. Just as this author regularly does in teaching and preaching, you are encouraged to use your Bible to make sure your beliefs are based upon its teaching. You are also invited and encouraged to
email the author with your comments and questions. May God bless you as you strive to study and live according to the truth of God's word.

The Bible
The Canon of the Old Testament    In the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew and Greek), the word canon refers to a reed or measuring stick. Later it came to refer to literature of acceptable standards, and then it came to mean the authoritative books accepted by a religious community. When we talk about the canon of the Bible, we are referring to that collection of books generally accepted as being inspired of God and as the authoritative rule of God's people.

The Canon of the New Testament   While the books of the Old Testament were written primarily to those of the Jewish covenant, the books of the New Testament were written to and for those who are of the Christian covenant.

Modern Bible Translations   There are available today many different translations of the Bible. While there are no perfect translations, some are good, and some are not. It would surely be wise to know as much as possible about a translation of the Bible before using it. Versions examined in this lesson include the KJV, New KJV, American Standard, New American Standard, NIV, Living Bible, and more.

Paul's Apostleship and Authority   Paul did not become an apostle in the same manner as did the rest of the apostles. He is first encountered as Saul at the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7, and Acts 8 tells of his ravaging the church. Acts 9, however, tells of his dramatic conversion after seeing Jesus while on the road to Damascus. But because of his past, it should not be surprising that Paul was not readily accepted by the church.

Interpreting and Understanding the Bible   Some religious groups claim that they have been given the authority to interpret Scripture for all. Others believe that the Bible can be understood only with further miraculous and discriminatory help from the Holy Spirit, and that such help is given only to them. Can any person of normal intelligence pick up a Bible and understand its message? Is it reasonable to believe that the Bible can be understandable to those who read its words?

Jesus: Eternal and Divine   Christians agree that Jesus is referred to in Scripture as the Son of God, but there is disagreement among some regarding the true nature of Jesus and His relationship with God the Father. Some believe in the trinity and sometimes use terms like God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit in an attempt to express the divinity of all three Persons. Others believe there is only one supreme being who expressed Himself in three different ways. Still others believe that God is the only divine being and that Christ is merely a created being.

Jesus: Born But Not Begotten   Several verses in the Bible say that Jesus, the Son of God, is a begotten being or person. However, numerous other passages show that not to be the case. Is God's inspired word thus contradicting itself in these verses? No! The problem is that these verses have been translated wrong! The word "begotten" in these verses is actually a poor, inaccurate, and misleading translation of the original inspired text.

The Passion of the Christ   Truly all the excessive violence surrounding the crucifixion of Christ makes no sense without first understanding the context. All that blood and gore (whether one is watching it on a movie screen or hearing about it in a gospel sermon) will have little meaning unless we first understand why it happened, and why it had to happen. And whether or not any of us should choose to see the movie, it is hoped that this study will help us to better understand why Jesus had to suffer and die as He did.

God's Amazing Grace   The Greek word charis {khar'-ece} is most often translated as grace or favor and is found approximately 156 times in the NT. This definition is given by Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon: "That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favor; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues."

What is the Gospel?   1 Peter 1:23 says, "For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God." What is the 'word of God' to which Peter is referring? Is Peter referring to the entire collected canon of NT Scripture? Keep in mind that this letter was written perhaps 30 years before all the remaining books of the NT would be written and long before they would be collected and agreed upon as the accepted canon of Scripture. It seems more likely that Peter is referring specifically to the basic message which had been preached from the very beginning, long before all the books were written and collected, that which Scripture itself calls the gospel.

What Must I Do to be Saved?   Paul said in Romans 3:23-24 that even though we have all sinned, we can be "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Truly God's gift of salvation is a most wonderful thing. The Bible does indeed say we're saved by grace, but does it say we're saved by grace only? Or is there something we must do to inherit salvation?

A Study of Baptism   When we believe in Jesus and obey God's command to be immersed in water, God does many wonderful things in our lives: He forgives and washes away our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), He saves us (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21), He adds us to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27), and He buries our old way of life and raises us to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-6; Colossians 2:13).

Assurance of Salvation   God wants us to have confidence regarding our salvation. The apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:13, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." But since we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, how can we have such confidence? The key to assurance is not to place our trust in ourselves, but in the perfection of Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf.

The Christian Covenant   Exodus 19:16-25 records the famous event of Moses meeting God on Mount Sinai to receive the Law of the covenant. Chapter 20 records what is commonly called the Ten Commandments, and many more are given in the next several chapters. God had specifically brought the people of Israel out of Egypt and would later bring them into the promised land of Canaan. These commands of the Law were specifically intended for the people of Israel at that time until the coming of the Messiah and a new covenant.

The Holy Spirit: Our Help and Strength   Some people believe that when the Bible speaks of the Spirit of God going forth and doing something, it really is just another way of saying that God Himself is doing something. Their view is that the Spirit is basically an impersonal force or power or some kind of spiritual essence that emanates forth from God. However, the Bible seems clearly to teach that the Holy Spirit is an actual divine person separate and distinct from God the Father and Christ the Son.

False Doctrines of the Early Church   It is true that Christians are not always going to agree on every Biblical issue. And perhaps we ought to be more tolerant of one another's beliefs in regards to those issues that are not essential to salvation. However, this does not mean that we ought to blatantly forego a love for truth and a desire to study and search the Scriptures for such.

History of Church Divisions   In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, "I will build My church." Throughout the pages of the New Testament we read about that one church of Christ. Today, however, there are literally hundreds of denominations throughout the religious world. We have divided ourselves from that one original church into numerous groups with distinctive names and various teachings. And this is what the world sees: a divided group of people urging them to believe the gospel and accept Jesus as their Savior, and each in our own particular way stressing our own particular beliefs. How did all this come to pass?

Introduction to Denominations   This lesson contains various brief descriptions taken directly from the official websites of the denominations or quoted from other reference material. The information is shared as a service to readers and should not be taken as an endorsement of any particular group.

Predestination and Calvinism   Many people in the religious world believe that, before man was ever created, God decided ahead of time whom He would save and whom He would condemn. They contend that Christ died only for those who are thus elected, and that it is impossible for those elected to refuse God's grace or ever turn away from it. This lesson seeks to compare the teachings of Calvinism with those of the Bible.

Speaking in Tongues in the Early Church   There are many sincere believers who hold to a practice wherein they claim to speak in a special prayer language understandable only by God. The purpose of this lesson is not to discourage or disparage these dedicated believers, but simply to explain why many believers do not share in the same beliefs and practices.

Origins of Christian Worship   The early church was comprised mainly of Jews who had accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah and Lord. Therefore, to best understand the origins of Christian worship, it is necessary to look at the history of Jewish worship, for it was this past manner of worship that helped to shape the worship of the early church.

The Role of Women in the Church   Scripture makes it clear that women are every bit as important as men, so when the apostle Paul talks about subjection, he does not mean that women are inferior. He is simply stating that it is God's will that men be responsible for the leadership and the public service of the church, and that women are to be in quiet subjection to the men. Not inferior, just a different role. A woman is still to be active/working/doing all she can, but she is not to do anything that puts her above the authority of the man.

Examining Catholic Doctrines   The Roman Catholic Church claims to be the one true church established by Christ. There is no denying that, as an organization, it has its roots in the early church of the New Testament. But has it remained true to what it is supposed to be? Is it still the true church of Christ? Or has it become, by the hands of mere men, something far removed from the church we read about in the pages of the Bible?

What Happens When We Die? Many have questions about that time after death and before the day of judgment. Some say that when a man dies, he "dies all over," that is, he no longer exists at all, no more than 1000 years before he was born. Christians, however, believe and look forward to the day Christ comes again and our eternal life in Christ thereafter. Still the question remains about specifically what happens when we die.

Introduction to the Book of Revelation   The book of Revelation has been interpreted in numerous different ways. Some have applied its symbols to computer chips and 20th and 21st century world politics. Others have applied it to the ever-changing Roman Catholic Church, while they, on the other hand, have applied it to the Reformation. However, any interpretation of the book should take into account what it would have meant to the original 1st century readers.

Degrees of Reward and Punishment   Will some receive a greater reward for their service in the kingdom of God? Numerous passages of Scripture seem to suggest such. Regardless, the Bible clearly teaches that salvation itself is a gift of God that no one can deserve by their own merit. Despite all our good works, despite all our accomplishments at sanctification, we all still stand in need of a Savior. We will never deserve eternal life because of what we have done.

Judging Those Who Have Not Heard    Some believe that those outside of Christ may still be saved if they have sought after God (in their own way). The Bible, on the other hand, shows that salvation is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The apostles taught no other way! No other way of salvation is given in the pages of the NT. And if all who now live are subject to the terms and conditions of the new covenant, then apparently no other way of salvation exists.

The Days of Creation   Genesis chapter 1 states that the world and all therein was created in only 6 days. There are many, however, who do not agree with such. Atheists have attempted to promote the idea that the universe itself is about 8-12 billions years old, that the earth is about 5 billion years old, that early life forms developed about 3-4 billion years ago, and that man arrived about 1-2 million years ago.

Did Methuselah Really Live to be 969?   Genesis 5 records that prior to the Flood, people typically lived for hundreds of years, with the average age being 912 years. The Bible specifically states that Adam, for example, lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5), and Methuselah lived 969 years (Genesis 5:27). However, some have suggested that while the Bible says they lived that long, that is not what it literally means.

Dinosaurs in the Bible   Are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible? Yes and no. The word "dinosaur" is not specifically found in the Bible, but then the word wasn't invented until 1842 (it means "terrible lizard"), so it ought not surprise us that the word in not there. Nevertheless, there are indeed both direct and indirect references to dinosaurs in Scripture.

Three Days and Three Nights   Matthew 12:40 says, "For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." This verse has caused confusion among some Bible students. Many believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday, was in the grave Friday night, Saturday, and Saturday night, and part of early Sunday morning. However, this obviously this does not add up to our modern concept of three days and three nights, that being in total 72 hours.

The Grace of Giving   In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul said, "God loves a cheerful giver." The word cheerful is from the Greek word hilaros, from which we get the word hilarious. God wants us to be hilarious givers, to be overwhelmed with joy and happiness in being able to give. Truly we will be a lot happier when we give than when we receive!

The Divorce Debate   The Bible has much to say about the subject of marriage and divorce, but most people agree that it is a most difficult topic. And it is made even more difficult by the emotions and conflicts of real-life situations. The primary purpose of this lesson is not to present a particular dogmatic position, but rather to simply share information from various viewpoints that may further help others in their own personal study of the issue.

Evil, Pain, and Suffering   Atheists have long been raising this issue as they seek to prove there is no God. Their argument goes something like this: If God is all-good, then He would not cause or allow these terrible things to happen. Since evil, pain, and suffering do exist, then God must not be all-good. Either that or He is not powerful enough to accomplish what He desires. Either way, there must not be a God, since God is all-good and all-powerful by definition. The fact is: God does exist, but He is not the one responsible for the evil, pain, and suffering that exists in our world.

Is Abortion Just a Choice?   According to the statistics, the number of reported abortions performed in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s was approximately 1.5 million annually. It has also been determined that about 10% of known abortion providers did not report. While there has been some decrease in the number of abortions in recent years, it appears that there are then an estimated 1.7 to 1.8 million abortions committed every year in the US. Compare this to an average of just under 4 million live births every year in this county. One out of every three children conceived in this county is killed by abortion.