Why the Bible Is the Word of God

Lesson 1 Introduction

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Introduction

Today a vital ingredient is sorely missing in our modern lives. We simply are not coping with all the stresses of the age. Our human mechanism—brain and body—is breaking down under the strain. In an overcrowded world, a deep sense of loneliness often engulfs the individual.

Perhaps the most damaging casualty has occurred in our relationships with each other, not to mention our wholesale estrangement from God. Trust is becoming a thing of the past. Long-held community values are evaporating before our eyes.

Men and women encounter tremendous difficulty keeping standards of truth intact in a climate where morality is fading fast and movie marquees advise us to “succumb to our darker side.” As one newspaper columnist wrote, “we live in an age which has tried excessively hard to eliminate absolute rules.”

We are also losing our sense of security. Describing one prominent Western nation, a newspaper article said that, “if the country had a therapist, the complaint could be defined as a virulent strain of unease, perhaps of national insecurity.”

Our children are truly worried about tomorrow—and rightfully so. Jobs don’t appear to last all that long, and many marriages end in the divorce courts.

At best the future looks uncertain.

In the words of European parliamentarian Sir Frederick Catherwood,

“the all-pervasive rationalism of our own century, infiltrating our whole culture and philosophy, has reduced man to an animal, condemned to a meaningless existence terminated by death.”

The spread of this type of godless secularism has taken a heavy toll on society.

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The Bible reveals great truths that, when comprehended, can transform your life in ways you’ve never imagined.

Crisis On the World Scene

We live in an age of constant crisis! The Middle East threatens to explode at almost any time.

Although the Cold War may be history, many of the former U.S.S.R.’s nuclear weapons still exist. Diplomats and other government officials remind us that Russia still possesses some 20,000 nuclear weapons.

The deadly spread of weapons of mass destruction is an all-pervasive problem. Terrorist groups— generally armed to the teeth with modern weapons and living as a law unto themselves—threaten the stability of many nations.

Population growth still soars out of control in many areas of the world, stretching resources to the limit and leading to further global instability. As The Times (of London) warns,

“A ballooning world population is taking such a heavy toll of the planet’s resources that it is putting the survival of humankind in jeopardy …”

Pollution and other problems threaten to strangle earth’s life-sustaining ecosystems. One writer warns that “the West is destroying the ecological systems upon which its economic life depends.” A frightening example is the earth’s loss of two thirds of its original forest cover. Environmentalist Francis Sullivan warned that “in one generation we are facing the almost complete loss of natural forest.” The forests are the lungs of the earth—and without lungs, we cannot breathe.

It is in just such a threatened, confused and crisis-charged age that a centuries-old organism—the Church—is called upon to do its work. Deeply sensitive to its duties and responsibilities in spreading and teaching the true gospel message (Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20), the United Church of God, an International Association, offers this Bible-study course—filling a most important need in today’s troubled world.

For many millions, God’s Word is unexplored and uncharted territory. Yet the Bible is not only designed to help human beings cope in a world caught up in all kinds of crises. It contains the good news of the coming Kingdom of God—showing how God will solve the many problems of a world edging ever closer to catastrophe. 

Learning to Appreciate the Bible

In this Bible study course we will walk through some of the most intriguing and inspiring portions of the Bible, seeking to discover the real purpose for our being.

Today’s alarming conditions cause many men and women to feel a deep sense of unease. At the same time many experience a real spiritual hunger. Clearly “they feel there is something outside the box of time and space in which they find themselves” (Catherwood).

They wonder about the reality of God and the Bible.

Could it just be that there are some workable answers after all?

This unique course is designed to address some of the most fundamental questions about our almost never-ending quest for God. It also seeks to explore the inevitable implications for our personal behavior.

This first lesson consists of an overview of several basic biblical themes that later lessons will cover in much greater detail. First it addresses questions we all contemplate:

  • Does God exist?
  • What makes the Bible different from other books?
  • Why did God create men and women?
  • Is there something much greater than this life in store for us?

Together in this study course we will walk through some of the most intriguing and inspiring portions of the Bible, seeking to discover the real purpose for our being—and how we may live fulfilling lives while accomplishing that great purpose.

Jesus Christ said: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The Bible reveals great truths that, when comprehended, can transform your life in ways you’ve never imagined.

How to Begin Your Study

Here are a few helpful points that will help you get the most out of this course. The most important one is one of the simplest:

  • Search out every scripture reference in your own Bible. Although some of the principal scriptures are quoted, we strongly encourage you to personally look up every passage in order to see each scripture in its proper context.

Our main textbook is the Bible itself. In addition to each basic biblical quote, our comments usually include additional pertinent scriptural references. Most of these will appear after the term “compare.”

  • You will find much deeper understanding if you look up and ponder the meaning and significance of every biblical reference.

This study course is designed to help you become more skilled in your personal study, as well as doing nothing less than assisting you in changing your whole life for the better. We also encourage you to read the study guide, How to Understand the Bible. It offers additional information to help you grow in understanding from your study of the Bible.

The question-and-answer format is an enormously effective way of presenting the biblical material covered in this course. Also, unless otherwise noted, all biblical quotes are taken from the New King James Version.

  • Finally, to help you gain the most benefit from these lessons, each will conclude with a set of review questions that you may use to test yourself.

Together we now embark on a journey of discovery through the Bible.

How to Understand the Bible (free)

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United Church of God - Australia
GPO Box 535 Brisbane,
QLD AUSTRALIA 4001

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