Adult Sabbath School Lesson Study Outlines

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Lesson 1: The Uniqueness of the Bible *

Introduction: Do you know how the Bible you use for this study came into existence? Some think that the King James Version is the original. In fact, there were several English translations before the KJV. And, of course, English was not the language in which the Bible was originally written. The Bible was not delivered intact by an angel. Rather, it is the assembled writings of many authors, all inspired by the Holy Spirit. No originals of the Bible (or even fragments) have been found so far. The earliest fragment, which was recently discovered, dates back to about 90 years after we believe the book of Revelation was written by John. Although we have no originals, the New Testament of the Bible is the best attested book in the world! What do I mean by "attested?" We have more copies of the New Testament than any other ancient writing. For ancient literature we have on average about twenty copies. In contrast, we have about 24,000 ancient copies of all or part of the Bible today. This new series of lessons is not about how we received the Bible we use today, but rather how should we interpret our Bible? Let's plunge into this new series on the Bible!

  1. Moses' View

    1. Read Deuteronomy 32:48-50. Would you like to know exactly when and how you will die?

      1. What would be the most important reason to know in advance? (So you can put your affairs in order.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 32:45. What is Moses doing here (and in the preceding verses)? (Giving his final words of advice because he knows he is about to die.)

    3. Read Deuteronomy 32:46-47. What are the "words of the law" that Moses commends? (Moses is widely understood to have written the first five books of the Bible. Here he is talking about the laws that he gave (through God) to God's people.)

      1. What is our first priority with regard to the Bible? (To take it "to heart," to take it seriously.)

      2. What is the reason for making this our first priority? (So that we will teach our children to obey its directions.)

      3. What is the reason why we should take the Bible seriously? (They are our "life.")

        1. What does this mean? Why are the directions of the Bible our life? (This unmistakably ties our obedience to a life of blessings.)

        2. What do you want for your children? A blessed life?

      4. Read Deuteronomy 6:6-7. How do you impress the importance of the Bible on your children? (My wife was the principal Bible teacher for our children because she home-schooled them for their early years. One of the important things I did was to have a time in the evening when we would read the Bible together. I would choose a Bible translation that they could read and understand and have them read it. We then discussed what we had read.)

    4. Read Revelation 12:17. How does Satan feel about those who proclaim Jesus and keep God's commands?

      1. Why?

  2. Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Bible

    1. Read John 1:14. Why is Jesus called "the Word?" (We have the Bible to help us understand God's will for our life. Jesus is the illustration of God's word. He helps us understand God's will.)

    2. Read John 14:6. How important is Jesus to understanding God's truth for us? (He is the only way for us to approach God.)

    3. Read 2 Peter 1:21. How important is the Holy Spirit to the words of the Bible? (The Holy Spirit "carried along" the prophets.)

      1. What do you think it means that the Holy Spirit "carried along" the prophets? What work is being described here? (The Holy Spirit is the impulse, the means for humans to state God's will. One commentary said that the Greek word is the same used for powering a sailboat. The wind drives the boat just as the Holy Spirit drives the prophet.)

    4. Read John 3:34. What is the Holy Spirit doing here in relation to the words of God? (The sense, once again, is that the Holy Spirit is the means by which humans publish God's word.)

    5. Read John 16:13-14. We know that the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, but He is also individual. What is His role here with regard to the words of God? (This tells us two things. First, that Jesus speaks to the Holy Spirit who makes those words known to us. Second, the Holy Spirit will guide our minds to understand the truth of God. He is both the messenger and the interpreter.)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-11. This is a remarkable passage. It says that the Holy Spirit alone understands the thoughts of God. Who should we turn to for help in properly understanding the Bible?

    7. Read 2 Corinthians 3:6. What results from knowing the law without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? (Death. This teaches us that studying the Bible without the aid of the Holy Spirit to guide our understanding is dangerous.)

  3. Bible Origins

    1. Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17. Although we have all sorts of men from various stations in life who have authored part of the Bible, what is its true origin? (It is "God-breathed.")

      1. What is one purpose of the Bible? (To lead us to salvation. To make us wise (informed) on that topic. To inspire faith in Jesus)

    2. Read Acts 28:25. Who is the active agent in "breathing" the Bible through the men who wrote it? (The Holy Spirit. Notice that this text says that the Holy Spirit "spoke" "through Isaiah the prophet." This affirms the earlier texts we read which state the centrality of the Holy Spirit to the existence of the Bible.)

    3. Read 2 Peter 1:16-17. What other Bible sources do we find here? (Eyewitness testimony. Peter tells us that he told us what he had personally seen and heard.)

  4. Prophecy

    1. Read 2 Peter 1:19-21. How do we separate the human from the divine in prophecy? (Human will and human interpretation are not the source. Rather men wrote what originated with God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.(We previously looked at verse 21.)

    2. We just got through studying the book of Daniel. It is filled with prophecy. What is the "big message" that we learned from these Bible prophecies? (That God is in control. We even learned the exact time Jesus' ministry was predicted.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. Is it only Daniel that predicted the coming of Jesus? (Paul affirms that other specific aspects of Jesus' life were predicted in the Bible.)

  5. Transformation

    1. Read Hebrews 4:1-2. Can we have a faith that does not result in obedience to God? If so, does that faith do us any good? (Faith without obedience is "of no value.")

    2. Read Hebrews 4:6, and Hebrews 4:9-11. How do you reconcile this with righteousness by faith alone? (True faith results in a relationship with God. This in turn leads to obedience.)

    3. Read Hebrews 4:12-13. How does the Bible aid us in this right relationship? (Studying the Bible brings conviction about how God would like us to live and how we have departed from His will. This is important because God clearly sees us as we are. We can fool ourselves and others, but we cannot fool God.)

    4. Friend, are you convinced that the Bible reflects the will of God for your life? The Holy Spirit is essential to a right understanding of the Bible. Studying the Bible is essential to a faith that brings obedience. Will you commit to regularly studying the Bible? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand? Why not make that commitment right now?

  6. Next week: The Origin and Nature of the Bible.
* Copr. 2020, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2020 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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