The Bible

The Bible, translated from the Greek word “ta biblia” meaning “the books”, is a compilation of books that are believed to be holy and God-inspired. The Protestant canonization of the Bible consists of 66 books–divided into 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament.

The first book of the Bible is believed to have been written around 1450 B.C. and the last book was written around 95 A.D. The Bible as a whole was composed over a 1,500-year-period by more than 40 different authors from all over the world, including: kings, prophets, philosophical writers, fishermen, shepherds and prisoners. Most of the books of the Bible bear the name of the author whom wrote the book–For example, Isaiah wrote the book of Isaiah, Jeremiah wrote the book of Jeremiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the books that bear their names. The Bible’s original manuscripts were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek and was later translated into over 2,000 other languages.

The first five books of the Old Testament, (aka the TaNaKh or the Hebrew Bible to Jewish believers), are known as the TORAH (aka the Books of the Law, or the Books of Moses). These books are about the origins of life, the creation of Man, the fall of man into sin, the selection of the Jews to be God’s chosen people and the light to the world,  and the laws of God given to his chosen people. These books were written by Moses and completed by Joshua, son of Jacob.

The next group of books in the Old Testament, known as the NEVI’IM, are the books of the prophets, which give an historical account of the nation of Israel and their conflicts with surrounding nations. The book of the prophets contained God’s blessings and promises for Israel, as well as lamentations and judgments for Israel and other nations. The book of the prophets also gave foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, who is in the person of Jesus Christ. This coming Messiah would bring salvation to the world.

The last set of books in the Old Testament, known as the KETUVIM, are writings of poetic and philosophical works by various authors, such as Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon.

The first four books of the New Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – known as the Synoptic Gospels, give an account of the deity, birth, life, death, bodily resurrection and acension of Jesus Christ and his ministry while on earth. The book of Acts gives an account of the outpour of God’s Holy Spirit, the establishment of the Christian church and the actions of the Apostles. The following 21 books are the epistles or letters that the Apostles wrote to different churches around the world. These letters addressed certain issues that those churches faced within their congregation, explained the doctrine of salvation, and advised the churches on how to live a proper Christian lifestyle. And Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is a book of end-time prophecy. It explains the chain of events that will occur before the end of the world.

The original manuscripts of the Bible is the unadulterated, infallible Word of God, verbally inspired by God and written down by men as they were led by the Spirit of God. The Bible is without error, deception, or contradiction. Despite the various translations (languages) or versions of the Bible,  the theme of the Bible remains the same. The theme is God’s love for his people and his plan of redemption and reconciliation with them through the crucifixion, death, bloodshed and resurrection of his son, Christ Jesus. God’s character, purpose, instructions and truth is revealed to us in the Bible, and it is the supreme and final authority in all areas that it addresses, both directly and indirectly. The authority of Scripture cannot be separated from the authority of God. Whatever the Bible affirms, God also affirms because God is his Word (John 1:1). The teachings of Scripture are the supreme standard by which all human conduct, truths, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. (Psalm 18:30, Psalm 19:7, Psalm 119:89, Psalm 119:142, Psalm 119:160, Nehemiah 9:13, Isaiah 40:8, Luke 24:27, Acts 3:18, Romans 15:4, 2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 Peter 1:23-25, 1 Peter 1:25, 2 Peter 1:20-21, 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 1 Thessalonians 2:13)

The Identity and Divinity of Christ

Jesus’ original name in Hebrew is יהושע, which is transliterated into English as Yehoshuah, or Yeshua for short. (So the English version of his Hebrew name is Joshua).

The Koine Greek version of his name is Ἰησο ς Iēsoûs. This name was transliterated into Late Latin as Iesus. And from this, it was transliterated into English as Jesus, which is the name we commonly refer to him as now.

Jesus’ name literally means “YHWH rescues” or “YHWH is salvation” or “YHWH shall deliver his people from their sins.

Jesus is the second person of the revealed “Holy Trinity”, or Godhead–(God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). Jesus has many titles. He is also known as “Immanuel (God with us),” the “lamb of God,” the “only begotten Son of God,” or the “Logos” (Word of God).

Colossians 1:15 refers to Jesus as the visible image of the invisible God. Jesus is God incarnate, or God in human form. He had a miraculous conception–born to the virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit. As God in the flesh, Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life.

Full of grace and truth, Jesus came to earth  to show us an example of how to live a life that was pleasing to God the Father in Heaven. Most of his teachings were about repentance from sin and about how to inherit the kingdom of God.

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, or the anointed one of God who has been chosen to be the savior of the world. He taught that we should all believe in him because he is the way, the truth and the life, and that there is no way to heaven except by him. His supernatural signs, wonders, miracles, healings, and etc were evidence that God was with and in him. His fulfilling of the Old Testament prophesies was proof that he was the Messiah.

Jesus used his body as a scapegoat and laid his life down for us. By his suffering, innocent bloodshed and death on the cross, he appeased the wrath of the Father and completely paid the price for the sins of the world. In doing so, he delivered us from the law of sin that condemned us and brought grace to live a life of freedom by way of the Spirit. After Jesus died, and was buried in a tomb, he rose from the grave in three days, then ascended back into heaven where he is currently seated at the right hand of the Father as the Great High Priest, and where he is continuously making intercession for us to get saved. Jesus is both lord and savior.

The identity and divinity of Jesus Christ is important because his uniqueness distinguishes him from others who claim (or will claim) to be him. (Matthew 1:21-23, Matthew 24:5, Matthew 24:24, John 1:1, John 1:14, John 8:58, John 10:24-33, Philippians 2:5-11, 1 Timothy 3:16)

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the revealed “Holy Trinity” or Godhead–(God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit can be used interchangeably with “the Holy Ghost” or “the Spirit of God”. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit when he was on Earth carrying out His Father’s plans. Before he ascended back into heaven, Jesus told his disciples that he would not leave them as orphans, but he would send them a helper to be with them, in them and to stay with them forever. Jesus said that it was best for him to ascend back to heaven because if not, the Holy Spirit could not come. After Jesus died on the cross, he released the Holy Spirit from his mortal body.

The Holy Spirit is said to be our helper, comforter, advocate and teacher. He is the Spirit of Truth and will lead us into remembrance of all the things Jesus taught. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and even prophecies to us about the things to come in the future. He gives us dreams, visions, and many different gifts, such as: the gift of wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, faith, healing, miraculous powers, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. These gifts are distributed to believers as the Holy Spirit sees fit, to help us fulfill the ministry of reconciliation and to help us edify and build each other up for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Some people claim to be Christians, followers of Christ, or disciples of Jesus’ teaching, yet they haven’t truly believed in the gospel message. Thus, they do not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit–these individuals follow the religious principles of the Christian faith, but have not yet been fully converted into the faith; They have not had a genuine born again experience. It is essential that every true believer be baptized, or filled with the Holy Spirit; If we do not possess the Holy Spirit, we do not truly belong to Christ. In order to be filled, you must sincerely understand and believe in your heart the gospel of Jesus Christ

As you believe in the gospel, the Holy Spirit can be received several ways, and the Bible gives at least three examples of how one can be filled:

1.) The Holy Spirit can be poured out on you directly from Heaven by you praying earnestly to receive it, and by you tarrying with great expectation;

2.) after you hear and genuinely receive the gospel of Christ into your heart by faith; and

3.) by impartation through the laying on of hands by another believer.

Again, you must sincerely repent from your sins and genuinely believe in Jesus to be filled. There are many evidences of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. One of the most common, external evidences of receiving the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. But perhaps the most important, initial, internal evidence of you  receiving the Holy Spirit  is the love of God being shed abroad in your heart, and the birthing of spiritual fruit in your life, such as: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,  gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self self-control. These fruit are the divine nature or characteristics of God, and only those who are truly born again or filled with the Holy Spirit are capable of bearing such fruit.

Once received, the Holy Spirit becomes one with our spirit. The Holy Spirit adopts us into sonship and testifies with our spirits that we are children of God, so that we, as believers, may cry out Abba Father. When filled with the Holy Spirit, we receive power and boldness from On High to become witnesses to the world about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us and gives us the strength to contend against our old, sinful nature. The Holy Spirit seals us until the day of redemption. The Holy Spirit is also the power of God to resurrect us from our physical death on that Great Day, just as he also rose Jesus from the grave three days after his death.(Matthew 3:11, Luke 24:49, John 14:15-18, John 14:26, John 15:26-27, John 16:7-15, Acts 1:8, Acts 2, Romans 8:14-17, 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 5:5, Galatians 5:22-23)

The Fall of Man into Sin

Sin as defined in the original translations of the Bible means to “miss the mark.” The mark in this case is the high standard of perfection established by a holy, sinless and perfect God and evidenced by Jesus (Heb 4:15). Sin, then is a transgression of God’s standards whether intentional, non-intentional, by commission or omission, whether in thought, word or deed. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death. Lucifer was the first to sin, while in heaven. Once kicked out, he came to the Garden of Eden and tempted God’s first children, Adam and Eve, to sin. Once they fell into temptation and sinned against God, sin entered into the world, and all of mankind inherited a sin nature, for all of mankind came from Adam. Sin is the cause of all the world problems: sickness, disease, wars, famine, death, hatred, sexual immorality, greed, pride, idolatry, fear and etc. Because of the fall of man, all have become slaves to sin and enemies of God. (Ezekiel 28:15-19, Genesis 3, Romans 5:12, Romans 5:12-19)

The Plan of Salvation (The purpose of the Cross)

The cross is a symbol of ultimate deliverance which comes from the ultimate sacrifice, the blood of the perfect lamb–Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:22 says, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Without the shedding of perfect blood, mankind would be eternally condemned without any means to make atonement, or pay off the debt for their sins. Without the bloodshed of Jesus Christ, all of mankind would experience eternal death and total seperation from God the Father. The cross bridges the gap between man and God. It delivers us from the wrath of God and into the peace of God. It takes us from being enemies of God to being friends of God. It ushers us from self-righteous works and into an eternal rest. The cross provides ultimate forgiveness for our sins of yesterday, today and tomorrow. (John 3:16, 1 Peter 2:24, Colossians 2:13-15, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 4:25)

Ordinances

There are two ordinances, or ceremonial rites that Christ established for his Church: water baptism and communion. Matthew 28:18-20, “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” Neither water baptism nor communion has the power to save us, but we do them symbolically in proclamation of our faith, and out of a clear conscious and our love for God.

Christian Conduct (The standard of holiness)

Holiness is a standard of living made possible only through right relationship with God. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. God commands that we walk in love and live holy lives as an accurate spiritual reflection of himself. Christians should stand out from the ways of the world. They should be different in conduct and in speech. Always abounding in grace, peace and truth, Christians should let their light shine among the unbelievers so they may see their good deeds and glorify God who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16, Hebrews 12:14, 1 Thessalonians 4:7, 1 Peter 1:15, Isaiah 35:8, 1 John 3:3, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:10-17, Ephesians 4:1-3, Revelation 20:11-15)

The Resurrection of the Dead

No one wants to be thrown into the lake of fire (the second death). Everyone hopes to be a citizen of the New Jerusalem. Thus, the resurrection is the hope of every believer that death will not have victory over us. The resurrection is the cornerstone belief of our faith. If it is not true, everything we believe is not true and we believe in vain. We have hope that there is a resurrection because Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead. Furthermore, Jesus himself was literally raised from the dead after being buried in a tomb for three days. A testimony takes 2-3 witnesses to be established as true and Jesus was seen by over 500 people after his resurrection. By our faith in him, he will raise us up on the last day to reward us with eternal life. But for all those who do not believe in his name, they will be resurrected and judged to eternal death. (Luke 24:40-49, John 21:26-27, Acts 2:23-24, Romans 6:1-14, Romans 10:9, 1 Corinthians 15:6, 1 Corinthians 12-26, Galatians 2:18-21)

The Promise of Christ’s Second Coming

“So also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28).” “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:1-4).” Christ promised that he would return and take all those who believe in him to a place where he now resides. His return is imminent and like a thief in the night, it will be without warning. It should cause you to live your life in a state of perpetual readiness. (Matthew 24:36-44, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3)

 

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