— LESSON 1 --
THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD
Meeting the challenges of everyday life is not always easy, and we struggle for guidance and for answers to many questions related to our existence, to God’s expectations of us, and even to life’s disappointments. That guidance is available to us if we are willing to accept it, and it is found in God’s word. And the wonderful aspect of God’s word is that it was supplied to us through the process of inspiration; that is, God directed the writers to pen the words they did. Consequently, we know that what we find there is exactly what God wanted us to know. Inspiration is the topic of this study.
In this first lesson, we will show the firm foundation in Scripture for answering the most fundamental life questions:
As we look deeply into God’s word, we realize that the authenticity of Jesus and Scripture rise or fall together; and we find Jesus weaving His identity and purpose with Scripture and truth:
• “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).
• “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me…. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:39, 46-47).
• “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
• “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Jesus assigns authoritative teaching to the apostles who further the cause
• “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13).
• “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
Jesus’ experiences in the closing chapter of His life show Him attesting to the truth He taught. His life hung in the balance when He stood before Pontius Pilate, but He did not back down. In Jerusalem’s crisp, spring morning air, Jesus cut to the heart of the matter.
Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, ”You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all” (John 18:36-37).
Perhaps Pilate thought, “The fate of this religious teacher is in my hands, but His purpose escapes me. Since Jesus of Nazareth is on trial, not me, why do I feel as if I am on the hot seat?” Throughout Scripture, Jesus and the Holy Spirit bear witness to the truth and put us all on the hot seat. Jesus says those who are of the truth —those who want the truth —will hear His voice. The open-minded truth seeker will believe the Scriptures.
In this lesson, we will consider the process of inspiration and the evidence for inspiration:
• Bish, Ronald. The Way, the Truth, and the Life. Xulon Press, 2010.
• Borel, Emile. Probabilities and Life. New York: Dover, 1962.
• Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1886.
• Mauser, Bernard James. Reading to Grow: A Field Guide to the Bible. Wipf & Stock [self-published], 2017.
• McDowall, Josh and Don Stewart. Answers to Tough Questions. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1993.
• McGarvey, John W. Evidences of Christianity. Louisville, KY: Guide Publishing, 1891.
• Newman, William C. You Can Believe the Bible. CreateSpace, 2010.
• Pache, Rene. The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture. Chicago: Moody, 1970.
• Ramm, Bernard. Protestant Christian Evidences. Chicago: Moody Press, 1953.
• Rhodes, Ron. Understanding the Bible from A to Z. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2006.
• Schaff, Philip. The person of Christ: the miracle of history, with a reply to Strauss and Renan, and a collection of testimonies of unbelievers. Boston: American Tract Society, 1865.
• Stoner, Peter. Science Speaks. Chicago: Moody, 1963.