The Bible for Today

April, May, June 2007

Want to learn more about The Bible for Today? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: The Voice From Heaven (Genesis 3, Isaiah 59, Amos 3, Joel 2, Hebrews 1)
Would you like to talk with God? In the abstract, I certainly would. There are a number of topics I would like to discuss with Him. Why is it we don't have conversations with God? Is it "our fault?" I've thought that my selfish, rebellious heart might prefer that God's will be a little ambiguous at times. There are humans who have communicated with God and some of that talk found its way into the Bible. This quarter we begin a new study and our topic is the Bible. Since most readers of these studies first found them on the web site, you know promoting the study of the Bible is our mission: so let's dive right into our study and learn more about conversing with God!

Lesson 2: The Final Word (2 Timothy 3, John 1, 2 Peter 3)
How accurate is the Bible? Can we, as some group of so-called Bible scholars have done, go through the Gospels and decide what is true and what is not? When we read the fantastic stories of the Old Testament, can write them off as metaphors and illustrations intended for a primitive people? Are these stories not to be believed by sophisticated people like us? What is the logical result of deciding that we have the authority to accept or reject sections of the Bible as we see fit? Let's jump into our Bible study this week and see what we can learn about these questions!

Lesson 3: Bible Prophecy Fulfilled (Matthew 24, Genesis 6, Daniel 2)
What is the purpose of prophecy in the Bible? Is it to motivate you to do good now? Is it to get you to be more patient about current problems? Is it to make you excited about a future reward? Is it to give the Bible credibility? Is it to help you trust God? Is it to test your faith? Let's jump into our study this week and learn more about prophecy and fulfilled prophecy in the Bible!

Lesson 4: The Bible is Reliable (Revelation 22, Deuteronomy 4, 1 Timothy 5, Galatians 2)
Each week we have been building an argument about why humans should pay close attention to the word of God. In all of this our assumption is that the Bible is God's word. Do you know how we came to have the Bible? Some people talk as if the complete text, in the King James version, fell out of heaven and humans accepted it and reprinted it. The truth is far different. Recently, the pagan world has begun to make a direct attack on the composition of the Bible. The popular book and movie, the Da Vinci Code, claims that certain books that should have been in the New Testament were left out. Books left out? What is that about? Let's dive into our lesson and find out more!

Lesson 5: When the Rocks Cry Out (John 20, Genesis 23, Matthew 28)
One of the important issues in any American legal case is the burden of proof. Who carries the burden to show the facts occurred in a certain way? The assignment of the burden of proof can make all the difference to winning. Let's say the plaintiff wins if the traffic light was red. The defendant wins if the light was green. If the plaintiff has the burden of proof, and no one is sure of the color of the light, the defendant wins. If the defendant has the burden of proof, the plaintiff would win. How about the truths of the Bible, who has the burden of proof in God's eyes? Does God believe that He has the burden to prove His truths to us? Or, does God believe that we have an obligation to figure out the truth? Perhaps it is something in between? Let's jump into our study and see how God has responded to this issue in the past!

Lesson 6: The Bible and Science (Psalms 14, Job 38, Psalms 119, Proverbs 17)
Not too long ago I was reading the transcript of the "Intelligent Design" ("ID")trial which took place in federal court in Pennsylvania about a year and a half ago. Intelligent design is a scientific theory that our creation came about as the result of an intelligence, rather than Darwin's theory of change through chance. What struck me while reading the cross-examination (and the statements of the judge) was that the defense of Darwinism was not based so much on proving it was true or logical, but rather based on whether the leading scientific minds, scientific associations and journals accepted Darwinism as true. There is some sense to this approach because judges are not experts in science. The scientific community embraces Darwinism and (largely) rejects ID. Thus, Darwinism won. The readers of these lessons know I'm a lawyer and a logician not a scientist. Instead of scientific journals, what does your common sense, your life experience, and your logic say about the existence of God and the truth of His word? Let's plunge into this fascinating topic!

Lesson 7: The Word in Our Lives (2 Corinthians 5, Psalms 19, 2 Kings 23)
"Faith vs. Works" is an old debate. Whatever its age, a correct understanding of the role of "works" in the life of a Christian is very important. Many years ago a newly converted Christian told me he had complete freedom from the Ten Commandments. His life was not constrained by the law. A number of years later, I saw him again. I reminded him of our conversation about the role of the law in his life. He looked a little sheepish and admitted that he had come to understand that those saved by faith alone have an interest in keeping God's law. Let's jump into our study this week and learn more about how a Christian's life should be impacted by God's word!

Lesson 8: Revelation of Hope (Romans 15, 1 John 1, Proverbs 24, Matthew 6, 1 Corinthians 15)
Hope. It helps you get up in the morning, right? In our sinful world, the Bible gives us hope. It gives us hope of a better world and a better life. Is there more to hope than that? Is there a "hope" element for life right now, right here? Let's jump into our lesson and find out more!

Lesson 9: The Bible and Health (Romans 12 & 14, Mark 7)
Everyone wants to be healthy. At the same time, it is a lot easier (and more enjoyable) to eat and drink whatever you want. It is a pain (sometimes literally) to exercise. If wearing your seatbelt is not a habit, then it is intrusive. We have more time to ourselves (and maybe Bible study) if we cut back on sleep, or so it seems. God spent a lot of time in the Old Testament giving what are obviously "health" messages to His people through Moses. God spent a lot of time in the New Testament seeming to downplay the importance of what goes in our body as opposed to what goes out. (See Mark 7:18-23) Obviously, if we have clear minds and strong bodies we can better serve God. But, is this a moral matter? Or, is it just a matter of common sense? Are Christians who focus on avoiding certain foods rather than avoiding certain evil thoughts playing into the hands of Satan? Let's dive into our lesson and see what the Bible has to say about health and the Christian walk!

Lesson 10: The Bible and Happiness (John 10, 1 Timothy 6, Romans 15)
Happiness is a complex topic. So much of the Christian life sounds like the opposite of happiness. We talk about self-denial and self-sacrifice. We speak about taking up "our cross." Yet, as I look around at my fellow Christians(and look at myself), we don't seem all that unselfish. I see people who have better "things" than I do and I think "I would like to have things like that." Is "stuff" the key to happiness? Is renouncing "things" the path to joy? Are Christians missing out on happiness because they have so many things? Let's dive into the Bible and discover God's goals for us!

Lesson 11: Daily Wisdom (Psalms 19, Matthew 20 & 22)
Anyone with any smarts wants to be smarter, right? Would you also like to be wise? What do you see as the difference between the two? Which would you rather have, intelligence or wisdom? The problem with intelligence is that it is inherited - thus you had little to do with whether you have it or not. This is not true about wisdom. Wisdom you can acquire by study and effort. Our lesson this week is about wisdom, so let's wisely jump right into our study!

Lesson 12: Growing Through the Word (John 3, Hebrews 4-6)
One very hard-fought religious liberty case I handled involved a client who had steady and substantial changes in his life after he gave his life to Jesus. The other side argued he was not sincere in his religious beliefs (and therefore should not win) because of the conflict between what he had been in the past and what he said and did now. The main lawyer for the other side was a pagan who had no understanding of the topic of our lesson this week: Christian growth. I spent a great deal of time in my brief to the court discussing this idea of Christian growth and how it worked in the life of my client. Fortunately, the judge understood this idea and ruled in our favor. Let's dive into our study about Christian growth!

Lesson 13: The Word of God Endures (Psalms 119, Numbers 21, John 3, Matthew 24)
Almost everything seems to change during our very short lifetime. How many things do we use every day that are thousands of years old? How many things that old have any relevance to life today? I can only think of one: the Bible. Just the fact that the Bible continues to be a relevant, popular guide to living teaches us something about its Godly origins. Unfortunately, some disagree. Right now, there are at least two books on a best-seller list which attack belief in God. Hitchens's book, "God is Not Great," is # 3 and Dawkins's book, "The God Delusion," is # 26 on the New York Times list of best sellers. Let's dive in and spend some time considering why God's word endures despite its detractors!

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