Study #1: The Word of God
It is a good idea to start this study with a great talk about each other’s spiritual or religious background. Like Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:8, we are not only sharing the gospel, but our lives as well. The more you get to know about their personal background, the more you will be able to help them apply the scriptures to their life. Without sounding like an interrogator, find out more about them, such as: their religious upbringing; whether or not they presently attend a church; their thoughts or convictions about God and the Bible, etc. Again, the more you can get to know them, the more you can help them. Make sure you share about your own life as well, so that they can get to know you.
This specific study will focus on the most important key to knowing God and knowing the truth about God—the Bible. It is important to not rush past this study, assuming they already have a deep conviction about following God’s Word. The purpose of this study is to help your friend establish the Bible as God’s Word and God’s standard for their life.
You can start by sharing how the Bible has impacted your life over the years. Then let them know you would like to share some things you have learned about the Word that have particularly helped you.
Proof of the Word
• For years many have discounted the Bible holding that it cannot be trusted as reliable. However, history and archaeology tell us otherwise. Before we even open the Word, let’s just talk about some historical facts supporting its authenticity.• Historical Testing: These are the five primary tests that archaeologists and historians use to help determine whether any ancient manuscript is factual.
- Test of Handwritten Copies…there are more ancient copies of the Bible than any other ancient manuscript
- Test of Geography…Biblical manuscripts spread throughout the entire known world.
- Test of Time…the writing, copying and spreading began around 1500BC and has never ended.
- Test of External References…thousands of references to the scriptures from outside sources
- Test of Archaeology…not one archaeological find has ever contradicted the Word, but thousands have supported it.
Even today, the Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book in history.
Other facts about the Bible:
– Over 40 authors and 66 different books
– 3 languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek
– Over 1500 year period or writing
– One common thread of God’s relationship to man holding it all together—amazing!
– Approximately 400 prophecies regarding Jesus in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the New Testament
[Note: For more information on Historical Manuscripts and Evidence of the Bible, see attachments A and B. You may also consult The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell.]
• Let’s see what the Bible says about itself in this regard:
2 Peter 1:20-21 Men wrote the Bible, but they were “carried along by the Holy Spirit.” If God were to inspire a book, this is the kind of impact it would have!
Disciples Today Video: “Can You Trust the Bible?”
The Purpose of the Word
So the Bible is from God, but what is it for?
2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- It is useful for us to live righteous lives and completely equip us for every good work
1 TIMOTHY 4:16
16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
- It is crucial for salvation
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
- It helps us to know and believe in God and Jesus
The Power of the Word
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
- The word can cut deep within our lives and reveal our hearts to God.
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
- If we hold to the Word, we will know the truth and be set free.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
- Jesus’ words have the power to “sustain all things.”
THE PRIORITY OF THE WORD
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’a]
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observeb] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’c] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’d] 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
- Priority over people and traditions (pastors, parents, friends, denominations, etc.)
10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
- Priority in our daily lives
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.
- Eternal priority, as we will be judged according to the Word
Concluding Questions and Comments:
- Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?
- What role do you think the Bible should play in your life?
- What can you change in order to make it that way?
- Will you agree to read the Bible daily?
Encourage them to imitate the Bereans and read the Bible every day in order to form solid convictions. It is always a good idea to give them the assignment to review the entire study on their own. Remember, your goal is not just to “go through the studies” with them, but rather to help them develop their own convictions from God’s Word.