A Summary of Christian Doctrine
An Adult Bible Study on the Basics of the Christian Faith
Lesson 1 — God and His Word
Opening Prayer and Introduction
How do we know that God exists?
Psalm 19: 1
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."*
Romans 1: 19-20
"since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.20. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
Romans 2: 15
"since they show the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them."
All people know by nature that there is a God (natural knowledge) and the universe and creation tell us much about Him:
Romans 1: 20 (see above)
Psalm 104: 24
"How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures."
Acts 14: 17
"Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons: he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy."
Romans 1: 32
"Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."
But the primary purpose of this natural knowledge of God is to move us to seek after Him:
Act 17: 26-27
"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth: and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him, and find him though he is not far from each one of us."
The natural knowledge of God is not sufficient because it does not reveal who the true God is and how people can escape the perfect judgement of God and enter heaven. Since this natural knowledge is insufficient, God has revealed Himself to us in His Word:
3. The Bible (revealed knowledge)
John 17: 3
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
I Corinthians 2: 9-13
"However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him' — 10. But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.13. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught us by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words."
What is the Bible?
I Thessalonians 2: 13
"And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe."
Hebrews 1: 1-2
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers 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 he made the universe."
Who wrote the Bible?
II Peter 1: 21
"For prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
I Peter 1:10
"Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,"
I Corinthians 2: 13
"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words."
2 Timothy 3: 16
"All Scripture in God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness."
What are some of the qualities of the Bible?
John 17: 17
"Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth."
Psalm 119: 105
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."
II Timothy 3: 15
"and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
How are we to use the Bible?
John 5: 39
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,"
Luke 11: 28
"He replied, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'"
John 14: 23
"Jesus replied, 'If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.'"
How does the Bible say we are saved?
John 3: 16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
*Unless otherwise noted, Bible quotations are taken from the New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.