Humanity – From Scripture

Humanity – Who are you? 

Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.”

What does the triple-parallelism in Genesis 1:27 emphasize?

What significance does “male and female he created them” have for us in our current social setting? 

The end of each day of creation ends with the work of God’s hand being labeled “good.” What is the created world finally called after the appearance of humanity? Genesis 1:31

The Crown of Creation

Humanity has been labeled the “crown of creation.”  How do the following verses justify this title for humanity: Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 2:15?

How was the creation of mankind different than the rest of creation? Genesis 2:7-9, 22.

Is human life more valuable than that of the animals? 

The Image of God

What was humanity created in the image of that the rest of creation was not?

Where is the first mention of God’s image found?

Are the words “image” and “likeness” used synonymously? Genesis 1:16

Were both Adam and Eve created in God’s image, or only Adam?  Genesis 2:27, 5:1-2. 

What is the Image of God?

We can make some discernment about the image of God by looking at the unique traits of man when he was created. 

Man was created as an intelligent moral being.  He spoke, made decisions, and displayed an understanding of right and wrong.  (Genesis 2:17, 23) Man was also created to be relational, and even immortal, without death. (Genesis 2:17-18) Does humanity still possess all of these attributes?

God is not sinful and Adam was not created in sin.  In light of this it becomes increasingly apparent that the nature of the divine image is not simply morality, but faultless and sinless morality, pure holiness and righteousness.  Man’s relationship with God and his creation was perfect. 

If one were to conclude that man did not lose the image of God with the first sin, then what is not part of the divine image?

The Loss of God’s Image after the Fall into Sin

After the Fall, in whose image did Adam bear a son? Genesis 5:3.

What does Paul say about the loss of God’s image and its restoration? 1 Corinthians 15:49, Ephesians 4:24, and Colossians 3:10. 

So has God’s image been lost?  What does Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9 indicate? 

Scripture indicates that humanity has lost God’s image and yet at the same time retained God’s image To understand these two apparently contradictory conclusions a distinction must be made between the narrow sense and wide sense of God’s image. 

What is the image of God in the narrow sense?

What is the image of God in the wide sense?

Is being created in the image of God what makes us human? Why?

Human – An intelligent and moral being created in the image of God, consisting of a body and soul, which are united in one complete person. 

Body – Genesis 2:7, Daniel 12:2, Genesis 15:40. 

Soul (Spirit) – Scripture uses soul and spirit in parallel phrases (1 Samuel 1:15, Job 7:11, Isaiah 26:9, and Luke 1:46-47). 

Spirits do not have bodies. (Luke 24:39)

Human souls reside in human bodies.  (1 Corinthians 2:11)

At physical death, the human spirit returns to God and the body returns to the dirt.  (Ecclesiastes 12:7)  

Creation – From Scripture

The following is a Scriptural outline on Creation that largely follows the presentation found in Chapter 5 of Called to Believe: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine, edited by Steven P. Mueller.

All things were created by God out of nothing.

Genesis 1:1-2
– “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Colossians 1:16-17 – “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Hebrews 11:3 – “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

Romans 4:17 – “As it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

God spoke creation into existence through his word.  

Read through Genesis 1.  How often do you find it written, “And God said”? 

John Chapter 1:1-3 – The Word, The Word, The Word, The Word. 

Hebrews 11:3 – “created by the word of God.” 

The Order of Creation

Order was given to that which had first been “without form and void” (Genesis 1:2)

Proverbs 8:22-31 – ““The Lord possessed me [Wisdom] at the beginning of his work,
    the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30     then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.

Isaiah 29:16 – “You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
    “He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
    “He has no understanding”?”

Genesis 2:7 – “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

First Day Light and darkness separatedFourth Day Celestial bodies put in place Sun, moon, stars
Second Day Water and sky separatedFifth Day Fish and Birds created
Third Day Land and water separatedSixth Day Land Animals and Humanity created

The Nature and Condition of Creation at the end of Day 6

What does God see about his Creation in Days 1, 3, 4, and 5? 

What does God see about his Creation at the end of Day 6? 

The parallelism and repeated phrases within Genesis 1 have led some readers to say the Six-Day Creation Account should not be taken literally.  What does the rest of Scripture say?

Old Testament Passages that Affirm the Creation Account

Psalm 121:2 – “My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.”

Zechariah 12:1 – “The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him.”

2 Kings 19:5 – “And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.”

Isaiah 44:24 – “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
    who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who made all things,
    who alone stretched out the heavens,
    who spread out the earth by myself.”

Psalm 33:6 – “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”

Psalm 148:5 – “Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.”

Isaiah 45:18 – For thus says the Lord,
who created the heavens
    (he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
    (he established it;
he did not create it empty,
    he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.”

Nehemiah 9:6
– ““You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.”

Exodus 20:11 – “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Exodus 31:15-17 – “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

New Testament Passages that Affirm the Creation Account

Acts 4:24 – “And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them.”

Acts 14:15 – ““Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.”

Acts 17:24-26 – “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”

Matthew 19:4 – “He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.”

Did God Create in Six Literal Days?

Does day always refer to a 24-hour period in Scripture? 

Hebrews 3:8 – “Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness.” – Is this referring to a single 24-hour day? 

Compare Genesis 1:5 and 2:4. How many different ways is day is used in these two verses within the same book? 

Some say that the days of creation were lengthy ages or epochs.  Supporters of this position point to Genesis 1:14-19.  Why?  They also point to Genesis 2:4. How long is this day?  They also speak about God’s view of time by pointing to Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8. 

There is strong compelling evidence for the 24-hour day in creation:

“God said… and it was…”  Does it seem like a long time?

There was morning and there was evening, the first day.  There was morning and there was evening, the second day.  There was morning, and there was evening, the third day… etc.  What else would Moses have known to be a morning and evening?  Throughout the whole of Scripture when a number is put with a day, the day is referring to a 24-hour period of time. 

Exodus 20:11 – “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Exodus 31:15-17 – “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

What do these verses suggest?  Do they answer the question of why God created in six days? 

Important to Remember When Discussing Length of Yom in Genesis

  1. God created all things out of nothing
  1. He created all things through his spoken Word (except man)
  2. Adam was specially formed from dust and God breathed life into him
  3. Eve came from Adam’s side (one of his ribs)
  4. Man is distinct from the rest of creation and has been made in the image of God.

6. He created all things visible and invisible

7. Creation was “very good” at the end of Day 6

8. God did not create sin, author sin, or decree sin

9. Death of all men, spiritual, physical, and eternal is result of sin

10. God (F, S, and HS) is not created, nor is he made

What teachings of Scripture are impacted if the teachings of Creation are denied, especially through Darwinian models of evolution? 

What does it mean that God rested on the Seventh Day? He rested from ____________.  Yet…

Preserving (Nehemiah 9:6)

Upholding (Hebrews 1:3)

Directing (Jeremiah 10:23)

Working in you (Philippians 2:13)

God’s providence – He works to sustain the created order, working in, with, and through it.  This is ongoing from the start of creation until now and unto Christ’s return. 

The Triune Lord – From Scripture Alone

The Triune Lord

Natural Knowledge is the general revelation of God that is available to all through what God has created.  It reveals that God exists and demonstrates for us his divine attributes. 

Revealed Knowledge is the special revelation of God that reveals that reveals who God is, what he expects of us, and what he has done for us.   This revelation is found in the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth and the words of the Bible. 

From the words of the Bible and through the revelation of God through the person of Jesus of Nazareth, God is revealed to be Triune; in other words, the one true God is Father and Son and the Holy Spirit. 

The Doctrine of the Trinity teaches that there is only one God and he exists in three distinct persons.

There is only one God. 

Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

Isaiah 44:6-9 – “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen.Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

1 Corinthians 8:4 – “There is no God but one.”

But doesn’t the Bible indicate that there are other gods? 

Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other gods before me.”

But what does the Bible say about these other gods? 

Jeremiah 2:11 – “Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.”

Jeremiah 10:5 – “Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.”

1 Corinthians 8:4-6 – “Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”

These so-called gods are no-gods! 

God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

All three persons of the Trinity were revealed in Jesus’ baptism. 

Matthew 3:16-17 – “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

There are three persons, yet only one name in which disciples are baptized. 

Matthew 28:19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The three persons of the Trinity are named together in Paul’s closing benediction to the Church of Corinth. 

2 Corinthians 13:14 – “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

The Father is called God in Scripture.

Ephesians 4:4-6 – “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Romans 1:7 – “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jesus is called God in Scripture.

Romans 9:4-5 – “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”

John 1:1-3, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 5:16-18 – “And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

Colossians 1:15-20 – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

The Holy Spirit is called God in Scripture.

1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19 – “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?… Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”

Acts 5:3-4 – “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”

Summary of the Doctrine of the Trinity

Scripture reveals that there is one God, yet in Scripture we also see that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.  All three persons are equally and fully divine. This teaching is called the Doctrine of the Trinity (three in unity). 

To express the oneness of the Trinity the Church has adopted the language of substance, essence, or nature.  God is one in substance (deity or divinity).  All three persons share in this one divine substance.  Again, each person is equally and fully God. 

To express the threeness of the Trinity the Church has adopted the language of persons.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not different Gods.  Instead they are distinct and separately identifiable individuals each with their own conscious and relational personhood. 

There is one God (one divine substance/essence/nature) in three persons. 

The language can be confusing or complicated to discern at times because God can at times be used to refer to the Trinity and other times be used to refer to the Father. 

Why does this matter?

The one true God is the Triune Lord.  To worship any other God is to worship a false God. 

The one true God is the Triune Lord.  To confess any other God is to speak a lie. 

God has revealed himself as the Triune Lord. To know God is to know the Triune Lord. 

Salvation matters.  The Triune Lord saves people from sin, death, and the Devil.  All three persons of the Trinity work in our salvation.  The Father sent the Son into the World.  The human nature of the Son was conceived by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.  The Father told the Son what to speak and to do during the Son’s earthly ministry.  The Holy Spirit empowered the Son during his earthly ministry.  The Son died for the sins of mankind.  The Father accepted the Son’s sacrifice as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.  All three persons were at work in the resurrection of Jesus.  The Holy Spirit works faith in the hearts of men so that they might believe and receive the benefits of the Son’s saving work. 

The Trinity is necessary in prayer, since we pray to the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Of course, prayers can also be addressed to each person or to all three persons at the same time. 

All three persons are Eternal.

Exodus 3:14 – “God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

Psalm 90:2 – “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

Revelation 22:13 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

All three persons are Omnipotent (All-Powerful).

Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”

Luke 1:37 – “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

All three persons are Omnipresent (Ever-Present).

Jeremiah 23:24 – “Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?”

Psalm 139:7-12 – “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”

All three persons are Omniscient (All-Knowing).

1 John 3:20 – “God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

All three persons are Love. 

1 John 4:8 – “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

All three persons are Good. 

Psalm 92:15 – ““The LORD is upright; He is my Rock, and in Him there is no unrighteousness.”

Mark 10:18 – “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”

How Has God Revealed Himself to Us?

The following is a brief outline of Chapter 2 of Called to Believe: A Brief Introduction to Christian Doctrine, edited by Steven P. Mueller.

How Has God Revealed Himself To Us?

Preliminary Questions:

How does a person come to know God?

If there is a God, can humans know him or know what he is like?

What does God expect of me?

Does God have a plan for me?

Can a person ever be sure that his or her answer is the right one? 

The Biblical Idea of Revelation

God is not hiding and we uncover him or discover him. 

Instead, God searches for us. 

Luke 15 – What is lost?  Who is lost? Who is searching? 

How Does God Make Himself Known To Us? 

Scripture Shows That God Makes Himself Known To Us In Two Ways: Natural Knowledge and Revealed Knowledge. 

Natural Knowledge (General Knowledge)

Psalm 19:11 – “The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

Psalm 148 – The whole chapter speaks to Natural Knowledge.

Psalm 14:1 – “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

Romans 1:18-32 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Romans 2:14-15 – “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” 

Natural Evidence for the Existence of God

  1. Ontological Argument

  2. Cosmological Argument

  3. Teleological Argument

  4. Moral Argument

  5. Experiential Argument

  6. Historical Argument

Natural Knowledge reveals that God exists, but it does not tell us who God is.  It does not lead to a loving relationship with God. 

It leaves us with a guilty conscience (Romans 1:20, 2:15). 

Revealed Knowledge (Special Revelation)

Hebrews 1:1-3 – “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

John 14:1-11 – ““Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

John 17:3-21 – “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

John 20:31 – “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Revealed Knowledge is necessary for us to know who God is and what he has done for us for our salvation.

Reading God’s Word – 4 Principles and 10 Steps

First – What does God’s Word say about reading God’s Word?
Second – What are some proper steps to reading and understanding a Bible passage?

Four Principles for Reading God’s Word

  1. Since the Bible is God’s Word, it must be spiritually discerned. 

    1 Corinthians 2:12-14 – “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
  2.  Pray for wisdom in understanding God’s Word before reading and while reading!

James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” 

 3. All Scripture testifies about Jesus, so seek Jesus in every text you read. 

John 5:39-40 – “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” 

4. Scripture interprets Scripture.

1 Corinthians 14:32 – “The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.”

Ten Steps to Reading and Understanding a Bible Passage

  1. Pray, asking for wisdom and to see Jesus in the passage. 

  2. Biblical and Historical Setting
    • Who wrote it?
    • Who was it written to? 
    • When was it written?
    • Why was it written?
    • What historical people, dates, and places are named in the passage?

  3. Immediate Literary Context
    • What precedes the passage?
    • What comes after the passage?
    • How does the passage fit into this immediate context?
    • What purpose does the passage have within the immediate context?

  4. Historical and Cultural Context
    • What historical events are explicitly or implicitly mentioned in the passage?
    • What social and cultural norms are explicitly or implicitly mentioned in the passage?

  5. Doctrines
    • What doctrines are directly mentioned in the passage?
    • What doctrines are indirectly mentioned in the passage?

  6. Parallel Passages
    • What passages in the Bible contain the same or similar words or phrases?
    • What passages in the Bible mention the same people, places, or events?
    • What passages in the Bible reference the same doctrines?
    • What passages in the Bible are being quoted, referenced, or alluded?

  7. Law Application
    • What commands, demands, or expectations are directly stated in the passage?
    • What commands, demands, or expectation are indirectly implied in the passage?
    • How do those commands, demands, or expectations apply to myself and those in my life? 
    • What consequences for sin are named in this passage?
    • What is stated in this passage about mankind’s sinful condition? 

  8. Gospel Application
    • What blessings and good promises of God are directly stated in the passage?
    • What blessings and good promises of God are indirectly implied in the passage?
    • How do these blessings and good promises of God apply to myself, those in my life, and to all people who have faith in Christ? 

  9. Translations
    • Compare translations of the same passage. 
    • What is similar or the same within all of them? 
    • What is different and can different implications be drawn from these variant translations? 
    • Look at the Greek and Hebrew readings of the passage to see what is happening in the sections of the passage that have variant translations.  Likely that section is difficult to translate into English, either due to words having multiple meanings in Greek and Hebrew or due to a part of speech or method of emphasis within the language that is not readily available in English. 

  10. Word Studies
    • Pick out a few words that seem important or central to the passage and see where else they appear in Scripture and how that word is used throughout the Bible. 
    • Use a Hebrew or Greek interlinear Bible to discover what the key or central words in Greek are and conduct a word study using a lexicon.  See where else in Scripture that word appears and how it is translated differently or the same across the whole of God’s Word. 
    • Does one author use this word in one sense and another author use it in a different sense?  Do these findings given guidance in understanding the meaning and use of the word in the passage at hand? 
    • How was this word used in secular Greek culture and writings?