Introduction: 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!

  1. Bible Authority

    1. Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17. What authority does Paul tell
      Timothy is contained in the Bible? (He says the Bible is

      1. What is the benefit of Bible study? (It will make us
        wise and teach us about righteousness.)

      2. Let’s consider this “God-breathed” idea. What do we
        know about God’s breath?(Read 2 Peter 3:5-7. God’s
        breath, formed into words, has the power to both
        create and destroy our world.)

      3. Read Genesis 2:7. If God’s breath both created us and
        the universe, and has the power to destroy us and the
        universe, how seriously should we take the power of
        God’s word?

    2. Read John 1:1. Who is this “Word” of God? ( John 1:14
      explains that this is Jesus, who became human and lived
      with us.)

      1. The fact that Jesus is called the “Word” suggests
        what about His power and authority?

        1. What does it suggest about the accuracy of what
          Jesus said while here on earth?

    3. Read Mark 10:6. What is Jesus’ view of the literal
      Creation account as opposed to the evolutionary theory?
      (Jesus says God created men and women, and He did so “at
      the beginning of creation.” This is in contrast to
      evolution which has humans coming at the end of the

    4. Read Matthew 24:37-41. What is Jesus’ view of a literal
      flood? (Jesus not only refers to a literal flood, He uses
      it to illustrate a literal Second Coming and a literal
      judgment! Talk about blowing a huge hole in the theories
      of the metaphor crowd – who are as uncertain about a final
      judgment as they are about a literal flood.)

    5. Read Matthew 12:39-40. What is Jesus’ view of that
      “obviously impossible” fish swallowing a guy story? (Jesus
      indicates it is literally true because He says that in the
      future He will be in the grave three days.)

    6. If Jesus, the Word of God, both believed and taught a
      literal creation, a literal flood, and a literal Jonah and
      the fish story, where does that leave those “scholars” who
      believe none of this was literal? (It leaves them without
      the power of God. It leaves them with their own power.)

    7. What about you? If you believe in Jesus, will you take the
      Bible accounts literally?

      1. If the Bible is “God-breathed,” and God’s word can
        create and destroy this world and everything in it,
        what authority and power to you bring to the table to
        say that some of God’s word is not true or

  2. What Constitutes the Authoritative Bible?

    1. Read 2 Peter 3:14-16. How does Peter say that Paul wrote
      his letters? (With the wisdom of God.)

      1. How does Peter characterize Paul’s letters? (As

        1. Are Paul’s letters on the same level with the
          Old Testament? (Yes. Two things. First, Peter
          refers to “other Scriptures,” thus ranking
          Paul’s writings with other sections of the
          Bible. Second, A Commentary, Critical and
          Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments,
          points out that in the 50 places this term
          appears, it always refers to the Old or New
          Testament writings.)

      2. What is the danger of misunderstanding Paul’s
        writings? (Understanding Scripture properly is
        important to having eternal life.)

    2. Who decides what inspired letters (like Paul’s) or other
      statements of prophets become part of the Bible? Should
      the Bible be considered the same as, or superior to, the
      visions, statements and dreams of those prophets whose
      writings are not part of the Bible? (These questions are
      just to get you thinking. The historical/theological
      answer to this question is beyond the scope of this short
      study. However, we turn next to the beginning of this kind
      of discussion.)

  3. Prophets and The Bible

    1. Joel 2:28-29. What is the source of the prophesies, dreams
      and visions of these people? (The Holy Spirit.)

      1. How do these things compare with the writings of
        Paul? Is there a difference between what is accepted
        as “Scripture,” and the inspiration of the Holy
        Spirit today (or a hundred or five hundred years

    2. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. Would you test the Bible?
      (If we accept the Bible as God’s word, according to our
      prior discussion, we have no authority to “test” it.)

        1. How does this text say we should approach
          prophecy? What does it mean to “test” a
          prophecy? (The first statement is that we should
          approach what may be prophecy seriously. We
          should then “test,” it in some unspecified way.
          After we test it, we hold onto what is good.)

    3. Read 1 John 4:1-3. What test of prophecy do we find here?
      (Whether “the spirit” acknowledges Jesus.)

    4. Read Deuteronomy 13:1-3. What is the test stated in this
      Old Testament text? Is it whether the prophet is
      accurate? (No. It is whether the prophet leads you towards
      or away from God. This seems to be the same test as we
      read in 1 John 4:1-3.)

    5. Read Deuteronomy 18:20-22. What test of prophecy is given
      here? (Whether the prophecy comes true.)

      1. Does this contradict Deuteronomy 13:1-3? (This adds a
        second part to the test. A true prophet will always
        lead us to God and will, when giving a message about
        the future, always be right.)

    6. Are you comfortable with the idea that you accept the
      Bible as without error, but you are required to test

      1. If you fully accept an “outside the Bible prophet,”
        are the words of that prophet as binding as
        Scripture? (This is a topic about which we will study
        more this quarter.)

  4. Conflict Between the Testaments?

    1. Read Exodus 21:23-25, Leviticus 24:19-20 and Deuteronomy
      19:16-21. What would you conclude is the Biblical standard
      to be applied to anyone who harms you?

    2. Read Matthew 5:38. This is Jesus speaking. Where are the
      people likely to have heard an “eye for an eye, and a
      tooth for a tooth?” (They would have likely read it in the

    3. Let’s read on. Read Matthew 5:39-42. How can you explain
      this apparent conflict between Jesus and the Old
      Testament? How can both be true?

      1. If Jesus contradicts the Old Testament, doesn’t that
        ruin everything we have learned so far – that the
        Bible is inspired by God and without error?

      2. Read Leviticus 19:18. How can you reconcile this with
        Leviticus 24:19-20? (This is where we are called to
        be students of the Bible. If you study the context of
        Exodus 21:23-25, Leviticus 24:19-20 and Deuteronomy
        19:16-21, you will see that these are all
        instructions for judges and community leaders in
        making judgments on cases before them. The common
        teaching of the Bible is that when it comes to
        personal offenses, we are not to seek revenge. But,
        when it comes to the state (or community) deciding on
        criminal matters, then “payback” is God’s standard.)

    4. Friend, the Bible has power for your life! Will you commit
      to studying your Bible? As we progress through this series
      of studies, we will look in more detail at the issues we
      have begun to explore.

  1. Next week: Bible Prophecy Fulfilled.