Introduction: How we approach studying the Bible is critical to a
correct understanding of it. Take our last study on Daniel as an
example. In Daniel 2 we found him interpreting a vision revealing the
basic outline of the whole sweep of history – including the end of
the world! Many recent commentators assert that Daniel did not write
this during the time of the Babylonian empire, but rather during the
time of the Roman empire. While I’m no expert on their reasons, they
acknowledge that Daniel accurately describes history up to the time
of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and therefore they argue the book must
have been written then. This makes two assumptions. Daniel’s account
is a fabrication, and God would not (or could not) reveal the future.
This is based on a disbelief in the Bible and the power of God. Let’s
dive into our study of a different approach to the Bible!

  1. Heavenly Origin

    1. Read Deuteronomy 18:18. When sceptics claim that the book
      Daniel must have been written at a later time, what
      problem do they face from this text? (This text says the
      prophet is speaking God’s words. Those who doubt the Bible
      doubt what God has said.)

    2. Read 2 Timothy 3:16. How are those commentators who
      disbelieve Daniel’s statement about when it was written
      involved in a role reversal? (This says that the Bible
      “corrects.” These commentators think they can correct the

    3. Read 2 Peter 1:21. The assumption of the recent
      commentators on Daniel is that human limitations should
      inform their understanding of when it was written. What
      does this text tell us about the limitations of those
      humans who wrote the Bible? (It says human will has
      nothing to do with it. Human limitations are irrelevant.)

  2. Written Text

    1. I’ve been teaching a Sabbath School Bible class from the
      time I was a law school student. Those who showed up at
      church would get the benefit of my preparation and
      teaching – and then it would be gone – retained only in
      memory. About 24 years ago we started posting my lessons
      on the Internet – where I expect they will remain after
      I’ve passed on. What a difference writing and posting in a
      public place makes!

    2. Read Exodus 17:14. What is God’s approach to having His
      words remembered? (To write them down. This is far better
      than a person’s memory.)

    3. Read Exodus 24:12. What did God have in mind with regard
      to remembering the Ten Commandments? (He wrote them in

    4. Read Joshua 24:26-27. Once again, we see a written record,
      this time of the people’s promise to follow the Lord. I
      want to discuss the stone. Didn’t they use stones to make
      idols? What is the purpose of this stone?

      1. Why would Joshua attribute human abilities to this
        stone? (Stones are enduring. Writing down the
        promise, and selecting a stone as a “witness”
        reinforces the idea that our allegiance to God must
        be permanent. The stone was not itself the witness,
        but its presence witnessed (reminded) humans of their
        promise to God.)

  3. Faith

    1. Read Hebrews 11:1-2. This tells us that the “ancients” had
      faith. When you consider that they lived between 800 and a
      almost a thousand years old (Genesis 5), their faith was
      based on what could have been eye-witness reports. Is that
      a different kind of faith then is required of us today?

    2. Read Hebrews 11:3-4. Are we talking about eyewitness
      testimony here? (No. These two verses speak of believing
      what God said.)

      1. Let’s drill down on Hebrews 11:3. What does this tell
        us about the origin of the universe? (It was spoken
        into existence (“God’s command”).)

      2. When we are told that what we see was not made out of
        something that was visible, what does that say about
        the evolutionary theory of origins? (Evolution
        teaches that we come from something similar. We
        changed based on mutation and natural selection.)

      3. If we do not believe what we read in the Bible, for
        example in Genesis 1, what does that say about our
        faith in God? (It says that we do not have faith in
        what God has revealed in the Bible.)

      4. Is it possible to be a Christian and not believe in a
        literal six day “command” creation? (We need to be
        careful to distinguish between Christians who
        disbelieve the Bible and those who have a different
        interpretation of what the Bible says. For example,
        those Christians arguing for a “long day” creation
        turn to Genesis 2:4. If you read it in the KJV or the
        ESV (the NIV masks this), it says “in the day that
        the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” That
        use of the word “day” (Hebrew, “yom”) does not refer
        to a 24-hour period. On the other hand, if the
        language “evening and morning” limit the word day, if
        you accept God’s word as true, this is a 24-hour
        period. I don’t want to get deeper into this, my
        point is simply that we need to distinguish between
        those Christians who reject God’s words and those who
        argue a different interpretation of God’s words.)

    3. Read Hebrews 11:6. What are the two basic components of
      faith? (That God exists and that He interacts with us to
      reward those who “earnestly seek him.”)

      1. What does “earnestly seek” require of us when we read
        the Bible? (We need to study it. We need to invite
        the Holy Spirit to guide our minds.)

  4. Internalizing the Bible

    1. Read John 17:17. What does it mean for us to be
      “sanctified” by God’s words?

    2. Read John 17:19. Jesus says that He sanctifies Himself?
      What can He mean by that? He is perfect. (Jesus took on
      our sins and died on our behalf at the cross. I think
      understanding the truth of who Jesus is and what He did
      for us sanctifies us.)

    3. Read John 17:15. If we practice what God teaches us in the
      Bible, then we will be protected against a lot of evil.
      I’m far from claiming that Christians will not suffer.
      What I am saying is that we will not suffer from self-inflicted problems if we obey God’s handbook for living.)

    4. Read John 8:32. From what does the truth of the Bible set
      us free? (From eternal death. From living a life without
      God. Imagine living without the aid of God’s word and the
      encouragement and guidance of the Holy Spirit.)

    5. Read John 8:34. How does Jesus answer the question about
      our freedom? (He says that we are slaves to sin. We need
      freedom from that.)

    6. Read John 8:35-36. What other aspect of our freedom does
      Jesus explain? (We become sons and daughters of God. We
      join the family of God.)

    7. Friend, will you read and study the Bible through the eyes
      of faith? By doing that you enter into a new world of
      freedom. Why not make that decision right now?

  5. Next week: Jesus and the Apostles’ View of the Bible.