Introduction: How do you understand the title, “Faith
against all odds?” Is faith a gamble? When a person
considers whether to believe in God, is belief unlikely? If
you understand the title of our lesson in that way, that is not
our study for this week. Instead I believe what Paul wrote
in Romans 1, if you do not believe in God you are not
thinking clearly. Unfortunately, clear thinkers have
historically faced difficulty when living and sharing in a
secular society. Last week we discussed how to share the
gospel with others. This week we turn more fully to the
topic of what we should believe and share. Let’s plunge into
our study of the Bible!

I. The Blessings of Bible Study

A. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. How was the Bible created?
(It was “breathed out by God.”)

1. If you had no Christian background, that is
certainly an odd statement. What do you think
it means? (Read Jeremiah 1:9. This tells us
that God put His words in the mouth of the
Bible writer.)

2. Still looking at 2 Timothy 3:16-17, what good
is it to read and study the Bible? (It equips
us for every good work. It makes us complete.)

a. Do you worry about your competence? Does
this promise us that Bible study will
improve our competence?

B. Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. We learned that God’s words
in the mouth of the Bible writer are connected to
God’s breathing. How does this further explain the
process? (The Holy Spirit inspires humans to give
God’s words. The Holy Spirit is likened to the wind
in John 3:8 and Acts 2:1-4.)

1. Do you think God dictates the words of the
Bible to the Bible writer? (The phrase
“carried along” suggests this is not voice
dictation. When you read the gospels and see
the writers describe the same scene in
different ways, when you observe their unique
style of writing, that contradicts the voice
dictation idea.)

C. Read 2 Peter 1:3-4. We discussed how Bible study
makes us more competent. What else does it do for
us? (We become more like Jesus. Reading the Bible
allows us to “become partakers of the divine
nature.” This is a promise from God.)

D. Read 1 Corinthians 2:6-7. Would you like to own a
real treasure map? Is the Bible like a treasure
map? (Yes! It gives us the “secret and hidden
wisdom of God.”)

E. Read 1 Corinthians 2:8-10. Not only does reading
the Bible make us wiser than the leaders of the
world, what else does it reveal through the Holy
Spirit? (Our destination: heaven!)

F. Read 1 Corinthians 2:11-12. Will the Holy Spirit
reveal to us the thinking of God? (This says,
“yes,” but it also refers to understanding the
things God “freely” gave us. That suggests our
understanding is limited.)

1. Does what we have learned explain why the
Bible is the best-selling book of all time?

II. Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)

A. Read Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18-19. You
may recall that we recently looked at these texts.
How do you understand these two texts with regard
to “Scripture Alone?”

1. Read Joel 2:28-29. These prophets have the
Holy Spirit, the same source as the writers of
the Bible. Should they be limited by
Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18-19?

a. Do the written commandments of God and the
text of the Bible have primacy over the
words of prophets?(I vote, “yes.” Extra-
Biblical prophets are restrained by the
Bible and are not to be considered
additions to the Bible.)

B. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. Why are we told to
test a prophecy? (The Bible did not fall out of
heaven as a complete book. Instead, God’s leaders
determined what writings should be included in the
Bible. This is the process of testing, and that
process (to a more limited degree) should also
apply to those who claim to have a word from God.)

1. How would you test the statements of a
prophet? (One secure test is to compare it to
the Bible. That makes the Bible the test of
the prophet, and not the other way around.)

III. Sharing the Gospel with Integrity

A. Read 2 Corinthians 4:1. What ministry is this text
talking about? (Read 2 Corinthians 3:18. Paul has
been explaining the difficulty for “old covenant”
people to understand the gospel – their hearts are
veiled. Our hearts are not veiled and we are being
transformed by the Holy Spirit.)

1. What, then, is our ministry? (To teach others
to become more like Jesus.)

B. Read 2 Corinthians 4:2. How should we share the
gospel? (First, we act in a completely honest way.
Second, we make an “open statement” of the truth.)

1. What do you think it means to “tamper” with
the Bible? (This reflects Deuteronomy 4:2 –
don’t nullify anything in the Bible and do not
add your own “good ideas” to what the Bible

2. Have you met people who say that their gospel
witness is how they live? How do you react to
that? (I thought that was a weak witness.
Somewhat like expecting someone to read your
mind. Verse two commends a life properly
lived, but it adds an actual statement of the

C. Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. How successful will we be
in sharing the gospel? (We face the problem of
Satan “blinding the minds” of people.)

1. Have you ever wondered why, after you laid out
the gospel in a plain and logical way, those
reading or listening did not accept Jesus?

D. Let’s go back and re-read 2 Corinthians 3:18. Who
is the power behind the change in a person? (The
Holy Spirit. This helps prove that it is the work
of the Holy Spirit to change hearts. Our work is to
live proper lives and share what we believe.)

E. Read John 14:26. Is the Holy Spirit only important
for the heart of the person you are trying to
convert? (No. The Holy Spirit helps us who are
sharing the gospel to understand and remember the
teachings of Jesus.)

F. Read John 16:13-14. We have been hammering on the
topic of not adding to the Bible. What does this
say about the Holy Spirit adding?

1. Why would this be a problem for God? (The
point seems to be a little different. When we
hear from the Holy Spirit we know it is God’s
word. That is a way to distinguish what our
spirit urges us to do from the urging of the
Holy Spirit.)

G. Read John 7:18. What would motivate someone to add
to what the Bible requires? (Pride.)

1. Recall earlier we discussed in the context of
2 Corinthians 4:2 the need for complete
honesty? Is someone who adds “good ideas” and
passes them off as God’s requirement
dishonest? (My original reaction to those
adding good ideas was that they were trying to
do the right thing. This suggests dishonesty
due to the pride factor.)

IV. Sola Fide (Faith Alone) and Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)

A. You might wonder why I include Latin phrases in
this study when my normal goal is to write in an
understandable way. What separates the teachings
of the reformers from historic Catholic teaching is
five “solas” which mean “only.” They are Scripture
alone, Christ alone, faith alone, grace alone, and
glory to God alone. At least three of them fit our
study this week.

B. Read Ephesians 2:1-3. What is the natural condition
of humans? (We are lost – “children of wrath.”)

C. Read Ephesians 2:4-6. What saved us? (God’s great
mercy and love as demonstrated in what Jesus did
for us.)

1. What was our condition when Jesus saved us?
(Dead in our trespasses. This shows that our
works cannot save us. Jesus saved sinners.)

D. Read Ephesians 2:7. What is in store for us in
coming ages? (Heaven. What joy!)

E. Friend, will you believe and share this message?
Why not commit to that right now?

V. Next week: The Two Witnesses.

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail,
but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.