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Lesson #02


Bible Perspectives: How to Study the Bible for Yourself – Part II
Lesson #02
The Love Letter and The Measuring Stick

  • Class Lesson: Introduction to the Bible and Canonicity
    • The Bible, God’s love letter, was written by about 40 different authors and covers about 1,500 years from 1500 BC to 100 AD.
      • The Old Testament was written in Hebrew except for the books of Ezra and Daniel which were written in Aramaic.
      • The New Testament was written in Greek.
      • The Protestant Bible contains 66 books while the Catholic Bible has 73 books, and the Jewish Scripture has 39 books.
      • The New Testament often quotes the Old Testament. Every book of the Old Testament is quoted in the New Testament except for the books of:
        • Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Song of Solomon
      • There are 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
      • How did the Protestant Bible arrive at 66 books and the Catholic Bible at 73 books?
        • This is what we call “canonicity”.
          • The word “canon” originally came from Greek and means = a measuring instrument or a rule of action.
            • Today “canonicity” means a closed collection of writings inspired by the Holy Spirit to be a standard of authority and held as a rule for our faith and our walk with God.
            • How were the books of the Bible chosen to be part of the canon and when?
              • Believers of the time accepted these books, quoted from them passed them around for reading, and used them in worship services.
              • Periodically church councils decided certain books were acceptable after the fact, and therefore, they placed their seal of acceptability on them.
              • A considerable part of the Old Testament was gathered by Ezra and Nehemiah.
              • By the time of Jesus’ birth, the Old Testament had been formed and canonized.
              • The New Testament, as we know it, was fixed in 367 AD and again in 397 AD.
              • The Old Testament was re-affirmed in the 16th century.
      • The Criteria of Canonicity
        • Why were some books left out of the Bible and others included?
          • They either passed or failed the tests of canonicity.
        • Why did some books not pass the rule of canonicity?
          • There are a variety of reasons, of which the most common reasons are:
            • =1= The book contains a large amount of duplicated material (Esdras1)
            • =2= The book contains historical errors (Judith)
            • =3= The book contains fragmentary parts and / or obvious insertions (Addition to Esther)
            • =4= The authorship is clouded with obvious plagiarism (Letter to Barnabas)
            • =5= The book contains ideas borrowed from other religions of the time (Tobit).
              • In other words, it incorporated pagan practices with Judaism or Christianity.
            • =6= The book contains ideas contrary to what is normally accepted Jewish and Christian doctrine or tradition, such as the Trinity, the coming Messiah, the virgin birth, judgment, the millennium, moral ethics, etc.
            • =7= The book contains the addition of facts after the event (hindsight interpolation).
              • For example: Inserting the name, Jesus, for the word Messiah in a supposedly Old Testament book.
            • =8= The book contains material that is too dependent on other literature of that time.
            • =9= A variety of versions exists that are not consistent one with the other.
            • =10= Popularity for the book died out and was neglected early in church history.
            • =11= The book contains a rambling, repetitious style.
            • =12= The language of the original manuscript is not in Hebrew nor in Aramaic for the Old Testament time period.
            • =13= The book added nothing new to what was already written and accepted.
        • The books not included in the 66 books of the Bible are called, Apocryphal Books”. Some of the Apocryphal books are included in the Catholic Bible. They were included over time in order to gain a foundation for some of the religious practices not found in the 66 books of canonized scripture. The Catholic Bible was firmly established with the apocryphal books at the Council of Trent in 1546 AD.

    • Types of Bible Study Methods
      • #8 Advanced ABC Bible Study
      • –

    Haggai 1

    • This method of Bible Study is used to study an entire book, chapter by chapter. It contains many of the same basic elements of Bible Study that you have already learned.

    • Homework
      • =1= Work on your Daily Spiritual Diary 15 minutes for 6 days this week.
        • Resist the temptation to skip a day or two.
      • =2= Add to your Personal Concordance.
      • =3= Use the Advanced ABC Bible Study Method sheets
        • Day 1 = Read both chapters of Haggai.
        • Day 2 = Read Chapter 1 slowly aloud, and in verse by verse meditation, write down a title on sheet #A.
        • Day 3 = Read Chapter 1 and write the “Application” and the “Basic Passage” on sheet #A.
          • For “Basic Passage”, pick one or two verses that seem to carry the basic message of the chapter.
        • Day 4 = Read Chapter 1. Write sheet #B.
        • Day 5 = Read Chapter 1. Write sheet #C.
          • “Eminent Truth”
            • List topical or doctrinal subjects covered in the chapter. Keep it brief to 1 or 2 words each.
        • Day 6 = Read Chapter 1. Write Sheet #D.
          • “Final Study”
            • Write either an outline or a summary of the chapter recording only what it says and not what it means.

    Homework Sheet #A

    #8 Advanced ABC Bible Study

    Study Passage: Haggai 1 Date:

    Times Read:

    Slowly: ________ Aloud:________ In verse by verse meditation: ________

    Other times: ________ The number of times you spent on the study:



    Basic Passage:

    Homework Sheet #B

    #8 Advanced ABC Bible Study

    Cross References:

    Verse:     Reference:          Key Thought:

    Homework Sheet #C

    #8 Advanced ABC Bible Study


    Verse: Question:

    Eminent Truth:

    Homework Sheet #D

    #8 Advanced ABC Bible Study

    Final Study:













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About Joyce

I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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