Prayer. ďSpirit of God, let me grasp the different parts of your Word, so I can help your flock apply it wisely.Ē
A. Facts about the Bible.
∑ The Bible is Godís message in two main parts. The first part, the Old Testament; has 39 books written in Hebrew and Aramaic (ancient Syrian, similar to Hebrew). The New Testament has 27 books written in Greek.
∑ The Old Testament prepared the Israelites for Jesusí coming. It taught them basic spiritual concepts and showed them that they cannot obey Godís holy law by their own effort.
∑ The New Testament records Jesusí life and deeds, and the deeds of His first followers.
B. Types of literature in both the Old and New Testaments
Basis of Godís covenants. Beginning of the world, history of the ancient patriarchs and Godís ancient law. 5 books of Moses, Genesis to Deuteronomy.
∑ Historical. Stories from the ancient nation of Israel. 12 books, Joshua to Esther.
∑ Devotional and Instructional. Hebrew poetry. 5 books: Job to Song of Solomon.
∑ Prophetic. Old Testament literary prophets. 17 books: Isaiah to Malachi.
Find in Numbers 12:6Ė8 how God spoke to Moses.
Find in Deuteronomy 34:10 how God compared Moses to the other prophets.
Find in John 1:17 how God compared Moses to Jesus. Moses was the greatest Old Testament prophet. The other writing prophets mainly explained and applied Mosesí laws.
Basis of the New Covenant. The work and teaching of Jesus, 4 books: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
∑ Historical. The apostolic mission and congregations, 1 book: Acts of the Apostles.
∑ Devotional and Instructional. 21 books: Letters to new congregations and leaders, Romans to Jude.
∑ Prophetic. The Apostle Johnís visions, 1 book: Revelation.
Ďcovenantsí have guided Godís dealings
with us humans.
1) The Covenant of self-rule by oneís conscience, made with Adam, from Adam to Abraham, Gen. 1 through 12.
Origin. God told the first man he would die if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan told the lie of false religions, ďYou will not die, but will be like GodĒ Gen. 2:16-17 & 3:5.
Results. After Adam disobeyed, people knew good and evil. In every age throughout both the Old and New Testaments Satan urges people to reach perfection by human efforts, so they will die, be judged and perish.
∑ God has always saved people who trust Him, like Abel who offered an innocent victim as a blood sacrifice.
∑ After the flood, God decreed human government, telling humans to punish murderers with death, Gen. 9:6.
Find in Genesis 2:16Ė17 what
God said would happen, if Adam disobeyed.
2) The Covenant of grace through faith, made with Abraham, Genesis 12 goes through the rest of the Bible.
Origin. Abraham believed Godís promise and God counted his faith as righteousness, Gen. 12:1Ė3 and Gen. 15:1Ė6.
Results. God blesses people in all nations through Abrahamís descendant, Jesus.
∑ All that follows in the Bible, to its end, is in fulfillment of this promise.
∑ Both the Old and New Testaments are based upon Godís covenant with Abraham.
the Old and New Testaments, God has saved the faithful by His
3) Old Testament rule by law, Exodus 20 through the rest of the Old Testament.
Origin. God gave the Old Testament law to the nation of Israel, through Moses, on Mount Sinai.
Results. No person except Jesus ever fully obeyed the Old Testament laws. Sin brought death, not eternal life. The Law of Moses promised only earthly, temporary rewards. It teaches people their need to be forgiven.
∑ God miraculously led the Israelite slaves out of Egypt, thus forming a new nation redeemed by God.
∑ The newly freed nation was wandering in the desert and needed laws for good government, Exodus 18ó20.
4) The Covenant of the coming Messiah, made with David, 2 Samuel 7:8Ė17.
Origin. God promised King David that one of his descendants would rule the nations forever with justice. The word ĎMessiahí means the One who was anointed; Jesus was anointed with Godís Holy Spirit.
Result. Jesus, the anointed descendant of David, fulfilled perfectly all the covenants in both the Old and New Testaments. The Bible mentions Jesus and David more than it mentions any other persons.
Find in Isaiah 9:6Ė7 with whose throne God would establish His eternal kingdom. (God revealed this to Isaiah hundreds of years after David and hundreds of years before Christ).
in Matt. 3:16Ė17 what
disciples witnessed that proved that Jesus was a very special person
5) The New Covenant, a perfect, eternal Kingdom, predicted by Jeremiah, made with all believers, all New Testament books.
Origin. Jesus formally announced the New Covenant when He instituted the Lordís Supper. Jesus established it by dying, rising from the dead, ascending to the Father, and sending the Holy Spirit to live in us.
Results. Everyone who repents and believes in Christ is Ďborn againí into Godís eternal Kingdom. Believers become members of Christís universal, mystical Body. They are forgiven because of Jesusí shed blood. They receive new, holy, eternal life by sharing in His resurrection.
Find in Jeremiah 31:31Ė34 how Godís people would be guided by the New Covenant.
Find in Jeremiah 36 how God used men and events to record His Word.
∑ Visit any believers who do not yet read the Bible daily and pray with their families, to do it with them and help them to begin daily, family devotions.
∑ If the Bible is not yet translated into the language, or people cannot read, then visit them and help them to learn Bible stories that they can repeat to their families and friends.
Tell or act out the story of Jeremiahís scroll from Jeremiah 36.
Explain the five covenants, their origins, results and main ideas.
Ask the Children to present the poem, drama and questions that they have prepared.
To introduce the Lordís Supper, explain how, starting with Adam and Eve, through the entire Bible, God demands the blood of an innocent victim to cover sin. We believers recall this basic spiritual truth whenever we participate in the body and blood of Christ by the Lordís Supper, 1 Corinthians 10:16.
Announce planned activities.
Pray in groups of 2 or 3.
Memorize 2 Timothy 2:15, about correctly using Godís Word.\