Thursday, May 29, 2008

Marking Your Bibles -- Part 1

I've been taking a break from my regular Bible class teaching for the past 6 months. I plan on starting back up in July. We have a Ladies' Bible class that meets every other Monday night. We typically meet in someone's home and share the teaching duties. This Monday night I will be the teacher. We will be be marking our Bibles so we can teach others easier. Here's what the plan is:

The first topic we're going to mark will be about the authority of the Bible. If you actually look at what all the differences among people that believe the Bible, it boils down to how they establish authority. So, we are first going to assume that the person we are talking to believes in God and has some respect for the scriptures. Hopefully, after going through this series of scriptures, we will have a common ground on which we can discuss other subjects in the Bible. If we don't agree on the authority of the Bible, we'll just be going round and round -- not ever getting anywhere.

The section on authority will be marked with a green ball point pen. Each passage will either be underlined or outlined. The longer passages can be outlined (a green box drawn around the entire passage). Each person will need a straight edge to help draw straight lines. I'm going to be giving them a bookmark with the passages listed. This bookmark should suffice as their straight edge.

We're going to start the study with Genesis 1:1. This is a good place to start because it is easy for the teacher to remember. It also states, from the very beginning, who is in charge. "In the beginning God created...". He was in the beginning and made everything, so He has the only authority. Since we are assuming that the people we're talking to believes in God and has some respect for the Bible, this should be an easy passage for us to find a common ground.

Underline the Genesis 1:1. In the margin write: 1 Corinthians 10:26. Be sure to write small and neatly. Abbreviating is a good idea. This tell us to move on to 1 Cor 10:26. Every passage we go to, there will be another passage written in the margins that will let us know where to go to next.

1 Corinthians 10:26 says, "for 'the earth is the Lord's and all its fullness.'" This is a quote from Psalm 24:1. It says that everything belongs to the Lord. If you'd like to read the rest of Psalm 24 later, it would give you an idea of the context. For now, underline 1 Corinthians 10:26 and write Hebrews 1:1-3 in the margin.

We've established that the world and everything in it belongs to God, so He has the ultimate authority. Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that He has spoken to us through His Son who, in fact, was there in the beginning. Since this passage is 3 verses it would be a good one to outline. In the margins, write Matthew 28:18-20.

This is what we usually refer to as the great commission. Most people start quoting it at verse 19. Back up to verse 18 and Jesus says, "All authority has been give to Me in heaven and on earth". Who gave Jesus the authority? God. How much authority was He given? All. God has given ALL authority to Jesus. Underline or outline the passage and write Ephesians 1:20-23 in the margin.

This passage starts in the middle of a sentence. If you want to read the whole sentence, you'll have to back up to verse 15. Paul is giving thanks for the Christians in Ephesus. During this thanksgiving he states a great truth -- that God put all things under Jesus' feet and made Him head over all things to the church. Matthew 28 says that Jesus has been giving ALL authority and Ephesians 1 says that all things have been put under His feet and He is the head of the church. Again, Jesus is our authority. Outline or underline the passage and write Colossians 1:18 in the margin.

Paul tells the Christians in Colossae that Christ is head of the body, the church and that Christ has the preeminence. Preeminence means dominant or superior to. So Jesus is superior to everyone. He has all authority and He is the head of the church. Underline the verse and write John 13:20 in the margin.

This is all I can do at the moment. I have music lessons starting in a little while. I'll try to finish it either tonight or tomorrow. We just covered the first 6 verses in the series. There are a total of 30 that we will be marking in our study of authority. I hope to cover at least half of them Monday night.

It's important, when studying with someone, that they have a copy of the Bible in front of them. They need to turn to the passage and read it for themselves. If they need help finding the passage, this should be done without making them feel like dumb. Just simply turn to the passage for them. Either have them read the passage aloud or have them follow along as you read. It's important that the see it for themselves.