Sabbath School Lesson for March 28-April 30, 2020
Several features make the Holy Scriptures a unique piece of literature. The Bible is different in these ways…
- It is based on a risen Savior, who presents Himself through its pages as the source of life and truth. Thus, making it, and Him, the Living Word. (Sunday)
- It was written by a diverse group of individuals, from different backgrounds, ages, and geographic locations, and yet retains its cohesive message throughout. (Monday)
- It contains multiple Messianic predictions and their fulfillment, as well as numerous prophecies about the future yet to come. (Tuesday)
- It has proven to be a reliable source of historical information, showing a unique progression of events, unlike the cyclical nature of many of the world’s religions today. (Wednesday)
- More than any other book, it has transformed millions of people, enabling men and women to live happier, more productive lives. (Thursday)
Don’t forget, the highlighted Bible verses will link you directly to the text!
There’s also a “print friendly version” offered at the end of the lesson.
Almost every Protestant church today claims to use the Holy Bible as the source for its beliefs and doctrines. Yet, each of them differs in some way in their beliefs, leaving the searcher for truth quite confused as to what exactly they should believe.
The reason for this confusion about Bible truths obviously must lie partly in how the various churches interpret God’s word. This quarter (April, May, and June) we will attempt to uncover sound principles for interpreting Scripture and investigate how this impacts our understanding of the God we serve.
During this study, we will uncover some basic ground rules that will make our Bible study a more rewarding experience, showing us more fully than ever what God’s will is for our lives, this planet, and the universe.
Key Verse to study and memorize: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 NKJV
Hymn for the Week: “Give Me the Bible”, page 272 in our church hymnal
No one appreciates a flashlight more than when we are plunged in sudden darkness during a storm, and no light can be found, causing us to stumble helplessly through the rooms of our house. In the same way, without God’s light, shed from the pages of His Holy Word, we too can’t help but stumble and fall in our feeble efforts to make it from one life passage to another.
Let’s find out this week, first of all, what makes the Bible a sensible place to begin our search for light that will dispel the darkness of our human existence.
Sunday: The Living Word of God
Calling the Bible the living Word must sound strange to unbelievers, and even new believers. How can a book be alive? And yet, when Bible study is aided by the Holy Spirit through prayer, there is a sense that life does stream through its pages.
We feel more alive, more conscious of the closeness of our heavenly Father, than ever before. The counsel given and the hope it produces show us how to have a more abundant life now, and eternal life after we die.
Our pasts don’t matter as much, as God shows us how to have all that forgiven–as we are forgiven and as we forgive others. We don’t have to let the past control our future choices. God is there to point the way, much as that flashlight aids us in getting around a dark house.
People treasure a loved one’s last words on earth and find that they often have special meaning for those left behind. How fortunate we are to have Moses’ last words recorded in Deuteronomy 32:45-47. In them, we find a plea for God’s people to keep all the words of the law that were spoken to them by God and to pass them down to their children.
Keeping that law through faith and love for God would ensure them of enjoying life to the fullest, both now and forevermore. For them, the living Word would become their source of life.
We, too, must cling to the will of God, as expressed in all His holy words and commandments. The law will be set in our hearts, just as God and Moses intended it to be.
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
- What’s the difference in reading the Bible and setting our hearts on all the words?
- Why is observing the law, and teaching them to our children, never a wasted or futile thing to do?
John 1:1-5, 14, 3:19, and Genesis 1:1-3
- Why do you suppose light was the first thing created by God?
- How was His word used to create life?
- How do these verses indicate the role of Jesus as the Word of God?
- How does the Bible continue to sustain life, both now and eternally?
- Why do men love darkness and have a hard time comprehending God’s light?
- Can our love of darkness be one of the causes for our not comprehending God’s word, and how can we avoid that from happening?
John 14:1-6 and 1 Peter 1:22-23
- How does the Bible show us the way to Jesus and eternal life?
- What truths and life will we find in reading God’s word?
- How does Peter confirm the Bible as the living word, and in what way is it alive?
Monday: Who wrote the Bible, and Where?
A study of the men and women who were chosen by God to write His words and represent Him to the world indicate a list of people with varied backgrounds and occupations.
They obviously had different abilities and personalities as well, something that astounds the reader of the 66 books within the Bible. Its overall, cohesive message seems to be one added evidence for our belief in the divine origin of its pages.
It becomes abundantly clear to us that the authors of the Bible were called by God, and then inspired by God to give hope to a dying world. God did this by inspiring men, not necessarily dictating to them the exact words to record (2 Peter 1:21).
This was a fortunate choice of communication for us, as it gives us ample opportunity to see God’s will in the eyes of many different followers of God, in languages we can understand.
In addition, there are hundreds of specific geographic locations mentioned throughout the Bible. These include the specific names of mountains, seas, deserts, and wildernesses.
This sets it uniquely apart from similar holy writings. The Quran, used by the Muslim world, for instance, contains fewer geographical references than those found in the first twenty chapters of Genesis alone. These kinds of detailed references naturally cause the Bible to have a greater ring of truth for its readers.
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
Matthew 9:9, Amos 7:14, 15, Jeremiah 1:6, 7, and Philippians 3:5, 6
- What line of work did Matthew leave to become a disciple of Jesus?
- Why did Amos feel incompetent to be a prophet of God?
- Of what value are all our youth (like Jeremiah) in the church?
- Why doesn’t it matter how much we have sinned (consider Paul’s background), when God calls us to His work?
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 and Romans 15:4
- How much of the Bible is inspired, and why is that important?
- What reasons should we have for studying the Bible? What does it accomplish for us?
John 6:30-35, 38-40
- What significance was there for Jesus to be born in the town of Bethlehem, which means “the house of bread”?
- Why is Jesus considered the Bread of Life?
- How can we receive this Bread from heaven?
Tuesday: The Bible as Prophecy
Certainly, the many fulfilled prophecies in the Bible must be seen as a test of its reliability. Most don’t realize that almost one-third of the content of this piece of literature is prophetic in nature.
God, in His mercy, doesn’t want humanity to feel He has deserted us, even in our darkest hours. Therefore, He makes every effort to inform us of future events, encouraging us to prepare for the battles ahead (Amos 3:7).
And, have no doubt, there will be battles, both physical and spiritual, for all of us, whether corporately or individually. Our only real protection is the relationship we have forged with our Creator. Part of that protection includes studying the word of God and observing the laws He has prescribed for our survival on this planet. See Ephesians 6:11, 17, 18.
The prophecies most prevalent in the Bible revolve around the Messiah. Predictions about our Savior include at least 65 in the Old Testament, and are fulfilled 100% in the life of Jesus Christ. How can this not increase our faith in the Scriptures?
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
Amos 3:7 and John 15:15
- Why does God use prophecy to speak to us?
- What effect does prophecy have on our relationship with God?
- Why aren’t all people interested in understanding Bible prophecy, and how can we lovingly show them how to understand it more fully?
Psalm 22:16-18 and Isaiah 53:5-7
- How do these and so many other Messianic predictions confirm our faith in Jesus Christ as our Messiah?
- Why were so many of the prophecies centered on the Messiah’s life and resurrection?
- Why is it necessary to know about the Son of God, as opposed to the other members of the godhead?
Matthew 24:1-3, 42-44 and 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
- What prompted the disciples to ask Jesus this question?
- Why is it natural for us to want to know when something will happen in the future?
- Why is it more important to be ready than to know the timing of the Second Coming?
- How do we equip ourselves during this “watching” period?
Wednesday: The Bible as History
Archaeologists and historians have always relied on the Bible as a source of information for their studies. Although every detail hasn’t been corroborated fully, and there appear to be discrepancies in some of the accounts, most scholars attest to its veracity as a whole, and continue to use it as a reference, worthy of our attention.
One thing that is noticed in the historical recording of events in the Bible is that these events seem to progress in the direction of a certain goal–that of the full restoration of mankind. The plan of salvation centers on the ministry of Jesus Christ, known as the Messiah to Old Testament believers.
His birth, death, and resurrection are fully covered, and are seen as the precursor of more to come. Having seen the fulfillment of the first phase of our salvation (alluding to the sacrifices made in the courtyard of the sanctuary), we are then made ready for the next phase.
The next phase is growing our relationship with our God through Bible study, witnessing, and prayer (symbolic of the furnishings found in the Holy Place of the sanctuary–the table of showbread, lampstand, and altar of incense).
The final stage of salvation involve these last days. These relate to the Most Holy Place, where God’s presence is felt most fully. The judgment is underway, as we await the Second Coming of our Lord. Total freedom from Satan’s cruel reign on earth is just around the corner.
Other world religions, with their emphasis on the cycles of life, can’t come close to the final ending God presents in the pages of His word.
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
Isaiah 53:7, John 1:29, and 1 Thessalonians 4:14
- What does the lamb’s silence indicate about God’s character?
- What was the purpose of the Lamb, in coming in human flesh to our world?
- Why is believing in the historical fact of Jesus’ death and resurrection important to our faith and salvation?
Exodus 16:4, 5, Mark 8:4-6, Matthew 4:4, and John 6:35
- What is the symbolic meaning of bread?
- What other examples can you think of that use bread to point out something important about God and our salvation?
- How do these historical accounts help explain the symbolism found elsewhere in Scripture?
1 Corinthians 15:20 and Acts 1:9-11
- How does Christ’s resurrection, witnessed by so many, bring us faith in our own resurrection someday?
- What historical event gives us faith in the Second Coming of Jesus?
Thursday: The Transforming Power of the Word
Having seen the miraculous way the Bible was written by so many diverse authors, combined with the unmatched way it outlines historical and prophetical events, we are left with one last observation that confirms our faith in God’s Living Word.
Perhaps the greatest reason for believing in the teachings of the Bible would be the way it has transformed lives. Not just a few lives, but millions, have been able to experience renewed strength and peace by reading its pages. By revealing our ineffective, faulty human nature, we are given hope that a Savior can restore us to what God intended for us at Creation.
The writers of the Bible themselves understood the principles for interpreting the Word, and we, too, must search for ways to understand God’s will through the pages of His writings, the Bible.
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
2 Kings 22:11-13, 18-20 and Psalm 51:17
- Why did King Josiah tear his clothes when High Priest Hilkiah read the law of God to him?
- What kind of heart is required to heal our relationship with God?
John 16:13, 17:17 and 14:6
- What are some of the things we learn from the Holy Spirit through reading His word?
- How does the Holy Spirit work through us, when we study the Bible, and what part does prayer have in our learning?
- How closely do all three members of the godhead work, when it comes to our sanctification?
Friday: What we have learned this week
- On Sunday, we discovered why the Bible is considered the Living Word. First and formost, it was inspired by God’s Son, known as the “word made flesh” (John 1:14). He calls Himself the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). The truths found in the Bible show us the way to live that will get us to heaven, our eternal destination.
- On Monday, we were reminded that God’s word is a totally unmatched piece of literature–written by multiple authors from different backgrounds and time periods. Remarkably though, it continues to be a lifelong textbook for readers all over the world, just as it has been for centuries now. It is the most widely translated and read book known to man. We cannot ignore its popular, worldwide appeal and, thus, its likely divine origin.
- On Tuesday, we saw that one third of the Bible is prophetic. Most, if not all, of these prophecies focus on the Messiah, both His first coming as a babe in Bethlehem, and also, His second coming in the clouds of heaven, which we know is soon. Understanding Bible prophecy is a key way to know God and have faith in His promises to save us to the utmost.
- On Wednesday, we learned that Bible history is trustworthy. Details may differ, just as various eyewitness accounts might, but as a whole, we can rely on its overall accuracy. Its history is revealed for a purpose: to show us the progression of our existence and our final climax, which includes the total removal of sin from our universe. Other philosophies and world religions don’t have nearly the perfect and happy ending that we find in God’s word.
- On Thursday, we agreed that the Bible is a worthy book to study, because of the millions of lives who have been touched and changed for the better by reading it. The Bible is indeed the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), cutting out our stony heart and replacing it with a fleshly one (Ezekiel 36:26, 27).
Next Week’s Lesson: The Origin and Nature of the Bible
To read the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly or see more resources for its study, go to https://www.absg.adventist.org/
Other Outlook blogposts by Teresa Thompson, are at http://outlookmag.org/author/teresathompson/