Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

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1.1 The Existence of God

“He that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). The object of these studies is to help those who want to come to God, having first believed “that He is”; therefore we will not concern ourselves with the evidence that confirms faith in God’s existence. Examining the intricate structure of our bodies (cf. Ps. 139:14), the evident design in a flower, gazing up into the vastness of space on a clear night, these and countless other careful reflections on life surely make atheism incredible. To believe that there is no God surely requires more faith than to believe He exists. Without God there is no order, purpose or ultimate explanation in the universe, and this will therefore be reflected in the life of the atheist. Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that the majority of human beings admit to a certain degree of belief in a God - even in societies where materialism is the prevailing ‘god’ of people’s lives.

But there is a vast difference between having a vague notion that there is a higher power, and actually being certain of what He is offering in return for faithful service to Him. Heb. 11:6 makes this point, we

“must believe that (God) is


that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”.

Much of the Bible is an account of the history of God’s people Israel; time and again the point is made that their acceptance of God’s existence was not matched by their faith in His promises. They were told by their great leader Moses: “Know therefore...and consider it in your heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. You shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments” (Dt. 4:39,40).

Thus the same point is made - an awareness within us that there is a God does not mean that we are automatically acceptable to God. If we seriously agree that we really do have a creator, we should love Him and “keep therefore his...commandments”. It is the purpose of this series of studies to explain what these commandments are and how to keep them. As we search the Scriptures to do this, we will find that our faith in God’s existence is strengthened.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Likewise, Is. 43:9-12 shows how an understanding of God’s prophecies about the future makes us know “that I am he” (Is. 43:13) - i.e. that God’s name ‘I am that I am’ is perfectly true (Ex. 3:14). The apostle Paul came to a town called Berea, now in Northern Greece. As usual, he preached the gospel (‘good news’) of God; but instead of the people just accepting Paul’s word for it, “they received the word (of God, not Paul) with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed” (Acts 17:11,12). Their belief was due to their open-minded, regular (“daily”) and systematic (“those things”) searching through the Bible. The gaining of a true faith was therefore not due to God suddenly giving them it by some kind of spiritual heart surgery, unrelated to God’s word. So how can people of the world who walk into an Evangelical crusade or Pentecostal revival meeting walk out again as ‘believers’? How much daily searching of Scripture has gone on in these cases? This lack of a truly Bible-based faith doubtless accounts for the hollowness which many such ‘converts’ find in their later Christian experience, and why so many turn away from the evangelical movement.

The purpose of this course of study is to provide a framework for your own systematic searching of Scripture, so that you too may “therefore” believe. The connection between hearing the true Gospel and having a true faith is often highlighted in the record of the Gospel’s preaching.

§           “Many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptised” (Acts 18:8)

§         People “hear the word of the Gospel and believe” (Acts 15:7)

§           “So we preach, and so you believed” (1 Cor. 15:11)

§          The “seed” in the parable of the sower is the word of God (Lk.8:11). In that of the mustard tree it is faith (Lk. 17:6). Therefore faith comes from accepting “the word of faith” (Rom.10:8) or “words of faith and good doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:6), into a heart that is open to belief in God and His word (Gal. 2:2 cf. Heb. 4:2)

§       The apostle John says of the written record of our Lord’s life that “he says. the truth, so that you might believe” (Jn. 19:35). And so God’s word is called “truth” (Jn. 17:17) - that we might believe.

The Unity Of God

There is really repeated Biblical emphasis upon the unity of God, that Yahweh God of Israel, "the Father", is the one and only God: "Listen, Israel: Yahweh our God is the one, the only Yahweh" (Dt. 6:4 New Jerusalem Bible). He swears that there will be no God formed after Him (Is. 43:10). The birth and exaltation of His Son, whatever exalted language is used about, was therefore in no way the forming of another God. If the Lord Jesus knew there to have been a trinity, it's somewhat strange that He fails to correct the man who commented: "Teacher, you have truly stated that [God] is one; and there is none else besides Him" (Mk. 12:32). The record presents an aobviously monotheistic Jewish scribe as being in complete agreement with the Lord Jesus about the unity of God. The Lord Jesus evidently supported the Old Testament's strict monotheism. When Jesus speaks of His Father as "the one who alone is God" (Jn. 5:44 NRSV), He is evidently alluding to the classic statement of monotheism in Dt. 6:4- that Yahweh is the one God. And the inspired writers of the New Testament did the same thing. James commented to Jews upon their belief in one God: "You believe that God is one. You do well" (James 2:19). He doesn't seek to correct their monotheism. Why, if the issue was so utterly vital and obvious? Moses had spoken of the future Messiah as being "a prophet like me from among your brothers" (Dt. 18:15)- and both Peter and Stephen apply this to the Lord Jesus (Acts 3:22; 7:37). Neither they nor Moses could surely have used that kind of language if they considered Messiah to be God Himself. David in Ps. 110:1 calls this future Messiah adoni, Lord, rather than adonai, the Lord God. If David understood Messiah to be God, then why this choice of word? And if David didn't think Jesus was God- why should we? And this Psalm 110 is referred to oabout 33 times in the New Testament as proof that the Old Testament prophesied about Jesus! Why didn't the inspired writers "correct" David if indeed he had it so wrong about the nature of Messiah? In passing, I have noted several trinitarian commentaries (e.g. Bullinger's Companion Bible)that carelessly claim that David uses the Hebrew word adonai for "Lord" in Ps. 110:1, thus implying that Messiah would be "Lord God". But David doesn't. Again, the intellectual desperation of trinitarianism is revealed. Quite simply, how come those who were inspired by God to write about the Lord Jesus didn't make it clear that He was God Himself? And why in fact do they stress just the opposite- just consider how Peter preached about "Jesus... a man attested by God... this man" (Acts 2:22,23). And why does Paul speak of "the man Christ Jesus" even after the ascension of Jesus to Heaven (1 Tim. 2:5; Rom. 5:15)? Why do the accounts of the birth of Jesus emphasize the humanity of Mary, speak of the Lord's conception in quite simple terms, and give no hint whatsoever that a pre-existent being was entering a woman, who was to be the mother of God?


Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||