by Dr. Augustine Thomas
“Living for Jesus a life that is true, Striving to please Him in all that I do”. So go the words of a famous song. You are taking an exciting journey. You are going to be living with Jesus the rest of your life and where he leads you will be a great adventure. One of the first things you need to do is learn to read your Bible. This is not hard as it is laid out like similarly to any other book. In fact, other books got their formats from the Bible. You may have heard the word “Gospel” before, but perhaps you never really knew what it meant. You may have thought it merely referred to the first four books of the New Testament—-Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Perhaps you thought have heard that old saying, “It’s the gospel truth.” The word “Gospel” comes from a Greek word and actually means “Good News.” It is the good news about God’s love for us. It is the good news about all of the wonderful things He has done for us.
Before we get into this study and see some of the great things God has done for us, we want to learn some things about studying the Bible.
In the front of you your Bible will find a Table of Contents listing all of the books of the Bible and what pages they can be found on.
Turn to the front of your Bible and find the Table of Contents.
Use this to find your way around your Bible until you become familiar with the location of all the various books. If you have a Bible, turn to the Table of Contents at the beginning of your Bible. (If you do not have a Bible, ask someone to get you one. Also, there are versions available on the Internet.
You will notice that there are a lot of books listed. There are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament. A testament, or covenant, is simply the books written before Christ came (Old) and the books written after Christ came (New). Both are the Word of God.
The 39 Old Testament books are:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (the 5 Books of Moses), Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, Second Kings, First Chronicles, Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
Eventually, you may want to remember these in order, though you do not have to do so. One helpful way is to make a sentence using the first letters of each book, such as:
God’s Eternal Love Never Dies.
See? You have just memorized the first five books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The 27 New Testament Books are:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation
You can memorize the first 5 in the same manner:
Many Men Love Jesus Always.
See? You have just memorized the first five books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts.
These 66 books are the only sources of doctrine and faith for the Christian.
Most Christians, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, and others recognize a few more books called the Deuterocanonical Books. Deutero means secondary so these books are of secondary importance. No doctrine is based upon these works. They are good, however, for devotional reading and spiritual development. These 14 books are:
Baruch, Bel and the Dragon (part of Daniel), 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Esther (Greek version), Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, The Prayer of Azariah and The Song of the Three Young Men, The Prayer of Manasseh, Sirach, Suzanna, Tobit, Wisdom of Solomon.
Because these books are not as important as the main 66 books, they are often left out of modern Bibles and published in a separate book.
You will find scripture notations written like this:
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Tim. 3.16; and etc. These simply mean that this reference is to be found in the book of Second Timothy, Chapter Three, Verse Sixteen.
Finally, before you study the Bible, pray to God for understanding. Who is better able to give understanding than the author of the book?
Pray: “ Father in heaven, help me to understand your Word. In Jesus Name, Amen.
For these lessons you will need a Bible, this workbook, and a pen or pencil. Look up the references and write out your answers.
We will learn more about the Bible later. However, you can be sure that the Bible is trustworthy and that it is God’s Word and can therefore believe it. Let’s turn and see what 2 Timothy 3:16 says about the scriptures found in the Bible (use your table of contents).
All Scripture is ______________ and is useful for __________, __________, ___________ and __________________.
Why? (verse 17) ____________________________________________________.
All Scripture, the Bible, is inspired, given by God.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (ESV)
Not only are all scriptures God-breathed (inspired) but Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.” That’s important, isn’t it? Because God’s Word stands forever, we know we are secure in our salvation.
How secure is your salvation? Look up John 10:28-29 _______________________________________________________.
Nothing can take away your salvation or separate you from the love of God (Jesus). But what if you mess up? 1 John 1:9
God is not out to get you. He loves you. If you do persist in your sins as a believer in Christ God will chastise you, be warned, but it is for your good and not your harm. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12.6). If you do mess up and sin, tell God you are sorry and ask Him to forgive you. Then, resolve never to do it again with God’s help. He will forgive you and cleanse you from those sins and put those sins far from you. In Isaiah 1:18 God says, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.”
Pray this prayer: Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus is your Only-begotten Son and that he came here in the flesh and died for me on the cross and was raised alive after three days. I ask that Jesus be completely Lord over every area of my life that I may serve him my whole life long. Teach me the scriptures and give me understanding that I may be changed to be like your Son Jesus Christ. Help me to look to what is ahead, keeping my eyes on Jesus. Help me not to look behind at the past, but to press onward to the good things God has planned for me. Thank you for loving me and forgiving me of the sins I have committed against you, others, and myself. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
Memorize Isaiah 40.8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
This week, practice finding the books of the Bible. Use your table of contents at the beginning of the Bible.