Tag Archives: Doctrine

Firm Foundations Four (44 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About Unbelievers?

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What Does The Bible Teach About Unbelievers?

The Bible teaches that God has revealed himself to mankind through nature, man’s own conscience, Jesus, and His church. Therefore, man is left without an excuse. Each person is responsible for the revelation that he has. If a person continues to reject the revelation from God, then there is no guarantee he will receive more. If a person never believes in Jesus during his lifetime, the Bible says he will be separated from the presence of God for all eternity.

The Revelation Of God To All Mankind

  • God has revealed Himself to mankind through nature. Nature testifies to the existence of God, and if we seek after God we will find Him.
    Romans 1:20; Deuteronomy 4:29
  • God has given man a conscience, which reveals what is good and bad. The Law of God is written on man’s heart. He knows there is a reason He exists because God has put eternity in his heart.
    Romans 2:15; Ecclesiastes 3:11
  • God sent Jesus into the world to reconcile us to Himself, and then commissioned us (the church) to be ambassadors for Christ, giving us the ministry of reconciliation.
    2 Corinthians 5:18–21

Mankind’s Rejection Of God’s Revelation

  • From the very first man, Adam, to modern man, we chose to sin against God. We rejected Him and His revelation to us. Mankind decided to worship the creation more than their Creator. Therefore, God gave us over to a reprobate mind, which led to evil acts worthy of death.
    Romans 1:21–32
  • Even though man rejected God, God still loved man and wanted to redeem him. He sent Jesus to save them. Jesus is the only means in which those worthy of death can be redeemed. Therefore, those who have yet to believe on Jesus live in a state of being “condemned already”.
    John 3:16–18
  • Mankind is sinful, unrighteous, prideful, and cursed. His deeds are evil and he doesn’t want them to be exposed, so he rejects Jesus (the only one who can take away his sins).
    John 3:19-21; Romans 3:10, 23, 5:12; Galatians 3:10
  • Because mankind lives in this sinful state of rejecting God and His way of salvation, God’s wrath abides on them. But we are very thankful that He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, and gives us chances to be saved.
    John 3:36; 2 Peter 3:9

Understanding What All Of This Means

  • Mankind is so destroyed by sin that we can’t even seek after God, but He has to seek after us. He did this through His Son, Jesus, and if we believe in Him, we will be saved. Romans 3:11; Genesis 3:8–10
  • Mankind is responsible for what is revealed to Him. The creation and conscience of man is enough to acknowledge the existence of God. Accepting this fundamental truth will lead to more knowledge of God and hearing the gospel of Jesus.
  • Mankind is so sinful that if God doesn’t give him a chance to be redeemed, He would still be holy, perfect, and just. He does give us an opportunity to be saved and hasn’t judged us immediately, but has given us a “grace period” to repent and believe.

Answering Tough Questions

  • What if someone doesn’t get saved? They go to hell. They are separated from the presence of God. Ultimately, they will end up in the lake of fire.
  • What if someone never hears the gospel or of Jesus? The situation doesn’t change, they go to hell. There is enough “light” given to every man to accept or reject. Those who accept what they have will be given more. (If never hearing the gospel meant that people would automatically be saved, then we shouldn’t tell anyone about the gospel.)
  • Is there a chance for salvation after death? They Bible presents no opportunity for people to be saved after death. There only hope is to repent and believe in Jesus during their lifetime.
  • What about babies who die and those who are mentally handicapped? The Bible doesn’t speak directly to this issue, but we know that God is good and just. Whatever would be the good and just thing to do in this situation will be done. We can have confidence that God is doing right.
  • What about my family who has already died but weren’t Christian? If they never believed in Jesus, then they are in hell. This is hard to accept and think about. They may have heard the gospel or they may not have heard the gospel. We never know who they met, what they saw or heard during their whole lifetime. Regardless, if they didn’t repent and believe in Jesus during their lifetime, God judged them as sinners for rejecting the light they were given, and they are eternally separated from God.
  • Why does God send people to hell? He sends people to hell because they have sinned, and the price for sin is death and eternal separation from God. They have committed this crime and He has no obligation to save them. The only way to save them was to give His own life, which He did because of love, but they rejected it. God sending people to hell shows He is just, because He is carrying out the punishment for the crime committed.
  • Are you a Christian and are you preaching the gospel? Now is the time to repent and believe in Jesus. Now is the time to preach the gospel to your friends and family. We can’t change the past, we can only change the present and prepare for the future.
    Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8

Review Questions

  • What are the ways God revealed Himself to mankind?
  • How did mankind originally reject God?
  • How did God show love to mankind even though we rejected Him?
  • What happens to those who don’t believe in Jesus?
  • Do you have unbelieving friends and family? What is your responsibility?

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Firm Foundations Four (43 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About False Teachers?

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What Does The Bible Teach About False Teachers?

The Bible teaches that a false christ, prophet, teacher, or cult is any person or religious organization who perverts the gospel of Christ and the Word of God. They change the truth of Scripture by adding to it, taking away from it, or mixing it with error. They attempt to speak in the name of God without having any authority from Him to do so. Today, the only way to know the truth is through the literal interpretation of the Bible and the illumination of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. Therefore, we need to be cautious and alert of the dangers that can be caused by them. We should mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the teachings of the Bible and avoid them.
Romans 16:17; 1 John 2:27

Biblical Description: Characteristics Of False Teachers

  • False teachers are good but vain communicators. They use good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of the simple. They speak with “vain words,” meaning they may approve of a sinful lifestyle or make empty promises. We should not partake in the sinful lifestyle they teach.
    Romans 16:18; Ephesians 5:6–7; 2 Peter 2:18–19
  • False teachers produce evil fruit. Jesus told us that we would know them by their fruit, meaning if their teaching is corrupt and not according to the Bible, it will bear evil fruit. Evil fruit is characterized by unrighteous living and wrong doctrine.
    Matthew 6:16-20
  • False teachers have corrupt intentions. The aim or plan of false teachers is to attack the church and draw away true disciples. They are not simply people with a difference of opinion. The Bible refers to them as “ravenous wolves” or “savage wolves” who are enemies of the flock of God.
    Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29–30
  • False teachers are deceptive. Many false teachers might reside in our midst and look like a Christian in word and deed (sheep’s clothing) for a time, but they will start to twist scripture and speak “perverse things” or “destructive heresies” and then we will know they are false believers.
    2 Peter 2:1; Matthew 24:11; Galatians 2:4

Biblical Difference: Signs Of False Teaching

  • A Different Motive: False teachers have a different motive for preaching the gospel and the two most common ones are self-elevation and greed. They teach that “gain is godliness.” They teach for “filthy lucre’s sake.” We are to withdrawal from this type of teacher.
    2 Peter 2:2-3; Titus 1:10–11; 1 Timothy 6:5; 3 John 9–11
  • A Different Doctrine: False teachers change doctrine that is according to godliness. They call bad good and good bad. Also, there are many deceivers who deny the doctrine of Christ. They deny attributes about Christ that are essential for salvation. Believers should not receive anyone who teaches false doctrine into their house, neither bid them God speed.
    1 Timothy 6:3–4; 2 John 7–11
  • A Different Gospel: False teachers preach a different gospel, usually adding to what Christ has already done. There is only one true gospel—justification through faith in Jesus. Paul says all false preachers of the gospel, no matter who they are, should be accursed.
    Galatians 1:6–9
  • A Different Christ: False teachers will teach that Christ has already returned and will try to get believers to follow after this false Christ. Jesus told us that when a person claims that Jesus secretly came back that we should “believe it not” because when He returns, it will be known by everyone.
    Matthew 24:23–28; Mark 13:21–23

Biblical Discernment: Testing False Teachers & Teaching

  • Believers are told to “believe not every spirit” but to try or test them. There are a lot of false prophets in the world today and we need to test them to see who is really of God. This means that we need to evaluate people and their message according to the Bible to see if their message is truly from the Holy Spirit. We should hold to the good and abstain from the evil.
    1 John 4:1; Ephesians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:21–22
  • Do they have a Biblical view of Jesus? Every person who speaks truth according to the Holy Spirit will speak of Jesus in the same way that the Bible speaks of Him. If they are a false teacher, their description or view of Jesus will be different than what the Bible says. For example, if a person denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh or that He is the reigning Lord, he is not of God.
    1 John 4:2–3; 1 Corinthians 12:3; John 5:39; 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14; Philippians 2:9-13
  • Do they approve or disapprove of worldliness? Because of the Holy Spirit’s work in us we have been changed, and our lives should no longer be characterized by a love for the world (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life), but characterized by resisting sinful desires and be progressively growing in holiness.
    1 John 4:4–5; 2:15–17; James 4:4; Ephesians 2:1–10; Romans 8:5–14; Galatians 5:19–26; 2 Peter 2:10
  • Do they submit to the Bible as their ultimate authority? All true believers recognize that the apostles are from God and submit to their teachings as recorded in the Bible through the work of the Holy Spirit. We have clarity (not confusion) on what is right and wrong. False teachers will often minimize the Bible’s authority or speak of “new revelation” or “new truth” outside the Bible, implying it has greater authority than the Bible.
    1 John 4:6; 2 Peter 1:20–21; 3:16; 1 Corinthians 2:12–16; 2 Peter 1:16-19; Revelation 22:17–19; 2 Timothy 3:13–16
  • Do they love God and others? All true believers will have a love for God and exemplify it through willingly keeping His commandments and loving others. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, believers desire to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind. False teachers exemplify a false love for God, but really are lovers of self and seek to edify themselves.
    1 John 4:7–8, 19-21; 5:2-3; Matthew 22:37; 1 Corinthians 13:4–8; 2 Timothy 3:1–9

Review Questions

  • What defines a false christ, prophet, or teacher?
  • If we know someone is a false teacher, the Bible says we should do what?
  • What are characteristics of a false teacher?
  • What are signs of a false teaching?
  • What are four questions you can ask to see if someone is a false teacher?

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Firm Foundations Four (42 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About Pastors?

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What Does The Bible Teach About Pastors?

The Bible teaches that a pastor is a qualified man who leads a local church in word and deed. The Bible uses the illustration of a shepherd with his flock to help us understand this relationship. The pastor is the shepherd and the church members are the flock. The pastor has the responsibility to lead, love, and care for those whom God has given him.

The Call Of A Pastor

  • All believers are given spiritual gifts to edify the church and have the indwelling Holy Spirit to be a witness to the world. Some men are given the “gift of pastor,” which is often referred to as Jesus “calling” that man to be a full-time vocational minister, such as a pastor or missionary.
    Ephesians 2:10; 4:7-8, 11; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 12:11
  • The call of a pastor then is not God orally telling you what to do, but it is acknowledging and submitting to the gifts that He has enabled you with. Certain men will have an inclination to give their life to God for full-time service. But how can they know for sure? They can recognize “the call” through the following steps: desire, ability, lifestyle, and confirmation.
  • Step 1, Desire: God works in you through the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will and gives you desires to fulfill His plan for your life. In Christ, these new desires might be God calling you to serve Him vocationally. Question: Is there an inner compulsion that is leading you to consider being a pastor?
    1 Timothy 3:1; Philippians 2:13
  • Step 2, Ability: The work of a pastor is the perfecting of the saints. He accomplishes this through preaching and teaching the Bible, leading by example, and watching over, caring for, and serving the saints. Question: Do you have leadership skills, the ability to communicate the Bible, and a compassionate heart to lead God’s people?
    Ephesians 4:11:12; 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17; Titus 1:9; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2-3
  • Step 3, Lifestyle: A pastor must have a lifestyle that is holy and can be imitated by others. No believer is perfect, but He should be striving to live a life that is not characterized by sin but characterized by godly living. Question: Are you living a life that other believers can follow?
    1 Peter 1:15-16
  • Step 4, Confirmation: A pastor’s work and lifestyle must be accepted by a church for him to lead it. Therefore, the judgement of other mature believers can serve as an indicator to whether you have the gift or not. Proverbs encourages us to seek counsel and wisdom from others. Question: Do other believers in the church speak well of you concerning your ministry abilities and lifestyle?
    Acts 16:1-2; Proverbs 11:14; 12:15; 13:10; 15:22
  • If you have an inward desire for full-time ministry, then you should start exercising your abilities in the local church. Allow your pastor to help you develop your abilities and strive to live a life pleasing to God. If you have been called by God, then He will open doors of opportunity for you and you will see fruit as a result. God confirms His call on your life through a process, not just an overwhelming desire.
    Acts 14:6, 15:41, 16:2-3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Corinthians 9:2; 16:8–10The Qualifications Of A Pastor
    1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9
  • Character: Any man that is going to aspire to be a pastor must be a man of godly character. The Bible says that a pastor should be “blameless.” This doesn’t mean that he is perfect, but that he is living a holy life without an area where people can accuse him of wrongdoing.
    1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6, 7
  • Marriage: A pastor must be “the husband of one wife.” This means that if a man is married, it should reflect God’s original intent for marriage at creation, so that his complete devotion to his wife can model a Christian marriage for the church.
    1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6
  • Family: A pastor leads a church like he leads his family, so his family is a good indicator of how he can lead. A man is responsible to lead his family, but he isn’t responsible for their own choices. He must properly discipline his children living in his home, so they are not accused of riotous or unruly living.
    1 Timothy 3:4–5; Titus 1:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 11
  • Conduct: A pastor should be: vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, patient, a lover of good men, just, holy, temperate, have a good report of them which are without; but not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, not a brawler, not covetous, not a novice or prideful, not self-willed, not soon made angry.
    1 Timothy 3:2-3, 6-7; Titus 1:7-8
  • Ability:  A pastor must be apt to teach, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
    1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9

The Ministry Of A Pastor

  • Training: A pastor’s ministry is to “perfect the saints” which means to equip them so that they can do the work of the ministry, which results in the body of Christ being edified. He teaches them through word and deed how to mature in their faith and become all that God wants them to be in Christ.
    Ephesians 4:7–16; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 2 Timothy 2:2
  • Shepherding: A pastor shepherds his flock through teaching and preaching the Word of God, leading them, doing the work because he wants to and not for dishonest gain, and choosing to lead the flock by his own example and not as being lords over them.
    1 Peter 5:1–5
  • Compensation: A pastor who rules well is worthy of a good salary from the church.
    1 Corinthians 9:6–15; 1 Timothy 5:17–18; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Timothy 6:9–11

Review Questions

  • What is the call of a pastor?
  • What are the four steps to recognizing the call?
  • What are the five areas of qualifications for a pastor?
  • What are the three areas of ministry for a pastor?
  • Should a pastor receive a compensation from the church?

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Firm Foundations Four (41 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About Authority?

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What Does The Bible Teach About Authority?

The Bible teaches that authority is hierarchical, meaning there are different ranks and classifications of authority. In this hierarchy, God is the highest authority. All other authorities are under His sovereign rule. As believers, we are called to be responsible in our positions of authority and submissive to those whom God has placed over us.

The Hierarchy Of Authority

  • God has authority over everything because He is the Creator of everything. He has the absolute right, according to His own will, to make decisions, give orders and carry out punishment for disobedience.
    Psalm 24:1; 92:8; 93:1-2; 103:19; Genesis 2:16-17; 3:24
  • God has authority over Jesus, but He gave Jesus all authority in heaven and in earth; therefore, obedience to Jesus’ commands is obedience to God himself.
    1 Corinthians 11:2-3; Matthew 28:18
  • Jesus has authority over man. Man has authority over woman. The husband is called to lovingly lead his wife and she is called to respectfully submit to him. The children are to obey both of their parents until they are old and leave them to start their own family.
    Ephesians 5:22-6:4; 1 Peter 3:1–7; 1 Corinthians 11:7–12
  • Jesus has authority over the church. Men are called by God to lead the church as pastor and deacons. They have authority over the church in spiritual matters.
    Hebrews 13:7, 17; Matthew 16:19
  • Government has authority over its citizens. They are to act as the ministers of God to mankind for good. Their purpose is to encourage good, discourage evil, and use force to accomplish this mandate.
    Romans 13:1-4
  • Mankind has authority over the earth and all the animals. We are to use this position to care for the animals and environment.
    Genesis 1:28, 2:15
  • Employers have authority over their employees. The employees are to be obedient to their employer, and the employer is to lead properly.
    Ephesians 6:5–9; 1 Peter 2:18–25

The Authority Of The Government

  • God has ordained the authority of the government so that mankind will have order and be protected from evildoers and their unjust causes. This means they will seek to preserve human life, property and justice. They are never given permission to do wrong. Therefore, if the government is carrying out the function that God has established for them to do, we who are under their authority should be subject to them. If we resist them, then we are resisting the ordinance of God.
    Romans 13:1-2; Proverbs 21:1
  • God has ordained the use of force by the government. The government has the right to make laws concerning what is right and wrong and its citizens are obliged to obey the law. The government has the right to reward those who do good and punish those who do wrong.
    Romans 13:3-4
  • God has ordained the collection of taxes by the government. Because the government serves in this position of authority, they have the right to justly tax their people so they can have money necessary to fulfill their duty.
    Romans 13:6-7; Matthew 17:24–27; 22:15–22
  • God has ordained the authority of the government to be in accordance to His will. No government is autonomous, but they are all under the sovereign rule of God. No government has the right to make a law that is contrary to the commands of God. Therefore, God is the foundation for knowing what is right and what is wrong, not man.

The Separation Of Church And Government

  • The functions of the church and government are different. The government has been ordained to promote justice and punish evil. The church had been ordained to preach the gospel and be ambassadors of Jesus. Therefore, the government doesn’t have the authority in the affairs of the church, nor should it regulate its spiritual functions.
  • The methods of the church and government are different.  The church does not have the right to use “force” to carry out its mission. This is only the right of governing authorities. The church carries out its mission through the proclamation of the Word and living their life in obedience to it as a witness to all men.

The Believer’s Response To Authority

  • Believers are to submit to the authority that is over them, like they are submitting to the Lord Himself. We are to be servants of God that are full of good works, honoring all men, loving the brotherhood, fearing God, and honoring the king.
    1 Peter 2:11–17; Titus 3:1–7
  • Believers are to obey their governing authorities (even if they are corrupt) because: (1) we will be punished by them if we don’t, and (2) because of conscience sake, we know that we are opposing God’s authority if we don’t obey. There is no perfect government because it is governed by sinful people.
    Romans 13:5
  • Believers do not have to obey the authorities over them if they are commanding them to do something that is contrary to what God has commanded. For example, your authority doesn’t allow you to teach in Jesus name, your boss wants you to be involved in fraud, or your friends and family want you to get an abortion.
    Acts 4:19–20; 5:29

Review Questions

  • Authority in the Bible is what?
  • Who is the ultimate authority over everything?
  • Who has ordained the authority of governments?
  • What is the believer’s response to authority?
  • What should a believer do if they are told to do something contrary to what God said?

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Firm Foundations Four (40 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About Women?

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What Does The Bible Teach About Women?

The Bible teaches that women are beings created by God. Like all mankind, they are in need of salvation and can only be redeemed through repentance and faith in Jesus. Once redeemed, God expects them to live feminine lives according to His Word, obey His will, and glorify Him with their lives.

The High Calling Of Christian Women

  • Equality: Women are created equal with men in the sight of God. This means that the female gender is neither more or less important or valuable. They can equally serve, love, and worship God. They are redeemed in the same way, and in Jesus Christ are one.
    Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2; Galatians 3:27-28
  • Marriage: Christian women should marry if they desire Christian husbands. If they desire to serve the Lord full-time without getting married, they may also do so. An unmarried woman can serve God without distraction. A married woman can also serve God, but must spend time taking care of her husband and children.
    1 Corinthians 7:32-40
  • Character: Christian women should be modest in appearance, demeanor, and behavior. They should not be known for their looks more than they are known for being good to their husbands, working hard, not being idle, managing their household, being compassionate towards the needy, caring for and making preparations for their families, being modest, supporting their husbands, spreading wisdom and kindness in their speech, not being lazy, and fearing the Lord.
    1 Timothy 2:9-10; Proverbs 31:10-31
  • Roles: Christian women should hold the position of submission at home and in the church based on the order of creation. In the church, older women should be treated like mothers and the younger like sisters.
    1 Corinthians 11:3-16; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 5:2
  • Widows: Christian women who are widows should be supported by the church if they are older and known for being faithful to their husbands, raising children, praying, doing good works, being hospitable, serving, and relieving the afflicted. The younger widows shouldn’t be supported, but should remarry, bear children, and guide the house.
    1 Timothy 5:3-16
  • Mentorship: Christian women should live holy lives that glorify God and then teach the younger women how to love their husbands and children, how to keep their home, what kind of demeanor to have, etc., so that people will not mock the Word of God. Young women need to be willing to learn from the older godly generation.
    Titus 2:3-5

The Complementary Roles Of Christian Women

  • Christian women are equal with Christian men but are limited in the kind of positions they can hold because God set a pattern for the roles of man and woman at creation. He created man first to be the leader, and the women second to be the helper. God is the head of Christ. Christ is the head of Man. Man is the head of Woman. This is based on God’s original intent at creation and will not change over time or because of culture.
    1 Timothy 2:13-14; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
  • Christian women are not permitted to hold main positions of teaching and authority over men in the assembly of the church. This limits them from holding the offices of pastor and deacon. They are permitted to serve in equally important, but complementary roles.
    1 Timothy 2:11-14
  • Christian women are not permitted to speak out and publicly judge what is being said by the men in the assembly of the church. Instead, they are to discuss any issues they have with the teaching in the church with their husbands at home.
    1 Corinthians 14:26, 33-37
  • The qualifications assume that the person desirous of the office of pastor or deacon is going to be male and therefore must be male. The authority structure of the home is also reflected in the authority structure of the church.
    1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
  • In the Bible, there are no examples of women teaching the people of God in an assembly like a pastor. For the people of God, there is only a pattern of male teaching and leadership. Also, a study of church history will show this has been the rule and not the exception.
  • What about the women teaching in the Bible? There are examples of women in authority in the Old Testament (government, judge, prophetess), but they are not examples for the authority structure inside the New Testament church. Even the woman prophetess only prophesied privately and not publicly to a congregation. Women are permitted to teach in the proper complementary roles and should be actively discipling others.

The Focus Of Christian Women

  • Christian women should focus on who God created them to be. They shouldn’t focus on what God doesn’t permit them to do, but on what He has permitted them to do. God has amazing plans for your life and is calling you to fulfill your God-given role. You should only do what you were created to do; trying to do otherwise will only cause problems.
  • Remember, different roles indicate different jobs but it doesn’t indicate inferiority. It is similar to the structure we see in the Trinity, all three persons are equal but they have different roles they fulfill. Your unique complimentary role helps display this relationship in the Trinity.
  • A Christian woman should focus on what the Bible says concerning them: She loves God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. She loves, serves, submits, and takes care of her husband. She loves, teaches, cares for, and bears children. She manages, guides, and keeps her home. She is full of good works, good speech, prayer, hospitality, and compassion. She is modest in appearance, demeanor, and behavior. She is a teacher and mentor to the younger generation of Christian women/wives/mothers.

Review Questions

  • Are women equal with men? Why?
  • What are Christian women called to do?
  • What are the limits of Christian women?
  • What is the reason these limits exist?
  • What is an example of this type of authority structure?

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Firm Foundations Four (39 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About Manhood?

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What Does The Bible Teach About Manhood?

The Bible teaches that men are beings created by God. Like all mankind, they are in need of salvation and can only be redeemed through repentance and faith in Jesus. Once redeemed, God expects them to live masculine lives according to His Word, obey His will, and glorify Him with their lives.

The High Calling Of Christian Manhood

  • Equality: Men are created equal with women in the sight of God. This means that the male gender is neither more or less important or valuable. They can equally serve, love, and worship God. They are redeemed in the same way and in Jesus Christ are one.
    Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2; Galatians 3:27-28
  • Marriage: Christian men should marry if they desire Christian wives. If they desire to serve the Lord full-time without getting married, they may also do so. An unmarried man can serve God without distraction. A married man can also serve God but must spend time taking care of his wife and children.
    1 Corinthians 7:32-40
  • Character: Christian men should be holy in demeanor and behavior. They should be known for living holy lives more than being angry and constantly quarreling. Part of living this life is being given to prayer.
    1 Timothy 2:8
  • Roles: Christian men should hold the positions of leadership at home and in the church based on the order of creation. In the church, older men should be treated like fathers and the younger like brothers.
    1 Corinthians 11:3-16; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 5:1
  • Pastors and Deacons: Christian men who meet the qualifications for the position of pastor or deacon can hold that office. Such qualifications set a standard that all Christian men should strive to uphold. The church has the financial responsibility to support the men who hold the position of pastor.
    1 Timothy 2:8; 3:1–13; 5:17–18
  • Mentorship: Christian men should live holy lives that glorify God and then teach the younger men to be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience, so that people will have no evil thing to say. Young men need to be willing to learn from the older, godly generation.
    Titus 2:2, 6-8

The Character Of Christian Manhood

1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-10

  • Christian men strive to be above reproach and respectable. They desire to be men of God that live according to the Bible, have a good reputation with everyone around them, so that their life can be emulated.
    Proverbs 22:1; Ecclesiastes 7:1
  • Christian men strive to be sexually moral. They desire to avoid all sexual sin (adultery, fornication, lust, porn). This means they will be faithful to their wives and their sexual needs will only be fulfilled by them.
    Matthew 5:27-28; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
  • Christian men strive to be vigilant, prudent, and disciplined. They are not double minded but wise, humble, and discerning. They are men of faith, hope, and love.
    James 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Romans 12:3; Philippians 2:3–4; 2 Timothy 1:7–8
  • Christian men strive to be gentle, peaceable, and just. They are loving and kind. They don’t thrive on being divisive but stand firm against injustices and don’t coward away.
    Ephesians 4:1–3; 4:14–16; Galatians 2:11-14; Proverbs 28:1
  • Christian men strive to be holy. They love what is good, think about what is good and enjoy being around other good men. They don’t enjoy crude jokes, entertainment, and activities.
    Philippians 4:8; 1 Peter 1:16
  • Christian men strive not to be addicted to any alcohol or substance, not to be self-willed, not to be controlled by their emotions (that leads to easily being angered), and not to be someone who abuses others through violence.
    Ephesians 5:18–21; 1 Corinthians 6:12
  • Christian men strive not to be materialistic, love money, be greedy or cheat others for personal gain. Instead they are generous, giving, and hospitable.
    1 Timothy 6:6–12; Philippians 4:11–13
  • Christian men strive to be good husbands and fathers. They are the leaders of their homes and lead by example. They love and cherish their wives, and love and discipline their children.
    Ephesians 5:25; 6:4; 1 Timothy 5:8

The Leadership Of Christian Manhood

  • Christian men have been called to lead. This means that God expects men to take the initiative in leading their families, churches, and communities. They are to be men of God.  They challenge the concept of masculinity that their culture dictates and their lives should be examples that show others how to live for God.
    1 Kings 2:1-3
  • Christian men have been given a great responsibility. They have many duties that they must deal with, people they are responsible for, and a God they should glorify. They have been given much and much is required from them.
    Luke 12:48
  • Christian men have been servants. Jesus is the greatest example of a man of God. As the God-man, he had the most authority and power of all men, yet he humbled Himself and became a servant. He came to minister and He gave His life for others. As men of God, we want to emulate Jesus. We are to become servants and ministers.
    Matthew 20:25–28

Review Questions

  • Are men equal with women? Why?
  • What are Christian men called to do?
  • What is the character of Christian manhood
  • What is the leadership of Christian manhood?
  • Who is the greatest example of a man of God?

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Firm Foundations Four (38 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About Marriage?

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What Does The Bible Teach About Marriage?

The Bible teaches that marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and woman where they leave their parents and unite together to become one flesh. Believers should recognize marriage as created by God and understand its definition, roles, functions and restrictions. Each believer should desire to build a God-glorifying marriage through following the example of the relationship between Christ and the church.

The Establishment Of Marriage

  • The Creation of Marriage: God created marriage on the sixth day of creation. He created man, but said it is not good that the man should be alone. Then He made woman from the rib of the man and brought her unto the man. This created a new relationship, that of a husband and wife.
    Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-23, 25
  • The Definition of Marriage: God defined marriage through creating two genders and stating the following process—one male and one female will leave their parents, cleave unto each other and become one flesh. This means that a couple makes a decision to leave their parents, cling to each other in such a way that they should never be separated, and to be sexually active with each other, symbolizing that two people have become one family unit.
    Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-5
  • The Roles of Marriage: A husband and wife are to properly serve each other in the roles that God has established. The husband is the loving leader in the relationship. He is to be the example of love by nourishing, cherishing and leading his wife. The wife is the submissive helper in the relationship. She is to willingly place herself under the loving leadership of her husband, respectfully serving and helping him.
    Ephesians 5:21-25
  • The Functions of Marriage: Marriage is designed to create the proper relationship between a male and female. It provides the God-designed companionship that we need. It functions as the means to procreate and raise a family. It symbolizes the relationship between Christ and the church.
    Genesis 1:28; 2:18; Ephesians 6:1-4; 5:31-32
  • The Restrictions of Marriage: Marriage is only between a man and a woman and cannot be between those of the same gender. Marriage is between one man and one wife and not between many spouses. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, meant only to be broken by the death of a spouse.
    Romans 7:2-3

Questions About Marriage

  • Should believers marry? Every believer should have a desire to fulfill God’s biblical plan for marriage unless they desire to remain single to serve the Lord. Believers are also encouraged to marry, but are only permitted to marry other believers.
    1 Corinthians 7:7, 25-38; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Matthew 19:10-12
  • Should believers have sex before marriage or outside of marriage? Sexual activity is only permitted in the marriage relationship, and therefore if one desires this they should seek marriage. In marriage, each spouse should have their sexual desire met and they should not withhold sex from the other person.
    1 Corinthians 7:1-5; 2 Timothy 2:22
  • Should believers divorce? God hates divorce. Divorce means that one or both spouses are not fulfilling their role in marriage as God designed it. God never sanctions divorce in the Bible, but He does allow it for two reasons: (1) for fornication, (2) the spouse is an unbeliever who wants a divorce. To divorce and remarry outside of this would be to commit adultery. Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
    Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10, 12-16; 27-28; Malachi 2:13-16
  • Should believers remarry? Believers should desire to stay married to their spouse. If they do get divorced, they should remain unmarried or be reconciled to their spouse. Believers are permitted to get remarried if: (1) their spouse dies, (2) they divorce because of fornication, or (3) because of an unbelieving spouse.
    1 Corinthians 7:8-9, 11, 39-40

Building A Great Marriage
Ephesians 5:32

  • See your marriage as honorable and be faithful to your spouse. You should have a high view of marriage and choose to be faithful to your spouse, not committing any sexual sins outside of this relationship (sex with another person, pornography, etc.).
    Hebrews 13:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20
  • Forgive your spouse when they wrong you. Don’t sin when you get angry but seek reconciliation that day. Try to forget their wrongdoing and don’t bring it back up after it is forgiven. You can forgive your spouse because you are forgiven by God.
    Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:26, 32
  • Love your spouse even if they don’t express it back. God loved you first even though you didn’t deserve His love. He took the initiative to love you. You can love your spouse because you are loved by God.
    1 John 4:8-11
  • Prefer your spouse over yourself. Selfishness is being more concerned with your own benefit or pleasure more than you are with others. It means that you don’t consider the needs of your spouse. Jesus preferred you over His own life when He died on the cross, therefore, you can prefer your spouse over yourself.
    John 10:18
  • Be a minster of grace to your sinful spouse. Your spouse is a sinner and will always be a sinner until he/she dies. You have an amazing opportunity to minister grace to him/her, the same grace that God showed to you.

Review Questions

  • Who created marriage and what is the definition of it?
  • What are the roles and functions of marriage?
  • Should believers get divorced? Why or why not?
  • Should believers get remarried? Why or why not?
  • How can I build a great marriage?

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Firm Foundations Four (37 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About The Spiritual Realm?

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What Does The Bible Teach About The Spiritual Realm?

The Bibles teaches that the spiritual realm is an active, invisible realm where angels, demons, Satan, and God interact. There is a spiritual war going on that involves us. God has provided us with the spiritual armor needed to fight a good fight, ultimately claiming the victory we have in Jesus.

Understanding Angels, Demons, And Satan

  • God created an innumerable amount of spiritual beings called angels. They are intelligent with the freedom to make right and wrong choices. They, like everything else, were created for the glory of God and His Son Jesus.
    Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2, 5; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 12:22; Revelations 5:11
  • The Bible doesn’t specifically say when the angels were created, but it seems they were most likely created on the first day of creation. All the angels were created good because God on the sixth day looked at every thing that He had made and it was very good.
    Job 38:4–7; Genesis 1:1-2, 31
  • Angels are spirits which means they don’t have physical bodies and are invisible to humans, but at times they do take on bodily forms, and we can see them during this time. Luke 24:39; Matthew 28:5; Hebrews 13:2
  • Angels are finite. They are not infinite like God. They don’t know the future, nor are they omnipresent or omnipotent. They are limited to the realms that God has set and can only operate under His sovereignty. They should never be prayed to or worshipped like God, but they join us in the worship of our great God.
    Revelation 19:10
  • At some point between the sixth day and Satan’s appearance in the garden of Eden to tempt Eve, many of the angels sinned against God. Angels are not like humans where a sinful nature is passed on from one person to another through physical birth (because they do not procreate). Therefore, the angels who chose to sin were separated from God and those who didn’t stayed with God. There was no opportunity for redemption for those who sinned. The angels who didn’t sin (good angels) continued to serve, worship, and live according to the will of God.
    2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Matthew 22:30; Psalm 103:20; Isaiah 6:3
  • The angels who did sin (bad angels) were cast out of heaven and we refer to them as demons or devils. One-third of the total number of angels sinned that day.
    Revelation 12:4
  • Satan is the name of one of the angels who sinned against God. He is also referred to as “the devil,” “the serpent,” “Beelzebub,” “Lucifer,” etc. He is the leader of all the angels who sinned. He rebelled against God because he didn’t want to serve and glorify Him but wanted to become Him and overrule Him. Satan is an accuser, liar, and one who tempts people not to believe in God but to join in his rebellion against Him.
    Luke 10:18; Matthew 4:1; 10:25; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Isaiah 14:12-14, Revelation 12:10
  • Satan is not God’s counterpart because God has no counterpart. There is none other like Him. He may match up to some of the other angels, but he is no match for God. God alone is sovereign.
    Job 1:1–2:10

Understanding Spiritual Warfare

  • As believers, our fight is not with other people in the physical realm, but it is in the spiritual realm against Satan and his demons. The devil is like a lion who prowls around looking for who he can devour.
    Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8–9
  • The demons have their own doctrine that they teach and it is against the teachings of the Bible. They seduce and trick believers into believing these lies and try to get them to depart from the faith.
    1 Timothy 4:1–5; 1 John 4:1, 5:19
  • Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and his demons as servants of righteousness, but make no mistake, their goal is to steal, kill, and destroy all mankind, especially those who follow God. Satan rules the demons and leads them on the path of destruction.
    2 Corinthians 11:3-15; John 10:10; Matthew 12:26
  • We act like the devil and his demons when we participate in evil acts, especially bitter envying, strife in our hearts, or lying against the truth. These earthly, sensual, devilish acts lead to confusion, of which God is not the author.
    James 3:14–16; 1 Corinthians 14:33

Understanding Our Armor

  • As believers, we should be sober and vigilant so that we give no place to the devil. He can be resisted.
    James 4:7; Ephesians 4:27
  • As believers, we have the protection of the armor of God: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer.
    Ephesians 6:13–20
  • As believers, we are not to participate in the kind of practices that involve works of the devil, such as idolatry, sorcery, mediums, fortune tellers, superstitions, witchcraft, fengshui, constellations, ones fortune in astrology, trying to communicate with the dead, etc.
    1 Corinthians 10:19-23
  • As believers, we have angels who watch over us and minister to us.
    Hebrews 1:14
  • As believers, we know the death and resurrection of Jesus has gloriously triumphed over the devil and his followers. At the last day they all will be judged and cast into the lake of fire. Only those in Jesus Christ take part in this victory. We will join the angels in the praise of our great God.
    Hebrews 2:14; Colossians 2:15; 2 Corinthians 10:3–6

Review Questions

  • What are angels and why were they created?
  • What are the differences between good and bad angels?
  • What are the bad angels called and who is their leader?
  • What is spiritual warfare?
  • What is our spiritual armor?

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Firm Foundations Four (36 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About The End Times?

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What Does The Bible Teach About The End Times?

The Bibles teaches that Jesus will triumphantly return as Lord of lords and King of kings and believers will live eternally with Him in the new heaven and the new earth. The end times might seem scary to some, but for believers, it reveals our glorious future and should comfort us because we know that in Christ we are on the winning side.

Understanding Eschatology

  • The part of theology that studies the events of the end times is called eschatology. Believers have different opinions on when these events will happen or if they have already happened, and many of these different views have been accepted within church history. We do need to be careful when studying eschatology because cults will use the complexity of these events to confuse believers and lead them away from the truth of the gospel.
  • Understanding the events of the end times is hard because the Bible uses a lot of imagery and symbols to explain these events. Therefore, the method of interpretation is key to understanding the meaning. We believe literal interpretation is the best way to interpret them. This means we read and interpret the Scriptures literally, plainly, and according to the natural meaning and literary style. We are not trying to find any hidden or special meanings in the text, but we interpret it in the “common sense” way the author intended it.
  • Historically, there are four views that understand the eschatology content of the Bible: Futuristic, Historical, Spiritual, and Preterist. We believe in the first view, futuristic, which states the majority of events will happen in the future.

Prophecy Already Fulfilled

  • Jesus’ First Coming (The Suffering Servant): Jesus’ miraculous virgin birth was around 4 B.C. He lived a perfectly sinless life. Around 30 A.D., Jesus was crucified on the cross and buried in a tomb. Three days later He rose from the dead. Forty days from His resurrection, He ascended to the heavens and now we wait for His return. His first coming was not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
    John 3:16–17; Acts 1:2–11; Prophecy of first coming: Isaiah 7:14, 9:6–7; 53:1-12
  • Church Age: The church started with Jesus and His disciples, and it was established when they were baptized and filled by the Holy Spirit. We currently live in this age and it is referred to as the “church age” because God carries out His will through His churches.
    Matthew 16:13–18; Acts 2:4–6, 41-47

An Eschatology Timeline

  • The Rapture of the Church: At any moment, in the twinkling of an eye, Jesus Himself could descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first, then those which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. We will be given incorruptible, immortal bodies and we will forever be with our Lord. This should be exciting and comforting for believers.
    1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 5:9–11; 1 Corinthians 15:51–54
  • The Judgement Seat of Christ: Believers will be judged for their good works and rewarded. God already punished Jesus in their place for their evil works when He died on the cross, therefore, they will never be judged for punishment. The exact time of this judgement is unclear, but it is beyond this current age.
    1 Corinthians 3:11–15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; John 5:24; Romans 8:1
  • Seven Years of Tribulation: After the rapture of the church, the Antichrist will rise up and sign a seven year peace covenant with Israel. The temple will be rebuilt. Halfway into this covenant (three and a half years) the Antichrist will break the covenant and sit in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. There will be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, nor will ever be. Many events, judgements and horrible things will take place during this time (see Revelation 6-18), which is why it is called the “tribulation period”. Many will die and many will start believing in Christ. These new believers will be persecuted for their new faith.
    Daniel 7:25; 9:24–27; Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15, 21; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12; Revelation 13:1-18
  • Jesus’ Second Coming (The Conquering King): At the end of the seven years, Jesus will return as the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS with the armies of heaven at His side. The Antichrist, the evil kings of the earth and their armies will rise up to fight against Jesus, but Jesus will victoriously defeat them and cast them into the lake of fire.
    Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Titus 2:13; Revelation 1:7; 19:11–21; Prophecy of second coming: Zechariah 12:10; 14:4
  • Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom: After the battle, Jesus will bind, cast, and seal Satan in a bottomless pit for 1,000 years. During this time Satan can deceive no one. Those who became believers during the tribulation period and are still living will reign with Jesus. We who were taken in the rapture will also be there as priests of God and of Christ, reigning with Him for 1,000 years. After the 1,000 years, Satan will be loosed for a season. He will deceive the nations for a final time and gather his followers together to battle against the Lord (The Battle of Armageddon). There will be innumerable followers of Satan who surround the camp of the saints, then God will send fire from heaven to devour them. Finally, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity.
    Revelation 20:1–10
  • The Great White Throne Judgement: After this final battle comes the final judgement. All unbelievers will be judged, found guilty, and cast into the lake of fire for all eternity. (Now is the time to repent and believe in Jesus. This is the only way to be saved from the wrath to come.) Revelation 20:11–15
  • Eternity Future: After this judgement, there will be a new heaven, a new earth, and new Jerusalem. It is here that believers will eternally live with God in eternal joy. It is here that God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. There will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain. The former things are passed away and God will make all things new.
    Revelation 21–22:5

Review Questions

  • What is Eschatology?
  • How should we translate eschatological passages of scripture?
  • When was Jesus’ first coming and what is the church age?
  • What are the future events in the eschatology timeline?
  • What is the next event to happen? When will it happen?

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Firm Foundations Four (35 of 55) What Does The Bible Teach About Creation?

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What Does The Bible Teach About Creation?

The Bible teaches that the eternal God brought the universe into existence in six literal 24-hour days, in which the history of man started on the sixth day. The story of creation is recorded in the first two chapters of Genesis and should be read as literal history and not as an ancient myth. From a literal understanding of creation, we can know our beginnings and better understand God’s will for us.

The God Of Creation

Genesis 1:1

  • “In the beginning God…” already existed. Before anything was ever created, the eternal God was, is, and will always be. Everything has a beginning, but God existed before everything. Our starting point then is supernatural, not natural.
    Psalm 90:2
  • “In the beginning God created…” The Bible names God as the Creator. He is the source from which everything was created.

The Seven Days Of Creation

  • On day 1 God created the heaven, the earth, and light. He created outer space and the material He would use to form the earth (land and water), but on this day it was without form, empty and dark. The Holy Spirit was moving upon the waters. God then created light by speaking it into existence. He divided the light, which He called “day” from the darkness, which He called “night.”
    Genesis 1:1-5
  • On day 2 God made the sky. He made a firmament in the midst of the waters, dividing the waters, calling it “Heaven.” Therefore, there was a canopy of water above and water below (water on earth) with the sky in the middle. This also divided outer space from the Earth’s atmosphere.
    Genesis 1:6-8
  • On day 3 God formed the dry land and the waters, filling the now formed Earth with vegetation. He gathered waters under the sky into one place calling it “Seas” and caused the dry land to appear calling it “Earth.” Then God caused the Earth to bring forth vegetation (grass, herbs, and trees) after its own kind with the ability to reproduce through its seeds.
    Genesis 1:9-13
  • On day 4 God made the sun, the moon, and the stars setting them in outer space. He made two great lights, one great light to rule the day and a lesser light to rule the night, plus the stars. He set them in the firmament of the Heaven. These lights would give light upon the Earth, divide the light from the darkness, and help mankind track time (signs, seasons, days, years).
    Genesis 1:14-19
  • On day 5 God created all aquatic and flying animals to fill the seas and sky. He created each after its own kind and blessed them telling them to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the water and earth after their own kind.
    Genesis 1:20-23
  • On day 6 God made the terrestrial animals and humans. He created the terrestrial animals (cattle, creeping things, and the beasts of the earth) after their own kind. Then God created man in His own image. He formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. He created woman from the rib of man. Mankind is the last thing that God would create and is the only creation made in the image of God. God blessed man and gave him many mandates: family, stewardship, dominion, work, food, and law.
    Genesis 1:24-31; 2:4-7
  • Family, Stewardship, Dominion: God created mankind with two genders — male and female. He told us to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Then He told us to subdue the earth. This means we have the right to use the earth’s resources in creative ways to benefit ourselves (science, art, technology, etc.). He gave us dominion over all the aquatic, flying, and terrestrial animals. We are to rule over and care for them.
    Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-19, 20-25; Matthew 19:4–6
  • Work, Food, Law: God makes a garden, called Eden, and put man into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. He created man to work. He gave man and animals the vegetation to eat as food (at this time all mankind and animals were vegetarians). Man could eat of any of the trees in the Garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was told not to eat. If he did he would die.
    Genesis 1:29–30; 2:8-17
  • On day 7 God ended His work and rested. He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. He didn’t rest because He was tired, but to set a pattern to be used later on as a week.
    Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8–11
  • God is good. Six times God looked at what he had made and said it was good and on the final day, He look at everything that He had made and said it was very good. God did not create anything that was bad, evil, or sinful.
    Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31

Creation And Scientific Theory

  • Science does not contradict with the Bible’s account of creation. If science is knowledge gained through observable, measurable, and repeatable experiments, then no such experiment has contradicted God’s Word. Science can contradict God’s Word if it is based on assumptions or educated guesses, not facts. When the assumption is based in the past, then there is no way to accurately prove the assumption.
  • Evolution is a scientific theory that is contrary to the Bible’s account of creation. If evolution is true, then there is no Creator God, no first man, and thus no original sin, which leads to Jesus’ death being in vain. Believers place their faith in the Historical record of the Bible, not in the assumptions of evolutionary theory.

Review Questions

  • In the beginning what or who already existed?
  • The Bible names who as the source of everything?
  • What did God create on each day of creation?
  • What are the mandates given to man by God?
  • Does science and the Bible contradict each other? Why or why not?

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