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Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Sunday School – #1 of 52

If it’s Sunday, then it’s time for rest, worship and STUDY ! – and I’ve got a brand-spanking new class of 11th graders. So for some of my sabbath blog, I figured I’d throw an outline of what I’m teaching these fine young men and women. It’s going to be pretty basic stuff at first. Not to dumb anyone one down, that’s already been done for us by the public school system. Rather, I need to make sure our future has the rudiments down cold before we go on to talking about cults, crazies and crud like that.

This year, I’m doing something novel, I’m basing th basic stuff on a book they could buy and use as a personal resource: Bruce & Stan’s Guide to the Bible:…. Okay, okay, so it’s not the anywhere near the theological depth that many of us in the blogosphere enjoy. But remember, this is for the kids – and not us Os Guinness, Francis Schaeffer, C.S.Lewis loving counter-culturalists (PDF). So without further adieu >>>


(holding my Bible up with my right hand)

Matthew 7:24-26 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

What is your impressions of the Bible

If you had to describe it on one sentence or less ?(writing a list on the white-board that includes some jabs)

  • Cure for insomnia
  • Emergency parachute
  • God’s fine print
  • irrelevant religious stuff
What’s the Big Deal about Such an Old Book?

On the notecard, write down your feelings (hand out note cards so they can write down their responses)
(collect cards – read off responses)

Mean Dean’s Life Lesson #1

Feeling are like belly buttons, everyone has got one.
In my class, please do not confuse feelings with opinions.
In my class, opinions rendered should be based upon facts … I will ask you to defend them
We live in a society which worships our feelings – one only need watch Oprah for an hour to figure that out.
It is also why various televangelists are so easily able to fleece the flock
Our emotions can be deceptive, as they can be controlled by something as simple as low blood sugar.
Our feelings are fleeting, as they are often based upon our circumstances.

What Facts can we Site about the Bible’s Popularity
  • Great Literary Achievement – containing a large variety of writing and literary styles, from prose to poetry from drama to historical narrative.
  • Accurate History Book – as more and more archeology digs are proving, the Bible distinguishes itself over all other books of antiquity in its portrayal of historical events, places and people.
  • Astounding Book of Prophecy – just wait till we cover the prophecies of Jesus’ life & death alone.
  • Absolute Answers – to life’s most difficult questions, through direct spiritual instruction, though various examples of man in all his splendor and/or sin, through God’s constancy and grace throughout it all.
The Word of God

1 Thessalonians 2
– “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

Who wrote this letter ?
What is the writer thankful for?
How can we be sure that the Bible really is the Word of God ?

Josh McDowell, a well known Bible apologist asserts that only God could have created a book which:

  • has been transmitted accurately from the time it was originally scribed
  • is correct when it deals with historical people and events
  • contains no scientific absurdities
  • remains true and relevant to all people for all time
What carries more weight, a written or verbal contract?
Why written?

(post answers on white board, including issues of reliability and constancy)
This is why God choose the written word over Angels.

So how do we know this isn’t the creation of a couple of guys in a room a few thousand years ago?

Noted Bible authority, Dr. Norman Geisler says in his textbook, “A General Introduction to the Bible, that there are three links in the chain from God to man:

  1. Inspiration – part of the work of the Holy Spirit was to inspire 40 different writers over a period of 1500 years to write books of the Bible, that though reflective of the personalities of their writer, are also consistent in truth with each other.
  2. Canonicity – the word Canon in this context is used as a measuring stick, or a criteria. This criteria was used to evaluate which books were indeed inspired, and which weren’t. The books contained in the Bible you have in your hands all passed the following measures:
    • does it speak with God’s authority?
    • is it written by a man of God speaking to us as a prophet of God?
    • does it have the authentic Stamp of God?
    • does it impact us with the Power of God?
    • was it accepted by the People of God?
  3. Transmission – the processin which the Bible was transmitted, using the most practical and reliable materials available at that time – e.g. portions of it were indeed in stone. Even when paper was used, there were elaborate processes in place to insure accuracy.

Of this last point, consider the languages involved: Hebrew and Greek (yes, and some Aramaic).
Unlike the ubiquities found in English, Greek and Hebrew are very specific languages perfect for their pupose.
Giesler describes Hebrew as the perfect biographical language.
Whereas he asserts that Greek is the perfect intellectual language.
I’ll add of the later, it is a very specific language offering very concise meaning, down to the smallest iota.

Translation Madness
KJV Only Camp

Running a web site, you would not belive the amount of e-mails I get from angry King James only apologists. They mean well, but I find out entirely out of the Character of God, and certainly outside the boundaries of Scripture itself, for His Word to be limited to a singular interpretation penned almost 400 years ago. It is a fantastic and worthy work of scholarship – but I disagree with those who consider it the ONLY valid version.

Scripture History – how it got here

[timeline from http://www.greatsite.com/timeline/]

500 BC:
Completion of All Original Hebrew Manuscripts which make Up The 39 Books
of the Old Testament.
200 BC:
Completion of the Septuagint Greek Manuscripts which contain The 39 Old
Testament Books AND 14 Apocrypha Books.
1st Century AD:
Completion of All Original Greek Manuscripts which make Up The 27 Books
of the New Testament.
390 AD:
Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Manuscripts Produced which contain All 80 Books
(39 Old Test. + 14 Apocrypha + 27 New Test).
500 AD:
Scriptures have been Translated into Over 500 Languages.
600 AD:
LATIN was the Only Language Allowed for Scripture.
995 AD:
Anglo-Saxon (Early Roots of English Language) Translations of The New
Testament Produced.
1384 AD:
Wycliffe is the First Person to Produce a (Hand-Written) manuscript Copy
of the Complete Bible; All 80 Books.
1455 AD:
Gutenberg Invents the Printing Press; Books May Now be mass-Produced Instead
of Individually Hand-Written. The First Book Ever Printed is Gutenberg’s
Bible in Latin.
1516 AD:
Erasmus Produces a Greek/Latin Parallel New Testament.
1522 AD:
Martin Luther’s German New Testament.
1525 AD:
William Tyndale’s New Testament; The First New Testament to be Printed
in the English Language.
1535 AD:
Myles Coverdale’s Bible; The First Complete Bible to be printed in the
English Language (80 Books: O.T. & N.T. & Apocrypha).
1537 AD:
Matthews Bible; The Second Complete Bible to be Printed in English. Done
by John "Thomas Matthew" Rogers (80 Books).
1539 AD:
The "Great Bible" Printed; The First English Language Bible
to be Authorized for Public Use (80 Books).
1560 AD:
The Geneva Bible Printed; The First English Language Bible to Add Numbered
Verses to Each Chapter (80 Books).
1568 AD:
The Bishops Bible Printed; The Bible of which the King James was a Revision
(80 Books).
1609 AD:
The Douay Old Testament is added to the Rheimes New Testament (of 1582)
Making the First Complete English Catholic Bible; Translated from the
Latin Vulgate (80 Books).
1611 AD:
The King James Bible Printed; Originally with All 80 Books. The Apocrypha
was Officially Removed in 1885 Leaving Only 66 Books.
1782 AD:
Robert Aitken’s Bible; The First English Language Bible (a King James
Version without Apocrypha) to be Printed in America.
1791 AD:
Isaac Collins and Isaiah Thomas Respectively Produce the First Family
Bible and First Illustrated Bible Printed in America. Both were King James
Versions, with All 80 Books.
1808 AD:
Jane Aitken’s Bible (Daughter of Robert Aitken); The First Bible to be
Printed by a Woman.
1833 AD:
Noah Webster’s Bible; After Producing his Famous Dictionary, Webster Printed
his Own Revision of the King James Bible.
1841 AD:
English Hexapla New Testament; an Early Textual Comparison showing the
Greek and 6 Famous English Translations in Parallel Columns.
1846 AD:
The Illuminated Bible; The Most Lavishly Illustrated Bible printed in
America. A King James Version, with All 80 Books.
1885 AD:
The "Revised Version" Bible; The First Major English Revision
of the King James Bible.
1901 AD:
The "American Standard Version"; The First Major American Revision
of the King James Bible.
1971 AD:
The "New American Standard Bible" (NASB) is Published as a "Modern
and Accurate Word for Word English Translation" of the Bible.
1973 AD:
The "New International Version" (NIV) is Published as a "Modern
and Accurate Phrase for Phrase English Translation" of the Bible.
1982 AD:
The "New King James Version" (NKJV) is Published as a "Modern
English Version Maintaining the Original Style of the King James."

As you can see, God, through His creation Man, has taken great pains to get the Bible to us.

Marching Orders

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Consider the fact that you now live in a day and age where Bibles and Commentaries are easy and free to access as you need/please. Keyword Searches, Concordances, Etc … all out there

John 1:1 & 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,[ 1:14 Or the Only Begotten] who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Some Resources
Online Bibles & Study Tools
Additional Reading on Biblical Transmission to English
  • Chronology of the English Bible – a listing the events in the history of the English versions of Scripture, and of the place of Scripture in the church and in society.
  • Part One: Bible Translation: Why, What and How? – Donald W. Burdick – an article that argues that the NIV is distinctive among the many modern versions now flooding the market, and this distinctiveness lies in a combination of features.
  • Bible Translation Compendium At this site the writers believe that for a translation to be adequate it must be accurate, natural, and clear.
  • Background to the New Testament – a glossary of terms and times regarding the transmission of God’s word.
  • New Page – Why Must the Bible be Translated? Why is it that the Bible must always be “translated” in order for people to understand it? And why in many contemporary languages does it continue to be freshly translated?
  • Wycliffe – History of Bible Translation – through Old Testament authors, He spoke in Hebrew, the language His people understood best. In the New Testament, He spoke in Koine Greek, the trade language of the 1st century. Today, He continues to speak to many people in many languages, through translators.
  • History of the Bible – The history and development of the English Bible can be devided into 3 sections; ancient versions, in other languages, early English versions, and New English versions (since 1901). Brief descriptions of the significant versions in those time periods follows.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for posting this, Dean. Please continue to mention new entries on your weblog so we’re reminded to come look at new lessons.