Articles

17 Time Periods of the Bible

The timeline of the Bible can be divided into 17 basic time periods. (Actually, it can be divided many different ways, but this is one way that seems to work well.)

  1. Creation (or Before the Flood)
  2. The Flood
  3. The Scattering of the People
  4. The Patriarchs - Fathers
  5. The Exodus from Egypt
  6. The Wandering in the Wilderness
  7. The Conquering of Canaan
  8. The Judges
  9. The United Kingdom
  10. The Divided Kingdom
  11. Judah Alone
  12. The Captivity
  13. The Return
  14. 400 Years of Silence from God
  15. Jesus Life, Death, and Resurrection
  16. The Establishment of the Church
  17. Writing of the Letters (New Testament)


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The Bible contains two main parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament tells the history of God’s relationship with the Jewish people while the New Testament tells the story of God bringing the Gentiles into His kingdom along with the Jews.

Both of these parts are actually about the same thing. They both focus on Jesus, the Son of God, Who came to be a sacrifice and enabled God to have a relationship with sinful man. In Luke 24:27, we read what Jesus said about it:

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.


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There are more false teachings about who God is than we could ever address directly. From the concept of idols, to the new age idea that everything is part of God, many people invent their own ideas of who God is. When speaking of the God of the Bible, there are also false teachings about who He is. There is the idea that God is only one person with different roles that He fulfills. We want to look at the clear teaching of the scriptures regarding who God is and how God works.


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What article am I disputing?

There is an off-brand of the 7th Day Adventists that has unfortunately hooked a friend of mine. He made a claim that the disciples kept the Sabbath 85 times in the book of Acts. Since I knew that the Sabbath isn’t even mentioned anywhere close to that many times, I was curious where he go that from. He sent me a link to this article. The Disciples Kept the Sabbath 85 Times in the book of Acts. I am just going to quote the article and inline my comments in brackets.


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There are in the world many false gospels. This is not new. Since the beginning of mankind, false gospels have been around. The word “gospel” simply means “good news.” It may help to clarify this discussion if we just use that term rather the word “gospel.” As Paul points out in Galatians 1:6-7 there is not another good news. Since any other plan than God’s plan will never work, those plans are not truly good news. They are just twisted, broken versions of the true good news.


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Being a Friend of God

Why did God create us? What is the purpose of life? Ecclesiastes has much to say on this subject. Towards the beginning of the book, Solomon writes this:

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after. I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-18 ESV)


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Unity is very important.

In John 17:20-23, we read:

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (NASB)

Jesus prayed that all who follow Him would be one. This tells us that having unity among His followers is very important to Christ. However, unity is not an event that happens when at some point in time everyone understands everything perfectly. Look at what Jesus said about His apostles in John 17:6-8:


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Why Do We Sin?

Introduction

There are sins that we do simply because we do not know better. These can be called “sins of ignorance” or “unintentional sins.” God has always provided a sacrifice for those sins.

These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. (Hebrews 9:6-7 ESV)


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Overview of Jude

Introduction

The first verses simply tell us who the author is and to whom he is writing.

Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you. (Jude 1:1-2) (LEB)

Jude calls himself the brother of James. This is most likely, James the brother of Jesus who was an elder in Jerusalem and well known among all the Christians. That would also make Jude a brother of Jesus. Whether he is the physical brother of Jesus or not, he does not emphasize that relationship. The relationship he emphasizes is that he is the slave of Jesus.


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The Assembling of Ourselves

What is the purpose of assembling? There are two reasons we find in Hebrews 10:23-25. Some translations break verse 23 off from the next verses, but in the Greek, they form one thought. Verse 23 tells us to hold fast the confession of our hope. What is the confession of our hope? We confess that Jesus is Lord - He is our hope. If we really mean that (if we hold it fast) then our lives will show it. We show Jesus’ status in our lives when we put doing His things and being with His people above whatever else we might be doing. If we decide that we would rather sleep in or go play soccer or even go to work instead of assembling with our brethren, we have no business saying that Jesus is our Lord.


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False view of how the Bible has been copied

There is a theory in the world today that the Bible has been changed over the thousands of years since it was originally written to the point that we cannot know what was originally written.

This is a popular theory among the Muslim community, Catholics, and others. The basic idea is shown in the chart to the right. The changes either came because of mistakes by the copyists or on purpose so that it would say what they wanted it to say. It would make sense for the rulers of the Jews over thousands of years to make changes to their Bible so that it would say what they wanted for the people at the time.

There is good evidence, however, that this has not happened.


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The Bible is a book that makes an incredible claim. It claims that it comes from God. Moses claimed to be a prophet of God (one who speaks the words from God). The prophets constantly used the phrase, The word of Jehovah, Thus says Jehovah, and similar phrases. Luke 2:23 calls the Old Testament law, the Law of the Lord. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:37, If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.


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In Acts chapters 9, 22, and 26 as well as Galatians 1, we get an account of the conversion of Saul, who became the apostle know better as Paul. In this short article, I would like to look at Saul’s character and how we should have the same character in many ways. What kind of man was Saul?


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Denominations

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:2-6 (NET)

One of the biggest criticisms of Christendom today is the division that is clearly evident through the thousands of denominations. Some well-meaning people have tried to overlook this division by claiming that the denominations are parts of the one body. We find out however in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 that individuals make up the parts of the one body, not denominations.


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Demons

One of the things that is talked about all the time in the religious world, but mostly is misunderstood, is demons and demon possession. I have heard people talk about them as evil animal-like creatures. I have heard them talked about as spirits who possess you and make you sin. I have heard them talked about as the driving power behind witches and wizards. But what does the Bible say about demons?


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Practicing Self-control

Self-control is not a pleasant concept. It means controlling ourselves to do things we do not want to do and to not do things that we do want to do. We talk about it in relation to fornication and drinking. But there are some areas in our life where many of us do not want to think about the need to control ourselves.


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The purpose of reading the Bible must not simply be for knowledge. It must be to give us the understanding we need to please God in what we do. We must apply what we learn — do what it says. But there are some important things to consider in making application from the Bible to your life.


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To Forgive is Divine

In the book of Genesis, we find that we were created in the image of God. Part of what this means is that God has given us some of the same nature that He has — God expects us to imitate Him. There is a common statement that I have heard: “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” The truth is that God gave us the wonderful ability to forgive just like He has and God expects us to forgive just like he does.


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Malachi 3

There are people throughout time who have looked at the suffering of good people and the “fulfilling” lives of evil people as evidence against the justice and mercy of God. For an example, look at conditions in Zimbabwe. President Mugabe is one of the richest men on earth but his people are starving and are tortured just to keep him in power. Where is God’s justice there? In Malachi 2:17, the people asked the question, “Where is the God of justice?” The question today is often, “Would a just God let these things continue? Why isn’t He doing anything?”


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Premillennialism basically is the idea that we are living before the 1000 year rule of Jesus on earth. Premillennialists claim that they take the Bible literally. People who believe that the prophecies are referring to something spiritual instead of literal do not believe the Bible.


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There are passages in the Bible that are difficult to understand. We have been running into many of them in the men’s class. Passages that talk about predestination or God punishing children for their father’s sin can be difficult. The truth is that different passages will be more or less difficult for different people.


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We read in 1 Corinthians 15:33,

Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ (NET)

As human beings, we enjoy having other people around us. Very often though, people find themselves spending time with bad people. They may have many different reasons for spending time with these people. “They make me laugh.” “There is no one else around to have fun with.” “I have nothing better to do.” These are all very poor reasons to spend time with bad people.


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God has a plan for every Christian to grow continually through our lives. In the parable of the sower, we find that if we do not bear fruit, we are not good soil and we will not go to heaven. We must grow and produce fruit. How can we do that?

We have everything related to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-4)

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (NASB)


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When Adam and Eve were first created, they were not expected to know the difference between good and evil. It was only after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that they understood it. We are born into a world full of evil as well as good. We are not born with the understanding (Deuteronomy 1:39), but we all must learn to tell the difference between them.


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How to Make Decisions

Something we must do every day, no matter how old we are, what our social position is, or where we live is make decisions. Some of these decisions are more important than others. Deciding what to eat for supper is usually not as important as deciding what job to take. But no matter how important the decision or what the decision is about, we should make it in the same way - with the same goal in mind. The apostle, Paul, tells us what our life’s goal should be in 2 Corinthians 5:9.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (ESV)


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Maturity in Proverbs

I want to look at three proverbs that deal with the issue of maturity. They do not deal with the subject directly, but certainly they are speaking about some things that really require maturity.

The first proverb we will look at is about keeping yourself pure, but not in the usual way we talk about it. You have heard the story before about the man who’s sons wanted to go see a movie that had a little bit of profanity and nudity in it. They protested when he would not let them go, because they couldn’t see why just a little bit of bad should keep them from enjoying the movie. Their father baked them some brownies and told them they had a special ingredient. The boys really liked the way the brownies looked and smelled. Then their father told them he had put just a little bit of dog feces in the brownies. But it was just a little bit, so they could go ahead and eat the brownies. Of course they did not eat them and got the point. Just a little bit of bad makes the whole thing bad.


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How to Read Poetry

Much of the Old Testament was written as poetry. This includes pieces of the historical books (songs that were sung), many books of prophecy, and the books that are generally known as books of Poetry (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon). To understand what is being said, we must know something about poetry.


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The Old Testament was the law of God for the Israelites. In Deuteronomy 4:44 and 5:1, Moses makes it clear that the law was for the 12 tribes of Israel. It was not for any other people, except that some laws applied to those who would live with the Israelites (Numbers 15:29).

The Old Testament was never the law for Gentiles and today it is not even God’s law for the Jews. We must not try to take the laws in the Old Testament as the laws that God wants us to follow today. In Colossians 2:13-17, Paul makes it clear the Old Testament has been nailed to the cross. Because of that, no one is bound to keep the feast days, the Sabbath day, or anything else in the Old Testament. We must not try to make it our law today. Discussing how the priesthood changed from Levi to Judah when Christ became our high priest, the Hebrew writer states, For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well (Hebrews 7:12). The book of Hebrews is written to encourage the Jews to keep following the law of Christ and not go back to the Old Law which had finished its usefulness as a law.


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Bible Reading Schedules

Getting on a regular schedule for reading your Bible is very important. The main reason is that few of us are disciplined enough to read the Bible every day if we do not have some sort of schedule to follow. Another great reason is that it can take you through the Bible faster than you probably would have read without a schedule.


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While edification is for the purpose of growing the church spiritually, evangelism is how the church grows numerically. How can the church evangelize?

Obviously, to evangelize, the church must be preaching and teaching the gospel. But there are some factors that influence the response of those hearing the gospel.

People who see that a church really cares about people and are not just after numbers are more likely to listen to those who preach on the behalf of that church. You can see in Acts 6 that as a result of the church really taking care of its widows and the continued preaching of the apostles many of the priests believed.


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How is a church to supply the needs of its members? We already have discussed much of it in the previous section on giving. But in cases where the church is supplying the needs in another church or supplying the needs of an evangelist working somewhere else, how should they do that after they have collected the money?


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Going through the “5 acts of worship” is not the same thing as actually glorifying God. What does it take to glorify God?

First let’s look quickly at the Old Testament worship. What they did was different, but the goal of glorifying God was the same. When did God feel glorified? In Isaiah 1:11-15, we see a picture of the Israelites doing the worship that God had commanded, but God hated it. He hated it because it was offered by a people who were rebelling against Him in their daily lives.


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How can a congregation work to edify its members? Romans 15:1-7 shows that edification is something that is done by each member, working together in one church. This is very connected with what we talked about under unity — we don’t do what we want, we do what our brethren want when we see that it will edify them. The end result of that edification is unity and glorifying God. 1 Corinthians 8:1 tells us that it takes love to edify. We have to focus on other people, not ourselves.


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Unifying the church is a hard work because it involves relationships. Of course, this also means that when done right, it is one of the most satisfying works because of the good relationships between brethren.

How is unity accomplished? Unity must be in the faith (Ephesians 4:13). That rules out the unity that we see in the denominational world of just saying that even though they disagree about a lot of very important things, they can still work together. That is not true unity.


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When the church began, as we read in Acts 2, we find that God was adding daily those who were being saved. How did people come to be saved? They heard the preaching of the gospel and obeyed it. It has always been the responsibility of the people of God to teach others the truth. This is a responsibility for each Christian (as part of the universal church) and a responsibility for the local church.


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Local Church

The local church not only has the responsibility to supply the spiritual needs of the members, but also the physical needs. If you remember, at the beginning of the church the members of the church in Jerusalem had all things in common and made sure that nobody was missing anything they needed. The church even daily supplied their widows with food (Acts 6).


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To glorify someone means to show that they are worthy of glory or to tell about how great that someone is. Every Christian has a responsibility to glorify God in what we say and in what we do.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31) (ESV)


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Simply defined for our purposes, edification is the building up of the body of Christ. It is clear that edification is a work that Christ demands from His church as a whole.

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. (1 Corinthians 8:1) (ESV)


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Determining what is the work of the church is not a simple task. First, one has to read through the whole New Testament and look at the commands and examples that are given. Usually an attempt is made to categorize each command or example to simplify understanding the basic end results and group specifics under those categories.

There have been many attempts to categorize the work of the local church. Most of the attempts I have seen are arranged like this:

  1. Edification
  2. Benevolence
  3. Evangelism


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How to Remember

There are some things that God really wants us to remember. (See What to Remember for more on that.) God has also given us some examples of ways to remember what He wants us to remember. Let us look at some of these ways.


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What to Remember

In this lesson, we will use the examples of the Israelites to give us warning. We want to look at what God wants us to remember, what we actually remember most of the time, and finally what God will remember about us.


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The book of Job teaches us a lot of wisdom and a lot about wisdom. Especially, it shows us our position before God. In the book, there is a debate between Job and his three friends. Job’s friends were arguing that Job must have done something sinful and that was why God was punishing him. Job maintained that he had not sinned and that God was not treating him fairly.


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God has always expected His people to read His word

It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes Deuteronomy 17:19 (NASB)

This was speaking of kings in Israel, that they must read the Old Testament Law every day! Obviously, not many of them kept this law, but this was what God wanted.


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