NO. 744: MAN ASKS AND GOD ANSWERS

by Epiphany Bible Students


No. 744

The Bible. God.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8)

THE BIBLE

Who is the author of the Bible?

“What advantage then hath the Jew? . . . Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (Rom. 3:1-2)

“And take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:21)

Through whom was the Bible written?

“David . . . the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” (2 Sam. 23:1-2)

“Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets.” (Zech. 7:12)

“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.” (Luke 1:70)

“But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. . . . Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:18, 21)

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son . . .” (Heb. 1:1-2)

“Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures.” (Rom. 1:2)

“Even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Pet. 3:15-16)

What proves the Bible is inspired?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16)

Its inspiration is proven by:

(1) Its miracles: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.” (Heb. 2:4)

(2) Its fulfilled prophecies: “Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. . . . Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods [mighty ones].” (Isa. 41:21, 23) “Thus saith the Lord . . . Ask me of things to come . . . who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord?” (Isa. 45:11, 21) “I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isa. 46:9-10) “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.” (Acts 28:23) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2 Pet. 1:19)

(3) Its practicability: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11) “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (Jas. 3:17)

(4) Its reasonableness: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 1:18) “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” (Acts 17:2) “But . . . be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Pet. 3:15)

 (5) The shortcomings and characters of its writers: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:21)

 (6) Its superhuman knowledge: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. . . . But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:7-8, 10) “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies . . . I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.” (Psa. 119:98-100) “And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24)

(7) Its indestructibility: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isa. 40:8) “Heaven and earth [the present ecclesiastical and social order] shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matt. 24:35) “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” (1 Pet. 1:25)

What are the general contents of the Bible?

Its contents can be broken down into:

(1) Doctrines and precepts: “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? . . . For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept.” (Isa. 28:9-10) “All scripture is . . .  profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16)

(2) Promises: “For all the promises of God in him [Jesus Christ] are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Cor. 1:20) “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.” (Gal. 3:16)

(3) Exhortations: “And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.” (Heb. 13:22)

(4) Prophecies: “Seventy weeks are deter­mined . . . to seal up the vision and prophecy . . .” (Dan. 9:24) “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” (Rev. 22:10)

(5) Histories: “Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings.” (2 Chron. 24:27)

(7) Types: “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants.” (Gal. 4:23-24) “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Heb. 9:24)

What are the Bible’s leading characteristics?

Its main qualities are:

(1) Truthfulness: “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” (Psa. 119:160)

(2) Goodness: “And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.” (Heb. 6:5)

(3) Harmony: “And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written.” (Acts 15:15)

 (4) Comprehensibility: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.” (Eph. 3:17-18)

(5) Authoritativeness: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)

(6) Sufficiency: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation . . . That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:15-17)

(7) Efficacy: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)

What does the Bible effect?

Its main effects are:

(1) Repentance: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized . . .” (Acts 2:37-38)

(2) Faith: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

(3) Cleansing: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3)

(4) Enlightenment: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” (Psa. 119:130)

(5) Sanctification: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)

(6) Spiritual begettal: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth . . .” (Jas. 1:18)

(7) Spiritual quickening: “For thy word hath quickened me.” (Psa. 119:50)

(8) Spiritual growth: “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” (Deut. 32:2)

(9) Spiritual strengthening: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. . . . And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:10-11, 17)

(10) Spiritual balance: “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God . . .” (1 Thess. 3:12-13)

(11) Spiritual perfection: “All Scripture is . . . profitable . . . That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

(12) Salvation: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 1:16)

What should we do with the Bible?

We should:

(1) Love it: “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” (Psa. 119:97)

(2) Study it: “Search the scriptures.” (John 5:39) “Study to show thyself approved . . .” (2 Tim. 2:15) “But his delight is in the law . . . and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psa. 1:2)

(3) Assimilate it: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. . . . I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.” (Psa. 119:11, 16)

(4) Practice it: “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)

(5) Spread it: “And he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully.” (Jer. 23:28) “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:2)

GOD

Is there a God?

The proofs of God are:

(1) A first cause: “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36) “Thus saith the Lord . . . I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isa. 44:6) “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” (Heb. 3:4)

(2) The design in creation: “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psa. 94:9) “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead [Divinity].” (Rom. 1:19-20)

(3) The immensity, variety, and harmony of creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth know­ledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (Psa. 19:1-6)

(4) The absurdity of atheism: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psa. 14:1)

What is God?

What God is not: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” (Acts 17:29)

What God is: “God is a Spirit.” (John 4:24) “For a spirit hath not flesh and bones.” (Luke 24:39) “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Tim. 1:17)

Who is God?

“Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord[1] he is God; there is none else beside him.” (Deut. 4:35)

“For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible . . .” (Deut. 10:17)

“For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a rock, save our God?” (2 Sam. 22:32)

“But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king.” (Jer. 10:10)

“Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also.” (Rom. 3:29)

What are God’s inherent qualities?

God possesses:

(1) Personhood: “Who [Jesus] being the brightness of his [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person . . . sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. 1:3)

(2) A body: “And the Father himself, which hath sent me [Jesus], hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” (John 5:37)

(3) The spirit nature: “Now the Lord is that Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:17)

(4) Self-existence: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exod. 3:14)

(5) Eternity: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psa. 90:2)

(6) Self-sufficiency: “Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” (Acts 17:25)

(7) Immortality: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:26)

(8) Omnipotence: “Alleluia: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” (Rev. 19:6)

(9) Omniscience: “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (1 John 3:20)

(10) Omnipresence: “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jer. 23:24)

(11) Supremacy: “Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.”         (1 Chron. 29:11) “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4:6)

(12) Unity: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deut. 6:4) “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him.” (1 Cor. 8:6)

(13) Immutability: “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6) “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Jas. 1:17)

(14) Invisibility: “Who is the image of the invisible God . . .” (Col. 1:15) “No man hath seen God at any time.” (1 John 4:12)

What are God’s chief moral qualities?

God is:

(1) Wise: “With Him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” (Job 12:13) “He hath established the world by his wisdom.” (Jer. 10:12)

(2) Powerful: “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” (Jer. 32:17)

(3) Just: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deut. 32:4) “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne.” (Psa. 89:14)

(4) Loving: “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)

(5) Holy: “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44) “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” (Isa. 43:3)

(6) Impartial: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. . . . There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:26, 28) “And . . . call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work . . .” (1 Pet. 1:17)

(7) Truthful: “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation . . .” (Heb. 6:18) “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Tit. 1:2)

(8) Faithful: “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand gener­ations.” (Deut. 7:9) “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).” (Heb. 10:23)

(9) Merciful: “For the Lord thy God is a merciful God.” (Deut. 4:31) “O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psa. 136:26)

(10) Good: “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good.” (Psa. 107:1) “There is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18)

(11) Gracious: “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.” (Psa. 116:5) “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Eph. 1:6)

(12) Forbearing: “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.” (Isa. 48:9)

(13) Longsuffering: “The Lord is . . . long­suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9)

(14) Forgiving: “The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression . . .” (Num. 14:18)

(15) Liberal: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (Jas. 1:5)

(16) Gentle: “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Psa. 18:35)

(17) Orderly: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace . . .” (1 Cor. 14:33)

(18) Fatherly: “Wherefore . . . I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:17-18)

(19) Kingly: “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth.” (Zech. 14:9)

(20) Peaceful: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7)

(21) Joyful: “And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand . . . for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers.” (Deut. 30:9)

What are God’s works?

His works include:

(1) Creation: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)

(2) Providence: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

(3) Redemption: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

(4) Instruction: “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psa. 25:9)

(5) Justification: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” (Rom. 8:33)

(6) Sanctification: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” (1 Thess. 5:23)

(7) Deliverance: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.” (Matt. 6:13)

What are God’s rights?

He is entitled to:

(1) Ownership of all things: “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; . . .” (1 Chron. 29:11)

(2) Rulership of all things: “. . . thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.” (1 Chron. 29:11)

(3) Disposition of all things: “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.” (Psa. 135:6)

(4) Our obedience: “Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” (Deut. 13:4)

(5) Our reverence: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Heb. 12:28)

(6) Our confidence: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5)

(7) Our love: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deut. 6:5; Luke 10:27)

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Taken from Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 17, pages 429-438, with additions. Edited for clarity and length. More questions and answers from this Volume will be presented in future papers.

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INTO THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW

Sister Angela Matthew of Trinidad finished her course on May 4, 2019 at the age of 68. She was born into the Truth and grew up in it, living faithfully to the end.  Her grandfather’s home was the headquarters for the vibrant Truth movement in Trinidad, and was visited by Brother Johnson and Brother and Sister Hoefle. She is now asleep in Jesus, awaiting the resurrection of the just. (Acts 24:15) We mourn her passing with her family and friends, but we “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13)

 

Write to us at: epiphanybiblestudents@gmail.com

[1] In the Old Testament, Lord in all capital letters is the Tetragrammaton YHWH in the original Hebrew Bible. It signifies Yahweh, the proper name of the Almighty.