GENERAL BIBLE KNOWLEDGE! DO 2357 France, 3/80
THE AUTHOR OF THE BIBLE!
1. Would you like to know a little something about the general content of the Bible? We should know something about how the Bible is composed or constituted, how it's set up & organised; & believe it or not, it's very well organised. There are 66 Books in the Bible, & do you know how many authors? (Fam: One!)--Right, one Author, God, but He used men. Have you any idea about how many men? I've forgotten the exact figure, but do you want to make a guess? (Fam: 50?)
2. As I recall, it boils down to about 40 men whom God used to write the Bible, because quite a few Books were written by the same man. The first five Books were written by Moses, & several of the Epistles were written by one man. Five Books were written by John & I don't remember how many Books were written by Paul. So the Bible has 66 Books & about 40 authors.
3. But it's not really that important because Who's the Author of the Bible? (Fam: God!)--Right! In fact, the Lord later says Jesus! How do we know it was Jesus? (Fam: Because He's the Author & the Finisher of our faith!) That's a good one, but He's called the Word of God.--Jn.1:14; Rev.19:13. So the Lord must have used Jesus to inspire those writers, PTL?
4. The Bible is really very well organised & it was put in this order to make it simple for you. The first five Books have long been in that order, since the days of Moses, & as we pointed out before, they were called what? (Fam: The Pentateuch.) Or what? (Fam: The Books of Moses.) And also spoken of by Jesus & others as the Law. But there are a whole lot of other Books in the Bible, & when they decided to put them all in one Book, they wanted to try to get them well organised, so how do you suppose they did it? (Fam: Partly chronologically & partly according to what kind of literature it was.)--Partly chronologically & partly according to content.
5. Have you all got your Bibles? This is supposed to be a Bible study so you should have your textbook here! If you have a Table of Contents in the front of your Bible it will make it simple for you. Just looking at the list of Books, having read some of the Bible at least, what would you say that most of those first Books are about? They're history, right?--The history of the World, history of God's people, history of God's dealings with Man, history of the Bible.
6. Now where would you say the Historical Books stop? (Fam: Esther.) Esther is the last of what are called the Historical Books. All those first Books from Genesis to Esther then are Historical Books. Now a good way to illustrate this is just like I have in my Bible. Draw a line across the page under Esther, & then between the page numbers & the columns write vertically there "History." They're the Historical Books of the Bible.
7. And what comes next then? Read the names of the next category of Books: (Fam: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & Song of Solomon.) Why do you stop there? (Fam: Poetry.) Those five Books are called the Poetical Books, the poetry of the Bible, five Books of poems, & they were put together because they were used largely in devotional services & read for devotions & sung. When the people got together for inspiration & songs, they would use these beautiful Poetical Books.
8. They used to sing these books--Job & Psalms. When I was a little boy your age, David, my Grandfather & Grandmother still sang Psalms. They would stand around the table at night for dinner, they didn't sit down like we do but they just stood first, & they would sing a Psalm in Swedish. Then they would thank the Lord & sit down & eat. And then when they were finished--I can remember my old Swedish Grandfather to this very day--he would stand up & the whole family would stand up together again & sing another Psalm, pray again & thank the Lord for the meal, & then they would dismiss.
9. They say about the only English-speaking people who still really sing Psalms are the Scottish. The British don't do it much any more, but the Scottish Church still sings a great many Psalms. I don't know if they do in the English churches, has anybody got any experience in the Church of England? (Fam: Yes, they do.) They still sing a few Psalms? (Fam: I remember the High Anglicans singing in Latin.) Oh, really? The High English Church still sings in Latin!
"HIGH CHURCH" JOKE!
10. That always reminds me of that joke about "High Church," do some of you remember that? This reporter was a Primitive Baptist from Kentucky, which was quite a primitive church, with footwashing, etc., & he was sitting at this banquet next to a very hoity-toity high-falutin' fancy old dowager who had a lorgnette, a pair of glasses on a stick so she could look down on people like this!
11. They were trying to strike up a conversation & they got to talking about religion. And finally she said to the reporter, "What church did you say you were from?" He said, "I said I was from the Primitive Baptist, Madame." She said, "Is that High Church or Low Church?" And he said, "Madame, you have no idea how low!"--Very simple Kentucky mountain people.
12. Well, maybe we could get through the major divisions of the Bible. What are the first two major divisions? (Fam: Historical & Poetical?) Wait a minute, I tricked you! The major divisions are the Old Testament & the New Testament! Next we come down from that, & you were right, there are, as I recall, five major divisions of the Old & New Testaments. First of all the Historical & Poetical Books, then what are the next names, who are they? (Fam: The Prophets.)
13. We also can divide the Prophets into Major & Minor Prophets. Look at the names, how would you divide them? (Fam: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel & Daniel.) You missed one. (Fam: Lamentations.) And Lamentations was by whom? (Fam: Jeremiah.)--Very good! See, here's another man who wrote two Books of the Bible. So those are called the Major Prophets. Actually you're right, the men themselves are just four, but there are five Books. Then come the Minor Prophets, & they run down through whom? (Fam: Malachi.) All the way through Malachi, the end of the Old Testament when the Lord stopped speaking to Israel because they wouldn't listen.
14. For 300 years there were no Prophets, no Prophetical Books, no Message, no Word! Well, look at all the Lord had already given them & they didn't pay any attention, they didn't obey it, didn't hear it, didn't follow it, so the Lord just took it away!
NEW TESTAMENT DIVISIONS!
15. All right, then we get into the next major division of the Bible as a whole, the 2nd division, which is what? (Fam: The New Testament.) And it is also divided into more minor divisions. First of all, the four Gospels, then what? (Fam: The Book of Acts.) And do you know how these first five Books are similar to the Old Testament? (Fam: They're historical.)--Right, they're the historical Books of the New Testament. (Fam: Acts is too?) Yes, Acts is definitely history. The first four are the history of the Life of Jesus, and then Acts is the History of the Church. Then what? (Fam: The Epistles.)
16. Do you know what "Epistles" means, David? It means letters, like Daddy writes! Epistles is just a nice Greek word meaning letters, & they run down through what? (Fam: All the way to Jude.) Then there is only one last Book, & it's called what? (Fam: Revelation.) And what kind of a Book is it? How is it similar to the Old Testament? (Fam: It's prophetic.)--A Prophetic Book, very good! Good girl! Smart girl we have here, glad she's teaching Techi!
17. Revelation is the one genuinely thoroughly Prophetic Book in the New Testament, although there are many other Bible prophecies throughout all those Books & lots of them deal with Bible Prophecy. But Revelation is the only Book of the New Testament devoted entirely to Bible Prophecy, like the Prophetic Books of the Old Testament.
18. (Fam: Why do they call these Epistles "General Epistles"?) I have no idea why they would call them Epistles & General Epistles! Ha! Well, one reason may be that the first ones are specifically to certain people. The Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians & Ephesians are all to specific people & are named after who the letters were to. The last ones, from James through Jude, are named after who they're from, so that's probably why they divided it that way. That's not a bad idea! General Epistles are not to anybody in particular, but to everybody!
19. So generally speaking, the New Testament is divided into what three major categories? (Fam: History, Epistles & Prophetic.)--Right! Now I could give you another thing to remember which might be helpful to you. The only reason this is helpful is to try to help you remember what the Books are about & what's in them. We're not just trying to give you useless knowledge just to stuff your head with fodder or sawdust, facts & figures, but something that'll be useful to you.
20. Now if you know those divisions, then you know what those Books are about, right? If you hear one of these, for example Ecclesiastes, you remember the classifications & you know that's what kind of a Book? (Fam: Poetry.)--Right, it's a Poetic Book. And what's Genesis? (Fam: History.) And Nahum? (Fam: Prophetic.) Acts? (Fam: History.)--Right! So now you've got a general idea of the content of the Bible in those major divisions. I'm trying to make it as simple as I can, & the purpose is to try to help you remember what's in them & what they're about & why they are put in that order in the Bible. The Books of the Bible are very orderly & well organised.
21. This grouping of the Old Testament that you study today was put in this final canonical form & organised in this order by a group of 70 very outstanding Greek scholars. The accepted Canonical Books are the Books upon which they agreed were genuinely inspired of God by the Holy Spirit, written by genuine Prophets of God & men of God.
22. The name of their original work was the Septuagint, & do you know where they met? It was in a very famous, very scholarly city, one of the most scholarly cities of the former Greek Empire. It was neither in Europe nor was it in Constantinople or Asia, but it was where? (Fam: Alexandria.) Very good! Alexandria, Egypt, in the 3rd Century B.C.
23. Alexandria, Egypt, was where the 70 famous scholars met & organised the Old Testament in this form & decided on which were authentic Books, recognised as genuinely inspired for Christians. That was probably the most important gathering of scholars for thoroughly translating all of the Old Testament Hebrew-language Books. Their product was a translation into Greek & became the accepted Authorised Greek Version of the Bible, which was the common language of the people of that day, of both the Greek & Roman Empires. They called it the Septuagint, meaning the one produced by 70 men, & that has been the accepted Authorised Version of the Bible ever since.
THE APOCRYPHAL BOOKS!
24. There was some argument in those days as to whether some of the Books were inspired or not, & those scholars finally agreed that there were some books which were appearing as works of various writers which were not necessarily inspired.
25. They were split on the issue, some of them thought they were inspired & some of them thought they were not. Some thought they were fairy tales, some thought they were just history. But they finally decided to include them in the Catholic Bible, & what do you suppose they are called? They're not in the Protestant Bible at all. (Fam: The Apocryphal Books.) You'll find them right in the middle between the Old & New Testaments. Susanna is one of them, Judith, & the I & II Maccabees, etc.
26. The Maccabees are strictly Historical Books about the Maccabee Brothers, who led the revolt of Israel against the Romans between Malachi & the Coming of Christ, & they're very interesting. They're factual informative history of this silent period of our Protestant Bible, & the Catholics thought they ought to be included to kind of tie the Book together to continue history. But these Maccabees were pretty rough characters who were really violent, sort of Stern Gang or Irgun types of Jews who really fought the established power of the day, which was Greece first & then Rome.
27. These brothers led constant revolts, in fact for awhile they actually jerked Israel free of any dominating power. For about 100 years, Israel under the Maccabees was almost independent, it was in rebellion. This was in what period according to your Bible?--Between the days of Malachi & the days of Christ.
28. Now don't confuse Apocryphal with Apocalypse, the Catholic name for Revelation! Apocalypse means in Greek the same as the Latin word Revelation, but that's not Apocryphal, don't get them confused. The Apocalypse is the Greek name of the Latin-named Book of Revelation; Apocryphal is the name of the several Books in the middle of the Catholic Bible, very interesting reading and historical, etc.
29. The one that I used to like to read was the Story of Susanna, which was quite a sexy story! It was about these three or four old men who tried to make love to her in the garden. (Fam: Wow! Really?) (Fam: Did they do it?) Yes, they did, & then they caught them & they told different lies about what happened & said she enticed them, blah blah. But it was a very good piece of wisdom because it showed how the Jewish elders separated these old men & questioned each one separately to get their story. They didn't have time to get together & make up one united story.
30. This is a good lesson about telling the same story & "speaking the same thing" as the Apostle says.--1Cor.1:10. Each one of them told an entirely different story of what happened, so they knew they were all lying & Susanna became a Saint as a result. Although she was raped by these four guys, her honour & chastity were upheld. I think it was four guys, wasn't it? What's the matter with you former Catholics, you ought to know your Apocryphal Books better than that!
31. (Fam: But aren't Catholics encouraged not to read their Bibles? Don't the priests say, "We'll interpret it for you?") Well, in spirit they really discourage you from reading it, but there's a beautiful introduction to the Douay Version by Pope Pius XII in which he recommends & advocates & encourages Catholics to read the Bible. He was still Pope when I was a kid, & he was one of the most hard, brittle, narrow-minded, rigid, Orthodox Popes! He was a Catholic of the Catholics, but in some ways I admired him because he really meant to stick to strict Catholic doctrine.
32. He promised them if they will read the Bible diligently, that for every 15 minutes they read the Bible he will give them 300 days of Indulgence. Do you know what Indulgence is? (Fam: Time out of Purgatory.) They'd have to spend 300 days less in Purgatory just for reading the Bible 15 minutes, by Papal Decree! I mean, you could really shorten your time in Purgatory that way! That ought to encourage you to read the whole Bible & read it several times! For every 15 minutes you read the Bible, 300 days less in Purgatory!--Ha!
33. That's what dear old Mike should have done instead of paying the priest for all those masses for his mother! He should have been reading the Bible 15 minutes a day & he could have saved a lot of money. Remember the story? He was paying her way out of Hell, out of Purgatory. He finally got tired of paying so much & he said, "Well, Father, exactly how far is she from getting out?" The priest saw that Mike was getting soured on a good thing & that he'd better cut it short, so he said, "Only three feet, Mike, only three more feet!"--That was probably good for another two or three Masses! And do you know what Mike said? "Faith & be glory! If she can't jump three feet, she can go to Hell then!"
34. You're all so kind to continue to laugh at my old jokes! They're all in there (points to head) & all I have to do is hit something related, like in a computer, & it pops out! Well, at least we've immortalised it on tape anyway, TYL! So that introduction is in the Catholic Douay Version, & it's a very good exhortation.
35. Now you've got the major divisions of the Bible. What are the two major divisions? (Fam: Old & New Testament.) And the three major divisions of the Old Testament? (Fam: History, Poetry & Prophecy.) Three major divisions of the New Testament? (Fam: History, Epistles & Prophecy.) That should be pretty easy to remember! That'll give you a little faint idea of what's in these Books, if you know where they are & which ones they are.
THE BOOK OF JOB!
36. And what is the oldest Book in the Bible? (Fam: Job!) The reason the scholars contend that is because it was obviously written before the Law & before Moses & at a time when apparently the Law & Moses had never been heard of. For example, Moses' five Books were written by Moses, but covered a historical period from Genesis through Deuteronomy. Nevertheless, although the Book of Job was not before this period covered by the five Books of Moses, it was written before those Books were written & before the time of Moses.--Not before Genesis, but before Genesis was written, think of that!--A beautiful poetic Book!
37. In my last days in college, in fact almost my last days in college, period, I went to Arizona State, as it was called then. Now it's called the University of Arizona at Tempe, not far from Phoenix. It was a pretty thoroughly Mormon college & all the teachers were Mormons with very rare exceptions. One teacher happened to be a Methodist--I think they wanted to give themselves a little bit broader spread so they hired him for the Summer--& all he cared about was Existentialism. (An atheistic philosophy that Man alone determines his destiny.)
38. But in the senior class of that Mormon college, guess what their graduation play was? It was amazing! It was fascinating! It was almost the whole Book of Job!--And the genius who played the part of Job quoted Job. It was all strictly quoted straight from the Bible, Job & what he said, & then they'd have the sound of thunder & God speaking from Heaven in the background by P.A. system.
39. Then they'd have the different sayings of the various counsellors, Job's so-called "comforters," they weren't very comforting! It was three hours long, one of the longest plays they'd ever had, the whole Book of Job. I was so tired, I almost went to sleep, but it was so thrilling. And the guy who played Job was tremendous! It was a classic & it really thrilled & inspired me!
40. And after sitting under those Mormon professors at that school that term I got interested in Mormonism. I had just gotten fed up with my own church & Protestantism, & Eve & I together read a huge 690-some-page book on the life of Joseph Smith & the history of the Mormon Church. It was a fascinating book, considered about the only neutral book ever written about the Mormons, written by the daughter of one of the presidents of the Mormon Church. She herself was a sceptic as far as Mormonism was concerned, but greatly admired the church & the Mormons for their history.
41. It was a history of Mormonism, just a fascinating book, & I really learned a lot & learned to admire Joseph Smith. And from reading that book & from seeing pictures & busts of him, I'm convinced that Joseph Smith was a Jew who wanted to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, & did, & liked the Bible & the New Testament & the Christian faith but didn't like the organised authorised official Christian churches of his day.
42. He was a rebel, like us, he rebelled from the Christian Church! His father knew the Bible well & read it to him, so he heard the Bible at his father's knee all his life. Then he taught it to his own children & started Bible studies in his own home. I think maybe he did have a revelation from that Angel Moroni, it's possible, but a lot of those things get twisted on the way.--Just as a lot of the things Mohammed said got twisted by traditions, like the game of gossip.
43. So there's a lot of truth in Mormonism, & of course there's a lot of error contrary to the Bible as well. So I like some of it, & as some people have said, we have created a new religion that's partly Mormon & partly Jehovah's Witnesses & partly Pentecostal. I would like to say it's all Bible! If the Mormons were right about a few things, why not? If the Jehovah's Witnesses were right about a few things like witnessing, etc., why not? If the Seventh-day Adventists were right about a few things like pre-existence of people in Heaven, etc., sort of a form of reincarnation, why not?
44. So I've accepted what I liked about these various religions which I thought was in conformity to the Bible & was proven by the Bible, and that's what I believe! If they could prove it by the Bible, I was willing to accept it. What they couldn't prove by the Bible & was pure theory & just their opinion or doctrine, well, I don't teach you that. Some things which the Mormons taught, such as plural marriage, are perfectly Scriptural. Even my Father said it was never abandoned even in the New Testament, never!
45. Even though it says elders & deacons & bishops should be "the husband of one wife," my Father always contended that meant they should be the husband of at least one wife. How else could he understand the problem of married couples & married life & children & families? That's why Paul said if you can't rule your own household, how can you rule the Church of God?--1Tim.3:5.--So a priest needs a wife!
APOSTLE PAUL & MARRIAGE!
46. But how the Hell could they rule their own household if they didn't get married & have children? I agree with the Catholic Church on a lot of their doctrines. I certainly agree on their doctrine against abortion, & they're very orthodox on many doctrines that are very Scriptural. But when it comes to celibacy they're way off the beam & they found it all in a few little things that dear Paul said, because as my Mother used to say, he was quite a woman-hater!--Evidently because he'd had some rather sad experiences.
47. It doesn't say he'd never been married, in fact, he talks like a married man who had been soured on marriage and women! I think he knew women too well not to have known any, and he was pretty soured on marriage. But he promotes the institution anyway, almost in spite of himself, as you notice. He says, "Nevertheless ... well anyhow ... well just the same, it's better..."--he goes through all the reasons why he doesn't like marriage, then he says, "But if you have to, go ahead."--1Cor.7.
CULTS BECOME ESTABLISHED RELIGIONS!
48. So in our religion, we have taken the best of all of these & their doctrines.--Anything which we can find in the Bible, if they were right about some things which the rest of the church didn't agree with, so what? I mean the whole church fought the Mormons because of jealousy, all of them, & they're still fighting them!
49. I liked what I read amongst those WND articles today, that blast at that Rabbi who said we ought to crush the cults! It was the lead editorial in the Santa Ana Register, which is an ultra-conservative newspaper in Orange County that used to fight us. I have to hand it to the Santa Ana Register, but I wish they'd had that attitude when we were there! They probably think better of us now that we're gone.
50. But believe it or not, the Santa Ana Register was defending the cults! They said, "Remember, it hasn't been but a hundred years or so since some of these now-established religions such as Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, etc., were considered obnoxious cults and to be crushed by the established churches. Now they're fairly well-established and accepted denominations."
51. Of course, the established churches still preach against them & hate them, but they don't actually try to kill them like they used to. They used to try to kill'm! The U.S. government even declared war on the Mormons & sent out the Army to annihilate them! They fought pitched battles with the U.S. Army out in the West, imagine! But thank God for the Indians who fought on the side of the Mormons. Thousands of Mormons fought thousands of American soldiers, particularly after the Civil War, & there were massacres of Mormons. It's horrible the history they went through.
THE MIRACLE OF THE SEAGULLS!
52. It's amazing they survived & I'm sure God was with them! You could know God was with them when the miracles happened! --Like when they had that terrible plague of locusts in Utah that was wiping out their crops, have you heard about that? There's a statue in Salt Lake City, David, to a seagull! Do you know what a seagull is? It's one of those big white birds almost as big as a chicken that flies around over the sea & lands on the water & floats on the water. You've seen seagulls, haven't you? Well, Salt Lake City in Utah is nearly a thousand miles from the sea & nobody that far inland had ever seen a seagull!
53. The Mormon church elders, presidents & all called for a time of fasting & prayer that God would save them from this terrible plague, this scourge of locusts that was destroying their crops. And you know what happened? All of a sudden, clouds of seagulls appeared in the sky, a thousand miles from the ocean! Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus! The Lord loves His Children!--Wherever they may be & however screwy they may be, if they love Him, He loves them!
54. The Lord sent thousands of seagulls & they just mopped up those locusts, they ate them by the millions! Thousands & tens of thousands of seagulls flew in & just ate up all the locusts, a miracle of God! That's a known established fact, it's history! So the Lord loves them all. I remember that old British song during the war, "Love them all, love them all, love the long & the short & the tall"--He loves them all, even if they may be a little screwy on some of their doctrines.
WE'VE GOT THE BEST!
55. Even the Catholics & the Jehovah's Witnesses & the Mormons & the Seventh-day Adventists have all got some good doctrines, believe it or not, which they can prove by the Bible.--Doctrines which were innovations, considered by the established churches as heresies, something that was different from what they taught. But it was all right here in the Bible!
56. My Mother used to say she wished Paul had never said what he did about some things in the Bible because it helped the Mormons prove their case. She wished Peter never said what he did about spirits in prison (1Pet.3:19; 4:6) & all that because it helps the Mormons prove their case. So some of those things are a little bit difficult to explain unless you explain it the way they explain it.
57. PTL! You've got a very good religion which is the best of all of them! (Fam: Amen!)--A little bit of everything! (Fam: The Heinz 57 Variety!) Yes siree, & real tasty at that, PTL?--Real spicy, very spicy religion. But it's all in the Bible, so how can they deny it, amen? It's all right there, everything from sex to spiritism! PTL! We've got it all!
58. Why confine ourselves to one thing when we've got the whole works, everything that's in the Bible! TYL!--And everything He's given us too! So we don't stop there, because the Lord didn't stop speaking at the end of Revelation, that wasn't the last revelation. It wasn't intended to be, & it's obvious from the New Testament & the gifts of the Spirit there was still plenty going on! TYJ! PTL! Hallelujah!
59. Amen, does someone want to lead us in the closing prayer & ask the Lord's blessing on us for the night? Don't wait, if you feel like praying, pray! (Fam: Amen, Lord, thank You for this precious chance to all get together & have this class. We pray You'll bless it not only to our ears & hearts, Lord, but to all the precious Family that will receive it. TYJ! And bless & keep us tonight, Lord, give us all a good night's sleep & sweet dreams, in Jesus' name.) Amen, Lord, as we join together in the prayer You taught us to pray: (Prays the Lord's Prayer.) Give us all a good night's rest, safe keeping & strength for tomorrow, in Jesus' name, amen!
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family