Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 23: The Bible - Its Testimony
February 7 2003 by John S. Pond Jr. , John 5:37-40, 45-47; Acts 17:2-4; 11-12

Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 23: The Bible - Its Testimony | Friday, Feb. 7, 2003

Friday, Feb. 7, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for Feb. 23: The Bible - Its Testimony

By John S. Pond Jr. John 5:37-40, 45-47; Acts 17:2-4; 11-12

Paul Little once wrote: "The question is often asked, 'If Christianity is rational and true, why is it that most educated people don't believe it?' The answer is simple. They don't believe it for the same reason that most uneducated people don't believe it either. They don't want to believe it."

Today's text provides an account of two groups of religious people, who diligently studied the same scriptures, and yet, one group rejected Christ and the other embraced Him. What was the difference? Perhaps, one group did not want to believe what they read.

Testimony of the Scriptures

John 5:37-40, 45-47

In John 5:31-47, Jesus' authority was challenged by His Jewish critics. What proceeded was an array of "witnesses" to His character and power. Jesus first pointed to Himself, then to John the Baptist, further, His works, the Father, the scriptures, and lastly, Moses.

In verse 37 Jesus stated that the Father had testified to Him. This can be understood through the verbal affirmations made at Jesus' baptism, on the mount of Transfiguration and another time described in John 12:28. In addition, His statement could be referring to the entire revelatory work of God throughout the ages. That is, all that God has accomplished throughout the history of Israel bears witness to Christ (Heb. 1:1-2).

Unfortunately, the Jews have been blind and deaf to that testimony preventing them from grasping, apprehending the word and the Word.

The diligent "Bible" searchers had ignored the very heart of the scriptures; i.e., Jesus Christ. Although they had scrutinized the text, tracking down the deep message of the scriptures, they refused its truth. For them, the study was more important than the reality the word bore witness too.

The Rabbis taught that: "He who has acquired the words of the law has acquired eternal life." Jesus chastised them for not recognizing that He is "the life." It appeared that they cared more about their ideas concerning the word than about the God who gave that word. Their religious zeal, even involvement with the scriptures, could not give them or any person eternal life for Jesus alone came to bring eternal life to everyone who would receive Him.

The Old Testament testifies of Christ; Moses spoke of Christ (Gen. 3:15; Num. 21:9; 29:17; Deut. 18:15-18), thus their repudiation of Christ was a repudiation of Moses and the prophets.

Focus of the Scriptures

Acts 17:2-3

In crisp and concise language, Luke described the movement of the gospel into Thessalonica and Beroea. As in other locations Paul visited the local synagogue and reasoned (dialogued) with the Jews present. He set the scriptures alongside the events that had taken place, which had fulfilled them. The scriptures served as conclusive evidence to the events surrounding the person, Jesus.

Parallel to the words of Christ on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24), Paul gave the foundation stone (and stumbling block) of the gospel: according to scriptures, the Christ (Messiah) must suffer and rise from the dead (Luke 24:45-46). Thus, since Jesus is the only one to whom these things came to pass, He must be the Christ (Messiah).

Examination of the Scriptures

Acts 17:11

From Thessalonica Paul and Silas traveled to Beroea where they encountered a unique group of Jews. Luke described them as "noble," i.e., well-born, liberal, free from prejudice, the "noblesse oblige." As Paul dialogued with them he challenged them to "search the scriptures!" In response, they received the word readily and daily, without hesitation and examined it much like a judicial investigation, sifting the evidence, digging deeply, and seeking the true meaning and message of the text.

Unlike Jesus' critics (John 5:37ff), the Beroeans embraced the gospel as a result of the detailed investigation.

Goal of the Scriptures

Acts 17:4,12

Paul confronted two groups in his ministry. They each responded to the gospel and the scriptures differently. One group was responsive, the other antagonistic. Fortunately, the gospel can reach both groups. Barclay has stated that: "The Word can persuade the closed and the open, the obstinate and the pliant; because of those who seek the truth and those who do not."

Amidst the hostility of the Jews of Thessalonica and the receptivity of the Beroeans, some of them, including a great many god fearing people and Greeks and leading women of the community, were convinced and believed the word.

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2/7/2003 12:00:00 AM by John S. Pond Jr. , John 5:37-40, 45-47; Acts 17:2-4; 11-12 | with 0 comments
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