Is there any topic more worthy of study than God and His Word?
This book contains simply the basic teachings of God’s Word, made plain for everyone, especially for those who want to know what the Bible teaches but don’t have time to go to Bible school—people who need answers to their questions right now.
- What God is like
- The Holy Spirit
- Faith and Works
- Eternal Life
- Coming Events in Prophecy
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||4.75(w) x 7.13(h) x 0.66(d)|
About the Author
KAY FRIEDERICHSEN was born in China to missionary parents in the early 1900s. She and her husband, Paul, served three terms as missionaries in the Philippines and were imprisoned in Japanese concentration camps during the World War II. Following her family¿s return to the United States, she conducted Bible classes and presented chalk-talk messages in churches throughout America. Kay is the author of God¿s Relief for Burdens, God¿s Way Made Easy, and God¿s Word Made Plain. She co-authored Like Them That Dream with her husband. Kay is now home with her Lord.
Read an Excerpt
God's Word Made Plain
By Paul Friederichsen
Moody PressCopyright © 1986 Mrs. Paul Friederichsen
All rights reserved.
IN THESE DAYS of mushroom-growth religions, many people find their heads spinning with doubts and questions concerning which teaching is right.
"They all claim to be based upon the Bible," argues the confused seeker, "and they seem to have Scripture to back up their theories."
But does all Scripture back up all they teach? That's the final test. And until we know what God's Word really says we can never know the truth.
It is surprising how many people are willing to take what someone says, or even what they have seen in the movies, or what some church teaches, without searching the Bible for themselves. One mature woman was arguing about the Garden of Eden, and insisting that Eve ate an apple, "I know it was an apple. My Sunday school teacher said so!" A gentleman was arguing with me about some incident in the Bible which he could not prove, and ended his argument by saying, "I know it was so, because I saw it in the movies!"
Error rides on the back of truth. There must be some truth in all wrong teaching, or no one would swallow it. The gullible and untaught in the Word are prone to believe anything that has a Bible verse attached to it. But you can take a verse from the Bible and prove anything you wish. That is where wrong religions begin. Someone gets a brainwave, a bright idea, or has a dream, and then goes to the Bible to find verses to prove it. The problem is that they take the verse completely out of its context or setting and out of harmony with the rest of the Bible, and thus they can prove just the opposite of what God says! Bible truth is always in harmony with the rest of the Bible. It does not disagree with itself.
Any teaching that is not in harmony with the whole Word of God is not God's teaching. No verse should be interpreted apart from its context or the other portion of the Bible. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (II Peter 1:20). This does not mean that a private individual cannot interpret the Bible, but that no portion can be privately interpreted apart from its context. An individual can understand the Bible, even a child—"from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation" (II Tim. 3:15).
In these pages, although I will quote only phrases and isolated verses from God's Word, if you read the context and check the entire Book you will find that we are staying close to the theme and harmony of the entire Book.
The Bible explains itself. When you lack an explanation, then look up other verses on the same subject. Undoubtedly you will find the answer. This is what we are doing in this series of studies. Follow along if you will, and see if we keep our word.
Some people try to select truth by what sounds good to them or what appeals to them intellectually. It usually turns out to be something that pats them on the back and puts a halo on their heads.
There is no real common denominator, no standard or basis of judgment other than their own logic. This is not a very dependable gauge, for man's logic is too easily upset by his digestion, the weather, or world conditions, and his discernment varies with his companions or his emotions. In selecting a medicine for an ailment, do we choose something because of its color or taste? Of course not! We examine or go according to the formula. Then why choose a religion by how it appeals to us, or because someone has told us, why not examine the formula?
Throughout olden days God spoke to the human race by means of dreams and visions, angels and voices, and revealed Himself in various forms. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets" (Heb. 1:1). Just as we express our thoughts by means of words, so God uses words to communicate with mankind. He uses the voice of nature; the living Word of God, Christ; and the written Word of God, the Bible.
I. God Speaks to Man
A. The Voice of Nature. Through Nature we see the power of God demonstrated; we see His love in providing for our comfort; we see His glory in the beauty around us; we see His wisdom in the creation of living creatures; we see His infinity in the universe around us. "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" (Ps. 19:1–3). "For the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead" (Rom. 1:20).
But Nature alone is not the complete revelation of God. It tells nothing of His holiness and judgment. His mercy and salvation, of Heaven and Hell. Nature proves that there is a God, but not His will for us. We need more than the book of Nature.
B. The Living Word of God. In order that we might know the complete character of God and His will regarding salvation, God Himself came down to dwell among men in the Person of Jesus Christ. Being GGod, Chris lived the holiness and mercy of God and spake the judgment and will of God; by His life He gave us an example of Christian living and by His death He provided for our salvation. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God" (John 1:1, 2). Some try to imply that the Word spoken of here is simply the words of God, His expression and will. But the Word is not just a thing, it is a Person: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). Christ Himself is the living Word. Revelation 19:11–16 is a description of the coming of Christ to reign after the tribulation. Here He is called the "King of kings, and Lord of lords," and in verse 13, "The Word of God." God "hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. Who being the brightness of his [God's] glory, and the express image of his [God's] person" (Heb. 1:2, 3).
No one can worship God truly in Nature alone, for without the Saviour there is no access to God. Some people say, "I don't need to go to church; I can worship God in Nature. I have as much communion with God out on a picinc or working in my garden or on a hunting trip as in a church." They are probably right too. They have no true communion with God at all! When God has told us expressly how we are to serve Him, and we ignore His commands, then we cannot worship at all. Worship means "worth-ship" or "worthy shape," and there is none worthy apart from Christ; we cannot render worth-ship unto God when we are disobedient to God's command to gather together for worship. Disobedience is sin; there is therefore no communion with God!
But Jesus Christ lived here on the earth some 1900 years ago. He is not here today physically, and there had to be some way to preserve His words and will in writing. This record is called God's Word, the Bible. The prophets and apostles were led of God to write down the things that God wants us to know and give us a dependable source that is to be our standard for today. By it we test all teachings and dogmas and doctrines just as we gauge all distance by the linear rule.
C. The Written Word of God. The apostle Paul commends the Christians "because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (I Thess. 2:13).
Many people talk about the Bible, but so few actually read it for themselves. Perhaps they glance at it once in awhile or carry it to church and back, or even place it beside their bed to gather dust every day, but seldom read it faithfully, consistently and expectantly.
While visiting his parishioners, one minister was trying to impress on them the importance of reading the Bible regularly.
"Oh, pastor," enthused the lady of the house, "I read my Bible every day! However, the last three weeks I could only read one chapter a day instead of the several I used to read because I lost my spectacles."
Before leaving, the minister asked for her Bible to read a portion. There was a hurry and scurry to find the Bible, and eventually one of the boys discovered it on a shelf. The minister took it and it opened automatically to a place where some bulky object kept the pages apart. There were the spectacles! Lost for three weeks in the very Book the lady had said she read every day!
Gossip about the Bible seems to reach everywhere; yet the truth seems locked in the hearts of Christians and seldom gets out. Those who assert that there are mistakes and discrepancies never seem to have seen them for themselves or tried to examine them. For hundreds of years men have tried to stamp out this miracle Book. But it is still the best seller!
Why not give God's Word a chance? It cannot hurt anyone to examine it and let it speak for itself.
One lady stopped coming to my Bible classes because, to use her own words, "That teaching is not the same as I have been raised to believe." fier friend argued with her, "Why not come just for education? You do not have to believe it. Just come to see what the Bible does say." She came back to the classes, and came to know the Word of God, and again in her own words said, "I guess I was raised to believe wrong! I'm glad I found out the truth!"
II. The Origin of the Bible
A. Inspiration. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable" (II Tim. 3:16). The actual text of the original manuscripts was literally "God breathed" to godly men, the prophets and apostles, and they wrote what God told them to write even though they didn't fully understand the meaning of all that they wrote. The Bible claims to be the Word of God, and therefore the only guide for spiritual truth. It is an accurate history of the good and the bad, the facts and failings of men, the deeds and words of Satan, the dealings and will of God. God's hand moved His servants as a pen. Just as we might say that our letter was written with a pen, but it is our hand that moved the pen. "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 Ghost" (II Peter 1:21).
To say that the Bible is the Word of God does not mean that every word is His will or His command for us. It is an accurate record of all God wants us to know.
B. Revelation. The Bible contains the revelation of God's will and dealings and teachings. The doctrine of salvation, the Christian life, the Church, the second coming of Christ, are all His revelation. These doctrines are those which we plan to take up. There is no new revelation since the writings of the apostles and prophets were completed. A special curse is placed upon any who try to originate new doctrines or manuscripts, or to take away from those already given. "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city" (Rev. 22:18, 19).
But how do we know that the books of the Bible as we have them today are the original books in the Scriptures? True, the original manuscripts have been lost or destroyed. Well, to begin with, at the time of Christ He quoted from the Old Testament books as we have them now. No new books have been added to the Jewish Scriptures and none removed from that time.
Not too long ago some Arab boys were playing in the vicinity of the Dead Sea and discovered some old scrolls embalmed in earthen crocks. When opened up and translated these Dead Sea parchments proved to be Jewish religious writings that were dated long before the birth of Christ. They were quotations from all the books of the Old Testament, except Esther, just as we have them today.
But what about the New Testament? In the early church writings in the first centuries A.D., which are still intact, there are quotations from all the books of the New Testament as we have them today. So our New Testament was complete at that time. No new books have been added and none subtracted.
All Scripture is not written directly to us. Some of it regards the nation of Israel, some is pre-Christ and addressed to the Jews. But all of it is for us to profit by and to study. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Tim. 3:16).
C. Illumination. God does give light upon His Word to those who study it. There is no exhausting the deep meaning and application of this miracle Book. Every time it is read some new truth seems to spring out of the words with new clearness and new encouragement. But illumination of His Word is given by God through the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit of God the deep things of God are impossible to be understood. Those who have not received God's way of salvation, the Saviour Jesus Christ, cannot begin to understand the Bible. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.... But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor. 2:9–14).
To read the Bible with an open mind and a sincere prayer for understanding, will bring more light. The excuse is so often given, "I want to know all that the Bible teaches before I make a decision to accept it." No one will ever know all that God has written, for His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts are above our thoughts. But we can know enough to see that we are sinners and need a Saviour and that Jesus Christ is the Saviour provided. To act upon this first step will bring more light. When I receive Christ as my personal Saviour, then the Holy Spirit will give me more light. "Light accepted bringeth light; light rejected bringeth night." We take only one step at a time. The more we love our Saviour, the more we will understand of His Word.
Some people are impatient and wonder why they cannot understand everything all at once. Can we expect to know all the council of God at one sitting? Whoever heard of a student comprehending all the books of science and mathematics at one sitting! But they do not throw out their books in disgust the first day of school because they cannot understand all. They enroll in a class and make it their lifework to study, and day after day, line after line, bit by bit, they master their subject. Bible study is a lifework as well as a life pleasure and privilege.
III. The Construction of the Bible
The Book of books is, we may say, a library of sixty-six books bound together in two volumes, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word testament means covenant or agreement or arrangement. It refers to God's means of dealing with the human race from the beginning of time. The Old Testament pertains to things before the coming of Christ. The New Testament deals with God's arrangement for salvation after the coming of Christ.
However, here is something to remember when teaching the Bible. The death of Christ, and not His birth, gives us a viewpoint we have not had before. Christ was a Jew; He lived under the Old Testament arrangement and kept the laws for the Jews, and kept the Jewish day of rest. Many of His teachings were to the Jews with the Old Testament approach and application. When Christ died, however, everything was changed. Now we are in the Church Age, under the New Covenant, the New Testament. From Moses to Christ was the age or dispensation of Law; from Pentecost to Christ's return is the Age of Grace, the Church Age.
The Bible is divided into various types of books. The Old Testament is primarily concerned with God's chosen people, the Jews—their history, prophecy, law, and poetry.
The New Testament books, especially from the Gospel of John to Jude, contain Christian doctrine and are especially applicable to us today. Here we find the way of salvation and Christian living. Before Christ's death was the Old, since His death is the New. The Book of Revelation deals mostly with the future; the Book of Acts is a transition book linking the Old Testament regime with the New Testament approach, a book of unique expertences and special signs to authenticate the authority of the apostles.
Excerpted from God's Word Made Plain by Paul Friederichsen. Copyright © 1986 Mrs. Paul Friederichsen. Excerpted by permission of Moody Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
1. The Bible2. What Is God Like?3. The Holy Spirit4. The Sin question5. The New Birth6. Faith and Works7. Soul's After Death8. Prayer9. Sanctification10. Eternal Life11. Rightly Handling the Word of Truth12. Coming Events in Prophecy