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One Hundred and Fifty Need-to-Know Bible Facts
Key Truths for Better Living
By Ed Strauss
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
God created everything.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Look around you—where did everything come from? Sure, light came from the sun ... trees grew from seeds ... people were born to their mothers. But where did all those things originate ultimately? How did the sun take its place in the sky? Where did the very first seed-producing tree come from? How did your great, great, great (and so on) grandmother start the line of people that produced you?
Genesis 1 answers very simply: God made everything.CHAPTER 2
God simply spoke things into existence.
Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. Genesis 1:3
Talented people make useful and beautiful things that enhance our lives—the houses we live in, the foods we eat, the art we enjoy. But every artisan must begin with some kind of raw material—wood, stone, grain, pigments. Not so with God.
When God wanted to create our incredible universe, He simply said the word—and it happened. Light, sky, dry land, plants, and animals ... all arose at the command of the one true God. It's just one example of His amazing power.CHAPTER 3
In the beginning, the world was perfect.
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. Genesis 1:31
The Garden of Eden was an astonishingly beautiful paradise, but Eden was just part of the Big Picture. All of Creation on the entire planet was "very good." All flora and fauna were flawless.
Our planet today is far from perfect. We live in a fallen world. Disease and death, thorns and thistles have overtaken paradise. And yet, pause for a moment, and you will still see so much beauty shining through that it will take your breath away.CHAPTER 4
The devil caused doubt and dissatisfaction.
When the woman saw that the tree was ... desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. Genesis 3:6
Adam and Eve were living in Eden. They didn't have a problem or a care. They should have been perfectly content, and they were—that is, until the devil lied and "explained" that God had deceived them in order to withhold the best from them. If they ate the forbidden fruit, the serpent insisted, they would be wise like God.
The only way to believe the devil was to disbelieve God—and that's what Eve did. People have been falling for that same trick ever since.CHAPTER 5
Sin is destructive.
For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23
Adam and Eve's innocence was shattered the instant they disobeyed God. The sweet taste of the forbidden fruit was still on their tongues when its poison began its deadly work, quicker than a serpent's venom. Their minds were darkened, and they began seeing everything from a skewed, selfish perspective.
Worst of all, they died spiritually that day and began to die physically as well. The wages that their sin paid them was death.
Thankfully, God had already planned an antidote to the devil's poison.CHAPTER 6
Sin separates humanity from God.
Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you. Isaiah 59:2
Disobeying God came with a huge price: Humanity's relationship with the divine was sundered. To this very day, mankind's iniquity separates us from God. We can no longer see His face. "We grope for the wall like the blind" (Isaiah 59:10).
When we have no relationship with the Lord, when the power lines are down, when doubt, denial, and disobedience leave us in darkness, how can we communicate with God? We can't.
Thankfully, God had already planned a way to turn the lights back on.CHAPTER 7
Man at his best is insignificant.
Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales. Isaiah 40:15
We pride ourselves that we've come a long way. And we have. As magnificent as mankind's civilizations of the past were, think of the astonishing technologies of the modern world.
But none of our accomplishments can begin to compare to the eternal, omniscient God who created the vast universe, started every swirling galaxy turning, and said to every distant, giant star, "Be!"
The Bible pegs us accurately: our greatest nations are dust specks, and we're like microbes living on them.CHAPTER 8
We are very important to God.
What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? Psalm 8:4
Since God is the infinite Creator, who are we that He would care about us? Why would God even give humans a second thought—particularly since we rebelled against Him?
It is precisely because God is infinite that He can watch a distant asteroid, yet still notice when a hair from our head falls to the ground on Earth. It is precisely because God is our Creator that He loves us—even in our fallen state.
And He has a wonderful plan for us.CHAPTER 9
The blood of sacrifices covered sin.
"The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls." Leviticus 17:11
The punishment for sin is death, so when someone sinned, legally, their blood had to be spilled. God allowed a substitute, however. He ordained that His people sacrifice an animal to atone for their sin. The Hebrew word for atonement means "to cover." In a real spiritual sense, the blood of the lamb or goat covered over a person's sin.
Every time someone sinned, however, they had to make another sacrifice ... and another ... and another. Clearly, this was only a temporary solution.CHAPTER 10
No one fully obeyed the Law of Moses.
Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10
To help people stay in loving relationship with Him and others, God gave them the Law of Moses. This law contained (according to the rabbis' count) 613 commandments—and people had to obey them all. It wasn't enough to keep the command, "You shall not commit adultery," but disobey, "You shall not gossip."
But people are only human, and the best of us trip up. (Try giving generously and cheerfully to someone whom you know won't repay.) As a result, no one kept the law perfectly.CHAPTER 11
God had a solution to sin.
God sent forth His Son ... to redeem those who were under the law. Galatians 4:4–5
God was aware that even good-hearted, sincere people couldn't obey the law without fail—and that those who tried hardest to be righteous were often, well, self-righteous legalists. God was as displeased with merciless, unloving "righteousness" as He was with thoughtless, unloving sin.
For their part, the common people (whom the religious called "sinners") were aware of their failings, yet weary of trying to live up to impossible-to-keep standards.
The time was right, so God sent Jesus into the world with mercy and truth.CHAPTER 12
Jesus' life is a fact of history.
We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses. 2 Peter 1:16
The Gospels tell the facts of Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection. These aren't made-up fables like the insane adventures of the Greek gods. No, the powerful miracles the apostles describe actually happened! Peter, John, and Matthew were eyewitnesses.
In addition, tens of thousands of people from one end of Israel to the other had met Jesus and seen His miracles. As Paul pointed out, "This thing was not done in a corner" (Acts 26:26).
Make no mistake: the four Gospels are accurate historical reports.CHAPTER 13
Jesus is a perfect representation of God.
He is the image of the invisible God. Colossians 1:15
The Bible tells us that God has great love for us, but He knew we were all basically from Missouri: We needed to be shown. So God sent His only Son to Earth to demonstrate what His love was like.
Jesus was the perfect representation of God, and He empathized with us and put up with everything we endure: hunger, thirst, weariness, and temptation. By living among us, by caring for us—then giving His very life—Jesus showed us that God indeed loved us.CHAPTER 14
Jesus' blood completely cleanses us.
Jesus Christ ... loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. Revelation 1:5
When John the Baptist saw Jesus he shouted, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). He was right: Jesus was the final, perfect sacrificial lamb, who offered His own lifeblood to save us.
Jesus' blood didn't just temporarily cover our sin like the blood of sacrificial lambs had done. Jesus took our iniquities completely away. His blood washed away our sins, leaving us clean. And He did it one time, once and for all.CHAPTER 15
There's infallible proof that Jesus lives!
He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs. Acts 1:3
When Jesus appeared to His disciples after rising from the dead, they recognized Him all right, but thought they were seeing His ghost. So Jesus offered His disciples proof that it was really Him: He ate food and told them, "Touch Me."
That convinced them!
For the next forty days, before He ascended to heaven, Jesus appeared to over five hundred people and offered many and infallible proofs that He had indeed been resurrected from the dead. He wanted us to know that fact beyond all doubt.CHAPTER 16
Women were the first witnesses.
When He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. Mark 16:9
Two thousand years ago, Jewish religious leaders had a low opinion of women. Their testimony wasn't even accepted in a court of law; only male witnesses were believed. Yet all four Gospels report that women were the first to see Jesus alive again—and a formerly disreputable lady was first of all!
If the apostles had invented reports of seeing Jesus, they'd have surely claimed that one of them had seen Him. But the truth was what it was, so they told it like it happened.CHAPTER 17
The Gospels were written to inspire faith.
These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. John 20:31
Many people think that the purpose of the Gospels is to inform us that an enlightened teacher named Jesus once walked the earth and advised us to love one another and do good—or that His miracles proved that He was some kind of holy man.
That's missing the main point by a country mile. John puts it succinctly: the main reason the Gospels were written was to cause us to believe that Jesus is God's Son—the only one who can give us eternal life.CHAPTER 18
God loved us at our worst.
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Many of us secretly suspect that God only loves "good people" who've already got something going—and are already doing their best to love and obey Him. That's an easy mistake to slip into, but it is a mistake. God loves people who are still wallowing in sin, hurting themselves and others, and insisting that they don't even need God.
God sent His Son, Jesus, to make the ultimate sacrifice when we were totally undeserving and unappreciative of His immense love.CHAPTER 19
Our sin is utterly gone.
You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19
Once you're forgiven, God doesn't hang on to a ledger listing your sins, pull it out every time you trip up, tap His fingers and say, "Just to let you know, I haven't forgotten these things." No. He says He has cast your sins—all your sins—into the Abyss, the deepest trench in the profoundest depths of the ocean, sunk to the utter bottom, never to be recovered.
Once your sins are forgiven, they are gone indeed, and you are forgiven indeed.CHAPTER 20
God has adopted us.
You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15
We weren't God's sons and daughters to start with. We were like street urchins, grimy with sin, all our unrighteousness like filthy rags draped around us, homeless, destitute waifs ... but then ...
God adopted us as His own children, washed us clean, dressed us in robes of righteousness, and gave us the immense privilege of calling Him Father. We have been adopted into His family and warmly invited to sit at the royal table.
Oh, there are a few house rules ... but we'll get to those.CHAPTER 21
Jesus literally lives in your heart.
God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts. Galatians 4:6
When you put your faith in Jesus Christ and ask Him to save you, His Spirit enters your heart—literally. This isn't just a figure of speech. God sends the Spirit of Jesus into your very being and He takes up residence there. He says, "I will dwell in them" (2 Corinthians 6:16).
You may argue that you're not "holy" enough for God to live in, that you're too much of a mess. But that's precisely why Jesus enters your life—to make you holy.CHAPTER 22
Only Jesus can save us.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
We should respect other peoples' beliefs, but let's be very clear: Jesus stated that He is the truth, the life, and the only way to God. He is not one path among many. He is no optional side dish in the cafeteria of world beliefs.
Other religions teach some truth and may even lead partway to God, but Jesus is the only one who can save us, the only one who can get us completely across the yawning chasm of sin to the Father's arms.CHAPTER 23
We can now live Moses' law.
All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14
It was a small command tucked away in a dry book of ceremonial laws. It wasn't even listed among the Ten Commandments. Yet these seven simple words in Leviticus 19:18—"You shall love your neighbor as yourself"—are the heart of the law.
The Law of Moses was strict and complicated. Jesus' message was merciful and simple: love God and love the person next to you. Do that and you just fulfilled all the requirements of the law.
Talk about keeping things simple!CHAPTER 24
We must love and obey God.
That you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life. Deuteronomy 30:20
Imagine that you must cross a swollen river. God can easily withstand the raging current, but all around you, you see debris being swept away. "Hold tightly to Me, My child," He says, and though you are afraid, you do. You obey His voice and cling to Him for your very life.
You must not only believe that He is strong enough to save you, but you must know that He loves you enough to actually do so. When you really "get" that, you will trust and love Him in return.CHAPTER 25
We must love one another.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7
Jesus said to love one another—even our enemies. (That surely includes family and friends at their crankiest.)
But why must we love them? Really, aren't we doing enough already if we manage to ignore them or to tolerate them? Why must we actually love them?
We must love others because love comes from God and God now lives in our heart. We love others because we are God's child. Loving others shows that we truly know God, and know who He is: Love.
Excerpted from One Hundred and Fifty Need-to-Know Bible Facts by Ed Strauss. Copyright © 2011 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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