Jesus and the Apostles' View of the Bible (2020, Quarter 2, Lesson 3)

by Tim Rumsey April 11, 2020

Jesus and the Apostles' View of the Bible (2020, Quarter 2, Lesson 3)

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This study guide contains additional materials to accompany the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide for the second quarter of 2020, titled How to Interpret Scripture. This Deeper Daily Bible Study develops the broad theme of studying and interpreting the Bible into some areas not covered by the Sabbath School Study Guide. While the general topic of each week’s set of lessons corresponds to the Study Guide topic for that week, the daily focus will vary at times from that guide. We hope that you will find this approach to be a valuable added resource in your Bible study.

The “Digging Deeper” section probes into the day’s topic, and illustrates the study principle or tool being discussed. Suggested answers, if included, are provided in parentheses. Sabbath School teachers will find this section especially helpful in the Sabbath School setting. The “Apply It” section gives the student an opportunity to apply the subject at hand to his/her own study of the Bible, and the “Share It” section provides an opportunity for those in group studies to discuss and share their response to the day’s theme.

Sabbath (April 11, 2020): Jesus and the Apostles’ View of the Bible

In this week’s lessons we will look at Jesus and the apostles’ view of the Bible. How did they understand and explain the authenticity and the importance of the Old Testament Scriptures? We will begin our study with an examination of the idea of present truth—the realization that God has a special and unique message for the current time. As Ellen White brought out in the statement below, understanding present truth is critical for God’s people today, just as it always has been:

I saw the necessity of the messengers, especially, watching and checking all fanaticism wherever they might see it rise. Satan is pressing in on every side, and unless we watch for him, and have our eyes open to his devices and snares, and have on the whole armor of God, the fiery darts of the wicked will hit us. There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is “present truth” that the flock needs now. I have seen the danger of the messengers running off from the important points of present truth, to dwell upon subjects that are not calculated to unite the flock and sanctify the soul. Satan will here take every possible advantage to injure the cause (Early Writings, 63).

Digging Deeper

A close reading of the gospels and the book of Acts reveals that Jesus and the early Christians realized that they were living in a time of fulfilled prophecy.

  1. Read the passages below and summarize what Jesus says in each regarding the fulfillment of Scripture:

  • Mark 1:14,15. (Prophetic time had reached its fulfillment. Jesus was referring here especially to the 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27.)

  • Luke 4:17-21. (Jesus said that Isaiah’s prophecy was being fulfilled that very day, in that very room.)

  • John 13:18 and 17:12. (Jesus revealed that Judas’ betrayal was a fulfillment of Scripture.)

  • John 19:28. (Jesus often did or said things specifically so that Scripture would be fulfilled.)

  1. Read the passages below and summarize what the disciples/apostles said in each about Scripture being fulfilled in their day:

    1. Mark 1:1-4. (John the Baptist’s ministry was a fulfillment of prophecy.)

    2. Mark 15:28. (Christ’s crucifixion between two thieves was a fulfillment of prophecy.)

    3. John 19:24. (The soldiers casting lots for Christ’s clothing was a fulfillment of prophecy.)

    4. John 19:36. (The soldier thrusting a spear into Christ’s side was a fulfillment of prophecy.)

    5. Acts 1:16. (The disciples realized that Judas’ death was a fulfillment of Scripture, and that Scripture also indicated that his place would be filled.)

Apply It

Read the following Bible verses and answer the questions that follow:

  • 2 Peter 1:12. What does it mean to be “established in present truth”? Since all truth is important, why is being established in “present truth” so critical?

  • Hebrews 5:12-6:2. In what ways might this warning and admonition from the book of Hebrews apply to us today?

Share It

  • If we knew and believed Scripture as Jesus did, would we recognize more opportunities to do and say things that would, in some way, fulfill Bible prophecy?

  • In what ways has knowing the Bible’s message for today impacted how you live your life?

Sunday (April 12, 2020): It Is Written

Christ’s temptation in the wilderness was one of the greatest battle scenes in the great controversy between good and evil. We will never truly understand the force of the temptations that Satan brought against Jesus, nor will we ever completely grasp the eternal issues that were at stake on that dusty battlefield. What we can understand, however, is that Jesus won a tremendous victory for Himself, and for us, that day. As Ellen White wrote in the book Sons and Daughters of God:

The Saviour overcame to show man how he may overcome. All the temptations of Satan, Christ met with the Word of God. By trusting in God’s promises, He received power to obey God’s commandments, and the tempter could gain no advantage (Sons and Daughters of God, 156).

Digging Deeper

  • Read Matthew 4:1-11. What impresses you most about Christ’s responses to temptation in the wilderness? (Answers will vary. Christ’s first response was to quote Scripture and claim its promises.) How was Christ’s response connected with the victory that He gained? (The Word of God is creative in its power—that is, it creates reality rather than simply describing what is already there. This is an important and powerful thing to remember when battling temptation—even if we can’t see a way out or through temptation, the power of God’s Word can set us free.)

  • Read Hebrews 2:16-18. Did Jesus suffer when He was tempted? (Yes!) What does that mean? (It must mean that He felt the full force of temptation, for He was “made like unto his brethren.”) What encouragement and hope should this give us? (Because He suffered through temptation and overcame, Jesus, as our High Priest, can now give us His power and strength to experience the same victory in our lives.)

  • Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. What promise is given to us in this verse? (God promises that every temptation that He allows to come to us can be resisted with His help.) Are there temptations that we can bring on ourselves that we can’t be guaranteed of God’s help to withstand? (Answers will vary. It seems that presumptuous temptations—the ones we knowingly and willfully enter into—place us in great danger of falling into sin. God’s promises are for those who desire to do what is right. Compare 2 Peter 2:9, which says that the “godly” are delivered out of temptation.)

Apply It

Read the following statements from the books Sons and Daughters of God and The Desire of Ages. Discuss what Christ’s victory over sin means for us today.

Satan made stronger attacks upon Christ than he will ever make upon us. There was much at stake with him, whether Christ or himself should be conqueror. If Christ resisted his most powerful temptations, and Satan did not succeed in leading Him to sin, he knew that he must lose his power, and finally be punished with everlasting destruction. Therefore Satan worked with mighty power to lead Christ to do a wrong action, for then he would gain advantage over Him.... You can never be tempted in so determined and cruel manner as was our Saviour. Satan was upon His path every moment (Sons and Daughters of God, 156).

Will man take hold of divine power, and with determination and perseverance resist Satan, as Christ has given him example in His conflict with the foe in the wilderness of temptation? God cannot save man against his will from the power of Satan’s artifices. Man must work with his human power, aided by the divine power of Christ, to resist and to conquer at any cost to himself. In short, man must overcome as Christ overcame. And then, through the victory that it is his privilege to gain by the all-powerful name of Jesus, he may become an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ. This could not be the case if Christ alone did all the overcoming. Man must do his part; he must be victor on his own account, through the strength and grace that Christ gives him. Man must be a co-worker with Christ in the labor of overcoming, and then he will be partaker with Christ in His glory (Sons and Daughters of God, 156).

The prince of this world cometh,” said Jesus, “and hath nothing in Me.” John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character (The Desire of Ages, 123).

Share It

  • Is there an example that you are willing to share of a time when you experienced God’s power to deliver you from temptation? How did that experience impact your trust in God’s Word, and your confidence in God’s love for you?

Monday (April 13, 2020): Jesus and the Law

Jesus was very clear that He had not come to do away with God’s law, or to make it of none effect. In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus said,

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-20).

In today’s lesson we will take a closer look at Christ’s relationship to the law of God, and to the concept of law in general.

Digging Deeper

Read each passage below and discuss what each one reveals about Christ’s attitude toward, and relationship with, the concept of law:

  • Matthew 8:1-4. What did Jesus instruct the healed leper to do? (Go and present himself to the priest, as required by the law of Moses.) Why did Jesus do this? (Jesus did this to uphold the authority of the Old Testament laws that He Himself had given, and also to give the healed leper a chance to be declared clean before word reached them that Jesus was the source of healing.)

  • Matthew 22:17-21. What did this conversation reveal about Christ’s attitude toward the authority of human laws? (As long as they don’t conflict with one’s ability to worship and serve God, human laws should be obeyed.)

  • Matthew 22:37-40. What does Jesus reveal here as the foundation of God’s divine law? (It is an expression of love.) Although He doesn’t explicitly mention the Ten Commandments here, how does Jesus show that they, too, are an expression of love? (The first four commandments show our love for God, while the last six show our love for other people.)

Apply It

  • Read Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14. What do these passages reveal about the importance of the law of God at the end of time? What do they reveal about how God’s servants at the end of time will view God’s law?

  • Read Hebrews 8:10; 10:16. Where does God promise to write His law? What does this promise mean in connection with the statements below from the book The Great Controversy?

Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. …It is only as the law of God is restored to its rightful position that there can be a revival of primitive faith and godliness among His professed people (The Great Controversy, pp. 464, 478).

Share It

  • What does God’s promise that He wants to write His law in your mind and heart mean to you? What does this reveal about God’s character?

Tuesday (April 14, 2020): Jesus and All Scripture

The gospels make it clear that Jesus both believed in, and taught, all of Scripture, which was, of course, the Old Testament in His time. In today’s lesson we will look at why this was significant for His disciples and the early Christians, and why it is important for us, too.

Digging Deeper

  • Read Luke 24:27 and John 5:39. According to Jesus, what is the focus of “all the scriptures”? (He said all Scripture testifies of Himself.) In what ways is this true? (The Old Testament contains numerous explicit prophecies that were fulfilled in the life, work, and character of the Messiah. These books also contain many allusions and types that point to Jesus Christ.)

God chose Israel to reveal His character to men. He desired them to be as wells of salvation in the world. To them were committed the oracles of heaven, the revelation of God’s will. In the early days of Israel the nations of the world, through corrupt practices, had lost the knowledge of God. They had once known Him; but because “they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, ... their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21. Yet in His mercy God did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them an opportunity of again becoming acquainted with Him through His chosen people. Through the teachings of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before all nations, and all who would look to Him should live. Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. The whole system of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption. {AA 14.1}

  • Read Luke 24:44,45. What categories of Old Testament Scripture does Christ reference in this passage? (The law, the prophets, and the psalms. The “law” refers to the Torah, or the first five books written by Moses. The “prophets” refers to prophetic writings found throughout the Old Testament, and the “psalms,” of course, points to the Old Testament book that bears that name.

The Saviour had not come to set aside what patriarchs and prophets had spoken; for He Himself had spoken through these representative men. All the truths of God’s word came from Him. But these priceless gems had been placed in false settings. Their precious light had been made to minister to error. God desired them to be removed from their settings of error and replaced in the framework of truth. This work only a divine hand could accomplish. By its connection with error, the truth had been serving the cause of the enemy of God and man. Christ had come to place it where it would glorify God, and work the salvation of humanity. {DA 287.4}

Apply It

The verses below correspond by number with the passages in the “Digging Deeper” section above. Read each passage below and answer the question that follows:

  1. Revelation 12:17; 19:10. For what are God’s people persecuted at the end of time? (They are persecuted for believing what Jesus did—that “all Scripture” is the Word of God and should be followed. Specifically, they are persecuted for keeping the commandments of God, or the “law,” and the testimony of Jesus, which is the “spirit of prophecy.” In other words, they believe in the law and the prophets as Jesus did.)

  2. Read the passage below and summarize why it will be so essential for God’s people to believe and follow “all scripture” at the end of time:

Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief. {GC 625.3}

Share It

  • How has your study of the Bible taken on new depth as you find Jesus “hidden” in unexpected passages of Scripture?

  • In what ways is “all scripture”—not just individual doctrines here and there—being attacked by the world today? What should this tell us about the nearness of Christ’s coming? What challenge does this present to those who desire to live in accordance with God’s Word?

Wednesday (April 15, 2020): Jesus and the Origin and History of the Bible

Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus consistently upheld the historical authenticity of the Bible. On different occasions He referred to God’s creation of the world (Mark 10:6-8), Abel’s death (Luke 11:51), Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:38), and the great famine during Elijah’s life (Luke 4:25-27). In today’s study we will take a closer look at Christ’s historical references in the context of His statements about end-time events.

Digging Deeper

Read the Bible passages below. What Old Testament person or event is Jesus referring to, and what is the lesson He is drawing?

  1. Matthew 10:14,15. (Jesus is warning first, that there is a judgment, and second, that those who reject God’s messengers will suffer worse in the judgment than did Sodom and Gomorrah at their destruction.)

  2. Matthew 24:36-41. (Jesus is warning that His second coming will take many people unawares just as the flood surprised most of earth’s inhabitants in the time of Noah’s flood.)

  3. Luke 17:28-32. (Jesus is warning that many people will be so tied to other things in life that they, like Lot’s wife, will be unable to separate from them even in a time of crisis.)

  4. Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20. (Jesus is warning that “the abomination of desolation” will be a great time of persecution and trouble for God’s people, as warned about by the prophet Daniel.)

Apply It

The verses below correspond by number with the passages in the “Digging Deeper” section above. Read the verses below and summarize what each one says about how we should live our lives today:

  1. Revelation 14:7 and 1 John 4:17. How should we seek to be living since this is the time of God’s judgment?

  2. Matthew 24:42-51. What advice does Jesus give to us so that we will not be caught unprepared for the second coming?

  3. Revelation 18:1-4. What is God’s call to all people on earth at the end of time? Why is it so important to “come out of Babylon”?)

  4. Daniel 12:1. What promise do we have regarding God’s care and protection at the end of time?

Share It

  • Which of Christ’s allusions to Old Testament characters referenced above speaks to you the most forcefully? Why do you think Jesus refers to these stories, rather than just state His warnings?

Thursday (April 16, 2020): The Apostles and the Bible

The apostles, like Jesus Christ, upheld the authenticity and authority of the Old Testament as the Word of God (see, for example Acts 4:24-26, Romans 9:17, and Galatians 3:8). Like Jesus, they quoted freely from the Old Testament writers, and made numerous references to the stories and prophecies found in Scripture. In today’s lesson we will take a deeper look at the impact that their faith in Scripture had in their lives.

Digging Deeper

Read the following passages and summarize the impact that the apostles’ trust in Scripture—and, of course, their faith in Jesus Christ—had in their lives:

  1. Acts 1:15-26. (They took action based on the prophecies in Scripture.)

  2. Acts 4:13,19,20 and 1 Corinthians 1:27. (They were given wisdom, eloquence, and boldness when testifying of their faith.)

  3. Acts 6:1-4. (They were able to effectively prioritize their time and activities.)

  4. Revelation 1:9. (They were willing to suffer persecution for the sake of God’s Word.)

Apply It

The verses below correspond by number with the passages in the “Digging Deeper” section above. Read each passage below and answer the question that follows:

  1. Proverbs 22:3. What will we do in response to Bible prophecy if we truly believe it?

  2. Luke 21:12-15. What promise does Jesus give to us regarding our ability to witness for Him when we are placed in trying circumstances?

  3. Romans 13:11-14. What will a Christian’s life look like, especially in terms of priorities, when he or she is “awake”?

  4. Matthew 5:10-12. How can persecution be a blessing? Does this promise apply personally and corporately? If so, how?

Share It

  • What evidence have you seen personally that Scripture truly is God’s Word? In what way(s) have you found its promises to be true in your life?

  • What does Christ’s promise in Luke 21:12-15 mean to you? Does this mean that we don’t need to worry about studying and preparing to share our faith? Why or why not?

Friday (April 17, 2020): The Relevance of Present Truth

We began our studies this week by looking at the concept of present truth. Today, we will conclude this week’s lessons by looking at the relevance of present truth for us today.

Digging Deeper

The Bible provides a number of important characteristics of present truth. Read the following passages and summarize the characteristic(s) given in each:

  • Luke 18:31-34; 19:11-27. (Present truth always focuses on what Jesus is doing now, or what He is about to do.)

  • Acts 1:4,5. (Present truth always reveals the duty of God’s people now.)

  • Acts 1:6,7. (Present truth does not get sidetracked on interesting yet nonessential questions.)

  • Acts 1:8. (Present truth prepares and enables God’s people to receive the power of the Holy Spirit for more effective evangelism.)

  • Acts 1:9. (There is always a window of time in which present truth must be heard, understood, and applied.)

Apply It

  • Read Revelation 14:6-12. Seventh-day Adventists have long understood their mission to be the proclamation of the Three Angels’ Messages. What does this mean, and what is included in this message?

  • Read the following statement from Ellen White in the book Evangelism, and discuss what the challenge in the final sentence means to you:

In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import,—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. {Ev 119.3}

Share It

  • What present truths are most important for the world to hear right now? What messages do you think the world most wants to hear right now?

  • What can you, your family, and your church do to share present truth more effectively and efficiently?

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