Friend, you and I have often talked about the love of God. This is an amazing attribute of God, which helps us understand much about who God is. However, love is only one of many attributes (characteristics) of God. In order to more fully understand God, it is important to know all that Scripture says about who God is. If we focus on one characteristic of God and neglect another aspect of God, we will have an incomplete or unbalanced view of God. An inadequate understanding of God hinders our lives and hurts our ability to help others.

One way of balancing our understanding of the love of God with other characteristics of God is to think carefully about the cross. In the cross of Christ, the love of God is clearly seen.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

It was the love of God that sent Jesus to die for us, and, yet, why did He need to die? If God is only love, there would be no need for Jesus to die. His love would simply be, and there would be no need for forgiveness because only love would exist. Actually, this seems like a strange kind of existence.

But, we know there is more to the story. God is love, but He is more than love. He is also holy, and righteous, and He is personal, which means He desires a relationship with His made-in-His-image creatures (mankind). God is also Truth, which implies that He cannot lie, and what He promises must happen. These are just a few of God’s attributes, but enough to help teach an important truth.

As I said above, in the cross of Christ, we see a perfectly balanced picture of who God is. He is holy, so the sins of the world (our sins) needed to be judged on the cross. God is love, so our sins could also be forgiven on the cross.

God explained to Adam and Eve, if they sinned against Him, they would die physically and spiritually. The day Eve and Adam eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil their bodies began to decay and their relationship with God was severed–they were banished from the garden and death came to all men.

God, who is Truth, did what He said He would do. His righteousness and truthfulness demanded it. So God’s love offered Adam and Eve an eternal unbroken love relationship with Him, but His holiness, righteousness and truthfulness demanded Adam and Eve die. In the end, the love of God triumphs in the cross of Christ, where the just demands of God’s holiness and the yearning desire of His love are both fulfilled.

An important point is this. Our righteous, truthful God also explained to us how a person is forgiven their sin. The Bible both defines sin, and teaches the solution to the penalty for sin. God, who cannot lie, teaches us that a person must understand that they have sinned against God, and trust in God’s provision for their salvation. So God’s love, mercy, justice and holiness sent Jesus to the cross. Those same characteristics of God demand that each individual believe in Jesus, turning away from their life without God. God, who cannot lie, will not allow anyone to be with Him who has not trusted (believed) in Jesus as their Savior. As John 3:36 so clearly communicates,

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 3:36

 Notice, if a person refuses to believe in Jesus, the wrath of God abides upon him.

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:12

It is the name of Jesus that must be believed in order for salvation to occur.

“For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

Romans 10:11-15

My friend, this is why missionaries live their lives sharing the good news of Christ death and resurrection–we know it is absolutely necessary for people to hear and believe before they die. All of us wish this were not so. All of us wish that all people in the end would simplify be forgiven, but God, who cannot lie, has told us the Truth. If people die without Christ, they spend eternity without God. Our Savior died to prevent eternal separation from God. God has reached out to all of mankind offering His only Son to save us from our sin.

God has done His part. Now, it is time for you and me to do our part. It is our responsibility to share the good news of salvation. As a missionary once said, “The Good News is only Good News if it reaches the lost in time.”

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire

Revelation 20:11-15

We must stand between people and the lake of fire.

The Authority of the Bible

Friend, We have had many Bible studies. By studying the Bible together, we discover how to live life. This is part of my assignment to you, as you said, “To help me know how to live.” I take this task extremely seriously and as a great honor. God has given me the responsibility to help you live life well.

I would have no hope of helping you or anyone else, if it were not for the Word of God. I really have very little to say of value that does not come from the Bible. So it is absolutely essential for both of us to recognize that the teaching of the Bible has authority over us. It is not a matter of my opinion or your opinion, but rather, What does God say about this?

Forty four years ago, I left a selfish life leading to death and doom, and became a Christian. Because I did so, instead of death and doom, I have life in abundance. Every day is filled with deep joy and meaning. My relationship with Deb, and our five children are not perfect, but they are extremely good and healthful to me. I am absolutely convinced that this has happened in my life because of my obedience to God and His Word–the Bible.

What I have, I hope to give to you. If I am able to do so, it will be because together we sit under the authority of the Word of God, not leaning on our own understanding, rather leaning on Jesus and His Word. So let’s study the authority of God’s Word over our lives.

Why I believe the Bible

The Bible Answers the Deep Questions of Life

My friend, I have thought long and hard about why I trust the Bible. I have looked back at my life and asked the question, Why do I believe in Christianity? and Why do I trust the Bible as God’s Word?

With me, it began as a boy, when looking up at the starry sky, asking the basic questions of life; What is life about?, Where did all things come from?, What is beyond the stars?, Who am I?, What is the meaning of all this? Although, I knew nothing of God, my prayer was God, if you are there help me find you. He did help me find Him.

It was in my third of college, when the searchings of my heart had reached I critical point, when God began to answer my questions. The answers began to come in the introductory material of a para-phrase version of the Bible–The Living Bible by Ken Taylor.

Basic questions were asked like, “Are you Lonely?” followed by the Scripture reference which showed one how not to be lonely. Honestly I did not understand the Scriptural answers given, but the idea intrigued me that, in the Bible, I had a book which would answer the deep questions of my life.

The first way in which the Bible proved reliable to me is that it revealed to me my greatest problem. The Bible informed me that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness. My basic problem was a lonely heart alienated from God. This information, I immediately recognized in my heart, to be true. Now after forty four years of serious daily study of the Bible, and walking with God through all those years, I can honestly say that the Bible does answer the deep questions of life. Those answers have satisfied my intellectual curiosity, emotional needs, and relational deficiencies. More importantly, I have learned how to have my sins forgiven, be reconciled to God, and live a productive, meaningful life.

God, through the Bible, has radically altered the trajectory of my life and actually given me life by answering the deep questions of life. In another lesson, we will look at those answers together, but for today I just wanted to explain why I trust the Bible and except it as the authority of my life.

The Bible Claims to Be God’s Word

Having come to trust the Bible, I found additional reasons to believe it as my authoritative guidebook for living–It claims to be God’s Word.

2 Timothy 3: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

  1. In the context of 2 Timothy, “All Scripture” refers to the Bible.
  2. The Word “inspired” literally means, “God breathed.” the Bible claims to be the result of God’s creative breath. Just like the world came into existence by the creative activity of God, so the Bible did as well.
  3. All Scripture is all that is needed to be quipped for all good things.

2 Peter 1: 16-21

In the context of this passage, Peter is exhorting Christians to continue to grow in the Truth of God’s Word. In 2 Peter 1:16-17, Peter explains why He has the authority to do so.

Peter’s Experience gives him Authority to Speak

2 Peter 1: 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

The Word of God is More Authoritative than Peter’s Experience

2 Peter 1: 19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update

1 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:19 are the classic proof texts to show that the Bible claims to be authoritative, but they are only two of hundreds of instances where the Bible itself claims to be the Word of God.

In fact, warnings are given not to add or take away from the Word of God

Revelation 22: 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

There are many other facts which have helped me trust the Bible, as the authority over my life: 1. fulfilled prophecy, 2) archeological findings3) the cohesiveness of the Bible (66 books, 1,600 years, 39 authors, one cohesive story). All of these have helped me recognize that the Bible is the Word of God and the authority of my life, but most important for me is that God continues to answer my questions, and satisfy my life with His leading from the Bible.

What Should we do if we Disagree with the Bible?

Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.


We cannot be loyal to friends, if we are not loyal to God and His Word. God’s Word tells us what it means to be loyal. Jesus is our first love. He is working to save us in every way. If we love our friends, we will be loyal to Jesus. Jesus will tell us how to be loyal to one another.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update

Friendship and Brotherly Love

Some people are more demonstrative in their brotherly friendship and love than others. So, I thought it would be good to look at what the Bible says about this subject. When I think of showing emotion demonstratively, I think of John. So let’s start with John.

Proverbs 27: 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

We start with this verse from Proverbs because it was from Proverbs that this study originated.

Notice that true friends are obligated to wound one another. This reminds me that love is more than an emotion. Friendship/brotherly love is also a commitment to one another’s welfare in the whole person.

John 13: 23 There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

Most commentators agree that the one whom Jesus loved passages refer to the Apostle John.

The context of the is passage is when Jesus announced that He would be betrayed. What does this passage reveal about the Apostle John?

John 20:26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”

Jesus entrusted His mother with John. What does this say about Jesus relationship with John.?

John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

What interests me is that Peter and John are hanging out together. Two very different personalities serving Jesus and finding brotherly friendship with one-another.

John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.

It was John who leaned on Jesus bosom but it was Peter who impulsively swam towards Jesus. What does this say about the relationship of John and Peter towards Jesus? How were they different?

John 21:20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?”

Why did Peter mention John? Why was it John that was following closely behind Peter and Jesus?

1 Jn 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—

The disciples spent three years with Jesus. They experienced close relationship with Him. Notice, John, the one who leaned on Jesus chest, mentions that the disciples even touched Jesus. Why did John emphasis this close relationship with Jesus?

1 Jn 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

If we get close to Jesus with whom can we have fellowship?

1 Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Fellowship with Jesus and true brother love/friendship with one another is based upon walking in the light, confessing and forsaking our sin and receiving our Savior’s cleansing. There is no true brotherly love based upon sinful living. But by walking in the light towards the brilliant light of Jesus, brothers in the Lord can enjoy soul satisfying brotherly love.

1 Jn 1:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

How do we first of all love one another?

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.