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1. So why study the Bible?

My notes on teaching the Old Testament, by Mama Brenda.

Lesson 1 Leader’s notes

This lesson will be new material to most, if not all, of the ladies, so will probably best led from the front, by you the leader. There is a lot in this lesson, with no story to help it along. If this is the first time your class has worked together, you could consider making it two lessons! Or push on and tell them it only gets easier!!

Don’t give out notes to start with, or ask the ladies to close their books.

As a large group ask what they know about the Bible?

What is the Bible?

When was the Bible written?

Who wrote the Bible?

How was the Bible written?

Where was the Bible written?

Only then give out notes - teach through the first page as far as ‘This truth is one of the keys for this lesson’ at the bottom of page 4.

Who? section (opposite) - This may be too much information to use. Suggest you use

1 Corinthians 1:1-3 and 1 Peter 1:1; Psalms 23 and 90; Psalms 92 and Hebrews 1:1, 13:22-25 if necessary, to illustrate that we know who wrote some parts of the Bible but not all of it. Get a lady to read each of the Bible verse(s) to the class, and ask the class to share the relevance.

When you get to “This truth is one of the keys for this lesson”, ask the ladies not to look ahead yet.

Lesson 1 Student worksheet. So why study the Bible?

What? - What is the Bible?

Law - God’s rules for living

History - the history of the Jews

Poetry - special descriptive writing – also known as wisdom literature

Prophecy - men speaking what God has told them to say. 39 books in the Old Testament.

Gospels and Acts - story of Jesus and the early church

Letters from Paul, Peter and John - teaching Christians, including us

Prophecy - picture language of what God will do at the end of time

27 books in the New Testament.

When? – Our Bible was written over a period of 1600 years but finally came together as we know it in the 4th century AD (300-400 AD.) The Church Fathers in 100-300 AD gathered the sacred texts and evaluated them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit - which ones were seen to be used by God, authentic, helpful, used to encourage, and accepted by the Church over time? - these became what is technically called ‘the canon of scripture’.

Who? - God inspired it but human authors wrote it

Authors: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, Jude

Moses (First five books of the Old Testament and at least one Psalm)

King David (Psalms)

King Solomon (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon)

Joshua, Samuel

Ezra (Ezra, Nehemiah and perhaps 1 & 2 Chronicles)

Asaph and Sons of Korah (Psalms)

Agur and King Lemuel (end of Proverbs)

16 prophets

some lost in the mists of time

some who edited court annals into history records (?1 & 2 Kings)

Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; 1 Peter 1:1; Psalms 23 & 90. Do we know who wrote each of these?

Psalm 92 and Hebrews 1:1, 13:22-25. Do we know who wrote each of these?

We know who wrote some parts of the Bible but not all of it.

How? - There are 3 languages used in the Bible with occasional other words, see Daniel 5:25-28.

Hebrew - the ancient Jewish language (used in Israel today)

Greek - the most used language 100BC-200AD

Aramaic - the language Jesus used most - see Mark 5:41

Where? - Countries involved in the Bible include North Africa, Asia and Europe as well as the Middle East.

Where did Bible people live? Who did they have contact with? You may need to use the map on page 2 in Introduction. Look up Genesis 11:31; Daniel 1:3-4; Acts 8:26-27;

Acts 10:1-2; Romans 1:7; Acts 19:1, Ephesians 1:1.

Why? -God purposed and preserved His word – a single book with a single Author –

a single theme – God the Holy Spirit revealing God the Son and the saving

purpose of God the Father.

This truth is one of the keys for this lesson.

Page 4

Leader's notes: So why study the Bible?

Teach the “observing, interpreting, applying” paragraph - perhaps have the words which you find easiest - “look, understand, do” or “what does it say? what does it mean? what shall I do?” on a blackboard or a whiteboard or on pieces of card.

Think through this illustration as a group -

Imagine the government has passed a law that “everyone must use a red cooking pot”.

What does it say? Observe? Look? everyone must use a red cooking pot.


What does it mean? Interpreting? Understand? 1. that if you have a cooking pot it must

be a red one?

2. that if you have a red cooking pot you

must use it?

3. that everyone must buy a red cooking


Probably the second option above.

What shall I do? Applying? Do? paint my cooking pot red?

stop using my other coloured cooking

pots ?

buy a red cooking pot?

stop doing any cooking!

Using the logic gained from this example, work through the references in the Observing, Interpreting, Applying sections opposite, on this page and page 6 - trying to get the ladies to look at the Bible reference before reading the notes!!

Student's worksheet. So why study the Bible?

It is easy to misunderstand the Bible and to make it say things it does not say.

For example, in Psalms 14:1 and 53:1 yes, the Bible does say “there is no God”. But in context the Bible says clearly, only fools say that!!

So here is a rule of thumb in 3 parts to help us get it right:

Observing the text or What does it say? or Look

Interpreting the text or What does it mean? or Understand

Applying the text or What shall I do? or Do

What does it mean

for today?

When you read the Bible for yourself use the column of words above that makes most sense to you!


– first read the passage, then answer the question:

Genesis 3:6 Question - Who ate the fruit?

Answer - Eve first but then Adam.

Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11 Question - How many wise men were there?

Answer - We don’t know but there were 3 gifts.

1 Timothy 6: 10 Question -What is the root of all evil?

Answer - Not money but the love of money!

Page 5

Leader's notes: So why study the Bible?

Perhaps explain the Acts reference (opposite) to the group. After that encourage them to get to the answers to the others for themselves.

Take a rock or stone with you as a visual aid for Psalms 18:2 and 19:14.

Some translations do not use the word ‘rock’ but a similar word, like ‘strength’.

Perhaps explain the 1 Corinthians 8:13 application (opposite). Then for the others elicit answers from the group with everyone thinking it through speaking aloud.

The last section about asking questions of the text really amplifies “What does it say?”. We can be so very familiar with a passage of scripture that we need to look carefully again to see what it is saying.

You may have run out of time by now! Don’t worry.

Student's worksheet: So why study the Bible?

2. Interpreting

a). Acts 10:9-10. In many colder countries houses have sloping roofs because a flat roof would collapse under the weight of snow in the winter. So in UK this would need to be explained in the story because no-one would go and sit on a roof! For you it is perhaps easier to understand!

b). Luke 14:26 - Hate? To emphasise how much we must love Jesus more than our family, the original language uses ‘hate’ our family - in English that needs to be explained - perhaps in your language too? It is a comparison.

c). Psalms 18:2 and 19:14 talk of God as a rock - hard and unfeeling? - strong and dependable? The psalmist is using the good attributes of a rock to describe God, using things we know to describe Someone we do not fully understand.

We must be careful to discern scripture correctly.

1. Applying

a). 1 Corinthians 8:13 – the problem for these Christians was eating meat offered to idols – the principle Paul sets is - if my action causes my sister to stumble I must stop doing it

b). Luke 9:23 – we must go Jesus’ way even if it is very hard

c). John 21:15 – we must look after the younger Christians we know.

Look / Understand / Do - learning to correctly interpret scripture

is the second key for the lesson

Always ask questions of the text

- look objectively even if you have known the story since you were little!


who? who is involved in this passage?

what? what is happening?

when? what happened before and what happened after? where? where did this take place?

why? why did it happen?

how? how did it happen?

For next time - scan through Genesis - what major things happened? - who were the important people? Be ready to share your discoveries.

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