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Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 1
Bible Correspondence Course - Lesson 1

Why should we want to study the Bible? Is the Bible up to date in the space age? Exactly what IS the Bible, and how should we study it to really UNDERSTAND it? This lesson gives you the ANSWERS from your Bible!

WHAT are we? Were we put on earth for a purpose? If so, what is that purpose?

Why are so many lives empty, discontented, unhappy? How may life become happy, abundant, successful, prosperous and filled with interest?

What is the real cause of wars, and the way to world peace? What lies beyond death – is there really a way to eternal life?

Are these questions important? One might ask, could anything else be more important? If you wanted to know the answers to these basic questions of life, where would you go?

The Foundation of Knowledge

Stop and think! Would a Creator, having supreme intelligence, wisdom and love to think out, to plan, design, and bring about all creation – this earth, and all life upon it – have left human beings in ignorance of His purpose – the purpose of their being here – and the laws that would bring them the peace, happiness, joy and everything good that men have been striving to attain since the beginning?

The foundation of all knowledgeAmbassador College

God Almighty made His all-important truth accessible to mankind. He committed His treasure-house of basic knowledge to writing. He revealed that knowledge in the Holy Bible – the very FOUNDATION of knowledge – His instruction book for mankind. Yet almost no one has ever found the answers so plainly written there!

The Bible is simply God's divine revelation of BASIC NEEDED KNOWLEDGE which man is not capable of finding out for himself by any other means.

God equipped man with the powers and abilities to discover and use the laws of science. But absolutely no tools or instruments of science can ever tell you if there is life after death, the purpose of your being alive, where you are going, or the way to a happy, abundant and peaceful life here and now. Our scientists, our world leaders and our statesmen have failed utterly to tell us these answers, or to lead us into the universally desired peace with happiness and abundant living.

The Bible reveals all this – and more. This course shows you where to find that revealed knowledge in the FOUNDATION of knowledge!

A Living Book!
Ambassador College

But why do most people think the study of the Bible would be a dull, uninteresting, irksome task – to be done, if at all, only as a duty out of fear of a harsh God?

Simply because people have not known God, or what He is like and because they have never really begun to understand the Bible!

In this study we shall come to really see that God is LOVE (I John 4:8, 16), not a harsh, stern God; that God wants every one of us to be happy, and to enjoy an interesting life to the very full – every second of it! And we shall, once we begin to understand the Bible, come to find it the most fascinating, the most interesting, as well as the most profitable and enjoyable study of our lives.

Where to Begin?

One natural and proper starting place to begin our study of the Bible would be at the very beginning with God as Creator at the very first chapter of Genesis and compare the Bible account of creation with the modern theory of evolution; to study the creation of man, the origin of Satan, the first sin, and to continue on from there through the Old Testament.

Another natural starting point is with the beginning of the New Testament. While the very first words of the entire Bible are “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), the real beginning of the New Testament, in actual time sequence of events, is John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word.” So the account of the pre-existence, the birth, and work of Jesus Christ – who is called “the Word” or Spokesman of God also begins with the words, “In the beginning.”

And there is still another natural starting point – the one we have adopted.

Former US President Dwight D Eisenhower realized humanity may soon destroy itselfAP Newsfeatures

VISIONARIES: Former US President Dwight D Eisenhower realized humanity may soon destroy itself.

That is to begin with this very present age in which we live – this time of upset world conditions – this time when science and technology have produced the weapons that threaten the extinction of all life on this planet – this “time of the end” just before the end of this age and the second coming of Jesus Christ!

We feel the Bible will mean more to you if you fully understand its vital relation to your life today and its direct connection with current world events.

If you were to try to understand a map of the world, it would not mean much to you unless and until you could first put your finger on the precise spot on the map where you were at the moment. Only then could you clearly see and comprehend the rest of the world in relation to your own location on the map.

We feel you will understand the Bible better, and find it more interesting, if you view it all – its history and prophecy, its teachings and divine revelations – from the vantage point of your life here and now. The Bible will become clearer if you see how world events have led up to the very time and conditions in which you live, and what the future has in store for you and all mankind.

But before we begin this fascinating study, we need to know why so few really understand the Bible and how YOU can understand it.

Why Such Confusion?

Why do we find such confusion – such disagreement as to what the Bible says? Why don't the hundreds of differing church denominations and sects agree on what their acknowledged textbook says?

Why do so many individuals, capable of understanding almost any other book, say: “I just can't understand the Bible”?

General Douglas MacArthur recognized the solution to man’s problems of survivalWide World

VISIONARIES: General Douglas MacArthur recognized the solution to man’s problems of survival.

Take a recognized textbook on biology. Show this book to ten different biology professors from ten different colleges and universities. Ask them what it says. They'll all give you basically the same answer. People seldom disagree as to what recognized textbooks say – except when it comes to the one book of all books – the Holy Bible!

But take the Bible to ten different professors of theology, or ministers of religion, and you'll probably receive ten different answers to just about any question you might ask about it.

Do you know WHY?

Here certainly is the enigma of the ages. The most important, yet the least understood book of all books is the world's BEST SELLER – the book owned by more people than any other. It is the one book that has lived in spite of every effort to stamp it out down through the ages.

The Bible is the only book which has foretold, centuries in advance, the chaotic conditions of our world – the only book that explains the meaning of confused world conditions – that opens before us to understand in advance the wonderful, peaceful, happy world tomorrow. It is the one book that predicted, in advance, the rise and fall of specific nations and governments – that reveals the DESTINY of the world. No mere humanly inspired book could have revealed these amazing events. Such prophecies must have been divinely inspired.

Here is the book that, in spite of human misunderstanding, has changed more lives than all other books combined. And yet – it is the book that almost NOBODY knows!

Why Misunderstood

The Bible is the most mis understood book in history. The most twisted, distorted, misrepresented, maligned and lied about.

GROTESQUE wreckage of Hiroshima, Japan, after atomic attack

GROTESQUE wreckage of Hiroshima, Japan, after atomic attack. What is the way to ESCAPE the nuclear holocaust statesmen and scientists are predicting?


The answer is found in II Timothy 3:16-17. The Apostle Paul was inspired by God to write: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

So the Scriptures are profitable for the purpose of reproving and correcting us!

But how many people do you know who are even willing to be corrected when they are in error – to be REPROVED for the wrong things they do? People simply do not like to be reproved and corrected. They love praise – they like flattery – but reproof and correction they surely hate!

Now do you see why it is so difficult for people to understand the Bible, and to agree on just what it says? The Bible is God's great spiritual mirror. It shows up every flaw in our thinking, reveals every spot on our characters. It pictures us as we really are – as God sees us, not as we like to think we are, or as we like to have other people look upon us.

A fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls - discovered in 1947Wide World Photos

MESSAGE FOR TODAY – A fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls - discovered in 1947 and after–shown with two of the clay containers which protected the documents for nearly 20 centuries. Among scrolls were fragments of Scripture with Hebrew text virtually identical to copies we have today. What message does the Bible.

“For the word of God,” we read in Hebrews 4:12, “is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” – it cuts deep, and it cuts both ways – “and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Yes, it opens up and exposes our innermost thoughts.

When little children do things that are wrong – that have been forbidden – do they usually admit it freely and frankly? Or do they usually deny it as long as possible, then try to cover it up, excuse it, justify it, or place the blame on somebody else?

We are all only little children grown up. When our heavenly Father speaks to us, through His Holy Scriptures, and reproves, rebukes, or corrects us, we usually do not like to admit our errors, our faults, our wrong ways.

And so men began, centuries ago, to interpret the Bible. As a result, the Word of God has become twisted, wrested, perverted, with almost every false and counterfeit meaning imaginable being read into it. Instead of teaching and expounding the plain, simple, intended meaning, we now have hundreds of HUMAN INTERPRETATIONS of the Bible!

Instead of acknowledging the truth, men seek to justify their own ways by PERVERTING the sacred and holy Word of God!

The Apostle Paul was inspired to write in II Timothy 4:1-4 that the time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine. People have turned away their ears from the truth and have turned to FABLES palmed off as the truth of God's Word. Isaiah prophesied that in these latter days men would demand: “Prophesy [preach] not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isaiah 30:8-10).

We can clearly see why people do not understand the Bible. They are not yielded to the Eternal's will – they are filled with the fear of men instead of God. They tremble at the thought of what people say, instead of what the Word of the LIVING God has to say!

The United Nations, Man's Last Hope for Peace?Wide World Photo

The United Nations – Man’s Last Hope for Peace? The building that houses what has been called the world’s “last hope for peace” shines brilliantly against the midtown Manhattan skyline. In spite of many sincere efforts to bring about world peace, men continue to fight and wage war. Only the Word of God shows how this world’s ills will soon be SOLVED!

We read in Psalm 111:7-8, 10: “All his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness... The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments...”

David had understanding. And David said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).

Today's generation is like that of Jesus' day, of which He said, “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Yes, the Bible is light – a lamp unto our feet – a light unto our path. But the world is surely in gross darkness.

Meaning Locked Up Until Now

Bruce Barton wrote a book about the Bible entitled The Book Nobody Knows. This title certainly has been true – until recently!

After revealing many prophecies to the prophet Daniel, God told him to “Seal the book, even to the time of the end: [when] many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). In the time of the “end” all knowledge, as well as knowledge of the Scriptures, was to be increased!

The Moffatt translation of the Bible renders “the time of the end” as “the crisis at the end.” The whole world is now in a time of grave crisis and is rapidly approaching a condition of total chaos – we are now in the crisis period at the close of this age! God said that at this time “None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand" (Dan. 12:10, emphasis ours throughout lesson).

Though printed copies of God's Word and a general knowledge of the Scriptures are widespread today, the world as a whole still does not understand the Bible. It is in utter confusion religiously, academically, politically and militarily. The world does not really know where it is headed, nor does it comprehend the lessons of the past. Never has mankind needed understanding of the knowledge of God more!

Spiritual Understanding Never More Needed

Experts tell us that scientific and technical knowledge has doubled in the past decade – but so have world troubles! Obviously material knowledge and scientific and technological know-how have not brought man the ANSWERS to world problems. This knowledge has only led to the proliferation of problems, and has led mankind to the brink of nuclear annihilation!

NASA Photo

The late, former President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, recognized the fact that man may soon destroy himself. In his inaugural address he said: “In the swift rush of great events, we find ourselves groping to know the full sense and meaning of the times in which we live… How far have we come in man's long pilgrimage from darkness toward light? Are we nearing the light – a day of freedom and peace for all mankind? Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us? …Science seems ready to confer upon us, as its final gift, the power to erase human life from this planet.”

But how may world disaster be averted? What is the solution to the arms race – to a nuclear “Armageddon”?

At the close of World War II, just following the surrender of the Japanese on board the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the late General Douglas MacArthur put his finger on the only possible solution. He said these fateful words: “Men since the beginning of time have sought peace. Various methods through the ages have been attempted to devise an international process to prevent or settle disputes between nations… Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blots out this alternative. We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at the door. The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature, and all material and cultural developments of the past 2,000 years. It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh” (Reminiscences, p. 459).

Notice these remarkable words carefully.

Although he was one of the greatest and most successful generals of modern times, MacArthur believed that our world has had its last chance to wage a major war and to end it short of the annihilation of mankind!

But he also saw the only solution to this world’s ills to be a renewing of man’s spirit – an improvement in human character!

Let’s be honest. Let’s face the facts. There is a cause for every effect! Because man has chosen to go his own way and has rejected God's revealed knowledge, mankind is reaping the consequences! Man's own ways are the CAUSE of the misery, wretchedness, and trouble filling the world today! Cut loose from God and the understanding of His Word, man's misguided scientific and technological genius has led him to the brink of self-annihilation!

The problem, therefore, basically is theological, as God plainly says in His Word: “My people are destroyed for lack of [true, spiritual] knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

Only One Hope

People tend to delude themselves into thinking there is no special danger right now – that the world has always been as chaotic as it is today.

Of course, human nature has remained basically unchanged. The ways of carnal-minded men have always ended in destruction and death (Prov. 14:12).

But, in prophesying of our day, the Apostle Paul said, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse" (II Timothy 3:13). This, coupled with the stark reality that never until now has human annihilation been possible, ought to WAKE US UP!

Jesus Christ, the greatest newscaster who ever lived, knew the ultimate result of the terrible state of affairs men would bring on themselves in this end time. He predicted: "Except those days should be shortened, there should NO FLESH BE SAVED [ALIVE – Moffatt]" (Matt. 24:22).

Yet, your Bible shows there is hope for mankind! God Almighty has promised to intervene in world affairs. He will not allow the scientific genius of man to destroy all life on this planet. He has promised to send Jesus Christ again – this time to SAVE us from ourselves and bring us peace at last!

You Can Begin to Understand

How, then, can you begin to really understand the Bible? Here is how you may begin this exciting adventure.

Study the Bible to find TRUTH. Be careful to "prove all things” (I Thess. 5:21). Then believe God – believe His Word as you would accept any other book in which you had confidence.

When the Apostle Paul came to Berea, the people found he was preaching something utterly different than that which they had been taught and had believed. They did not know whether Paul was a false prophet, or a man sent from God. Notice what they did: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind [that is, without prejudice], and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).

So study your Bible without prejudice, but be careful to prove all things as the Bereans did—search the Scriptures whether those things be so! Read and study your Bible daily – check up for yourself and see what it really does teach. Don't just assume that what you have always heard and believed is the truth of God.

Important Instructions
Ambassador College

This course is not just a study of the lessons we send you. The lessons are intended to show you where to look in your Bible for the verses relating to the subject under study. Therefore, you should turn to every scripture reference given in answer to the questions we ask, and carefully read these passages. This way you will prove the truth for yourself from your own Bible. (This course is based on the King James Version because it is the most widely used translation of the Bible today.)

Although not required, writing or typing out the scripture references will help you remember what you have learned, and make reviewing your lessons easier. If you decide to write out the verses, do not send us your written answers. We suggest that you keep them in a binder along with your lessons.

Many of our students set aside a certain time every day for their study. But the exact time of day and length of time you spend in study will have to be determined by your own circumstances, and/or personal preference. However, we recommend that you spend at least 30 minutes a day studying the Bible with this course.

Now you're ready for this eye-opening lesson!

A multiple-choice test will be sent with lesson four to help you review the material you studied in your Bible with the preceding four lessons. It will bring to mind some of the vital knowledge you will have learned, and will help you evaluate your progress. There will be a test answer card to fill out and return for grading, which will then be mailed back to you. You will continue to receive more lessons only after sending in the completed test card.