I. Introduction: Guidelines for this Course 介绍： 课程指南
A. You are most welcome to be a part of this study.
B. Use your resources: The Bible, the course notes, and other helps.
C. Look to God’s Word for spiritual truth. It is the only absolutely true and reliable guide and authority for our faith and life in spiritual matters.
D. Ask questions. It is impossible to ask a bad or foolish question in this course. Your questions will help us all learn and grow.
John 8:31-32 – Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
约8:31-32 – 31耶稣对信他的犹太人说:”你们若常常遵守我的道,就真是我的门徒;32你们必晓得真理,真理必叫你们得以自由.“
John 5:24 – ”I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.“
E.Come to the study of God’s Word with the expectation that you will be blessed. That’s God’s personal promise to you. Expect that God will lead you to know His soul-freeing truth and to have eternal life.
II. A Matter of Life and Death 一件有关生死的大事
A. God tells us that our relationship with Him is both an urgent and an important matter of life and death.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 – This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
申30:19-20 – 19我今日呼天唤地向你作见证;我将生死、祸福陈明在你面前,所以你要拣选生命,使你和你的后裔都得存活;20且爱耶和华你的 神,听从他的话,专靠他,因为他是你的生命,你的日子长久也在乎他.这样,你就可以在耶和华向你列祖亚伯拉罕、以撒、雅各起誓应许所赐的地上居住.
John 17:3 – Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.
God tells us that true life is more than mere physical existence. He insists that life is being in a close, trusting, loving relationship with Him; knowing Him in a personal, intimate way through Jesus Christ.
This definition of life prompts us to ask some intriguing questions:
a） What is my relationship with God? Am I dead to Him or alive in Him?
b） Does it make a difference whether I am spiritually dead or alive?
c） If I’m spiritually dead, what can be done about it? How can I become spiritually alive?
B. Our sin has ruined our relationship with God.
Job 14:1-2, 14a – Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. If a man dies, will he live again?
伯14:1-2, 14a –1人为妇人所生,日子短少,多有患难;2出来如花,又被割下,飞去如影,不能存留.14a人若死了，岂能再活呢?
The troubles of life, the reality of death and the uncertainties of eternity lead us to recognize that things have gone terribly wrong with life in this world and to wonder why this is so.
Leviticus 19:2b – Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
未19:2下 –你晓谕以色列全会众说:你们要圣洁,因为我耶和华你们的 神是圣洁的.
Leviticus 18:4-5 – You must obey My laws and be careful to follow My decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep My decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.
未18:4-5 – 4你们要遵我的典章,守我的律例,按此而行.我是耶和华你们的 神.5所以你们要守我的律例、典章.人若遵行,就必因此活着.我是耶和华.
God requires that people live a perfect life of obedience to all God’s commands in order to have life with Him.
Ezekiel 18:4 – For every living soul belongs to Me, the father as well as the son-both alike belong to Me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.
Romans 3:10, 23 – As it is written: ”There is no one righteous, not even one; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.“
罗3:10, 23 –10就如经上所记:没有义人,连一个也没有.23因为世人都犯了罪,亏缺了神的荣耀;
Isaiah 59:2a – But your iniquities have separated you from your God.
赛59:2上 –2但你们的罪孽使你们与 神隔绝;
Romans 6:23a – For the wages of sin is death.
All people （including us） have failed to live a perfect life of loving obedience to God. Our sins have separated us from God and have destroyed us spiritually. Because of our sins, we have lost life with God. Because of our unloving defiance and disobedience toward God, we deserve to experience His fierce wrath and eternal punishment.
C. Because of His amazing love, God worked to restore us to life with Him
Ephesians 2:4-5a – But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.
弗2:4-5上 – 4然而,神既有丰富的怜悯,因他爱我们的大爱,5当我们死在过犯中的时候,便叫我们与基督一同活过来.
John 3:17 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Out of His great love for undeserving, helpless sinners, God sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from eternal death and to regain eternal life for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made Him （Jesus） who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus came to be our Substitute before God. He came to give us His perfect keeping of God’s commands. He came to take our sin and its punishment on Himself.
Romans 5:18, 19b – The result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men… Through the obedience of the one man （Jesus） the many will be made righteous.
罗5:18, 19下 –18如此说来,因一次的过犯,众人都被定罪;照样,因一次的义行,众人也就被称义得生命了.19因一人的悖逆,众人成为罪人;照样,因一人（耶稣）的顺从,众人也成为义了.
Jesus lived a holy life in our place.
Hebrews 7:27b – He （Jesus） sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered himself.
1 John 2:2 – He （Jesus） is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 1:7b – The blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
Jesus suffered and died in our place to pay the full penalty of sins.
1 Corinthians 15:20a – But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.
John 11:25 – Jesus said to her, ”I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.“
Jesus rose from the dead and assured us that He has won eternal life for us.
D. God gives eternal life for us.
Acts 16:30-31a – He （The jailer） then brought them out and asked, ”Sirs, what must I do to be saved?“ They replied, ”Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.“
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.
God gives eternal life to us as a pure, undeserved gift which we receive freely from Him through believing in Jesus as our Savior from our sins.
Ezekiel 18:23, 32b – Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? … Repent and live!
结18:23, 32下 –23主耶和华说:恶人死亡,岂是我喜悦的吗?不是喜悦他回头离开所行的道存活吗?32主耶和华说:我不喜悦那死人之死,所以你们当回头而存活.
John 3:36 – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
God lovingly invites us to receive His precious gift of eternal life in Christ. This is a gift we cannot afford to refuse.
III. The Two Sources of Our Knowledge About God 我们认识神的两个途径
A. The two sources: 两个途径
From natural knowledge （ourselves; from our world）
From God’s fuller revelation of Himself
B. Our natural knowledge of God 我们从自然界认识神
Psalm 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Hebrews 3:4 – For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
Romans 2:15 – Since they （people with no contact with the Bible） show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.
The miraculous way that nature, the world, and the universe work show us that God exists and that He made us and preserves us.
Our reason and conscience with its understanding of right and wrong also tell us there is a God and give us some information as to what God is like （E.g., that He is wise, powerful, good, just）。
Psalm 14:1 – The fool says in his heart: ”There is no God.“
Only fools （atheists – who insist there is no God, and agnostics – who question whether God can be known） dare to defy and deny the testimony of nature and their own reason and conscience.
Acts 17:24-27 – The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
徒17:24-27 – 24创造宇宙和其中万物的神,既是天地的主,就不住人手所造的殿,25也不用人手服事,好像缺少什么;自己倒将生命、气息、万物,赐给万人.26他从一本（有古卷作血脉）造出万族的人,住在全地上,并且预先定准他们的年限和所住的疆界,27要叫他们寻求神,或者可以揣摩而得,其实他离我们各人不远;
God gives us a natural knowledge of Himself to lead us to seek to know Him better in order to gain a right relationship with Him.
Our natural knowledge of God is a useful witness to God’s existence, but it is of rather limited help to us. It gives us a vital starting point. However, it is not able to give us a saving knowledge of God. Sin has corrupted human thinking, distorted our view of God and now bars the way to people being saved through their own efforts to follow their inborn knowledge of God’s will. Without God’s deliverance from this corruption, no escape is possible. People only ruin themselves under the power of sin.
Romans 1:18-32 – The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
a. Sinful people deny the truth about God that they know from nature and put themselves under God’s punishing wrath （Romans 1:18-20, above）。
b. People reject God’s self-revelation in nature and tangle themselves in idolatry, the worship of false gods. （Romans 1:21-23, above）。 Everyone really has some kind of god that they look to for the highest good in life. Under the control of sin, people end up worshipping their self-made/self-chosen god rather than the true God （e.g., idols, money, self, power）。
c. God responds to this rejection of Him by sinful people with His condemning judgment. He sentences them to be enslaved by their sinful desires and dominated by selfish drives. Abandoned by their Creator, they plunged themselves deeper in sin and eternal doom. （Romans 1:24-32, above）。
C. The revealed knowledge of God
God must give us more a complete knowledge of Himself, if we are to truly know Him and gain eternal life.
Psalm 119:105 – Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
John 6:68 – Simon Peter answered Him: ”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.“
2 Timothy 3:15 - 15 And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
God has given us a fuller revelation of Himself in the Bible. The Bible, God’s Word, is our reliable guide to a saving relationship with God.
IV. The Bible 圣经
A. The Bible is God’s Word to people. 圣经是神向人说的话
1 Thessalonians 2:13 – And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
2 Peter 1:21 – For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 3:16a – All Scripture is God-breathed.
Although the Bible had human writers, it has a divine Author. It is a God-given, not a human-made book. God gave the writers every thought and word He wanted them to record. We call the process by which the Holy Spirit gave each word of the Bible to its writers as ”verbal inspiration“.
John 10:35 – The Scripture cannot be broken.
John 17:17 – Sanctify them by the truth, Your word is truth.
Luke 24:44 – Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.
Every word of the Bible is absolutely true. The Scriptures are without error in any way. To find ”mistakes“ and ”contradictions“ in the Scriptures is to not allow the Bible to speak for itself.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 – But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Bible is also sufficient to teach us all we need to know to be saved, to grow in faith, and to be prepared to live our life in service to God.
John 7:17 – If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teachings come from God or whether I speak on My own.
Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Some object and say: ”Prove to me that the Bible is God’s Word.“ While no one can do this, the Bible itself has the power to convince people that it is the true word of God. As people expose themselves to the Bible’s message, God works through that message to persuade them of its truth. God invites us to try the Bible for ourselves and receive it’s blessings.
B. The contents of the Bible 圣经的内容
The Bible is made up of 66 books. It is written by about 40 men over a 1,500-year time period.
The Old Testament is made up of the first 39 books. It was written in Hebrew and Aramaic by Moses and the prophets from about 1,400 to 400 B.C.
The New Testament included the final 27 books of the Bible. It was written in Greek by the evangelists （gospel writers） and the apostles from about 50 to 100 A.D.
John 20:31 – These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
The central theme of the Bible is Jesus Christ and what He has done to deliver us from sin and death. Its purpose is to introduce us to Christ as our Savior and to give us eternal life. Martin Luther once said: ”The entire Scripture is throughout nothing but Jesus Christ, God’s and Mary’s Son, all has to do with this Son, that we might know Him.“
C. Understanding the Bible 理解圣经
Two questions highlight the challenge:
a. If all Christian churches use the same Bible, why are there so many denominations with such different teachings?
b. How does a person really know what the Bible says? Who is to say that one person’s understanding is better than another’s?
Misusing the Bible 误用圣经
Revelation 22:18-19 – I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
a. Some people sinfully tamper with the Scriptures, either adding to or subtracting from the Word of God.
2 Peter 3:16 - 16 He （Paul） writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
b. Some people incorrectly use their reason to distort Scripture. You must use your reason to understand the Bible, but you dare not let human reason sit in judgment over the Bible （e.g., historical-critical methodology）。
2 Peter 2:1-3 – But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
彼后2:1-3 –1从前在百姓中有假先知起来,将来在你们中间也必有假师傅,私自引进陷害人的异端,连买他们的主他们也不承认,自取速速的灭亡.2将有许多人随从他们邪淫的行为,便叫真道因他们的缘故被毁谤.3他们因有贪心,要用捏造的言语在你们身上取利.他们的刑罚,自古以来并不迟延;他们的灭亡也必速速来到（原文是不打盹） .
c. People who misuse Scripture do so for selfish reasons. They bring great spiritual harm to themselves and those they influence.
Understanding the Bible properly. Basic principle: The Bible helps explain itself.
a. There are two key teachings God gives us in the Bible to understand His Word properly: LAW and GOSPEL
b. These two major teachings of the Bible differ in five important ways:
LAW GOSPEL 律法 福音 God’s Moral Demands （Definition） Gift/Talent God’s Saving Work In Jesus 神的道德要求 （定义） 神在耶稣里的拯救工作 People Must Do Things （Example） God Does Things For Us John 3:16 人必须做的事 （举例） 神为我们做的事 约3:16 Demands, Threats (Form) Promises, Assurances 命令、威胁 （形式） 应许，确据 Works,Sorrow, Guides (Effects) Saves, Gives life, Strengthens 行为 , 痛苦， 指导 （结果） 拯救，赐予生命，坚固 Secure in Sin (Application) Alarmed by Sin 安心犯罪的人 （应用） 被罪震惊的人
D. The Bible explains itself 圣经自己解释自己
Take the Bible on its own terms. Accept the claims it makes for itself until it proves otherwise. Don’t approach the Bible with a bias to distort its meaning.
Read it as you would any other piece of literature: respect the meaning of is words, its grammar and style.
Use clear, easily understood passages to help explain the unclear passages
Note how the passages from Colossians and Ephesians below help us understand the term ”image of God“ from Genesis:
Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Colossians 3:10 – and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Ephesians 4:24 – and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
E. Bible translations 圣经翻译
We read a translated Bible. The Bible has been translated into many languages
We need translations because of limitations in learning Greek and Hebrew and because language changes.
a. Translation is difficult work. A biblical Hebrew or Greek word or expression may not have an equivalent word or phrase in another language.
b. Language changes constantly. Words are always changing in meaning in actively used languages
We have a very accurate Hebrew and Greek text. It has been well preserved through the ages. Most translations are reliable, unless the text has been deliberately altered.
V: Conclusion: To get the greatest benefit from these studies there are two things we strongly urge you to do. 结论：为了能从这个学习中获得最大的收益，我们强烈要求你做两件事情：
Make this class a priority. Take all 15 lessons of the class. The lessons build on each other. As you invest time to hear and study God’s Word, God will develop and strengthen your relationship with Him. Don’t let yourself be denied this blessing. If you must miss a class due to illness or other valid reason, let the instructor know and then read over the lesson material carefully on your own.
Do all the assignments given to you. The assignments are intended to help you review the lesson and help you apply the teachings of God to your life.
VI: Home Study: 家庭作业
A. LESSON REVIEW: Mark each statement either A （Agree） or D （Disagree）
—– 1. According to the words of Jesus, I can be dead in my relationship with God, even though I am physically alive.
—– 1. 根据耶稣的话，我的身体虽然活着，但我与神的关系却可能是死的。
—– 2. The basic reason for all of the evils of life is sin.
—– 2. 生活中所有邪恶的根本原因都在于罪。
—– 3. With their sins forgiven, Christians can expect to have a fairly trouble-free life on earth.
—– 3. 基督徒的罪已经得到了赦免，所以，他们可以期待在地上过一个没有烦恼的生活。
—– 4. God assures eternal life to all who admit their sins and trust in Christ for forgiveness.
—– 4. 对于所有承认自己的罪，并相信基督而得赦免的人，神向他们保证了永生。
—– 5. An intelligent person can reach eternal life with God just by relying on what he/she knows about God from inborn knowledge.
—– 5. 聪明人可以只凭他对神的天然认知，就能得永生，与神同在。
—– 6. A person who claims there is no God or that God cannot be known is lying to him/herself.
—– 6 那些不承认有神的人，或者说神不可能被认识的人，实际上都在对自己撒谎。
—– 7. The Bible has no mistakes in it even though it was written by imperfect people.
—– 7. 尽管圣经是由不完美的罪人写出来的，但圣经中毫无错误。
—– 8. The main reason the Bible was written is to show us how to have eternal life with God.
—– 8. 写圣经的目的是为了让人知道怎样可以得永生，与神同在。
—– 9. By logical reasoning we can convince most people that the Bible is true.
—– 9. 凭借逻辑推理，我们就能让大多数人相信圣经的真实性。
—– 10. Many people dismiss the Bible without ever reading it honestly or understanding its primary message.
—– 10. 很多人都在从未认真读过圣经，或了解它的主要信息时，就拒绝了圣经。
—– 11. People who deliberately twist or misrepresent what the Bible really says are a great danger to themselves and to others.
—– 11. 故意扭曲或歪解圣经真正内容的人，对自己和别人都是极其危险的。
—– 12. The two major teachings of the Bible are the Law and Gospel.
—– 12. 圣经的两大主要教导是律法和福音。
—– 13. We cannot be sure of what God says and means in the Bible because one person’s understanding of the Bible might be different from another.
—– 13. 我们不能确知神在圣经中说的话和他的心意，因为一个人对圣经的理解可能与另一个人的理解不同。
—– 14. A person may know the contents of the Bible well, but not truly know God.
—– 14. 一个人对圣经的内容可能知道很多，但却还是没有真正认识神。
—– 15. Even though we read translations of the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts, we can be confident that we are reading the actual Word of God.
—– 15. 尽管我们读的是圣经原文（希伯来文，希腊文和亚兰文）的翻译本，但还是可以相信我们读的就是神的真实话语。
B.PERSONAL REFLECTION （Answer the following questions）
What is your answer to the question: ‘Are you spiritually dead or alive?’
What has been your greatest challenge in gaining a true, clear understanding of God and how He wants to relate to you?
What do you think are two important points to keep in mind as you read the Bible and reflect on its message? 3. 在你读圣经、默想其中的信息时，你认为需要记住的两个重要方面是什 么？
C. MEMORY TREASURES （Memorize the following bible verses to build up your knowledge of god’s Word）
John 3:36 – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.
John 20:31 – But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
约20:31但 记 这 些 事 , 要 叫 你 们 信 耶 稣 是 基 督 , 是 神 的 儿 子 . 并 且 叫 你 们 信 了 他 , 就 可 以 因 他 的 名 得 生 命 .
D. READING DURING THE WEEK 本周读经
—– Day 1 第一天– Psalm 1 诗1
—– Day 2 第二天– Romans 1 罗1
—– Day 3 第三天– Romans 2 罗2
—– Day 4 第四天– Luke 1 路1
—– Day 5 第五天– Luke 2 路2
—– Day 6 第六天– Luke 3 路3
—– Day 7第七天– Luke 4 路4
E. HYMN / PRAYER
Hymn 283: 1, 3 in Christian Worship; ”Speak, O Savior; I am Listening“
Speak, O Savior; I am listening, As a servant to his Lord.
Let me show respect and honor To Your holy, precious Word,
That each day, my whole life through, I may serve and follow You.
Let Your Word ever be my pleasure And my heart’s most precious treasure.
Lord, Your words are waters living Where I quench my thirsty needs.
Lord, Your words are bread life-giving; On your words my spirit feeds.
Lord, Your words will be my light Through death’s cold and dreary night;
Yes, they are my sword prevailing And my cup of joy unfailing.