Essentials of "The Faith"
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Gary F. Zeolla,
the Director of Darkness to Light ministry
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Workbook; Second Edition; Volume II:
Controversial Theologies, Cultic Doctrines, and Ethics
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This book contains twenty individual “Scripture Studies.” Each study focuses on one general area of study. These studies enable individuals or groups to do in-depth, topical studies of the Bible. They are also invaluable to the Bible study teacher in preparing lessons.
For this Second Edition of this Workbook, all of the studies have been reviewed and expanded, with much new material added. This book is Volume I of what will be two volumes. This first volume covers the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. It is these doctrines that separate the true Christian faith from cultic and other deviations. Included here are studies on such essential doctrines as the authority and reliability of the Scriptures, the attributes of God, the Trinity, and forgiveness and salvation.
The format for most of these doctrines is to first present the Scriptural evidence for the author’s conservative (or evangelical) viewpoint in one or more studies. Then in one or more following studies, “opposing viewpoints” are presented. These would be views of cultists and others who disagree with the evangelical view, with the evidence they claim for their views. Then rebuttals to these opposing viewpoints are given.
Included in each study are hundreds of Scripture references. So there will be no lack of material from which to begin your studies.
An extensive list of resources consulted in developing these studies is included in an appendix. These resources can then be pursued if the reader wishes to study a subject in even more depth.
Note to Users of SWB1
If you currently own a copy of the First Edition of the author’s Scripture Workbook (SWB1), you are probably wondering if it would be worthwhile to get this Second Edition (SWB2). The details are as follows: The section on “The Essentials of ‘The Faith’” in SWB1 consisted of 11 Scripture Studies, covering 96 pages. All of the studies in this Volume I of SWB2 deal with this topic. There are 20 studies, covering 194 pages.
In addition, SWB1 utilized Arial 11 print and rather wide margins, while SWB2 uses Times New Roman 11 and smaller margins. Times print is smaller than Arial, so the amount of material is more than double in SWB2 versus SWB1.
Note also that Times 11 is still very easy to read; in fact it is probably easier to read than Arial print, hence why it is used this time. And there is still plenty of room for users to write their own notes, as this is a “workbook” after all, but the amount of empty space is not excessive.
Table of Contents
Preface ………...………………………………………..… 5
Abbreviations ……………………………………………… 7
Notes on this Book ………………………………………... 9
The Scriptures … 11
#1 – The Authority of the Scriptures ………………... ....... 13
#2 – The Use of the OT in the NT ……………………...... 21
#3 – The Reliability of the Scriptures …………………....... 37
#4 – Alleged Contradictions in the Scriptures ……….......... 53
#5 – Easter Harmony …………………………………..... 66
#6 – Troublesome Things in the Scriptures ………….......... 69
The Nature of God and the Trinity … 79
#7 – The Attributes of God ……………………………... 81
#8 – Opposing Viewpoints on the Nature of God ….......... 93
#9 – The Doctrine of the Trinity ……………………….... 97
#10 – More on the Trinity ……………………………... 109
#11 – Opposing Viewpoints on the Trinity ....................... 115
Person, Life, and Work of Jesus … 133
#12 – The Person and Life of Jesus Christ ……….......... 135
#13 – Opposing Viewpoints about Jesus Christ ….......... 143
#14 – Forgiveness and Salvation …………………........ 149
#15 – Opposing Viewpoints on Salvation …………....... 157
Additional Essential Doctrines … 167
#16 – The Afterlife and Eternity ……………………..... 169
#17 – Opposing Viewpoints on Afterlife & Eternity ….... 177
#18 – Angels and Demons ……………………………. 187
#19 – Opposing Viewpoints on Angels & Demons ......... 197
#20 – Teaching and Defending “the Faith” …………...... 201
Appendixes … 207
#1 – Essentials of “The Faith” ………………………… 209
#2 – Darkness to Light's Confession of Faith ………... 211
#3 – Bibliography ……………………………………. 213
#4 – Additional Books by the Author ………………… 221
#5 – Web Sites and Newsletters by the Author/
Contacting the Author ..............................……...... 223
The Authority of the Scriptures
Scripture Study #1
The Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original manuscripts, the complete revelation of His will for our salvation and the Divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life (Article #1 on Darkness to Light’s Confession of Faith).
1) The Scripture writers claim to be presenting the very Words of God:
OT: Gen 15:1; Exod 20:1; Numb 1:1; 2Sam 23:2; Isa 6:1-8; Jer 1:1-9; 2:1; 13:1-8; 49:34f; Ezek 1:1-3; 3:16; 38:1; Dan 9:2 (cp. Jer 25:11f); Hos 1:1; 4:1; Joel 1:1; Amos 7:14-17; Jonah 1:1; 3:1-3; Obad 1:1; Micah 1:1; Zeph 1:1; Hag 1:1; 2:1; Zech 1:1-7; 4:6-8.
NT: Matt 5:17f; 15:3-6; 22:29-32,42-45; Acts 3:21; 4:31; 1Thes 2:13; 4:8; Heb 1:1; 2Tim 3:16f; 1Pet 1:25; 2Pet 1:20f; Rev 1:1-3,19; 2:1; 3:22.
NOTE: It is true that the Biblical writers claiming to be speaking for God does not prove that they were doing so. However, if someone claims to be speaking for God, or even more so if they claim they have heard the voice of God or seen a vision, then there are only three possibilities: The person is telling the truth; the person is lying, or the person is hallucinating and thus is mentally disturbed.
For example, when Isaiah records his vision of the Lord in the sixth chapter of his book, either that event happened, or he made it up, or he was hallucinating. So a decision must be made: do the writings of Isaiah read like those of an honest person, a liar, or a lunatic?
The point is, either the Bible is what it claims to be, the very Word of God, or it is a complete fraud. There is no middle ground. It cannot be said the Bible is a “good book” but not the Word of God.
It should also be noted, the NT writers attribute OT words to God even if they are not specifically ascribed to God in the OT. This shows that all of Scripture is the Word of God:
OT words ascribed to God:
Matt 19:4-6 quoting Gen 1:27; 2:24/ Acts 4:24-26 quoting Psalm 21:1f/ Acts 13:35 quoting Psalm 16:10/ Heb 1:6 quoting Deut 32:43 and Psalm 97:7 (both from the LXX)/ Heb 1:7 quoting Psalm 104:4.
9) Common Sayings and Terms from the Scriptures:Many sayings and terms commonly heard in the United States today have their roots in the Scriptures. This shows what a profound affect the Scriptures are still having on the USA, even though the population is now largely Biblically illiterate. The wording of some of these come specifically from the KJV.
1. Adam’s Rib (1949 movie with Katherine Hepburn
and a name for a restaurant) – Gen 2:21f
2. East of Eden (1952 novel by John Steinbeck) – Gen 3:24
3. “My brother’s keeper” – Gen 4:9
4. “As old as Methuselah” – Gen 5:27
5. “Don’t miss the boat” – Gen 7:1ff
6. “Sank like lead” – Exod 15:10
7. “Written in stone”– Exod 31:18
8. “He was made a scapegoat” – Lev 16:20-22
9. “Two turtledoves” (the gift “on the second day of Christmas”) – Lev 12:8; Luke 2:24
10. “Love your neighbor as yourself” – Lev 19:18; Matt 5:43; 19:19; Mark 12:31; Gal 5:14
11. “Thorn in your side” – Numb 33:55; Judg 2:3
12. “Do not turn to the right hand or to the left” – Deut 17:11; 2Sam 14:19
Note: A total of 79 “sayings are presented and a total of ten sections on The Authority of the Scriptures.
The Use of the OT in the NT
Scripture Study #2The NT authors quoted extensively from the OT. The abundance of quotes shows how very much they respected the OT Scriptures. Moreover, the manner in which they quoted the OT shows they considered the OT to be God-breathed and to be absolutely authoritative in all matters of faith and practice. This Scripture Study lists all of the references for these quotes. …
Verses marked with an asterisk are not direct quotations but allusions to the OT. These are often references to OT historical events. They show the NT writers considered these accounts to be actual history, not legends or myths.
The NT verse is given first, then the OT verse.
1) 1:23 / Isaiah 7:14
2) 2:6 / Micah 5:2
3) 2:17 / Hosea 11:1, Heb.
4) 3:3 / Isaiah 40:3, LXX
5) 4:4 / Deut 8:3, LXX
6) 4:6 / Psalm 91:11f
7) 4:7 / Deut 6:16
8) 4:10 / Deut 6:13
9) 4:15f / Isaiah 9:1f
10) 5:5 / Psalm 37:11
11) 5:21 / Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17
12) 5:27 / Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18
13) 5:31 / Deut 24:1,3
14) 5:33 / Lev 19:12; Numb 30:2
Note: A total of 458 quotations and allusions are presented.
The Reliability of the Scriptures
Scripture Study #3
The Scriptures can be shown to be reliable in many different ways.
2) The Consistency of the Scriptures:
a. The OT and the NT:Some claim the OT contradicts the NT. But the references in SS#1 demonstrated the consistency of the two Testaments in their teachings about themselves. SS#2 showed much of the NT is directly based on the OT. Other Scripture Studies in this book demonstrate the consistency of the two Testaments on many other topics.
b. Parallels Between Jesus’ and Paul’s Teachings:Some claim Paul taught a different message than Jesus preached. The following parallels between their teachings show otherwise.
1) Matt 5:28-30 / Col 3:5
2) Matt 5:40 / 1Cor 6:7
3) Matt 5:43f / Rom 12:19-21
4) Matt 7:1-5 / Rom 2:1
5) Matt 7:12 / Eph 5:14
6) Matt 10:10 / 1Cor 9:14
7) Matt 10:16 / Eph 5:15f
8) Matt 10:33 / 2Tim 2:12
9) Matt 15:3-9 / Col 2:8
10) Matt 19:8f / 1Cor 7:10-12
11) Matt 19:23f / 1Tim 6:6-10
12) Matt 20:18f; 26:28 / 1Cor 15:3f
13) Matt 20:28 / Phil 2:6-8; Rom 5:8-10,15
14) Matt 22:21 / Rom 13:7
15) Matt 24:29-31 / 1Thes 4:13-17
16) Matt 24:36-44 / 1Thes 5:1-3
Note: A total of 40 parallels are listed. Also presented is a list of 34 parallels between Peter’s and Paul’s teachings.
4) The Historical Reliability of the Scriptures:Many archeological discoveries have verified the basic history and historical background of the Bible. Below is a sampling of this archeological evidence.
Ur of the Chaldees:
Gen 11:28,31; 15:7; Neh 9:7.
The Bible says that Abraham originally lived in Ur of the Chaldees. This ancient city was discovered and is now known to have been the capital city of the Sumerians, one of the oldest civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia.
The Cities of the Plain:
The Bible states there were five cities in the plains of the Salt Sea (a.k.a., the Dead Sea): Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (a.k.a. Zoar). God destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim when He “rained down fire and brimstone” on the cities (Gen 19:24; Deut 29:23), but Zoar was spared, since that is where Lot and his daughters fled to (Gen 19:22f,30).
Archeological excavations have shown there were in fact five cities in this plain during the early Bronze Age (third millennium B.C.), but they were abandoned, and the area was not resettled until the Romans occupied the land some 2,000 years later. The city believed to be Sodom has evidence of having been destroyed by fire.
This episode is significant as throughout Scripture, Sodom and Gomorrah are used as examples of wickedness and their destruction as an example of God’s judgment upon such wickedness:
OT: Deut 32:32; Isaiah 1:9f; 3:9; 13:19, Jer 23:14; 49:18; 50:40; Lam 4:6; Ezek 14:46-56; Amos 4:11; Zeph 2:9;
NT: Matt 10:15; 11:23f; Mark 6:11; Rom 9:29; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7; Rev 11:8.
Note: A dozen more archeological examples are given and a total of six sections on The Reliability of the Scriptures..
Alleged Contradictions in the Scriptures
Scripture Study #4
Those who are opposed to a belief in the authority and reliability of the Scriptures believe the Scriptures are full of contradictions. To support this idea, there are many lists of alleged contradictions in the Scriptures floating around the Internet and elsewhere. But a careful examination of these supposed contradictions shows they are not really contradictory after all. Some of the supposed contradictions are even just plain silly. But they are included in such lists to make them as long as possible to try to make it look like the Scriptures are “hopelessly contradictory.” …
Genesis 1:1-28; 2:4-22:
There are many contradictions between these two creation accounts. In the first, trees, birds and animals were created before humans. In the second, human beings was created first, then the trees, birds, and animals. Also, in the first, man and woman are created at the same time, but in the second, man was created first, then the woman later.
BUT: Genesis One is recording the creation of “the heavens and the earth” (v.1). Genesis two is recording the creation of the Garden of Eden (v.8). As such, the two cannot be contradicting each other as they are discussing different events.
More specifically, Genesis one is recording the creation of plant and animal life in general; Genesis two is recording the creation of the plant and animal life in the Garden of Eden.
Moreover, in Genesis one, man and women are presented as being created at the same time by the literary device of “telescoping.” This term refers to looking at the events from far away. Just as two mountaintops look as if they are almost touching from a distance, events separated by time appear as if they are together when viewed from a distant, as this literary device does. But when looked at closer, the distances between the mountaintops can be seen. In the same way, when looked at closer, the events that occurred in between the creation of the man and of the woman can be seen.
Note: Two dozen more supposed contradictions are addressed.
The Attributes of God
Scripture Study #7
There is one, and only one, true God: Creator and Sustainer of all things, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Self-existent, Immutable, Spirit, Incomprehensible, Eternal, Sovereign and Master of the universe, infinitely perfect in love, goodness, holiness, and justice (Article #2 on Darkness to Light’s Confession of Faith).
1) Personal:God is a self-conscious Being capable of thought, will (volition), and interaction with others.
OT: Gen 1:1-31; 2:16-22; 3:9-19; 6:5-8; 7:1-4; 8:15-17; 9:1-17; 12:1-3; 26:2-5,24; Exod 3:4-2; 20:1-17; Josh 1:19; Judg 1:1f; 1Sam 2:27-36; 16:1-13; 1Kings 3:5-14; 9:1-9; 2Chr 15:2; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; 12:13-25; 38:1-41:34; Ps 2:4-9; 3:3f; 5:4-6; Prov 3:19f; Isa 6:1-13; 55:8-11; Jer 1:4-10; Ezek 1:28-2:14; Dan 1:20-23; Jonah 1:1f; 3:1f; 4:1-11.
NT: Matt 2:19-f; 3:16f; 6:1-18,31f; John 12:27f; 17:3; Acts 4:24-31; 5:4; 10:9-16; 14:3; 19:11f; Rom 1:1f;9f;16-28; 16:25-27; 1Cor 2:16; 7:17; 12:28; 14:2; 2Cor 1:3f; 6:1f; 13:14; Eph 1:3-5; Col 1:1,27; 1Thes 1:4; 4:3,7; 5:18; 2Tim 1:1; Heb 1:1f; 2:4 11:6,16; 13:21; Jam 1:5; 4:6; 1Pet 3:17; 4:18; 2Pet 1:17; 2:4-9; 1John 1:6; 4:7-11,16; Jude 1:25; Rev 4:11; 21:3-7.
2) Creator:The earth, sun, moon, stars, and the rest of the universe came into existence through the will and power of God. Included in this attribute is the idea that God is distinct from His creation. He is the Creator, we and all that exists are His creation.
OT: Gen 1:1-10,14-18; 2:4; Exod 20:11; 31:17; Deut 4:19; 1Sam 2:8; 2Kings 19:15; 1Chr 29:14; Neh 9:5f; Job 9:8f; 26:7-13; 38:4; Ps 8:3; 19:1; 24:1f; 33:6-9; 89:11f; 100:3; 102:25-27; 104:5-9; 119:73; 146:6; 148:1-6; Isa 37:16; 40:22-28; 42:5; 4:24; 45:18; 51:13; 66;1f; Jer 10:12f,16; 31:35; 32:17; Zech 12:1.
NT: Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24; Rom 1:20; 11:36; 1Cor 10:26; Heb 1:10; 11:3; 2Pet 3:5; Rev 4:11; 14:7.
Note: A total of 32 attributes are presented.
Opposing Viewpoints on the Nature of God
Scripture Study #8
1) God is finite (not omnipresent):This is the viewpoint of Mormonism and of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Gen 4:16; 2Ki 13:20; Jer 23:39; 52:3. It is possible to go out from or be cast from the presence of the LORD.
1Ki 8:39; Ps 33:13f; Matt 6:9: God is in heaven.
These verses show God can only be in one place at one time.
BUT: In 1Kings 8, in addition to saying God’s dwelling place is in heaven (v.39), Solomon also says God will dwell in the temple he had just built on earth (v.13).
The Bible also says the LORD is “the God of heaven and the God of the earth” (Gen 24:3) and is “God in heaven above and on the earth beneath” (Deut 4:39; Josh 2:11). The Bible also declares, “LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or on earth like You” (2Chr 6:14). So the LORD is in heaven and on earth at the same time.
Elsewhere, the Bible declares God dwells:
1) “among the children of Israel” – Exod 29:45f
2) “between the cherubim” (that were on the Ark of the Covenant) – Numb 7:89; 1Sam 4:4; Ps 80:1; 99:1; Isa 37:16
3) “in Zion” (or “Mount Zion”) – Ps 9:11; 69:35; Isa 8:18; Joel 3:17,21
4) in His house (i.e., the temple) – Ps 26:8
5) “on the mountains of Bashan” – Ps 68:15-18
6) “on high” – Ps 113:5; Isa 33:5
7) “in Jerusalem” – Ps 135:21; Ezra 7:15
8) “in the high and holy place” – Isa 57:15
9) among His people – Ezek 37:27; 2Cor 6:16; Rev 21:3
10) within each Christian believer – Rom 8:9; 1Cor 3:16
11) within the Church – Eph 2:22
In fact, Solomon declared, “heaven and the heaven of the heavens cannot contain” God (1Ki 8:27; 2Chr 6:18). The point is that God fills “heaven and earth” meaning the entire universe (Jer 23:24).
When the Bible declares God “dwells” somewhere it is not restricting Him to that place. It is proclaiming God is MANIFESTING Himself at that time in that place. The spiritual world is always present, but we do not always see it unless allowed to by God (Exod 40:34; Numb 22:31; 1Ki 8:10f; 2Ki 6:15-17; Luke 2:13f; Acts 7:55f; Rev 4:2-5).
When the Bible says Cain “went out from the presence of the Lord” it is simply referring to Cain leaving the area where God revealed Himself to Cain. When it says people are cast out from the LORD’s presence, it refers to them no longer being able to experience His love and protection.
Note: Four additional opposing viewpoints are addressed.
Angels and Demons
Scripture Study #18
In the existence of angels and Satan and his demons. Angels are personal, spirit beings in the service of God. Satan and his demons are personal, spirit beings who are in rebellion against God, His angels, and His people. Their fate of eternal damnation was sealed by Christ at the cross, and authority over them and their activities has been granted to all believers (Article #10 on Darkness to Light’s Confession of Faith).
Note: Five sections on Angels are presented.
Satan and Demons
4) Activities of Satan and his demons:
Exalts himself above God and oppose God's purposes:
Gen 3:1-5; Deut 32:15-18; 2Chr 11:13-15; Isa 14:14; Zech 3:1f; Matt 4:1-11; 13:39; 16:21-23; Mark 4:14f; Luke 22:1-6,31f; John 13:2,21-30; 1Cor 10:20f; 2Cor 11:14; 1Tim 4:1-5; 2Thes 2:3-10; James 3:13-17; Rev 9:20; 12:7-17; 16:13f.
Oppresses and ensnares people:
Job 1:8-19; 2:3-8; 1Chr 21:1; Matt 8:28-32; 9:32f; 12:12; 17:14-18; Mark 5:1-13; Luke 8:11f,26-33; 9:37-42; 11:14; 13:10-17; 2Cor 4:3f; Gal 3:1-3; 1Tim 1:18-20; 3:6f; 2Tim 3:26; 1John 3:8; 1Peter 5:8; Jude 4; Rev 2:9,13; 3:9; 9:14-19; 12:9.
1Chron 21:1-8; Matt 16:22f; Acts 5:1-3; 1Cor 3:1-4; 7:5; 2Cor 2:5-11; 11:13-15; 12:7; Eph 4:26f; 6:10-12; 1Thes 2:2-18; 1Tim 5:15; James 3:14-16; Rev 2:12-14; 18:2,24.
Limited by God:
1Kings 22:20-38; Ps 78:49; Dan 10:13,20; Luke 4:31-36; 10:17-19; 1Cor 5:1-5; 1Tim 1:19f; Jam 4:7.
Note: A total of ten sections on Satan and Demons are presented.
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