All human beings who have accepted that there is a God, and that the Bible is His revelation to man, need to seriously apply themselves to finding out its basic message. Many of those calling themselves 'Christians' seem to make a poor job of this - a few verses from the New Testament on Sundays, a Bible somewhere in the home that is never opened, dimly remembering a handful of Bible stories. Little wonder that with such a laid-back attitude to God's mighty Word of truth, there is so much confusion and uncertainty in the lives and minds of so many.
On the other hand, there are those with little Christian background who decide to try to figure out the Bible's message, but find that everyone they approach tries to offer them a package deal of doctrines and human philosophies which do not fundamentally reflect the words of the Bible.
It is the purpose of 'Bible Basics' to analyze the Bible's message in a business-like, systematic way. It is designed to be read straight through as a book, or alternatively to be used as a correspondence course. Answers to the questions at the end of each study can be sent to the address below; your answers will then be passed to a personal tutor who can then correspond with you as you progress further through the Studies. It is appreciated that some readers will shy away from the idea of answering questions, but would rather ask questions concerning areas which they are unclear about, or disagree with the interpretation presented here. Again, if such correspondence is directed to the address below, personal answers can be given.
It is the author's conviction that the basic message of the Bible is crystal clear. However, there will always be some passages and topics which may appear superficially to be at variance with the general theme of Scripture. Some of these, along with other aspects of the Gospel which may only interest some readers, are discussed in the Digressions. It should be possible to understand the Bible's basic message without reading the Digressions, but it is anticipated that many students will read through most of them. The Bible translation generally used in these studies is the Authorized Version. However, where there is any unclarity in the rendering, other versions are quoted: The Revised Version (R.V.), Revised Standard Version (R.S.V.), Revised Authorized Version (R.A.V.) and New International Version (N.I.V.).
There are many people who ought to be thanked for their help in producing this book. My main debt lies with the hundreds of people in Africa, the West Indies, the Philippines and Eastern Europe, whose searching questions and thirst for truth have forced me to think through these Bible Basics time and again. Their beauty and strength only increases by being viewed from so many different angles. In crowded taxis, on open trucks and lorries, in sedate conference rooms to sweltering hotel balconies and starlit bush villages, these topics have been discussed, argued over and enthused about with Bible students from all walks of life. My Christadelphian brethren with whom I have been privileged to work in this have been a ceaseless source of strength and help. The substance of many of the Digressions in this book was often thrashed out between us in hotel rooms, after a gruelling session with a group of Bible correspondence course students. The fellowship and friendship that comes from being bound together by these basic doctrines of Bible truth is surely unsurpassed in human experience. So to all these "my fellow workers unto the Kingdom of God" I now pay tribute, hoping they will find this volume a help in the great work of publishing the true Gospel "into all nations".
Grasping the real truth of the Gospel as taught in the Bible's pages will affect every part of our lives, leading men and women the world over to properly give glory to God as He intended, both now and for eternity. Every one who finds the truth finds the "pearl of great price", and will know the feelings of Jeremiah for himself: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart" (Jer.15:16). To achieve this, be sure to pray for God's help in understanding the word before you tackle each of these Studies. "And now...I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Duncan Heaster
Abbreviations used in these studies for books of the BibleGen.-Genesis
1 Sam.-1 Samuel
2 Sam.-2 Samuel
1 Chron.-1 Chronicles
2 Chron.-2 Chronicles
1 Cor.-I Corinthians
2 Cor.-2 Corinthians
1 Thes.-1 Thessalonians
2 Thes.-2 Thessalonians
1 Tim.-1 Timothy
2 Tim.-2 Timothy
1 Pet.-1 Peter
2 Pet.-2 Peter
1 Jn.- 1 John
2 Jn.-2 John
The questions at the end of each study are of two types: multiple choice (whereby you must choose one of the answers listed as the correct answer to the question), and ordinary questions which require a few sentences in response. Write your answers in the spaces provided and press the submit button when done with all the questions for that study. Someone will review your answers and contact you with any further instructions.
You may snail mail your answers to:-
The book edition was first published in 1992, second edition 1994, Russian edition 1993