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Session 1a Session 1b
Session 2a Session 2b
Session 3a Session 3b
Session 4a Session 4b
Session 5a Session 5b
Session 6a Session 6b
Session 7a Session 7b
Session 8a Session 8b
Session 9a Session 9b
Session 10a Session 10b
Session 11a Session 11b
Session 12a Session 12b
Bible Books Summary

Session 3: Section 1

A review of the first two sessions

  • We looked at the importance of studying the Bible.
  • We saw that questions about Bible teaching are answered by looking in the Bible.
  • Listening for “Bible echoes” is a very good way of reading the Bible effectively.
  • We saw that Genesis is the foundation of the rest of the Bible. We saw that it contains the start of Godís plan, which can include us.
  • We also saw that the Old Testament is the foundation of the New Testament.
Can we also remind you that, if you have any problems, we can arrange e-mail discussion? Bible study is much more rewarding if we can discuss it with other people.

Godís covenants

The contents page of the Bible shows how the Bible is divided up into two parts - the Old and New Testaments.

The word “testament” means a covenant, an agreement, a promise, or a contract between two parties.

The teaching of the Bible is based upon covenants or agreements. These contain promises that God made with men and women in times past.

These agreements or covenants between God and mankind form the basis of Godís plan and tell us what God intends to do. Many of us enter into agreements or contracts of various kinds, for example contracts of employment and loan agreements. These contracts always spell out the following:

  1. What is being agreed to
  2. The benefits both parties can expect
  3. The responsibilities of both sides
  4. The consequences of breaking the agreement.
Godís agreements are the same. He has spelled out clearly what is involved, the responsibilities of both Himself and us. Sometimes these agreements have conditions attached, at other times they do not.
One of the earliest covenants was made following the great flood which destroyed all land- based life except that in the ark with Noah.
Open Bible – please click here to view the references
Read Genesis 9 v 8 to 17

We notice that this is an unconditional agreement - more of a promise. God is assuring us that He will never again destroy all land - based life with a flood.

The next covenant marks the start of Godís plan to remedy the effects of our rebellion against Him
 

Open Bible – please click here to view the references
Read Genesis 15 v 18 to 21

Again notice that it is unconditional. God is going to give a specific land to Abrahamís descendants (or “seed” in the Authorised Version).

This agreement is then expanded:
 

Open Bible – please click here to view the references
Read Genesis 17 v 1 to 9

This is the agreement setting out the special relationship between God and the Jews which continues throughout the rest of the Bible. God renewed this agreement with the new nation of Israel when they came out of Egypt.
 

Open Bible – please click here to view the references
Read Exodus 24 v 1 to 8

Notice that this covenant is conditional on the people obeying Godís commands. This covenant was based on the forgiveness of sins through the Law of Moses and the sacrifice of animals.

There was one special day of sacrifice called “the day of atonement” when the whole nation of Israel had its sins forgiven. This was the day when sin was “atoned” or “covered”. This principle of forgiveness through the sacrifice of animals is clearly spelled out in the regulations given for that special day.
 

Open Bible – please click here to view the references
Read Leviticus 16 v 27 to 30

When an animal was sacrificed the person who offered the sacrifice was in effect saying that God was right to condemn rebellion against Him, and that the animal represented what should happen to the person offering the sacrifice. These animals were important and valuable to the people, so making such a sacrifice was not a mere formality.

This first phase of Godís covenant is sometimes referred to as the Old Covenant or Testament. This is why the first two thirds of the Bible is called the “Old Testament”.

The second phase, sometimes called the “New Testament”, has to do with the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just before he died, Jesus made it clear that he was establishing a new covenant:
 

Open Bible – please click here to view the references
Read Matthew 26 v 26 to 28

Note again that blood is shed to establish the covenant, and that the covenant is concerned with forgiveness of our sin or rebellion.

The apostle Peter shows clearly in one of his speeches that the work of Jesus is closely connected with the covenants made to the nation of Israel.
 

Open Bible – please click here to view the references
Read Acts 3 v 19 to 26

We can see some of the aspects of an agreement here:

Godís responsibilities: blessing and forgiveness to those who “repent” and are “converted” (v 26)
Our responsibilities: “repentance” and “conversion” (v 19). We will look at the meaning of these words later on in the course.

Summary

  • God has made clear agreements with men and women.
  • The terms and conditions are clearly laid out in the Bible.
  • The Bible has an “Old” and “New” Testament. Both of these testaments or covenants are concerned with the forgiveness of our rebellion against God.
  • The Old Testament concerned the forgiveness offered to the nation of Israel through the sacrifice of animals.
  • The New Testament concerns the forgiveness offered to all people through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Optional Assignment 3

Godís covenants in relation to Israel and us

It is interesting and informative to follow through the Bible the covenants and promises that God has made.
 
Promise to Abraham: Genesis 12 v 1 to 3 and 13 v 14 to 17
to Isaac: Genesis 26 v 2 to 4
to Jacob: Genesis 28 v 13 to 15
to Abraham’s decendants (the Jews) Genesis 17 v 7 to 9
to David (Israel’s second King) 2 Samuel v 12 to 16
New Testament References Luke 1 v 31 and 32
Luke 13 v 28
Acts 2 v 29 to 32 and 38 to 42
Acts 3 v 19 to 26
Galatians 3 v 26 to 29

Look at all of these references and the surrounding verses and write down what they tell us about Godís covenants in relation to both Israel and us.  

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