By Prof Johan Malan
The following is a series of Bible studies on important Christian doctrines. The faith of all Christians should be firmly anchored in these truths, to enable us to be faithful followers of the Lord Jesus and effectively execute our commission which is to be His witnesses. The only source used in this study is the Bible, as you must “know the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). The Lord Himself wishes to instruct you through His Word, as “all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Bible study should be done in a devout and prayerful way, always mindful of the fact that the Holy Spirit wants to convince you of these great truths. He is the Spirit of truth who will guide you in such a way that the Lord Jesus will be glorified and His promises and redemptive work will be clearly understood (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14). Your study must not only be an academic exercise but also a spiritual experience which will enlighten the eyes of your mind. Knowledge and grace should go hand in hand, as we must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).
In this Bible study, with the exception of certain key verses, we use Scripture references without quoting them. The intention is that every person should find and read the Scriptures in the context in which they are written. It is important that you read these verses, as you will become more acquainted with the Bible and also be motivated to further study. In the process, the knowledge of each subject can be expanded. Notes and reference verses can be added at the end of each chapter so please feel free to notify us of your findings, as these may help us in future revisions of this study guide.
We have added a number of key questions to every chapter to assist you in testing your knowledge on a particular subject. Those who wish to respond to the questions in writing, or who may have other questions on the content of the Bible study, may direct them to Gerald and Helene Vos by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
During the course of your Bible study you can use the opportunity to underline and memorise key verses in Scripture. There are so many promises, instructions, warnings and exhortations in the Bible of which we should take note that it warrants and necessitates an intensive study of God’s Word. But one should guard against only accumulating knowledge in your mind, as that on its own, will not build you up or enrich you spiritually. After reading and memorising a portion of Scripture you must meditate on it and take it to heart, i.e. you should accept it in faith. Only then will you be able to say: “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes” (Ps. 119:11-12).
It is imperative that we approach this Bible study with an open and receptive mind. We all have much to learn from the Word of God, but for that purpose we need to have a teachable spirit. If you cling to preconceived ideas and church dogma, you will have adopted a biased approach even before you have started with the study. People who are disposed in this way only read the Bible to find confirmation for their own ideas, and then ignore, spiritualise or reinterpret everything that is in conflict with their views. In doing so, the Bible is abused to give credibility to theological traditions and the commandments of men (Matt. 15:8-9). That will not bring you closer to the truth but rather let you deviate from it even further.
The aim of every believer should be, to be spiritually strong “till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:13-14). Satan intends to keep us away from the Bible and the correct interpretation of it and to expose us to wrong teachings which have been devised to corrupt our minds from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3-4). We must guard against that possibility.
Our great objective should be to stand before the Lord one day, hearing these words of approval from Him: “You have kept my word, and have not denied my name” (Rev. 3:8). To keep the Word of God means to know and obey it as the inerrant Word of the living God. By honouring the name of Jesus we are committed to believe in His divine attributes and to confess His deity and saving grace based upon His atoning work on the cross. May the Lord enable every devout student of the Bible to achieve a higher level of dedication to Him and His Word.
New Testament: NT
Old Testament: OT
 The New King James Version of he Holy Bible (NKJV) is used for all Scripture quotations, unless otherwise stated. All pronouns referring to the Godhead are capitalised.