back Discipleship Courses
Next Chapter next

Chapter 1: Finding Out About Jesus


Accuracy of the Bible

To learn who Jesus is, let’s go to the book where we find an accurate record of His life and teachings in the Bible. The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by some 35 to 40 men.

The writers of the Bible were men of many different occupations. They were scholars, doctors, kings, prophets, priests, businessmen, farmers, shepherds, officials, and fishermen.

They lived at different times over a period of about 1,600 years. They were all good men who had these things in common:

1) They all worshiped one God – called Jehovah – Creator of the universe.
2) They each had God revealed to them and received His messages for mankind.
3) They all wrote what God told them to. God kept these men from making mistakes as they wrote the records of the past, predictions of future events, and His messages for mankind in every age and circumstance. Many years ago, these God-inspired writings were put together in one book – the Holy Bible.

2 Peter 1:21. For no prophetic message ever came just from the will of man, but men were carried along by the Holy Spirit as they spoke the message that came from God.

The Bible is accurate in every detail. It is historically correct. It is scientifically correct. The exact fulfillment of hundreds of its prophecies about nations and individuals proves that it really is the Word of God. We can depend on what it tells us about Jesus.

Back to Top

For You to Do

If you have not yet read pages 7 through 10, do it now before answering the questions. Then mark an X beside the right answer to each of the questions below.

1. Who was Jesus?
...a) Only a great teacher.
...b) Just a prophet.
...c) A western god.
...d) Someone greater than just a teacher, prophet, or philosopher.

2. Where did Jesus live?
...a) In Europe.
...b) In the Middle East.
...c) In the West.

3) Where is the best place to find accurate information about Jesus?
...a) In the Bible.
...b) In Roman History.
...c) In Greek philosophy.

4. Check three things that the writers of the Bible had in common.
...a) All lived at the same time.
...b) All worshiped the same God.
...c) All worshiped many gods.
...d) God revealed Himself to them and gave them His messages.
...e) All wrote whatever they wanted to.
...f) All wrote what God told them to.
...g) All made mistakes in their books.

Back to Top

Theme of the Bible

Why should 66 books, written by some 40 men over a period of 1,600 years, be put together in one book? Because one theme runs through them all. Together they show us different parts of the same picture. Books of history, law, songs, prophecy, biography and practical teaching in the Bible have one central theme. It is the salvation of sinful man by a loving God.

Both parts of the Bible–the Old Testament and the New–show us man’s need of a Savior and God’s provision of a Savior in Jesus. The Old Testament, written before Jesus was born, contains many prophecies about Him.

The New Testament tells us how the Savior came and how we can be saved by Him. The theme of the whole Bible – salvation for mankind – centers around Jesus, the Savior for mankind.

Back to Top

For You to Do

5. What is the central theme of the Bible?
...a) Salvation by good laws.
...b) Salvation of sinful man by a loving God.
...c) Salvation for man by a good environment.

6. Which part of the Bible contains many prophecies about a coming Savior?

7. Which part of the Bible records the life of the Savior?

Back to Top

New Testament records about Jesus

The New Testament gives us the records of:

1. Jesus life and teachings.
2. The church He founded.
3. Instructions for following Jesus.
4. Future events related to Jesus return.

We can depend on the accuracy of the New Testament. God chose the men who should write it and inspired them in every detail of their work. Three things assure us that the New Testament records are true:

1) divine inspiration.
2) eye-witness testimonies of the writers.
3) the systematic investigation of the facts.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote the Gospels called by their names. These are the first four books of the New Testament. We call them Gospels because gospel means good news. The good news about how Jesus came to give us eternal life is the best news there is.

We see people from different viewpoints. Look at a man you know. To one person he is a neighbor; to another, a friend; and to still others a husband, father, and worker. All could write about the same person, but each would have a different perspective and emphasis.

God inspired Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to write the good news about Jesus from different viewpoints. Matthew shows us Jesus as King – the descendant of King David who would rule the world in righteousness.

Mark shows us Jesus, the Servant of God, doing God’s will – the suffering Servant described in Old Testament prophecy, who came to die for our sins.

Luke, a Greek physician, presents Jesus as the Son of Man – the perfect representative of the human race and the remedy for the ills of all mankind.

John writes his Gospel to let us see Jesus as the Son of God – the Savior of the world. His book is a record of the life of a man he knows. He is closely associated with Him.

John writes as a witness to prove something – to prove who Jesus is. His aim is to convince all who read his record that this man Jesus is more than a man –– He is God come in the form of man. And he declares that all who believe in Jesus will receive eternal life. This is a great statement ––almost too good to be true. But as we read in the Bible what other followers of Jesus wrote about Him, we see that they all agree. What they say about Jesus is true.

Matthew and John are two of the twelve disciples who spent three years with Jesus during His ministry. They described the miracles they saw Him perform, recorded some of His teachings, and told what they observed personally of His death and resurrection. John gives the proof of Jesus deity and stresses the importance of believing in Him. Matthew was used to working with official documents before he became Jesus disciple. He systematically presents the proof that Jesus is the King of whom the Old Testament prophets wrote. He quotes the prophecies and their fulfillment, traces Jesus royal lineage, and describes the principles of His kingdom.

Mark was a young man living in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus ministry there. He was probably among the crowds that heard Jesus preach, saw His miracles, and saw Him crucified. Later Mark was closely associated with Peter (one of Jesus disciples) and probably learned from him some of the details given in his gospel.

Luke the physician investigated carefully the reports about Jesus. He wrote two books (his Gospel and Acts) to give a prominent friend an accurate record of the life of Jesus and the growth of His church. Luke interviewed Mary (the mother of Jesus) and many others to learn the details about Jesus’ miracles birth, life, death and resurrection. He checked on many of the healings that Jesus had performed and described what happened.

The writers of the rest of the New Testament –– Peter, James, Jude, and Paul –– were well qualified to write about Jesus. Peter had spent three years with Him as His disciple. James and Jude were Jesus’ brothers. Paul was a bitter enemy of Jesus and His followers. But then he met Jesus in a way that changed his life completely. From then on Paul spent his life telling others about Jesus.

God inspired these men to write for us (as well as for the people in their days) what they knew about Jesus. Their records all agree. From their experience they tell us how we too can know Jesus and enjoy the wonderful life He gives. John sums it up:

1 John 1:3. What we have seen and heard we tell to you also, so that you will join with us in the fellowship that we have with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Back to Top

For You to Do

8. Memorize 1 John 1:3.

9. Who wrote the four Gospels?

10. Name the physician who wrote about Jesus after careful investigation.

11. What enemy of Jesus was changed by meeting Him in a special way?

12. What is the New Testament account about Jesus?
...a) A collection of legends about a folk hero of the first century.
...b) A record passed down by word of mouth for generations before it was written down.
...c) A record written by people who knew Jesus or learned the facts by interviewing those who did know Him.

Back to Top

Learning from Experience

Jesus is alive now and we can know Him personally! This is part of the good news of the gospel. Jesus still does the same things for people that He did long ago.

Back to Top

Experience of others

Do you know anyone who knows Jesus personally? This is more than just knowing about Jesus, or being a member of a Christian church, or being called a Christian. Knowing Jesus personally changes a person’s life. Millions of people do really know Jesus today. They would be glad to tell you about Him. Some of them say:

"I used to hate everybody, but when Jesus came to my life He changed me. Now I love people and want to help them."

"I used to have a terrible sense of guilt but Jesus took it all away when I asked Him to forgive my sins. He gave me joy, peace, and a clean conscience."

"Jesus took away the fears that tormented me. He gives me courage to face my problems."

"Jesus has given me a reason for living, a purpose in life."

"Jesus is the answer to all my problems. I take everything to Him in prayer. He shows me what to do and meets my needs."

"I am not lonely any more because Jesus is with me all the time."

"I was hooked on heroin, but Jesus took away the craving for drugs when I turned my life over to Him."

"Jesus has healed me many times in answer to prayer."

These testimonies and thousands of others from people who really know Jesus today demonstrate the truth of what God says.

Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Back to Top

For You to Do

13. Memorize Hebrews 13:8

14: Think: If you heard people telling their experiences with Jesus like the ones quoted above, what would you think? Would you want to know Jesus too? Do these true testimonies sound like Jesus might be the solution for some of your problems?

Back to Top

Personal Experience

How can you best know who Jesus is? You can learn much about Him by studying the Bible. There you find His life and teachings. You discover why He came into the world and what He has done for you. The Bible tells you what Jesus is doing now and what He will do in the future. You can learn about Jesus from the experience of others. Down through the years, since Jesus lived on earth until this very hour, people have discovered that Jesus makes Himself known to those who really want to know Him. And best of all, you can know Him personally and learn from experience that what the Bible says about Him is true.

You may have known about Jesus all your life, or you may never have heard much about Him. You many already know Him and love Him, or like Paul –– the enemy of Jesus whose life was changed when he met Him personally –– you may be opposed to the gospel. Whatever your knowledge of Jesus and your attitude toward Him may be, these lessons have been written to help you become better acquainted with Him personally. And as you do, we hope and pray that you will enjoy the wonderful benefits that come from friendship with Jesus.

Back to Top

For You To Do

15. For whom were these lessons written?
...a) Only those who know Jesus.
...b) Only those who don’t know Jesus.
...c) Anyone who wants to know who Jesus is.

16). Choose the three best ways to learn who Jesus really is.
...a) Study what the Bible says about Him.
...b) Study what religions says.
...c) Study a comparison of religions.
...d) Hear what Jesus has done for people who know Him personally.
...e) Know Jesus personally.
...f) Listen to ideas about Him,
...g) Listen to what Jesus’ enemies say

17. Think: Will knowing more about who Jesus is help you in any way? How?

Back to Top

Lesson 1: Answers

Check your answers with those given below and grade yourself. You were to give 20 items of information (more than one item in 3 of the answers). If you have from 18 to 20 correct, mark your grade excellent. From 14 to 17 is good; 10 to 13, fair. If you have less than 10 items correct, read the lesson again so you will know it well.

1. d) someone greater than just a teacher, prophet, or philosopher.
2. b) In the Middle East.
3. a) In the Bible.
4. b) All worshiped the same God.
d) God revealed Himself to them and gave them His messages.
f) All wrote what God told them to.
5. b) Salvation of sinful man by a loving God.
6. The Old Testament.
7. The New Testament.
9. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
10. Luke.
11. Paul.
12. c) A record written by people who knew Jesus or learned the facts by interviewing those who did know Him.
15. c) Anyone who wants to know who Jesus is.
16. a) Study what the Bible says about Him.
d) Hear what Jesus has done for people who know Him personally.
e) Know Jesus personally.

Number of correct answers.....Grade....

Back to Top

Go to Chapter 2: Jesus the Promised Messiah