Over the years, I’ve had people ask me questions about Jesus, God, and the Bible. I have compiled a few of those questions and answered them below. I hope that you will find the answers informative and that they will encourage you in your walk with the Lord.
Q: I’ve been baptized in Jesus’s name. Though I pray daily, I don’t read the Bible daily and I don’t attend church weekly. When I die will I go to heaven or hell?
A: Being baptized does not assure one’s salvation. Even reading the Bible daily and going to church regularly do not assure you of a place in heaven. There is only one way to avoid hell and go to heaven. Jesus said that we must be “born again” to enter the kingdom of God (see John 3:5-8). If you have not been “born again,” you will go to hell. But I have good news for you! The Bible also tells us how we can be born again. To be born again, you must receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior: “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). If you have not made such a confession but have a desire to do this, simply pray this prayer sincerely:
“Dear Jesus, I believe that you died for me and that you rose again on the third day. I confess to you that I am a sinner and that I need your love and forgiveness. Come into my life, forgive my sins, and give me eternal life. I believe that God has raised you from the dead, and I now confess you as my Lord. Thank you for causing me to be born again!”
If you have received Jesus as your personal Savior, I want to encourage you to find a Spirit-filled church that can help you grow in the things of the Lord.
Q: How do we know Jesus is God?
A: The Bible, which is the final authority for every Christian, says in John 1:1, 14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” Philippians 2:6, 7: “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” These verses refer to Jesus Christ. They tell us that Jesus is God who became man and lived here on earth. If Jesus is not God, then we, of all people—that is to say Christians—are the most to be pitied. If Jesus is not God, then we have no hope for eternal life because a mere man could not ascend into heaven and sit at the Father’s right hand as the Scriptures record. I would encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to open up your eyes to the fact that Jesus Christ is true God and true man. Come before Him in prayer and ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a personal way. If you are honestly seeking for the truth, then I know that He will do this for you.
Q: Why should I read the whole Bible?
A: The Bible is God’s primary method of communicating with His creation, mankind. It is His revealed Word and will to man. Through reading and studying the Bible, you can meet, get to know, and establish a one-on-one relationship with the one true God, your creator. As such, the Bible can be your best friend. Its two major divisions, the Old Testament and the New Testament, both point to Jesus as the redeemer of the human race. The Old Testament prepared the way for Jesus, and the New Testament prepares a people to receive Him. That’s why it’s so important for you to read every book in the Bible—you can behold Jesus in every book of the Bible! Each book reveals to you Jesus and His love for you. When you read the whole Bible, you will recognize the unity of the Bible, and can apply its truths to every area of your life.
Q: How do you know God wrote the Bible?
A: The Bible claims God as its author, and a knowledge of the Word makes this apparent. There are 66 books in the Bible—written by more than 30 different persons over a period of thousands of years, and yet there is a consistent theme running from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible describes the fall of man, his utter sinfulness, and God’s redemptive plan through the blood sacrifice of His Son. If the scriptures were not written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the mortal men who penned them surely would not present man as totally depraved and in need of salvation. Man’s “religion” always teaches access to God through human effort, but the Bible clearly states that mankind is dead in trespasses and sin. Dead men can’t work their way to God; they can only accept God’s provision of a new life in Christ Jesus. Each of the prophets declared that it was the Word of the Lord that came to them; and with the exception of end-time prophecy, all prophecy has been fulfilled to the letter—even as God said it would be (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Q: Is the Bible really God’s infallible Word?
A: Yes, the Bible is God’s infallible Word. Even though there are Scriptures which, when read, may seem “inconsistent,” one must know the whole counsel of God’s Word to see there is no contradiction.
Q: What is the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament?
A: The purpose of the Old Testament is to show us man’s creation, his sin (fall), and to show us God’s preparation for a redeemer to come who would make salvation available to all men. This redeemer (Jesus) came through the Jewish nation; thus, the Old Testament is the story of their history—good and bad. In the New Testament we have the manifestation of the redeemer and His manifestation through His people (those who receive Him). We also see the culmination of God’s plan of redemption in the book of Revelation.
Q: Which version of the Bible do you believe is the most accurate?
A: From the time that God confused language at the tower of Babel until now, the human race has been trying to communicate through the imperfect vehicle of foreign languages. The Bible was written in Hebrews, Aramaic, and Greek. Because different words can be translated in a variety of ways, we have different Bible versions, which essentially are different translations. Modern translations are taken from the original Greek and Hebrew; but even so, there is still a problem in that one word can have various shades and meanings and thereby can be translated differently. So, each person who translates a work must do it on the basis of the context in which the word is written in order to determine the original meaning. Different scholars have different opinions on how these words should be translated; thus, we have a variety of translations, and all of these translations depend upon the text from which that particular language was translated. My personal preference is the New King James Version.
Q: What does it mean to walk with God every day? How can I walk with Him every day?
A: “To walk with God” means to live your life in harmony with Christ’s life in you. This comes about through prayer and Bible study. Speak to God in prayer and let Him speak to you through the Bible.
Q: Please explain what “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) means.
A: The Bible says that no Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, but that Scripture is to be interpreted through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. “Rightly dividing the word of truth” refers to this and means to take the Scriptures within the context they are given in order to interpret the Scriptures. Not only are we to take Scriptures within the context that they are given in the chapter but also within the context of the Old and New Testaments as well. You must take into consideration the full counsel of God in light of how Jesus revealed the Father to us while He was here on earth.
Q: Marilyn, please explain the Trinity. If Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God and God the Father is God, how can Jesus sit at the right hand of Himself?
A: The concept of the Trinity (three-in-one and one-in-three) is ultimately a mystery to our human, finite minds! I can only tell you what I understand about it as I read through the Bible. Ultimately the truth about the Godhead must be accepted by faith so long as we are in these human bodies. Although the word “trinity” is never mentioned in the Bible, its existence is clearly spoken of in Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14. God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4) yet made up of three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Just as a family is one unit made up of several family members, so the Godhead is one unit with three members. Each person of the Trinity has a specific role, differing from the other two; and yet together, they make up a single unit with a single purpose, carrying out a perfect and complete plan.
The Heavenly Father is the architect or planner of the Trinity; Jesus is the contractor or the one who carries out the plan; and the Holy Spirit is the laborer or the one who gives life to the plan. Let’s look at the creation record. The Father planned it, Jesus did it, and the Holy Spirit gave it life. These three distinct roles, or ministries, of the Trinity can be seen in the creation of man and the birth and resurrection of Jesus in the flesh. (See Genesis 1:2; 1:26; and John 1:2).
The Old Testament Scriptures which refer to God as one God, literally mean that He is a unit, not that He is only one individual. When you see this relationship, you can understand that Jesus the Son can sit at the right-hand of the Father.
Q: Please explain what happened during the years between Malachi and Matthew.
A: The years between the time of Malachi and Matthew were years in which Israel had no prophet. No new Words of God were communicated, and no prophets nor spokesmen were available to Israel. According to Jewish history, Israel was occupied and ruled by foreigners and there were several uprisings such as the Maccabean uprising—but for the most part these times of rebellion had little positive result. During this time, the Roman Empire was expanding and eventually controlled much of the known world—including Israel. It was during the time of the Roman occupation of Israel that God raised up two intercessors—Anna and Simeon—who prayed that they might see the Redeemer. The answer to their prayers was manifested in Jesus. (See Luke 2:25-38).