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Formation of the Old Testament

The Old Testament canon varies in Jewish, Greek, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Bibles. Over and above the contents of the Jewish Bible, there are some fifteen books or portions of books that were accepted as in some sense authoritative by Greek-reading Jews of around the time of Jesus. Protestants have sometimes included these as an…
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Formation of the New Testament

Since Christianity arose before the third section of the Old Testament canon (the Writings) was fixed in the first and second centuries A.D., Christian literature was free to circulate and gain acceptance by Jews as well as Gentiles. Christians believed that the Holy Spirit had been given to the church and that prophecy had returned…
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Followers of Jesus Christ

Jesus had many disciples, that is, learners or students. He chose 12 disciples as an inner core of assistants to help him in his ministry and to receive special instruction. He also appointed them as apostles to carry the gospel message to the world (Luke 6:13). [“Apostle” means “one who is sent,” implying one sent…
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Eternal Life

The word “eternal” means without beginning and without end, denoting a continual existence including past, present, and future. As applied to human existence, the Bible indicates that the spirit or soul is indestructible and eventually returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7). This thought is expressed by Paul who attests to God’s overall plan…
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Bible Study Ephesians

Author: Paul Date: c. A.D. 60 or 61 The city of Ephesus, one of the great cities of antiquity, was located on the Western coast of Asia Minor, in present-day Turkey. It is no longer of any consequence. All that remains are some magnificent ruins, now being excavated by numerous organizations from around the world….
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Ecclesiastes Bible Study

Author: Probably Solomon Date: Tenth Century B.C. The author of Ecclesiastes calls himself Koheleth (the preacher). His exact identity is not known, but traditionally he is identified with Solomon, king of Israel. Ecclesiastes is a difficult book to understand, partly because it is structurally disjointed, but mainly because it seems to have two different sets…
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Bible Study Corinthians II

Author: Paul Date: c. A.D. 57 This letter was written by the apostle Paul shortly after he wrote I Corinthians. He had received word from Corinth about how the first letter had been received and was responding to that. It is probably the most personal and emotional of his letters. The first thing he wanted…
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Clothing in Biblical Times

Merchants bringing silk and finely woven fabrics would travel in caravans over vast distances from as far away as India. Fine linen was imported from Egypt. In Palestine, clothing was frequently made of linen from locally grown flax. Everyday clothes were made from an ordinary quality linen; priests wore more expensive linen (Exod. 39:27). Wool…
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Bible Study Worksheet

Personal Bible Study Worksheets “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path.” Proverbs 3:5-6 Daily Spiritual Diary Worksheet WEEK OF: PASSAGE: SUNDAY: God’s Message to Me Today: A Promise from God: A Command to Keep: A…
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Bible Translation

The Bible first began to be translated into other languages in Egypt in the third century B.C. At that time the Hebrew Old Testament was rendered into Greek. According to tradition, 70 (some say 72) Jewish scholars worked at that task, thus giving the version its title, the Septuagint (Latin, Septuaginta , for “seventy” =…
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Bible Study Ruth

Author: unknown Date: c. Eleventh Century B.C. The times of the Judges were extremely difficult years. That book concluded with the observation that anarchy reigned. No one was answerable to anyone else. The Book of Ruth shows a different side to this period, no doubt included to provide some relief to the otherwise almost completely…
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Bible Study Zephaniah

Author: Zephaniah Date: Shortly before 621 B.C. Zephaniah was the first of a series of prophets sent by God to the southern kingdom of Judah before its fall in 587 B.C. and after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. Isaiah and Micah had lived to see the fall of Samaria,…
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Bible Study Jonah

Author: Jonah Date:  Eighth Century B.C. The prophet Jonah is known primarily for his extraordinary encounter with the “big fish.” Born in a small town in Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II (782-753 B.C.), Jonah’s mission was to preach repentance to one of Israel’s dreaded enemies, Assyria, in its capital city, Nineveh. When God…
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Bible Study Joel

Author: Joel Date: Probably Eighth Century B.C. Little is known about the prophet Joel except that his father’s name was Pethuel, he probably lived in Jerusalem, and he prophesied to the southern kingdom of Judah. His book has been considered the earliest prophetic book written, the latest prophetic book written, or just about anywhere in…
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Bible Study Jeremiah

Author: Jeremiah Date: Sixth Century B.C. The prophet Jeremiah is one of the best-known figures in the Old Testament because of the biographical detail to be found in his book. In most other instances the man is subordinated to the message so that little is known about the preachers as individuals. In Jeremiah’s case, his…
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Bible Study Haggai

Author: Haggai Date: 520 B.C. After the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C., the survivors were carried off into captivity in Babylon. An international upheaval, resulting in a change of world leadership, then put Cyrus the Persian in charge of what was left of Babylon (539 B.C.). One of the first things Cyrus did was…
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