The Bible is the Word of God, the inspired account
of the Lord's rescue of fallen humanity. It's a book about God, humankind,
and especially about God's intervention with humankind. From the Genesis
narrative of Eden Lost to Revelation's promise of Eden Restored, the plan
of redemption unfolds through the lives of people.
Birthed full-grown into the Garden, Adam and Eve, through sin, lost their
perfect environment. Were it not for the promise of salvation, they and their
descendants would have existed with no hope of anything beyond the grave,
which is no hope at all. Instead, through Christ and the promises fulfilled
in Him, these fallen beings have the hope and assurance of eternal life in
a world without sin and all its terrible consequences. They are, in a real
sense, "children of the promise" found in Jesus and the salvation He has
secured for us (Rom. 9:8).
Who are these children, and how have they responded to this promise of salvation?
Saints, sinners, slaves, sovereigns, princes, paupers, pagans, even
prophets-that's who they are. Lovely or loathsome, major or minor, courageous
or cowardly, they and their stories are all included in the Bible.
Through sixty-six books that cover everything from the fall of Lucifer to
life on the new earth, the Bible introduces its readers to just a few hundred
characters out of possible millions. Some get scant treatment; others are
fleshed out in considerable detail. Joseph, for instance, merits twenty-one
chapters (Genesis 30 to 50); Job's wife, in contrast, gets only two verses
(Job 2:9, 10). Yet, lessons exist for us from them all.
Of necessity, the Bible personalities selected for this quarter's study must
likewise be a sampling: The characters were chosen because they could (sometimes)
be paired with others who under comparable circumstances or in similar
relationships made different choices, choices not unlike those that we, living
on the same planet, often make.
They, like us, are all part of the drama, the last act even now building
toward a spectacular climax. But no need for fearful suspense-the Bible tells
how the play will end. However, and most importantly, individual destinies,
including our own, await the final resolution.
Because the last curtain has not yet gone down, because we still act out
our unscripted roles in the play ourselves, because we still can choose Christ
or Satan, these lessons invite us all (1) to review the lives of the selected
Bible personalities, (2) to analyze the reasons for their successes and failures,
(3) to assess our role in the great controversy, and then (4) to apply what
we learn to strengthen our own relationship with Jesus, who through His life
and death has given us redemption.
"Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down
for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come" (1 Cor. 10:11,
Though our lives are not recorded in Scripture, we are all characters in
the same drama as those whose lives are revealed in the Book. Let us learn
from both their triumphs and their failures. Because, in many ways, their
stories are ours as well.
OVERVIEW "A Chemical
After the construction of a building at a famous university, some professors
wanted these words, from an ancient Greek philosopher, placed on the main
wall: "Man is the measure of all things." The president of the prestigious
institution, however, had other notions, and the sentence that went up instead
was: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?"
This story is a minor mirror of two contending world views. One makes humanity
the creator and subject of truth, the other places God in that role. No middle
ground exists between these two positions, no possibility of compromise,
no potential for synthesis. It's either one or the other.
As Adventists, there's no doubt which view we take. God is Creator of truth,
the Source of truth, and the Giver of truth. As humans, we don't originate
truth; we merely receive it as a gift . . . and the greatest gift of truth,
ever, was in the person of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer-the One in whom "we
live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28), the One "in whom we have
redemption through his blood" (Eph. 1:7).
If the Bible is the story of redemption, then it is also the story of those
who are redeemed, those who are on the receiving end of truth. The Bible,
therefore, doesn't center on God in a vacuum; it centers, instead, on Him
in His divine interaction with humankind, on those redeemed at such an infinite
cost to Himself. British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking once said that humankind
was nothing but "a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting round
a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies."
He couldn't be more wrong. Christ didn't die for "a chemical scum." He died
to save beings created in His own image, beings so precious that they were
bought with His own blood (1 Pet. 1:18, 19).
Thus, however much the gospel is the work of God alone, it's always the work
of God for humankind. The gospel wouldn't be the gospel were it not "good
news" for human beings. To learn about the gospel is to learn not only about
God's unfailing love but about His unfailing love for His failing and unloving
This quarter's Bible Study Guide, Bible Biographies,
deals with numerous people on the receiving end of this unfailing love, even
those who failed in loving back. Special thanks to our principal contributor,
Dr. Wilma McClarty, of Southern Adventist University, who carefully and
thoughtfully looked at the question put on the college wall: "What is man,
that thou art mindful of him?"
The answer, thanks to God's gift of His Son, is "good news" indeed.
Contents: (no frames, all lessons
may not be posted)
Giardina Sabbath School
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl, prepares a
series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related
scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version"
of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission. The study
helps are provided in three wordprocessing versions
Word; RTF for our MAC friends; and
HTML (Web Pages).
Last updated on March 15, 2001
Editorial Office: 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
Principal Contributors: Wilma McClarty
Editor: Clifford Goldstein
Associate Editor: Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti.
Editorial Production Manager: Soraya Homayouni Parish.
Art and Design: Lars Justinen.
Pacific Press Coordinator: Paul A. Hey.
Copyright © 2001 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist.
All Rights Reserved.
This page is Netscape