Introduction: This part of the website will be devoted to a comprehensive and systematic overview of the Canon of Holy Scripture, and an explanation of every book of the Bible for Christians and Christian leaders to become more knowledgeable in the Word of God. There is an incomparable unity, perfection. and divine structure between the Old and New Testament that manifests the glory of God, and further proves its infallibility and sufficiency in every way. And the truth is, that sadly, most pastors and Christians do not know this, nor do they know the Bible as they should. To better grow in grace and in the Christian life and to advance Christ’s glory in the church and the world, it is essential for Christians to know the Bible, to know the contents of Holy Scripture, and to have a regular discipline and schedule in their life of reading Scripture, and growing more familiar with the Word of God, including the nature, the contents, the structure, the purpose, the design and the teaching of each and every book of the Bible, and its place in the Canon. The Bible is the book of brilliant things; it is the infallible word of God, the constitution of the church, the library of the Holy Spirit, the only rule of life and conduct, and that alone where we learn to glorify and enjoy God. For our lives, our marriages, our families, our work, and our service for the Lord to be blessed, we must be devoted to God’s holy word. The Scriptures glorify Christ, and if we would know Christ, have communion with Him, and live for His glory, we must know the Word of God. Mt.4:4; Jn.17:17; 2 Tim.3:15-16.
*Augustine said, “It is in knowing Thee, O Lord my God, as Thou hast revealed thyself in Thy Word that I am given to love Thee and worship Thee.”
*Thomas Manton said, “Love and reverence for the Word of God show love and reverence for Christ as the Lord.”
Purpose: To this end, along with preaching expository sermons on many books of the Bible over 25 years of ministry, (440 sermons on the Gospel of Matthew alone), I have also taught, Old Testament and New Testament Survey courses, at the same time. And so I have actually read through the Bible well over 1000 times, read Hebrew and Greek, and have read nearly every significant commentary on every book of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, from the Early Church fathers to all the various modern commentators on Scripture. And as I have spent years reading and studying the Bible, and I am ever more convinced and confirmed in its divine glory, its infallibility, and its all-sufficiency. And I am convinced as well that there is a gross ignorance of the Bible and sound doctrine throughout Evangelical and Reformed churches today; because unlike the Reformers and the Puritans, pastors and Christian leaders today are by and large not devoted to studying Scripture. Josh.1; Psalm 1, 119; 2 Tim.4.
And so I hope to place all of my lectures on Old Testament Survey and New Testament Survey here on the website that I teach in College and Seminary level courses, and that I have taught in Bible study and adult Sunday school classes for many years. These lectures are from a distinctly Puritan and Reformed view, exalting Christ and the infallibility of His word, and showing that there are still treasures of wisdom and knowledge yet to be mined from the Holy Scriptures. And so I guarantee that in many places in my lectures, you will have never heard or read anything like it before. Here are just a few examples:
- My work on the unity of Scripture and the relationship between the Old and New Testaments is entirely new to Biblical scholarship: The four-fold structure of the OT (the Pentateuch, the Historical Books, The Wisdom Books, and the Prophets) is structurally and theological parallel with the four-fold structure of the New Testament (the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation) in most brilliant and remarkable ways, and in great detail magnifying God’s saving purposes in Jesus Christ.
- The name of God revealed in Genesis to the patriarchs, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” is a most glorious name and historical type of the ever-blessed Trinity, revealing to us the three persons of the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- The 3 books of Solomon (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon) are a literary masterpiece of divine wisdom pointing to the 3-fold architecture of the Temple consisting of the Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies, as a type and prophecy of Christ’s saving life and ministry and His death and resurrection, and His union and communion with His church and people. It is an OT theology of wisdom for the Christian life magnifying Christ’s divine glory and His Mediatorial office, and His saving work!
- The Song of Solomon (of which I have 120 sermons) is itself moreover a 7 part prophecy and allegory of the history of redemption that points to the glory of Christ and His saving work, as well as the spiritual union and communion between Christ and the Church by virtue of the covenant of grace, typified in Solomon’s marriage covenant with the princess of Egypt. The Song is an epithalamium in celebration of Solomon’s glory and his wedding to the Egyptian princess that points to the greater glory of Jesus Christ, the true Jedidiah (Beloved of God), and Son of David.
- The book of Esther is moreover a brilliant historical apologetic of 1. God’s sovereignty revealed in the life and ministry of the Persian king Ahasuerus, 2. Christ’s exaltation typified in Mordecai who counsels Esther in her betrothal and marriage to the King and then becomes cup-bearer to the king, whose glory is the summary of the book. Esther the heroine, the star of the morning, is a representation of the church’s calling in Christ, her cleansing as a bride, and her dutiful submission to God for the protection of her people. Sadly enough, most pastors and scholars today have grossly perverse and ignorant views of the book of Esther.
- The Restoration period and the writings of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, 1-2 Chronicles, and the Restoration prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malichi also form a unit in the history of redemption that is often neglected by Biblical scholars and not seen for its significance. But this is the sixth period of salvation history, the final covenant renewal in the OT that looks forward to Jesus Christ and the True Restoration of Israel. Understanding this helps refute the misguided and heretical views of N.T. Wright who makes so much of Second Temple Judaism to the neglect of Holy Scripture. The Restoration period is moreover the sixth in the line of covenant renewals of the OT (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Zerubbabel) preparing for the seventh and Sabbath perfection of redemptive history that comes in Christ and the New Covenant.
- My work on the Four Gospels and the Four-fold Glory of Jesus Christ (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) presenting Christ’s Mediatorial offices and divine glory in precise historical and theological order. I explain in great detail the reasons why there are four Gospels, and why they are in the order that we have them. You have never read or heard anything like this before! Why are there Four Gospels, and why are they in the order they are in the New Testament! PRAISE GOD! There is a four-fold testimony of the glory of Jesus Christ, in a most profound and glorious order!
- On the Book of Acts, and the history of the Early Church (Acts 1-12 which focuses on the apostle Peter, the apostle to the Jews and the planting of the church in Israel; and Acts 13-28 on the apostle Paul, apostle to the Gentiles); you may learn is written by Luke after the inspiration of the Holy Spirit after the pattern of Christ’s own life and ministry and His death and resurrection revealed in the Gospels, The book of Acts, is, therefore, an extended passion narrative of the lives of the apostles where over 100 events in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is repeated in history (and of course in different form) in the lives of the apostles.
- My work on 1-2 Corinthians is also original to Biblical scholarship. 1 Corinthians being a formal treatise on the Lordship of Christ over the church, and 2 Corinthians a treatise on the glory of Christ in the Christian Ministry. Paul’s order and argument in 1 Corinthians on the Church follows systematically the life and ministry of Jesus Christ from the inauguration of His public ministry to His death, His resurrection, and the Great Commission. Paul is reworking the narrative of the Gospels to explain the practical working of Christ’s Lordship in and over the church. The same is true of 2 Corinthians and Paul’s letter on the Christian ministry.
- There are many more! Why aren’t they published? The Evangelical Theological Society is too Liberal and ungodly! And modern Evangelical and Reformed scholarship today is corrupted by selfish ambition, covetousness, and the tragedy of modern book publishers who always want to make a profit for themselves.
These are just a few of the many things I have learned from studying Scripture over the years, and with some help from the early church fathers, the Reformers, and the Puritans.
The 2 volumes that I have planned on Old Testament and New Testament Survey, including the several chapters on the divine and incomparable unity and perfection of the Canon of Holy Scripture, will eventually consist of well over 2000 pages. But the outlines that I pass out in church for Sunday school are quite brief (being very dense outlines) at 3-7 pages and can be easily read in less than an hour.
Conviction: It is my humble conviction that most Evangelical and Reformed pastors, as well as Christian leaders today, are tragically ignorant of the Bible, in comparison to what they should be. This is apparent from the type of preaching and teaching that is common in the churches, as well as the many spiritual problems that are widespread in Christian families, even of those who are pastors and Christian leaders. There are many pastors who have ruined their families and corrupted their preaching just to publish and sell a relatively useless book. Even Bible colleges and Seminaries today have a superficial program for teaching the Bible, and what is certainly the most important subject for pastors and Christians alike, the knowledge of Holy Scripture; its unity, its canonicity, its inerrancy, its infallibility, its sufficiency, its clarity, and most importantly its contents; and how all of Holy Scripture reveals to us the glory of God in Jesus Christ. If the Bible is truly the infallible and all-sufficient Word of God, then why are pastors today so ignorant of Scripture? Why are sermons so often devoid a godly understanding of Scripture? And why are Christians so offended by preaching and teaching that expounds the truth of God from Scripture and exalts Jesus Christ. All the problems within the church and in the lives of believers are a result of not knowing the Scriptures. Mt.22:29; 2 Tim.3:15-17.
*John Wyclif said, “There are no errors in the Bible. There are only fools who stumble at the reading and teaching of it.”
*Martin Luther said, “Strong sermons make for strong and godly Christians, while weak sermons with little or knowledge of Scripture makes for weak Christians.”
*John Calvin said, “Unless we take Scripture as our infallible rule and guide, we will miserably go astray in darkness; for Scripture is the alone rule of faith and life.”
Education: I believe that foundational to godly and devoted study of the Bible is to make the study of Scripture central to a Reformed pattern of education and discipleship. This is precisely what we do in our academy by making the study of Old Testament and New Testament Survey a regular discipline in the family and in school every successive year, using books and materials that are consistent with a student’s age and intellectual level. The Bible is the infallible Word of God, and so the Bible, therefore, should be central to Christian education, and not peripheral. Every aspect of education should moreover be grounded upon Scripture and sound doctrine, not broad Evangelicalism. What does this mean? The school year beginning in the Fall of 2017-Summer of 2018 is devoted to the study of the Old Testament (The Law, the Historical Books, the Wisdom Books, and the Prophets). And the school year beginning in the Fall of 2018- Summer of 2019 school year is devoted to the study of the New Testament (The Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles, and the Revelation). The Bible is read in family worship and in-class curriculum, morning and evening, Monday thru Saturday. So that every year, parents and their children are reading the Bible together; the OT thru at least once in the academic year, and the NT at least 3 times thru the next academic year. For Christian education should be built upon the family, and with the father as head, and also the mother at home to be setting the example for their children. I have a full set of curriculum for these classes, as well as suggested books to use.
*John Milton said, “The end of all learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge to love and imitate Him.”
*John Calvin said, “Unless you sincerely believe that you are called by the Lord Jesus every day to learn from Him in His school of discipleship, you will never know Him well.”
How to study the Bible: It is essential then for pastors and Christians to reform their lives and their families by devoting themselves to the reading and studying of the Bible. You can start by reading the Bible daily on a disciplined basis, and on a devoted schedule, morning and evening. It should be the key of the morning and the lock of the night to the door of your spiritual house. Can you think of any reason why you would wake up and eat breakfast, or why you would have dinner and go to bed without reading your Bible? Are you a Christian? Do you love God, and know that Jesus Christ is Your Lord and Savior? Then you should read the Word of God. “Everything is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.” Would you then want your day or your evening to be profaned by a hundred other trivial things in life, instead of sanctified by the Word of God and prayer? Do you want your days and your evenings to be under God’s blessings? Are you a parent, and do you want your children saved? Are you a pastor or Christian leader that desires to serve God in truth? Then get up and read the Word of God. Mt.4:4.
*Bernard of Clairvaux said, “If the Word of God is such a light that shines in the darkness to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, why then are so many who profess the Gospel walking in darkness?”
Let me suggest to you a pattern for personal and family reformation. I read the Bible (or my children do) in family worship every morning and every evening; and then of course as a pastor, I read it on my own for preaching, teaching, counseling, or just for my continued learning and devotion. In our family, we study the Old Testament and the New Testament consecutively, year after year. So this school year, 2018-2019 we are reading and studying the New Testament at the same time we are studying New Testament Survey. In family worship then, we read the New Testament several times over. In 2019-2020 we will then get back to reading the Old Testament and studying Old Testament Survey. This way, the Bible and growing in the knowledge of God is the center of our life and family, and studying each and every book of the Bible is the foundation of the Christian life, marriage, and the family, as well as the education of our children. To give you an example, because we are studying the Gospels in the Autumn, we have read through the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) four times over in each of the months of September, October, and November. Maybe you would not be able to do that. That’s ok. Start reading the Bible through every day and you will experience God’s blessing. In Luke 11 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”
*Matthew Henry has said, “If we would be sanctified by the grace of Christ, we must be devoted to the word of Christ.”
Resources for Bible Study: It is very important for Christians and for Christian leaders today, as they study the Bible, that they use the right books and resources, and that they stay away from books that are either destructive to their faith, or just not godly and edifying.
Best Resources for Beginners and for Families:
- Matthew Henry – Six Volume Commentary on the Bible
- Gresham Machen – The Glorious History of Redemption
- A.M. Hodgkin – Christ in All the Scriptures
- Jonathan Edwards – History of the Work of Redemption
- Thomas Watson – The Bible and the Closet
- Wilkinson and Boa – Bible Handbook
- The Westminster Shorter Catechism
- Brett Woody – Milk for Babes: A Children’s Catechism (for children)
- Brett Woody – Bible History Catechism
Best Resources for Students and for Church Leaders:
- All those Above
- The Reformed Confessions (Including and especially the Westminster Confession)
- The Westminster Larger Catechism
- John Calvin – Commentaries on Holy Scripture
- Gareth Crossley – The Old Testament Explained and Applied
- Gresham Machen – The New Testament: An Introduction
- Brett Woody – Bible Study Lectures on the Old Testament
- Brett Woody – Bible Study Lectures on the New Testament
- Norman Geisler – Popular Survey of the Old Testament
- Norman Geisler – Popular Survey of the New Testament
- Ed Hindson – The Essence of the Old Testament
- Ed Hindson – The Essence of the New Testament
- Miles van Pelt – A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament
- Michael Kruger – A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament
- Andreas Kostenberger – The Lion and the Lamb: New Testament Essentials (for High School)
- Andreas Kostenberger – The Cradle, The Cross, and the Crown (for College and Seminary)
- Edmond Hiebert – An Introduction to the New Testament
- Philip Schaff – Apostolic History (History of the Church Volume 1)
- Edward Taylor – Upon the Types and Shadows of the Old Testament
- Geerhardus Vos – Biblical Theology (academic)
- Herman Ridderbos – The Coming of the Kingdom (academic)
- Leon Morris – New Testament Theology (academic)
- Charles Pfeiffer – Old Testament History
- Richard Niswonger – New Testament History
- F.F. Bruce – New Testament History
- Everett Harrison – A Short Life of Christ
- And many more, including commentaries on all the various books of the Bible which I will be listing in another place.
In reading modern commentaries and works that are designed to interpret the Bible it is important to remember that most modern Evangelical and Reformed scholars and theologians today are often governed by UnScriptural views of the Word of God and of Biblical doctrine, and should be used cautiously. Modern Seminaries have been sadly corrupted by the influences of Neo-Orthodoxy, and the Liberal and ungodly views of men like Karl Barth, C.S. Lewis, and N.T. Wright who misrepresent Scripture and pervert the Gospel. Even the influence of Dispensationalism has had a corrupting influence on the church and on preaching the Word of God over the last generation. As a result, most pastors and Christian leaders today have very superficial views of the nature, purpose, and design of the Old Testament and its importance for the church, for the Christian life, and for the work of reformation. And sadly, they are not able to see the glory of Christ clearly shining through in every book and in every page of the Old Testament. How tragic!
*John Calvin said, “There are thousands of false teachers in the church, (that are apes and peacocks), who instead of keeping to Scripture and sound doctrine, mutilate the word of God with false interpretations, vain speculations, human traditions, and a host of other cleverly designed doctrines, that flourish because of the wickedness of man’s heart; and so the gullible and the ungodly will gladly follow their schemes in erring from the truth. And so the Lord is right in warning us that, “The blind will lead the blind, and they will both fall, into the ditch.”
*John Bunyan said, “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.”
*Martin Luther wrote, “I have learned to ascribe infallibility only to the Holy Scripture, to those books which are canonical, so that I confidently believe that not one of their authors erred; for the Holy Scripture is God’s word, and He cannot err.”
*The Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.1.10 says, “The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.”
Brett Woody, Pastor-Teacher