Saturday, October 09, 2010

Study guides for Apologetics (interim curriculum)

Click hereThe articles from A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell are part of the interim curriculum. We have prepared these study guides which you can use in two ways: (1) Read the study guide first so you can have an overview of the article; and (2) After reading the article, try answering the study guide questions to test your comprehension.

Index of study guides

  1. Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in history
  2. How can you believe the miracles in the Bible?
  3. What about all those contradictions?
  4. Is the New Testament filled with myths?
  5. Was Jesus born of a virgin?
  6. The historicity of Jesus
  7. The resurrection of Jesus
  8. The Trilemma: Lord, Liar or Lunatic?
  9. Is Jesus both Messiah and God?
  10. Questions About God
  11. Questions About Faith and Reason
  12. Is the Christian experience just a delusion?
  13. Did you hear what happened to Saul?

Chapter 06 - Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in history
  1. What is one of the unique and fascinating aspects of the Bible found in no other religious literature?
  2. What do Isaiah 44:28; 54:1 prophesy about Cyrus? What was significant about this prophecy at the time Isaiah recorded it in 700 B.C.?
  3. What is Daniel’s Seventy Weeks all about? What will happen at the end of 69 weeks?
  4. What were several commandments, or decrees, in Israel’s history which have been suggested as the end of the 483 years?
  5. Based on Hoehner’s Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, what is the only logical day for Christ’s crucifixion?
  6. After the termination of the 69 weeks and before the commencement of the 70th week, what two events had to occur?
  7. What was the prophecy or seven predictions about Tyre in Ezekiel 26 (592-570 B.C.)?
  8. What part did Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great play in these predictions about Tyre?
  9. What was the prophecy about Sidon in Ezekiel 28:22-23 (592 - 570 B.C.)? According to Floyd Hamilton, how was this prophecy fulfilled?
  10. What was the prophecy about Samaria in Hosea 13:16 and Micah 1:6? How was this fulfilled?
  11. What was the prophecy about Gaza-Ashkelon in Amos 1:8 (775 - 750 B.C.) Jeremiah 47:5 (626 - 586 B.C.) Zephaniah 2:4,6 (640 - 621 B.C.)? How was this fulfilled?
  12. What were the prophecies regarding Petra and Edom by Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel? How were these prophecies specifically fulfilled?
  13. What were the prophecies regarding the Jewish people?
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Chapter 10 -
How can you believe the miracles in the Bible?

  1. What is the so-called “Hume hangover”?
  2. What is Hume’s argument against miracles?
  3. What did Dr. Lawrence Burkholder, chairman of the Department of the Church at the Harvard Divinity School, say about Hume’s arguments against miracles?
  4. What did Professor Clark Pinnock say about Hume’s methodology?
  5. What did C. S. Lewis say about Hume’s arguments against miracles?
  6. What did Merald Westphal, in his review of “The Historian and the Believer,” say about the experiences of the first explorers in Australia with regard the platypus?
  7. What is the basis for believing in the miraculous?
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Chapter 11 -
What about all those contradictions?

  1. “How can you believe a Bible that is full of contradictions?” What does this question assume?
  2. What constitutes a contradiction? What is the law of non-contradiction?
  3. What is important to remember when facing possible contradictions?
  4. “Matthew relates how two blind men met Jesus, while both Mark and Luke mention only one.” Is this a contradiction?
  5. What is the supposed contradiction in the account of the death of Sisera in the Book of Judges?
  6. What is the reason why two passages can sometimes appear contradictory?
  7. What was the supposed contradiction in the story of Paul’s conversion in the Damascus road in Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9? How does Greek scholar W. F. Arndt refute this supposed contradiction?
  8. “Doesn’t Matthew make a mistake by attributing a prophecy to Jeremiah when it actually was given by Zechariah?”
  9. How do Dr. J. E. Rosscup of Talbot Seminary and John N. Cool explain this supposed error by Matthew?
  10. “How would you explain the inaccuracy between Judas ‘went away and hanged himself’ in Matthew 27:5 and ‘falling headlong, he burst open’ in Acts 1:18?”
  11. “How could Jesus have remained in the tomb three days and three nights if He was crucified on Friday and rose on Sunday?”
  12. Don’t the resurrection accounts repeatedly contradict themselves?
  13. What did Sir Norman Anderson, the Director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London, say about apparent conflicts in the testimony of different witnesses?
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Chapter 14 -
Is the New Testament filled with myths?

  1. Did the early Christians turn a human Jesus into a supernatural figure by borrowing supernatural elements from the mystery religions?
  2. What was the taurobolium? What are several reasons why the taurobolium cannot be the source for any Christian doctrine or practice?
  3. Did the early Christians copy their rite of baptism from pagan religions around them?
  4. What was the resurrection story in the early Egyptian cult of Isis and Osiris? How is the resurrection story of Jesus different from this Egyptian myth?
  5. “Others also have claimed that the concept of rebirth is central to the mystery religions and that Christianity depended on them for its doctrine of the new birth.” Explain and refute.
  6. What are the six differences between the deaths of the so-called savior-gods and that of Jesus, according to Nash?
  7. What are the fallacies of Linking Christianity with mystery religions?
  8. What do Acts 14:11-13 say about the refusal of the early Christians to borrow from the mystery religions?
  9. What is the fallacy of combinationalism or universalism?
  10. What is the fallacy of “coloring the evidence”?
  11. What is the fallacy of oversimplification?
  12. What is the fallacy of “Who’s Influencing Whom?”
  13. What does Walter Kunneth, professor of systematic theology at Erlangen University in Germany, state concerning the exclusiveness of the gospel?
  14. What did Adolf von Harnack, the most influential German church historian and theologian of his day, say about rejecting comparative mythology?
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Chapter 17 -
Was Jesus born of a virgin?

  1. What are several reasons why the virgin birth was a necessity? What was the prophecy in Jeremiah 22:28-30 about King Jeconiah?
  2. “A common objection to the virgin birth is that it is a biological impossibility, acceptable only because of people’s ignorance of these things.” How did C.S. Lewis answer this objection?
  3. Could the story of virgin birth have been borrowed from Greek or Babylonian mythology?
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Chapter 18 -
The historicity of Jesus

  1. What did Journalist Louis Cassels write in 1973 about books trying to debunk Jesus?
  2. “What collateral proof is there in existence of the historical fact of the life of Jesus Christ? Why aren’t there more nonbiblical historical accounts of the resurrection of Christ?”
  3. Why didn’t Pontius Pilate report to Rome about Christ?
  4. What did Justin Martyr, writing in approximately A.D. 150, inform emperor Antoninus Pius about the fulfillment of Psalm 22:16?
  5. “How much nonbiblical material on any subject actually survived from the first century?”
  6. What common device did a writer of antiquity do to discredit someone?
  7. ‘“If the biblical description of Jesus’ activities is accurate, wouldn’t Jesus have attracted sufficient attention to be mentioned in first century writings?”
  8. “Is absence of evidence evidence of absence?”
  9. What did ancient secular writers like Cornelius Tacitus (born A.D. 52-54), Lucian of Samosata, Flavius Josephus (born A.D. 37), Suetonius (A.D.120), Plinius Secundus, Pliny The Younger, Thallus, the Samaritan-born historian, Phlegon, a first-century historian, say about Christ or the Christians?
  10. What does the rabbinic literature ay about Christ or the Christians?
  11. How does “The Jewishness of Jesus” prove his historicity?
  12. What examples does David Biven, the director of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Studies, give which illustrate the deep Jewish roots of Jesus’ learning and teaching styles?
  13. How was Jesus different from the rabbis who preceded Him?
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Chapter 20 -
The resurrection of Jesus

  1. “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon people, or it is the most important fact of history.” Explain.
  2. What are the positive historical, literary and legal testimony supporting the validity of the resurrection? How did scholars like Professor Thomas Arnold, B.F. Wescott, Dr. Paul L. Maier, Lord Caldecote (Lord Chief Justice of England), Dr. Simon Greenleaf (Royall Professor of Law at Harvard University), lawyer Dr. Frank Morrison, say about the resurrection of Jesus?
  3. What were the prophecies about the resurrection?
  4. “The resurrection of Jesus Christ and Christianity stand or fall together.” Explain.
  5. Why is “historical/biblical Christian faith an intelligent faith”?
  6. What does the word “tekmerion” used in Acts 1:3 by Luke mean?
  7. What were these “security precautions” all about: The Trial; Death by Crucifixion; Solid Rock Tomb; Jewish Burial; Very Large Stone; Roman Security; and Roman Seal?
  8. What are these seven facts to be reckoned with regards the resurrection: Broken Roman Seal; The Empty Tomb; Large Stone Moved; Roman Guard Goes AWOL; Grave clothes Tell a Tale; Appearances of Christ Confirmed; Women Saw Him First?
  9. What is an important principle to remember when studying an event in history?
  10. What does Dr. Ewin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, say about Paul’s statement to the Corinthians that there were five hundred witnesses of Christ’s resurrection still alive?
  11. What did Professor Merrill C. Tenney of Wheaton College say about the variety of locations and people involved in Jesus’ appearances?
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Chapter 21 -
The Trilemma: Lord, Liar or Lunatic?

  1. What did C. S. Lewis, who was a professor at Cambridge University and once an agnostic, say about the foolishness of saying that Jesus was simply a great moral teacher?
  2. If Jesus’ claim to be God was false, what are the two alternatives?
  3. What did William Lecky, one of Great Britain’s most noted historians and a dedicated opponent of organized Christianity, and historian Philip Schaff write about the impact and influence of Christ on men and women down the centuries?
  4. Was Jesus a lunatic? What did Clark H. Pinnock, psychiatrist J. T. Fisher, C.S. Lewis and Philip Schaff say about this view?
For further explanation of the trilemma diagram, please read the books “Evidence That Demands A Verdict” (chapter 7) and “More Than a Carpenter” (chapter 2) by Josh McDowell.

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Chapter 22 -
Is Jesus both Messiah and God?

  1. Did Jesus Think He Was Messiah?
  2. Was Jesus the Messiah?
  3. Did Jesus Really Believe He Was God?
  4. Was Jesus the God He Thought He Was?
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Chapter 40 -
Questions About God

  1. How do you know God exists?
  2. Is God different in the Old and New testaments?
  3. Isn’t there more than one way to God?
  4. Is belief in the Trinity belief in three Gods?
  5. Why does a good God allow evil to exist?
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Chapter 41 -
Questions About Faith and Reason

  1. What about all the hypocrites in the church?
  2. What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
  3. Isn’t it enough just to be sincere?
  4. Is Christianity merely a psychological crutch?
  5. I'm a good person; won’t God accept me?
  6. Can you prove Christianity scientifically?
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Chapter 42 -
Is the Christian experience just a delusion?

  1. What is the objective reality or basis for my subjective experience-a changed life?
  2. How many others have had this same subjective experience from being related to the objective reality, Jesus Christ?
  3. What did E. Y. Mullins write about Christianity being a delusion?
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Chapter 43 -
Did you hear what happened to Saul?

  1. In what four ways was Paul’s life affected by his Damascus road experience?
  2. What was Paul’s offense with the Christian message according to Jacques Dupont?

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