This study is the result of a compilation of study notes and handouts used in Hebrew Testament Bible Study Classes that I conducted in the Church and at a maximum security correctional facility in New York State, and from discussions on the internet.
The correctional facility class, which averaged nearly seventy students per class, and ran for nearly six years, was the most enthusiastic group of Bible students I have encountered in my ministry. Almost every student participated, and they asked some of the most challenging and in-depth theological questions one could imagine coming from a lay congregation.
This class was ethnically mixed, being about one third each Black, White and Hispanic. We had Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and several Protestant denominations represented. And at times, we were even joined by Moslem and Jewish students. We focused upon our commonality in and before God. Ethnic and denominational differences disappeared. They and others inspired me and this work, and to them it is dedicated.
This work is presented to help the Bible student expand his or her thinking process in their study of God's Word. We so often find ourselves putting God "in a box", the size of which is the limit of our mind, or the limits we place within our mind. This limitation includes our unwillingness to accept the fact that the God who created the heavens and the earth could be greater than the "box" we have envisioned. The hope of the writer is that we will remove all such limiting factors, and truly allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten us about God's meaning of His Word and the ways in which we are to apply it to our lives; for if we cannot become living examples of God's Word in our daily lives, the Word is of little or no value to us.
The Time of Corruption is depicted in chapters three through nine of the Book of Genesis, and more specifically from 3:1 - 9:29.
In our study of The Time of Creation, we mentioned that it is extremely important for the student of the Bible to be very familiar with those two chapters, as well as the next seven chapters, those before us in this study, for they are absolutely vital in correctly understanding the remaining 1,178 chapters of the Bible. If students accept what is written in this portion of Scripture (not necessarily what is being presented in this text, for The Bible is the final authority), they will have much less difficulty in understanding the rest of the Hebrew (Old) Testament as well as the New Testament.
In this work, we will try to come a little closer to understanding God's intent, and not necessarily humankind's. We will do this by seeking the Hebrew writers' understanding as presented elsewhere in the Bible, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit. We will also look at how Jesus and the apostles showed us to apply the Word. Some of the specific questions we will seek to answer are:
What is the nature of good and evil?
What is the nature of sin?
Did God create both good and evil?
What is free will?
Since God destroyed the evil people in the Flood, why does sin still exist today?
What can we do to overcome sin and restore this world to the peaceable kingdom God created it to be?
We will do our utmost to avoid denominational doctrinal issues which do more to separate us, as believers in Jesus Christ, than to bring us together. We may discuss some of these doctrinal differences when they affect our understanding, but we will let the Word sort out the differences. By the time we all (hopefully) get to Heaven, most of us will find that we had several misunderstandings while on earth; but in the meantime, let's concentrate on the many more things we have in common. Allow the Holy Spirit to give us true discernment and understanding, and the wisdom to apply it.
It is also important for us to read our Bibles every day, and in such a way that we will read the entire Bible in one year; for without such a Scriptural background by which to discern the truth, we may not be able to distinguish between a message from the Holy Spirit, and that of an unholy spirit, or even of our own vain imaginings.
In presenting any work of this sort, material and information is borrowed and compiled from many sources, and every effort has been made to give appropriate credit to that work. All Scripture text, unless otherwise indicated, is from the New American Standard Version. General reference texts are listed in the Bibliography.
I pray that the reader will enjoy this work as much as I did preparing it.
In the love of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Frank L. Hoffman