The Christian Bible Reference Site

What Does the Bible Say About God?

Frequently Asked Questions

Background

In ancient times, most people were pagans who worshiped multiple gods and goddesses. But around 1800 B.C., God revealed Himself to a man named Abram, who was later known as Abraham. God promised Abraham that He would make two great nations of his descendants (Genesis 12:1-3, 17:20-22, 22:15-18).

Those two great nations are the Jews (also known as Hebrews or Israelites) and the Arabs. The Muslim Arabs trace their lineage to Abraham through his son Ishmael (Genesis 25:12-18). The Jews trace their lineage to Abraham through his son Isaac and Isaac's son Jacob, also known as Israel. The twelve tribes of Israel descended from Jacob's twelve sons (Genesis 35:22-26).

Jesus and His disciples were all Jews, and Christianity began as a small sect of Jesus' followers within Judaism. So Christians trace their spiritual heritage to Abraham through the Jewish origins of their faith.

The three major monotheistic religions of the world, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, all worship the same God who revealed Himself to Abraham. God is known by many different names around the world. He is Dios in Spanish, Dieu in French, Gott in German, YHWH in Hebrew and Allah in Arabic.

Bible Teachings About God

There Is Only One True God, and We Must Worship Only Him

Shortly after Moses led the Hebrews out of captivity in Egypt, God gave them the Ten Commandments as a guide for living as a free and holy people. The First of the Ten Commandments says,

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them... (NRSV, Exodus 20:2-5)

One day, a religious leader asked Jesus which of the commandments was most important:

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'" (NIV, Mark 12:28-30)

The Hebrews of Old Testament times tended to lapse into worship of pagan deities and statues of animals or other objects, but anything that takes the place of our devotion to God becomes an idol or false god. Jesus particularly singled out love of wealth as a false god (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13), and other Bible passages mention greed, covetousness, arrogance, gluttony and pride (conceit) as being equivalent to idolatry.

In today's world, many things compete against God for our devotion. These are some of the things that can become modern-day idolatry if we let them become more important to us than God and His commandments:

Related Bible references: Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Matthew 22:34-40, Luke 10:25-28, Acts 14:11-15, 1 Corinthians 10:14, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:5, Colossians 3:5, Philippians 3:18-19, 1 Timothy 6:6-11, 6:17-20, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Hebrews 13:5

God Is All-powerful, All-knowing and Eternal

The Existence of God

The eternal existence of God is taken as a matter of fact in the Bible (Genesis 21:33, 1 Chronicles 16:36, Psalms 9:7, Romans 1:20, Revelation 4:8-9). The Bible never attempts to prove, argue or analyze the existence of God.

Many people ask for proof that God is real, but it is a matter of faith; there is no proof that will convince someone who does not want to believe. However, after a person makes a conscious decision for faith, a gradual change of attitudes and a new sense of peace and security often confirm that it was the correct decision.

There is more information in our article, "What Does the Bible Say About Faith?"

Why Has God Done Things as He Has?

We cannot fully understand God with our limited human intellects, and almost everyone wonders why God has done things as He has. However, there are almost never any answers in the Bible. The Bible tells us the things we need to know to live holy and moral lives, but it does not attempt to explain or justify God's actions. We are reminded that God's intelligence and wisdom are far above our own human capabilities:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NRSV, Isaiah 55:8-9)

Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (NLT, 1 Corinthians 13:12)

There is more information in our article, "Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering?"

Related Bible references: Genesis 17:1, Exodus 6:3, Psalms 90:2, 139:1-7, Proverbs 5:21, Jeremiah 23:23, Deuteronomy 33:27, Revelation 4:8-10

God Is the Creator

God is the creator of the universe and everything within (Psalms 33:6-9, Acts 14:15, Revelation 4:11), including mankind (Genesis 1:26-27, 5:1-2, Mark 10:5-6).

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NIV, Genesis 1:1)

Related Bible references: Genesis 1:1-31, 2:1-7, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalms 24:1-2, 102:25 ,Isaiah 43:1, 45:12, Acts 17:24-26, Romans 1:20

God Is a Spiritual Being

We cannot see or touch God, but we can see God's work in the wonders of the universe. We can sense His presence when we pray humbly and sincerely. We can learn about God from the Bible and from the example of His Son Jesus.

No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known. (NRSV, John 1:18)

Related Bible references: Exodus 33:20, John 4:24, Romans 1:20, 1 Timothy 1:17, 1 John 4:12

God Is Loving, Compassionate, Merciful, Patient and Forgiving

God loves all people of the world and desires that they live in harmony with Him and with each other (Psalms 42:8, 103:13, Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 15:3-7, John 3:16-17, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-6, Galatians 3:28-29, 1 John 4:8-10).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV, John 3:16)

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. (NRSV, 1 John 4:16)

Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these." (NLT, Mark 12:29-31)

Because God loves us, He is patient with us and treats us with compassion and mercy (Exodus 34:6, Luke 13:6-9, Romans 15:5-6, 2 Peter 3:9)

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (NRSV, Psalms 86:5)

Because the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon you nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them. (NRSV, Deuteronomy 4:31)

God is always willing to forgive our sins and give us another chance if we sincerely repent and forgive other people (Matthew 6:14-15, 18:12-14, Luke 5:31-32, 13:3-5, Acts 3:19, 13:38, Hebrews 10:17).

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (NRSV, Luke 15:7)

There is more information in our article, "What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness of Sins?"

Related Bible references: Exodus 34:6-7, 2 Kings 13:23, Psalms 86:5, Matthew 4:17, 18:11-14, 26:28, Luke 10:25-37, 15:4-7, 6:36, Acts 2:38, 3:19, 17:30, Hebrews 10:17, 1 Peter 1:3-5

We Can Pray to God and He Will Answer Our Prayers

Prayer is loving communication with God. Prayer is the expression of our inner spiritual needs. Through prayer we can find strength of spirit, guidance, wisdom, joy and inner peace (Psalms 118:5-6, Psalms 138:3, Isaiah 58:9-11, Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7).

God promised to answer our prayers and give us everything we need and more (Mark 11:24, John 15:7). But prayer is not a magical trick to get anything we want or a "quick fix" for problems that we should be solving ourselves. God answers prayer requests in His own way in His own time (Psalms 40:1-3), and will not grant requests that are against His holy and wise purposes (1 John 5:14-15), are selfish in nature, are not in our best long-term interest, or those made with impure motives (Psalms 66:18, Proverbs 28:9, Isaiah 29:13, Isaiah 59:2, Hebrews 11:6, James 4:3). Often, we must be persistent in prayer (Luke 11:5-13, Luke 18:1-8).

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (NRSV, Matthew 7:7-11)

There is more information in our article, "What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?"

God Will Judge All People

God is patient and merciful, but when we die or Jesus comes again, there will be no more opportunities for repentance (Luke 16:22-26).

The Bible says that all the people who ever lived will be judged (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:25-29; Romans 14:10-12, Revelation 20:11-15). God will judge different people by different standards, depending on their knowledge of the Gospel and the wealth, gifts and abilities that have been entrusted to them (Matthew 10:14-15, 11:21-24, Luke 12:47-48, 20:45-47, 21:1-4, John 9:40-41, 15:22-24, Romans 2:12-16, 1 Corinthians 3:7-9, Galatians 6:3-5):

... From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded. (NRSV, Luke 12:48)

Eternal life with God awaits those who are judged to be righteous, but hell awaits those who are judged to be wicked.

There is more information in our articles, "What Does the Bible Say About Salvation?" and "What Does the Bible Say About Eternal Life and Resurrection of the Body?"

The Trinity

Unlike Jews and Muslims, most Christians believe God is three persons in one: God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity states the unity of these three persons in one divine Being known as the Godhead. The doctrine of the Trinity is inferred from numerous Bible passages, but it is not stated explicitly in the Bible.

There is more information in our article, "What Is the Trinity?"

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