Perhaps the best-known maxim of the Greek philosopher Socrates is “Know Thyself.” From a biblical perspective, the knowledge of oneself is vital, not because man is the measure of all things and knowledge begins with him, but because we can never understand our need for the grace of God through Jesus Christ unless we have an accurate understanding of where we came from, who we are, and what we really need.
The fifth course in the adult Sunday School doctrinal series is on the Doctrine of Man. We start with the issue of creation itself, for man exists in the context of God’s world, over which He is sovereign. This includes a lesson on the nature and work of angels, because the univese in which we exist is not solely material, but is surrounded by a universe of spirit beings created by God and either doing His bidding or at war with Him. We then move on to man in particular, looking at his nature, how he fits into the larger framework of creation, and the ways in which he is unique in that framework. Finally, we look at the doctrine of sin, including man’s fall, the nature of sin, and the universality of sin – original sin and total depravity. Our knowledge of ourselves is essential if we are to appreciate our need for salvation and our inability to obtain it through our own effort, which will be the subject of the sixth doctrine course.