Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The B-I-B-L-E... "BIBLE!"

It's Theology Tuesday!  If you've been following, you know I'm completing open-book essays for NANC Certification and am sharing them, one at a time, on Tuesdays.
There are five essays on Bibliology, and this is number 3.  (Read number one and number two.)  These are my first drafts and I welcome any feedback!  We don't turn them in until all 22 Theology Essays and all 28 Counseling essays are complete.

In looking over today's essay, I was reminded of the loudest song preschoolers sing in Sunday School: The B-I-B-L-E.  It's their only opportunity to yell as loud as they can in church.  Even my 1 year old, when we sing it at home, will jump up and shout "BIBLE!" at the end.  It's precious!  I hope you are inspired today as we consider God's Word.

3.  What is the Bible’s authority on theological controversies?

One of the first arguments you will hear come up in a conversation with unbelievers about the Bible is that it can’t be believed.  “The Bible is full of contradictions.”  They look at all of the different denominations and claim that Christians can’t even figure it out, so how can anyone possibly take it seriously?  Or, perhaps they read a book or saw a movie that changed the way they viewed the Bible’s interpretation.  Culture is always trying to reinterpret the Christian faith based on new ideas or hidden secrets.

But what is Theology to begin with?  Quite simply, theology is the study of God.  As followers of Christ, we believe the Bible is the authority on the definition of God and who He is.  When controversies arise, then, as to the nature of God and His plan for mankind, the only place to go for answers is in His word.

God makes this abundantly clear.  He says numerous times that His word is perfect, adequate, right, pure, living, active, and true (Ps 19:7-11; 2 Tim 3:15-17; Heb 4:12).  God’s testimony is greater than man’s, and what did God use to affirm truth concerning His son?  He used the scriptures, declaring that they clearly testify about Him (I Jn 5:9, Lk 24:27, John 5:39).  God’s word is actually the revelation of Jesus Christ Himself! (Jn 1:14)

God’s divine power has given us His word, and Peter says that  it contains everything we need for life and godliness.  Everything!  (I Pet 1:3-4)  Then, when reading His word, if a controversy arises, the only place to turn to for answers is... His Word.  God is not the author of confusion.  No, He is a God of order and peace (Jer 29:11, I Cor 14:33).  With careful study, believers can come to solid conclusions as to God’s plan for the creation that He loves.

It is always possible, however, for the “ignorant and unstable” to twist the Scriptures to their own destruction because some parts are hard to understand (II Pet 3:16).  Therefore, it is important to have a good understand of the Bible as a whole when studying it, not taking passages out of context.  

It might be easy to say, “That is something the pastors should worry about, not me.”  However, we have been commanded to have personal responsibility in this matter.  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”  (II  Tim 2:15)  We are also encouraged to examine the Scriptures for ourselves to see if the things we are being taught are correct (Acts 17:11).

The study of theology, then, begins with the understanding that His word is truth and totally sufficient for matters of life and godliness.  Every idea that is then formed will not depend on men’s new thoughts, traditions, or testimonies, but on the full counsel of scripture that has been breathed out by God, the divine author.  We are to avoid “worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called knowledge” and guard the truth that has been entrusted to us - as given in the Bible. (I Tim 6:20)

West Main Baptist Church.  “Theological controversies” May 19th, 2009.  9/28/10.      http://westmainbaptist.com/broben/theological-controversies
Sauder, Kevin.  “Foundational Positions”  9/28/10 
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pages 21-37

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