Tag Archives: how-to

Check Yourself: Testing Your Theology

Everyone is a theologian. No one is a theological blank slate. Since theology is the study of God (the process—doing theology) and expressing those thoughts (the product—theology proper), even an atheist who says “there is no God” is making a theological statement. Christians have the duty of being healthy theologians (Matthew 22:37; Romans 12:2; John 4:23-24).

An earlier post pointed out that understanding your theology is an important aspect of interpreting the Bible. And as you interpret the Bible you inform your theology. So, what can we do to test our theology? Dr. David Mappes offers the following system for validating your theology[1].

“A model for theological method is necessary since the Scripture is progressively revealed and no one topic is fully addressed by any one author. Any valid theological model must be minimally measured by the following components:

Canonical: Is first priority and authority given to the canonical books of Scripture over personal experience, personal sensibilities, other writing, general revelation, speculation, etc.?[2]

Comprehensive: Is all biblical teaching on a topic examined with greater weight given to the clearest and most definitive passages, or are selective/vague passages used in a mere proof-texting manner?

Consistent hermeneutical approach: Is the … Keep Reading

A Model for How to Teach About Jesus From the Old Testament (Matthew 1-2)

In Luke 24:19-27, we see Jesus explaining the gospel. One of the things that makes this passage interesting is that he teaches about himself from the Old Testament:

And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it

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Help for the “I’d Like to Read This Commentary, but I Don’t Understand Some of the Technical Terms it Uses” Problem

When studying the Bible with someone, it is often helpful consult a Bible commentary, book, or essay that is intended for an academic audience or that uses technical language. The advantage to using theological terms—and this is exactly why writers use them—is that they efficiently convey an idea with precision. Instead of saying “reading a meaning into a text that is not present or intended in the text,” a writer can simply refer to that idea by using the word eisegesis. Once you know what the terms mean, it actually makes for easier reading.

The problem is that such words are rarely used by your average layperson. All those unfamiliar words can make what should be a help (commentaries, books, and articles) become a barrier to understanding. However, the answer is not to abandon the rich help of commentaries and the like. Instead of throwing your commentaries in the trash, there are a couple of resources that can help you make sense of those theological terms and make the most out of your study aides.

Stark’s Glossary of Theological Terms

Stark’s Glossary of Theological Terms would be my first recommendation for anyone trying to familiarize themselves with the Keep Reading

The Author Determines the Meaning: Now, What Do I Do About It?

The previous post describes why we should not just read the Bible for how it makes us feel or “what it says to me.” If that is true, how should I read the Bible, what do I do about it?

Commit to an Author-Determined Approach to Meaning

We do not read the Bible to see a reflection of ourselves in the text; we read the Bible as a window through which we discover God’s truth about the universe, ourselves, and Him. “[When reading the Bible] the goal is to arrive at the creative intention of the original author contained in the words of the text…the meaning of the text is what the author consciously intended to say by his text. Thus, the meaning of Romans is what Paul intended to communicate to his readers in Rome when he wrote his letter.”[1]

Who is the Author of the Bible?  God is the ultimate author; and He appointed human authors.

God inspired a variety of human authors over a period of approximately 1500 years who wrote as thinking, feeling human beings to convey His message. God superintended over the process so that as the human author expressed God’s inspiration in their Keep Reading

One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part IV: Advice Specifically for Churches and Organizations to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry

This article provides additional guidance specifically for churches that want to start a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship ministry. Unlike other articles in the one-to-one Bible reading guide series, what follows focuses on practical, organizational steps a church can take to start a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship team.

To see the theological basis for one-to-one Bible reading discipleship, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part I

To see how to start a one-to-one Bible reading meeting, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part II

To see some resources to use in a one-to-one Bible reading meeting and a model meeting schedule, see One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part III.

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part III: Resources for a Successful One-to-One Bible Reading Ministry and How to Structure a One-to-One Meeting

This article will cover resource strategy and resource lists that are helpful for one-to-one Bible reading ministry. If you have not yet, I recommend reading Part I: What is One-to-One Bible Reading and Why Commit to this Particular Method? and Part II: How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry from this One-to-One Bible Reading series.

Strategy: Read Books of the Bible in Context.

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part II: How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry

This article explains how to start a one-to-one Bible reading meeting, how to prepare for the meeting, and some other helpful tips for success. If you have not read Part I of this One-to-One Bible Reading series, you can read that here.

Step 1: Pray

“Prayer is addressing God, in words, where you are communicating your heart and desire; knowing all the while that He orchestrates all things from the greatest to the smallest. He exists, is personal, and changes lives — he uses prayer in a secondary cause sort of way where He changes things.” —David Helm, OnetoOne course at Covenant Life Church

The first step in this personal ministry of the Word is prayer. I recommend praying for the following:

  • that God would accomplish His work in His people (and all people) through His Word and that He would use your effort to grow His Kingdom
  • for God to give you a desire to help followers of Jesus grow
  • to identify specific people with whom you might read the Bible
  • that God would give you confidence and boldness to get started

Step 2: Invite

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One-to-One Bible Reading Guide, Part I: What is One-to-One Bible Reading and Why Commit to this Particular Method?

Before spending time on the practical and tactical details of starting a one-to-one Bible reading ministry, it is important to establish the principles and convictions that motivate us to the particular method of one-to-one Bible reading. Before talking about the how of one-to-one Bible reading, we need to discuss the what and the why.

What Would a One-to-One Bible Reading Ministry Look Like?

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How to Start a One-to-One Bible Reading Discipleship Ministry in Your Church or as an Individual

What is a one-to-one Bible reading discipleship ministry anyway? David Helm summarizes it like this:

“Can you think of people in your life that you would like to see progress spiritually—perhaps a non-Christian colleague, or a Christian friend at church, or a family member? What holds them back? Is there a way to help them understand more of God in a way that is simple and personal, and that doesn’t rely on getting them to a church program or event.

All this is possible through one-to-one Bible reading.

But, what is one-to-one Bible reading? To put it succinctly, it is a variation on that most central Christian activity—reading the Bible—but done in the context of reading with someone. It is something a Christian does with another person, on a regular basis, for a mutually agreed upon length of time, with the intention of reading through and discussing a book or part of a book of the Bible. It is effective for evangelism. It is useful for discipleship. It is even helpful for training.”

I am convinced that the Bible teaches two things: First, every Christian should be engaged in personal ministry (Ephesians 4:12). Second, God changes people through … Keep Reading

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