Tag Archives: theology

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

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

How Should We Define the “Gospel” when Sharing our Faith?

Some might see this title and say that it doesn’t matter how you define the gospel so long as the person sharing the gospel encourages the hearer to “believe Jesus.” That claim has a good motive; it expresses a desire to not over-think the conversation or burden it with many words. It is possible to over-complicate an explanation of the gospel and do harm. But a claim that “believe Jesus” expresses the essentials of saving faith is also dysfunctional. We can do harm by over-simplifying the gospel message to the point that it is no longer the gospel at all. Defining what constitutes the gospel message is a faithful task that honors God and demonstrates love for our neighbor. What is necessary to understand the gospel? What are the essentials of saving faith?… Keep Reading

Personal Study Observations: Old Testament Prophecy About Jesus

Some Old Testament prophecies concerning the Christ describe his first coming—the incarnation—while others deal with his triumphant return in the Second Coming.  At times, Old Testament prophecies will deal with the former, the latter, or a combination of both in the same passage.  So, now when we read the Bible, it will serve us well to ask ourselves this question when reading Old Testament prophecy about Christ: “Is it speaking of the first coming and events which have been fulfilled, or is it speaking of the second coming, for which we await fulfillment in his return?”

 

For an example of a prophecy about the atoning work of Jesus, which has been fulfilled:

By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:8-9 ESV)

 

For an example of a prophecy that is awaiting fulfillment in the second coming:

Then the LORD will

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Can We Just Leave Theology Alone?

This web site will focus on sharing ministry resources, presenting discipleship methods and discussing biblical Christianity and issues of impact. With that pursuit in view, including theology and theological terms is unavoidable. I happen to enjoy theology and the discussion and thought efficiencies that a shared theological lexicon affords. However, there are two errors we can reach in regard to theology.

 

Error #1: “Can’t we just focus on the things that matter?”

I get it, theology is not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m sure we have all heard–or even said yourself–someone say something like, “I don’t want to waste my time with all the beard-stroking theological talk; I just want to think about what is practical and know how I should live.” Inherent in that comment is the assumption that theology is just a knowledge set for academics that has no bearing in real life. In reality, however, questions like like Who is God and how does He deal with humanity?, How should I live?, and What are the things that really matter in my lifeare all theological questions at their core. God’s revealed word, the Bible, is the only sufficient means we have … Keep Reading

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