This coming week I’ll be attending a doctoral colloquium at the Zinzendorf School of Doctoral Studies, Olivet University, San Francisco. I’m very greatful for the scholarship that is making it possible for me to persue doctoral work that will eventually benefit the church in Tanzania.
R.C. Sproul: Every Christian is a theologian. We are always engaged in the activity of learning about the things of God. We are not all theologians in the professional sense, academic sense, but theologians we are, for better or worse. The ‘for worse’ is no small matter. Second Peter warns that heresies are destructive to the people of God and are blasphemies committed against God. They are destructive because theology touches every dimension of our lives. The Bible declares that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…Those ideas that do grasp us in our innermost parts, are the ideas that shape our lives. We are what we think. When our thoughts are corrupted, our lives follow suit. All know that people can recite the creeds flawlessly and make A’s in theology courses while living godless lives. We can affirm a sound theology and live an unsound life. Sound theology is not enough to live a godly life.
Justin Childers: The Greatest Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:28-31). One of the ways we can love God with all our minds is to study God (theology = the study of God). Why should we study theology? 1. We want to know God better. 2. We want to glorify and worship God to the best of our ability. 3. We want to be a faithful witness of God and His ways. 4. We want to promote unity and purity in the church. 5. We want to correct our wrong and erroneous beliefs. 6. We want to be mature and stable Christians who remain steadfast to the end. So, with what attitude should we study God? 1. We should study God sticking closely to the Bible. 2. We should study God with prayer. 3. We should study God with humility. 4. We should study God in community with one another. 5. We should study God with faith and confidence. 6. We should
From Joe Thorn’s interview with Ray Ortlund: What advice would you give to the average Christian who loves Jesus and the church, but needs to grow theologically? Here’s one way to jump in. Pull some friends together, everybody buy a copy of Driscoll and Breshears’ Doctrine, and work through it together. Check out the small group suggestions on pages 437-450. Read it slowly. Embrace the difficulty. Look up every word you don’t understand. Mark up your copy with questions and highlights. Get mad if you have to. But pray to God for clarity, and he’ll give it. As you read, keep checking it against the Bible, examine what your friends say too, and don’t let go until you really know what you believe. You will never be the same again. (HT: Justin Taylor)
In order to understand the Bible, one must read it. One must read it like any other book. That is not to say that the Bible is only another book, but that the Bible is a book and should be read the way all books are read. The biblical authors expected their books to be read and understood in that way. They used the language and literary forms common in their day. Their books make sense and reward the patient reader with genuine understanding and insight. The meaning of the Bible is straightforward and unmysterious. Many miracles are recorded in the Bible, but what is most remarkable about the Bible is the Bible itself. In it God speaks through the miracle of human language. Through language, modern readers can understand the thoughts of biblical authors who lived thousands of years ago in a culture very different from our own. – John Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch (HT: Justin Buzzard)
“Jesus condemns neither minuteness of study nor the exercise of reason. His condemnation comes when the wickedness of men so perverts their reason or their methods of study that they become blind to the inner principles of the divine revelation. . . . He demands more thought, not less; but it must be thought conducted in a humble and teachable spirit directed by God himself.” John W. Wenham, Christ and the Bible (Grand Rapids, 1984), page 18. (HT: Ray Ortlund)