This is the first post for our Men’s T2 group as we read through Christian Beliefs:Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know. If you haven’t read the chapter try to do so. After you read this blog post feel free to join in the discussion to promote our learning. The first chapter asks the question “What is the Bible?” and provides helpful instruction about the topic of Bibliology – the study of the Bible.
[All quotations unless otherwise indicated are from: Grudem, Wayne A. Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know. Edited by Elliot Grudem. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.]
Why start theology by studying the Bible?
It is reasonable to start our study by learning about the Bible because it is in the Bible that we learn most everything of what we know about God. That God exists and that there is a difference between right and wrong are truths known through creation (Psalm 19:1) and conscience (aka “general revelation”; Romans 1:32; Romans 2:14-15). However to know God personally requires “special revelation” only found in the Bible. Actually, everything we know about theology (aka the study of God) comes from the Bible. Therefore, before we begin to ask other theological questions such as “What is the Trinity?” or “Who is Christ?” we should be well grounded in our understanding of God’s Word. Grudem works through the study of the Bible by using four general categories: authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency.
The Bible is Authoritative
“All the words in the Bible are God’s words. Therefore, to disbelieve or disobey them is to disbelieve or disobey God himself.” This does not mean the various authors of the Bible were stripped of their personality, skills, or backgrounds when they wrote. Rather, it means that what they wrote was the very words of God. This was accomplished by God breathing out his word through the authors by means of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). Because the Bible is God’s authoritative Word we are best served by making much of the Bible. This is why we read the Bible, pray the Bible, sing the Bible, and preach the Bible at Grace Baptist Church. The Bible is the Authority. Is it yours?
The Bible is Clear
A fancy word often used to describe the clarity of Scripture is “perspicuity.” Ironic that a word intended to convey clarity is often unclear to many readers! Grudem helpfully explained the needful ministry of the Spirit of God for the Christian to grasp a proper understanding of the Scriptures. The Bible is a book like none other. It is not less than a book, but it is certainly more – it is the Words of God. Because the Bible is clear a Christian can read and understand the Bible for himself. Understanding God’s Word does not require someone else’s explanation. Certainly, God uses others to help us understand better and we gratefully enjoy the insightful teaching ministry of others. Nevertheless, every Christian who reads God’s Word can understand (or grow in his understanding) the Bible. Will you grow in your understanding and read God’s Word today?
The Bible is Necessary
I hope you were motivated to read the Bible as you learned how necessary it is for your Christian life. Do you know that your sins can be forgiven by God? Do you know that God is preparing a place for all of his children? You only know those realities and many others by reading the Scriptures. Just as food is necessary for your physical life, so, for the Christian, the Bible is necessary for your spiritual life. Basically, if you have a casual relationship with God’s Word your Christianity is casual. Is your Christianity casual? Be encouraged. The Bible is available for you to read. You can find nutriment for your spiritual life today. Will you read it today?
The Bible is Sufficient
Despite what we might often think, because the Bible is sufficient we lack nothing for our Christian life. God has given us all that we need to have godly lives (2 Peter 1:3). This doesn’t mean the Bible speaks to every circumstance possible with explicit instruction. It does mean God has given us all that we need to navigate every circumstance. We have all we need for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). Believing the Bible is sufficient makes Christians strong. Believing the Bible is not sufficient makes lazy, irresponsible Christians. Which are you? Do you ransack the Scriptures for truth to make your paths straight? Or, do you punt when life throws a curve ball and flounder around wondering what “people” say you should do? That the Bible is sufficient also protects us from making differences over secondary matters of chief importance. We should not proudly stand upon what the Bible does not clearly teach. It is true that we “should, therefore, exhibit humble hesitancy in placing more emphasis on many of these [doubtful] issues than the Bible does.”
Now, it’s your turn!
What did you learn? What questions do you have? What insight can you share that will promote our growth in God’s Word as Christians? Leave a comment…