Today, far too many people are waiting for a voice from heaven or looking to the sky for some cloud-formed message or listening late at night for the whisper of God. God doesn’t usually speak to us in those ways. He talks to us His Word. His message to us today is this: “Read My Word. It’s all there.”
Archives For Bibliology
We as followers of Christ need to cultivate skills for handling the Word of God responsibly and accurately. The Bible is not a code book reserved for the most advanced scholars. It doesn’t contain secret messages hidden on the page. God’s Word was written for ordinary people-like you and me-to help us understand He will and walk in his ways.
When you begin to treasure God’s Word in your heart, you will find that light penetrates the darkness of your surroundings. You will be given a shield against the dangers around you as a result of the memorized Word. God’s Word sealed on your lips will rescue you from despair. Memorizing Scripture will turn discouragement into encouragement. As you hear, read, and study God’s Word, there are certain verses you’ll want to memorize. I’ve known people who had hundreds of verses of Scripture memorized. Without exception, when I ask, “How did you do that?” they answer, “One verse at a time.” First you read the verse repeatedly. You may choose to write it on a card and then take that card with you. You can put it next to your computer screen or on the visor of your car. You can post it on the refrigerator in your kitchen or by the sink so you can memorize while you do dishes.
A Bible that’s doing its job becomes well worn and well marked. Its pages begin to fray, just like a favorite family cookbook. The more we study God’s Word, the better acquainted with it become. And once we’ve learned how to dig into it ourselves, we will be able to teach others how to do the same.
The study of God’s Word is for everyone. While there is a specific role for the pastor-teacher, God doesn’t limit the explanation of His Word to certain specialists. Rather, God’s Word is to be learned, applied, obeyed, and passed on and on and on. Everyday people, including parents who teach their kids, are all part of His plan. Searching the Scriptures isn’t restricted to any specialized group-the Scriptures are accessible to anyone and everyone.
Early in 2017 I was preparing to request a ministry license through the Evangelical Free Church of America (also known as E.V.Free or EFCA). Part of the process is writing a twenty page paper that needed to be read by a group of pastors. The paper had a question guide that told me what topics to write about. One of those questions said, “Describe what the Illumination of the Holy Spirit is and why it’s important.” Well, after a Bachelor’s degree from a Bible college and a Master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, I was not sure what the “illumination of the Holy Spirit” was. Thus, my studies began!
The doctrine of “illumination” can be applied and focused to different areas of theology. A quick look at the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology says there are four definitions of illumination: “(1) A general enlightening that Christ brings to all men especially through the gospel (John 1:9; 2 Tim 1:10); (2) the enlightening experience of salvation (Heb 6:4; 10:32); (3) the understanding of Christian truth (Eph 1:18); and (4) the searching character of future judgment (1 Cor 4:5)” (Ryrie, “Illuminiation” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 590-591). This blog post will focus on the third definition: the understanding of Christian truth.
If you are reading this post and you are a Christian, you have already participated in and benefited from the illumination of the Holy Spirit. But, in this post I hope to show you what it is and why it is important.
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Bibliology: The Illumination of the Holy Spirit
I. UNBELIEVERS ARE DECEIVED
Before looking at how the Holy Spirit illuminates believers, it is first important to see the state of people before they become Christians.
A. Satan Has Blinded Unbelievers Continue Reading…
The Bible is the book Christians live by and follow. It provides guidance about how to live a Godly life in a fallen and corrupt world.
I’ve found the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy to be powerful about the role of the Bible in the lives of Christians. It reads,
“We affirm that the holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God. We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the church, tradition, or any other human source.” ~ The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Article I.
With that said, let’s take a look at the Bible as the ultimate authority for Christians.
Photo Credit: Ben Onken
Bibliology: The Bible as the Ultimate Authority
I. WHY THE BIBLE IS AUTHORITATIVE AND ACCURATE
I’m not sure about you, but I like to be sure of something before I use it and follow it. When purchasing things I like to research online what is best, ask friends for their feedback, and then make sure I am getting a good product. Anyone who becomes a Christian or is wrestling with the Christian faith should study the Bible and ask, “Why is the Bible authoritative and accurate?” Here are four reasons that I believe the Bible is authoritative and accurate.
A. It’s Breathed out by God
The first reason the Bible is authoritative and accurate is because the Bible contains the words of God. Paul tells us about this in his second letter to Timothy. Continue Reading…
I remember sitting down with the man discipling me near the window at Starbucks. Every month I would bring him questions and we would talk through them together. This month I was curious about the Bible. The question I asked him was, “How did the Bible come to be put together?” I think I jokingly said, “Was there an explosion in a paper factory, and the Bible got put together in that explosion? How did it happen?” I did not realize it, but I was asking about what I now know is the Canon.
With that story, let’s take a look at the methodical and God-directed way that the Bible was compiled. The process I am broadly describing is called “canonization” or “the canon of Scripture.” What does the word “canon” mean? The word has Hebrew and Greek backgrounds. In Hebrew the word is קָנֶה (canew) which literally means “rod” for measuring (that “rod” used for measuring came from a reed-type plant). The rod was used as a rule or standard against which things were measured. Two examples of this use are in Ezekiel:
“As he brought me nearer, I saw a man whose face shone like bronze standing beside a gateway entrance. He was holding in his hand a linen measuring cord and a measuring rod.” (Ezekiel 40:3, NLT, emphasis added)
“He measured the east side with his measuring rod, and it was 875 feet long. Then he measured the north side, and it was also 875 feet. The south side was also 875 feet, and the west side was also 875 feet.” (Ezekiel 42:16–19, NLT, emphasis added)
In the New Testament the word is κανων (canon). Two examples of this use are in Paul’s letters to the Galatians and Philippians:
“And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16, ESV, emphasis added)
“however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.” (Philippians 3:16, NASB95, emphasis added)
First, I want to show you when the New and Old Testaments were completed. Then, we will look at when those Testaments were recognized as Scripture. Next, I want you to know the exact criteria that were used when recognizing what made New Testament Scripture. Lastly, we will take a brief look at the books that made it into the Bible.
The Canon of Scripture
I. SCRIPTURE COMPLETION DATE
A. Old Testament (435 B.C.)
The last books of the Old Testament to be written were likely Nehemiah and Malachi. Most scholars say Malachi was written somewhere between 433-420 B.C. near the reign of the Persian King Artaxerxes II (Smith, Interpreting the Prophetic Books, 94; Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament: Prophetic Books, 407-408). Continue Reading…
In the last couple hundred years I am not sure if any doctrine of Scripture has come under more attacks from secular society than the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. Non-Christians have questioned the authenticity of God’s Word and many have been vocal and hostile about it.
Why make such a fuss about inspiration and inerrancy? Charles Ryrie writes, “The doctrine of inspiration is not something theologians have forced on the Bible. Rather it is a teaching of the Bible itself, a conclusion derived from the data contained in it. And whatever one may think of the Bible, it, like any other witness, has the right to testify on its own behalf” (Ryrie, Basic Theology, 76)
With that said, let’s look at the doctrines of inspiration and inerrancy. Some books separate these two topics, but for the sake of simplicity I have combined them.
Photo Credit: Justin Lowery