Biblical Theology

Biblical Theology is a discipline of exegetical theology, one of the 4 that are part of what is called the “Encyclopedia of Theology” – Exegetical, Historical, Systematic, and Practical Theologies (Hagenbach).


Etymonline.com

biblical

1734, “pertaining to the Bible,” from Bible + -ical. Related: Biblically. Earlier adjective was Biblic (1680s). Related: Biblicality.


Discussion/Explanation

Biblical theology is considered by some to be the capstone of exegetical theology. However, it is not exegetical theology itself.

The reason for calling it the capstone is because it presupposes everything else within exegetical theology. To be clear, this means it is keeping in mind the Hebrew and Greek behind our modern translation, historical context, textual criticism, translation approach, the history and canonicity of the Bible, and hermeneutics. Everything done within exegetical theology is taken into account when engaging in biblical theology studies.

Biblical theology is, therefore, the area of theology of the entire Bible. It looks at the Bible as a whole and does not subdivide based upon Old Testament and New Testament. As a result, it naturally traces the entire story of the Scriptures in which you can see God’s progressive revelation.

Now, I do want to point out that biblical theology is not practiced in every corner of Christianity today. There are many who would do everything else found within the exegetical branch and then ignore the capstone and/or use the term biblical theology in an entirely different way – usually to state whether or not a particular theology or theological approach is biblical. With this in mind, the use of the term “biblical theology” can often seem unclear.


I'm part of Post A Week 2016

Philology

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. the study of literary texts and of written records, the establishment of their authenti-city and their original form, and the determination of their meaning.
  2. (especially in older use) linguistics, especially historical and comparative linguistics.
  3. Obsolete. the love of learning and literature.

Etymonline.com

late 14c., “love of learning,” from Latin philologia “love of learning, love of letters, love of study, literary culture,” from Greek philologia “love of discussion, learning, and literature; studiousness,” from philo “loving” (see philo-) + logos “word, speech” (see Logos).

Meaning “science of language” is first attested 1716 (philologue “linguist” is from 1590s; philologer “linguistic scholar” is from 1650s); this confusing secondary sense has not been popular in the U.S., where linguistics is preferred. Related: Philological.


Discussion/Explanation

I kinda would like to resurrect the original meaning of the term that has now become obsolete as is so clearly noted under the Dictionary.com entry. Even so…

The first definition under the Dictionary.com is what best fits for our purposes here. It is the area of study that is actively involved in authenticating ancient documents and this includes manuscripts of the Bible and particular books of the Bible. It is an area of study actively involved in all sorts of ancient/old documents, not just the Christian Bible.


I'm part of Post A Week 2016

Torn & Seduction

A pastor friend of my father’s once stated upon his impending return to his own country in part of Africa that he actually couldn’t wait to get back. Why?

While it isn’t just an American problem, the seduction of idols is rampant in the United States today. Materialism, in particular, has created a wealth of items that people daily prostrate themselves before. The seduction is made all the more complete by the fact that most cannot even see that they’ve been seduced by the things around them.

While my Dad’s friend had to face persecutions in his country, he would rather take on that than the seduction of the idols that are so rampant today in the West.

Yes, many of these these things we tie ourselves to are fine in and of themselves. In fact, many such items bring much joy to our lives. As always, the failure is in us. We are all too easily seduced by the ease, the entertainment, and the pleasure to the point that we look to what is around us as our reason for living.

I work to pay for my games.

I live to play basketball.

If I didn’t have (insert item), I don’t know what I’d do with myself.

I myself am not immune to such error. Seduction is embedded into our culture to the point it impacts our very thinking. I have found myself even saying, “well there’s nothing really wrong with watching this or playing that” and that thought or the item referenced wasn’t wrong for me to think or say, but there’s a pattern.

There’s a pattern here in which I know I should be spending my time more wisely on eternal things. That I should be spending my time on other people. That I should be spending my time doing what I already know I should be doing before God – instead I return to what has seduced me away. “Like the dog to his vomit.”

To be clear, seduction isn’t about sex. It is anything that turns your attention away. It is enticing. It is tempting. So many today who would call themselves Christian do not even spend regular time seeking out God, the one they claim to be devoted to with the title Christian. Why? Because they’ve been lead away. They’ve been seduced and a seduction allowed to complete ultimately brings destruction though it may seem pleasant and even fulfilling in the interim.

What are you seduced by? Seriously consider it.

I may regularly write this blog but I must struggle against this same seductive element of my culture just as you should if you mean to be a Christian. Seriously consider and routinely re-evaluate how you spend your time.

Set priorities with God at the top and stick to them!

I am praying for you. Please pray for me too!


 

Mothers

Today’s Mother’s Day!

A time that we remember and appreciate the women in our lives that we call “mom”.

(I would include the biological as well as non-biological women who have filled the calling we call mom.)

Today’s post will be short as I have just this simple message:

Mother's Day

Show the mothers in your life that you care about them and what they do!


I'm part of Post A Week 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my readers and your families!

Enjoy this time spent with family and remember the greatest gift we could be given was given to us by God in the birth of His Son!

 

 

 

I’ll get back to regular posts next weekend.

Defining & Where to Next

This week I thought I’d take a short break from the series to give you a preview of what I’ve got planned coming up.

So far I’ve gone over Theology and then moved onto other “ologies” that are related to the study of God. Those have included Epistemology and Eschatology, each with their own posts after the first two weeks just being on Theology overall.

Going forward, there will be more “ologies” and the next one planned will be on Soteriology. But that’s not all. I will also be digging into key terms that people often have difficulty with or trip up on as they aren’t necessarily common terms in everyday English. Two examples will be Justification and then another post on Epistles. Those more versed in the faith will know what I’m talking about, otherwise (unless you work in law) you may not truly understand words like Justification. We’ll be getting to that.

Currently, I’m planning to end the series with posts on Biblical Theology, Systemic Theology, Covenant Theology, and Dispensational Theology. Each of these will receive at least one post each if not more.

If I count up my current topics left to hit, I have…1…2…3…………..  …16 more topics to hit. So, I have at least 16 more posts/weeks of material at the minimum. Now, some of these will likely be in 2 parts which could stretch this out but I may just post more than once in a week to keep from stretching things out too far. I currently have no plans to have a particular topic stretch more than one post; however, with the finale being in bigger areas like Covenantal & Dispensational Theology….yeah, those may take more.

So, at this time it is 16 more posts in the series after this post which means 16 more weeks or, just be all the more obvious, 4 months of posts. No need for us to rush. On that note, expect Soteriology next week!

Anti-Porn

The following are verses I would recommend to memorize and meditated upon to combat the sexual temptations of porn. It should always be our desire to glorify God in all that we do and this includes our sex lives.

Galatians 5:1

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slaver”

In Christ, we are set free from our old habits and master. Why then would we choose to resubmit ourselves to the “yoke” or slavery we were once under?

Romans 8:1

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

Rejoice! You no longer stand condemned for the sins you were once trapped in. Christ has saved you and you are now empowered to live like it!

Galatians 2:20

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

I have been bought through the price paid by Christ on the cross. I am no longer my past self. What’s more, Christ now lives in me through his Holy Spirit. I have been given everything to follow His good and perfect will. This is NOT of myself, it is from God.

2 Corinthians 5:9

“Whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.”

Our greatest joy and fulfillment can now be found in doing what pleases God.

Ephesians 5:3

“Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.”

Persevere! Christ is with you and grants the strength to do this. If feeling lost, turn to Christ and pray! Depend upon Him; we do not need our own strength to do this. Christ provides us the strength.

John 15:5

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Take heart! Only those in Christ can bear fruit. Be comforted by the fact that you can see your sin and can seek to do what pleases Him.

1 Thessalonians 4:3

“This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.”

We have been made holy in Him. As such, He wishes us to be holy and this includes viewing sex from God’s perspective. This does NOT mean a life of celibacy but instead a life that submits to what glorifies God which is where we find our greatest joy.

 

It is obvious when viewing our culture that we do not view sex highly enough. We commonly see it as mere procreation or something enjoyable and/or relationship cementing. While such views have truth in them they fall short from viewing sexual intimacy in the grander view we see between Christ and the Church. What’s more, we fail to see the greatest ecstasy that can be achieved that occurs when Christ comes to claim His bride in the end!

 

Note: these verses will also be making an appearance in the delayed video for the Anti-Porn series on Awaken.

 

Coming…

Monergistgratia continues. I realize posting has been a bit intermittent but this has been in part to various things going on in my life as well as work on new developments.

A new YouTube channel named Awaken is currently under development. Once it is live, you will see links and references to it on this blog. Awaken is a collaborative project that aims to include both English and Spanish content all focused on God and His word.

This post now announces the Awaken channel as we have content prepared now to post. A few things are left to finish but I expect the first content to be posting soon (likely before this month is out). The channel and its art layout were created some time ago so the stage is set.

We welcome your prayers as we initiate this new endeavor!

The Way of Love

I Corinthians 13: 1-8 (ESV) – Read each line, pausing before the next.

 

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,

I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love,

I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver ups my body to be burned, but have not love,

I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind;

love does not envy or boast;

it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

As for prophecies, they will pass away;

as for tongues, they will cease;

as for knowledge, it will pass away.”

 

I Corinthians 13:13

 

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;

but the greatest of these is love.”

 

Pause after each line to reflect on what is being said and what that line adds to the message.

Nicea

There’s a lot of confusion around what is known of the Council of Nicea and I’d like to set the record straight.

First, it was the first official council to call bishops from all over the Roman empire. It was called as the Roman Emperor Constantine saw division within Christianity and he desired unification to prevent splits in his empire. In other words, he was concerned of the political implications if Christians continued to disagree in his empire. He didn’t really care what the outcome was so long as Christians were unified.

So what was this really all about?

Various groups will try to rewrite history and tell you their own version. However, these just aren’t true.

The Council of Nicea was over what became known as the Arian controversy or, more appropriately, the Arian heresy. Nothing more.

The history goes like this:

Before the council met in Nicea in 325 AD, Christianity had become an accepted religion in the empire but many Christians still carried the scars of their past persecutions under the previous emperors. Bishops headed up their respective churches in their regions with priests who served under them. There was no one bishop above the other (in other words, this is before the Pope came into being).

In Alexandria (northern Egypt), Bishop Alexander presided over the church there. This is where Arius, the source of the controversy, comes from. Arius began to teach contrary to the church a different Christ. Arius was a priest in the Alexandria church. His teachings can be summed up as follows:

  1. The Father & Son are not of the same essence. (so they are thus distinct and different from each other)
  2. The Son of God was a created being.
  3. There was a time that the Son did not exist; however, this was some time before creation (before time as we know it)

These points change the nature of God and of the Son entirely and would effectively make salvation useless – aka, we would still be lost in our sins and Christ’s death would have done nothing to cover them (Arius tried to argue otherwise). Alexander and Athanasius, Alexander’s assistant and one day replacement, stood against him. They stood on the authority of the Scriptures.

Now, it is important to note that the Scriptures were not yet contained in one book at this time. They were recognized as the Word of God but were still being circulated as individuals letters/books.

Arius was called before Alexander to discuss Arius’s positions and their implications. Despite trying to reason with Arius, Arius stood stubbornly – unwilling to move from his alternative Christ. This brought about a council in Egypt made up of roughly 100 bishops from the greater Egyptian area. After discussing where Arius stood & what he was refusing to stop teaching, the council decided to excommunicate him, banishing him from the Egyptian church.

Arius refused to stop even then. He found some bishops who sympathized with his views and moved to spread his heresy wherever he could. This became the division Constantine became aware of and that prompted him to call the Council of Nicea.

At the council, some 318 bishops attended from across Christendom (though most were Eastern bishops). Alexander and Athanasius were in attendance and so was Arius (despite not being a bishop). Alexander provided argumentation from the Scriptures and from there the council moved to the creation of the first church creed – the Nicean Creed. This summed up the core beliefs of the faith and all but 2 bishops signed it in agreement.

After this, Alexander returned to Egypt and Athanasius succeeded Alexander when he passed.

As most of us have seen historically, the Council of Nicea didn’t end the controversy. Even after the council’s decision, Arius refused to quit and continued to bend the ear of bishops and, through others, even the ear of Constantine. In other words, the division Constantine wished to prevent/repair failed. Because of Arius, Athanasius ended up spending much of his life defending against the Arian heresy.

 

Now, this is just an overview. I personally had a hard time keeping myself from going into greater detail on some of the points but I do want to some up some key points related to this council.

  1. The Council of Nicea was over the Arian heresy and nothing else.
  2. The Council of Nicea produced 1 item – the Nicean Creed.
  3. The Scriptures were already recognized as true word from God at this time despite them not being all in one book just yet. The Council of Nicea used the Scriptures but made no decisions in regards to what was in the Scriptures we call the Bible today.
  4. There was no Pope at this time. However, there was a bishop of Rome and the Roman bishop did have prominence – he just didn’t have any sort of universal claim to headship that was recognized outside – this came later. This can be a sticking point for some as they will argue the earlier bishops of Rome would also be conferred the title of Pope. Regardless, the Council of Nicea was mostly made up of Eastern bishops who did not recognize the bishop of Rome as a central figure called Pope and did not submit to him. As such, no Pope called for the council.
  5. Constantine called the council but did not force a decision. As I said earlier, he didn’t really seem to care what the doctrinal outcome was; he just wanted unity.

 

If you’d like to do some further reading, here are some resources I used as well as others that will help you get started.