by Laura Springer, M.Div.
Christianity is defined by certain beliefs and practices. Bedrock Beliefs summarizes some of the beliefs that define Christianity. These beliefs—also known as “theology”—are an important part of following Christ, for our theology—what we believe about God, his work, and his world—shapes our worldview. Our worldview determines our attitudes and actions. Theology is about who we know and why we live how we live.
BIBLIOLOGY: BIBLE BASICS
THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WRITTEN WORD
As a divine book, the bible has certain characteristics: inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and authority.
Inspiration means that the words of the Bible are “God-breathed” or “God-spoken.” The Holy Spirit worked through the human writers so that while freely writing according to their own style and personality, the result was the Word of God.
Inerrancy means that the original manuscripts do not say anything contrary to fact. This includes not only statements about theology, but also statements about history, geography, and the like.
Infallibility means that the Bible will not lead us in the wrong way when it comes to the content and practice of faith. It can be trusted as a guide to salvation and to Christ-following, for it is the revelation of God in words.
Authority means that to disbelieve and disobey the Bible is to disbelieve and disobey God. The Bible is master, not servant. It is the source and measure of the content and practice of faith.
If the Bible truly is inspired, inerrant, infallible, and authoritative, then how should we respond? The Bible must be handled with respect. Even odd stories and genealogies are God’s Word.
The Bible must be allowed to speak for itself. Commentaries, bible study guides, and even preachers are useful, but their words do not determine what the Bible says. The Bible determines what they say.
The Bible must be obeyed. If our reading and study of God’s Word does not result in obedient behavior then we have not treated the Bible as the Word of God.
THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WRITTEN WORD.
While the Bible is a divine book, it is also a human book. The Holy Spirit used the style and personality of the human authors to communicate his Word. To understand the Bible we must consider culture, history, genre, style, and occasion.
Culture is the worldview of the writer and the intended readers. The Bible was written over a span of about 1,500 years, in three ancient languages (none of which is English), and in a number of nations (none of which is the USA). Culture is crucial.
History includes the significant events happening at the time of the writing and at the time of the story.
Genre is the type of literature as shown in style, form, or content. There are a great number of genres in the Bible: for example, narrative, poetry, apocalypse, and letter.
Style is the author’s distinct manner of expression. Different authors choose to use different words, different levels of complexity, different grammatical structures, and different moods.
Occasion is the situation that prompted the writing. In a few rare cases, the situation is specified. Most of the time, we must look at clues in the biblical book and then make our best guess.
to be added later...
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
If you would like to learn more about theology, worldview, and how these shape Christ-following, sign up for the January 2007 TFB Academy course:
Sundays in January 2007, 4:30 pm
2118 Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501
Instructor: Laura Springer, M.Div.