Biblical Christianity

Theology definition

the·ol·o·gy

1.The field of study and analysis that treats of God and of God's attributes and relations to the universe; study of     divine things or religious truth; divinity.
2. A particular form, system, branch, or course of this study.

The Bible

  • The Bible consists of 66 books: 39 in the OT and 27 in the new. (Note: 3 x 9 = 27).
    1. The OT has 23,214 verses. The NT has 7,959 verses.
  • The Bible took about 1600 years to write.
    1. It was written in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) by about 40 authors and is internally consistent throughout.
    2. It was written on three continents:  Africa, Asia, and Europe.
    3. It was written by a variety of people: prophets, priest, cupbearer, a king, judges, fishermen, etc.
  • The first translation of the English Bible was initiated by John Wycliffe and completed by John Purvey in A.D. 1388.
  • The first American edition of the Bible was perhaps published some time before A.D. 1752.
    1. The Bible has been translated in part or in whole as of 1964 in over 1,200 different languages or dialects.
  • The Bible was divided into chapters by Stephen Langton about A.D. 1228.
    1. The Old Testament was divided into verses by R. Nathan in A.D. 1448 and the New Testament by Robert Stephanus in A.D. 1551.
  • Old Testament -- a total of 39 books and 5 main divisions:
    1. Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy), Historical (Joshua to Esther), Poetic (Job to Song of Solomon), Major Prophets (Isaiah to Daniel), Minor Prophets (Hosea to Malachi).
  • New Testament -- a total of 27 books with 4 main divisions:
    1. Gospels (Matthew to John), History (Acts), Epistles (Romans to Jude), Prophetic (Revelation).
  • Reliability of the biblical documents:
    1. The Bible is 98½ percent textually pure. This means that through all the copying of the Biblical manuscripts of the entire Bible, only 1½% has any question about it. Nothing in all of the ancient writings of the entire world even approaches the accuracy of transmission found in the biblical documents.
    2. The 1½ percent that is in question does not affect doctrine. The areas of interest are called variants and they consist mainly in variations of wording and spelling.
    3. The OT does not have as many supporting manuscripts as the NT but it is, nevertheless, remarkably reliable.
      1. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew OT done around 250 B.C., attests to the reliability and consistency of the OT when it is compared to existing Hebrew manuscripts.
      2. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 also verify the reliability of the OT manuscripts.
      3. The Dead Sea Scrolls were ancient documents that were hidden in a cave in Israel about 2000 years ago. The scrolls contained many OT books, one of them being Isaiah.
        1. Before the Dead Sea scrolls, the earliest existing manuscript of the OT was dated around 900 A.D. called the Masoretic Text. The Scrolls contained OT documents 1000 years earlier.  A comparison between the manuscripts revealed an incredible accuracy of transmission through copying, so much so that critics were silenced.
    4. The NT has over 5000 supporting Greek manuscripts existing today with another 20,000 manuscripts in other languages. Some of the manuscript evidence dates to within 100 years of the original writing.  There is less than a 1% textual variation in the NT manuscripts.
    5. Estimated time of writing of the NT documents
      1. Paul's Letters, 50-66 A.D.
      2. Matthew, 70-80 A.D.
      3. Mark, 50-65 A.D.
      4. Luke, early 60's
      5. John, 80-100 A.D.
      6. Revelation 96 A.D.
    6. Some of the supporting manuscripts of the NT are:
      1. John Rylands MS written around 130 A.D., the oldest existing fragment of the NT
      2. Bodmer Papyrus II (150-200 A.D.)
      3. Chester Beatty Papyri (200 A.D.), contains major portions of the NT
      4. Codex Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.), contains nearly all the Bible.
      5. Codex Sinaiticus (350 A.D.), contains almost all the NT and over half of the OT
      6. No other ancient writing can boast of having copies so close to the original time of writing.  With the Bible, the difference is about 50 years.  With Plato and Aristotle, for example, the difference is measured in hundreds of years.
  • Prophecy and mathematical odds of fulfillment:
    1. The odds of Jesus fulfilling 48 of the 61 major prophecies concerning Him are 1 in 10157; that is a one with 157 zeros behind it.
    2. By comparison, the estimated number of electrons in the entire known universe is about 1079; that is a one with 79 zeros behind it.
  • Inspiration and Inerrancy - The Bible is inspired by God. Inspiration means that God, through the Holy Spirit, caused the writers of the Bible to write the accurate and authoritative revelation of God. It is God breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) through the instrumentation of the apostles and prophets (2 Pet. 1:21).
    1. It is without error in the original manuscripts and absolutely reliable and true in all areas it addresses.
    2. Every true Christian accepts the inspiration and authority of the Bible.
  • Scientific Accuracies in the Bible.
    1. The spherical shape of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).
    2. The earth is suspended in nothing (Job. 26:7).
    3. The stars are innumerable (Gen. 15:5).
    4. The existence of valleys in the seas (2 Sam. 22:16).
    5. The existence of springs and fountains in the sea (Gen. 7:11; 8:2; Prov. 8:28).
    6. The existence of water paths (ocean currents) in the seas (Psalm 8:8).
    7. The water cycle (Job. 26:8; 36:27-28; 37:16; 38:25-27; Psalm 135:7; Ecc. 1:6-7).
    8. The fact that all living things reproduce after their own kind (Gen. 1:21; 6:19).
    9. The nature of health, sanitation, and sickness (Gen. 17:9-14; Lev. 12-14).
    10. The concept of entropy, that energy is running down (Psalm 102:26).
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    Inspiration of the Bible


    The inspiration of the Bible does not mean that every single word in the bible is dictated by God or is from God; Instead, it means that whenever the bible speaks in regards to history, truth, God, morality, etc, it is without error. In addition within all of this, it will accurately record the sinful behavior of people, such as their lies. It doesn't mean that these lies were inspired by God. This inspiration, however, is not a dictation, but a movement of God's spirit through the writer, utilizing the personality and style of the writer. Inerrancy means that all that is written in the inspired documents is without error. 

    Inspiration and inerrancy applies to the original writings, not to the copies. In other words, it is the original writings that are without error. The copies, sadly have copyist errors in them. Therefore, when critics of the bible point to apparent contradictions, what they are doing is either failing to understand the context of the passages they are examining, or they have encountered a scribal copying error. We must understand the inspiration of the bible is in reference to the original documents, not the copies. Christianity holds that the original writings, the autographs were without error in everything they address. It is not the copies that are inspired, what we have are copies of inspired documents and the truth is some copying errors have woven themselves into some of the biblical copies. However, this does not mean that the bible is untrustworthy, because the bible is indeed trustworthy ad has proven over the centuries to be just the case.

    Covenant Theology

    Covenant Theology is a system of theology that views God's dealings with man in respect of covenants rather than dispensations (periods of time). It represents the whole of scripture as covenantal in structure and theme. There are several views within Covenant Theology, some believe there is one Covenant and others believe two and still others believe in more. The two main covenants are covenant of works in the Old Testament made between God and Adam, and the Covenant of Grace between the Father and the Son where the Father promised to give the Son the elect and the Son must redeem them. Regardless of views on the number of covenants, the covenant(s) have been made before the world was made (Heb. 13:20)

    What is Natural Theology?

    by Matt Slick from Carm.org

    Natural theology is the study of God through observing nature and using reason.  Rom. 1:20 says, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."  The Bible tells us that God can be seen and understood by looking at creation.  After all, it is God who made the heavens, the moon and the stars (Psalm 8:3; 33:6), and the heavens declare His glory (Psalm 19:1).  Just as a painting reflects the painter's ability, the order, majesty, and balance found in nature show the great ability of God.  The universe is immense, balanced, and wonderful.  This did not happen by accident any more than the balance and precision of a watch suggest it was formed by accident.

    But the darkened heart and mind of sinful man means that even though it is evident that God can actually be detected through what is around us, some suppress the truth of God in their unrighteousness and deny what nature itself can teach us.  Romans 1:21-23 further says, "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures."

    It is from such hardness of heart and mind that other errors about God have been invented.  Pantheism teaches that God and nature are the same thing, thus denying the distinction between Creator and creation.  Panentheism says that the universe is contained within God's nature.  Both pantheism and penentheism deny the transcendent nature of God by denying that he is completely "other" than his creation.

    So, natural theology is the study of God that we can conduct by looking at the wonders and beauty of creation.

     

    Christ, LORD of all Creation

    n Jesus taught that His kingdom includes ruling over both the material and immaterial worlds, that which is visible and physical and that which is invisible and spiritual. This means that Jesus rules over Angels and Demons, Christians and Non Christians, moderns and post-moderns, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, healthy and sick, republicans and democrats, simple and wise, and the living and the dead.
    Furthermore, Jesus rules over every single aspect of our lives individually, there not one part of our life that does not belong to Jesus or exist under His sovereign Rule. Jesus is not just the King who rules over nations on the earth and principalities and powers in the heavens but also as our King, Jesus demands and deserves obedient loyalty to His commands over every aspect of our life, subsequently there is no such thing as a personal life for the christian. The failure to see Jesus as King over all of creation in general and all of our life in particular leads to nothing but hypocrisy, secrecy, and shameful privacy as we continue to live in darkness. Jesus declaration that He alone possesses All authority both in heaven and earth is an unparalleled claim that is devistating to our current post-modern mood. Rather than seeing the world as a muddied mess of equally valid and authoritive perspectives, cultures, opinions, spiritualities, philosophies, genders, generations, races, and the like, Jesus bodily revealed that He alone rules over all with authority and without exception. Jesus came to reveal to us this Tri-perspectival understanding of who He is and what He has done. As prophet, Jesus confronts us and calls us to repentance of sin, as Priest, Jesus comforts us and comes to us to save us from sin and enable new life. As King, Jesus commands us to relinquish authority of our life so that every facet of our life is under constant sanctifying transformation. Theologically, there is really little if any debate about these matters among bible believing Christians, to live apart from the Kings loving wisdom would be sheer folly.

     

    Perserverance of the Saints

     There are many passages that teach that those who are truly born again, who are genuinely Christians, will continue in the Christian life until death and will then go to be with Christ in heaven. Jesus says, 'I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day, For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:38-40) Here Jesus says that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. He says that he will raise that person up at the last day-which , in this context of believing in the Son and having eternal life, clearly means that Jesus will raise that person up to eternal life with him (not just raise him up to be judged and condemned). It seems hard to avoid the conclusion that everyone weho truly believes in Christ will remain a christian up to the day of final resurrection into the blessings of life in the presence of God. Moreover this text emphasizes that Jesus does the will of the Father, which is that he should "lose nothing of all that he has given me"(John 6:39). Once again, those given to the Son by the Father will not be lost. Another passage emphasizing this truth is John 10:27-29, in which Jesus says: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Fathers hand.  Here Jesus says that those who follow him, those who are his sheep, are given eternal life. He further says that ''no one shall snatch them out of my hand'' v. 28. now some have objected that to this that even though no one else can take Christians out of Christ's hand, we might remove ourselves from Christ's hand. But that seems to be pedantic quibbling over words- does not "no one" also include the person who is in Christ's hand, the passage would hardly give the assurance that Jesus intends by it. There are several other passages that say those who believe have " eternal life." One example is John 3:36: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life".  Now if this is truly eternal life that believers have, then it is life that lasts forever with God. It is a gift of God that comes with salvation (it is put in contrast to condemnation and eternal judgment in John 3:16-17, 36; 10:28).  Evidence in Paul's writings and the other New Testament epistles also indicates that those who are truly born again will persevere to the end. There remains "No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1) Therefore it would be unjust for God to give any kind of eternal punishment to those who are christians- no condemnation remains for them, for the entire penalty for their sins has been paid. Then in Romans 8:30, Paul emphasizes the clear connection between God's eternal purposes in predestination and his working out of those purposes in life, together with his final realization of those purposes in "glorifying" or giving final resurrection bodies to those whom he has brought into union with Christ: And those whom he justified; he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified." Here Paul sees the future event of glorification as such a certainty in God's settled purpose that he can speak of it as if it were already accomplished ("He also glorified"). This is true of all those who are called and justified-that is, all those who truly become Christians. Further evidence that God keeps those who are born again safe for eternity is the "seal" that God places upon us. This "seal" is the Holy Spirit within us, who also acts as God's "guarantee" that we will receive the inheritance promised to us: "In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14).