Systematic Theology (Study Guide): 6 Pamphlet – 18 Jul 2008
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About the Author
Wayne Grudem is research professor of Bible and theology at Phoenix Seminary, Arizona, USA. He is the author of numerous books including 'Systematic Theology', 'Bible Doctrine', 'Christian Beliefs', 'Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth', and '1 Peter' (TNTC).
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
* Systematic theology: any study that answers the question, "What does the whole Bible teach us today?" on a given topic.
* A doctrine: what the whole Bible teaches us today about a particular topic.
* ST summarizes each doctrine as it should be understood and applied by present-day Christians.
* Study ST so you obey the Great Commission, overcome wrong ideas, make better decisions on new questions, and grow as Christians (Matt. 28:19 - 20).
* Study ST with prayer, humility, reason, help from others, by collecting and understanding all the relevant passages of Scripture on any topic, and with rejoicing and praise.
Part I: The Word of God
* Word of God: the Son of God, direct speech by God (decrees, personal address), God's speaking through prophets, and God's word in written form (John 1:1).
* Canon of Scripture: the list of all the books that belong in the Bible.
-- The Bible contains all the words of God he intended for us to have (Deut. 4:2).
-- Scripture primarily reports God's great acts in redemptive history.
-- Primarily the apostles were given the ability from the Holy Spirit to recall accurately the words and deeds of Jesus and to record and interpret them rightly (John 14:26).
-- Thirty-ninth Paschal Letter of Athanasius (AD 367) and Council of Carthage (AD 397) agreed on our present-day canon.
-- The early church recognized but did not bestow divine authority on the books of the Bible it included in the canon.
-- There is no need for more words of Scripture after the NT because there is a finality to the revelation of God in Christ (Heb. 1:1 - 3).
-- The Apocrypha: merely human words, not God-breathed like Scripture.
-- Ultimately, we base our confidence in the correctness of our present canon on the faithfulness of God (Rev. 22:18 - 19).
* Authority of Scripture: all the words in Scripture are God's words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God (2 Tim. 3:16 - 17).
-- Scripture it is self-attesting: All the words in Scripture are God's words because this is what the Bible claims for itself and because we are convinced by the Holy Spirit that the Bible is God's word as we read it (1 Cor. 2:13 - 14). God's words cannot be "proved" by appeal to any higher authority.
-- Inerrancy: Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact (Ps. 19:7 - 11).
-- The Bible still speaks in ordinary language of everyday speech, includes loose or free quotations, and has unusual or uncommon grammatical constructions.
* Clarity of Scripture (perspicuity): the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God's help and being willing to follow it (Deut. 6:6 - 7).
-- Understanding Scripture rightly is more a moral and spiritual than intellectual ability.
* Necessity of Scripture: The Bible is necessary for knowledge of the gospel and maintaining spiritual life and certain knowledge of God's will (Matt. 4:4).
-- Knowledge of God and creation gained from Scripture must be used to interpret correctly the creation around us.
-- General (or natural) revelation can provide a knowledge that God exists and a knowledge of some of his attributes simply from observation of themselves and the world around them. It can also provide an awareness of sin, but cannot teach the way of salvation (Rom. 10:13 - 17).
-- Special revelation refers to God's words addressed to specific people at specific times.
* Sufficiency of Scripture: Scripture contains all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly (Deut. 29:29). God does not require us to believe anything about himself or his redemptive work that is not found in Scripture.
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