Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 2 – Part 1]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

Revelation: God Speaks

(Part 1: pp.36-47)

A) About the author(s):

Mark Driscoll has a Master of Arts degree in exegetical theology from Western Seminary. He was the founding and preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church, and former president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network

Gerry Breshears is a Professor of Theology at Western Seminary and earned his PhD in Systematic Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

B) Chapter Summary:

i) How does God reveal Himself?

“God reveals himself to everyone everywhere through general revelation. General revelation includes creation, common grace, and conscience”[1]

see Romans 1:19–20; Ps. 8:3–4; Ps. 19:1, 4; Isa. 6:3.

“God’s general revelation also includes common grace. Augustine (AD 354–430) used the term common grace because it is for everyone and therefore common to all human beings.”[2]

“God’s common grace includes the water we drink, food we eat, sun we enjoy, and rain we need, as God is good to the sinner and saint alike.”[3]

see Ps. 65:9; 104:14; Matt. 5:45; Acts 14:17

“Internally, God also reveals himself generally through the conscience he gave us as his image bearers.”[4]

see Rom. 2:14–15; John 16:8–11

“For anyone to have a saving knowledge of God requires that, in addition to general revelation, they also must receive and believe special revelation.”[5]

“He revealed himself supremely through the incarnation, where the second person of the Trinity humbly entered into human history as the God-man Jesus Christ. During his earthly ministry, Jesus was led and empowered by the third member of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit. That same Holy Spirit also inspired the writing of the Holy Bible.

God continues to reveal himself today, and the primary way he reveals himself is through the divinely inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Bible. The Bible is uniquely and solely God’s completely trustworthy revelation to us today. Scripture is the court of highest authority for Christians and their leaders, by which any alleged revelation from God is to be tested.”[6]

[1] p.38

[2] p.39

[3] Ibid.

[4] p.40

[5] p.41

[6] Ibid.

ii) What are the Scriptures?

“Scripture is God speaking his truth to us in human words.”[1]

“It was written in three languages (Hebrew, Greek, and a bit in Aramaic) over a period of more than fifteen hundred years by more than forty authors (of varying ages and backgrounds) on three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe).”[2]

“The Bible actually contains sixty-six separate books. Thirty-nine books, approximately three-quarters of the Bible, are in the Old Testament, which is a record of God’s speaking and working in history from when he created the universe and our first parents, Adam and Eve, up until about 450 BC. In the period between the two testaments, the people waited for the coming of the Messiah into human history. The twenty-seven books of the New Testament begin with the four Gospels, which record the life, death, burial, resurrection, and return to heaven of Jesus, and then proceed to instruct various Christians and Christian churches about how to think and live in light of who Jesus is and what he has done.”[3]

“… the Bible is a library of books that are one Book, showing a divine unity and continuity. This point is illustrated by the fact that the New Testament has roughly three hundred explicit Old Testament quotations, as well as upwards of four thousand allusions to the Old Testament. In many ways, the Old Testament is a series of promises that God makes and the New Testament is the record of the fulfillment of those promises and the anticipation of the fulfillment of the remaining promises at Jesus’ second coming.”[4]

“The Old Testament was originally written on papyrus—a form of paper made out of reeds. By the time the New Testament was written, parchments (prepared animal skins) were also used. The pages were put together into scrolls.”[5]

“In 1205, Stephen Langton, a theology professor who became the archbishop of Canterbury, began using Bible chapters. In 1240, Cardinal Hugo of St. Cher published a Latin Bible with the 1,189 chapter divisions that exist today.”[6]

“As [Robert Stephanus] fled with his family to Geneva on horseback, he arbitrarily made verse divisions within Langton’s chapter divisions. His system was used for the first English Bible (The Geneva New Testament of 1557) and became today’s system of 31,173 verses.

It is important to realize that the Bible’s chapters and verses were not applied with any logical or consistent method and, while helpful, they are not authoritative. Because the Bible was not intended to be read in bits and pieces, reading verses out of context can lead to serious misunderstanding. Thus, rightly interpreting particular sections of Scripture requires paying attention both to the immediate context and the overall context of all of Scripture.”[7]

[1] p.41

[2] Ibid.

[3] p.42

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] pp.42-43

iii) How is Jesus the hero of the Bible?

“…the written Word of God reveals to us the incarnate (“in human flesh”) Word of God, Jesus Christ. Further, without the written Word, we cannot rightly know the incarnate Word.”[1]

“…it was Jesus himself who taught that the Old Testament was primarily about him.”[2]

see Matt. 5:17–18; 26:56; Luke 4:20–21; 22:37; 24:27, 44-45; John 5:39–40.

“The Old Testament uses various means to reveal Jesus, including promises, appearances, foreshadowing types, and titles. First, the Old Testament teaches about Jesus in the numerous prophetic promises given about him. At the time of its writing, more than one-quarter of Scripture was prophetic in nature, promising future events.”[3]

“Second, the Old Testament teaches about Jesus through appearances  that he makes before his birth, or what are called Christophanies.”[4]

See Genesis 18 cf. John 8:56; Gen. 32:30

“Third, types are Old Testament representative figures, institutions, or events that foreshadow Jesus. Examples include Adam, who foreshadows Jesus as the second Adam; the priesthood, which prefigures Jesus as our high priest; David and other kings, who prefigure Jesus as the King of kings; Moses and the prophets, who prefigure Jesus as our ultimate prophet; animal sacrifices, which prefigure Jesus as the sinless Lamb of God slain for our sins; the temple, which prefigures God’s presence dwelling among us in Jesus; shepherds who care for their sheep, which remind us we are as foolish and vulnerable as sheep but that Jesus our shepherd keeps constant watch over us; judges, who foreshadow Jesus as the final judge of all people; and many others, such as Jesus the true bread, the true vine, and true light.”[5]

See Ex. 3:2–6 cf. John 8:58; Dan. 3:24–25; Isa. 6:1–5 cf. John 12:41

“Fourth, there are many titles for God in the Old Testament that refer to Jesus Christ as God.”[6]

Son of Man – Daniel 7:13–14

Suffering Servant – Isa. 42:1–4; 49:1–7; 52:13–53:12 cf. Phil. 2:1–11.

[1] p.43

[2] Ibid.

[3] p.44

[4] Ibid.

[5] p.45

[6] p.46

C) Review for Part 1 of Chapter 2:

  • Readability: 9/10
  • Theological depth: 5/10
  • Any other comments: –


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