Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 3]

[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]

Creation: God Makes 

(pp.79-108)

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) What does the Bible say about creation?

“The first book of the Bible, Genesis, takes its name from its first words, “In the beginning,” as genesis means “beginning.” The book of Genesis in general, Genesis 1 to 3 in particular, records the beginning of creation and human history.  Moses  penned  Genesis  in  roughly  1400 BC as  the  first  of a  five-part  book  called  the  Pentateuch,  meaning  “book  in  five  parts.”  The Genesis  account  of  creation  was  most  likely  directly  revealed  to  Moses  by the  same  Holy  Spirit  who  was  present  in  Genesis  1:2,  since  Moses  was not  present  for  the  creation  event.  Genesis  is  not  an  exhaustive  treatment of  early  history  but  rather  a  theologically  selective  telling  of  history  that focuses  on  God  and  mankind  while  omitting  such  things  as  the  creation  of angels  or  the  fall  of  Satan  and  demons.”[1]

“The  first  line  of  Genesis  says,  “In  the  beginning,  God  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth” … Brilliantly,  the  Bible  opens  with  the  one true,  eternal  God  as  both  the  author  and  subject  of  history  and  Scripture. Consequently,  everything  else  in  history  and  Scripture  is  dependent  upon God  and  is  only  good  when  functioning  according  to  his  intentions  for  it from  creation.”[2]

“In  Genesis  1:1,  the  word  used  for  created  is  the  Hebrew  word  bara, which  means  “creation  from  nothing.”  The  other  Hebrew  word  used in  a  creative  sense  in  Genesis  is  asah,  translated  “make”  or  “made,” which  means  “to  fashion  or  shape,”  or  “to  make  something  suitable,” such  as  making  loincloths  out  of  fig  leaves or  making  the  ark.  Bara emphasizes  the  initiation  of  an  object,  whereas  asah  emphasizes  the shaping  of  an  object.  Along  with  statements  where  God  does  initial creation  (the  heavens  and  the  earth),  the  only  other  things  bara’d  are the  living  creatures and  human  beings.  When  people  create  we  are doing  asah,  not  bara.”[3]

See Gen.  1:1;  2:3-4; 1:21; 1:27; 3:7; 5:1-2; 8:6.

“In  the  creation  account  we  see  that  God  created  (bara)  “the  heavens  and the  earth.”  This  phrase  could  be  more  literally  translated  “the  skies  and  the land,”  since the heavens are not the place where God lives, but the place where stars  move and  birds  fly.  The  Hebrew  word  eretz, usually translated “earth,” in  Genesis  1  does  not  mean  the  planet  but  the  land  under  the  water, separated from  water, where  vegetation  grows  and  animals  roam.  Elsewhere  in Scripture  it  usually  means  the  Promised  Land.  The  phrase  “skies  and  land” is  a  Hebraic  way  of  saying  “everything”  from  the  skies  above  to  the  earth below,  like  saying  from  top  to  bottom  or  head  to  toe,  including  space-time, mass-energy,  and  the  laws  that  govern  them.  In  other  places  in  Scripture,  the phrase  includes  the  sun  and  moon,  which  could  in  turn  mean  that  the  sun  and moon  were  created  as  a  part  of  this  first  creation.”[4]

“… the  same  language  for  “without  form  (tohu)  and  void  (bohu)” used in Genesis 1:2 is used elsewhere in Scripture in reference to uninhabited land.”[5]

See Deuteronomy 32:10, Isaiah 45:18

“[In Jeremiah 4:23,] “without form  and  void”  does  not  mean  chaos,  but  it  means  empty  of  humans;  “no light”  does  not  mean  there  is  no  sun  but  that  the  land  is  without  God’s  blessing.  Similarly,  in  Genesis  1:2  “without  form  and  void”  is  the  condition  of the  land  before  God  made  it  good,  filling  it  with  light  and  life.  The  best understanding  is  not  that  God  created  primordial  chaos  and  formed  earth  out of  it,  but  that  God  created  everything  out  of  nothing  and  that  the  land  existed for  some  unstated  period  of  time  in  a  desert-like,  empty  state.”[6]

““In  the  beginning”  means  that  there  was  an  inauguration, but  not  when  that  moment  was.  Therefore,  Genesis  1:1  leaves  open  both the  possibilities  of  a  young  and  an  old  earth.

The  creation  account  goes  to  great  lengths  to  make  it  clear  that  the God  who  created  (bara)  everything  according  to  the  first  verse  is  the same  God  who  prepared  (asah)  the  land  for  humans  to  dwell  with  him  in the  remainder  of  Genesis  1  and  2.”[7]

[1] pp. 81-82

[2] p.82

[3] Ibid.

[4] p.83

[5] Ibid.

[6] p.84

[7] Ibid.

Continue reading “Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 3]”

Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 3]

[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]

“Jesus the Son of God” in Christian and Muslims Contexts

(pp.73-109)

A) About the author:

D.A. Carson (Ph.D, Cambridge University) is a research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is president of the Gospel Coalition, and has written or edited nearly 60 books.

B) Chapter Summary:

i) What bearing does this study of Jesus as the Son of God have on the way Christians should think about Jesus?

“… in the New Testament “Son of God” is not a terminus technicus, as the Latins say–a technical term that always carries the same associations.”[1]

“Bible readers should exercise special pains not to succumb either to unjustified reductionism, in which one particular usage is read into every occurrence, or to “illegitimate totality transfer,” in which the entire semantic range of the expression is read into every occurrence. Context must decide.”[2]

“We have observed how 2 Samuel 7:14, Psalm 2:7, and Psalm 45:6-7 are applied to Jesus, even though the first certainly applies to Solomon, not Jesus, the second probably applies first of all to David and his immediate successors, and the third certainly applies, initially, to kings who had heirs who replaced their fathers, not to Jesus. Yet in all three cases the context drops hints of a fulfillment that outstrips local petty monarchs. Once these passages are nestled into the complex matrix of the Davidic typology, the many passages that anticipate an heir of David who is declared to be God and whose reign embraces the entire earth and even the heavens, the connection to Jesus is all but inevitable.”[3]

“Insofar as our conceptions of him diverge from what he has disclosed of himself, so far are we worshipping a false god, which is normally called idolatry. To study hard what holy Scripture says about the Son of God, who has most comprehensively revealed his heavenly Father, is to know more about God, and thus to begin to ground our worship in reality rather than slogans.”[4]

ii) What bearing does this study of Jesus as the Son of God have on current debate regarding the translation of the title, especially in Muslim contexts?

“At the street level, many Muslims think Christians believe that God somehow impregnated Mary, and that the Trinity is made up of God, Mary, and Jesus, who is thus the Son of God. They find the construct bizarre, not to say blasphemous, and of course, they are right. Informed Muslims have a better understanding of what Christians mean by the Trinity, but they find this Christian take on monotheism illogical at best, blasphemous at worst. In short, the objection to thinking of Jesus as the Son of God is not restricted to the repulsiveness of the idea that God had sexual union with a woman, but extends to the deeper criticism of the incarnation: the absolute distinction between God and his creation must not be breached.”[5]

“… some sectors of SIL/Wycliffe, Frontiers, and other organizations have for a number of years embarked on a variety of Bible translations that have replaced many references to God as the Father and to Jesus as the Son. For example, in one recent Arabic translation, Al Kalima, the baptismal formula of Matthew 28 becomes, “Cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.” Sometimes “Guardian” has been used instead of “Father.””[6]

See www.al-kalima.com/translation_project.html

“(1) We should all recognize the extraordinary diversity of “son of” expressions in the Bible. Probably they should not all be handled the same way.”[7]

“On almost any reading of the evidence, the associations of the expression [the Son of God] are complicated, theologically laden, and inescapable. Why should it not be better, then, to render the original more directly, perhaps with explanatory notes?”[8]

“… words for “father” and “son” that convey mental pictures of social relationship but not biology may be misleading as words for “father” and “son” that convey mental pictures of a biological connection. For we have seen how “begetting” or “generation” or “engendering” language can be used of the way God becomes the “Father” of the Davidic king, and finally of Jesus himself: that is, the begetting is itself metaphorical. God establishes the Davidide as his son, he begets him, when the Davidide comes to the throne: at that point, so far as the activity of reigning is concerned, the Davidide is to act like his “Father,” and thus show himself to be a true son. This is more than a mere social relationship; it is a metaphorical engendering.”[9]

“… John’s Gospel happily associates Messiah and Son of God, but a passage like John 5:16-30, as we have seen, so deepens what it means to affirm that Jesus is the Son of God that our entire understanding of God and of sonship are enriched and transformed. This is not a mere translational matter. No language, no culture, means by “Son” what Jesus means in John 5–yet “Son” is the category Jesus uses, even though nothing in English, or Urdu, or Arabic, prepares us for a Son of God whose relationship with the Father is anything like what the text describes.”[10]

“… the richest theological loading of the expression “Son of God” as applied to Jesus springs from passages that deploy the expression to cross-polinate distinctive uses. This fact constitutes a driving reason to translate “Son of God” and “Father” expressions consistently, for otherwise, these crucial intracannonical links will be lost to view.”[11]

[1] p.74

[2] p.74

[3] p.75

[4] p.86

[5] p.89

[6] p.89

[7] p.91

[8] p.93

[9] p.101

[10] p.103

[11] p.107

C) Chapter Review:

  • Readability: 9/10
  • Theological depth: 7/10
  • Any other comments: This chapter is a lot more practical and is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the subject of biblical translation as well as the difficult decisions that accompany it.

Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 2]

[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]

“Son of God” in Select Passages

(pp. 43-71)

A) About the author:

D.A. Carson (Ph.D, Cambridge University) is a research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is president of the Gospel Coalition, and has written or edited nearly 60 books.

B) Chapter Summary:

i) Hebrews 1

Note: Dr Carson points out that Hebrews 1:5 cites Psalms 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14

“New Testament texts quote Psalm 2:7 to prove Jesus is superior to angels, to prove Jesus did not take on himself the glory of becoming high priest but was appointed by God, and to demonstrate that God has fulfilled his promises to the Israelite ancestors by raising Jesus from the dead – even though, on the face of it, Psalm 2 does not mention angels, has no interest in the high priest’s office, and makes no mention of the resurrection of the Messiah.”[1]

“… both 2 Samuel 7:14 and Psalm 2:7 depict the Davidic monarch as God’s son, ideally imitating his heavenly father’s kingly rule. Both passages hint at Davidic reign that eclipses anything in the first millennium BC. Both are elements in a trajectory of anticipatory passages that run through the Old Testament.”[2]

See Isaiah 9, Ezekiel 34

“This trajectory–or, to use the more traditional terminology, this Davidic typology–is inherently forward-looking. It anticipates that toward which it points. When Hebrews 1:5 quotes Psalm 2:7 with reference to Jesus, it is the Davidic typology that warrants it; that is, the writer to the Hebrews is reading Psalm 2:7 not as an individual prooftext but as one passage within the matrix of the Davidic typology it helps to establish.”[3]

“… in the Old Testament, God reigns in a peculiar and redemptive way over the Israelites, and thus, via his appointed Davidide, over the Davidic kingdom. As anticipation mounted for the coming of the ultimate Davidic king, it was recognised that that kingdom, when it dawned, would be redemptive and transformative.”[4]

“… just as the kingdom of God sometimes refers to the entire sweep of God’s reign, and sometimes to that subset of his reign under which there is salvation for his own people, so also Jesus’s reign can embrace all of God’s sovereignty, all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18), and sometimes can refer to that subset of his reign under which there is life (e.g., 1 Cor. 6:9-10).”[5]

“… as in 2 Samuel 7, so also in Psalm 45: the immediate referent is necessarily a Davidic king other than Jesus–and yet these texts are nestled within a Davidic trajectory that can be fulfilled only in Jesus.”[6]

“… in Psalm 45: the courtier does not think the king he is addressing is literally, ontologically, God, as verse 7 makes clear. The psalm is loaded with hyperbolic expressions of the king’s majesty, integrity, justice, humility, and power, precisely because these were the standards the king was supposed to maintain if he, as the son of God, was tasked with reigning as his Father reigns.”[7]

“… the sonship language applied to Christ in the prologue cannot be restricted to a strictly Davidic messianic horizon. The writer to the Hebrews, in other words, is prepared to link, within his first chapter, Jesus’s sonship in the Davidic, messianic sense, with his sonship in the sense of his thoroughly divine status, embracing his pre-existence and his oneness with God in creation.”[8]

“Judging by the evidence of Hebrews 1–and a treatise could be written to demonstrate similar support through much of the New Testament–Christians commonly plugged away at integrating confessional christologies. Just as we discovered in chapter 1, that Matthew can leap from an Israel-as-son-of-God christology to a Davidic-king-as-son-of-God christology, showing no embarrassment at affirming that Jesus is the Son of God in both senses, so Hebrews 1 leaps from preexistent-Godhead-as-Son-of-God christology to Davidic-king-Messiah-as-Son-of-God christology.”[9]

Continue reading “Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 2]”

Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 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]

“Son of God” as a Christological Title 

(pp. 13-42)

A) About the author:

D.A. Carson (Ph.D, Cambridge University) is a research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is president of the Gospel Coalition, and has written or edited nearly 60 books.

B) Chapter summary: 

i) Sons and sonship

“In the ancient world, however, the percentage [of sons doing what their fathers did and daughters doing what their mothers did] would have been much higher, frequently well over 90 percent. If your father was a farmer, you became a farmer … if your father was a carpenter, you became a carpenter – which of course is why Jesus could be known both as the carpenter’s son (Matt. 13:55), and, in one remarkable passage, as the carpenter (Mark 6:3 – presumably after Joseph had died).” (p.19)

“He [i.e. your father] established your vocation, your place in the culture, your identity, your place in the family. This is the dynamic of a culture that is preindustrial and fundamentally characterized by agriculture, handcrafts, and small-time trade.

This social dynamic does not necessarily shape the linguistic structures of all cultures characterized by it, but it certainly does the Hebrew culture.” (p.20)

“… there are many “son of X” idioms in the Bible, where the identity of “X” is highly diverse and the relationship between the son and X is certainly not biological.

Consider, for example, the expression “son(s) of Belial,” or “men [or occasionally ‘daughter’] of Belial,” where “Belial” is usually masked by contemporary translations.” (p.20)

See Deuteronomy 13:13, Judges 19:22, Judges 20:13, 1 Samuel 1:16, 1 Samuel 2:12, 1 Samuel 10:27, 1 Samuel 25:17, 1 Samuel 25:25, 1 Samuel 30:22, 2 Samuel 16:7, 2 Samuel 20:1, 2 Samuel 23:6, 1 Kings 21:10, 1 Kings 21:13, 2 Chronicles 13:7, and 2 Chronicles 6:15

“Calling someone “a son of Belial” is not necessarily suggesting that the biological father of the son is Belial/worthless/wicked/a scoundrel/Satan. Rather, it is a dramatic way of saying that the conduct of the son is so worthless/wicked that he is identified with the worthless/wicked family.” (p.22)

“[There are many cases where] the expression “son(s) of X,” the “X” is often abstract, or at least nonpersonal, nonhuman (e.g. son of one year, sons of affliction, son of morning, sons of oil, sons of the quiver). In all such cases, the relationship between the “son” and “X” cannot, of course, be biological.” (p.24) [emphasis mine]

“Who are the sons of Abraham? The true sons of Abraham, Paul insists, are not those who carry Abraham’s genes, but those who act like him, who imitate the faith of Abraham (Gal. 3:7; cf. John 8:33, 39-40), the “man of faith” (Gal. 3:9).” (p.26)

ii) The use of “Son(s) of God” to refer to beings other than Jesus

“In Luke 3, the genealogy of Jesus is traced all the way back to “Adam, the son of God” (3:38) … Certainly Adam is the son of God in the sense that God generated him, making him in the image and likeness of God, created to reflect God’s glory.” (p.29)

“As early as Exodus 4:22-23, the singular expression “son of God” can refer to Israel collectively.” (p.29)

See also Psalm 80:15, Hosea 11:1, Jeremiah 31:9

“The expression “son(s) of God” can refer to God’s covenant people, individually or plurally (rather than collectively) both under the terms of the old covenant and under the terms of the new.” (p.30)

See Deuteronomy 14:1, Isaiah 43:6, Isaiah 45:11, Isaiah 63:8, Jeremiah 3:19, Galatians 3:26, Romans 8:14, Philippians 2:15, 1 John 3:1

“… sonship language can be applied to Christ’s followers when in some way or other they are imitating God, their heavenly Father.” (p.30)

See Matthew 5:9, Like 6:35-36

“More specifically, the Davidic king is designated the “son of God.”” (p.31)

See 2 Samuel 7:14

“When a Davidic assumes the throne, he does so under God’s kingship. The reign of the Davidic king is meant to reflect God’s reign … the Davidic monarch is called the son of God because he enters into the identity of the supreme Monarch, God himself.” (p.32)

See Psalm 2:6-7, Psalms 89:19-29

“The major New Testament writers find ways to distinguish between Jesus’s sonship and the sonship of believers. In John’s Gospel, only Jesus is referred to as ὁ υἱός (“the son”) of God; believers are characteristically referred to as τὰ τέκνα or τὰ παιδία (“the children”) of God (e.g., John 1:12).

In Paul, although υἱός can be used to refer to both Jesus and the believer, only believers are sometimes described as being sons by adoption (Rom. 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:4-5).” (p.33)

Continue reading “Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 1]”

Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 2 – Part 4]

[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 4: pp.68-76)

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:

xi) Why are there different translations of Scripture?

“For centuries the Eastern church had the Bible only in Greek. The Western church had the Bible only in Latin. Since most people were not fluent in these languages, they were unable to read the Bible themselves. One of the great developments of the Protestant Reformation was to return the Bible to the people of the church. The Reformers wanted the people to have the Bible in their own language. Martin Luther and John Wycliffe are just two of the men who risked their lives to translate the Bible into German and English. William Tyndale was charged with heresy and condemned to death because he translated the Bible into English. According to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, he “was tied to the stake, strangled by the hangman, and afterwards consumed with fire,” simply because he wanted people to be able to read the Bible.”[1]

“During the past four centuries there have been hundreds of English Bible translations, and dozens are actively used today. They fall into three major categories.”[2]

“1) Word-for-word translations (also known as formal equivalence translations) emphasize the patterns of the words and seek “as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. . . . Thus it seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original.””[3] (emphasis mine)

Examples include the King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV), English Standard Version (ESV), and New American Standard Bible (NASB).

“2) Thought-for-thought translations (also known as dynamic equivalence or functional equivalence) attempt to convey the full nuance of each passage by interpreting the Scripture’s entire meaning and not just the individual words. Such versions seek to find the best modern cultural equivalent that will have the same effect the original message had in its ancient cultures.”[4] (emphasis mine)

Examples include the New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), and Contemporary English Version (CEV).

“3) Paraphrased translations put the emphasis on readability in English. Therefore, they pay even less attention to specific word patterns in an attempt to capture the poetic or narrative essence of a passage.”[5] (emphasis mine)

Examples include The Message (Message), The Living Bible (TLB), and The Amplified Bible (AMP)

“All faithful translations try to achieve a balance of four elements:

1) Accuracy to the original text as much as possible.

2) Beauty of language.

3) Clarity of meaning.

4) Dignity of style.”[6]

[1] p.69

[2] p.70

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] p.71

[6] Ibid.

xii) How can we best interpret Scripture?

“The first question to ask is, what does the Scripture actually say? God wants to speak to you through the Bible. One error is to under-read the text, missing what is there through lack of attention. The opposite error is to over-read the text, putting preconceived opinions, ideas, or perspectives into the text, which is called eisegesis. Therefore, the goal is to humbly read the text to hear from God, which is called exegesis.”[1]

“To avoid error, it is vitally important to be aware of the type of literature you are reading and interpreting.”[2]

“The second question is, what does the Scripture mean? In this step, you should look for what Scripture is teaching, especially in the original context. Much of the Bible was written to specific people in specific historical situations. The task is to discover that meaning and to understand the meaning of each text in its own terms, categories, and thought forms, beginning with the questions and issues the writer deals with, not the questions we bring.”[3]

“The third question is, what timeless principle truths is this section of Scripture teaching that apply to all of God’s people in all times and places? There are many questions to ask to find the timeless universal principle. Is the text describing an event or belief, or is it prescribing (commanding) a practice, precept, promise, or value?”[4]

“Faithful brothers and sisters from church history can greatly help us see the Scriptures more clearly, as they do not have some of our cultural assumptions.”[5]

“The fourth question is, how should I respond to what God has said? Here we are seeking to understand how the Bible’s teaching applies to our life individually as Christians and corporately as a church today.”[6]

[1] pp.72-73

[2] p.73

[3] Ibid.

[4] p,74

[5] p.75

[6] Ibid.

xiii) How does our view of Scripture affect our life?

“God speaks to us through the Scriptures as a perfectly loving Father. Subsequently, we listen to what Scripture says, learn what it teaches, and make every effort by the Holy Spirit’s empowering grace to repent of our sin, renew our minds, and redeem our lives.”[1]

“As the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures illuminates our understanding, we deeply enjoy our new life guided by our new wisdom of Scripture and our new power from the Holy Spirit, delighting in our new gift of repentance as part of God’s kingdom people together on mission in the world for Jesus.”[2]

[1] p.75

[2] pp.75-76

C) Review of Part 4 of Chapter 2:

  • Readability: 10/10
  • Theological depth: 5/10
  • Any other comments: This part of Chapter 2 is very practical as it addresses issues like bible translation, and biblical interpretation. It’s worth going through it once more to better understand what was said.

 

Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 2 – Part 3]

[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 3: pp.58-68)

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:

vii) Does the Scriptures contain errors and/or contradictions?

“… we believe that all that the Bible teaches is truth from God, whether statements of fact about earth, heaven, humans, or God, or moral commands, or divine promises.”[1]

“The affirmation of the truthfulness of the Bible is inextricably tied to the character of God himself. God is a truthful God who does not lie. Therefore, because God is ultimately the author of Scripture, it is perfect, unlike every other uninspired writing and utterance. Taken altogether, inerrancy is the shorthand way of summarizing all that the Scriptures say about Scripture. Inerrant means that the Scriptures are perfect, without any error. The doctrine of inerrancy posits that because God does not lie or speak falsely in any way, and because the Scriptures are God’s Word, they are perfect. As a result, the entire Bible is without any error.”[2]

See Num. 23:19; Pss. 12:6; 119:89; Prov. 30:5–6

See also as 2 Samuel 7:28, Psalm 19:7–10, Psalm 119:42–43, 142, 151, 160, 163; and John 17:17

“A telling example of the Bible’s accuracy is in the transliteration of the names of foreign kings in the Old Testament as compared to contemporary extra-biblical records, such as monuments and tablets. The Bible is accurate in every detail in the thirty-six instances of comparison, a total of 183 syllables.

To see how amazing this is, Manetho’s ancient work on the dynasties of the Egyptian kings can be compared to extra-biblical records in 140 instances. He is right forty-nine times, only partially right twenty-eight times, and in the other sixty-three cases not a single syllable is correct! The Bible’s accuracy is shown not only in the original work but in its copies as well.

Luke correctly identifies by name, title, job, and time such historical individuals as Annas, Ananias, Herod Agrippa I, Herod Agrippa II, Sergius Paulus, the Egyptian prophet, Felix, and Festus. Political titles were very diverse and difficult to keep straight since every province had its own terms and, worse yet, the terms constantly changed. Yet Luke gets them right: a proconsul in Cypress and Achaia, the undeserved title Praetor in Philippi, the otherwise unknown title of Politarchs in Thessalonica, Asiarchs in Ephesus, and “the chief man” in Malta.”[3]

“Because Scripture is God speaking to us because he wants us to understand, we also believe Scripture usually speaks accurately in ordinary language. Typically the writers use popular language rather than technical terminology … There are also summaries, such as the Sermon on the Mount and Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, which we do not have full transcriptions of but rather only a portion of what was preached. Sometimes, the Bible also gives us rounded numbers rather than exact head counts of …”[4]

Popular language – Gen. 19:23; Mark 16:2; Isa. 11:12; Rev. 7:1; 20:8; Isa. 55:12.

Summaries – Mark 6:44; Acts 4:4.

Rounded numbers – Judg. 20:44–47.

[1] p.58

[2] Ibid.

[3] pp.59-60

[4] pp.62-63

Continue reading “Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 2 – Part 3]”

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

[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 2: pp.47-64)

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:

iv) Who wrote the Bible?

“The human authors of the Bible include kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, a doctor, and scholars. The books of the Bible cover history, sermons, letters, songs, and love letters. There are geographical surveys, architectural specifications, travel diaries, population statistics, family trees, inventories, and numerous legal documents.”[1]

“People who were providentially prepared by God, and motivated and superintended by the Holy Spirit, spoke and wrote according to their own personalities and circumstances in such a way that their words are the very Word of God. God’s supernatural guidance of the writers and their situations enabled them to receive and communicate all God would have us know for his glory and our salvation.

We call this divine inspiration. Putting it a bit more technically, the writings themselves have the quality of being God-breathed. It is not the authors or the process that is inspired, but the writings.”[2]

“The belief that God wrote Scripture in concert with human authors whom he inspired to perfectly record his words is called verbal (the very words of the Bible) plenary (every part of the Bible) inspiration (are God-breathed revelation). Very simply, this means that God the Holy Spirit inspired not just the thoughts of Scripture but also the very details and exact words that were perfectly recorded for us as Scripture. When we say verbal, we believe that the very words are inspired and important, chosen by God, so every word does matter … When we say plenary, we mean there are no parts of the Bible we don’t believe, don’t like, or won’t teach or preach or obey.”[3]

See 2 Tim. 3:16–17; 2 Pet. 1:19–21.

“The biblical authors knew they were writing Holy Scripture.”[4]

See 1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Tim. 5:18; 2 Pet. 3:15–16.

[1] pp.47-48

[2] p.48

[3] pp.48-49

[4] p.50

Continue reading “Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 2 – Part 2]”

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.

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

Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 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]

Trinity: God Is

(pp. 11-35)

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) What is the Trinity?

“God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God. Three persons. While the word Trinity does not appear in Scripture, this One-who-is-Three concept clearly does.”[1]

“… to say that each member of the Trinity is a “person” does not mean that God the Father or God the Spirit became human beings. Rather, it means that each member of the Trinity thinks, acts, feels, speaks, and relates because they are persons and not impersonal forces.”[2]

“The doctrine of the Trinity brings together three equally essential biblical truths without denying or diminishing any. First, there is only one true God. The Old Testament contains a number of clear statements that there is only one God. Likewise, the New Testament clearly states that there is only one God.”[3]

For OT, see Gen. 1:1; Deut. 4:35, 39; 6:4-5; 32:39; 1 Sam. 2:2; 2 Sam. 7:22; 22:32; 1 Kings 8:59-60; 2 Chron. 15:3; Ps. 86:8-10; Isa. 37:20; 43:10; 44:6-8; 45:5, 14, 21-22; 46:9; Jer. 10:10

For NT, see John 5:44; 17:3; Rom. 3:30; 16:27; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Gal. 3:20; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; 1 Thes. 1:9; James 2:19; Jude 25; 1 John 5:20-21

“Second, the Father, Son, and Spirit are equally declared throughout Scripture to be God.”[4]

Father as God – see John 6:27; 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; 2 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3

Jesus as God – see Matt. 28:9; John 1:1-4, 14; 5:17-18; 8:58; 10:30-38 … Matt. 26:63-65; John 5:17-23; 8:58-59; 10:30-39; 19:7.

Holy Spirit as God – see Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:30; Heb. 9:14; Mic. 3:8; Isa. 40:13-14; Ps. 139:7; Acts 5:3-4

“Third, though one God, the Father, Son and, Spirit are distinct persons, The Father and Son are two persons in frequent salutations of letters in the New Testament, as well as in other Scriptures. Scripture is also clear that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not the same person. Likewise, the Father is not the Holy Spirit.”[5]

Father – Son: Rom. 1:17; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3 … John 3:17; 5:31-32; 8:16-18 …

Jesus – Holy Spirit: Luke 3:22; John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1

Father – Holy Spirit: John 14:15; 15:26; Rom. 8:11, 26-27; 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Gal. 1:1

Continue reading “Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 1]”

Was Jesus’s Body Broken for Us?

There seems to be a longstanding tradition to say, during Holy Communion, that Jesus’ body was broken for us. In Richard Baxter’s writings, we see that “The Words of distribution – “Take yee, Eat yee, This is the Body of Christ which is Broken for you, Do this in remembrance of Him,” … – followed the [1549 Book of Common Prayer and 1637 Scottish Book of Common Prayer].”[1] (emphasis mine).

Vernard Eller, in his book titled Could the Church Have It all Wrong? (1997) says that, “In the Lord’s Supper the bread represents the body of Jesus broken for us.”[2] (emphasis mine). Well known bible teacher, John Piper, also uses similar language: “The Lord’s Supper is precious beyond words as a gift from Jesus to his church not only as a reminder of his death for us, but also as an occasion when he draws near to nourish our intimacy with him and strengthen us by his shed blood and his broken body.”[3] (emphasis mine)

This article will attempt to answer the question whether it is right to say that Jesus’ body was broken for us, in a manner which is most faithful to Scripture. First off, let us look at what the Gospels have to say about the matter. It is of utmost importance since these are from Jesus Himself who instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.

  1. The Gospels

Matthew 26:26(NASB)
While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

 

Mark 14:22(NASB)
While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.”

 

Luke 22:19(NASB)
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

From the above passages, what we can derive is that that which is broken is the bread. We see no mention of Christ’s body being broken. A.T. Robertson shares this point when after referring to John 19:30 he said, “The bread was broken, but not the body of Jesus.”[4] However, could it be argued that the broken bread is representative of Jesus’s broken body? We will evaluate the strength of this interpretation later in the article. Moving on, let us examine Pauline passages which make mention of the Holy Communion.

Continue reading “Was Jesus’s Body Broken for Us?”