Other Works

NPNF, First Series, 3 1-228. (This is considered the most thorough development of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity in the history of the church.) Bavinck, Herman. The Doctrine of God. Trans. by William Hendriksen (Edinburgh and Carlisle, Pa. Banner of Truth, 1977 reprint of 1951 edition ), pp. 255-334. (This is one of the most thorough modern discussions of the Trinity.) Beisner, Calvin. God in Three Persons. Wheaton, Ill. Tyndale Press, 1984. Bickersteth, Edward...

God Created the Universe to Show His Glory

It is clear that God created his people for his own glory, for he speaks of his sons and daughters as those whom I created for my glory whom I formed and made (Isa. 43 7). But it is not only human beings that God created for this purpose. The entire creation is intended to show God's glory. Even the inanimate creation, the stars and sun and moon and sky, testify to God's greatness, The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech,...

Scripture Memory Passage

Students have repeatedly mentioned that one of the most valuable parts of any of their courses in college or seminary has been the Scripture passages they were required to memorize. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Ps. 119 11 NIV). In each chapter, therefore, I have included an appropriate memory passage so that instructors may incorporate Scripture memory into the course requirements wherever possible. (Scripture memory passages at the end of each chapter...

We Can Find All That God Has Said on Particular Topics and We Can Find Answers to Our Questions

Of course, we realize that we will never perfectly obey all of Scripture in this life (see James 3 2 1 John 1 8-10 and chapter 24, below). Thus, it may not at first seem very significant to say that all we have to do is what God commands us in the Bible, since we will never be able to obey it all in this life anyway. But the truth of the sufficiency of Scripture is of great significance for our Christian lives, for it enables us to focus our search for God's words to us on the Bible alone and...

The Role of Scholars

Is there any role then for Bible scholars or for those with specialized knowledge of Hebrew (for the Old Testament) and Greek (for the New Testament) Certainly there is a role for them in at least four areas 1. They can teach Scripture clearly, communicating its content to others and thus fulfilling the office of teacher mentioned in the New Testament (1 Cor. 12 28 Eph. 4 11). 2. They can explore new areas of understanding the teachings of Scripture. This exploration will seldom (if ever)...

Summary Attributes

God's perfection means that God completely possesses all excellent qualities and lacks no part of any qualities that would be desirable for him. It is difficult to decide whether this should be listed as a separate attribute or simply be included in the description of the other attributes. Some passages say that God is perfect or complete. Jesus tells us, You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matt. 5 48). And David says of God, His way is perfect...

Sections in Evangelical Systematic Theologies

Anglican (Episcopalian) 1930 Thomas, 120-23 2. Arminian (Wesleyan or Methodist) 1875-76 Pope, 1 206-9 1767 Gill, 1 25-30 1983-85 Erickson, 256-59 4. Dispensational 1947 Chafer, 1 60 1917-24 Pieper, 1 317-19 1934 Mueller, 137-38 6. Reformed (or Presbyterian) 1559 Calvin, 1 93-96 (1.9) 1861 Heppe, 28-31 1871-73 Hodge, 1 182-83 1937-66 Murray, CW 1 16-22 PC 11-26 1938 Berkhof, Intro. 167-69 7. Renewal (or charismatic Pentecostal) 1988-92 Williams, 1 43-44

Summarize his excellence Introduction

In the previous chapter we discussed the attributes of God that described his being (spirituality, invisibility), his mental attributes (knowledge, wisdom, and truthfulness), and his moral attributes (goodness, love, mercy, grace, patience, holiness, peace, righteousness, jealousy, and wrath). In this chapter we will examine God's attributes of purpose that is, attributes that have to do with making and carrying out decisions (will, freedom, and omnipotence) and his summary attributes...

Knowledge

When should we try to hide our thoughts and deeds from God How is your answer to this question a blessing for your life 4. With regard to the circumstances of your life, will God ever make a mistake, or fail to plan ahead, or fail to take into account all the eventualities that occur How is the answer to this question a blessing in your life 5. When did God learn that you would be at the location you are now in, reading this sentence, at this time on this day How is the realization of your...

Mental Attributes

God's knowledge may be defined as follows God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act. Elihu says that God is the one who is perfect in knowledge (Job 37 16), and John says that God knows everything (1 John 3 20). The quality of knowing everything is called omniscience, and because God knows everything, he is said to be omniscient (that is, all-knowing). The definition given above explains omniscience in more detail. It says...

Why how and when did God create the universe Explanation And Scriptural Basis1

How did God create the world Did he create every different kind of plant and animal directly, or did he use some kind of evolutionary process, guiding the development of living things from the simplest to the most complex And how quickly did God bring about creation Was it all completed within six twenty-four-hour days, or did he use thousands or perhaps millions of years How old is the earth, and how old is the human race These questions face us when we deal with the doctrine of creation....

Some Current Challenges to Inerrancy

In this section we examine the major objections that are commonly made against the concept of inerrancy. 1. The Bible Is Only Authoritative for Faith and Practice. One of the most frequent objections is raised by those who say that the purpose of Scripture is to teach us in areas that concern faith and practice only that is, in areas that directly relate to our religious faith or to our ethical conduct. This position would allow for the possibility of false statements in Scripture, for example,...

Preface

I have not written this book for other teachers of theology (though I hope many of them will read it). I have written it for students and not only for students, but also for every Christian who has a hunger to know the central doctrines of the Bible in greater depth. This is why I have called the book An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. I have tried to make it understandable even for Christians who have never studied theology before. I have avoided using technical terms without first...

Info

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language ed. William Morris (Boston Houghton-Mifflin, 1980), p. 950 (first definition). Essentially the same meaning is adopted by the Oxford English Dictionary (1913 ed., 7 450), the Concise Oxford Dictionary (1981 ed., p. 742), the Random House College Dictionary (1979 ed., p. 964), and the Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary (p. 780), though all note that paradox can also mean contradiction (though less commonly) compare the Encyclopedia...

Questions For Personal Application

In the process of growing in the Christian life and deepening your relationship with God, approximately how much emphasis have you placed on reading the Bible itself and how much on reading other Christian books In seeking to know God's will for your daily life, what is the relative emphasis you have put on reading Scripture itself and on reading other Christian books Do you think the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture will cause you to place more emphasis on reading Scripture itself 2....

Application

Because God in himself has both unity and diversity, it is not surprising that unity and diversity are also reflected in the human relationships he has established. We see this first in marriage. When God created man in his own image, he did not create merely isolated individuals, but Scripture tells us, male and female he created them (Gen. 1 27). And in the unity of marriage (see Gen. 2 24) we see, not a triunity as with God, but at least a remarkable unity of two persons, persons who remain...

Creation Is Distinct From God Yet Always Dependent on

The teaching of Scripture about the relationship between God and creation is unique among the religions of the world. The Bible teaches that God is distinct from his creation. He is not part of it, for he has made it and rules over it. The term often used to say that God is much greater than creation is the word transcendent. Very simply, this means that God is far above the creation in the sense that he is greater than the creation and he is independent of it. God is also very much involved in...

Equal to the Whole Being of

In this diagram, the Father is represented as the section of the circle designated by F, and also the rest of the circle, moving around clockwise from the letter F the Son is represented as the section of the circle designated by S, and also the rest of the circle, moving around clockwise from the letter S and the Holy Spirit is represented as the section of the circle marked HS and also the rest of the circle, moving around clockwise from the HS. Thus, there are three distinct persons, but...

How can God be three persons yet one

The preceding chapters have discussed many attributes of God. But if we understood only those attributes, we would not rightly understand God at all, for we would not understand that God, in his very being, has always existed as more than one person. In fact, God exists as three persons, yet he is one God. It is important to remember the doctrine of the Trinity in connection with the study of God's attributes. When we think of God as eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, and so forth, we may have a...

Attributes of Purpose

In this category of attributes we will discuss first God's will in general, then the freedom of God's will, and finally the omnipotence (or infinite power) of God's will. 14. Will. God's will is that attribute of God whereby he approves and determines to bring about every action necessary for the existence and activity of himself and all creation. This definition indicates that God's will has to do with deciding and approving the things that God is and does. It concerns God's choices of what to...

Practical Encouragement From This Doctrine

The doctrine of the clarity of Scripture therefore has a very important, and ultimately very encouraging, practical implication. It tells us that where there are areas of doctrinal or ethical disagreement (for example, over baptism or predestination or church government), there are only two possible causes for these disagreements (1) On the one hand, it may be that we are seeking to make affirmations where Scripture itself is silent. In such cases we should be more ready to admit that God has...

Explanation And Scriptural Basis A The Meaning of Inerrancy

We will not at this point repeat the arguments concerning the authority of Scripture that were given in chapter 4. There it was argued that all the words in the Bible are God's words, and that therefore to disbelieve or disobey any word in Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God. It was argued further that the Bible clearly teaches that God cannot lie or speak falsely (2 Sam. 7 28 Titus 1 2 Heb. 6 18). Therefore, all the words in Scripture are claimed to be completely true and without error...

Moral Attributes

The goodness of God means that God is the final standard of good, and that all that God is and does is worthy of approval. In this definition we find a situation similar to the one we faced in defining God as the true God. Here, good can be understood to mean worthy of approval, but we have not answered the question, approval by whom In one sense, we can say that anything that is truly good should be worthy of approval by us. But in a more ultimate sense, we are not free to decide by...

Science

At various times in history, Christians have found themselves dissenting from the accepted findings of contemporary science. In the vast majority of cases, sincere Christian faith and strong trust in the Bible have led scientists to the discovery of new facts about God's universe, and these discoveries have changed scientific opinion for all of subsequent history. The lives of Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and...

Introduction to Systematic Theology

What is systematic theology Why should Christians study it How should we study it EXPLANATION AND SCRIPTURAL BASIS A. Definition of Systematic Theology What is systematic theology Many different definitions have been given, but for the purposes of this book the following definition will be used Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, What does the whole Bible teach us today about any given topic1 This definition indicates that systematic theology involves collecting and...

The Bible Frequently Affirms Its Own Clarity

The Bible's clarity and the responsibility of believers generally to read it and understand it are often emphasized. In a very familiar passage, Moses tells the people of Israel And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart and you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut. 6 6-7) All the people of Israel were expected to be able to...

Bibliography

For an explanation of this bibliography see the note on the bibliography to chapter 1, p. 38. Complete bibliographical data may be found on pp. 1223-29. Sections in Evangelical Systematic Theologies 1. Anglican Episcopalian 1882-92 Litton no explicit treatment 2. Arminian Wesleyan or Methodist 1875-76 Pope, 1 242-48 1892-94 Miley, 1 137-58 1983- Cottrell, 1 1-47, 306-87 1987-90 Oden, 1 317-74 1767 Gill, 2 352-64 1887 Boyce, 8-54 1917 Mullins, 35-48 1976-83 Henry, 2 17-167, 247-334 5 375-409...

We Can Never Fully Understand

Because God is infinite and we are finite or limited, we can never fully understand God. In this sense God is said to be incomprehensible where the term incomprehensible is used with an older and less common sense, unable to be fully understood. This sense must be clearly distinguished from the more common meaning, unable to be understood. It is not true to say that God is unable to be understood, but it is true to say that he cannot be understood fully or exhaustively. Psalm 145 says, Great is...

Yet We Can Know God Truly

Even though we cannot know God exhaustively, we can know true things about God. In fact, all that Scripture tells us about God is true. It is true to say that God is love 1 John 4 8 , that God is light 1 John 1 5 , that God is spirit John 4 24 , that God is just or righteous Rom. 3 26 , and so forth. To say this, does not imply or require that we know everything about God or about his love or his righteousness or any other attribute. When I say that I have three sons, that statement is entirely...

Practical Applications of the Sufficiency of Scripture

The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture has several practical applications to our Christian lives. The following list is intended to be helpful but not exhaustive. 1. The sufficiency of Scripture should encourage us as we try to discover what God would have us to think about a particular doctrinal issue or to do in a particular situation . We should be encouraged that everything God wants to tell us about that question is to be found in Scripture. This does not mean that the Bible answers...

Explanation And Scriptural Basis

The authority of Scripture means that 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. This definition may now be examined in its various parts. A. All the Words in Scripture Are God's Words 1. This Is What the Bible Claims for Itself. There are frequent claims in the Bible that all the words of Scripture are God's words as well as words that were written down by men .1 In the Old Testament, this is...

The Canon of Scripture

What belongs in the Bible and what does not belong EXPLANATION AND SCRIPTURAL BASIS The previous chapter concluded that it is especially the written words of God in the Bible to which we are to give our attention. Before we can do this, however, we must know which writings belong in the Bible and which do not. This is the question of the canon of Scripture, which may be defined as follows The canon of Scripture is the list of all the books that belong in the Bible. We must not underestimate the...

Hymn

Systematic theology at its best will result in praise. It is appropriate therefore at the end of each chapter to include a hymn related to the subject of that chapter. In a classroom setting, the hymn can be sung together at the beginning or end of class. Alternatively, an individual reader can sing it privately or simply meditate quietly on the words. NIV niv New International Version RSV rsv Revised Standard Version NASB nasb New American Standard Bible For almost every chapter the words of...