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THEOLOGY > Theology and the Bible  


The Bible is the resource of the theologian, but it should not be classified as a theology. It is not essentially a book of theology, history, science, psychology, or a book of any other subject. The Bible is the Word of God; its indispensable character is Truth (see: Truth). Many subjects are incorporated into the Bible, but it is not to be identified with any particular subject. If a subject is to be ascribed, it would be Truth. Being unique, the Bible is a book with no equal because of the fundamental character of its content.

Perhaps, in the library it should have its own separate room. If this statement is deemed sophomoric, then so be it. But the thought presses the distinctiveness of the Bible upon the mind. The Bible is not to be equated with other books, for it occupies an exalted position above all books. It is in a category by itself. No other book is to be compared to the Scriptures—it is the Book. Only this book is from God.

The Bible is the Revelation to man by God of Himself and His acts, and their meaning (see: Revelation). As has been stated, the best single word to describe or define the content of the Bible is Truth, for in Scripture God is revealing the Truth that He chooses to reveal to man. This Truth descends from above, from heaven, and is not manufactured from beneath, on earth; it is of grace not works. Truth from God distinguishes the Scriptures.

The study of the Truth in the Bible is a continuing responsibility and privilege for the believer. As the Truth is grasped bit by bit, and concept by concept, the student begins to accumulate the data and insight that are needed to construct a valid theology. The process cannot be rushed. In fact, the success of the process is ultimately not dependent upon the student but upon the Teacher, the Holy Spirit. The mind that has been quickened by the Spirit must be taught by the Spirit. And it takes time for the mind to be taught the things of God. Insight into the meaning of Scripture is the gift of grace; the psalmist asked the Lord to “lead me in Your truth and teach me" (25:5). Unless He teaches, there is no comprehension.

But as God imparts and implants His Truth in the mind of His child, there is the natural desire to join concept to concept, fact to fact; within man is the inclination to organize and correlate the various bits of Truth he comes to know. Man is rational in his nature, desiring to systematize that which he learns. Organization is possible because God has blessed man with reason, which must always be the servant of faith.

From the Scriptures we obtain the Truth, which is the data from which a theology is developed. But the Scriptures cannot be said to be a “theology” in the common use of the term. In the Bible the student finds the material for a Christian theology, but the Book is not a theological book.

It is with the great events of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation that the Bible is concerned; and it is through these events that God is revealed. But there is no systematic treatment of God (Theology), or of man (Anthropology), sin (Hamartiology), salvation (Soteriology), or any other theological topic in these events. Instead, we gain greater insight on individual topics as we move through the sacred writings. For instance, we come to see that included in the “us” and “our” of Genesis 1:26 is the “Word” of John 1:1, who is also the coming “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” of Revelation 19:6.

Theology takes the various threads of Truth scattered throughout Scripture and weaves them together into a theological tapestry. Theology flows from the Truth of Scripture, and every theology must continually be evaluated by the Scriptures.

A distinction must be maintained
between theology and the Truth of the Bible:
Theology is the attempt to systematize Truth.

Truth is of God;
theology is of man.

See: Theological Method

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