Bible reading

Getting Started – A Brief Explanation of Biblical Theology

I want to try and set forth a brief case for why biblical theology is needed within a local church body and explain the principles that guide and shape it. Wish me luck, because there are a lot of things that could be said about either of these.
For starters, I think it’s worth mentioning that biblical theology is just a name that we have given to a certain way of understanding the bible. It is, however, how the bible has been properly understood and interpreted since the time of the New Testament authors (and Old Testament, for that matter).

In the next couple of weeks, I hope to establish that this is the right way of understanding the bible through these blog posts and in our Sunday seminars (which, in case you forgot, are starting this Sunday and will continue for five weeks).  My hope and prayer for this is that it will clarify and inform our personal reading of Scripture, which in turn will be fuel for heart-filled worship and benefit anyone involved in a local church.

Biblical theology steps back and views the forest for the trees. That’s not to say that it neglects the trees, though. Without the trees you have no forest. But if you have no idea that you’re in a forest in the first place, the trees look daunting, unfamiliar, and tough to climb. Biblical theology provides a map by which you can find your way through the forest, and in so doing, see the glory of each of the individual trees much more clearly.

This is accomplished by viewing Scripture in a particular way. Instead of seeing the bible as a collection of 66 books and poems and letters that are disjointed and unfamiliar to each other, biblical theology teaches us that the bible is really one book by one author telling one story.

What is the story? It is the story of a King and his Kingdom. It is a story about God and His people.  It is a story that begins in the beginning (Genesis 1:1) and ends when all things are made new (Revelation 21:5). And it is a story that traces God’s plans and intentions throughout all of this.

Put more succinctly, it is the story of God redeeming people from every tribe, language, people and nation (Revelation 5:9) through the blood of His eternal Son (John 1:2) to the praise of His glorious grace (Ephesians 1:5-6).

This story, in my opinion, unfolds beautifully throughout the bible, and I hope to be able to show that to you here and in the seminars.

A few things to note about the seminars:

Timing: We’ll be getting started between 12:30 and 1:00pm every Sunday for the next few Sundays. The reason I chose this time is because I hope it will serve to extend Sunday fellowship among the people of the Crossing as well as some friends from nearby churches. The first seminar will have lunch provided, but after that I invite you to bring your lunch to the seminar so you can eat and fellowship with people as we gather around God’s word.

You will need to come ready to think. God has given us minds that are best employed when they are in service to Him (Matthew 22:37). Be ready to learn a lot of new words. You’ll be hearing about things like exegesis, hermeneutics, systematics, progressive revelation, typology, covenantal arrangements, epochs, eras and many other things that may be unfamiliar to you now, but will quickly become part of your vocabulary.

Notes are not necessary, but helpful.

You don’t need to come to all of the seminars; they should stand alone well enough, but will be best when done all together.

You can go as far as you want with it. I’ll advise literature and provide optional assignments that I think will be highly beneficial.

My desire is not to preach, but to facilitate some informative conversations. So come ready to share what you think and any questions that may arise.

Lastly, by way of personal appeal, I have grown deeply in my appreciation for God’s Word since having been introduced to these concepts. I hope this course will benefit you all in same way by increasing your love and the ability to savor the grace of God. That’s why we’re doing this. That’s why we should do all things (Psalm 34:8).

Bible Reading Plans

Ready or not, here it comes: 2011. Of all the things that you could commit to in 2011, spending time with God in His Word should be at the top of the list. Psalm 1:3 describes one who delights in and meditates on God’s Word day and night:

    “He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
    that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
    In all that he does, he prospers.”

Maybe you have failed in past commitments to read the Bible daily… join the club. Don’t give up. Nothing worth doing comes easy, and spending time in God’s word is no different. There are tons of different plans and structures for daily time with God in His Word. Justin Taylor has compiled many of them in a recent post, and he provides links to access the Word in several different formats (online, text, audio, podcast, mobile, etc). If you don’t have a plan for reading the Word, I would suggest that you browse his post, and find a plan that will help you enjoy God and His Word in the year(s) to come.