The Word - Preconditons For Studying The Bible


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This presentation describes the pre-conditions necessary for studying the Bible

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The Word - Preconditons For Studying The Bible

  1. 1. The Word Preconditions for Studying God‟s Word
  2. 2. To Properly approach and study the Bible, there are a number of preconditions that we must agree to… The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  3. 3. Preconditions for Studying God‟s Word I. God VI. Language II. Miracles VII. Meaning III. Revelation VIII. Interpretation IV. Truth IX. History V. Logic X. Exclusivism The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  4. 4. God The Metaphysical Precondition Obviously, there can be no Word of God unless God exists. With respect to existence, metaphysics (beyond the physical) concerns itself with the study of being or reality. Christianity believes in Theism, which says one God created all of reality as we know it and that this God transcends everything. Many things may have being, but only one thing can be Being. And what is “being”? Being is “that which is”. Or as God said in Exodus: "God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, „I AM has sent me to you.‟ ”"(Exodus 3:14). Literally, the verse says “I be that I be”. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  5. 5. God The Metaphysical Precondition "...people say to me continually, 'Where is your God?'" (Psalm 42:3) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  6. 6. God The Metaphysical Precondition I. Something exists II. You don‟t get something from nothing III. Therefore, a necessary and eternal Being exists. IV. The only two rational options are an eternal universe or an eternal Creator V. Science has concluded the universe had a beginning and therefore is not eternal VI. Therefore, God exists , is the eternal Being, and created all that we know " In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  7. 7. Miracles The Supernatural Precondition The Bible is filled with miracles. Skeptics claim that miracles cannot occur, but if you have a transcendent Creator God, miracles become possible. “But if we admit God, must we admit a miracle? Indeed, indeed, you have no security against it. That is the bargain.” - C. S. Lewis The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  8. 8. Miracles The Supernatural Precondition The Purpose of Miracles: 1. To glorify God (John 2:11) 2. To validate God‟s prophets/spokesmen (Acts 2:22) 3. Provide evidence for belief in God (John 6:2) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  9. 9. Miracles The Supernatural Precondition Argument against miracles from Benjamin Spinoza 1. Miracles are violations of natural laws Premise two is flawed. 2. Natural laws are immutable No proof natural laws 3. It is impossible to violate immutable laws are immutable; God 4. Therefore , miracles are impossible transcends the natural order. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  10. 10. Revelation The Revelational Precondition Three Prerequisites for Divine Revelation 1. A Being capable of giving a revelation 2. A being capable of receiving a revelation 3. A medium through which a revelation can be given The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  11. 11. Revelation Three Mediums used by God General Special Ontological Revelation Revelation Revelation "For since the creation of "All Scripture is inspired " In the beginning was the the world His invisible by God and profitable for Word, and the Word was attributes, His eternal teaching, for reproof, for with God, and the Word power and divine nature, correction, for training in was God….And the Word have been clearly seen, righteousness; so that the became flesh, and dwelt being understood through man of God may be among us." what has been made, so adequate, equipped for (John 1:1,14) that they are without every good work.“ excuse.“ (Romans 1:20) (2 Timothy 3:16-17) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  12. 12. Revelation All Denied by Fallen Man General Special Ontological Revelation Revelation Revelation “For they exchanged the "For the time will come when "the wisdom which none of they will not endure sound the rulers of this age has truth of God for a lie, and doctrine; but wanting to have understood; for if they had worshiped and served the their ears tickled, they will creature rather than the understood it they would accumulate for themselves Creator, who is blessed teachers in accordance to not have crucified the Lord forever. Amen.” their own desires, and will turn of glory;“ (Romans 1:25) away their ears from the truth (1 Corinthians 2:8) and will turn aside to myths.“ (2 Timothy 4:3-4) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  13. 13. Revelation Differences in General and Special Revelation General Revelation Special Revelation God as Creator God as Redeemer Norm for Society Norm for Church Means of Condemnation Means of Salvation In Nature In Scripture "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."(Romans 1:20) "and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."(2 Timothy 3:15) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  14. 14. Revelation A God Who Reveals and Hides " At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." (Matthew 11:25-27) "Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 16:16-17) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  15. 15. Truth The Epistemological Precondition The Bible purports to tell the truth about incredibly important things such as God, reality, ethics, Jesus, eternal life, judgment, and more. Moreover, the Bible claims that its truth is absolute, that is, it applies to all people, in all places, for all time. The source of truth is God. Just as with being, many things can have the truth, but only one thing can be the truth. And the Bible is plain on who and what truth is: "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."(John 14:6) "“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth."(John 17:17) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  16. 16. Truth The Epistemological Precondition Enemies of absolute truth include: I. Relativism II. Agnosticism III. Skepticism IV.Postmodernism V. Pluralism Each one of these philosophies is self-defeating – they cannot live up to their own truth claim. For example, the relativist says, “all truth is relative…” Does that include their own statement? If so, then why believe it? If not, then absolute truth exists. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  17. 17. Truth The Epistemological Precondition If anyone ever tells you there is no such thing as truth, they are asking you not to believe them… … So don‟t! The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  18. 18. Logic The Rational Precondition Logic is the study of right reason or valid inferences, with the rejection of arguments that contain fallacious thought. Throughout all of Scripture, you find logical and universal propositions and arguments being put forth about matters. "And according to Paul‟s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,"(Acts 17:2) Literally, Theology is a logos about the theos – the “logic of God”. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  19. 19. Logic The Rational Precondition There are four laws that serve as the foundation of logic: I. Law of non-contradiction – something cannot be “A” and “non-A” at the same time and in the same sense. II. Law of the excluded middle – something is either “A” or “non-A”. III. Law of identity – “A” is really “A”. IV. Law of rational inference – e.g. All men are mortal, John is a man, therefore John is mortal. "Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  20. 20. Language The Linguistic Precondition If the Bible is God‟s Word in human words, then we must acknowledge that finite human language is capable of meaningfully expressing thoughts about an infinite Being – God. “God-Talk” can only occur in one of three ways: I. Equivocally – totally different than God is II. Univocally – exactly as God is III. Analogically – similar to the way God is The Bible‟s language affirms the analogical method of “God-Talk” The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  21. 21. Language The Linguistic Precondition "The Christian faith is mysterious to the core. It is about things and beings that ultimately can't be put into words. Language fails. And if we do definitively put God into words, we have at that very moment made God something God is not" -Rob Bell, Emergent Church Leader Velvet Elvis, p. 32 The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  22. 22. Language The Linguistic Precondition Equivocal talk leaves us completely in the dark about God and assails the concept of special revelation. Univocal talk isn‟t possible as the finite cannot adequately describe the infinite: "“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts."(Isaiah 55:8-9) The Analogical method is the only form of God-Talk left to us. As an example, God is called “good”, but is His “good” the same “good” as that which might be applied to a human being such as Mother Teresa? The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  23. 23. Language The Linguistic Precondition "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words." (1 Corinthians 2:12-13) Here, the Apostle Paul makes clear that God‟s thoughts can indeed by communicated via finite human language. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  24. 24. "They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. . . . “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another‟s speech.”“ (Genesis 11:4,7) Regarding language – what was done at Babel was undone at Pentecost to unite all under God‟s Name… " When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  25. 25. Meaning The Semantical Precondition If we accept that the Bible is God‟s Word written in a language we can understand, then our next step to claim that it has meaning. Further, it has objective meaning, which equates to a meaning that applies to all people, equally, everywhere, regardless of what language is used to convey the truths contained in Scripture. This objective meaning can be conveyed regardless of the language used to convey it (English, German, Aramaic, etc.) so it is transcendent from a linguistic perspective and is not dependent upon particular signs and symbols. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  26. 26. Meaning The Semantical Precondition “To get rid of God, we must get rid of Grammar.” - Frederick Nietzsche The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  27. 27. Meaning The Semantical Precondition Opponents of objective meaning include philosophers such as Saussure, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and others. Philosophers such as Hume and Ayer say that all talk about God is meaningless as only statements that (a) are tautologies or (b) speak about empirical facts can be meaningful; all God-talk to them is nonsense. However, such a position is self-defeating as their claim is neither a tautology nor an empirically verifiable statement. Unfortunately, this is still the stance of many Postmodern‟s today – relativistic meaning . The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  28. 28. Meaning The Semantical Precondition If you don‟t think relativistic or postmodern views of meaning have entered the Church, ask yourself if you‟ve ever been in a Bible study where a leader has asked: What does this passage mean to you…? The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  29. 29. Interpretation The Hermeneutical Precondition Because there is absolute truth and objective meaning in the text of Scripture that has been revealed by God about Himself to rational finite beings, the next question is if we are capable of deriving the objective meaning from His word – can we properly interpret what the text actually says? Even if everything else is true – God exists, He has revealed His Word to us, a Word written in human language that contains truth, rationality, meaning, we must still accurately interpret the text to discover the true meaning behind what God is saying. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  30. 30. Interpretation The Hermeneutical Precondition Some philosophers (such as postmodernist Jacque Derrida) hold to a private interpretative position – that any text must be interpreted subjectively by reading, deconstructing, and reconstructing the text so that the interpretation and ultimate meaning fits with what the reader believes it to be. The proper interpretation and ultimate meaning does not lie with the author but with the reader. There is no one correct interpretation. Yet, this view becomes self-defeating for postmodernists such as Derrida who write books and expect their writings to be properly interpreted and followed in the manner they – the author – intend and desire. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  31. 31. Interpretation The Hermeneutical Precondition The science of Biblical interpretation consists of a number of guidelines that should be followed, including the following: I. The author determines the meaning, not the reader. II. The author‟s what is more important than their why in writing. III. The meaning is in the text, not outside it. IV.There is one correct interpretation – one objective meaning in a text An author is the efficient cause of meaning – the goal of interpretation is to determine that meaning. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  32. 32. History The Historical Precondition Christianity is inseparably tied to historical events. The knowability of history is key to Christian theology, but also apologetically as well because the life of Christ as we know it depends on the historicity of the New Testament documents. How do we anything from history actually occurred? We rely on written eyewitness accounts from individuals whose testimony can be trusted (preferably multiple sources that agree). And using this standard, there is not another historical document from antiquity that has proven to be more reliable than the Bible. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  33. 33. History The Historical Precondition Some argue that we cannot really know anything from history and put forth the following arguments: I. The past cannot be directly observed. II. Our knowledge of history is fragmentary. III. Selective inclusions/exclusions can skew understanding. IV. History depends upon selective and proper arrangement. V. Value judgments enter into recording of history. VI. Worldviews enter into the recording of history. VII. Miracles are super-historical. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  34. 34. History The Historical Precondition Each objection to history being knowable is easily answered: I. Forensic science is very highly regarded and used to understand what happened in the past. Many crimes solved with this discipline. II. As long as you have the key pieces of evidence, you can understand what happened. You don‟t need 100% of the evidence to make a decision. Rarely does a jury have 100% knowledge when they render a judgment. III. There is a difference between condensing an account and excluding material that produces a different understanding IV. There is no reason to conclude that a historian cannot properly arrange events. V. Value judgments are needed to properly do the work of a historian. VI. Concluding that worldviews cloud the recording of history is like saying a Holocaust victim couldn‟t record events of the Holocaust. VII. The evidence for the rare (miracles) can exceed that for the regular. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  35. 35. Exclusivism The Oppositional Precondition The Bible is a book that makes many exclusive claims such as: "“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me."(Exodus 20:2-3) "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."(John 14:6) As such, these claims exclude any and all challengers to them. Any other religion is deemed invalid. The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  36. 36. Exclusivism The Oppositional Precondition The challenger to an exclusivistic stance is the philosophy of pluralism, which makes the claim that all religions are equal and basically teach the same thing. This, however, runs against logically thinking as all religions teach radically different things about major religious doctrines (e.g. the nature of God). In short, pluralism may be fine in matters of opinion but not reality: “Pluralism is desirable and tolerable only in those areas that are matters of taste rather than matters of truth.” - Mortimer Adler, Truth in Religion The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  37. 37. Preconditions for Studying God‟s Word I. God – He exists II. Miracles – Are possible because God exists III. Revelation – God has revealed Himself in creation, His Word, and Jesus Christ IV. Truth – Is absolute and knowable V. Logic – Is used by a rational God and His rational creatures to decide things The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  38. 38. Preconditions for Studying God‟s Word VI. Language – Analogical language is used to express ideas about God to finite human beings VII. Meaning – Objective meaning is available in the Bible VIII. Interpretation – Can be used to discover the true meaning in the text of Scripture as placed there by the author IX. History – We can trust and believe historical accounts by applying criteria that ensures its validity X. Exclusivism – Must be used in matters of truth and is used throughout the Bible The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  39. 39. But there is one last precondition for Studying the Bible… The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  40. 40. Salvation The Regenerative Precondition "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1 Corinthians 2:14) " For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  41. 41. “The Bible is not addressed to just anybody. Its message is directed to a chosen few.” – A. W. Tozer, Why People find the Bible Difficult The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  42. 42. Philosophy without God… "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.”“ (1 Corinthians 3:18-20) "Professing to be wise, they became fools," (Romans 1:22) The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  43. 43. A Warning to All… "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8) Lit. “Rob”; “Spoil” (as one would a young girl) “We have educated ourselves into imbecility” - Malcolm Muggeridge The Word – Preconditions to Studying God‟s Word
  44. 44. The Word Preconditions for Studying God‟s Word