So educate me...

Discussion in 'Theology' started by andyboylester, Apr 12, 2012.

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  1. andyboylester

    andyboylester Member

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    Hi. I have this question to ask and it's really bugging me.
    How necessary is it to have all or some of the following in order to understand the bible? And what order, from the most important to least.
    A) A formal theological education
    B) An understanding of classical languages (Greek, Hebrew, Latin whatever).
    C) Revelation from the Holy Spirit and a teachable heart.
    D) the "right" version of the bible.
    I only ask because so often arguments and divisions arise among believers because of splitting theological hairs. I believe, (and forgive me if this is heresy) that God is actually quite a clever chap, and is able to communicate His will and message in spite of our education or lack thereof. That He is well able to use and bless and save using any version of the bible that has been published in good conscience by believing men (or women), and that actually, He has little regard for theology in general, given it's propensity to cause division and strife among people who should be loving one another in true christian fellowship.
    Just thought I'd ask...
     
  2. Tina

    Tina Member

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    I think this is the right order ....

    C)
    A)
    B)


    As for D) , there is no "right" version of the Bible, although KJV is the closest, most other versions are equally reliable. It depends on personal preference.
     
  3. jasoncran

    jasoncran Member

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    it amazes me that we christians think that unity in christ must mean also uniformity in christ.

    even the jews didnt agree on the messiah, the sages taught to types. ben david and ben joseph and which one would come is what they argue about.that said the sages were well instrumental in preservation of the law and its readings. go figure.
     
  4. Danus

    Danus Member

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    Absolutely none of this is important for understanding God or his word.
     
  5. Elijah674

    Elijah674  

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    :waveGo check out the Bible Study forum. You might find some Bible verses for your questions there?

    --Elijah
     
  6. John 8:32

    John 8:32 Member

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    I will gently disagree here and say C) is the only thing necessary...

    Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    A)There are those with PhD's from prestigious institutions including theological seminaries who have never come to the truth or been converted.

    B)There have been men who have read and spoken Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek fluently, yet never come to understand the Bible or been converted.

    D)There is no "right" version of the Bible. There are those who disagree over doctrine and salvation in every translation camp.

    Only those who are truly converted and have the spirit of God and obey God understand.
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Member

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    Although I suspect many here will disagree, I think that Christians should make reasonable efforts to become theologically literate. I believe there is a deeply unhealthy "laziness" that has permeated modern Christian culture. Yes, we need to open to the leading of the Spirit. But, there is no substitute for doing the hard work of thinking carefully and deeply about the Bible.

    Of course, each individual has different abilities to get into "deep" theology - people have limited time, different educational backgrounds, etc. But we should resist the easy path that avoids hard and careful study. The rewards are rich; I believe that each theological truth, no matter how obscure, has fundamental implications for how we live.
     
  8. childeye

    childeye Member

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    I would say C is the only thing necessary and that depends on what degree of understanding. The thing is, theology is seeking to unravel the mysteries of God, while walking in Christ is simply trusting in the Character of the Person of God.
     
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  9. Drew

    Drew Member

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    I believe this is a false "either / or". Why do you believe that "theology" is in any sense "opposed" to "walking in Christ is trusting in the Character of the Person of God".

    Please be specific.
     
  10. childeye

    childeye Member

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    I don't think they are opposed. I just think theology is lesser than believing in the Character of God. Not so that one who studies theology is walking lesser in Christ, but that Christ is what it is all about, knowing God personally. More can be done by God in one second of revelation than men can do in lifetimes of study. Jesus said, bless you Father, for you reveal to mere children what you hide from the learned and scholarly, and Paul said knowledge puffs up. I am simply agreeing with those sentiments, without meaning to disparage someone's strong desire to understand God's relation to His creation.. Thank you for having me clarify.
     
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  11. handy

    handy Member

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    Andy,

    I see many are picking C as the only correct answer. I would say that C is part of the correct answer.

    To C, Revelation from the Holy Spirit and a teachable heart, I would add what the Scriptures tells us that we need... the Body. Each other.

    One could argue that revelation from the Holy Spirit comes from pastors and teachers and other Christians, but I think it's important to specifically understand that God doesn't call Christians to be the guru on the hill or the wise man in the cave. I've known Christians and have actually seen several times, Christians who will hold their bible's up in the air and say "I got the Spirit so this is ALL I need!!!".

    God's word says otherwise. We do need each other as iron sharpening iron, to learn from and to share what we've learned and to help correct when someone has misconceptions.

    I would say that A and B are good things, valuable things and we can learn much from those who have this education. I'm glad that most pastors, when getting formal training, are to learn a working ability to understand the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek languages our Scriptures are based in, because they can give insight into passages that can be easily misunderstood in our English.

    You say, "God is actually quite a clever chap, and is able to communicate His will and message in spite of our education or lack thereof. That He is well able to use and bless and save using any version of the bible that has been published in good conscience by believing men (or women), and that actually, He has little regard for theology in general, given it's propensity to cause division and strife among people who should be loving one another in true christian fellowship."

    And I agree for the most part. He is more than able to use and bless and save using any solidly translated version of the Bible. I myself, was saved reading the Gospel of John in The Living Bible which isn't even a translation but a paraphrase. Nonetheless, even though it wasn't a translation based upon the textus receptus, His Spirit was able to use the words to bring life to me and it was milk to my baby spirituality.

    But, I disagree that He would have little regard for theology in general. If we look at theology as a way to understand sound doctrine then we see its importance. While I think God can move mightily in anyone, no matter how much or how little education they have...it's good to remember that God uses all. Peter was a man with little to no formal education. Paul was very learned. God used both men.
     
  12. Danus

    Danus Member

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    :nod Your absolutely correct. I missed that in my haste.
     
  13. childeye

    childeye Member

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    I knew you missed that in your haste. Could happen to anyone.
     
  14. Stormcrow

    Stormcrow Member

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    "Theology" literally means the "study of God." So unless you're going to study God - His character and nature - how in the world are you going to know what you're believing in???

    Those who separate the study of God from belief in God have no idea what they claim to believe in.

    Horses and carts, people.
     
  15. Sinthesis

    Sinthesis Member

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    Understanding the Bible is not the objective. The Bible helps one to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     
  16. Adullam

    Adullam Member

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    To "C" is to understand! ;)
     
  17. childeye

    childeye Member

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    I see the point you are want to make, and so I appreciate the question. How is it that I know my wife without studying her? Can an illiterate man without any scripture know God? Moreover the term God is an absolute, hence there exist false gods that if studied are a waste of time. The Christ says, who do you say I am? Not what do you say I am.

    So what am I believing in is simply this, that the True Creator God is One that would sacrifice himself to save others as opposed to every false god who would sacrifice others to save themselves. That is all I need know and it is seen at the cross of Christ.
     
  18. Drew

    Drew Member

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    I would say that a grasp of theology is necessary to fully understand the character of God.

    Again, I believe you are drawing a false distinction. I believe that part of knowing God "personally" is to understand the grand theological narrative present in the Scriptures.

    I think this is a mistake. You are, I politely suggest, buying into the line of thinking that seeks a way of avoiding doing the hard work of understanding the theology that is present in the Scriptures.

    It would be nice if the fruitful Christian life were simply a matter of "sitting back and letting God download knowledge into your mind". I suggest that the reality is much more demanding on us.

    I see no reason whatsoever to think that careful, scholarly study is not part of an overall program of Christian development. In other words, no shortcuts.
     
  19. childeye

    childeye Member

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    Jesus said his words are life. I would never say his words are not found in scripture, and knowledge of Who he is cannot be ascertained by studying scripture. But it is his own words that say that God reveals to mere children what He hides from the learned and scholarly. This too leads to understanding the Character of God since it reveals that wisdom is in Him and not in and of man's own efforts to become wise. Elsewhere the Apostle says that to know Love is to know God, and Love is Spirit. Christ is a simple Truth that even children who can't read can comprehend.

    Paul was once Saul a very well versed theologian. This did not open his eyes to God however. God does indeed download information and also does so while one is reading scripture. But let's remember that all scripture was written by men who had information downloaded by revelation so that they could write it down. Cannot God do this with anybody?

    I love theology Drew. I can't seem to get enough of those thoughts that dwell upon God and the workings of spiritual things. I do not begrudge any man such compulsion to want to understand all things, I in fact encourage it. But I say what I say only because in the end if we have not Love, we have studied in vain.
     
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  20. andyboylester

    andyboylester Member

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    lol Can of worms or what.

    I could tell you all about my wife, show you photo's of her and tell you her favourite colour, food music etc. I don't think that all that would mean that you know her as much as someone who has spent time with her and built up a relationship with her.
    I'm not afraid of studying theology. I'm sure that there is much to be learned about God by studying the thoughts and writings of godly men, but there are a great many christians who don't have the time, education or (to be brutally honest) the intellect to get to grips with deeper theology. What about them? are they to be relegated to some kind of second class christianity where they are not qualified to talk about God? What about testimony? How does received knowledge (received from man, that is), compare with your actual experience of how God has dealt with you personally?
    I got baptised in the spirit while riding my motorbike two weeks after receiving Christ. I was overcome by laughter and had to stop at the side of the road while I cried with laughter for a whole 10-15 minutes. I had never heard of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the church I was at didn't preach it, and it was ten years before the whole Toronto thing even happened. It was God. I laughed a whole load of filth and corruption out of my soul.
    I can already guarantee that there are going to be at least four different rationalisations of my experience, one offer of deliverance ministry, one condemnation for heresy, a couple of halleluja's and possibly an offer of employment at a vineyard church.:lol
     
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