Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The study of God (essential truths of the Christian faith)

The study of God; general and special revelation

[1] Theology: from the Greek words theos, meaning God, and logos, meaning study.

[2] Theology begins with the study of God. Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 1:1; John 1:1

[3] God reveals himself in two ways – general revelation or special revelation.

[4] In general revelation, God reveals himself:

  • to all men (Matt. 5:45; Acts 14:17)
  • everywhere (Psalm 19:2)
  • at all times (Acts 17:24-28)
  • through creation (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-23)
  • and conscience (Romans 2:14-15).
  • [5] In special revelation, God reveals himself through supernatural methods, including scripture, to believers. The only true knowledge about God is from the Bible (John 1:18; 1John 4:12).

    [6] Knowing God, by J.I. Packer

    “We are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.”

    Sources: (1) The Great Doctrines of the Bible by Rev. William Evans; (2) Bible Doctrines from Bible Broadcasting Network; (3) Theology from Galyn Wiemers’ Generation Word

    Note: Surf to the index of essential truths of the Christian faith (doctrinal devotional)

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    Divine names are given to Christ, from “The Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Evans

    Notes: (1) “The Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Rev. William Evans, Ph.D., D.D. is a well-respected reference material for Bible students, pastors, missionaries and laymen. You can read the entire book from Google (click the picture of the book cover), or download the complete zipped e-book. (2) Surf to the index of lessons and online quizzes from Evans. (3) The most important ideas and statements from this part of Evans’ book are listed in the “Basic truths” section below.



    a) He is Called God.

    John 1:1--“The Word was God.” Heb. 1:8--“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever.” John 1:18--“The only begotten Son (or better “only begotten God”).” Absolute deity is here ascribed to Christ. 20:28-“My Lord and my God.” Not an expression of amazement, but a confession of faith. This confession accepted by Christ, hence equivalent to the acceptance of deity, and an assertion of it on Christ’s part. Rom. 9:5--“God blessed forever.” Tit. 2:13--“The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” 1 John,5:20--“His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God.” In all these passages Christ is called God.

    It may be argued that while Christ is here called God, yet that does not argue for nor prove His deity, for human judges are also called “gods” in John 10:35--“If he called them gods unto whom the word of God came.” True, but it is then used in a secondary and relative sense, and not in the absolute sense as when used of the Son.

    b) He is Called the Son of God.

    The references containing this title are numerous. Among others see Matt. 16:16, 17; 8:29; 14:33; Mark 1:1; 14:61; Luke 1:35; 4:41. While it may be true that in the synoptic Gospels Jesus may not be said to have claimed this title for Himself, yet He unhesitatingly accepted it when used of Him and addressed to Him by others. Further, it seems clear from the charges made against Him that He did claim such an honor for Himself. Matt. 27:40, 43--“For he said, I am the Son of God.” Mark 14:61, 62 --“Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed” (Luke 22:70--“Art thou then the Son of God? And Jesus said, I am.” In John’s Gospel, however, Jesus plainly calls Himself “the Son of God” (5:25; 10:36 11:4). Indeed, John's Gospel begins with Christ as God: “The Word was God,” and ends with the same thought: “My Lord and my God” (20:28). (Chapter 21 is an epilogue.)

    Dr. James Orr says, in speaking of the title Son of God as ascribed to Christ: “This title is one to which there can be no finite comparison or analogy. The oneness with God which it designates is not such reflex influence of the divine thought and character such as man and angels may attain, but identity of essence constituting him not God-like alone, but God. Others may be children of God in a moral sense; but by this right of elemental nature, none but He; He is herein, the only Son; so little separate, so close to the inner divine life which He expresses, that He is in the bosom of the Father. This language denotes two natures homogeneous, entirely one, and both so essential to the Godhead that neither can be omitted from any truth you speak of it.”

    If when He called Himself “the Son of God” He did not mean more than that He was a son of God, why then did the high priest accuse Him of blasphemy when He claimed this title (Matt. 26: 61-63)? Does not Mark 12:6--“Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son,” indicate a special sonship? The sonship of Christ is human and historical, it is true; but it is more: it is transcendent, unique, solitary. That something unique and solitary lay in this title seems clear from John 5:18--“The Jews sought the more to kill Him....because he....said....also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.”

    The use of the word “only begotten” also indicates the uniqueness of this sonship. For use of the word see Luke 7:12; 9:38; John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9--“The only son of his mother.” 9:38--“For he is mine only child.” This word is used of Christ by John in 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9, and distinguishes between Christ as the only Son, and the “many....children of God” (John 1:12, 13). In one sense Christ has no brethren: He stands absolutely alone. This contrast is clearly emphasized in John 1:14, 18--“only begotten Son,” and 1:12 (R. V.)—“many....children.” He is the Son from eternity: they “become” sons in time. He is one; they are many. He is Son by nature; they are sons by adoption and grace. He is Son of the same essence with the Father; they are of different substance from the Father.

    c) He is Called The Lord.

    Acts 4:33; 16:31; Luke 2:11; Acts 9:17; Matt. 22:43-45. It is true that this term is used of men, e.g., Acts 16:30--“Sirs (Lords), what must I do to be saved?” John 12:21--“Sir (Lord), we would see Jesus.” It is not used, however, in this unique sense, as the connection will clearly show. In our Lord’s day, the title “Lord” as used of Christ was applicable only to the Deity, to God. “The Ptolemies and the Roman Emperors would allow the name to be applied to them only when they permitted themselves to be deified. The archaeological discoveries at Oxyrhyncus put this fact beyond a doubt. So when the New Testament writers speak of Jesus as Lord, there can be no question as to what they mean.” --Wood.

    d) Other Divine Names are Ascribed to Him:

    “The first and the last” (Rev. 1:17). This title used of Jehovah in Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12. “The Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 22:13, 16); cf. 1:8 where it is used of God.>

    Basic truths

    [1] “Jesus Christ is called God.” John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Heb. 1:8; Rom. 9:5; Tit. 2:13; 1 John 5:20

    [2] “Christ is called the Son of God.” Matt. 16:16, 17; 8:29; 14:33; Mark 1:1; 14:61; Luke 1:35; 4:41; Matt. 27:40, 43; Mark 14:61, 62 Luke 22:70; John 5:25; 10:36 11:4. “The use of the word ‘only begotten’ also indicates the uniqueness of this sonship.” Luke 7:12; 9:38; John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9

    [3] “Christ is called the Lord.” Acts 4:33; 16:31; Luke 2:11; Acts 9:17; Matt. 22:43-45

    [4] Other divine names are ascribed to Him:
    “The first and the last” (Rev. 1:17; Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12

    “The Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 22:13, 16); cf. 1:8 where it is used of God

    Further study
    (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

    [1] Study guides and online quizzes in Christology (interim curriculum)

    Click hereThe articles on Christology from Jesus: A Biblical Defense of His Deity by Josh McDowell and Bart Larson are part of the interim curriculum. We have prepared these study guides which you can use in two ways: (1) Read the study guide first so you can have an overview of the article; and (2) After reading the article, try answering the study guide questions to test your comprehension. Online, interactive quizzes with automatic scoring are also available.

    Index of study guides

    1. Appendix
    2. Jesus Christ Is God
    3. Jesus Christ Possesses the Names and Titles of God
    4. Jesus Christ Possesses the Attributes of God
    5. Jesus Christ Possesses the Authority of God
    6. God Became Man in Jesus Christ
    7. We Have the Witness of the Early Church
    8. What Are Some Common Objections to the Deity of Christ?
    9. Is Jesus Christ Your Lord?
    10. How the Authors Discovered New Life in Jesus Christ

    [2] Materials by John F. Walvoord

    [3] The Person of Christ, by Charles T. Buntin , M.S., M.A.R. (also available in Spanish)

    [4] Christology: Jesus Christ, by Greg Herrick Th.M., Ph.D.

    [5] Figuring out the “Firstborn” in Colossians 1:18, by Andrew Perrin

    Sermons on John 1:14 (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

    [1] The Critical Chapter, by Douglas James Wilson

    [2] Baby, Creator, Savior, Lord, and King! By Phillip W. Mansfield

    [3] Logos, by Timothy Grant

    [4] John #05 Became Flesh, by James (Jim) L. Goforth, Jr, New Life Baptist Church

    [5] #3 Showing God's Light, by Matthew Starin, Baptist World Mission

    [6] Beginning at the Beginning 2 - Salvation on the Heels of Rebellion, by Richard DeRuiter

    [7] Before the Beginning, by Charles Leman Eldred

    [8] Christmas According to John, by Michael Stark, New Beginnings Baptist Church

    [9] The Centrality, Supremacy, and Superiority of Jesus Christ, by Daniel Radke

    [10] The Word of God - Jesus is God, by Tom Daugherty, Trinity Theological Seminary

    [11] Positive Identification, by Charles Leman Eldred

    [12] Once In an Eternity, by Pastor Jeremy Stephens, Southview Baptist Church

    [13] The Deity/Humanity of Jesus, by Robin Fernandez

    Sermons on Philippians 2:6 (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

    [1] Incomparable Supremacy, by Pastor Jeremy Stephens, Southview Baptist Church

    [2] A Stranger at the Door, by Joe Vinson, Southeast Baptist Church

    [3] The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ, by Sam Jones

    [4] Humiliation Before Exaltation, by Marvin L Jackson

    [5] 122407 Christmas Eve Reason for Season 3 Cradle Cross Crown, by Donald L Hardaway

    [6] Why God Became Man, by Randy D. Starkey, East Bend Baptist Church

    [7] Sermon illustrations on the Kenosis

    [8] Master Violinist Goes Unrecognized, by Bruce W. Logue

    Note: This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials.