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J.I. Packer – What Do We Do With Our Questions About the Bible?

12 Sep


God, then , does not profess to answer in Scripture all the questions that we, in our boundless curiosity, would like to ask about Scripture. He tells us merely as much as He sees we need to know as a basis for our life of faith . And He leaves unsolved some of the problems raised by what He tells us, in order to teach us a humble trust in His veracity. The question, therefore, that we must ask ourselves when faced with these puzzles is not, is it reasonable to imagine that this is so? but, is it reasonable to accept God’s assurance that this is so? Is it reasonable to take God’s word and believe that He has spoken the truth, even though I cannot fully comprehend what He has said? The question carries its own answer. We should not abandon faith in anything God has taught us merely because we cannot solve all the problems which it raises. Our own intellectual competence is not the test and measure of divine truth. It is not for us to stop believing because we lack understanding, but to believe in order that we may understand.

~J.I. Packer~

“Fundamentalism” and the Word of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1958), 109.

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John Frame – Theology and Scripture

4 Feb

We must be on our guard lest we confuse the technical theological definitions of biblical terms with the ways those terms are used by the biblical writers. It would be wrong to assume that whenever covenant is found in Scripture, the Westminster Confession’s “covenant of grace” is meant. It would certainly be wrong to assume that a full saving faith is in view whenever Scripture speaks of someone “believing” (cf., e.g., John 8:31 with v. 37-47) or that whenever someone is “called” in Scripture that effectual calling is meant.

Clearly, then, when we adopt a technical definition, we have no right to claim that we have found the “real meaning” or the “deeper meaning” that is only obscurely expressed by the biblical terms. Technical theology does not represent anything deeper or more authoritative than the biblical canon itself. On the contrary, technical theology always sacrifices some biblical meaning to make some biblical points more vivid to the reader. That sacrifice is not wrong. We must sacrifice something in our teaching, since we cannot say everything at once. But we must never assume that a theological system will teach us anything more than Scripture itself. Theology is application, not discovery of some new teaching.

~John Frame~

The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (Phillipsburg, New Jersey; P&R Publishing; 1987) p. 223

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D.A. Carson – Cleaning Up Our Exegetical Messiness

11 Jul

Make a mistake in the interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s plays, falsely scan a piece of Spenserian verse, and there is unlikely to be an entailment of eternal consequence; but we cannot lightly accept a similar laxity in the interpretation of Scripture. We are dealing with God’s thoughts: we are obligated to take the greatest pains to understand them truly and to explain them clearly. It is all the more shocking, therefore, to find in the evangelical pulpit, where the Scriptures are officially revered, frequent and inexcusable sloppiness in handling them. All of us, of course, will make some exegetical mistakes: I am painfully aware of some of my own, brought to my attention by increasing years, wider reading, and alert colleagues who love me enough to correct me. But tragic is the situation when the preacher or teacher is perpetually unaware of the blatant nonsense he utters, and of the consequent damage he inflicts on the church of God. Nor will it do to be satisfied with pointing a finger at other groups whose skills are less than our own: we must begin by cleaning up our own backyard.

~D. A. Carson~

Exegetical Fallacies (Grand Rapids, IL; Baker; 1996) Introduction.

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John Frame – Scripture Itself Matters Most

15 Feb

Regular readers of my work know that I am critical of the typical method of modern theologians (including evangelical theologians), who include in their writing a great deal of interaction with other theologians and very little interaction with Scripture itself. This is an inheritance from the academic model of theology, which I have criticized elsewhere. Interaction with the theological literature is useful in a number of ways. But most important by far is what Scripture itself tells us.

~John Frame~

The Doctrine of the Word of God (Phillipsburg, New Jersey; P&R Publishing; 2010) p. xxviii

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Paul Tripp – The Bible Is a Story

14 Nov

The Bible isn’t an encyclopedia; it is a story, the great origin-to-destiny story of redemption. In fact, it is more than a story. It is a theologically anno- tated story. It is a story with God’s notes.

~Paul Tripp~

What Did You Expect? (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p.16.

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John Stott – But God Has Spoken!

26 Sep

Our minds, wonderfully effective instruments though they are when it comes to scientific investigation, cannot immediately help us here. They cannot reach up into the infinite mind of God. There is no ladder to climb, only a vast, unmeasured gulf. Job, a character in the Bible, is challenged with the question, ‘Can you find out the deep things of God?’ The only answer is ‘No’. It is impossible.

And that is how it would have stayed, had God not taken the initiative to help us. We would have remained forever agnostic, asking – just like Pontius Pilate at the trial of Jesus – ‘What is truth?’ but never staying for an answer, never daring to hope that we would receive one. We would be those who worship, for it is part of human nature to worship someone or something, but all our altars would be like the one the apostle Paul found in Athens, dedicated ‘To an unknown god’.

But God has spoken. He has taken the initiative to make himself known. The Christian concept of revelation is essentially reasonable. The idea is that God has ‘unveiled’ to our minds what would otherwise have been hidden from them.

~John Stott~

Basic Christianity (Downers Grove, IL; IVP; 2012) Ch. 1 – The Right Approach

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John Stott – Where Basic Christianity Begins

24 Sep

Basic Christianity by definition begins with the historical figure of Jesus Christ. If God has spoken, his last and greatest word to the world is Jesus Christ. If God has acted, his noblest act is the redemption of the world through Jesus Christ. God has spoken and acted in Jesus Christ. He has said something. He has done something. This means that Christianity is not just pious talk. It is neither a collection of religious ideas nor a catalogue of rules. It is a ‘gospel’ (i.e. good news) – in the apostle Paul’s words ‘the gospel of God…regarding his Son…Jesus Christ our Lord’. It is not primarily an invitation for us to do anything; it is supremely a declaration of what God has done

~John Stott~

Basic Christianity (Downers Grove, IL; IVP; 2012) Ch. 1 – The Right Approach

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