Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Not to Do with Theological Truth

Your testimonies are righteous forever;
Give me understanding that I may live
(Ps 119:144)

The old Baptist theologian, J.L. Dagg, begins his Manual of Theology by setting out the purpose of theological synthesis and study:
The study of religious truth ought to be undertaken and prosecuted from a sense of duty, and with a view to the improvement of the heart. When learned, it ought not to be laid on the shelf, as an object of speculation; but it should be deposited deep in the heart, where its sanctifying power ought to be felt. To study theology, for the purpose of gratifying curiosity, or preparing for a profession, is an abuse and profanation of what ought to be regarded as most holy.
Today, Lee Irons has helpfully identified the deceitful and antithetical tendency in many Christians and ministers, who pursue theological perfection, as opposed to maturity in Christ. Irons has noted that pursuit of theological perfection:
  • Gives us the feeling that we are addressing spiritual realities, when we are really just analyzing them.

  • Causes us to think that our life is dependent upon intellectual synthesis rather than walking in His grace.

  • Promotes spiritual pride, rather than the awe of a worm before His glorious God (cf. Rom 11:33-36)

  • Causes disunity and division, rather than unity centered upon the Gospel.

    The Problems of Theological Perfectionism

    HT: JT
Understanding is for life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Get a Bible with all the Words!

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD (Deut 8:3).

If it is the Word of God, then every word matters! Since learning Hebrew (and Aramaic) and Greek is unrealistic for everyone, it is imperative that one studies the most accurately rendered translation. Here is some helpful and provocative counsel on Bible translations from our friend, John Piper... get one with all the words!


While we at TPC would commend the NASB for its textual basis and its consistent application of formal equivalence in translation, the ESV and NKJV are also helpful translations.

For a helpful survey and review of the plethora of English translations, see the accessible and thorough treatment by Dr. Thomas, How to Choose a Bible Version.

For a good critique and overview of the current debates on dynamic equivalence and reader-response theories in Bible translation see Leland Ryken's The Word of God in English.