On Sunday we looked at our theology of Scripture - its nature, its authority, and its role in the Christian life. We started by observing that we're really still in the realm of 'Pneumatology', i.e. our theology of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who inspired the Scriptures, and it is the Spirit that makes the Word come alive in our hearts.
We also observed that it is utterly remarkable that God - the indescribable One - has described himself. Creaturely language cannot adequately describe the Creator, and yet the Creator has put his words in our mouths! Such things are too wonderful for us. And he has by the Spirit revealed the written Word, which points to the living Word, so as to bring his people to himself.
We looked at how Jesus approached the Bible - how he viewed it as final, authoritative, and sufficient, how to put it to memory and cherished it, using it as a tool in the hand for his purposes. In the notes you'll also find an examination of how Peter and Paul approached the Scriptures, as well as a brief discussion about how we ought to receive the Bible. I.e. Protestants have a canon of 66 books - why is that? Why do other traditions have more? What ought we to make of the so-called 'Apocrypha'? Etc.
Find notes below, as well as a couple of videos from different parts of the world, showing us perhaps what we have lost as a people so familiar with the Word - that is, wonder and thankfulness!
We're in the middle of our five-part series on 'Soteriology' - our doctrine/s of salvation. Having established the Power of the Cross (the Servant King enduring horror and shame, 'for us and for our salvation'), we looked last Sunday at the Work of the Cross. How exactly did Jesus' death procure our salvation? How did he win our redemption?
As we discovered last time, the Cross is at the centre of Christianity. Paul says in Gal 6:14 that he will boast in nothing else. Indeed, the history of the Church has been one long story of reckoning with it! With that in mind, we looked at how the ancient Church understood the death of Christ on the Cross, how the medieval Church understood it, and then how the Reformers reckoned with it - all in conversation with Scripture.
On the Cross, Christ is the great Victor - conquering Satan, sin, death and hell.
On the Cross, Christ is the God-Man - standing in our place, doing what we never could.
On the Cross, Christ is our True Example - showing us what love really means.
All of these are good and true answers, and consistent with scripture to a greater or lesser extent. But these are all but melodies without a harmony. There is one answer that unites them all. It's there in the early Church. It's there in the medieval Church. It's there in the modern Church. And it's there in the Scriptures. What is this answer?
On the Cross, Christ is our substitute - pierced for our transgressions.
He became sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God.
Many thanks to all those who attended last night's one-off TTS Scripture session. It was lovely to see so many faces, some familiar, some new!
Our remit was to establish everyday principles for better Bible reading - the fancy word for that is 'Biblical exegesis'. A quotation from Eugene Peterson's book, Living the Message, provided our foundation:
Exegesis as an act of love - as stemming from our delighting in (and savouring) the Word made flesh. From here, we briefly observed how Scripture describes itself, before establishing some of the challenges facing us both before and during Biblical study.
Using what is perhaps the most familiar Bible verse of all - John 3:16 - we did some exegesis for ourselves, getting 'hands on' with John's Gospel, all the while detailing seven exegetical principles:
Some of these might be obvious, some less so. Ultimately, however, we want to handle the Bible well primarily because, with the Psalmist, we would say, "How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts..." [Ps 84:1ff].
You can download the notes below. There's much more in them than I was able to deliver last night. I've included, for example, a list of helpful resources which will hopefully prove helpful. I've also embedded here a few videos cited in the notes, to give you a 'head-start'!
Following our last Foundations session, in which we examined our theology of Scripture, we last night paused our study of 2 Timothy to pick up some left-over threads.
In particular, we asked two questions:
First, how ought we to receive Scripture? Answer: by the Spirit, through the Church. God's people are shaped by the Gospel Word, and are indeed a people of the Word. The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth [1 Tim 3:15]. It's no surprise, then, that through the Spirit we have received the Canon of Scripture. This is a complex topic, with a complex history, but last night we looked at why we have 66 books, and why we in the Protestant tradition believe these (and only these) to be God-breathed.
Second, how ought we to use Scripture? Answer: prayerfully, with God's people, and with care for the primary sense. We started to explore some of this in practice, but we'll no doubt unpack this more in future weeks.
Find full notes below!
(NOTE: we weren't able to discuss even half of what I had prepared last night, which is obviously fine - but there are plenty of other subjects covered in the notes, if you're interested. E.g. how would we respond to the Roman Catholic charge that the canon presents a challenge to Sola Scriptura? What's the relationship between Scripture and the Church? Can we disagree with the creeds, for example? All this and more.)
Following God's good interruption last week, we focused yesterday on the Work of Cross - how (exactly) did Christ's death procure our salvation?
We saw how Scripture (and the Church) has spoken with many voices on the way in which God saved us. Christ's death was like a ransom, conquering the power of Satan and buying us out of bondage. Christ's death satisfied the legal demands of God, which was possible only because he was the God-Man. Christ's death displayed the love of God and provides us with an example to follow.
But all these are melodies without a harmony, a body without a spine. My suggestion last night was that our theology of the Cross must be supported with the truth that the Son willingly subjected himself to the Father's wrath, all for his people. This has been a controversial doctrine - but with Scripture and the Church triumphant, we confess it to be true.
Find notes for last night's session below!
Second year TTS students - click here for the S12 notes!
Welcome to the Theology That Sings blog. Here you'll find news of upcoming events, as well as notes and notices.