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Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day - Book Review
by Angela Doreathy Watkins
12/07/2012 / Book Reviews
This book has 211 pages and has Bible Scriptures as references.
Theology is the study of God himself - who he is and what he has done and will do.
The Bible is the very Word of God, without error, completely true and trustworthy; Jesus Christ is who he claimed to be, fully and eternally God as well as fully human.
The word itself comes from the Greek terms for "God" (theos) and "word," "thought," or "reason" (logos).
Theology can be thought of as the study of the Bible.
Only a person of faith, one who understands trusts in God and trust in his Word, can truly understand his Word as he intends.
God will never ask us to trust in something for which there is no insufficient basis for belief. Through his Spirit, he will guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
Too often theology has been motivated by pride that seeks to show the superiority of one's intellect and knowledge. God-pleasing motives "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31) and to help the church may be built up (I Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 1:28).
God desires to use theology (biblical truth) to transform us into godly people.
Interesting Fact: Up until the last couple of centuries, theology was known as the "queen of the sciences." You were not considered to be educated in any field of study unless you had also studied theology.
Our knowledge of God is absolutely dependent upon divine revelation; and not only is he willing to be known, he desires to be known.
History is the working out of God's plans and purposes, and whether we know it or not, we experience and observe his work in all current events.
God's ultimate revelation of himself was through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Old Testament often references the "angel of the Lord (Yahweh),: as in Judges 6:11, when this specific "angel" came to Gideon while he was threshing wheat. In the same passage, this individual is referred to only as "the Lord" (verse 14), so clearly this is not just any angel of God but God himself. The term applied is theophany, an appearance or visible "manifestation" of "God."
This ultimate revelation became permanent when Jesus was born. The apostle John show the significance by referring to him as the "Word" (logos), "The Word was God" (John 1:1), and "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (verse 14). As a result, "he has made God know" (verse 18). Jesus Christ is the supreme communication from God and of God. We can know God because he became one of us in the person of Jesus Christ.
Because God is always truthful and correct in whatever he says (II Samuel 7:28; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18), his Word also is truthful and correct in whatever it says (Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 30:5). Theologically, the Bible is inerrant, that is, without error.
God is faithful and always can be trusted to do what he says (Numbers 23:19, I Corinthians 1:9, I Thessalonians 5:24), the Bible, as the Word of God, also can be trusted (II Samuel 7:28).
The Bible is inerrant and infallible. God does not make mistakes, and his Word does not include mistakes.
Not only is the Bible sufficient for what we are to know and do, but it is also understandable to the average reader. It's encouraging that graduate training in Hebrew, Greek, and theology are not necessary to comprehend the Bible.
This does not mean everything in the Bible is easy to understand. The things of God are deep and ultimately incomprehensible. Neither does Scripture's clarity nullify the need for pastors and Bible professors.
"There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5; I Corinthians 8:4-6; Ephesians 4:6; James 2:19).
God demonstrated his mind-boggling power to speak everything into being: "God said, 'Let there be ... (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26; Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3)
Only God is eternal; everything else came through his will (Isaiah 44:24; John 1:3). This includes both the material and scripture realms (Colossians 1:16). The theological term (from Latin) for such creation is ex nihilo, meaning "out of nothing."
Evil did invade God's perfect creation, and early on, but it is not eternal.
His handiwork will be perfected through his redemptive or re-creative work, by which he will reverse and remove the effects of evil and sin and restore creation to what he originally intended.
Even sin cannot keep God from fulfilling his purposes, in the world as a whole or through humanity in particular.
God sovereignly rules and controls his creation (Psalm 47; Daniel 4:17) : the doctrine of divine governance or guidance. God had a plan for his creation even before he had created anything, and everything h does is for the purpose of working out that plan (Acts 2:23; 4:28; Ephesians 1:4, 11). His highest purpose in every act is to glorify himself (Isaiah 48:11; Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).
Not only did God create everything through his unequalled power, he also sustains everything through that same power.
God works through his creation in order to carry out his plans: the doctrine of concurrence (meaning that God works in harmony, cooperation, or agreement with creation). God controls the weather, and through it, he provides rain that nourishes vegetation, animals, and people (Psalm 135:7; 104:14:147:8-18; Matthew 5:45). He also works through people and events in history (Daniel 2:21; Jonah 1:15; 2:3; Acts 4:27-28; 17:26).
There are many angels. The apostle John had a glimpse into heaven and recorded, "I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, ten thousands times ten thousand" (Revelation 5:11). They are powerful but not all-powerful. They are intelligent but not omniscient.
God created them for delivering his message (Daniel 10). Other primary activities include worshiping God (Revelation 5:8-14), carrying out his judgments (Revelation 8-11), and protecting his people (Acts 5:19; 12:7-11).
It seems that all angels were created good and holy, they are referred to as "holy ones" in Psalm 89:5-7 but at some point, many rebelled against God. These are referred to as "evil spirits" (Luke 7:21) and often as "demons" (Romans 8:38: James 2:19), especially in the Gospels (Matthew 8:28-33: Luke 4:33-36). Paul calls them "spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).
Christians should be encouraged be the work of good angels on their behalf, whether or not it can be perceived. (II Kings 6:8-23, especially verse 17). With regard to Satan and demons, we should take their threat seriously, they are still dangerous. We should remember that through his death, and resurrection, Jesus Christ has ultimately broken their power and sealed their eventual doom (Colossians 2:13-15; Hebrews 2:14). They will be eventually judged and thrown into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 20:9-10).
Our true confidence is that God is greater than Satan and demons, and he is on our side (I John 4:4).
Christ's resurrection is absolutely vital to Christianity and our salvation, and as such, the fact appears in the earliest creeds of the faith, two of them being the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. Paul wrote of it in I Corinthians 15, his great chapter on resurrection.
His resurrection was essentially the Father's "stamp on approval" on Jesus' substitutionary sacrifice. The Father accepted his work, and the basis for the plan of salvation was successfully laid.
His resurrection demonstrates that Christ's death defeated death (I Corinthians 15:54-57).
His resurrection is evidence of the great victory (II Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14-15).
His resurrection provides spiritual life for believers in him, it results in their regeneration, being born again.
Jesus' resurrection guarantees the resurrection of believers in him.
Jesus' resurrection should encourage Christians to be faithful in obeying and working for the Lord (I Corinthians 15:58).
The solid evidence for it includes the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to many people, including the women at the tomb (Matthew 28:1-10), the apostles (Luke 24:36-49), and hundreds of others (I Corinthians 15:6).
"God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administration, various kinds of tongues" (I Corinthians 12:28).
God sovereignly distributes them according to his will (I Corinthians 12:11, 18), God has given each and every Christian a role and responsibility in the body of Christ and the supernatural ability, in the form of a spiritual gift or gifts, to fulfill it. He knows best how to orchestrate this, and we should be content with the gift he chooses for us.
Spiritual gifts can be abused; they can be used or exercised out of pride or for one's own glory (Romans 12:3). We are to exercise spiritual gifts to build up the church as a whole, not our own reputation or ego.
If any spiritual gifts are motivated by anything other than love, they amount to nothing (I Corinthians 13:2,3).
Interesting Fact: There is no command to know one's spiritual gift(S). God will certainly direct us to a venue of service than coincides with the spiritual gift(S) he, through his Spirit, has given us.
Bethany House provided me with this review copy.
Daryl Aaron earned his ThM at Dallas Theological Seminary and his PhD at Graduate Theological Foundation. He spent fourteen years in pastoral ministry before coming to Northwestern College where he is Professor of Theology and Bible. Dr. Aaron lives in Mounds View, Minnesota, with his wife Marilyn. They have one daughter, Kimberly, who recently completed her master's program and will join her father on the faculty of Northwestern College teaching Spanish.
Read more articles by Angela Doreathy Watkins
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