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What the Scriptures State about the Scriptures (Bibliology)

BC 12/90


To develop a statement that accurately reflects what the Scriptures say about themselves, and the implication for believers.

I. Steps to prepare for studying:

A. Find the key verses and major divisions/approaches to the subject.


1. Attached to each study guide is a brief summary of the topic and verses. (For the first study on Bibliography there is a NYSB Notebook to aid you.)


2. For a quick listing of the major verses and key divisions of a doctrine see the Theological Summaries in the back of a Ryrie Study Bible.


3. For a quick overview of a subject and some pertinent verses look it up in a Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia (New, Ungers, Zondervan, ISBE, etc.)


4. More detailed discussions and divisions of a topic may be found in order increasing length:


Elwell: Dictionary of Theology.

Ryrie: Survey of Bible Doctrine

Ryrie: Basic Theology

Chafer/Walvoord: Major Bible Themes

Willmington's Guide to the Bible

Theisson's Lectures on Systematic Theology

Chafer's Systematic Theology

Torrey: The Fundamentals

Hodge: Outlines of Theology (not exactly in our camp)


[If you want to buy one book, Ryrie's Basic Theology is your best bet.]


B. After familiarizing yourself with the subject, study what appear to be the key Biblical verses, using whatever skills and tools you possess.


C. Arrange the results of your study in an orderly fashion: group related verses, note logical progression/development, highlight key conflicts (between verses and systems of thought) and resolve them.


D. Synthesize your findings into a concise statement and compare it to other doctrinal statements on the same subject. Note where you'd agree and where you understand a statement to depart from Scripture. Study verses which supposedly support a view with which you'd differ.


E. Jot down any thoughts or questions you'd want to discuss in a study group or larger setting.


F. Write out a number of lifestyle responses or commitments someone should make who believes what you've believe the Bible states about the subject, which would be appropriate to include in a covenant of membership for a Biblically based church.


G. Memorize one verse on the Subject.


H. Review Section III. (Proposed Standards) to see if you meet them and/or if they should be modified.

I. Doctrine OF THE SCRIPTURES (Bibliology)

A. Revelation

The central contention of the Old and New Testaments is that God has revealed Himself to man to communicate information vital for man's well being. That information concerns the way God has acted and will act in His relationship to man, and thus defines the responsibilities of man to God. (Jn 1:14, 18; I Pt 1:20-21; Dt 32:46-47)


B. Inspiration

II Timothy 3:16 asserts that all Scripture is God breathed.


C. Authority

God has validated His spokesmen, the prophets and apostles through supernatural signs and wonders, demonstrating that their message is the Word of God, sanctioned by the Creator-God. Thus the Scriptures are the revealed will of God, the final authority in all matters to which they speak.  (Jn 16:13; II Cor 12:12; II Pt 1:20-21; 3:15-16; Dt 18:18, 22)


D. Inerrancy

The issues of revelation, inspiration, and authority of Scripture, as well as our Savior's use of it require an inerrant view of the original writings. (Mt 4:4; 5:17-19; 22:23-33; 41-46; Lk 24:44; Jn 10:35; Gal 3:16)  The Spirit of God insured that what was written was what He wanted written. (Jn 16:13; II Pt 1:20-21)


E. Illumination

The Spirit of God has revealed the mind of God to the apostles and guided them into all truth. (I Cor 2:10; John 14:26) His ministry to believers is to guide them in obedience to the revealed truth. (I Cor 2:13-14)


F. Canon

The individual books of Scripture are self-authenticating, based upon their authorship, internal consistency, harmony with the rest of Scripture, and their use by God in the lives of His people. (Lk 11:51; 24:44; Jn 6:63)  On the basis of such a definition, the Apocrypha would be excluded.


G. Interpretation

Scripture should be interpreted as a normal piece of literature following consistent grammatical and literary principles in light of its textual, historical and cultural contexts. (Gal 3:16; Mt 22:31-32)

III. Proposed Standards for a Maturing Disciple

A. Knowledge Standards:

1. To be able to explain the case for NT and OT inspiration


2. To recite from memory one verse that supports inspiration


B. Obedience Standards:

To be employing all five methods of integrating the Word into one's life. (See below.)


C. Ministry Standards:

1. To be able to articulate the case for inerrancy and provide reasonable solutions to alleged "contradictions"


2. To know the general direction of a "philosophical" conversation dealing with:

a. Why has God given us the Scriptures?

b. What is truth, and why must it be revealed?


IIIB-1. Elaboration of the Obedience Standard:

If the Scripture is God's authoritative word, then to be ignorant about or ignore its teachings is to rebel against God. Therefore every believer should be persuing a rigorous program of learning what God has said and obeying it. There are five complementary methods of integrating the Scriptures into one's life: (Hand Illustration)


1. Meditating - is the process of thinking through the implications of a passage for applications. This technique must accompany other all the other exposures to the Scripture. See below on Application. (Joshua 1:8)

2. Hearing - regular exposure to sermons, lectures, cassettes and radio programs must be employed and balanced with other methods.


3. Reading - systematic, purposeful reading of the Scriptures form the basis of a Daily Devotional Time, in which God speaks to us from His word, and we speak to Him in prayer. Regularly reading through the Bible in a year or so is a good approach to expose yourself to all that God has revealed, yet must be combined with meditation, application and prayer to change us into the image of Christ.


4. Studying - Observation, Interpretation, and then Application are the major steps in studying God's word. Frequently we delude ourselves into thinking we understand what God has said and wants us to do, when we've merely skimmed the surface, skipping over God's revelation until we come to a word or phrase that sounds familiar to us. We then invest the familiar words with our own meaning and come away with an understanding or interpretation that is frequently a distortion or sometimes a perversion of God's word.


a. We develop a base for accurate interpretation and application by first practicing accurate observation: noting what words, grammar, syntax, structure and style the author is using to communicate. We then interpret the Bible consistently and literally in accord with the passage's contexts: linguistic, grammatical, literary, structural, historical, cultural, revelational, and applicational.


1) Linguistic - we recognize that words have a variety of meanings and that our task is to determine which meaning the author intended his original audience to understand.


2) Grammatical - words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs follow the normal laws of the author's language are to be interpreted as such.


3) Literary - authors used numerous stylistic and rhetorical elements and figures of speech to develop and apply their concepts. Our task is to be attuned to an author's literary style and argument so we can determine when he's using a figure of speech or rhetorical device.


4) Structural - authors arranged their thoughts in discernable units and patterns of argument, often to make specific theological points, and at other times to aid communication and retention. Our task is to identify the basic structure of a passage, chapter, section, and book, so we know what point an author is making at any given point in his writing.


5) Historical/Cultural - authors wrote from a specific time and place in history to an audience in a specific historical, geographical, theological, political, sociological and cultural setting. We must understand the times of the author and his audience before we can understand why he wrote as he did, and apply his words to our day.


6) Revelational - one must recognize the progressive nature of God's communication to man in order to accurately interpret. Authors wrote in a theological context, that often changed as God gave additional revelation to later authors which expanded, clarified, fulfilled or even changed previous revelation. For example, the OT dietary prohibitions changed in the NT.


7) Applicational - a key to accurate application, is being able to state what the author (and God) wanted the original audience to do in response to God's revelation. It is only after we determine a passage's application to its original audience that we can determine the principle behind that application, and then the applicability of that principle to a modern audience.


We've concluded our first round of Observation when we've identified all the key words and phrases in a passage and can answer the questions: "Who, What, When, Where, Why and How" about the passage.


b. Our goal in Interpretation is to place a passage in its appropriate contexts and determine what an author meant by what he said, and what he intended his audience to do when they understood his meaning. A passage has one meaning, usually one application to the original audience and frequently one application to a modern audience. (See below). We've almost finished the process of interpretation when we can answer every aspect of the questions: "Why did the author record 1) this, 2) here, 3) in this manner? 4) What did he expect the original audience to do, 5) and why?"


A brief note on Correlation:

After we've finished the above process for a passage we can then check to see how our interpretation fits into the context of other books written by the author, the rest of the Testament, and the whole of the Bible. Since the divine Author of Scripture is the same throughout, our presupposition (borne out by study and verification) is that the Scripture is a continuous unit, progressively expressing God's revelation of truth, and thus without contradiction between its parts. The process of building a Systematic Theology is to provide a verification of our interpretation (not a determination) by comparing what God has said about a subject in one place with what He's said about the same subject in another place. Systematic Theology also provides a framework for demonstrating a logical, consistent flow between the arrangements of various subjects. One compares Scripture with Scripture only after one understands the individual Scriptures to be addressing the same subject. To reverse the process is to impose one's prejudices upon the Scripture, rather than letting the Scriptures change us and modify our imperfect systems.


c. The point of Observing and Interpreting the Scriptures is Application. God revealed His truth so that we could respond appropriately to it. He revealed information about Himself so that we could respond in worship. He revealed information about us and His plan so we could live wisely and obediently.


Since some examples and commands in Scripture (such as bring an animal for sacrifice) don't have an immediate application to us today, we must determine the principle or God's intent behind His commands or recording of an example, before we can think about how that principle works its way out in our historical, cultural, theological and personal context.


God's intent is frequently best expressed in a principle or timeless truth that has relevance and application to both ancient and modern audiences. Sometimes the principle must be brought across an hermaneutical bridge and modified before we can determine how it applies to us ("Go cry against Nineveh"). Other times the principle is immediately relevant ("Declare what God's done.")


It is generally true that a passage has one meaning but many applications. But it is more likely that just as there was an intended application by the original author (and God) there is an intended application (by the Holy Spirit) for a specific immediate context today.


It is helpful to think of the Scriptures as having applications in the areas of what we're supposed to know, feel, value, and do. If we focus on one area to the exclusion of the others, we will eventually fail to follow the purpose for which God gave us the Scriptures.


IIIB-2. Application of the Obedience Standard:

If one believes that the Bible is God's authoritative word for how life works and what He wants us to do (which will be used to judge on the last day), then there should serious and verifiable effort expended to integrate the Word into our lives. Thus one would see a growing disciple eagerly devoting themselves to mastering the Word and having the Word master them. To wit, regularly exposing oneself to opportunities to learn the Scriptures; taking notes to reinforce learning and to serve as a basis for further study; examining the Scriptures as did the Bereans to see is what they heard was so; keeping a record of their Devotional Times to track what God is doing in their life and understand what He's emphasizing and teaching them as well as to develop a record or testimony of how God intervenes and answers prayer or changes incorrect prayer.

5. Memorizing - a regular program of Scripture Memory is essential if the Spirit of God is to use the Word of God to form in us the Mind of Christ. We are transformed by the renewing/reprogramming of our minds. If the Word of God is not in the forefront of our thoughts we will continue to succumb to temptation.

IV. {From the Discipleship Materials}

Your relationship to the WORD of God   KEY: II Timothy 3:16-17


OBJECTIVE: The God of the Universe has taken pains to communicate vital  information to His creatures, is anybody listening? As you consider the  verses in this unit you will be awed (hopefully) by the absolute necessity  of the Word of God in your life as a believer, and will learn five ways to make the Word part of your daily life, (especially in your Quiet Time!!)




It was the means of our being born again                      I Pt 1:23; James 1:17-18

It is the cause of growth in the Christian life                  I Peter 2:2

It sets us free from sin                                                        John 8:32; 17:17   

It keeps us from sin                                                             Matt 4:4; Psalm 119:9-11

It delivers us from trials                                                      I Peter 1:21

It is the basis of answered prayer                                     John 15:7

It is the basis of success and prosperity                          Psalm 1 Joshua 1:8

It is the means to an abundant life                                  John 6:63; 20:31

It guides us through life                                                      Psalm 119:105

It contains all things for life and godliness                     II Peter 1:3-4

It is a source of joy and delight                                        Jeremiah 15:16

It teaches us how to interact with other believers          Colossians 3:16

It builds us up and gives us an INHERITANCE!!!!      Acts 20:32

It equips us for service to our Lord and Master             II Timothy 3:17




The "HAND" illustration: Hear, Read, Study, Memorize, and MEDITATE!

What does it say / What do I see? What does it mean? How does it apply?

Ask the questions: Who? When? Where? What? Why? How? about the passage.

Meditation is thinking through the implications for application.




II Timothy 2:15 and 3:16-17 describe a process matures a believer and  equips him for serving God. 


TEACHING - shows us the right PATH. (Information about what God is like,  what man is like, and what God requires of man, and gives to man: TRUTH.)


REPROOF - shows us when we are OFF the path. (Points out errors, habits,  and sins of commission and omission through commands and examples.)


CORRECTION - shows us how to get BACK ON the path. (Instruction/Examples)


TRAINING - shows us how to KEEP ON the path. (Lifestyles, relationships,  and habits to develop. Look for motivations, encouragement, deeper insight  into God's plan, warnings, and greater understanding of His purposes.)


Record summary thoughts from your time in a notebook to reinforce  them in your thinking, and to be able to share something with others!!

V. Miscellaneous Verses that might be helpful

MAT 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.

22:29 Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.


26:54 "How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?"

26:54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"


26:56 "But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left Him and fled.

26:56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.


LUK 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.


JOH 5:39 "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that bear witness of Me;


7:42 "Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?"


JOH 10:35 "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),


19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty."


ACT 1:16 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.


17:2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,


17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.

17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.


ROM 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.



I Cor 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,


2PE 1:20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,


2PE 3:16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.


I Tim 5:18

I Cor 2:13