The series Doctrines in the Kitchen continues and I have been so blessed by each of the posts our hosts have served us. At the same time I am very grateful for each one of you, our readers. Thank you for coming and taking the time to feast with us.
Today is Thursday of Borrowed Words and what an excellent opportunity we have to read a few quotes from a book that at a certain point of my life, I would have never dreamed to buy: Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem, and now I enjoy so much.
When you have a big book like this one (1245 pages) that will lead you by the hand through different doctrines taught throughout the Bible, it is very encouraging to read these words in the first chapters:
“Nowhere in Scripture do we find doctrine studied for its own sake or in isolation from life. The biblical writers consistently apply their teaching to life. Therefore, any Christian reading this book should find his or her Christian life enriched and deepened during this study; indeed, if personal spiritual growth does not occur, then the book has not been written properly by the author or the material has not been rightly studied by the reader…”
These words are so important to consider, please, read them again “Therefore, any Christian reading this book should find his or her Christian life enriched and deepened during this study; indeed, if personal spiritual growth does not occur, then the book has not been written properly by the author or the material has not been rightly studied by the reader…”
That is the purpose of studying the Scriptures, of reading the “big books”, of digging deeper into the Word: to grow spiritually. Our goal is never to know more for the sake of knowing more, but to know more for the sake of wanting to grow more.
This is another quote that speaks of my own experience, and it is of great weigh when considering getting deeper into the Word:
“…it is inevitable that someone studying a systematic theology text or taking a course in systematic theology for the first time will have many of his or her own personal beliefs challenged or modified, refined or enriched. It is of utmost importance therefore that each person beginning such a course firmly resolve in his or her own mind to abandon as false any idea which is found to be clearly contradicted by the teaching of Scripture. But it is also very important for each person to resolve not to believe any individual doctrine simply because this textbook or some other textbook or teacher says that it is true, unless this book or the instructor in a course can convince the student from the text of Scripture itself. It is Scripture alone, not “conservative evangelical tradition” or any other human authority, that must function as the normative authority for the definition of what we should believe.”
This happened to me. I had learned and learned well so many things that were not grounded in the Scriptures (even though I thought they were), but as soon as I started to dig deep into the Word, I had to put aside most of what I have learned and start aligning my beliefs (and conscience) to the Holy Scriptures, and not only to those few verses I liked and were out of context. Oh, how I love my Lord and His Word which is forever true!
Grudem lists several reasons on “Why Should Christians Study Theology? Why should Christians study systematic theology? That is, why should we engage in the process of collecting and summarizing the teachings of many individual Bible passages on particular topics? Why is it not sufficient simply to continue reading the Bible regularly every day of our lives? :
On Grudem’s words:
“1.The basic reason for studying systematic theology, then, is that it enables us to teach ourselves and others what the whole Bible says, thus fulfilling the second part of the Great Commission.
2. The Benefits to Our Lives:
* First, studying theology helps us overcome our wrong ideas (rebellious ideas).
* Second, studying systematic theology helps us to be able to make better decisions later on new questions of doctrine that may arise.
* Third, studying systematic theology will help us grow as Christians. The more we know about God, about his Word, about his relationships to the world and mankind, the better we will trust him, the more fully we will praise him, and the more readily we will obey him. Studying systematic theology rightly will make us more mature Christians. If it does not do this, we are not studying it in the way God intends.”
And how should we study Systematic Theology?
Grudem lists 6 ways:
1. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Prayer.
2. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Humility.
3. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Reason.
4. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Help From Others.
5. We Should Study Systematic Theology by Collecting and Understanding All the Relevant Passages of Scripture on Any Topic.
6. We Should Study Systematic Theology With Rejoicing and Praise.
Dear friends, it is our prayer that God will draw us to a deeper relationship with Him. And the only way we can know that we are indeed walking close to Him, in a close relationship with Him, is if we are digging deep into His precious Word, if our soul is only satisfied when we drink from the only fountain of Living Water, the Perfect Word of God, and we are then transformed day after day by its power.
>Hi Becky,What an encouraging post! It is such a blessing to me hear what other God-fearing women have to say. Thank you for sharing this with me!I especially liked in the post, "…Third, studying systematic theology will help us grow as Christians. The more we know about God, about his Word, about his relationships to the world and mankind, the better we will trust him, the more fully we will praise him, and the more readily we will obey him."The trust part is the clincher for me since that is the first thing that comes up when we are tested with a trial. Being in His Word is the place for us to be – it was foreordained that is for sure!Many blessings to you and our sisters in Christ,Christina Lum
>I love this blog and would LOVE to own either of these books! Please throw my name in the hat!!!Leslie Christopherleskayc@gmail.com
>I haven't post any comment on this!! oops! and this is the book i'm willing to have in my bookshelf too!!! Although I'll be well pleased if any of the beautiful ladies waiting to have this one in their bookshelves have it instead :)God bless you Becky!
>I discovered your blog as a link from Leslie Wiggins' website. I am thrilled at the depth of the teaching and the high view of God as well as the high view of Scripture. Thank you for providing women with serious Bible Study which has the potential for changing lives under the direction of the Holy Spirit.Please enter me in the end of the month drawing for one of your resources, as well as the drawing for Horton's Systematic.missm33(at)windstream(dot)net
>Throw me into the mixing bowl too–I'd love to have my own copy!Thanks for the opportunity.
>I'd love to be entered in the giveaway!
>I don't currently have a Facebook, but I'd love to be entered for the Horton book. Thank you!
>I don't have Facebook, so please enter me for the Grudem drawing. I already have Horton's Systematic Theology. Thanks, Becky!
>I had to unlearn and relearn many things as well related to scripture. God is faithful and wise in leading us to all the right sources and people, and for that I am ever thankful!I would also like to win Grudam's book, and will "like" you as soon as my Fb fast is over!Love and blessings!
>It would be difficult to think of a better systematic written for today. It's solid material all the way through. There are only a couple of possible places where I might disagree with something Grudem says, but he writes in such a manner that I'm left wondering why I disagreed in the first place. That's the way Christian disagreements over doctrine should be. It makes me run to the Word and check to see if these things are true (Hmmm, sounds like the Bereans, doesn't it?).Anyway, good post, Becky. Keep up the good cooking in the kitchen!
>This is a great book! A friend of was redeemed by God a few weeks ago and I gave her my copy of this book. I really think it's one all believers should read!
>Great words this morning Becky. I think a lot of Christians are beginning to reexamine what they've been taught these days, which is an indication that God's Spirit is doing something. There seems to be a growing chasm between REALLY bad theology and the resurgence of sound doctrine. For this reason I think false doctrine can be a good thing in the church: " For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." I Corinthians 11:19 Bad teaching separates the sheep from the goats and makes the righteous hunger and thirst. I see that in Scriputure and I've witnessed that personally and in my church experiences. Praise God for His promise to always leave His Remnant! Much love to you today Becky. Thank you again for hosting this fantastic series and bringing all of us women together in one place…Your sweet Kitchen.
>Thank you for this truthful post and the recommendation of the book. I'm becoming more and more aware of the need to fill my mind with sound doctrine and not waste my time on the watered-down versions and downright false teachings.
>Absolutely wonderful! Truly knowing God is the key to the Christian life. It affects everything. I remember reading John Piper's book "Future Grace" and being struck with the reality that if I know God and believe His Word to be true, then I will obey Him. If I truly believe that He is all-satisfying, I will obey Him because the temptations of this world offer me nothing.Last night, we had a time of teaching about prayer. Here is a quote that stood out to me that shows the interconnectedness of knowing God and prayer:"If prayer is talking to God, who is this God that we talk to? At the level of our human experience, we can assert the following: how we talk to people, and what we say, will to a large extent be governed by how well we know them. The better we know them, the more we know about them, the more intimate our speaking will be" (Goldsworthy, p. 18).May we all know Him and commune with Him. In our time with Him, may we grow to look like Him just as old married couples grow to look like one another.Enjoy the sweet fellowship, my friends!!Thanks for another awesome post! 🙂
>Thank you, Becky, for such a rich start to a wonderful feast! Btw, I love your apple, that one is for you, to be sure.Of Wayne Grudem's ST, I applaud this:"…if personal spiritual growth does not occur, then the book has not been written properly by the author or the material has not been rightly studied by the reader…"You've shared such excellent guidelines for effective Bible study, a safeguard against acquiring knowledge for knowledge's sake. If we do not become more like Him from our study, it is wasted on grey matter alone. But God's Word penetrates right down to the marrow of our bones!Much love,-E
>I'm thinking I need to add this book to my library, too.Like Diana, I've grown much in the past year…largely because of online friends who sharpen me. I had not even heard of Reformed Theology until I started reading blogs of women like yourself, who encourage others so greatly. Thank you. May God be praised!
>Great excerpt from Grudem. I probably need to add that book to my library. 🙂
>I am reminded of the words of a wise person: "If our theology does not lead to doxology then it is dead orthodoxy". And I am so grateful for this blog, Becky, which helps me to personally fulfil point 4 of Grudem's quote, "we should study systematic theology with help from others". It has been nothing less than a delight for me to be able to discuss the doctrines of our Great and Awesome God with other godly believers that I have met online, and I think it is no coincidence that personally I have grown spiritually so much in the last year, as I have had these discussions. So thankful for you all. Love to you from the UK 🙂