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Unlock 2 Ways To Truth: Biblical Theology vs Systematic Theology


Unlock 2 Ways To Truth: Biblical Theology vs Systematic Theology
Biblical Theology is God’s theology as revealed in holy Scripture. Systematic theology orders His thinking for our human understanding.

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Unlock 2 Ways To Truth: Biblical Theology vs Systematic Theology



Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. Ecclesiastes 4:9


The first of the two ways to truth: Biblical theology


I embarked on two ways to truth before I even knew what truth was. God blessed me by giving me a godly father and mother who taught me the Bible before I could walk. Dad read me story after story from Egermeier’s Bible Story Book, and Mom taught me how to mark my Bible with colored pencils.


The first of these ways to truth was a simple version of Biblical theology, which is going through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and learning its content.


The 312 Bible stories did not give me much prophecy or poetry, but it did give me the narrative, the backbone for all scripture.

The second of these ways to truth was a primer in Systematic theology.


My mother never heard of systematic theology, but she taught it to me. She taught me to read the Bible, every word, and gave me two pencils, one red and the other yellow. (2 ways to truth!)


The red was to underline every commandment, and the yellow every promise. I do this to this day and see on every page of the Bible God’s authority and goodness.


That was for my own edification and discipline, but she had another method she used for herself. I still have copies of the typed sheets she created in the 1940’s with every verse containing the word “tongue” copied out.


Then she looked at all the good and bad comments on the tongue and applied them to her life. She always used her tongue to bless and heal and never to demean or harm.


I have learned my system from her and have been blessed to live in an age where the ways to truth have been facilitated by the computer and Bible software that lets us list every verse with the word “tongue” in a moment: 129 tongues in 126 verses. I do this regularly when issues come up in my life dealing with love, children, fear, faith, or care about tomorrow.


Often just looking at the verses brings blessing, but when I pray over them and ask the Lord to accomplish His word in my life. that blessing is compounded.


So, this system is useful, but it is the word of God itself, the anointing it brings, and the interaction with the Holy Ghost that far outweighs the importance of the system.


The Word, the anointing, the interaction, and the system are all ways to truth that will draw us closer to Jesus.


What is the history of the second of these ways to truth?


I believe that Jesus* Himself outlined the process of systematic theology on the road to Emmaus:


And beginning at Moses* and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. -Luke 24:27

He repeated this teaching later in the chapter and laid down a “systematic theology” that focused on the fulfillment of the Old Testament texts that mentioned Him, specifically citing the books of Moses*, the prophets, and the Psalms.


Other theologians would develop this approach further, but Jesus set the foundation. (*An asterisk following a name indicates that person is one of 200 short biographies in my book SPIRITUAL LIVES.)


Both ways to truth are completely dependent upon and grounded in the Bible, the word of the living God.


Case study of these two ways to truth — Jesus.


Biblical theology begins with reading the Bible through. Jesus is not mentioned until page 1179 of the King James Bible but from there on appears or is referenced on every page.


Reading the Gospels is the best of our ways to truth for meeting Jesus. The New Testament narrative is powerful and redeeming, and it is all we need to be saved.


We learn about His prophesied birth, ministry, teaching, miracles, and compassion. Best of all, we learn how He died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven.


The most important of all the ways of truth is simply meeting Jesus and believing in Him. That is how the disciples knew Him and were saved. They did not have the New Testament. Jesus was their Redeemer and Lord via personal contact.


Other ways to truth


But they were blessed with other ways to truth that helped them see a fuller picture of Jesus* than they could obtain by just living with Him for three years.


The first of these was receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

He brought Jesus into their hearts and gave them the power to go into all the world to preach the Gospel.


He also gave them systematic theology.

Jesus first modeled this method on the road to Emmaus, as mentioned above, and later to the eleven:


And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. – Luke 24:33


Jesus was the long-promised Messiah, and Jewish rabbis tell us there are 456 Old Testament Messianic references:


456, thus distributed: 75 from the Pentateuch, 243 from the Prophets, and 138 from the Hagiographa (the other Old Testament books), and supported by more than 558 separate quotations from Rabbinic writings.


Perhaps Matthew and John* got some of the citations they used in their Gospels from their Jesus-directed study!


But there are more than these references.


The pre-incarnate Jesus appears in eighty-five theophanies (ask for my list in comments), thirteen times in the Book of Ezekiel.


In Genesis alone, He walks with Adam* and Eve*, appears to Abraham*, Isaac*, and Jacob*. He comes as Melchizedek. (king of righteousness) King of Salem, and collects tithes from Abraham and later to Jacob as the ladder between heaven and earth.


It was the pre-incarnate Jesus who appeared to Moses*, led the Exodus, and was the Rock of the children of Israel in the wilderness.


Although Jesus’ name was not yet given, the Son of God is present as the LORD, in that word describing the Great I AM, used over seven thousand times in the Old Testament. He is found on every page.


Still other ways to truth via systematic theology


We have more ways to the truth than the disciples because they did not have the Gospels, Epistles, and Revelation.


The Gospels tell us He was present at the beginning with God and created all things!


In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


The same was in the beginning with God.


All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. John 1:1-3


The Epistles flesh this out:


St. Paul* tells us that the Son:


is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.


For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him.


And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. -Colossians 1:15-17


Hebrews amplifies this description of Jesus:


God, who at many times and in many ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,


has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds,


who being the shining splendor of His glory, and the express image of His essence, and upholding all things by the word of His power, through Himself cleansing of our sins, He sat down on the right of the Majesty on high, – Hebrews 1:1-3


Revelation is John’s* eyewitness account of Jesus’ appearance in His glory:


And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:


I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:17-18


Here, Jesus is the King of Glory from Psalm 24, in the same glory He enjoyed with the father before the creation of the world. Now He is enthroned at the right hand of God where:


The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 11:15


And He will come again in glory, with the holy angels to judge the world and take us to the place He is preparing for us.


The two ways of truth combine in His single statement:


I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. – Revelation 22:13


What do we learn from these two ways of truth?


First, the Word of God is the source of all Truth, both as the written Scriptures in the Bible, inspired by the Holy Ghost, and as the living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.


Using both methods we can come to as full an understanding of Jesus as words and study can provide. Through Biblical theology we focus on His time on earth and His work of saving us from our sins. This is the focus of PART III below.


But from that part, we can come to understand the other five parts of His eternal life and open our hearts and minds to the unsearchable riches of His goodness and grace.


PART I: IN ETERNITY PAST

You loved Me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24


PART II: FROM CREATION TO BIRTH

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. –John 8:58


PART III: LIFE ON EARTH

To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice. – John 18:36-37


PART IV: PRESENT MINISTRY

I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. – John 14:2-3


PART V: SECOND COMING TO JUDGMENT DAY

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Matthew 16:27


PART VI: IN ETERNITY TO COME


Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. – Matthew 13:43


What an informative journey this has been. How blessed we are to have such ways to truth, and to the one who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!


Above all powers, above all kings

listen/view HERE

Above all nature and all created things


Above all wisdom and all the ways of man


You were here, before the world began


Above all kingdoms, above all thrones


Above all wonders the world has ever known


Above all wealth and treasures of the earth


There’s no way to measure what you’re worth


Crucified, laid behind a stone


You lived to die, rejected and alone


Like a rose, trampled on the ground


You took the fall and thought of me


Above all


–Michael W. Smith






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