13 Ah-Has from Understanding Theology

Last year, I was able to download Logos Bible Software to help out when creating and reviewing lessons and materials, as well as for my own studies. I’m really enjoying it, especially the courses feature which allows me to study a variety of topics on multiple subjects.

For my first course, I chose Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day by Daryl Aaron. As I read material like this, I usually like to highlight what I call “ah-has” These are quotes and comments that share something I haven’t thought of, explains things I already knew in a fresh, new way, or truths that I want to keep in the front of my mind.

I recently finished the course and I thought I would share some of my ah-has with you from my first course. I ended up having multiple pages of ah-has, so I tried to narrow it down to a few of my favorites.

  • Theology is not primarily something, but rather the doing of something, specifically, thinking and expressing.
  • Our knowledge of God is absolutely dependent upon divine revelation; and not only is he willing to be known, he desires to be known…While general revelation is sufficient to make all people guilty of turning away from God (Romans 1:18–20), it is not sufficient to provide salvation for anyone. Only specific revelation—specifically, Jesus Christ and the gospel—are sufficient for salvation (Romans 10:13–17).
  • God normally worked through the [Bible’s] human authors’ intellects, experiences, and manners of expression in such a way that what they wrote was exactly what he intended…However, the Bible itself (e.g., Jeremiah 23:30–36; 26:12–15) claims that the very original words the human authors used were the ones God intended.
  • …Infallible… frequently gets used as a synonym for inerrant, but, more precisely, it says more by taking an additional step (based on inerrancy): Because the Bible is without error, it will never fail in its message or purpose, nor will it ever cause anyone to fail, be led into error, or be fooled into believing something unworthy of belief.
  • With a humble dependence on God, the help of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9–14), and an earnest desire to know truth, any reader can and should understand what God wants that reader to know, believe, and obey.
  • [God] also knows all things that could have happened but did not. An interesting biblical illustration is in 1 Samuel 23:10–13, where God tells David what would happen if King Saul came to a certain city looking for David. As it turns out, Saul never came and those things never happened. God knows what would have happened if…
  • God has revealed himself as Trinitarian. Since true worshipers must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23–24), we cannot truly worship him apart from regarding him as he is, even if we do not perfectly comprehend what that means.
  • This brings us to probably the most important thing the Bible has to say about people: We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27; 5:1; 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7; James 3:9). This is crucial because it seems essentially to be a biblical definition of “humanity.” To be human is to be a divine image-bearer.
  • So the biblical emphasis is not “we are sinners because we sin,” but rather “we sin because we are sinners.”
  • Some people think the Son of God’s dual nature lasted thirty years or so, but when Jesus left earth and returned to his Father, he left his humanity behind. That is not the case—the incarnation was never reversed! This demonstrates the extent of Christ’s love for and willingness to identify with humans.
  • The church did not exist in the Old Testament. It could come into existence only after the successful completion of Christ’s messianic mission.
  • Some denominations use the term sacrament, meaning “something that is sacred or holy,” which has the additional idea of a channel of divine grace, that is, God makes his grace available in a special way through those ceremonial practices…Those denominations that prefer the term ordinance do not understand these practices to be channels of divine grace in any unusual way. Rather, they are God-given means by which Christians remind themselves of foundational truths in our faith, and believers practice them in obedience to our Savior, who has commanded us to do these things regularly.
  • The New Testament mentions the second coming more than three hundred times. Not only is every Christian to know this wonderful reality, it also should be his or her daily longing. Jesus “will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him” (Hebrews 9:28 nasb); “Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (Jude 21 nasb).
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