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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Critical Bible teachings

I would like to begin a series of posts here on BBB on how different Bible versions address the most important teachings of the Bible. I know what the most important teachings (doctrines) are that I was taught to believe, but we have a mix of different kinds of visitors to this blog. I'd like to cover as many of the teachings that the most number of visitors consider most important. (There, if you can understand that last sentence of mine, you deserve a prize of some kind!!)

So, why not mention in comments to this post doctrines or teachings that you personally believe are most important. Why not start with ones which you personally believe are absolutely central to what you believe. There are no right or wrong answers here. We're just trying to come up with a list. And it's OK if one of your core beliefs is different from one that someone else mentions, or that you have a different view of it. We won't debate the doctrine here. We just want to find out which doctrines we all consider to be most important.

For those of you who belong to creedal churches and/or churches which have catechisms , it's perfectly fine for you to mention something from your creeds or catechism, as long as each thing you mention is something that you believe is critically important. For now we will leave undefined the question of "most important for what." I am doing so deliberately because we may have some differences as to what areas of doctrine form the core of our faith.



At Sun Mar 05, 04:51:00 AM, Blogger Kenny said...

My number one pick would be the divinity of Christ (and, by extension, trinitarian theology in general). A little outside the translation picture, but it might be good to look at this from a textual criticism perspective as well: proponents of Byzantine (Majority) texts and the Textus Receptus often charge that the Alexandrian texts minimize the deity of Christ, while proponents of the Alexandrian texts often charge that the Byzantine texts in general and the Textus Receptus in particular were modified after the Christology of the Church had developed beyond the level of clarity the Church had in the first century. This will come out in a comparison of, for instance, the KJV with almost any modern translation, so in that sense it is a translation issue. I think it would be worth our time to examine this issue systematically (but I won't have time to look at it in any depth myself for at least a week).

At Sun Mar 05, 06:00:00 AM, Blogger Ruud Vermeij said...

About that prize. Can I get extra points when English is not my native language? :-)

OK, I'll pick number 6 of the doctrines of the Salvation Army:

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering and death made atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.

At Sun Mar 05, 07:24:00 AM, Blogger Glennsp said...

The Cross, Justification, The Trinity, Grace

At Sun Mar 05, 07:57:00 AM, Blogger Talmida said...

1. God created women and men in His image.

2. The letters of the New Testament were written by human men who were expecting the imminent return of Christ. They lived in a specific time and culture and not all their words can be taken literally.

At Sun Mar 05, 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

translating hilasterion in Romans 3 (this alone keeps me from fully embracing NLT). translations saying that "homosexuals" will not inherit God's kingdom -as opposed to saying something like those practicing homosexuality.

"the righteouness of God" in Romans 3- does a translation fit into only one category of interpreting that, such as Luther's view- like the NIV?

faith in Jesus Christ, or the faithfulness of Jesus Christ- Romans 3:22- does a translation footnote the other possibility?

At Sun Mar 05, 09:45:00 AM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

In rereading your post, I realize that what I put down are translation matters that are on my mind. But not really with reference to what I consider matters critical to the faith itself (though Rom 3 is basic for our standing with God).

I wish on this blog, in the comment section, that we could click to see the original post.

I really don't find the NRSV, NAB, NJB, etc. compared to the NIV, TNIV, ESV, KJV, NLT, etc.- to really be different as to have any consequence for the truth of the faith itself. One would have to go to the Jehovah Witnesses' bible to find a translation that becomes problematical to the faith once for all entrusted to God's people, I think.

At Sun Mar 05, 12:22:00 PM, Blogger Ben Martin said...

On a foundational level, the most important would have to be the atoning sacrifice of Christ for us. However, that can only be understood in the context of the identity/nature of Christ and the triune nature of God, though anything related to the nature, identity, and role of God would be important - you have to know WHO it is you are worshipping in addition to why (which is understanding Christ's death). I note that those are always good from a translation standpoint...

But you can't very well worship God unless you know how, which is why some practical issues are just as important, albeit in a different way to me. And there I would go especially to Jesus' summary of the Law: Love God, and love your neighbor. It may be merely my bias, but I also think especially of the Sermon on the Mount as beginning to the answer of how we do those things.

At Sun Mar 05, 01:15:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Ruud asked:

About that prize. Can I get extra points when English is not my native language? :-)

Yes, Ruud, would you like them in euros or some other kind of prize? :-)

I always appreciate it so much when people like you participate on Internet websites where the focus is on English native speaker issues. So at least I can give you the prize of my admiration and appreciation!

At Sun Mar 05, 02:37:00 PM, Blogger KAT said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Sun Mar 05, 02:41:00 PM, Blogger KAT said...

Monotheism, for one (pun not intended ;) ).

The idea of God's efforts and God's mercy as the path to life, and not enlightenment per se. Surely, enlightenment is real and attainable, but it only springs from this realization. It is not the path itself....So, next to monotheism, I would place the idea of atonement as central (and by extension, the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only expression of it).

Thirdly, absolute surrender and trust in this mercy -- A trust that doesn't doubt or question God's character, motives, or promises. The faith of Abraham or Mary is central to me. They are our most important, down to earth, and "human" role models, I think. There are no human beings that please God more than people like them.

I would also agree with Ben when addressing matters of practicality and interaction with the world around us (i.e the Golden Rule and the Law of Love).

Lastly, Jesus' instruction that "The Kingdom of God is within you." That eschatology, paradise, and resurrection are not just things in the future, but things which take place now. And the more the kingdom is within us, the more it is manifested externally as well -- and the better off the world is. We are not called to do things for sake of reward, but to make that reward a reality.

At Sun Mar 05, 05:44:00 PM, Blogger Rey said...

deity of Christ.

At Mon Mar 06, 01:04:00 AM, Blogger Sungkhum said...

One I guess would be this: I believe the Holy Scriptures, comprised of all the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, are God’s special revelation to mankind; were given by inspiration of God; are entirely inerrant in the original autographs; and are our supreme and final authority, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.(Luke 16: 29-32; Eph2:20; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rev. 22: 18-19)

Being that all other doctrines come from the Bible - I would say that one believes the Bible would be of the utmost importance. This is from my own personal experience (as I grew in the faith, seeing that if one does not believe in the Bible then you cannot really go all that far, and once you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, then you have a firm foundation on which to stand, a foundation built on God rather than on man) as well as from my Church's statement of faith.

At Mon Mar 06, 03:49:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Kenny and Rey mentioned the divinity of Christ. While I would put that high on my list, I would also like to balance it properly with the humanity of Christ. This is particularly relevant to Kenny's point about Byzantine texts etc. In today's world the humanity of Christ is taken for granted, at least by those who accept he existed at all. But in some church teaching the humanity of Christ, while usually accepted in theory, has in practice been minimised or considered relevant only to his time on earth. And it has certainly been alleged that the Byzantine text reflects this emphasis on his divinity and not his humanity, in a way which is foreign to the original (or at least Alexandrian) form of the text. Anyway, to me the humanity as well as divinity of Christ is very precious, that there is one caring and interceding for me who is not only divine and close to the Father but also human and able to understand my weakness. In him I can enjoy the wonders of a relationship with God Himself.

An interesting side issue: I started that last sentence "In him", referring to Christ. It may look as if I was using the Pauline "in Christ" formula, but I wasn't. I was using it in a normal English way, just as I could write "In the Officer Doe I was receiving police protection". So there is an English usage of "in" with a personal name like this, which oddly enough seems to work only when fronted in a sentence in this way.

At Mon Mar 06, 08:25:00 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Add another vote for the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

It is the single most important doctrine (and event) in scripture.

Historically, I would have give you a list of other doctrines as well, however, I would have to say that the above is the only "essential" doctrine.

I think sungkhum made a good point as well though.


At Mon Mar 06, 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Glennsp said...

Talmida - The Letters of the NT were written under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, by men.
Without that divine inspiration we have no true Bible and therefore we cannot know the true word of God.
But, praise God, we do have the divinely inspired word of God in the Bible. That it was written by men nearly 2000 years ago is almost irrelevant. It is the Holy Spirit inspired nature of the Bible that is of utmost importance.

At Mon Mar 06, 11:35:00 AM, Blogger Talmida said...


None of which I denied. :)

At Mon Mar 06, 12:56:00 PM, Blogger peter hamm said...

I'd like to think that I get my "theology" out of the Bible, rather than inserting my theology into the Bible.

So... for me, the one "doctrine" I want respected the most in a Bible translation/paraphrase is that the Bible is inspired by God and authoritative. I hope everything else flows out of that. And imho it does... the deity of Christ, the fallenness of man, the atoning sacrifice... et cetera...

At Mon Mar 06, 06:28:00 PM, Blogger Mike Sangrey said...

What's a critical Bible teaching?

Why, that's easy, Matthew 7:1.

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged."

I'd say that's quite critical.

Or is that "quite not critical?


Ummmm...Just so people who don't know me read the above correctly, note that Jesus judges quite decisively in verses 21-23. 7:1-23 form a single interpretive unit with the Golden rule right in the middle.

I just can't help poking puns at Wayne. He likes them too much. It's kinda like tickling someone. I really shouldn't enjoy this. :-O

At Mon Mar 06, 07:45:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

I just can't help poking puns at Wayne. He likes them too much. It's kinda like tickling someone. I really shouldn't enjoy this.

It's OK, Mike. They who live by the pun shall die by the pun. I'm dying to hear more of them. O-pun the floodgates!

At Mon Mar 06, 08:50:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

But in some church teaching the humanity of Christ, while usually accepted in theory, has in practice been minimised or considered relevant only to his time on earth.

For me too, the divinity of Christ seemed to be a given, but his humanity was more problematic.

At Tue Mar 07, 02:57:00 PM, Blogger KAT said...

I think that I may be one who emphasizes his humanity, but not his divinity (though I do believe in both, don't get me wrong). Balancing them out is probably the key to the truest and fullest kind of lives for ourselves, however.

At Tue Mar 07, 06:44:00 PM, Blogger BJ Mora said...

sungkhum is on the right track, I believe. One's doctrine of Scripture is foundational not just to translation issues, but to each and every doctrine mentioned above. "Higher critical" analysis which doubts that Scripture is the Word of God leads to errors such as the non-divinity of Christ, etc. The best summary of such a doctrine would be in the Westminster Confession of Faith, first chapter. Even if you're not a Presbyterian, one should at least agree with that first chapter.

At Tue Mar 07, 09:17:00 PM, Blogger KAT said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Tue Mar 07, 11:30:00 PM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

NRSV: "while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13

My contention is that there's not a dime's worth of difference between translations as to basic Christian truth. And looking at the Byzantine versus the other traditions yields something of the same, though may indicate scribes "contributing".

At Sun Apr 09, 06:03:00 PM, Blogger David Romano said...

I'm thinking about Romans 11: Sovereignty of God and how it fits in with human perception of time. I find it quite difficult at times to explain to my friends how a perfect God desires all men to be saved, yet some will (apparently) not be.

Also, the Law and its applicability to Jews and Gentiles.


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