I have a t-shirt that I love, it says Theology Nerd, I be one… Theology proper is the study of God. Who He is, what He has revealed about Himself in His Word. I am deep into that. The prime data for that investigation is the Word of God. What happens all too often is that is not the starting place.
The starting place for many of these discussions about who God is and what He has done, is the work of some man. Now, to be clear I have a lot of those works and benefit from them. Calvin, Luther, Chafer, Augustine, Strong, Tenney, and many others. The problem emerges when we read those without having worked through the issues in the Bible ourselves.
If we read those men first, well we probably won’t ever get to the Bible, but if we do, then we will read the Word through a lens that is created by what they have written. We all have those lenses. They are created by the books we have read, the sermons we have heard, the Sunday school classes we have attended, and the experiences we have had in our Christian life and fellowship. We tend to want the Bible to reinforce or validate those lenses. To the point that sometimes we will misread or misconstrue what the text is saying in order to have it fit through the lenses we bring to the text.
Our challenge is to acknowledge that we come to the text of the Bible with a preconceived idea of what we think it should say. Then we have to set aside those lenses and let the text speak for itself. It is only then we will be in a position to grasp what the Lord is revealing about Himself through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
I shared that with the man I had the conversation with this evening. I am curious as to where the conversation will go next.