Gilbert W. Stafford states in his book “Theology for Disciples” that; “The Bible provides the autobiography of the pioneer people of God in their pilgrimage of faith.” (Stafford, G., 1996) This is where we need to start in our pilgrimage. The Bible presents to us God’s law, and the history of how God’s law came into place. The Old Testament shows this and the New Testament picks it back up with Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, coming to us and proving the law. He then would take up our cross and die for our sins at Calvary.
We can all read Christian theology books over and over again, however this will not give us our own theology. We need to go to the source. The scriptures are where scholars go to begin their research for theology. We need to back up their findings with scripture. When you read a book on theology, have the Bible with you. Double check what you are reading. Many people over the years have created their own doctrine. This is wrong and when you research and study theology, you need to make sure you are getting accurate scripture based information. Otherwise, pick up another theology book.
There are three major views of inspiration. They are (1) verbal inspiration, (2) plenary inspiration, and (3) dynamic inspiration. Verbal inspiration is holding to the words in scripture; that the originated with God and that the writers were instruments of God. This theory is that the words come from the original act of speaking and writing with and for God. Plenary inspiration is that the words and writing belong to the writers; however the message is from God. Stafford states in “Theology for Disciples” that; “this hypothesis does full justice to the claim in 2nd Timothy 3:16 that all scripture is God-breathed in that it is the product of the inspiration of the Spirit of God.” (Stafford, G., 1996) Dynamic inspiration is the view that the writers were in a living faith relationship with God and that God worked through them. It is all based on faith and the growth of their walk with God being documented.
Stafford discusses four dimensions that reveal the authority of scripture. The first is that people are internally convinced that they hear God speaking to them through the words of others. This is the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. The second dimension is that of the “sacred writings” (Stafford, G., 1996). This dimension is providentially preserved so that the writings have become the definitive literature of faith. The third dimension is that they “are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”. (Stafford, G., 1996) The writings must point to salvation in Jesus Christ. The fourth dimension is that the scriptures must be useful for teaching and training in righteousness. They must instruct people about Christian faith, reject what is contrary to Christian faith, align people with Christian teaching and practice, and shape the children of God spiritually.
In summary, the Bible shows all of this. This is why when studying theology; you must go back to the source. The Bible is the source of the laws and history of God and Christ Jesus.
Theology for Disciples. Gilbert W. Stafford. Copyright © 1996 by Warner Press. All rights reserved.