Foundation Truth ~ Bibliology ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~


What is Systematic Theology? - orderly study of God

Why do systematic Theology?

- The New Testament points us to a body of truth

- We are commanded to love God with our mind

- Good theology results in personal holiness

- Good theology is doxological – results in worship of God – fulfills our purpose

Bibliology – a word about the bible

we looked at the bible for answers to our questions about why to do systematic theology. By that we made the assumption that the bible is a valid place to look for answers. Now we will examine why we think that is a valid assumption.


I. The Importance of Presuppositions.

A. What one thinks about the Bible will determine how one studies the Bible.

B. Historically the Church has come to grips with one doctrine in each epoch.

2nd Cent.--Canon of Scripture, Primary Facts of Gospel.

3rd & 4th Cent.--Trinity, Relation of Christ to Godhead.

Medieval--Meaning of Atonement.

Reformation--Justification by Faith.

*20th Cent.--Inspiration and Authority of Scripture.

II. Basic Definitions of Key Terms.

A. Revelation- (n) a disclosure, (v) to disclose, reveal, uncover, unveil, bring to light. Refers to communication of truth that cannot otherwise be discovered.

1. General Revelation- That which can be known of God from a study of his creation.

2. Special Revelation- That which can be known of God as a result of his communication.

B. Inspiration- (II Tim. 3:16) God breathed. Refers to the recording of revelation. Supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the writers of Scripture insuring that what they wrote was an accurate record of revelation.

1. Plenary Inspiration- All of Scripture is inspired.

2. Verbal Inspiration- Every word of Scripture is inspired.

3. Dual Authorship- 1On the one hand God spoke, deciding himself what he intended to say, yet not in such a way as to distort the personality of the human authors. On the other hand men spoke, using their faculties freely, yet not in such a way as to distort the message of the divine author.” (John Stott, Evangelical Essentials. p92.)

C. Inerrancy/Infallibility- The inspired bible was without error in the original MSS (manuscripts) in all it affirms. Refers negatively to the truth of the bible.

D. Authority- The right to command and to enforce obedience. If the bible is God’s word then it carries God’s authority and I am under obligation to obey it.

E. Canon- Measuring rod, ruler, standard, norm. Refers to the normative writings, authoritative Scripture.

F. Illumination- To supply with light, to light up. The work of the Holy Spirit on the mind of believers so that they can understand Scripture. This is necessary because sin has distorted the mind and understanding of mankind (I Cor.



-in submitting to Jesus as Lord, I submit to His view of the Scriptures

  1. Jesus’ View of the Old Testament

    1. Jesus assumed the O.T. narratives to be true and factual

      1. Matthew 12:39-42

      2. Matthew 19:4-6

    2. Jesus appealed to Scripture as His final authority

      1. in His own moral decisions (Mt.4:4,6,7,10)

      2. in controversy with religious leaders (Mt.15:3-6)

      3. as the basis for His teaching (Mt.5:17-48)

      4. as a guide in His messianic office (Mt.26:24,31,54,56)

    3. Jesus assumed the Plenary and Verbal inspiration of Scripture

      1. Mt.5:17-19 (down to letters and parts of letters)

      2. Mt.22:23-33 (argument based on genitive case – ‘of’)

      3. Mt.22:43-45 (argument based on word ‘lord’)

  1. Jesus’ View of His Own Teaching

    1. ‘Truly, truly I say unto you’ (Jn.5:24)

    2. ‘But I say unto you’ (Mt.5:21-48)

    3. ‘My words shall not pass away’ (Mt.24:35; cf.Mt.5:18)

    4. Mt.7:28-29 (His hearers recognized that He taught with authority

  1. Jesus’ View of His Apostles’ Writings

    1. He called them to bear witness of Him (Jn.15:27; Acts 1:8)

    2. He invested them with His own authority (Lk.10:16)

    3. He promised the Holy Spirit to help them remember accurately (Jn.14:25-26)

    4. He promised the Holy Spirit to continue to guide and teach them (Jn.16:12-13)

    5. The Apostles recognized their writings as authoritative Scripture (Acts 2:42; Eph.2:20; I Thess.2:13; Heb.1:1-2; 2:3-4; II Peter 3:2,15-16)

The Holy Spirit as the Communicator of Divine Revelation

“All Scripture is God Breathed” II Timothy 3:16

I. The Old Testament says = The Holy Spirit says (II Peter 1:19-21; Hebrews 3:7; 10:15)

-II Peter 1:19-21

... prophecy of Scripture ...holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

-Hebrews 3:7-11

Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says, ...(quoting Psalm 95:7-11)

-Hebrews 10:15-17

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,... then He says,... (quoting Jeremiah 31:33-34)

II. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit in His ministry (Luke 4:1, 14, 18-21; 10:21; Mt. 12:28; Acts 1:1-2; 10:38)

-Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit,... and was led by the Spirit...

-Luke 4:14-15 Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit...

-Luke 4:17-21 ...‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, Because he has anointed me ...He has sent me...

-Luke 10:21 ...Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, ...

-Matthew 12:29 But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons. then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.

-Acts 1:1-2 ...Jesus ...after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.

-Acts 10:38 even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, ... for God was with him.

III. The Holy Spirit enabled the Apostles to remember and record Jesus ministry accurately and interpret;

The Apostles continued to be taught and guided by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:25-26; 16:12-


-John 14:25-26 ...the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.

-John 16:12-14 I have yet many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. However when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak from himself; but whatever he hears, he will speak. He will declare to you things that are coming. He will glorify me, for he will take from what is mine, and will declare it to you.

IV. The Holy Spirit preserved the text through transmission over time (Heb. 1:1-2)

-Hebrews 1:1-2 ‘God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 'has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. ‘‘His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

V. The Holy Spirit illuminates the text for believers today and makes application of the content to our lives. (I Cor. 2:4-16)

-I Corinthians 2:4-16 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

... 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Views of Scripture from the Attributes of God

-Truth- if God is truth he cannot lie. From him we derive our definition of truth.

-Omniscience- God knows all in all categories of knowledge. Therefore if there are errors in the bible, he cannot claim ignorance as an excuse.

-Omnipotence- God is infinitely able to do all things. Just as he is the creator and sustainer of the world, so he is the creator and sustainer of the biblical text.

-Sovereignty- if God has supreme authority, so does his word.

-Immutable- if God does not change then what he said in past centuries is still valid today.

-Free- God was not obligated to reveal himself to us.

-Personality- God is a personal being capable of having relationships with other personal beings. God is capable of communication and he desires to be known.

-Love- God desires the best for us and chose to communicate that to us in terms we can understand.

The Canon of Scripture

What books are authoritative for the Christian?

I. Definition:

Canon: an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture

kanwn [kanon] from kane (a straight reed, i.e. rod) – metaphorical: rule or standard

II. Historical development of the Canon:

A. Old Testament Canon:

Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ״ך) an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. The acronym is based on the initial Hebrew letters of each of the text's three parts:

Torah תורה meaning "Instruction." It is also called the Chumash חומש, meaning "the five" or "the five books of Moses." In Greek, it is called the Pentateuch (‘pentateuchos biblios’ the fivefold book). The Torah is often referred to as the law of the Jewish people. Jews designated books from the opening Hebrew words; Septuagint (Greek) named books according to their contents; The Greek names were taken over by the Latin Vulgate translation.

Nevi'im נביאים, meaning "Prophets." This term is associated with anything to do with the prophets.

Ketuvim כתובים, meaning "Writings" or "Hagiographa” (holy writings)

Torah תורה (instruction)

1. Genesis: berēšît – in the beginning (genesis – origin)

2. Exodus: šēmôt – names “these are the names of the sons of Israel” (exodus – departure)

3. Leviticus: wayyigrā – and He called “the Lord called to Moses” (leuitikon – the Levitical book)

4. Numbers: bemidbar – in the wilderness “The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai” (arithmoi – numbering)

5. Deuteronomy: debārîm – words “These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel” (deuteronomion – repetition of the law)

Nevi'im נביאים (prophets)

First Prophets

1. Joshua

2. Judges

3. Samuel

4. Kings

Later Prophets

5. Isaiah

6. Jeremiah

7. Ezekiel

8. 12 minor prophets













Ketuvim כתובים (writings)

Three Poetic Books

1. Psalms

2. Proverbs

3. Job

Five Scrolls -Megillot

4. Song of Songs

5. Ruth

6. Lamentations

7. Ecclesiastes

8. Esther

Other Books

9. Daniel

10. Ezra-Nehemiah

11. Chronicles

This collection of Jewish scriptures was well established by the time of Jesus. There is no record of dispute between Jesus and the Jews over the extent of the canon.

B. The Apocrypha:

Josephus writes “We have not myriads of books, disagreeing and conflicting with one another, but only twenty-two, containing the record of all time, and justly accredited. … From Artaxerxes to our own time a detailed record has been made, but this has not been thought worthy of equal credit with the earlier records because there has not been since then the exact succession of prophets.” [Josephus, Against Apion 1.38-41 quoted in F.F.Bruce, The Canon of Scripture, p.32-33.]

The record written after Artaxerxes refers to what we know as the apocrypha, which the Jews never accepted as scripture.

The apocrypha was officially declared to be part of the canon by the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent in 1546. Protestants reject these books as authoritative scripture because 1. they do not claim for themselves the same kind of authority as the Old Testament writings; 2. they were not regarded as God’s words by the Jewish people; 3. they were not considered to be scripture by Jesus or the New Testament authors; 4. they contain teaching inconsistent with the rest of the Bible.

C. New Testament Canon

1. Apostolic writings were acknowledged by the writers and the readers as authoritative.

2. Apostolic writings were circulated among the early churches

3. The writings were combined into collections – the fourfold gospel and the writings of Paul

4. Around AD 150 the heretic Marcion published his own scriptures, rejecting the Old Testament and including only an edition of the gospel of Luke and ten of Paul’s letters which he purged of their Jewish traits. The church rejected Marcion’s ideas, but this attack forced the church to more carefully define what should be included in a collection of New Testament writings.

5. In AD 367 the Thirty-ninth Paschal Letter of Athanasius contained an exact list of the twenty-seven New Testament books we have today. This list spelled out the books that the churches in the eastern part of the Mediterranean world had accepted.

6. In AD 397 the Council of Carthage, representing the western part of the Mediterranean world, declared its acceptance of the same 27 books.

III. Requirements for inclusion in the New Testament Canon:

Writings acknowledged as theopneusos [God-breathed or inspired]; the question of canonicity was never meant to bestow upon the writing authority, rather to acknowledge the intrinsic authority of the writings because they were indeed God’s words

A. Apostolicity – The Apostles were given authority to write words that are God’s own words, equal in authority to the words of the Old Testament Scriptures.

The five books Mark, Luke, Acts, Hebrews and Jude that were not directly authored by an apostle were accepted because of their connection with an apostle. The early church would have also had the personal testimony of some living apostles to affirm the absolute divine authority of these books.

B. The Rule of Faith – A writing must have theological consistency with the other already accepted writings to be considered.

C. The Consensus of the Churches; or the Internal Witness; the Self-Attesting Character – John 10:27; Romans 8:16