Friday, January 9, 2009

Creating Boxes to Fit God

It is simply intimidating to understand the bible because of the massive number of books crammed into one. But with systematic theology snippets of 'key teachings/doctrines' of the the bible are being arranged neatly in categories such as the doctrine of God, man, sin, salvation, the Holy Spirit, the church, the last things to name but a few. These key doctrines help us grasp a coherent system of thought in the bible. I really appreciate learning systematic theology and it had helped me ground myself (in someways) with a steady foundation in my faith.

But as time progressed and some years mulling through the bible I have come to an understanding that the bible simply cannot be tamed. Reading the bible within the systems as a rigid rule simply is creating a box for us to fit God in, which ideally we will never be able to do.

One example of reading the bible in the lens of our systematic theology is trying to understand the reason behind Jesus' sermon on the mount? We learn in our systematic theology that we are save by grace through faith in Jesus and not by works. So when we read passages like the Sermon on the mount the initial reaction is trying to understand it through the lens that I mentioned. If we follow the narrative/ the story of the passage the sermon on the mount would be best understood as a way of life that Jesus was advocating for those in the kingdom of God. Jesus was not saying to attain life in the kingdom this is how you are to live. He was simply saying this is the kind of lifestyle of those who live in the kingdom of God.

There might be other examples but that was one that i just thought about when writing this post. So the bible cannot be tamed to fit neatly set up systems. To me, we simply have to unshackle ourselves from the grip of just understanding the bible in our neat mannered systematic theology. Read the bible as story. Appreciate it's grand narrative. Let the bible's plot color the way we are to understand God.

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Hopeful Theo

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I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations