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Archive for the ‘Bible Facts’ Category

Why Study Theology?

Scott D. Crawford Clay, Alabama

The study of Theology, and specifically Christian Theology, is a quest we should concern ourselves intimately. On the most basic level Christians have a thirst to seek and understand the God we serve. This is the most fundamental understanding of what Theology is: the organized study (logos) of God (theos).1 Theology takes on the task of examining the existence and nature of the divine, and often extension is made in Theology to consider the entire range of man’s relationship to God. This is why the study of Theology is important. When we acknowledge God as supreme in our lives this demands that we seek to understand – as much as possible – who God is and how He relates to us. We take the time to learn from others what the Scriptures say in an effort to know the truths that are essential to a Christian’s faithful walk in this life, yet too often we don’t take the time to study those same Scriptures ourselves. We take the greatest weapon we have against the deceits of the Devil out of our own hands and leave it rusting in the corner. It is reported that Thomas Aquinas said, “(Theologia) a Deo decetur, Deum docet, ad Deum ducit,” which can be translated and paraphrased in this manner: “Theology is taught by God, and what God teaches us leads to God.”2

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Christmas…. Facts and History

By Ferrell Jenkins

“Christmas time” is almost here. Lights are already up in town and signs indicating that December 25 is not far off are to be found almost everywhere. No doubt you have already bought a new doll for Sue and a bike for Johnny. It’s the time of the year when people are singing, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Many denominations are making announcements of their “Christmas program.” Since Christmas is practiced as a “religious” holiday it is necessary that we make an investigation concerning this festive occasion.

In particular, two questions are in order: (1) Where did Christmas originate? and (2) Who authorized it? Since the term “Christmas” clearly indicates that there is some connection with Christ we ought to be able to turn to the historical books writ-ten by inspiration that tell the life of Christ and learn of this holiday. When we study Matthew and Luke, the only two gospels that record the birth of Jesus, we learn that no date (year, month or day) has been given for his birth. In order to determine the origin of Christmas we must turn to the appropriate place in the available encyclopedias and histories.

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The Scourging of Jesus

David McClister

Crucifixion was an agonizing, torturous death, but Jesus endured a torture that was nearly as, or perhaps equally, excruciating before he ever got to the cross. This was the pain he suffered when he was scourged.

Scourging, called verberatio by the Romans, was possibly the worst kind of flogging administered by ancient courts. While the Jews administered whippings in the synagogues for certain offenses, these were mild in comparison to scourging. Scourging was not normally a form of execution, but it certainly was brutal enough to be fatal in many cases. A person certainly could be beaten to death by the scourge if that was desired. Its purpose was not only to cause great pain, but to humiliate as well. To scourge a man was to beat him worse than one would beat a stupid animal. It was belittling, debasing, and demeaning. It was considered such a degrading form of punishment that, according to the Porcian (248 B.C.) and Sempronian (123 B.C.) laws, Roman citizens were exempt from it. It was, therefore, the punishment appropriate only for slaves and non-Romans, those who were viewed as the lesser elements in Roman society. To make it as humiliating as possible, scourging was carried out in public.

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It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear under the name of the Old and New Testaments are in the same state in which those collectors say they found them, or whether they added, altered, abridged, or dressed them up…. they decided by vote which of the books out of the collection they had made should be the word of God, and which should not." (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason. 18)

Unbelievers have always denied the authority of the Bible. Besides rejecting the fact the apostles and prophets were inspired of God, they also deny that we have any way of knowing how the Bible should read.

There are two separate questions we must answer to be sure we do indeed have the Bible. First, we must know the canon of Scripture. "Canon," from the Greek word "kanon," meaning "rule" (cf. Galatians 6:16), refers to the list of books which are authoritative, in other words, are inspired of God. The problem of canonicity is to determine which books actually belong in the Bible.

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Where Did The Bible Come From?

This question is very important because it establishes a foundation for our belief. By answering the question we will begin to have confidence that the Bible is from God and is the only source of authority in religious matters today.

I wish that more people would seek out confirmation of the authenticity of God's book known as "The Holy Bible".

This question is really answered by what we call apologetics. Many people have answered these questions and many have addressed all of the criticisms of the Bible. Sadly, the greatest enemy of Jesus and the Scriptures is not the athiest or the agnostic or even the critic, but the people who claim to be the friends of God that openly deny the inspiration and authority of His word, and replace God's truth with man's thoughts.

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