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Sunday School: Christian Ethics (Intro: Pt.2)

September 22, 2019 Speaker: John Bell Series: Sunday School: Christian Ethics

Our Source of Ethical Standards: The Bible

• The authority of Scripture means that the entire Bible is God’s Word to us, and
therefore to disbelieve or disobey any part of Scripture is to disbelieve or
disobey God. Because it is the Word of God, the Bible is a higher authority in
ethics than tradition, reason, experience, expected results, or subjective
perceptions of guidance.

• The clarity of Scripture means that God gave us a Bible that is able to be
understood, but not all at once, not without effort, not without using ordinary
means, not without a willingness to obey it, not without the help of the Holy
Spirit, not without some misunderstanding, and never completely.

• The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contains all the words of God
we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.
This principle gives us substantial freedom regarding numerous ethical decisions,
for it means that nothing is sin that is not forbidden by Scripture, either explicitly
or by implication.

There are five theological disciplines:
1. Exegesis interprets a text by analyzing what the author intended to
communicate. It draws the meaning out of a text. Some components of
exegesis are: genre, textual criticism, grammar and syntax, historical-cultural
context, and word studies.

2. Biblical theology studies how the whole Bible progresses, integrates, and
climaxes in Christ. It makes organic, salvation-historical connections with the
whole canon on its own terms, especially regarding how the Old and New
Testaments integrate and climax in Christ. It focuses on the turning points in
the Bible’s story line, and its most pivotal concern is how the New Testament
uses the Old. Old and New Testament theology are subsets of whole-Bible
biblical theology. We must read the whole Bible—including the Old
Testament—with Christian eyes.

3. Historical theology surveys and evaluates how significant exegetes and
theologians have understood the Bible and theology. How has Christian
doctrine developed? In particular, how has it responded to false teaching?
This focuses on periods of time earlier than our own.

4. Systematic theology discerns how a passage theologically coheres with the
whole Bible. This builds on but goes beyond exegesis. It answers the question
“What does the whole Bible say about [fill in the blank]?” It presupposes that
the whole Bible is coherent, that it doesn’t contradict itself.

5. Practical theology applies the text to yourself, the church, and the world. It
answers the question, “How should we then live?"