Friday, March 03, 2006

"Therefore": Is Theology Practical?

16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God[b] may be competent, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16

With this post, I want to briefly show that God made theology (the study of God and the way He sees the world) to be practical, that is, in order to produce some kind of godly action. To demonstrate this, I randomly selected the book of Ephesian and filtered all the "therefore" conjunctions, attempting to show the connection between theology (in italic) and it's associated imperative (Bolded).

I also want to illustrate how we all need teachers from the past and present to help explain things in these verses and others in the Bible (B)

1. Ephesian 4:20-25

20But that is not the way you learned Christ!-- 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22to put off your old self,[c] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another Ephesian 4:20-25

(B) What does "put off your old self" and "put on the new self" mean? And how do we do that?

2. Ephesian 4:32-5:2

32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesian 4:32-5:2

(B) How has God forgive us in Christ? Did he forgive everybody in the world, so therefore we can tell everyone to be "imitators of God"?

3. Ephesian 5:5-7

5For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7Therefore do not associate with them- Ephesian 5:5-7

(B) What does sexually immoral, impure, and covetous mean? Does sexually immoral include "lust", does that mean I won't receive the kingdom of Christ and God? What is the kingdom of Christ and God, is that some spiritual cloud, I get to ride on for all eternity? Also, am I really never to "associate with people who are sexually immoral"?

3. Ephesian 5:15-17

15Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is- Ephesian 5:15-17

(B) How are the days evil?

4. Ephesian 6:12-17

12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, -Ephesian 6:12-17

(B) Who are the "evil spiritual forces in the heavenly places" and what can they do to me? What is the "belt of truth", "breastplate of righteousness", "gospel of peace", "shield of faith", "helmet of salvation", and "sword of the Spirit"? How do I use these things to fight these evil forces?

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