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Why is theology necessary? Simply put—because the Bible is not always as clear as we wish it were. There is an old Protestant adage that the Bible interprets itself. Some Protestants have believed that the Bible is “perspicuous”—capable of being understood correctly by anyone who reads it without wrong presuppositions or biases. The Bible without Theology is not just the title of a book; it is an attitude held by many Christians.
The problem is that anyone who reads and studies the Bible closely will discover that there are apparent contradictions in it and many statements that are unclear as to their meaning. Beyond that, however, nobody reads the Bible without some presuppositions and biases that color the way they understand it.
Claims - Lifetime - Reading - Bible - Interpretations
The above claims arise from a lifetime of reading and studying the Bible and the diverse interpretations of the Bible by equally sincere, well-meaning, spiritually devoted Christians (to say nothing of non-Christians).
Also, and in addition to what I say above, every sermon and Bible study is theology—for better or worse. If the Bible were absolutely perspicuous every good sermon would be just a reading of the Bible. No, the Bible requires interpretation and explanation. At the most basic level that is theology. Not always good theology but theology nevertheless.
Question - Theology - Theology - Question - Theology
It is not, then, a question of theology or no theology; it is a question of good theology or bad theology. Or perhaps it is a question of better theology and worse theology. But theology in its broadest sense is inescapable for anyone who reads the Bible for understanding and who hears or reads explanations of the Bible’s meaning and wants to know whether they are correct.
In the sense of “product” (as explained in the first post of this series) theology always already exists. Everyone already comes to the Bible, to Christian...
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