8. Is it possible to do good evangelical theology armed with nothing more than a Bible and concordance?

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8. Is it possible to do good evangelical theology armed with nothing more than a Bible and concordance?

Post by ryanelliff on Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:00 am

To answer this question simply – No.

I agree with Bird when he says, “Scripture is the single most important source for theology, but it cannot be the only source. We should also accept natural revelation, tradition, experience, and even to a degree culture as dialogue partners for theology.” Unless a person is living in complete seclusion, they are going to be influenced by the world around them. Our family, friends, social class, ethnicity, and country of residence are all factors that will affect how we apply the scriptures to our life. We must draw from these influences to attain a well-rounded understanding of theology.

Bird goes on to say that we must “view doctrine through a gospel lens”. If all we use for evangelism is the Bible, we are most certainly missing a very important and necessary element. The gospel is not something that we just read about. The gospel is life-changing and is something that is experienced. In order to be an effective evangelist, we must share this gospel experience with others, all while embodying the love of Christ. God came to earth in the form of man as Jesus and died a criminal’s death so that we would not be punished for our sinfulness – all because He wanted us to experience His love. Having robust scriptural knowledge is incredibly valuable, but without tradition, experience, nature, and culture, it is not possible to do good evangelical theology.
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Re: 8. Is it possible to do good evangelical theology armed with nothing more than a Bible and concordance?

Post by Caleb Nally on Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:41 pm

ryanelliff wrote:To answer this question simply – No.

I agree with Bird when he says, “Scripture is the single most important source for theology, but it cannot be the only source. We should also accept natural revelation, tradition, experience, and even to a degree culture as dialogue partners for theology.” Unless a person is living in complete seclusion, they are going to be influenced by the world around them. Our family, friends, social class, ethnicity, and country of residence are all factors that will affect how we apply the scriptures to our life. We must draw from these influences to attain a well-rounded understanding of theology.

Bird goes on to say that we must “view doctrine through a gospel lens”. If all we use for evangelism is the Bible, we are most certainly missing a very important and necessary element. The gospel is not something that we just read about. The gospel is life-changing and is something that is experienced. In order to be an effective evangelist, we must share this gospel experience with others, all while embodying the love of Christ. God came to earth in the form of man as Jesus and died a criminal’s death so that we would not be punished for our sinfulness – all because He wanted us to experience His love. Having robust scriptural knowledge is incredibly valuable, but without tradition, experience, nature, and culture, it is not possible to do good evangelical theology.


I like how you explain how theology goes past the scriptures and into the world around us. Growing up in my home church I always had thought that theology and understanding of God lies solely in the scriptures. In essence I thought Christianity was a book and that was it. This is partly why I never really experienced God or wanted to have a relationship with him because I didn't know that the gospel extends past a book and is something that invades our life and starts to transform it. Once I started to see and understand how the gospel is something that is part of our entire life including our traditions, culture and ultimately experience with God is when I understood fully what being a Christian was and what submitting to God meant.
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