Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday's Resolution {Theological Conundrums}

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We are picking apart Jonathan Edward's 70 Resolutions, one week and one resolution at a time. Don't forget to start where he did- "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ's sake."

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don't hinder.

My paraphrase:

11. Resolved, when I come across a theological problem, or something in Scripture which I don't understand, to immediately attempt to figure it out and answer my question, if no other pressing circumstance arises. 

I am theologically lazy. I hate to admit this, but it is oftentimes the case. When I read a passage of Scripture and something strikes me as odd or confusing, I tend to stuff it down, ignore, and keep reading. I forget about the conundrum as soon as my eyes have left the page.

How am I to learn and grow in my understanding of God, His Word, and His ways, with such sloppiness?

It can be easy to rest our faith on the laurels of others- counting on my Pastor to explain it whenever he gets to preaching it, assuming that others have already figured it out (so there is no need for me to!).

My Savior has called me to know Him and to seek Him. And while there is no one who will ever have all the answers, and some things will always be puzzling and vexing this side of eternity-

Still, I need to endeavor and make greater efforts and strides in my quest to know Him.

Unlike Jonathan Edwards, I am not a pastor. Or a genius. Or an expert theologian, scientist, scholar, or writer. I am a simple woman with a simple faith and a simple understanding.

Even so, it is my holy duty and calling to endeavor after greater knowledge of God.

How can I accomplish this?

  1. When I come across something confusing or perplexing in my daily Bible reading, make a note about it, and write down a specific question.  
  2. Once I've finished reading, open up a few commentaries (you can find several great ones for free online! Google Matthew Henry or Charles Spurgeon for starters) and see what the writer's had to say on the topic, and if they address my question or not.
  3. If the commentaries do not answer my question, or if I am unsatisfied with the answer given, ask someone- my husband, Pastor, or a reliable friend, and get their take on it. 
  4. Ask until I am accordingly answered, engage in friendly debate when necessary, seek until I find satisfaction.
While these steps may not completely answer or satiate every thirst for deeper comprehension, I firmly believe that they will go a long way in escaping habitual laziness and in enriching a shallow understanding.

How do you go about better understanding God and His Word? What tools and resources have you found to be the most helpful in your personal Bible study?

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