This does not at all condone dumbing down the truth, but we see that Paul would be an advocate for not only what Timothy says, but how he says it. By way of application, perhaps one of the best ways to resist a quarrelsome and hard-hearted attitude towards opponents of the truth is to pray for their salvation and that “they will come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil” (v.26).
So should you be praying for false teachers to repent, while maintaining a soft heart regarding the peril of their soul? I believe the Scriptures support that. Resist bitterness, speak the truth objectively, and be faithful to warn God’s precious flock concerning dangerous deceivers. It is love that compels us to care for saints and call out wolves (2 Timothy 1:3-7).
2: Pray that God would demolish their demonic ministries.
This may seem like whiplash from the last point, but stick with me! Notice I am not advocating for God demolishing “them,” but rather, their demonic ministries. Think of a wrecking ball taking out large swaths of a structure until it can no longer stand with strength — that is what we are allowed to pray for, biblically speaking. You might think, how can you dare to pray against someone’s ministry with such harsh terminology?
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By Shalee Lehning — 2 years ago
Even though I am distressed, I am not broken. Even though I am overwhelmed and all I feel is despair, there is hope. Keep me from losing heart. Paul says that though my outer self is wasting away, my inner self is being renewed every day. Help me to see this. Help me to look not at the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. Give me grace to lift my eyes off my here and now and know that the battle I’m fighting in this moment isn’t pointless; it carries eternal weight (2 Corinthians 4:8, 16–18).
The following is meant to help those who are weary in their battle to overcome sin and need to know how to pray and cry out to God for help.
Father, help…help, God. I don’t know what else to do to get rid of this thing—why won’t you take this away?!
Sexual obedience? Integrity? How is that possible when the temptation chases, hounds, calls out to me day after day? Why do you allow me to feel these things and not have them satisfied? Will it ever get easier? Will I ever be free from this? Is this the cross to bear that people talk about, something that dominates every day of my life? How is this fair? These questions haunt me.
My feelings seem to have the loudest voice right now, so I’ll start there. Looking at porn last night felt good! Sure, it was horrible two hours later, but even though I know that stuff is evil, somehow it does help me forget about the rest of my broken life… so much that I can’t find the words to pray. I earnestly desire to fix my eyes on Jesus, but how do I do that when my feelings are just a swirl of inner turmoil? I feel like the man in Mark’s gospel who cried out to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (9:24). I admit that it feels so hard to believe right now. Oh please, help me to feel differently, to think with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and to trust you. Help, God! My unbelief is wrecking me.
I resonate with the words of the Psalmist when he says, “My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me” (Psalm 38:10). My attempts to help myself have failed.
By Jacob Tanner — 2 years ago
To know Jesus in both head and heart, by faith, is to experience salvation, for the one who knows Him has first been known by Him (Gal. 4:9). This may be referred to as salvific knowledge of God, and it is grasped through special (or divine) revelation—the Word of God.
In His glorious high priestly prayer (Jn. 17), Jesus reveals His heart for His followers. He earnestly asks that His glory might be made known to the elect. The reason? Such knowledge will strengthen their faith, allowing them to persevere in union with their Savior.
One of the central themes of this chapter is the connection between salvation in Christ and the proper knowledge of God. As Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Indeed, salvation in Christ and the knowledge of God are intrinsically linked to one another.
Stephen Charnock, recognizing the great truth contained in this verse, wrote two entire discourses on it. The first, A Discourse of the Knowledge of God, focuses on how God makes Himself known to His creation.
The beginning of the first Discourse concerns itself especially with understanding why Jesus prayed in the manner that He did. Before one can begin to truly grasp why the knowledge of God is so vital to the health of the Church and the believer, one must first understand that “The glory of Christ, and the glory of the Father in and by Christ, is the security of the glory of the church and every believer.”
In the person of Jesus, God is most fully known, and in being made known to His creation, God is also most glorified. Afterall, Jesus is “The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” (Heb. 1:3). As John earlier explained, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). One of the reasons, then, that Jesus became incarnate was to glorify Himself (the Triune God) through making Himself known. God, who is above all and transcendent, condescended to our low estate, through taking humanity upon Himself, so that we may perceive and understand Him as He truly is. Charnock explained:
This knowledge of God is not only a knowledge of God and Christ in the theory, but such a knowledge which is saving, joined with ardent love to him, cordial trust in him, as 1 Cor, xiii. 12, ‘Then I shall know even as also I am known,’ i.e. I shall love and rejoice, as I am beloved and delighted in by God. It is not only a knowledge of God in his will, but a knowledge of God in his nature; both must go together; we must know him in his nature, we must be obedient to his will. The devil hath a greater knowledge of God’s being than any man upon earth, but since he is a rebel to his will, he is not happy by his knowledge. It must be such a knowledge as leads to eternal life, and hath a necessary and infallible connection with it, as the effect with the cause, which is not between a speculative knowledge and salvation. It must be therefore such a knowledge which descends from the head to the heart, which is light in the mind and heat in the affections; such a knowledge of God as includes faith in him.
To know Jesus in both head and heart, by faith, is to experience salvation, for the one who knows Him has first been known by Him (Gal. 4:9). This may be referred to as salvific knowledge of God, and it is grasped through special (or divine) revelation—the Word of God. God makes Himself known in this way only to His elect through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
By Adam Nesmith — 2 months ago
These four essential elements of theology are at play whenever you do serious theological study. You may think “I have to examine what the text says” (vertical side) or “I need to think about how these texts fit together” (reflective side) or “I need to check my conclusion with the elders at my Church” (corporate side) or “how do my conclusions line up the the historic confessions?” (temporal side). Consciously and explicitly including each of these four aspects into your own theological study will help you come to more robust conclusions and have more confidence that what you are seeing in Scripture is indeed what God intended you to see.
Everyone does systematic theology: you fit together large amounts of Biblical texts in your mind to come to conclusions and you answer tough questions with Scripture. The question is, how do you go about answering these questions? What are the essential elements of theology that you should consider as you come to conclusions from Scripture? I recently started reading through Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology and, in one of the early chapters, he defines what systematic theology is and the different facets of it. Upon my own reflection of Berkhof’s insights, I think there are at least four essential elements of theology that you should think through when doing a topical or systematic Bible study.
1. The Vertical Side: God’s Authoritative Revelation
Fundamentally any attempt to “do theology” must start with God’s authoritative revelation. Your questions, your conclusions, your doubts, your insights, your applications all must be brought before the inerrant, inspired word. As Berkhof helpfully puts it, the Christian doctrine of revelation assumes that
There is a personal God who communicated knowledge
There are truths that cannot be known apart from divine revelation
Humans can understand this revelation
So theology is not, at its foundation, humanity “figuring out” God. Rather, theology begins when the transcendent God reveals Himself to mankind. The vertical side of theology does not point from earth to heaven, but from heaven to earth. Therefore, your theological investigation will lead to a dead end until you take up the Word and read what it says. Even God’s revelation through His creation won’t be interpreted correctly without the corroborating and explanatory testimony of the Word. The first essential element of theology is God’s authoritative revelation.
2. The Reflective Side: Your Spirit-Empowered Synthesis
However, the Bible itself is not a systematic theology per se. As you read and study, your mind will naturally seek to fit together different texts and synthesize them into conclusions. Understanding what the Bible teaches about the deity and humanity of Jesus, for example, is a large and important theological topic. You cannot hope to understand this topic fully by merely reading one or two texts. Rather, your conclusions will require you to read, study, understand, and synthesize a large quantity of Biblical data from different literary genres.