Chapter 12 - Theology vs. Philosophy

While the technical definition of these words can be expressed in different ways, the widely accepted meaning of these terms when dealing with biblical doctrine is this:

Theology is the compiling of two or more facts found in the scriptures, and putting those facts together to reveal a specific truth.

Philosophy is a search for understanding of doctrine by chiefly speculative rather than observational means, or an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs where a specific fact is not stated in the scriptures.  This practice is applied to many obscure passages in the bible where a fact is not stated, but a statement is made that does not give us a full understanding of what it means.

There are many theological concepts that are based on a philosophical interpretation of an obscure or hard to understand passage.  This practice severely taints and corrupts the true practice of theology and can lead to beliefs that are far from the truth.  If a theological concept is based on a root of philosophy, that theology is corrupted by speculation from the very beginning and cannot be trusted as a complete truth.

There are many obscure passages in the bible that can be understood by finding places where the same topic is mentioned and a fuller understanding is given.

Most of the doctrinal statements in the bible are repeated in many places.  That makes it very easy for us to understand some of the points that God wants us to understand as important to Him.  We can read and study the bible and apply true theology to gain a full understanding even if the way it is written based on the culture of the time it was written, or the difference in wording in separate passages makes it hard to understand when we only read one passage concerning that topic.

It’s very important that we don’t take an obscure passage alone, and try to understand it based on a speculative idea.  We must dismiss entirely any concept based on speculation if we find another place in the bible where there is a conflict with that philosophical concept.  And, if an idea cannot be proved by careful study of the scripture, then we should not trust that as a truthful doctrine because it is still a philosophical idea, rather than a theological truth.

Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

The mystery of God?

What and WHY is the mystery of God?

The Bible is interlaced with the mystery God put there. It's woven throughout. He did it on purpose!

Why?

  1. To keep those who do not really want to know the truth from finding it, and to give them the excuses they want.
  2. To retain the truth for those who seek it even when evil men twist and taint the Word with their lies in the many "versions" and manipulations of scripture.
  3. To allow Satan to deceive those who believe not, so they don't see and hear the truth.

The mystery of God separates the truth seekers from the excuse seekers.

I've heard teachers and preachers say the bible cannot be understood unless you have someone to explain and interpret every word and every thought because they say it's so deeply obscured by the miss-interpretation of words made by the translators, and the hidden meanings they say exist all over the bible. They use this concept to fool others into believing their philosophical doctrines. I have to ask, why would God do that? Why would He hide the truth from those who truly seek it when He promised that we would find the truth if we seek it? I know that the mystery of God is used as the reason by most people, but the mystery of God is not for the saints of God. The mystery is for those that don’t want to believe in God, or those that have doctrines they choose to believe for whatever reason, rather than seeking the truth whether they like that truth or not.

There are several places in the bible where God shows us that His people will understand, but others will not, it is hidden from them.

2 Cor 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The mystery of Christ was made manifest to the saints by the gospel; the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints...

Paul says that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, but only for those who are in darkness, not the saints of God. We will know and expect it.

1 Thess 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

The mystery of God will be finished at the sounding of the seventh angel because the Lord will return and will set up the kingdom of God. There will no longer be any mystery at that time. When Jesus appears in the sky, every eye shall see Him, and He will be Revealed to the world. There will no longer be any mystery because the Revelation of Jesus Christ will be complete.

Rev 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

What is the mystery???

The mystery of God is that He became part of His own creation by manifesting Himself as a man in the body of Jesus Christ!

1 Tim 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Those that do not love God and do not have a love for the truth will not be given understanding of the mystery of the kingdom of God. It will be a mystery to them, but only a mystery to them, not a mystery to us.

Dan 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand ; but the wise shall understand .

In the final days before the return of the Lord, the wicked will not understand, but the wise, the saints of God, will understand.

Eph 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ

We can understand that which is a mystery to unbelievers, by reading the bible.

God also gave us His word for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction…

2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

If that’s true, then why would God make it impossible for someone searching for these things to understand? No way. He did not. He gave us His word so we could understand if we sought it out.

When we have the Holy Spirit in us, we gain understanding through Him, and do not need another person to tell us what it means.

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

BUT! Here's the key! You must have a love for the truth and be willing to let the Holy Spirit lead you to it. If you search for proof of the doctrine you want to believe, you'll probably find it.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

We must love the truth so much that we're always looking for instruction and correction, not proof of our beliefs, when we study the scripture. We have to keep our desires and opinions out of it entirely! We have to push away what we think we know, and earnestly search for the truth whether we like what we find or not.

The Bible is like a puzzle: Incomplete Puzzle

Only reading part of the Bible and claiming to understand it is like putting part of a puzzle together, with a big hole in the middle, and claiming to know what's in the missing section even though you've never seen the completed picture. We have to read the entire Bible and believe everything it says!

The truth of the matter? The mystery of God is:

Jesus is the "divine expression" (the word) of God. (John 1:1) He is the image of the invisible God. It is by Him and for Him that all things were made.

Jesus said; John 4:24 God is a Spirit...

And Jesus is the body where God dwells:

Col 2:9 For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

He is the image of the invisible God.

2 Corinthians 4:4 ... Christ, who is the image of God

Hebrews 1:3 (Jesus is) ... the express image of his (God's) person

Colossians 1:15 (Jesus) Who is the image of the invisible God

When He was on the earth, born of a woman, He limited Himself so that He would be capable of being tempted, and capable of being killed, both of which are impossible for God. It is quite amazing how God managed to do that, but it's not important that we understand the how, only the why.

More information here: Who Is Jesus?

This is all the "mystery of God". The identity of Jesus has been hid from the beginning:

Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

And as quoted above:
2 Cor 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Col 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

1 Tim 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

The mystery of God is that He became part of His own creation by manifesting Himself as a man in the body of Jesus Christ!

So many people today believe that Jesus was just a man, just a prophet, or just a part of God but not really necessary to worship God. This is Satan's great lie. The lie that all religions worship the same god, and that we can worship Him without Jesus...

Can I Be Saved?

We have to understand the mystery or we will never "get it". We can't believe the nay-sayers and false teachers who explain away the truth with lies:

The Bible Doesnt Say That!

We have to read and believe EVERY WORD of God!!! EVERY WORD!!!

If you have not read the entire Bible at least once, pick it up and start today. Just start! Read some every day and one day you will have read it all. The very first time will enlighten you; subsequent full readings and studying will teach you and correct you in your understanding of God and His truth. If you don't, you risk being fooled by any false teacher that comes along and talks a good talk. Read if for yourself!

 



  



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