I have heard it from theologically liberal theologians. I have heard it from supposedly conservative pastors (usually those with no theological training). I have heard it from lost people and immature believers: “We don’t follow Paul or Moses, we follow Jesus. All we need is the Gospels.”
Such a viewpoint stands in contrast to that of the Apostle Paul, who taught,
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (ESV, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, emphasis added)
According to Paul, all Scripture is inspired, and all Scripture is profitable. We are to teach it all, use it all for correcting and training. We need all Scripture to be “complete” and “equipped.”
Read the series so far.
If you’re a Christian, you should want to know as much about your God as possible. He is the God who decided to save you before the world even began. He knows who you are. He knows every sin you have committed, are committing right now, and will ever commit in the future.
If you are a Christian, then He still specifically chose and elected you for eternal life. He sent His only Son, who lived the perfect, righteous, holy and sinless life you cannot ever live, and who died the sacrificial and substitutionary death you deserve to die—and He did it for you, in your place, as your substitute. And, at a particular moment in time, He sent the Holy Spirit to remove the veil of darkness from your heart and mind which blotted out the gospel light, so that you would repent and believe the gospel.
In the local church, the Trinity is usually expressed as an established truth; a fact. It’s often accompanied by a nice summary statement and some key verses. In a seminary context, the student (let’s call him Biff!) will be forced to go a bit deeper than that.
In theology proper, Biff will be introduced to the doctrine itself. In christology, Biff will study the virgin conception, the kenosis, and the ascension. If Biff is compelled to take historical theology, he’ll learn all about the Christological heresies of the early centuries. If he goes to a serious seminary, he might even be forced to present a biblical theology of the Trinity during a systematic theology class. Then, he graduates and is off to a local church—ready to conquer the world!
How important are Hebrew and Greek skills for interpreting the Bible well and thriving as a Christian?
It’s an important question, since we believe Christians ought to grow in their ability to interact directly with Scripture and discern truth from error—and not only feed themselves well, but hopefully teach and admonish one another well also.
Any learning that has the potential to further those ends has to be seriously considered.
Views on the languages question range from “all you need is good intentions and the Holy Spirit” to “nobody lacking Greek and Hebrew skills can get the Bible right.” Debaters tend to characterize one another as holding one of these two views, but the reality is that most attitudes fall somewhere between.
We met, as we had often done. But this time it was different. He brought his Bible. I asked him what had changed. He explained.
I realized something as we’ve been meeting over the past months. You would share a passage of Scripture, turn to it, we’d read it, and discuss it. I found myself wanting to share some idea that I thought was found in Scripture. But rather than recalling the passage, I found myself pulling out my laptop, opening up my Bible app, and searching for something I vaguely recalled. And I realized I hadn’t been reading Scripture.
I know—that’s just anecdotal. No serious qualitative analysis; just an exchange between two brothers. But what my friend shared has come up in other conversations. Christians are “reading” the Bible in ways other than in a printed book, and it seems that it might be changing how we read.