Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What it means to think biblically

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

What does it mean to think biblically?  If one passage of scripture could be cited to answer this question, the one above would be it.  In the text above we can note the following three comprehensive traits of biblical thinking:

1. Comprehensive Categories.  Eight areas are mentioned by Paul that cover every moral, spiritual and life situation imaginable.  Truth deals with how I make value judgments and honor measures the value of what I judge.  Purity guides my moral devision making and beauty insures proper balance.  Good repute has to do with integrity of character to those who see me and excellence deals with the impression I leave behind.  All of these areas find their chiefest expression in praise - for my whole life is to be a praise offering to the Lord. 

2. Comprehensive Book.  So where does Paul derive these categories? Note what he says next: "The things you learned, received and heard and seen in me".  The Apostle Paul had preached God's Word to these Philippians.  He was clearly writing Scripture under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Only one book could qualify in delivering such comprehensive categories - the Word of God.  By its nature it is comprehensive.  It alone can make one wise unto salvation. (2 Timothy 3:15).  It alone contains predictive prophecy and accurate statements of human history, main ideas concerning science and sufficient information to explain the nature of current events in the world today.  

3. Comprehensive living.  So thinking biblically involves comprehensive categories, from the comprehensive book (The Bible) that are to be comprehensively lived out day by day.  Paul writes: "practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."  In the Jewish world (the mindset from whence the scriptures come), the way you demonstrated aquisition of knowledge was by whether or not you lived it out in your life. 

In the biblical worldview, memorization of facts was only half of the total picture.  This is why Paul puts such a premium on "practicing" these biblical categories.  Once I am living out God's word, I have demonstrated that I am thinking biblically.