Christian Beliefs : Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-11-01
  • Publisher: Zondervan

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Supplemental Materials

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A reader-friendly guide to Christian doctrines-for new believers and all Christians Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology has established itself as a foundational reference in the evangelical church today. But a proper understanding of theology is not just important for pastors, students, and church leaders. Newer Christians, especially those who do not come from church backgrounds, also need grounding in basic Christian doctrine. Christian Beliefs is a one-eighths the size condensation of Systematic Theology and is designed to provide a basic guide that is sound but not intimidating. It also serves as an interesting book for more mature Christians who want something that is solid, yet fairly light. The twenty chapters and three appendices (confessions of faith, bibliography, and glossary) provide an essential resource that is highly readable and easy to understand.

Author Biography

Wayne Grudem (BA, Harvard; MDiv, Westminster Seminary; PhD, Cambridge) is research professor of Bible and theology at Phoenix Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona, and the author of a number of books Elliot Grudem (MDiv, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando) is on the staff of Christ Our Comfort Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Raleigh, North Carolina

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 9
Abbreviations of Bible Booksp. 11
What Is the Bible?p. 13
What Is God Like?p. 21
What Is the Trinity?p. 37
What Is Creation?p. 43
What Is Prayer?p. 48
What Are Angels, Satan, and Demons?p. 53
What Is Man?p. 58
What Is Sin?p. 62
Who Is Christ?p. 67
What Is the Atonement?p. 72
What Is the Resurrection?p. 76
What Is Election?p. 79
What Does It Mean to Become a Christian?p. 90
What Are Justification and Adoption?p. 95
What Are Sanctification and Perseverance?p. 99
What Is Death?p. 108
What Is the Church?p. 113
What Will Happen When Christ Returns?p. 120
What Is the Final Judgment?p. 129
What Is Heaven?p. 134
Historic Confessions of Faithp. 138
Books for Further Reading in Systematic Theologyp. 147
Indexp. 157
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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Christian Beliefs
Copyright © 2005 by Wayne Grudem
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Grudem, Wayne A.
Christian beliefs : twenty basics every Christian should know / Wayne Grudem;
edited by Elliot Grudem.
p. cm.
Rev. ed. of: Bible doctrine.
Includes bibliographical references (p. ).
ISBN-10: 0-310-25599-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-25599-4
1. Theology, Doctrinal — Popular works. 2. Bible — Theology. I. Grudem,
Elliot. II. Grudem, Wayne A. Bible doctrine. III. Title.
BT77.G875 2005
230 — dc22 2005017563
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the The Holy Bible,
English Standard Version. Copyright © 2000, 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of
Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Italics are sometimes
added by the author for emphasis.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photocopy,
recording, or any other — except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without
the prior permission of the publisher.
Interior design by Tracey Walker
Printed in the United States of America

What Is the Bible?
Any responsible look at a single Christian belief should be
based on what God says about that subject. Therefore, as we
begin to look at a series of basic Christian beliefs, it makes
sense to start with the basis for these beliefs — God’s words, or the
Bible. One topic the Bible thoroughly covers is itself; that is, the Bible
tells us what God thinks about his very words. God’s opinion of his
words can be broken down into four general categories: authority,
clarity, necessity, and sufficiency.
The Authority of the Bible
All the words in the Bible are God’s words. Therefore, to disbelieve
or disobey them is to disbelieve or disobey God himself. Oftentimes,
passages in the Old Testament are introduced with the phrase, “Thus
says the LORD” (see Ex. 4:22; Josh. 24:2; 1 Sam. 10:18; Isa. 10:24; also
Deut. 18:18 – 20; Jer. 1:9). This phrase, understood to be like the
command of a king, indicated that what followed was to be obeyed
without challenge or question. Even the words in the Old Testament
not attributed as direct quotes from God are considered to be God’s
words. Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:16, makes this clear when he writes that
“all Scripture is breathed out by God.”
The New Testament also affirms that its words are the very words
of God. In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter refers to all of Paul’s letters as one part
of the “Scriptures.” This means that Peter, and the early church, considered
Paul’s writings to be in the same category as the Old Testament
writings. Therefore, they considered Paul’s writings to be the
very words of God.
In addition, Paul, in 1 Timothy 5:18, writes that “the Scripture
says” two things: “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the
grain” and “The laborer deserves his wages.” The first quote regarding
an ox comes from the Old Testament; it is found in Deuteronomy
25:4. The second comes from the New Testament; it is found in Luke
10:7. Paul, without any hesitation, quotes from both the Old and
New Testaments, calling them both “Scripture.” Therefore, again, the
words of the New Testament are considered to be the very words of
God. That is why Paul could write, “the things I am writing to you are
a command of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:37).
Since the Old and New Testament writings are both considered
Scripture, it is right to say they are both, in the words of 2 Timothy
3:16, “breathed out by God.” This makes sense when we consider
Jesus’ promise that the Holy Spirit would “bring to” the disciples’
“remembrance” all that Jesus said to them (John 14:26). It was as the
disciples wrote the Spirit-enabled words, that books such as Matthew,
John, and 1 and 2 Peter were written.
The Bible says there are “many ways” (Heb. 1:1) in which the
actual words of the Bible were written. Sometimes God spoke
directly to the author, who simply recorded what he heard (Rev. 2:1,
8, 12). At other times the author based much of his writings on
interviews and research (Luke 1:1 – 3). And at other times, the
Holy Spirit brought to mind things that Jesus taught (John 14:26).
Regardless of the way the words came to the authors, the words
they put down were an extension of them — their personalities,
skills, backgrounds, and training. But they were also exactly the
words God wanted them to write — the very words that God claims
as his own.
If God claims that the words of Scripture are his own, then there
is ultimately no higher authority one can appeal to for proof of this
claim than Scripture itself. For what authority could be higher than
God? So, Scripture ultimately gains its authority from itself. But the
claims of Scripture only become our personal convictions through
the work of the Holy Spirit in an individual’s heart.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t change the words of Scripture in any
way; he doesn’t supernaturally make them become the words of God
(for they always have been). He does, however, change the reader of
Scripture. The Holy Spirit makes readers realize the Bible is unlike
any book they have ever read. Through reading, they believe that the
words of Scripture are the very words of God himself. It is as Jesus
said in John 10:27: “My sheep hear my voice . . . and they follow me.”
Other kinds of arguments (such as historical reliability, internal consistency,
fulfilled prophecies, influence on others, and the majestic
beauty and wisdom of the content) can be useful in helping us see
the reasonableness of the claims of the Bible.
As God’s very words, the words of Scripture are more than simply
true; they are truth itself (John 17:17). They are the final measure by
which all supposed truth is to be gauged. Therefore, that which conforms
to Scripture is true; that which doesn’t conform to Scripture is
not true. New scientific or historical facts may cause us to reexamine
our interpretation of Scripture, but they will never directly contradict
The truth of the Scriptures does not demand that the Bible
report events with exact, scientific detail (though all the details it
does report are true). Nor does it demand that the Bible tell us everything
we need to know or ever could know about a subject. It never
makes either of these claims. In addition, because it was written by
ordinary men in an ordinary language with an ordinary style, it does
contain loose or free quotations and some uncommon and unusual
forms of grammar or spelling. But these are not matters of truthfulness.
The Bible does not, in its original form, affirm anything contrary
to fact.
If the Bible does affirm something contrary to fact, then it cannot
be trusted.

Excerpted from Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know by Wayne A. Grudem, Wayne Grudem
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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