Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

Theology Corner


All 31,102 verses in the 66 Books of the Bible were inspired by God and, taken in context, are incapable of false teaching and free of error.  In other words, they are inspired, infallible and inerrant.  This is Core Belief 1 of Christianity, set forth in Section 1.3 of Theology Corner (TC) and further developed in Sections 13.15, 13.16 and 13.17 of Theology Corner and Chapter 10 of Christian Handbook of Reason and Insight for Scientists and Technologists.  Scripture is like a roadmap to help us avoid pot holes, dead ends, washed out highways and collapsed bridges during our journey through life.

Scripture defines the attributes of an effective prayer warrior: Confessor of Sin (Ps 32:3-5; 1 John 1:8-10); Remorseful (Ps 66:18; Luke 18:13); Repentant (Acts 20:21; Isa 59:1-2); Faithful (Mat 17:20; 21:21); Obedient (I John 3:22); Humble (Dan 9:3); Forgiving (Mark 11:25); Sincere (Acts 12:5; Heb 5:7); Spirit Filled (Rom 8:26); Persistent (Luke 11:5-13, 18:1-8; I Thes 5:17); Desiring United Corporate Prayer (Mat 18:19); Confident (Jam 1:5-7); Abiding in Christ (John 15:7); Fervently committed to communion with God (Acts 12:5); Thankful (Phil 4:6-7); Peaceful (Phil 4:6-7); Truthful (Psalm 145:18); Unselfish (Jam 4:3); Knowing God's will (1 John 5:14-15); Seeking wisdom (Jam 1:5); Rejecting idols (Ezek 14:3).

Scripture guides our attempts to emulate the goodness of God.  Almighty God, help me to love my neighbor, show mercy to the guilty and let the grace of the Holy Spirit work through my life.  Help me show compassion to the downtrodden, kindness to the unkind, benevolence to the needy, charity to the suffering, faithfulness, and trustworthiness to the abused and a sense of peace and joy in the midst of hopelessness.  Help me experience a sense of fulfillment and fruitfulness in ministry, faith in God, hope in the ultimate outcome of the great struggle, reconciliation and healing of relationships, encouragement in the face of setbacks, comfort in the hand of God and the strength to carry on.

Scripture reveals God’s vision for mankind.  This includes core beliefs concerning: the Holy Trinity (TC 1.3, 12.10); the theanthropic Jesus Christ (TC 1.3, 1.23, 2.5); the inbred sin of mankind (TC 1.3, 8.6, 8.13, 12.11); salvation offered to all men (TC 1.3, 8.6, 8.9, 8.11); the Prevenient Grace of God (TC 1.3, 3.9, 3.10, 3.11, 3.12, 4.2, 4.8); salvation by faith, the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ (TC 1.3, 1.4, 3.13, 10.8, 11.4, 11.8); and a plethora of theological issues which, at first glance, seem to stand alone but are actually woven together into a single story.  Core beliefs are usually identified using a relatively small number of selected verses (e.g.150).  But verses selected specifically for the purpose of identifying core beliefs cannot be expected to reveal more than a few frames of the apocalyptic drama which flows from the pages of the Bible.  We must always remember that text out of context is a pretext.  However, a judicious selection of multiple verses is unlikely to reveal a message contrary to the overall theme of the Bible.  One of God’s attributes is truth; God is not a cryptic wizard who delights in deception.  The Bible does not require stupefying mental gymnastics to decipher God’s teaching about love, integrity, righteousness, morality, ethics and character.  A degree in Christian Theology is not essential to understanding that God the Son has such love for man that He was willing to become one.  Therefore, the following biconditional statement may reasonably  be regarded as true:


The Bible teaches a specific truth if and only if a reasonable sampling of verses teaches a specific truth.


The question arises, which of the English Bible translations are trustworthy for establishing basic Christian theology using a relatively small number of selected verses?  Listed below are simple collections of stand-alone verse designations along with the associated core beliefs.  Each subsequent section will examine the content of these verses as presented by a specific English translation.  The primary purpose is to rank certain English translations according to their effectiveness in elucidating the core beliefs of the Bible.

English translations of all the verses listed below, per the New International Version (NIV), are given in Section 13.20 of Theology Corner.  When the best exegesis is assigned to each verse, that verse is found to support the corresponding core belief of Christianity.  Other English translations are evaluated in subsequent sections of Category 13 (Can Truth Free Your Heart).  In these subsequent sections only those verses substantially at odds with the corresponding NIV verses will be highlighted.




Core Belief 2 of Christianity


The one true God (Deut 4:35, 6:4; Isa 43:10, 44:6-8; I Cor 8:6; 1 Tim 2:5) exists as three distinct,


Transcendent (1 Kings 8:27),


Immanent (Acts 17:27,28; Col 1:16-17),


Infinite (1 Kings 8:27),


Eternal (Isa 57:15) and


Immutable (Mal 3:6) persons:


God the Father (John 5:18, 10:29, 14:28, 17:1-3; 1 Cor 8:6; Phil 2:11)


God the Son (Isa 7:14, 44:6; John 1:1-14, 5:18, 10:30, 20:28, 8:58 cf Ex 3:14; Rom 9:5; Phil 2:5-11; Col 1:15-18; Titus 2:13, Heb 1:8; 1 John 5:20; Rev 22:13-18)


God the Holy Spirit (Ex 17:7 cf Heb 3:7-9; Mat 28:19; Acts 5:3-4, 13:2 cf Gal 1:1 and 1 Tim 1:1; 1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 13:14; 2 Tim 3:16 cf 2 Pet 1:21; Heb 9:14).




Core Belief 3 of Christianity


Jesus Christ is God the Son (Isa 7:14 cf Mat 1:23, 44:6; John 1:1-14, 5:18, 10:30, 20:28, 8:58 cf Ex 3:14; Rom 9:5; Phil 2:5-11; Col 1:15-18; Titus 2:13, Heb 1:8; 1 John 5:20; Rev 22:13-18).


Jesus Christ is man (Mark 2:27,28; John 1:14; Rom 1:3; Phil 2:5-11; 1 Tim 2:5; 1 John 4:1-4).


Jesus Christ is one person whose divine and human natures cannot be changed, divided, separated or mixed (John 1:14; Rom 1:3,4, 8:3, 9:5; Gal 4:4,5; Phil 2:5-7; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 2:11-14; 1 John 4:2,3).


Jesus Christ was resurrected bodily from the dead (Luke 24:36-47; John 2:19-21; Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 15:3-7; 1 John 3:2).


Jesus Christ was born of a virgin (Isa 7:14; Mat 1:23).




Core Belief 4 of Christianity


Every person since Adam and Eve (Gen 3:6-19; Rom 7:14-25), except Jesus Christ (Luke 1:35), was born with a sin nature.


No person (Rom 3:23, 5:12-18, 6:23; 1 John 1:8-10), except Jesus Christ (John 8:46; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 1:18-19, 2:21-22; 1 John 2:1, 3:3), has lived a sinless life.




Core Belief 5 of Christianity


Salvation from the consequences of sin is offered to all persons by the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ (Deut 10:17; 2 Chron 19:7; Job 34:18-19; Lam 3:33; Ezek 18:23-25, 33:11; Mark 12:14; John 1:29, 3:16, 14:6; Acts 4:10-12, 10:34-35; Rom 2:11, 3:21-25, 5:12-18; Eph 2:8-10, 6:9; 1 Tim 2:3-5, 4:9-10; Heb 9:14-15; 2 Pet 3:9; 1 John 2:2).


Section 1.3 of Theology Corner includes a logical companion to Core Belief 5 of Christianity as Core Belief 8: Faith precedes regeneration; faith is an act of human free will responding to the grace of God.  Core Belief 8 is not included in this Section of Theology Corner as a separate item, but all the associated Scripture references are incorporated under Core Belief 5.




Core Belief 6 of Christianity


The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all persons (Titus 2:11).


The requirements of the law are written by God on every heart (Rom. 2:15).


Jesus Christ knocks at the door of every heart (Rev. 3:20).


The Holy Spirit calls and convicts each person (John 16:8).


God’s eternal power and divine nature are evident in the world around us (Rom 1:20).


Nevertheless, many resist the grace of God (Mat 25:46; 2 Thes 1:8-9).




Core Belief 7 of Christianity


Each person who responds to God’s grace and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ by


Confession of sin (Ps 32:3-5; 1 John 1:8-10),


Remorse (Ps 66:18; Luke 18:13),


Repentance (Mat 3:8; Rom 12:2, 13:14; Eph 4:23-24; Rev 2:5, 16, 3:3, 19),


Faith (John 6:29, 3:16-17; Acts 16:31; Eph 2:8-10) and


Obedience (Mat 28:20; Luke 11:28; John 14:15; Rom 1:5, 6:16; Heb 5:9)


Receives the great gift of salvation (Acts 4:12; Rom 1:16; 2 Cor 7:10; 1 Thes 5:9; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:9, 18-19).


Each person who resists God’s grace is condemned to everlasting punishment (Mat 25:46; 2 Thes 1:8-9).