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Featured Looking for an intro to theology...

Discussion in 'For New Christians' started by JordanGR, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. JordanGR

    JordanGR New Member

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    Hello everyone, Jordan here.

    I made an intro thread to start off, and was told to come to this forum to discuss my interest in theology. I am specifically interested in learning about how Early Christians thought, lived and practiced Christianity. I consider myself a non-denominational Christian and simply want to learn how the Early Christians practiced.

    That being said, what type of theology should I consider getting into?

    I have thought about taking the free theology course at Bible.org, and am wondering what some of you may think of that course. Beyond that, I plan to read the Bible soon, as I've never really read it; at least not cover-to-cover.

    Thanks for reading in advance. I appreciate you guys for your time.
     
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  2. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    If you aren't familiar with the basics, I would definitely start with The Four Spiritual Laws before you try to tackle more complex material.
     
  3. JordanGR

    JordanGR New Member

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    Thanks for the info! I am reading through the laws now.
     
  4. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    Begin with the new testament and then the writings of the sub apostolic fathers. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna. Those are in fact the "early Christians" you are looking for. You can find what are looking for here:

    Early Church Fathers

    You may want to ignore the commentaries of some of the translators.
     
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  5. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Welcome to CF! When did you become born again & how did that happen?
     
  6. Daniel9v9

    Daniel9v9

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    Welcome :)

    It can be quite daunting to know where to begin as there is so much history and a myriad of views - and a lot of it questionable. However, reading the whole Bible would be the best first step. Learn about God's love and grace, and the forgiveness of sins through the person and works of our Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe start by reading the Gospel of Luke (which is very orderly), then John (which is deeply theological and clear on both Christ's humanity and divinity), and then Romans (where the Gospel, God's unmerited grace, is particularly clearly expressed), then the Old Testament, then the whole New Testament. The reason I suggest this somewhat peculiar order is that it can help to understand the OT through the new, and the NT through the old.

    Beyond this, being mindful of that you come out of a Reformed daughter body (non-denominational), my recommendations would be:

    - Get The Apostolic Fathers by Michael W. Holmes.
    - Learn about heresy in the early Church. For example by reading Against Heresies by Irenaeus.
    - Read The City of God by Augustine.
    - After the above, I'd recommend studying the Reformation and Church history.

    Another area of interest to you may be the intertestamental period (the time between the Old Testament and the New Testament)

    There are many books and studies I'd love to recommend, but I think, for starters, you'd probably find the above valuable to where you are.

    Blessings and peace of Christ +
     
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  7. JordanGR

    JordanGR New Member

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    Interesting... I'll be sure to bookmark it. Thanks!

    I never really became "born again"... I've just always been a Christian, and in recent years, have decided to study further.

    Awesome! Thanks for all of these recommendations. I truly appreciate the help.
     
  8. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Jordan, I would certainly recommend a course that amounts to an introduction to Christianity before getting into "theology." Many congregations offer such a course for seekers, inquirers, and new Christians--either the Christianity Explored or another course of study. Check around where you live.
     
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  9. crossnote

    crossnote Berean Supporter

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    For a good grasp of early Church theology, I would first get my foundations into Romans. For a good look at the early Church struggles... 1Corinthians, Galatians and Revelation chps. 1-3.
    In either case, I would not romanticize the Early Church Fathers, they were fallible in their teachings as well as us moderns.
     
  10. JordanGR

    JordanGR New Member

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    Great! Thanks for the suggestion. I am currently taking the free theology course on Bible.org. It seems to be a legitimate course.

    Awesome, thank you very much for the recommendations. It was recommended to me to get an ESV Study Bible, which I plan on doing. I currently own a KJ Red Letter Edition.
     
  11. crossnote

    crossnote Berean Supporter

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    The ESV Study Bible should be helpful. It
    is profusely loaded with notes, but still, check out everything against God's Word found in the Scriptures.
     
  12. Radagast

    Radagast is no longer on CF Supporter

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    One of the things I like about the ESV Study Bible is that the book itself emphasises that.
     
  13. JordanGR

    JordanGR New Member

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    Awesome, I'll keep that in mind.

    Thanks for the tip. Should I read through my Bible a few times before committing to taking a theology course online?
     
  14. Radagast

    Radagast is no longer on CF Supporter

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    I don't think that's necessary. You can dive into some of the books that have been recommended right now, especially the study Bible.

    The ESV study Bible recommends reading a chapter 3 times: first, straight through; then slowly, reading all the notes; and finally straight through again.

    This theology course you're looking at -- it's run out of Stonebriar Community Church in Dallas, right? (Bible.org tells me "Michael Patton is the director and teacher of The Theology Program (TTP). He holds a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and an ordination from Stonebriar Community Church"). What do you know about them? I also see that the programme has 4 endorsements from scholars (not counting the one from Michael's boss), which are mostly positive.
     
  15. JordanGR

    JordanGR New Member

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    That's an interesting idea about reading a chapter three times.

    edit: So does that mean reading every chapter of every book of the Bible three times individually?

    Also, I do not know much about Stonebriar... I do understand that the Dallas Theological Seminary is a respected organization. I was curious about what the members here thought of the theology course as well.
     
  16. Radagast

    Radagast is no longer on CF Supporter

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    Taking a look, the Bible.org course seems to involve (1) watching a lot of videos, and (2) doing some readings (including from Grudem). I don't think I'd agree 100% with all that they say, but it seems like value for money.
     
  17. Radagast

    Radagast is no longer on CF Supporter

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    It means reading every chapter of every book that you're studying three times individually. I would put "reading every book of the Bible" on the back burner, because it's more important to read the whole New Testament.

    Not my personal favourite, I must say. But if you like watching videos, the Bible.org course, even though I disagree with bits, seems fairly good.

    If you don't like watching videos, just stick with reading books.
     
  18. JordanGR

    JordanGR New Member

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    Well, that's the thing; given that the course is free, I figured it's just an intro to theology and that my research would have to continue well beyond just that course in and of itself.

    edit:

    What is the issue with DTS, in your view?
     
  19. Radagast

    Radagast is no longer on CF Supporter

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    Just that their theology is different from mine.
     
  20. Norbert L

    Norbert L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I ran across an expression a while back that makes a fair amount of sense for the Bible as well as other early writings within Christianity.

    Bible reading is not Bible study.

    Another important thing to keep at least in the back of your mind is there are two contexts when looking at historical writings. Naturally the first is viewing a verse within the larger framework of the passage. The second one is much harder to figure out and sometimes it doesn't necessarily have to be in every part of the writings.

    That second context is about how the writer viewed the world isn't like how we view the world today. It's where we get the expression, The Bible was written for us but not to us, from. It's harder to understand so here's a video that I found which illustrates how such a process works using 1 Corinthians 11:13–15. It's rather long but worthwhile imo and you can cut some time out by starting at the 6 minute mark. Before that it's just mostly chat of hello what's happening type.

     
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