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1. Bibliology: The Bible

The term Bibliology (from Greek biblos meaning “book”) refers particularly to the study of the nature of the Bible as divine revelation. It often includes such topics as revelation, inspiration, inerrancy, canonicity, textual criticism, illumination, and interpretation.

IA. The Meaning of the Term “Revelation”6

1B. Contemporary Usage

2B. Theological Usage

IIA. General Revelation

1B. Definition

2B. In Creation

1C. Psalm 19:1-6
2C. Romans 1:18-20

3B. In Human Nature—Romans 2:14-15

4B. In Providentially Controlled History

1C. Acts 14:15-17
2C. Acts 17:22-31

5B. Summary and Conclusions

1C. The Objectivity of General Revelation
2C. The Possibility of Natural Theology?
3C. Relationship to Special Revelation and Human Responsibility
4C. Some Common Ground Between Believer and Unbeliever?

IIIA. Special Revelation

1B. General Definition

2B. The Nature of Special Revelation

1C. The Unveiling of a Person—John 5:39-40
2C. The Language of Analogy
3C. The Language of Condescension & Accommodation

3B. The Modes of Special Revelation

1C. In Dreams—Genesis 20:3
2C. In Visions—Zechariah 1:8ff.
3C. In Theophanies—Joshua 5:13-15
4C. Divine Speech—Job 38-41
5C. Special Acts—Exodus 14-15
6C. Jesus Christ—John 1:18
7C. Scripture—2 Timothy 3:16
1D. Propositional Revelation
2D. The Various Genres in Scripture
3D. Scriture and History

4B. The Goal of Special Revelation—John 5:39-40; 2 Tim 3:16-17

5B. Alternative Views of Revelation

1C. Liberalism
1D. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
2D. Friedrich Schleiermacher (1763-1834)
2C. Neo-Orthodoxy
1D. Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
2D. Karl Barth (1886-1968)
3D. Emil Brunner (1889-1966)
3C. Effects of Liberalism and Neo-Orthodoxy upon Biblical Studies
1D. The Bible Only A Witness To Revelation
2D. Man Needs To Experience God

IVA. Inspiration

1B. Claims in Scripture

1C. The Self-Referential Problem
2C. A Solution

2B. Inspiration Proper

1C. Definition of ‘Inspiration’
1D. The Need/Reason for Inscripturating God’s Truth
2D. The Goal
3D. The Initiative and the Process
4D. The Product (Verbal/Plenary)
2C. Key Texts
1D. 2 Timothy 3:16
2D. 2 Peter 1:20-21
3C. Problems Defining Inspiration
1D. The Statements of Scripture
2D. The Phenomena of Scripture
3D. Solution
4C. Defective Theories
1D. Naturalistic Inspiration
2D. Partial Inspiration
3D. Conceptual Inspiration
4D. Spiritual Illumination
5D. Dictation

VA. Inerrancy7

1B. Definition

2B. Relationship to Inspiration

3B. Problems

1C. Philosophical
2C. Textual Phenomena
3C. Dismissal through Guilt by Association
4C. The Value of the Doctrine

VIA. Canonicity8

1B. Definition

2B. The Old Testament Canon

1C. The Origin of the Canon
2C. Time of Completion and Books Included

3B. The New Testament Canon

1C. The Expectation of Further Revelation in Light of OT Promise
2C. Jesus and the Apostles: Biblical Texts
3C. The Impetus for a Collection
1D. Death of the Apostles
2D. Marcionism
3D. Gnosticism
4D. Montanism
4C. Factors Involved in the Collection
1D. Apostolicity
2D. Catholicity
3D. Orthodoxy
4D. Usage
5C. The Date and Meaning of the “Close of the Canon”

VIIA. Textual Criticism9

1B. Definition

2B. Old Testament Materials

1C. Hebrew Manuscripts
1D. Important Manuscripts and Codices
2D. Qumran Scrolls
2C. Samaritan Pentateuch
3C. Important Versions
1D. Septuagint (LXX)
2D. Aramaic Targums
3D. Syriac Version
4C. Other Versions and Witnesses
1D. Old Latin
2D. The Vulgate
3D. Coptic Versions
4D. Ethiopic Version
5D. Armenian Version
6D. Arabic Versions

3B. New Testament Materials

1C. Greek Witnesses
1D. Papyri
2D. Uncials
3D. Minuscules
4D. Lectionaries
2C. Important Early Versions
1D. Latin
2D. Syriac
3D. Coptic
3C. Church Fathers

4B. The Process of Textual Criticism

1C. The Old Testament
2C. The New Testament

VIIIA. Illumination

1B. Definition

2B. Key Texts

1C. 1 Corinthians 2:9-14
2C. Ephesians 1:18
3C. 2 Timothy 1:7

3B. Problems with Illumination

IXA. Interpretation10

1B. Definition

2B. The Nature of Meaning and Communication

1C. Authorial Intent
2C. Problems and Solutions

3B. The Method of Interpretation

1C. Grammatical and Genre Oriented
2C. Historical
3C. Synthetic/Organic

4B. The Nature of Understanding

1C. By Looking On
2C. By Experiencing First-Hand

5B. The Role of the Spirit

XA. Application11

1B. Know the Interpretation

2B. Formulate Scriptural Principles

3B. Meditate and Correlate

4B. Apply in Theory/Practice


6 For a discussion of “revelation,” and closely linked ideas, see David S. Dockery, Christian Scripture: An Evangelical Perspective on Inspiration, Authority, and Interpretation (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 1995). See also Avery Dulles, Models of Revelation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1992).

7 For several articles dealing with the evangelical doctrine of inerrancy see, Norman L. Geisler, ed., Inerrancy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980).

8 On the issue of the canon, see Roger Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church and Its Background in Early Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985); F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1988); Harry Y. Gamble, The New Testament Canon: Its Making and Meaning, New Testament Series, ed. Dan O. Via (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985); Bruce M. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Oxford: University Press, 1987).

9 On OT textual criticism, see Ernst Würthwein, The Text of the Old Testament, trans. Erroll F. Rhodes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979); Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford, 1992).

10 Some good introductory works on biblical interpretation include: Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding the Bible, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993); Leland Ryken, How To Read the Bible as Literature (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984); Robert H. Stein, A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible: Playing by the Rules (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994); William W. Klein, Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard (Dallas: Word, 1993); Moiss, Silva, ed., Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation: Six Volumes in One (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996); Grant Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Criticism (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991); John R. W. Stott, Understanding the Bible, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984); R. C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1977); D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996). For a more in depth and scholarly analysis of the problem of meaning as it relates to Biblical interpretation see, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text: The Bible, The Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998).

11 A helpful work aimed at the application of scripture is Robertson McQuilkin, Understanding and Applying the Bible, rev. ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1992).

Related Topics: Bibliology (The Written Word), Teaching the Bible