The apostle Paul strikes upon the essence of what it is to be a biblical thinker. He says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8 ESV).
Have you ever heard the phrase that computer programmers use? “Garbage in, garbage out.” Or, the excellent diet advice, “You are what you eat”? Jesus put His two cents in on this topic when he said, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45 ESV). Each of these thoughts gives importance to Paul’s advice in his letter from a Roman prison to the Philippian church. Paul encouraged his friends to “think on these things.”
Thinking is an underrated activity in the world in general. Thinking is the process of using our minds to consider or to reason about something. I’m not sure that contemporary western Christianity is focused on thinking. There is a lot of focus upon teaching – the idea that I will tell you what to believe. There is a focus upon learning – the idea that you will memorize and keep a list of your beliefs. There is a focus upon knowing – the idea that you intrinsically understand the heart and mind of Christ because he dwells within us. Teaching, learning, and knowing. It seems that thinking is an implied part of the system, but in reality it is not a tool that is used to its maximum efficiency.
That is why we are going to focus on the basics of biblical thinking. In Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians, he began with an interesting first category for us to think upon – “whatever is true.” How do we know what is true, especially in this day and age where everybody has their own truth? By faith, in order to be biblical thinkers, we have to trust that the Bible is timeless and complete. Paul reminded Timothy that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (I Timothy 3:16 ESV). If we do not believe that God’s word is capable of completely informing us as we maneuver through life, we are simply using too broad of a definition for “truth” to call ourselves biblical thinkers.
Biblical thinkers, then, use all of the scriptures as distinct points of understanding which can be used in a reasonable way to help us to construct pathways and methodologies for life. In our 101 classrooms, we will discuss the reasonable coming together of scripture within the context of such subjects as, Theism, Mental and Emotional Health, Parenting, Marriage, Finances and more. We will hope to use God’s word to find His truth.