Session 5: Christian Epistemology

by Administrator 27. October 2015 07:29
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30

Writing about Session: 5 Christian Epistemology, Steve Sloan shares his thoughts on one of the discussion questions.

Discussion question #8: To be perspicuous means “plain to the understanding especially because of clarity and precision of presentation” (Webster’s). Name some teachings of Scripture that are plain to the understanding.

Before we get to the teachings let’s see if we can’t come to a wee bit better understanding of perspicuous and epistemology. So here we go.

One of the biggest challenges in the Introduction to Theology class is to learn and understand the meaning of some new (to some of us students at least), heavy words that most of us usually do not hear in church or anywhere else for that matter. As the meaning of these new words becomes clearer to us through our studies, understanding of some of our long held beliefs and ideas can become clearer or better understood. This is in part the meaning of the word perspicuous, one of those heavy new words mentioned and defined above.

Epistemology is another one of those heavy words and is a fairly recent word as far as the age of words goes; only formed in English (from the Greek) around 1856, and means – study or theory of knowledge. So, Christian Epistemology would be the study or theory of Christian knowledge, and combining that with perspicuous would mean a plain, clear presentation of Christian knowledge. Now that sounds nice and easy on the surface, but who determines what Christian knowledge is and what does clear mean. Something might be clear to you but not so clear to me. Sort of like my neighbor’s son who thinks his pink Mohawk haircut looks really good but to me that goodness is not so clear.

Proverbs 12:17 seems to me to be about as plain as can be. It says, “A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies”. That seems to be a pretty clear bit of Christian knowledge. Truthful equals honest, false denotes lying.

John 14:6 is another teaching from scripture that seems pretty plain and understandable. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus told Thomas, in no uncertain or unclear terms, that there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ himself.

Paul says in his letter to the Romans in Chapter 6 verse 23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So plainly, if we sin, we die. Pretty simple, except that God forgives us through Jesus Christ.

Paul goes on to say in his letter to Titus 1:1-2, “the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time”. Quite clearly and simply God does not lie, and it would be hard to state things any clearer than that.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Pretty plain, pretty simple.

The teachings from the above scriptures that seem to be very clear and plain are that God does not lie and we should not either. We are all sinners and that the price of our sin is our death, but the good news is that we can get back to God and live in his grace forever through Jesus Christ.

We have now just experienced an example of perspicuous Christian epistemology.

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Comments (5) -

10/27/2015 8:19:15 AM #

Not sure what to say but that you were very perspicuous in your blog. Great verses.

Thanks Steve


Jesse Von Behren
Jesse Von Behren
10/29/2015 8:22:44 PM #

Impressive blog Steve. Great examples of perspicuous Christian epistemology. When reading through the verses/examples  John 3:16 keep coming to mind.  Thanks for doing the "heavy lifting." Why do words with simple definitions have to be so long and hard to say and spell?  =-)


Frances Sloan
Frances Sloan
10/31/2015 11:54:43 AM #

Over and over, as we progress in our study of theology, I am reminded of something I read in a book by Thomas Merton, "The Seven Storey Mountain". It was basically about his desire to become a monk. Once he was finally accepted into the order, his new challenge became that of spiritual pride. The gospel is clear, but in my opinion, the 'heavy words' are more in the nature of spiritual pride and a distraction from the clear and plain teachings of the Bible. Thank you for your clarity Steve!


Craig Sparks
Craig Sparks
11/14/2015 1:46:25 PM #

Thanks Steve. The conversation and thought you bring to our discussions is appreciated. These words make me think of the communion services we have at Lakeside with "Big Words; Deep Truths".  It reminds me of Jesus speaking in parables as the concepts being taught or preached although easy to understand were not for everyone.  Salvation accepted through Jesus' finished work on the cross makes it easier to comprehend and understand these words that appear larger than life itself.


Korey Beemer
Korey Beemer
11/27/2015 4:14:33 AM #

Great use of scripture to explain these terms Mr. Steve. It has been a pleasure being in this class with this group of Christian's seeking knowledge and understanding. Thank you for your blog.


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