The basic foundation for my personal
theological understandings of Biblical statements.

Robert A. Herrmann, Ph.D.
29 JAN 2014. Last revised 18 FEB 2016.

Peter indicates, while he is expressing his thoughts in his letters, that Paul teaches the same theology as the Apostles. (From the Greek) "[A]according as our beloved brother Paul also writes to you, according to the wisdom given to him, as also in all of the epistles, speaking in them concerning these (things), which are some (things) hard to apprehend, which the unlearned and unstable are twisting, as the rest (of the) scriptures also, to their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:15-16.)

My first assumption is that the Holy Spirit prepared the way so that the meanings of the terms employed by those who presented the original Biblical doctrine are easily comprehended by the listener or reader. The common Greek of, at least, a few hundred years prior to and during the first-century is employed to transcribe New Testament Biblical concepts. This fact was verified approximately 100 years ago. I spend considerable effort in making such determinations. I only accept the meanings for New Testament Biblical terms as commonly understood during the first century AD. For the Old testament, I only consider the common (strict) meanings as understood by the ancient Hebrews, the various audiences to whom the books are addressed. These meanings are determined by extensive research.

I picture myself as a tradesman working in the ancient city of Antioch. I am taking instruction from Barnabas and Paul who, for the past year, have presented their teachings. I accept exactly what they state as fact and I'm thrilled to now, apparently for the first time, to be referred to as a "Christian." As far as I'm concerned, their terminology is clear and exact.

Paul states in his letters that what he and the Apostles teach is led by the "mind of Christ," as Paul states it. So, one also needs to consider all the teachings of that source as well, those of Jesus Christ, as they are relayed to us by the Apostles. I then follow explicitly the "Paul Rule." He states it as follows:

``Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you - believing anything else will not lead to anything'' (1 Corinthians 15: 1-2 (Jerusalem Bible)) (The meaning of the term "save" is rather inclusive. Definitions (b), (d) given by Vine under the category "save" (Vine, 1940) are highly significant.)

If there are any other requirements needed for salvation than those taught by the Apostles, then the Apostles, as well as individuals instructed by them, would not be accorded salvation. If this were the case, then Revelations 21:14 would be contradicted.

Thus, it appears that one does not need to accept any other distinctly different doctrine in order to gain salvation. Hence, I accept no additional doctrinal statements spoken or written by any individual after the death of John. (To avoid an obvious logical contradiction, I must exclude my own writings.) Although I am not alone in accepting the Paul Rule, apparently many others do so, I do have knowledge of many concepts accepted today as additional Christian doctrine. In some of my writings, I discuss this additional doctrine. I detail its source via the writings of those who present it. However, generally, I do not purposefully advocate that one set of doctrine is more or less significant than another. I try to present doctrine as a matter of personal "choice." The only concern one might have is whether any additional doctrine contradicts the Apostles doctrine, the only doctrine that they state that will lead to salvation, doctrine they accept. It is, of course, the readers of anything I present who need to make this determination for themselves.

In summary, this is the basic foundation for my personal theological understandings of Biblical statements. I only accept the meanings for Biblical terms as commonly understood during historical times when the writings were first presented. I accept no additional doctrinal statements spoken or written by any individual after the death of John.

Lastly, what label should I give to those that accept this approach? There are so many different labels given to groups that accept distinctly different doctrinal statements that whatever title I give it is probably also used for something entirely different. But, for the time being, let's call it Biblical Apostolic Christianity.

Reference
Vine, W. E., (1940). An Expository Dictionary of New Testaments Words, Fleming H. Revell, New Jersey.


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