Why A Sound Bibliology Is So Helpful in Life
I am guessing this title will draw hoards of people to the blog. Nothing gets the blood pumping like a discussion, no matter how short, on the doctrine of bibliology. Why, the WordPress dictionary doesn’t even know what it is and tries to change it to “biology,” which is probably some latent atheistic, evolutionary programming trick. Of course it doesn’t have “wordpress” in the dictionary either so they may just be a tad dumb.
Well, enough of an introduction. I want to give a quick observation about the nature of the bible, from a biblically conservative perspective. Doug Wilson has penned a great article on the necessity of the virgin birth of Christ. It is a great article that is easy to read due to his great skill as a wordsmith. I want to quote his opening paragraphs before going on:
You don’t need to be a Bible reader to know that the prophet Isaiah prophesied that a time would come when a virgin would conceive and bear a son. The passage has been included on countless Christmas cards, and so many non-believers of many stripes manage to get a dose of this doctrine just by opening their mail: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).
Theological liberals like to point out that the word rendered as virgin here is the Hebrew word almah, which can mean “virgin,” but it can also be legitimately rendered as “young woman.” So then, the thinking goes, “You conservatives ought to think about this a bit harder, and join the rest of us in the 21st century as soon as you are able.” But centuries before Christ, when the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek by Jewish rabbis (70 of them, according to tradition), the Greek word they chose to render this word almah was parthenos—and parthenos means virgin, as in a literal virgin. The famous Parthenon was a temple built in Athens to the virgin goddess Athena. With the use of this word, there is no wiggle room whatsoever.
So here is my point. Whenever you have a liberal Christian, or a non-Christian (often one-and-the-same) trying to pooh-pooh away the virgin birth they camp on the meaning of almah. Doug shows that this is not a proper approach but it comes from an assumption within him. That the bible is not a random collection of stories written by who knows who and are not really connected by anything real.
This is why he goes to the ancient Greek translation of that passage. And then he takes us to the New Testament and shows that this is how Matthew wrote it (parthenos) and most certainly how Mary understood it. And I would assume she would know that she was a virgin.
You cannot not know a passage all by itself. You do not form or demolish a theological point with just one passage. You consider it in light of the entire revelation of God, understanding that there is a continuity and unity there that is unlike anything else in the world.
When a liberal tells me that Isaiah 7 refers to just a young maiden I am forced to make a decision. Do I follow his or her declaration or do I take Matthew’s and Mary’s, and the translators of the OT into Greek. 5 bucks to the first one who get the right answer.