Blogging Through Biblical DoctrineHave you wanted to read a theology book, but haven’t known where to begin? In this series, Jess is blogging through John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue’s book, Biblical Doctrine. Print the study guides at the bottom of each post (or on the Resources page) and follow along! Also, be sure to join the associated women’s Facebook page to discuss the study with other Christian women. Finally, if you want to go back and start at the beginning you may find the Introduction article here.
I have been looking forward to this week’s study for you all. When the ladies here at my church dug into this section, they savored it over a two week period, just studying it out and meditating on the names of God.
As you dig into this section you might be reminded of Anne’s sentiment, from our beloved Green Gables, when she was found saying, “I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or skunk cabbage.”
Now, before you call me a heretic, I’m not pointing us to this quote to say that God would not be God if we called Him by a different name. I am, however, pointing to this quote to remind us of the power of words, and to cause us to reflect on God’s use of language, His use of specific words, (words He created!) to communicate much about the essence of Himself with us. These words should enact us to an attitude of reverence, contrition, and awe.
In the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, a person’s name was important because the lexical meaning of that name reflected, or was hoped to reflect, something about the person. To God and to the people of Israel , God’s names were especially important because they revealed aspects of who he was in himself, in his actions within himself, and in relation to creation. God’s names represented him so much that how one treated God’s name was equivalent to how one treated God (cf. Mal. 1:6-7, 11-14) (154.) 1
To the people of Israel names had a significant weight. And the names of God were used specifically to point to His various attributes. As you study out these names, you are essentially studying the attributes of God.
This week’s study will certainly be what you make of it. If you skim it, it will be nothing more than words on a page – perhaps merely thistles and skunk cabbages! But, if you dig in, meditate, turn to the correlating verses in your Bibles, and study, this reading will be as fragrant to you as the sweetest rose.
Here is your study guide for this week Theology Proper 2.
I’ll see you next week for our discussion on the Attributes of God.