The Essential Scriptures • Kevin Zuber

A Handbook of the Biblical Texts for Key Doctrines

July 2021 • Hardcover • 978-0-8024-2078-7

Which Bible verses support that doctrine?

All good theology is grounded in the Word of God. Yet sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which scriptures support certain doctrines. That’s where The Essential Scriptures comes in. With an easy-to-use handbook format, this reference work moves through the main headings of systematic theology, offering full quotations of the biblical verses that undergird various doctrines. No more jumping back and forth between multiple sources. The Essential Scriptures puts it all in one place, providing not only the biblical support but also a learned exposition of how those passages serve as the basis for the doctrine under discussion.

Drawing from the literal and trustworthy New American Standard Bible, scholar and theologian Kevin Zuber gives you the biblical underpinnings for every doctrine, organized around the primary headings of systematic theology:

  • Prolegomena
  • Bibliology
  • Theology Proper
  • Christology
  • Pneumatology
  • Anthropology and Hamartiology
  • Soteriology
  • Angelology
  • Ecclesiology
  • Eschatology

Every pastor, scholar, student, and lover of theology needs this book in their library. The Essential Scriptures will be classic that generations of theologians turn to again and again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin D. Zuber is Chief Academic Officer and Professor of Theology at The Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, California. Before that he was a professor at Moody Bible Institute for seventeen years and he also served as a teaching pastor at Grace Bible Church Northwest in Schaumburg, IL. Over the years, Kevin has ministered around the world, teaching graduate and undergraduate classes in Asia, Africa, and Europe. He is a graduate of Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary, and he holds a Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity school. Kevin is married to Diane, and they have two sons, David and Christopher.

CONTENT PREVIEW

Theology and the Biblical Worldview
Right theology is crucial to forming a biblical worldview

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:25
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 2:12-14
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

A “worldview” is a comprehensive set of ideas, values, beliefs, and convictions with a person holds (consciously or unconsciously) about reality, truth, ethics, beauty, etc. and how one is to live in the world. “A worldview is the framework of our most basic beliefs that shapes our view of and for the world and is the basis of our decisions and actions.” The worldview of the Bible cannot be found in human wisdom. In fact, there is a fundamental antithesis between the biblical worldview and all man-centered, humanly conceived, and temporally focused worldviews. No humanly conceived philosophy or man-centered religion or ideology will enable one to understand who God is, or to make sense of the world God created, or live in a way pleasing to God, or provide a way of salvation to the knowledge of God, or enable a person to have fellowship with God (see Deut. 29:29).

In 1 Corinthians Paul is dealing with a church that was enamored with Greek philosophy. Many of the problems of this church stemmed from their attempt to combine Greek philosophical notions (man’s wisdom) with elements of the teaching Paul had given to them when he preached the gospel to them (God’s wisdom). Their division into factions that followed certain teachers (see 1 Cor. 1:12) was following the pattern of the students of Greek philosophy who divided up into rival schools of philosophy such as the Stoics and Epicureans (see Acts: 17:18). Their problems with the resurrection (see 1 Cor. 15) stemmed from Greek philosophical views that held the physical world in contempt (as in Platonism) and saw the realm of the ideals or platonic (spiritual) forms as the only good. A bodily resurrection, which would be a return to this physical world, was unacceptable to them, as can be seen by the reactions of the philosophers to Paul’s preaching of Christ’s resurrection in Acts 17:32a.

Paul wants to make it clear to the Corinthians that when the gospel is preached (“the word of the cross,” 1 Cor. 1:18a), it is foolishness to the world. And conversely, he wants them to know that “human wisdom” is foolishness to God (1 Cor. 1:20b; 1:25). Paul reminds them that they were not called because they were among the philosophically wise or worldly nobles (as judged by Greek philosophy or Greek social and class structures; 1 Cor. 1:26). Rather, God calls and saves (1 Cor. 1:27, 30) those the world considers foolish, weak, and base (1 Cor. 1:26-28) and He does this to emphatically “nullify” (1 Cor. 1:28b) worldly wisdom. He does this so that He is the One in whom we boast (i.e., we honor, revere, and trust Him alone) and so that our “faith would not rest on the wisdom of men [i.e., any other worldview, religion, philosophy, or ideology], but on the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:5), which is the “word of the cross” (1 Cor. 1:18).

However, it is to be understood that this “word of the cross” is true wisdom (1 Cor. 2:6ff). The so-called wise men of this world do not see it as such because it is not revealed to them (1 Cor. 2:9, 14); but this wisdom is revealed to those who have received “the Spirit who is from God” (1 Cor. 2:12), that is, to those who have been born again by the Spirit (see John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Peter 1:3), to those who are taught by the Spirit (see 1 John 2:27).

“Evangelicals understand that the concept of worldview has immense implications for Christianity. If everyone possesses a worldview – a comprehensive, unifying perspective in terms of which we interpret the cosmos and live our lives – then it is in terms of our worldview that Christians should live in the world to God’s glory, defend the faith to unbelievers, and live out the implications of God’s revealed will. The Christian worldview is rooted in the Bible: the transcendent, triune God, who sovereignly created and redeemed heaven and earth, provides the ultimate context for understanding all reality.”

Colossians 3:2
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

A key aspect of the biblical worldview is not simply the belief in the transcendent reality of heaven, but a mind consistently attuned to the concerns of heaven (the glory of God; the eternal destiny of man) as opposed to the temporal concerns of this earthly life. The phrase “set your minds” is one term in the original (Greek phroneite) and is an imperative and is literally “think!” This is not a momentary thought but (in the present tense) it is a “habit of thinking,” a “consistent mental perspective,” a “constant mental orientation.” This is not a mere emotional longing for future heavenly bliss but a frame of mind and thought, thoroughly and consistently informed by the Scripture (see Col. 3:16), that sets one’s priorities, informs one’s values, and controls one’s behavior. One cannot develop a biblical worldview if one’s priorities, values, and actions are aligned with, or guided by, this temporal existence (see Matt. 6:34).

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

For Scripture to inform one’s thinking (see Col. 3:2) there must be more than a superficial acquaintance with its content. The term “richly” (Greek plousios) has the notion of “abundantly,” and the term “dwell” (Greek enoikeito) has the notion of “to live in.” The idea here is that the word of Christ (the gospel, the Scripture) must permeate one’s heart and mind and be allowed to guide one’s will.

FOREWARD: JOHN MACARTHUR

Understanding Christian doctrine is understanding what Scripture teaches. The word doctrine means just that – teaching. All true doctrine is drawn from an accurate interpretation of the Bible. The revelation of God in Scripture, rightly interpreted, is the only source of the truth that frames Christian theology. That means handling Scripture accurately is the means of acquiring divine truth.

Kevin Zuber has provided a fresh and dynamic book that shows us the essential connection between interpretation and its conclusion – theology. He does this in a very helpful way by identifying and presenting the relevant verses for each doctrine. With those verses he provides informative expositions to show how each text informs the doctrinal conclusion. The book is both a model for developing theological conviction as well as a tutorial on how to make the connection between the biblical text and the doctrine.

[This book is] an extraordinary tool by a gifted scholar who understands deeply the connection between exposition and doctrine. In this volume you will become a student learning from the master. Since nothing is more important that divine truth, this is the most important exercise a believer can commit to.