The One Thing Bonus: Should Every Christian Study Biblical Theology? (Nancy Guthrie)

SPECIAL BONUS EPISODE!!!

Nancy Guthrie's will be coming to Australia in June 2024 to run workshops for women to understand biblical theology. Nancy is an author, speaker and podcaster who has spent her life encouraging women in the Bible.

  • Nancy's personal experience in sitting under the Bible
  • Why biblical theology is essential for all Christians to understand
  • The importance for women to understand biblical theology
  • Making biblical theology accessible to everyone
  • Nancy's view on workshops

TOOL BOX:

Book in for Nancy's Workshops around the country.

Dates:

  • Adelaide, Australia • Grace Conference • May 25, 2024 [SOLD OUT]

  • Melbourne, Australia • Holy Trinity Doncaster • May 27, 2024 [SOLD OUT]

  • Canberra, Australia • Westminster Presbyterian • May 29, 2024

  • Sydney, Australia • Scots Church • June 1, 2024

  • Townsville, Australia • Willows Presbyterian • June 4, 2024

  • Brisbane, Australia • City Tabernacle Church • June 8, 2024

More on Nancy:

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    TRANSCRIPT:

    The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

    “G’day, I’m Jo Gibbs, and welcome to The One Thing, a podcast designed to give you one solid practical tip for gospel-centered ministry every week. The One Thing’s brought to you by Reach Australia. Our purpose is to see under God thousands of healthy, evangelistic, and multiplying churches right across the country.
    Now today, I’ve got the great pleasure of speaking with Nancy Guthrie from her home in Nashville in the US. Nancy’s a passionate teacher of the Bible and author of multiple books, study guides, and devotionals for women. She’s a regular conference speaker and she’s coming to Australia very soon to run biblical theology workshops for women in Adelaide, Sydney, and Brisbane, and even better than Eden, evening events in Melbourne, Canberra, and Townsville.
    Welcome to The One Thing, Nancy.”

    “Oh, Jo, thank you so much. You know, I’m about ready to start packing my bags to head your direction. I’m so looking forward to my days there.
    How many times have you been to Australia now?
    You know, I think I’ve been five times.
    Oh, that’s pretty good.
    So I think this will be my sixth. Yeah, you know, it’s kind of a long way there. I remember before I’d ever come to Australia, my husband, David, who’ll be coming with me, he always said he wanted to go to Australia, and I always said, well, you know what?”

    “It’s going to be just like any other speaking thing. We’ll fly there and we’ll stay in a hotel and we’ll go to the church and we’ll come home with us. It’s just gonna take us a lot longer to get there.
    And I was wrong about that. And that’s why we’ve come back so often. We so enjoy the people in Australia and the beauty of Australia.
    So I’m just grateful to keep getting invited back.
    Right, well, we’ll keep inviting you. We’ll keep inviting you with comments like that. Well, it’d be great to hear you in Australia and great to be able to talk to you on The One Thing today.”

    “But for now, you’ve pressed play on another episode of The One Thing, why every Christian should study biblical theology.
    Well, Nancy, for those who might not know you, I’m guessing most people do, but can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
    Yeah, I live in Nashville Tennessee, which is in the center of the United States. And I spend most of my days doing what I did today, which was spend the day working on a talk for an event coming up, which by working on a talk for me, that mostly looks like studying the scriptures and scribbling out questions that I have and trying to find answers and trying to create a memorable, helpful outline. And so, but also most of my days get punctuated with slipping away to go walk in a park that’s right near my house.”

    “And today was like that too. So that’s my life. I do a lot of writing and speaking, but most of my writing is really kind of the result of my speaking as I so enjoy getting to go out and teach the Bible.
    Oh, that sounds like a nice way to spend your days. Well, it’s been such a joy preparing for this interview, listening to a number of your talks that you’ve given, re-listening to some of your episodes of Help Me Teach The Bible, which Pete, our producer, absolutely loves. And each time I’ve noticed you have such a deep love for God’s word, what has helped grow that in you over your lifetime?
    Hmm, that’s a good question. I’m so grateful to be someone who grew up in a household where the church was loved and I was there every time it was open. So, my earliest memories are of being taught the Bible.”

    “I went to college, a Christian college, where I minored in Bible. I got a job right out of college at a Christian book publishing company. But if I’m honest, I look back to a time when I realized that as intertwined as my life was with the Bible and with theology, the truth was I wasn’t reading it much myself and came to a real desperate place of honestly just feeling really hypocritical and desperate for something real with God that would flow out of hearing from him and responding to him through prayer.
    And so I made a commitment to this, you know, high accountability Bible study. I remember just thinking, oh man, I can’t believe they really want me to do my lesson every week and show up every week. It just seemed to be really asking a lot, but it was life changing for me, Jo.”

    “I just remember, you know, week by week as I was in the Word and coming under conviction and repenting and changing, I just had the sense that my life was changing. And so, you know, I have a real foundational conviction that God does His work in the world, and I’ll add His work in our lives through His Word. His Spirit uses His Word to generate the kind of change that we are so longing for.
    That’s certainly been the experience of my life. And I guess the only other thing I would add is that over the years now that I’ve been writing and speaking about the Bible, one thing I have found, I remember the day I finished, I wrote the last sentence in the last paragraph in the last chapter of a five book series of Bible study books called The Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible Study Series. And I worked on it for over five years, and I was sitting at my desk as I typed in those last words, and my husband came by my desk, and I had my head down on my desk, and I was kind of teary”

    “And he’s like, what are those tears? Are those tears of relief of being done? And I said, well, yes, partly, because any huge project, you’re working toward a goal, and there’s a sense of relief at being done.
    I said, but I think more than that is just profound gratitude for the opportunity to spend those years studying in that way, to be able to give God’s word out. And even more than that, it was a profound gratitude that as I studied the Bible, what I discovered is the closer I examined it, the more it held together. And I think that’s a unique thing in our world.
    As you know, if you think about so many things in this world, you know, including organizations, whatever, you know how that is? It’s like, if you get too close and you look too close, things begin to fall apart and it doesn’t have as much integrity perhaps as you thought it had. And I think the Bible is just the opposite.”

    “That the more we examine it, the more it holds together and the more it self-authenticates. And to me, what it did was it convinced me more and more that the Bible has one divine author.
    Oh, I love listening to you talk about the Bible. It’s just so encouraging, so rich. And that’s a lovely segue to us talking about your biblical theology workshops that you’re gonna be doing in Australia very soon.
    How many countries have you run these in now?
    Oh, gosh, I should have counted before I got on. I have done them in a lot of countries. Let’s see, Belfast, London, Newcastle, in Italy and Germany.
    I’ve done them in a lot of Latin American countries over the last two or three years, including Cuba and Dominican Republic and just all over. And it’s such a joy to me to get to teach these workshops wherever I get invited.”

    “And tell us, most of our listeners will know, but helpful for us to think through this. What is biblical theology? And why do we need to pay attention to it?
    Why travel to all those countries doing biblical theology workshops?
    My definition of biblical theology would be something like this, that the Bible, though it is written by, you know, these many different authors and in many different genres of literature, it is really telling one coherent story about what God is doing in the world through Christ. And not only that, the Bible is written, in the Bible are written in a number of central themes. The divine author has written this book with a number of central themes that actually run from Genesis to Revelation.
    And my contention is that when we know the themes that the divine author has written into his book, it so helps us to really get the message that he intends us to get. Because you know, Joe, we don’t want to just go to the Bible and try to figure out what it could mean.

    “Our real aim is to try to figure out what is the divine author through this human author seeking for me to understand and particularly to understand what he is doing in the world through Christ.
    You know, I’m someone who grew up knowing so many Bible stories, but I’d be kind of embarrassed for you to know how recently it was that I could have strung those together on a timeline, because it was more just a jumble of nice stories that often had a, you know, the way they were applied was, you know, so try really hard to have faith like this person, or, you know, don’t sin like this person. But yeah, I just, for most of my life, I didn’t understand how these smaller stories fit together to, in the Old Testament, be preparing us for the person and work of Christ through shadow and in so many other ways. And then in the New Testament, seeing the fulfillment of all of those things and seeing the person and work of Christ more clearly.”

    “And a storyline that comes to a climax in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And, and this is so key because this is something I was never taught growing up, how it resolves in the new creation, the new heavens and the new earth. I think most of my life, my understanding of the Christian life was pretty much, you know, I make a decision for Christ and I try really hard to live for him.
    And then I go to heaven when I die. And I would say all of those things are true and good, but that that’s a very diminished understanding of what the Christian life is about. And it also, if you notice, had the common denominator of I, I, I.”

    “But once we know the story of the Bible, which is centered on Christ, Christ, Christ, and we see his life, death, resurrection, and how he’s leading us into the new creation, we realize that because we’ve become united to Christ by faith, that our story is all about his story. And so, you know, his future is our future because we are united to him. And I think those things make a lot of difference, not only in our minds in terms of how we understand what God is doing in the world.
    And you know, I’m all for us loving God with our minds. Sometimes I think, especially at women’s event, they can all be about heart and emotion. And I just love challenging women to use their curious mind to understand what the Bible is all about.”

    “But it does move to the heart because it does show us where our future is headed and the way in which Christ has loved us and what that’s going to mean for us.
    Now, let me pick up something you’ve just said there, which is about sometimes ministry among women can be a bit light on theologically, can tend towards topical teaching or be very driven by kind of felt needs or being a consumer of God’s word rather than equipped to handle God’s word faithfully for ourselves. But I’ve noticed with you how committed you are to equipping women with the tools to handle the Bible well. Why is it so important that women are equipped to handle God’s word faithfully to do that well?”

    “There is no way that any of us can face the realities of living life in this broken world without some theology. And that can sound like an intimidating term. And growing up, I always thought of theology.
    Theology for me primarily was the study of doctrine. And those things are important, but they can sound like something dry and disconnected from real life or the things that really matter to me. But you know, Joe, none of us get through this life without suffering.
    And I think it’s especially when we suffer that we begin to say, okay, well, what are God’s purposes in the world? And what can I expect from God in the here and now, as well as in my eternal future? Those are very significant questions that if we can’t come to some solid, reliable, worthy answers to those questions, when the storms come in our lives, we’re gonna be destroyed by them and we’re going to be alienated from God because he just hasn’t lived up to our expectations perhaps.”

    “So we need theology for facing suffering in this world. But I guess the other thing I would say is, I think some people might just want to say, you know what, I don’t want theology. I just want to love Jesus.
    And I would say to you, as soon as you say, Jesus loves me, you’re doing theology and you’ve got some significant questions you have to answer. Who is this Jesus? In what does his love look like?
    In what ways does he love you? Does he, toward what end does he love you? Who does he love?
    I mean, immediately we’ve got questions and theology doesn’t have to be scary. It’s really just studying the things of God. And you know, if we truly want to love him, then we want to know him.”

    “It would be crazy for me to say, I love my husband David, but I’m not really that interested in knowing that much about him. Or like, just let me just keep it light, right? Like I don’t know, I don’t want to know any of those deep personal things.
    I don’t know, I don’t want to know exactly how I can expect him to respond to things or what’s important to him. I mean, that makes no sense. And I would say the same thing is true in regard to God, that if we want to grow in love for him, it means we need to know him.
    Now our audience, Nancy, is made up mostly of church leaders, church planters, gospel workers, many of whom will have been to Bible college and learnt about biblical theology. One of the great things I’ve noticed is how much work you do to help the average person understand biblical theology for themselves. What can you share with us about how to make biblical theology accessible to the average person?”

    “Well, I hope I’ve gotten gained some skills in this. I feel like that’s what happens at our biblical theology workshops. And I think one of the keys is, notice it’s called a workshop.
    So I’m not just standing up there lecturing the whole time. I pick a theme and I trace it from beginning to end in the Bible. And I put them in groups and give them a theme and ask them to try to trace a significant Bible biblical theme from creation to consummation through the Pentateuch and the history books and the wisdom books and the prophets and the gospels and those kind of things.
    And the truth is, it’s pretty challenging for some of those people. I say sometimes, if what you learn through this exercise is that you don’t know your Bible like you thought you did, then that’s going to be the best thing you’ve learned. Because so many people in the pew simply farm out their Bible exploration to the pastor or to some author or somebody that they listen to.”

    “And they’ve just never really tried or believed that they could have a question about the Bible and dig and find it for themselves. And so I just love it that at our workshops, people get the chance to do that. And hopefully at least one person in that four person group has a little bit of familiarity with the Bible who can help them make progress on that.
    But I think it’s so exciting to be in a group situation like that. And I feel like I watch light bulbs go off in women’s lives. And just the explosion of joy as women discover that they can see this for themselves in the Bible is just so much fun.
    Honestly, it’s made me where I don’t want to go back to simply going and giving messages where I do all the talking because the pedagogy of them discovering some of these things for themselves after I’ve given them some tools to do it is so exciting.”

    “Well, Nancy, you’re on The One Thing podcast. And so it’s our normal practice at the end that our speaker gets to sum up in one fairly lengthy sentence what’s one thing that they want to say about their topic. So, Nancy, what’s one thing you want to say about why every Christian should study biblical theology?
    Because although the Bible is for you, the Bible is not primarily about you. The Bible is primarily about Christ. And so we want to gain skills to be able to see him and know him, to love him more and long more for his return.
    That’s great. Well, in our toolbox today, we’ve got links to the upcoming events that Nancy’s speaking at around the country. We’ve got a link to Nancy’s website so that you can see all her different resources and speaking opportunities.”

    “A link to her Help Me Teach The Bible Podcast that we’ve talked about this morning. And she’s also very helpfully given us 15 books that she recommends about biblical theology. So they’re all in the toolbox today if you want to dig a little bit deeper into biblical theology.
    Now, if you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover on The One Thing, you can email us at resources at reachaustralia.com.au. Nancy, it’s been really great to chat with you today on The One Thing.
    Oh, so much fun to be with you and your listeners. And I look forward to seeing some of you in person very soon.
    Well, I’m Jo Gibbs. Chat soon.”