Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
These teaching notes are from a series of studies about Biblical Theology.
[Podcast version at the end of this post.]
[These notes are from a study presented 45 years ago.]
Our subject for this study is Biblical Theology. We will be using the Bible, of course, along with scholarly works on the topic. We will look at two works in particular, followed by a list of other books you may be interested in reading.
From Eternity to Eternity
Our first book is Erich Sauer’s From Eternity to Eternity: An Outline of Divine Purposes. It was first published in German in 1950 under the title Der göttliche Erlösungsplan von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit. The English translation by G. H. Lang was published in 1954 by Eerdman’s Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Sauer was born in Germany at the end of the 19th century and died in 1959 at the age of 60. He taught at a Bible School in Wiedenest for the last 20+ years of his life and wrote several books including Dawn of World Redemption: A Survey of the History of Salvation in the Old Testament, In the Arena of Faith: A Call to the Consecrated Life, The Triumph of the Crucified: A Survey of Historical Revelation in the New Testament, and The King of the Earth, the High Calling of Man According to the Bible and Science.
The main purpose of Sauer’s book is to present the ways of God with men. The book is written in three parts –
- The first deals with God’s eternal plan of salvation
- The second deals with the Bible as the record of God’s eternal plan of salvation in the lives of men
- The third deals with the coming Kingdom of God and the culmination of the eternal plans of God
In the first part of the book, Sauer deals with Heaven and earth in God’s plan. He also presents thoughts on God’s revelation of salvation to mankind, the mystery of Israel, and the history of the Temple of God. Sauer deals with God’s plans through Christ at great length. He also writes about the Church and the Kingdom.
In the second part of the book, Sauer presents the case for verbal inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. Sauer uses logic, nature, harmony of the whole Scripture, uniformity of structure, and the words of Christ and the apostles to present his case.
The third part deals with various problems in understanding the prophesies of the coming Kingdom of God.
Here’s an outline of the first chapter of the book to get an idea of how Sauer addresses the issue of Biblical Theology.
Heaven and Earth in God’s Plan
I. The Eternal God
A. Before anything existed, God was
B. God is Three Persons and One God
C. God created all things and therefore all things belong to Him
II. Christ’s Salvation Center
A. God executes His plans through His Son
B. Christ is the center of all history
- This was God’s purpose from eternity
- The cross of Christ is from all eternity
C. God has faithfully fulfilled all promises given to man
III. The Starry World as the Background of the History of Salvation
A. God is far above man in power and knowledge
B. The Bible is above and free from human speculation
C. The cosmos and the heavenly host all play part in the history of man’s salvation
D. The symbols of all creation – lion, ox, eagle, and man – declare that God is Lord of the universe
IV. The Earth in the Universal Plan of God
A. The earth is the great stage upon which the acts of man’s salvation are played
B. The earth has seen five stages of relationship so far *
- Creation of original earth
- Entrance of sin
- Further development
- Fall and current condition
C. The earth will be the great battleground in the war between God and the devil
D. God will complete His work for a perfection creation
E. The throne of God will rest on the earth forever
[* “How far at the time that sin entered the universe the work of creation had progressed in detail the Biblical account does not particularize at full length. We do not know whether that early creation had reached the stage of a completed development, either as ‘first earth,’ or ‘light earth,’ or ‘primeval creation.’ Therefore, since full information as to conditions on that prehistoric and pre-human earth is not available, we speak but quite generally upon that stage of earth’s history.” Eric Sauer Ch. 1]
Progress of Doctrine
Our second book is Thomas Bernard’s The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament. The book was based on the Bampton Lecture series Bernard preached at the University of Oxford. It was published in 1864 by Macmillan and Co. in London.
Bernard was born in 1815 and died in 1904. He was a pastor in the Anglican Church and was well-known for his grasp of Biblical Theology. Bernard also wrote Before His Presence with a Song, The Central Teaching of Jesus Christ, Songs of the Holy Nativity and The Word and Sacraments.
The main purpose of Bernard’s The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament is to show that the “New Testament itself exhibits a scheme of progressive doctrine, fashioned for permanent and universal use.”
The book is the printing of eight lectures given by Bernard at Oxford University in 1864. The series of lectures shows a sequence of thought in the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles and Apocalypse. It also deals with the order in which they are placed.
Bernard points up the verbal inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. He deals with words spoken by Christ and the apostles. He shows the actions of Christ in revealing Himself throughout all of the New Testament.
The subjects dealt with in Sauer’s book are basically the eternality of God, the Trinity of God, the Son of God, the Creation of God, and the completion of the Plan of God.
Bernard’s book is a careful presentation of the unfolding of Gods Plan.
- Chapters 2 and 3 show Christ to be the center of God’s plan of salvation. They also show Christ to be the great Revealer of God’s plan.
- Chapters 4 and 5 deal with man’s part in presenting Christ as the center of God’s eternal plan. They are constantly guided by Christ through the Spirit. Now that God’s redemption is completed, the message is to be heard throughout the world.
- Chapters 6 and 7 are the works of Christ with His Church. The Lord is the center of their lives, as is consistent with God’s eternal plans.
- Chapter 8 deals with the pre-eminence of Christ, the great battle of God and Satan, and the restoration of the earth.
Other Materials of Interest
Christ – The Head of the Church, Arno Weniger, Fundamental Baptist Congress of North America, 1968
A Handbook of Christian Truth, Harold Lindsell and Charles Woodbridge, Fleming R. Revell Co., 1953
The Sovereignty of God, Arthur Pink, Baker Book House, 1930
Lectures on the Revelation, H.A. Ironside, Loizeaux Brothers, 1919
The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey, Zondervan, 1970
The Coming Kingdom of Christ, John R. Rice, Sword of the Lord, 1945
Profiles of Prophecy, S. Franklin Logsden, Zondervan, 1970
The Witness of the Stars, E.W. Bullinger, Kregel Publications, 1967
Lectures in Systematic Theology, Henry Thiessen, Eerdmans Publishing, 1949
God’s Plan And You, Paul Van Gorder, Radio Bible Class, 1974
The God-Man, Richard DeHaan, Radio Bible Class, 1970
The Triune God, Richard DeHaan, Radio Bible Class, 1967
The Conflict of the Ages, M.R. DeHaan, Radio Bible Class
A King Is Born, M.R. DeHaan, Radio Bible Class
We will take a closer look at what the Bible teaches about God in the next part of our special Teaching Notes series.