This week the blog is sponsored by Zondervan Academic, and is adapted from the preface to Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem.
Knowing and understanding basic Christian beliefs is important for every Christian. People who don’t know what the Bible teaches will have no ability to distinguish truth from error, and they will be like “children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14). But Christians who have a solid foundation will be maturer, will not be easily led astray, will have better judgment, and will “have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14).
This new revised edition of Christian Beliefs will help Christians from every walk of life learn these basic teachings so they can live faithfully and fruitfully. This book is a summary of twenty basic beliefs that every Christian should know. It is a condensed version of my book Bible Doctrine, and that itself is a condensed version of my Systematic Theology. Christian Beliefs takes the most essential sections from those earlier books, condensing long discussions into a key sentence or two, and revising the wording to make it understandable even for people who are brand-new to the Christian faith.
Christian Beliefs has a strong focus on the Bible as the source for what Christians believe. Instead of just citing references to Bible verses, we have frequently quoted actual verses from the Bible, because God’s very words are “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). The words of the Bible nourish us spiritually. Paul says that the Word of God is “able to build you up” (Acts 20:32), and Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
The two comments I hear most frequently from people who have read Systematic Theology or Bible Doctrine are “Thank you for writing a theology book that I can understand” and “This book is helping my Christian life.” We have attempted to preserve those two qualities—clarity and application to life—in Christian Beliefs as well.
I hope this shorter book will be useful for new Christians, for new members’ classes in churches, for home and college, Bible study groups, and even for Sunday school classes for children from about age thirteen on up. It should also be helpful for non-Christians looking for a brief summary of basic Christian teachings.
The Christian Beliefs Study Guide is also now available for use alongside the main book to help readers reflect on and deeply internalize the core teachings of Christianity.