What role should Church History play in our understanding of the Bible?

Please select your answer below.  Take the time to share in the comments section why you answered the way you did.

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7 Responses to What role should Church History play in our understanding of the Bible?

  1. Ben A says:

    I just had this discussion with a friend of mine. The church teached “Jesus Only” (Holy Spirit, Father, and Son are all Jesus. Jesus literally lives in you and literally has a throne in the sky and so forth)

    My friend found a lot of verses to support the idea of the Trinity being 3 distinct and seperate persons, but all one God. He doesn’t fully understand it (who does?), but on his own study he really got a good grasp on it.

    His pastor told him that it would be best not to bring this information to the congregation. It would only cause confusion and they’re not ready to accept a greater (and more orthodox) view of the Trinity.

    He was torn. The Bible says one thing, his church says another. And the greatest scripture passage they can find to support their belief was added in the 16th century to the Vulgate and included in the King James Bible (1John5:7 if memory serves me correctly).

    So he’s chosen to remain silent, but he has had to reject one of his core church beliefs because of the Bible. (he would say option 2 — me too)

  2. Tim Farley says:


    Thanks for the comment. I would argue that your friend’s local church has strayed from the traditional teaching of the Church, which clearly believes and professes a Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Spirit. So your friend’s understanding is more in line with Church history than his local church’s. I want to post more on this issue of Church history after another day or so of letting people respond to this poll.

  3. Ben A says:

    Wow. I responded to that really early in the morning. I even used the word “teached.” Haha. Remind me not to write in the morning.

    I can see that there’s a wild and radical difference between church history and Church history. Both are important and play major rolls in what we believe. I think I’d have to say that church history and current church teachings dictate what people believe more than anything else.

  4. Tim Farley says:


    Unfortunately, I think you are probably right when you say that local churches dictate what people believe more than anything else. It is especially disappointing when local churches have no understanding of the historical theological understandings of the Church. Local churches often invent their own theology and end up drifting into heretical views. Why do so many churches ignore the collective understanding of Scripture that has been passed down through the ages?

  5. Ben A says:

    I think there are a few reasons:

    1) Laziness
    2) Fear of education (especially fear of education trumping “faith”)
    3) Ignorance due to a lack of education
    4) Treatment of the Bible as a magic book made for each person today, not a historical book containing documents written for specific people back then

  6. Tim Farley says:


    I agree with all of the reasons you say. I would also mention that we want to be our own authority. We do not want others telling us what we should believe. It is “my faith” and “my decision”. How dare you tell me what I must believe? I think that is what got us into trouble in the first place (Genesis 3).

  7. Ben A says:

    Too true. Especially in America.

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