This is the beginning of my online publishing. I first referred to this important subject of Christian behaviour over nine years ago here. Christian behaviour is much more than people realise. Even Christians are not taught it and very often they mistake fleshly behaviour for Christian zeal and prudence. A person may know the Ten Commandments but know next to nothing about Christian behaviour.
I explained Zugology here, two years ago. This current online publication, The Zugology of Christian Behaviour, is about ‘the balanced theology of Christian behaviour’ or the theology of balanced Christian behaviour. This means that it draws its teaching about Christian behaviour from the Christian Bible, not from what godly people ‘think is right’. which can often be shown to be fleshly ‘gut feeling’ that is not from the Spirit of God. When did you last see godly people using manipulative activity to secure their chosen outcome? The Holy Spirit does not need this extra push, even from godly people, who should know better.
In effect, this publication seeks to give a balanced overview of Christian behaviour, which is very different from worldly human behaviour. The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to think counter-culturally, to see things the way that God sees them, and to act in a Christian manner by the help of the regenerating Spirit of God, Who makes the godly “a new creation” 2Cor 5:17, thinking, speaking and behaving differently from the fleshly behaviour of the world lying in wickedness 1Jn 5:19 because they are a ‘new creation’ Gal 6:15. In 2Cor 1:17 Paul shows that there is even a Christian manner of decision-making, contrasted with a fleshly, non-Christian manner.
The lives of the godly are a book read by their acquaintances, so that although many will not read the Bible, yet they can read the lives of the godly. This Christian witness should encourage their friends and acquaintances to seek God for themselves, and find Him in Jesus Christ.
I have placed a Table of Contents here. The Appendices include indices to a Dictionary of terms, a Textual Index and a Topical Index. Many commonly used terms are poorly defined, such as the word Christian itself. I coin new terms on a regular basis to explain various biblical themes and these need accurate definitions.
There are so many topics in Christian behaviour that I invite you to let me know what are your priorities and I can try to deal with these as a priority. It makes little difference to me in which order I publish these topics. You may use the comments box below.
The main point about Christian behaviour is that it needs to balance many different biblical principles to arrive at correct behaviour. This balancing is ‘zugology in action’. Take the Ten Commandments as an example. How does a Christian child obey its ungodly parents (the fifth commandment) who want him/her to disobey the fourth commandment about the Sabbath day, or any other commandment for that matter? Another example – How do you obey the fourth commandment about the Sabbath on a Wednesday night? (Hint: the commandment says Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy – you can remember it at all times by planning how best to use it.)
Paul wrote to the church in Corinth in reply to its letter asking for his advice on various matters 1Cor 7:1. He gave advice from which we can draw biblical principles for personal and congregational behaviour. The two epistles to the Corinthians show us how Christian congregations should behave and how to correct issues in a Christian manner, such as litigious Christians and even serious immoral sinners, two areas of life that upset many people. Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews shows preachers how to exegete Old Testament Scripture. The Old Testament gives us principles how nations, governments and rulers should behave, and the advantage of individuals growing up in a godly family Deu 6:1-9 and Rom 3:2. The Old Testament teaches us about divine providence in personal, domestic, ecclesiastical and national life. There is much for Christians to learn.
This publication, like Scripture, teaches didactically through the written word but behaviour is also learned through imitation of living examples, mentors, as Paul taught: “Be ye imitators of me, as I am of Christ” 1Cor 11:1. This shows us that Paul is the best human example to which we can attain, because we cannot attain to the perfect example of Christ nor are we expected to follow everything in Jesus’ life as He was given a specific work to do by His Father that is beyond our imitation.
Although inspired Scripture is sufficient for all things relating to salvation Jn 20:31, yet we need fellowship with God Himself and the teaching and direct activity of the indwelling Holy Spirit applying the Word of God to us as individuals to fully learn Christian behaviour Gal 5:25.
We learn from Christ in a different manner, by being double-yoked with Him Mat 11:29, looking to Him Heb 12:2 and His example 1Pe 2:21, failing which the godly will be chastised as children by a loving father Heb 12:5-11 in order that they may learn to walk in holiness, which is not what many think it is Gal 4:19, and walk in love Eph 5:2 as Christ loved us, being imitators of God Himself Eph 5:1 and Mat 5:45-48. The absence of such chastising correction calls into question one’s Christian profession Heb 12:8.
The apostle Paul thought, spoke and behaved as if in Christ’s presence 2Cor 10:17. The sense of Christ’s presence and oversight guided his behaviour 2Cor 2:10. Christians ought to act similarly, instead of looking over their shoulder at what others expect them to do.
The Holy Spirit commends those who ‘checked out’ the teaching of the apostle Paul Act 17:11, how much more other Christian teachers? We need godly mentors, godly examples. Be sure to ask God to help you to find them – and do not slavishly follow them, but only so far as they are imitators of Christ. Paul gives us the example: “we do not have dominion over your faith, but we are helpers of your joy, because you stand by faith’ 2Cor 1:24.
So we have 1. the Word of God, 2. Christian example, which needs to be compared with Scripture and 3. the Spirit of God applying the Father’s loving correction to Christ’s disciples to ensure that the godly learn from Christ and ‘grow in grace and in the experimental knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ 2Pe 3:18. The word ‘disciple’ has the same root as ‘discipline’, which is often abused in the Christian church as if it is punishment. The Christian church is supposed to help us, not control nor hinder us Lk 11:52 and Gal 5:7. Nevertheless, the godly are Christ’s disciples, being taught, disciplined or corrected by the Holy Spirit using the Word of God, godly examples and the collective Christian church, so that they learn to walk in Christ’s steps.
Table of Contents
This is work in progress: chapters are being added with the aim that they will be clickable for you to consult and make suggestions.
Section 1 Personal behaviour
- Personal duty: where do I stand?
- Bible reading and Bible study
- Confessing Christ: domestic, social, employment, outreach
- hobbies and the use of time
Section 2 Domestic behaviour
- Family worship
- Meals: grace before and after eating; communal activity
- Church attendance
- Parents, children and the fifth commandment
- Extended family
- Family time: hobbies, holidays, mentoring
Section 3 Congregational behaviour
- Public worship: leadership, Regulative and Normative Principle,
- Prayer meetings: congregational and open prayer meetings
- Outreach: equipping for personal and collective outreach
- Community service and witness
Section 4 Ecclesiastical behaviour
- Local church
- Collective: church government
- independency, presbyterian, episcopacy
- biblical government
- of worship, teaching, mentoring
Section 5 Denominational behaviour
- Authority, control and loyalty
- Ministries and government
- Oversight of congregations, their worship and governance
- Established churches, national churches, voluntary organisations, house-churches, para-church organisations
- Teaching and confessions of faith, creeds and Christian discipline
- Systems of theology: Calvinism, Arminianism, Socinianism, Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy.
- Constitutions, ecclesiastical regulations, subordinate standards and the Word of God
- Conscientious scruples, dissent and accommodation, and protest
- Missiology, ecumenism and the worldwide church.
- Relationship with other faiths and people of other faiths: Jews and Judaism, muslims and islam, etc. Christian sects and Arianism, Socianism, etc.
- Eschatological impact upon denominational behaviour
- Prophecy, exegesis, teaching and application of Scripture.
Section 6 Civil behaviour
- Loving one’s neighbour
- Christian citizenship
- Voluntary and community work
- Politics: local, national and international
Section 7 National behaviour
- The Christian constitution of the nation
- Authority, the rule of law
- The Establishment Principle
- Government: division of powers – legislative, executive and justiciary
- democracy, autocracy, theocracy, benign and malign dictatorship, totalitarianism.
- Voting and conscientious objection
- Civil rights and duties.
- Free speech and liberty.
- Political systems and Manifestos
- Christian economics
- Sustainability, exploitation and charity in relation to the environment and employment.
Section 8 International behaviour
- Health co-operation and pandemic management – WHO
- Climate, environment and pollution
- Warfare, migration and refugees
- International arbitration and international law – UN, etc.
- Trade international and local; tarrifs and economic warfare
- Oceans, seabed and polar exploration
Section 9 Global behaviour
- Space industry and international co-operation
- Global communications
- Extra-terrestrial threats
- Pre-millennial global hegemony
- The biblical Millennium
- Post-millennial apostasy Rev 20:7-9
- The general judgment
Appendix I – Abbreviations
Appendix II – Dictionary of terms
This theological dictionary is under construction as I transfer material here from my personal computer. The easiest way to produce this dictionary is simply to make a PDF file and to update it occasionally. The list below is simply a flavour to whet the appetite and if there is a link to a blogpost then it may appear here.
You can suggest, in the comments below, a word or term that you think should be included in this theological dictionary. I may attribute the suggestion to you if you wish. What is the difference between this and Wikipedia? This dictionary is based upon biblical teaching.
Righteousness: Christ’s righteousness; imparted righteousness; imputed righteousness; personal righteousness
Appendix III – Bibliography and brief book reviews
Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is teaching young men to take more responsibility and to speak the truth. It is a useful message but not the whole Christian message. It is a secular attempt to do what Christians ought to have done long ago.
The Westminster Assembly Larger Catechism on the Ten Commandments
Prayer, Thomas Brooks,
A Comforting Cordial, Thomas Brooks.
General Directions for a Comfortable Walking with God, Robert Bolton.
Mortification of Sin, John Owen, Works, Vol. 6
The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, Walter Marshall.
Holiness, J C Ryle.
Practical Religion, J C Ryle.
Old Paths, J C Ryle.
John Ploughman’s Pictures: More of His Talk, Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Prayer, Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Principles of Conduct, John Murray.
Appendix IV – Textual Index
Here is a short list to begin with. There is more where this comes from.
Job 6:14 ignoring divine standards of behaviour.
Ps 62:9 the proper assessment of human talent
Ps 73:15 caution in expressing one’s doubts and seeking answers from God Ps 73:17.
Proverbs the book of Proverbs addresses the subject of godly behaviour par excellence.
Ecclesiastes what attitude one should have to life.
Mat 6:33 getting one’s priorities right
1Cor 10:23 edification and self-denial
1Cor 11:1 the apostle Paul is the Lord’s chosen vessel Act 9:15 to be an example of Christian service to the Christian world 1Cor 4:16 and Php 3:17.
Gal 3:5 legalism or faith
Gal 4:15 how long do your Christian relationships last? Have you experienced fair-weather Christians?
Gal 4:19 does your congregation give out a savour of Christ?
2Tim The separation of holiness is a dedication to Christ’s service which is so marked that it is necessarily distinct from and separate from the behaviour of the world.
2Tim 2:24 ‘the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient’ 2Tim 2:24.
2Tim 4:2 Reproof should be patient and informative.
Heb 12:15 failing to behave as a Christian should.
Jam 1:19 “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”. The epistle of James is a practical epistle from someone who lived with and knew the Lord Jesus Christ from childhood.
Jam 1:20 “the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God”.
Jam 2: we should be without partiality or prejudice.
2P 3:16 the godly are careful about biblical exegesis and do not twist the Scriptures.
1Jn 1:1-3 the apostle John is the Lord’s chosen vessel to illustrate the true spirit of Christian behaviour.
Jude 1:23 Christian and fleshly behaviour contrasted.
Appendix V – Topical Index