Science(s) And The Bible

The following is a brief alphabetical listing I have compiled about various fields of studies, endeavors, pursuits, and strategies used in determining the Bible’s origins, authenticity, trustworthiness, reliability, veracity, translations, interpretations, and understanding.  This is not a teaching, per se, as are most of the other 100 + teachings on this website. The listing gives information about multiple fields of legitimate studies that contribute in one way or another to the makeup of the Bible we have today.  Tangentially, I have also included various people and events within the historical Church of Jesus (the worldwide Body of Jesus) that touch upon and flow from the Bible; after all, we only know about Jesus’ Church from the Bible.

At a very basic level, I want you to understand at the outset that I believe the Bible is God’s complete, final written revelation of Himself to all humankind.  I believe it to be error-free in its 3 original languages:  Hebrew, Aramiac, and Greek.  However, I hasten to say that there are minor errors in translation, but most of them have been resolved to the extent that reputable scholars estimate that the Bible is over 99% reliable and trustworthy in modern translations.

The remaining 1% really doesn’t affect the Bible’s overall teachings in any significant way; for the most part, it involves misplaced or omitted punctuation marks and a few sentences or paragraphs that might be misplaced or that might have been added to the original text by a translator.

In providing the following listing, I merely feel that some of my friends and students might be interested in this list, so I’m adding it to this website simply for information.  However, there are three teachings on this website that give a little insight about why God gave humanity the Bible, its history, how it was translated, why it was compiled in its present form, etc.  Those three teachings are:  The B-I-B-L-E, Bible Overview, and Bible Study Principles.

Many of the sciences in this listing are what are termed “soft” sciences (psychology, anthropology, and other “ologies”) as contrasted with “hard” sciences such as engineering, astrophysics, computer science, etc.  Even though they are considered soft sciences, they still use the same vigorous and rigid disciplines and methods of study that are used in the hard sciences.  In a very general sense, the soft sciences are about “discovery and conveying results of discoveries in meaningful terms,” whereas by contrast the hard sciences are about “both discovery and application,” the latter in terms of technology and inventions, for example.

The fields of study that contributed to the makeup of the Bible—and that touch upon the Bible tangentially—are not necessarily all “hard” sciences or technical sciences such as astrophysics, quantum physics, etc.;  nevertheless, they are legitimate fields of science of another nature—in other areas of research.  They are various fields of scientific endeavor and other types of studies in areas that connect with the Bible, relate to the Bible, and support the Bible.  However, many of the hard sciences are also used in studying and authenticating the Bible; those that seem most relevant are contained in this listing.

This listing also contains various entries about other areas of research and study that are presently being used by scholars in various fields of Bible study.  It also contains verious terms and definitions that I feel are the most important, relevant, and germaine to a Bible student’s overall knowledge of the Bible.

It must be noted that in a general sense, science attempts to answer “How” questions, whereas Bible scholars attempt to answer “Why” questions.  For example, scientists in many fields seek to answer how the universe and all within in it (including humanity) “works.”  Bible scholars attempt to answer questions such as why do humans exist and what is their purpose.

Also, it should be noted that authentic science and the Bible are not at war with one another; they are not mutually exclusive.  Scientific dogma and religious dogma may be at odds with one another, but if one is an open-minded scientist in other fields and another is an open-minded biblical scholar, science and the Bible do agree with one another.  There is no conflict between true science in other fields and Bible scholars who study the Bible scientifically.

All of these areas of study and research—and more—have come into play in determining the origin and history of the Bible, its translation, interpretation, and understanding, its intact transmission through many centuries, and in communicating its timeless message from one person to another for thousands of years.

Beginning with the Old Testament books of Job and then Genesis, God worked with and in various humans over a period of 1,500 years, causing them to write in their own words and languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) what He wanted written.  Later, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, various individuals and groups of people compiled those writings into a volume of 66 smaller “books” we now call the Bible.  Such writers and compilers were not automatons; they were various normal humans from many walks of life who simply wrote and compiled under the inspiration of God guiding and directing their thoughts from “behind the scenes,” so to speak.

It can be stated without legitimate contradiction that the Bible is the most well-researched Book in all of human history!

These final thoughts need noted before you study the following alphabetical listing:  God did not give the Bible to humanity so much to be scientifically analyzed; it was given to grip our inner beings, to inspire us without reason, logic, or emotions; it was given and is designed to touch the human spirit without analysis or explanation. It is God’s written revelation of Himself to all humanity:  his character, his nature, his person, his works throughout all creation, but especially how He lovingly relates to and works among all humanity.

Angelology:  The branch of theology studying about angels, God’s special messengers and servants of humanity

Anthropic Principles:  Study about the universe’s (God’s) strategic designs to accommodate humans

Anthropogenesis:  The study about human origins and development

Anthropography:  The distribution of humans on the planet based on languages, physical characteristics, etc.

Anthropomorphism:  The attributing of human characteristics to a god, animal, or inanimate thing

Apokatastasis:  A Greek word meaning God ultimately will lovingly redeem, restore, and reconcile all creationincluding all humanity—to Himself.

Apologetics:  A branch of Bible study having to do with explaining proofs of the Bible and Christianity

Archaeology:  Scientific study about the past and historical life and culture.  This science began to develop when the Industrial Revolution brought with it the need to move large quantitites of soil for industry, revealing artifacts that were clearly ancient. Not much was known about humanity’s ancient history until that time.

Artifact:  Any object made by humans—especially artifacts produced in the ancient world

Arminianism:  Major doctrines of the western Church based on the teachings of Jacob Arminius (1560 – 1609) that humankind has completely free will as contrasted with the teachings of Calvinism that humanity has limited will  (See Calvinism)

Asceticism:  People who lead austere lives of rigorous self-denial and self-discipline, denying themselves typical comforts and pleasures for religious purposes  

Astrophysics:  Study that deals primarily with the physical properties of the universe

Astronomy:  Study about the universe in general

Bibliolatry:  Making the Bible an idol rather than simply understanding it is God’s complete, final written revelation of Himself to humankind.   It generally leads to excessive adherence to a strictly literal understanding of the Bible and extreme dogmatism

Botany:  Study about plant life on earth

Calvinism:  A set of religious practices and beliefs of the western Church based on the teachings of John Calvin (1509 – 1564), often associated with a stern moral code.  It teaches the doctrine that only a relatively small percentage of humanity known as the “elect” will enjoy eternal salvation.  See Arminianism

Christology:  Study about the God-Human life of Jesus of Nazareth

Cognition:  Study about how humans learn and know

Cosmology:  Study about the origin and strructure of the universe

Cosmography (and Cosmogony):  Study about the earth and creation as a whole

Creationism:  Study about creation and origins

Cuneiform tablets:  Hard clay tablets produced in ancient Mesopotamia (and elsewhere), with written characters or inscriptions on them.  Today, almost a million of them exist in various museums throughout the world.  The tablets furnish information about all aspects of daily life in the ancient world, including a great deal of information pertaining to the Bible

Dead Sea Scrolls:  Hundreds of scrolls preserved in pottery jars discovered by accident by a Bedouin in 1947 about a mile west of the northwest corner of the Dead Sea.  They date from the last century B.C. to the first century A.D.  100 of the scrolls are biblical manuscripts, one of them containing the entire Old Testament Book of Isaiah

Demonology:  The study of demons or beliefs about them

Dogmatism:  Conveying to others that one’s own views about the Bible are the only correct views; that all other views are incorrect.  Dogmatism is flawed and incomplete simply because all humans are finite beings…and always limited in their knowledge and understanding.  Only God who is infinite in knowledge can be truly dogmatic

Ecclesiology:  Study about the Church, the Living Body of Jesus everywhere and everywhen

Eisegesis:  “Reading something into” a biblical text and explaining the text based on preconceptions.  While studying the Bible, people must not read what they believe, but believe  what they read

Emmanuel:  A Greek Word meaning God is fully present at all times with and within all humanity  (sometimes spelled Immanuel)   (See Immanent)

Epistomology:  Study about sources of the Bible

Eschatology:  Study about telos, the final consummation of all creation

Etymology:  Study about the origins and developments of words

Exegesis:  Explanation of words within the biblical text and explaining them based only on critical analysis.  While studying the Bible, people must believe what they read, not read what they believe

Fear of God:  Recognizing God’s majesty, power, and holiness, resulting in one’s desire to do good and a repugnance of evil

Figure of speech:  an expression, using words in a nonliteral sense or unusual manner to add emphasis, vividness, beauty, etc. to what is said or written.  Often they expose the inner structures of thought and the way ideas come to have meaning.  The original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, languages of the Bible use approximately 125 figures of speech 

Filioque Controversy:  In 1054 A.D., a great controversy arose within the then worldwide church that resulted in a schism between the Western Church and the Orthodox Church that has never been healed  (See Orthodox Church and Western Church)

Geneaology:  The science or study of family descent

Genotype:  Study of the fundamental constitution of human heredity

Geochronology:  Study about the age of the earth

Geography:  Study about the surface of the earth

 Geomorphology:  Study about the origin and nature of earth’s topographic features

Geophysics:  Study about the physics of the earth such as weather, winds, tides, etc.

Glossolalia:  Studying about speaking in unknown tongues

Grammatical-Historical Method:  The approach to Bible study that seeks to determine the original intended meaning of a biblical text by carefully examining the grammar, syntax, and literary type or genre, interpreting it in the light of its original historical setting.  That means doing a careful examination of the historic setting, as well as the culture and grammar, including contemporary idiom and grammatical structure

Hamartiology: Studying what the Bible teaches about sin and its consequences

Hermeneutics:  Studying how to properly interpret and understand the Bible to ensure intelletual honesty

History:  Knowledge of the past based on physical evidence, oral testimony, and written records

Homiletics:  The art of preparing teachings and sermons about the Bible which are intellectually honest, but “speak” to the spirit-nature of humanity

Hyperbole:  Exaggeration for effect, not to be taken literally.  Example:  “He’s strong as an ox”

Hypostatic Union:  Study about Jesus of Nazareth being fully God and fully human

Ideographic:  In certain languages, each sign represents an idea.  Compare “Phonetic”

Idiom:  The language or dialect of a people, class, or people-group.  Example:  “She heard something straight from the horse’s mouth.”  Idioms often differ from the original meaning

Image of God:  Humans are visible representations of the invisible God

Immanent (not imminent):  God is fully present throughout all creation…including in me  (See Emmanuel)

Infralapsarianism:  The belief by some biblical scholars that God developed his plans of salvation for humankind only after humankind fell and subsequently sinned (See Supralapsariansim)

Judgment, God’s:  To ultimately make all wrong things right [As contrasted with human judgment that is most often retributive and vindictive]

Legalism:  Generally, the belief that people can base their salvation on their own works and merit, rather than upon the finished work of Jesus.

Lexicography:  Studying about how to compile or write a dictionary of a given language

Linguistics:  The study about languages

Metaphor:  A figure of speech containing an implied comparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily used of one thing is applied to another.  Example:  “All the world’s a stage”

Miracles, signs, and wonders:  God-caused events beyond all bounds of logic and reason, defying comprehension, explanation, expectation, and experience—for the purpose of God lovingly drawing all humanity to Himself through Jesus

Ontology: Studying about the nature of being or reality

Orthodox Church:  The Christian Church dominant in Russia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, etc., that split from the Western Church in 1054 A. D.  (See Filioque Controversy and Western Church)

Orthodoxy:  Study about having correct beliefs

Orthopraxis:  Study about right living

Ostracon:  shards of pottery from the ancient world with characters or inscriptions on them

Paleontology:  Study about prehistoric life forms and interactions

Palingenesias:  Study about new beginnings or “beginning again”

Parable:  A simile that has been extended to form a brief, coherent narrative with the purpose of teaching one, and only one, specific moral or spiritual truth. 

Paradox:  A statement that at first seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd, but that may be true.

Perichoresis:  Study about the true and living God being three Persons yet One God:  the Trinity, Father Son, and Spirit

Philology:  Study about written records to determine their authenticity

Phonetic:  In certain languages, each sign represents a sound.  Compare “Ideographic”

Pneumatology:  Study about Holy Spirit

Phonetics:  The study of speech sounds and their representation by certain symbols

Phraseology:  Study about the patterns of words

Planetology:  Study about planets and their moons

Polemics:  The learned and skilled practices of debate, argument, and controversy

Pragmatics:  The branch of linquistics dealing with the speaker’s or writer’s meanings or intentions in sentences

Scribes:  In ancient cultures, people who were trained in and became specialists in reading and writing—and in interpreting God’s laws

Semantics:  The branch of linquistics that deals with the nature, structure, and the development and changes of the meaning of speech forms and contextual meanings

Semiotics:  Studying about the use of signs and symbols in languages

Simile:  A figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another.  Example:  “She had a heart as big as a whale’s.”

Soteriology:  Study about God’s salvation of all humanity

Supralapsarianism:  The belief held by some that before God created humankind, He chose ahead of time only a relatively few humans to be granted LIFE in eternity with Him.  Moreover, He chose the majority of humankind to suffer eternal conscious torment  (See Infralapsarianism)

Teleology:  Study about purpose and destiny in humans

Theodicy:  Studying what the Bible teaches about God’s moral character, i.e., that He is altogether  good and not evil in any sense, thus attempting to justify that He is a God of perfectly good moral character

Theology:  Study about the person, character, and nature of God and how He works throughout all creation, including his good purposes for earth, and especially the way He lovingly works among all humanity  

Theophany:  A manifestation or visitation of God in human form before the time of Jesus of Nazareth

Transcendant:  God exists and operates everywhere and everywhen beyond his creation without limitation

Usus Lequendi:   Study about the usual mode of speaking. When applied to the Bible, it means the general biblical use of words.  To learn the meaning of biblical terms, their general use must be determined by comparing their contexts in the various places of their occurrence.  In other words, let the Bible explain the Bible, let the Bible be its own commentary upon the Bible

Western Church:  In 1054 A.D., the worldwide Church split into two major factions:  the Western Church (Generally Roman Catholicism and Protestantism) and the Orthodox Church of Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, etc.  (See Filioque Controversy and Orthodox Church)

Wisdom:  Comprehensive insight into what God is doing throughout all creation, his ultimate good purposes for earth, and especially his good purposes for all humanity…AND making correct  choices and decisions based on that comprehensive insight

Wrath, God’s:  What is considered God’s wrath is simply when God turns people over to their own sinful, self-destructive ways

Bill Boylan

Revised and Updated March 2023

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