TBI and all its programs and courses exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples in Jesus Christ. Our conviction is that this mission is served best by developing in our students strong, independent research, reading, thinking, and communicating abilities. We are not persuaded that suspension of belief is possible or advisable for the sake of dealing honestly, perceptively, profoundly, and relevantly with historical texts or contemporary observation. We believe it is possible to be self-critical and vulnerable to new insight without embracing the ephemeral and value-laden commitment of scientific neutrality. The antidote to mindless, uncritical indoctrination is not dispassionate neutrality.
Instead of neutrality, we believe humility and honesty are crucial for the sake of seeing and embracing truth. These indispensable qualifications of true scholarship are rooted deeply in Christ who reveals our finiteness as creatures, our fallenness as sinners and our dependence as redeemed persons. Implicit in this dependence is our hope that we are gradually being conformed — even in the way we read and think — to the likeness of Christ though the work of the Holy Spirit.
It is our conviction that one can be both passionately concerned about the subject matter of the Word of God and, at the same time, rigorously careful and objective in the pursuit of truth. The secular “scientific method” would argue that one must be dispassionate to do objective research. We do not agree, because Scripture puts passion and study together. For example, Psalm 111:2 says, “Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them.” Delight leads to study, and study leads (eventually) to further delight. It is this well-founded delight that frees a person and compels a person to be rigorous and objective in his study because our delight is not in our cherished private interpretations of God’s Word, but in God Himself. It is because we are confident that he is good and that he “rejoices over [us] to do us good . . . with all his heart and all his soul” that we want to be careful to hear accurately what he has revealed in his word. If the careful reading of his word leads us to see error in some cherished interpretation, we will gladly embrace the more accurate understanding. The spiritual passion we are talking about is not arrogant presumption, but desperate thirst for a true vision of God and of his ways revealed in the Scriptures.
Our prayer and labor in each course, therefore, is toward a passionate commitment to the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ — a commitment which is rooted in the disciplines of honest and accurate exegesis, rigorous and self-critical reflection, historical and cultural awareness, and humble dependence on God’s grace.