Principles for the Study of Human Behavior

1. The Bible is true in all that it says. This includes all that it says about human beings and their behavior.
2. There are areas of knowledge in which the Bible does not speak exhaustively. This includes the area of knowledge covering human behavior.
3. We honor God by studying human behavior in order to minister more effectively.
4. A Christian study of human behavior will develop and enrich its understanding of its subject both initially and continuously by a full and plenary reception of biblical revelation. This involves an ongoing exegetical and theological construction of human life and behavior from Scripture.
4. The Christian study of human behavior includes the disciplined observation of behavior, theorizing about that behavior, and testing proposed theories against further observation.
5. The process of developing knowledge by observation, theory, and testing will itself be carried out in continual interaction with the process of developing an exegetical and theological knowledge of human life and behavior from Scripture.
6. It is possible for unbelievers to make accurate observations and draw correct principles about any area of human knowledge. This includes human behavior.
7. In general, observations and theories can and often do interact in ways that affect how they are understood and affect claims that may be made about them. This is true in all fields of knowledge. While this is a warning that must be taken into account, it does not lead us to complete skepticism about the possibility of human knowledge in any particular field including human behavior.
8. Because of the effect of sin's hostility to God, a Christian study of human behavior will evaluate cautiously theories and theory laden observations intent on postulating ideals of human life and behavior contrary and even hostile to divine design.
9. A Christian study of human behavior will critically assess claims about observations and theories of human behavior from whatever source in the process of extending its own knowledge.

[Parts of these principles were developed under the direction and contribution of Dr. Craig Blaising, Professor of Systematic Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.]

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