Systematic theology

Yesterday I sat in Barnes and Nobles for an hour and read from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. I sipped some Starbucks, nodded off occasionally, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

It is important to read and study theology.

Theology is simply what we believe about God and the world as it relates to God. We all have thoughts about God and the world and therefore in some sense we all dabble in theology.

The issue is not whether or not we think about theology. We do. The issue is how we think about theology.

Charles Ryrie, in his book Basic Theology, writes,

Theology is for everyone. Indeed, everyone needs to be a theologian. In reality, everyone is a theologian – of one sort or another. And therein lies the problem.

There is nothing wrong with being an amateur or professional theologian, but there is everything wrong about being an ignorant or sloppy theologian. Therefore everyone should read theology.

I enjoyed Grudem’s definition of systematic theology. I think he makes systematic theology accessible for everyone with this definition:

Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, “What does the whole Bible teach us today?” about any given topic.

Based on this definition, we all do systematic theology from time to time when we say, “The Bible says…”

Again, the issue is not whether or not we do theology… we do. The issue is how we do it. Are we sloppy or prepared?

So, how about you?

Have you ever read a theology book?

Why?

Why not?

What would make you want to read/study theology?

5 thoughts on “Systematic theology

  1. Paul,
    >>There is nothing wrong with being an amateur or professional theologian, but there is everything wrong about being an ignorant or sloppy theologian. Therefore everyone should read theology.<<
    That is a great quote!

    I have found Paul Enns “The Moody Handbook of Theology” to be very readable and accessible for even the beginning student of theology. I like to think of theology as the Biblical grid through which all of life must be filtered — or a Biblical worldview.

    I’ve just added a theology book to my reading list, thanks Paul for the encouragement!

    Mike

  2. Read pleanty of ’em 🙂 Here is the thing that I have been thinking about ever since I learned of theology books, can there really be such a thing a “systematic theology?” In other words, is it really possible to systematize everything that the Bible has to say about a topic? Just something to think about.

  3. Yep,I have definitely read my share of theology books. Out of them all I appreciate reading Biblical Theology over Systematic Theology. They are both important and serve unique roles. Systematic theology puts theology in compartments and buckets. Usually with systematic there isn’t much emphasis with how each of the categories relate and integrate with one another. Biblical theology looks more at the unified story of the bible. It wants to see how the narrative unfolds God’s redemptive plan. Biblical theologians such as Graeme Goldsworthy are great reads. It is so cool to see how God unfolds his beautiful love story of redemption.

  4. Okay, honestly, on my list of things to do, reading theology books would be right at the bottom. I’d rather just read my Bible. And I’d rather spend time living out my faith in practical ways. I suppose I’d read one if I was required to.

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