What is Theology?

The word theology comes from the word Theos which is Greek for “God,” and -ology which is from the Greek word logos meaning “word.” Then the word theology becomes the study of the “words about God” or “the study of God.”

To the Jewish community Theology then would be the study of the Old Testament. To the Christian, it would be the study of both the Old and New Testaments. To the Muslim, Islamic theology, is primarily the study of the Qur’an itself.

A word that is sometimes used in place of theology is religion. Theology Is What a Person Believes, While Religion Is What a Person Practices Theology consists of what a person believes about God. Thus, theology is more like a science, while religion is more like the practical application of the belief.

In general, beliefs drive behavior. Most of Paul’s New Testament epistles take on the structure of two divisions, the first is what Paul says Christians are to believe and the second part is how a Christian is to behave, and practice.

The Old Testament says it this way in Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,….”. This not only embraces the whole of a man’s being but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.

Therefore, in a general, theology is not only the study of the nature of God and religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed it becomes the human experience of faith, and how different people and cultures express it.

Theology may be used to propagate, reform, or justify a religious tradition; or it may be used to compare, challenge (e.g. biblical criticism), or oppose (e.g. irreligion) a religious tradition or worldview.

Therefore the phrase ‘one man’s meat is another Man’s Poison. Could also mean “One man’s theology is another man’s poison”. The proverbial saying ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’ puts forward the idea that what is agreeable to one may be distasteful to another.

In other words, there is little agreement in the study of theology. Theologies vary among those who agree on the Bible (OT & NT) is the foundation text. For there not only are major differences between Catholic and Protestant but drastic differences within the Protestant denominations, such as Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Luther, Pentecostals, etc.

These disagreements even exist within denominations. During the past few years, we have experienced splits in the Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterian churches in America because of theological differences.

This series of posts will focus on different views, and methods of interpretation, within the protestant denominations. These differences fall under the general heading of Christian Theology. Below is a list of topics that will be covered in future posts.

What is Biblical Theology?

Biblical theology is simply an attempt to understand God as He is revealed in the Bible. Biblical theology is an approach in which the theologian studies the Bible from the perspective of understanding the progressive history of God revealing Himself to humanity following the Fall and throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. It particularly focuses on the progression of revelation to understand how each part of the Bible ultimately points forward to fulfillment in the life mission of Jesus Christ. Most biblical theologians start their work with the assumption of essential biblical unity.

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What is Dispensational Theology?

Dispensationalism is a method of Biblical interpretation that understands God to have related to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants in a series of “dispensations,” or periods in history.

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What is Redemptive Theology?

The teaching that “Redemptive Theology” is separate from the traditional ones of Systematic, Biblical, Covenant, and Dispensationalism has taken hold in the past few years. This theology has at its heart a redemptive-historical hermeneutic instead of the grammatical-historical of the more traditional one

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Links More Information:

Biblical Theology Dispensational Theology Redemptive Theology

“What is Systematic Theology?”

“Systematic” refers to something being put into a system. Systematic theology is, therefore, the division of theology into systems that explain its various areas. For example, many books of the Bible give information about the angels. No one book gives all the information about the faith. Systematic theology takes all the information about faith from all the books of the Bible and organizes it into a system. That is what systematic theology is all about, which is organizing the teachings of the Bible into categorical systems.

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What is Covenant Theology?

Covenant Theology holds that God has one people (true) Israel (spiritual decedents of Abraham) and the promises to Israel made in the Old Testament were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the new Israel (elect/chosen/church), and the object of Abraham’s hope. Dispensationalists have often criticized Covenant Theology as being identical to what they call “Replacement Theology” or Supersessionism. Supersessionism is the concept that the Church has replaced Israel. However, in Covenant Theology, the church is not a replacement for the nation of Israel but an expansion of it where Gentiles are “grafted into” the existing covenant community. Jewish Christians are included in spiritual Israel.

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What is Liberation Theology?

Liberation theology  is a synthesis of Christian theology and socio-economic analyses, that emphasizes “social concern for the poor and political liberation for oppressed peoples.”  Theology has been adopted by many minority groups (racial, sexual, political, etc).  This theology was made more public due to the pastor of a church in Chicago where President Obama was a member.

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More Inf:

Systematic Theology Covenant Theology Liberation Theology Progressive Covenantalism Covenantal Nomism

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