Systematic 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.

Systematic theology is one of a number of ways to study theology, and the one way that specifically concentrates on an organized understanding of the Bible’s overall teachings regarding important areas of faith. Systematic theology is a discipline which addresses theological topics one by one (e.g. God, Sin, Humanity) and attempts to summarize all the biblical teaching on each particular subject. Sometimes called constructive theology or even dogmatic theology, the goal is to present the major topics of the Christian faith in an organized and ordered overview that remains faithful to the biblical witness.

Systematic theology integrates with the other key schools of theology such as Biblical, Covenant, and Dispensational theology. Its main goal is to draw a clear description of what the Bible teaches about a particular doctrine. Furthermore, systematic theology not only looks to Biblically construct individual doctrines of the Christian faith, but remains aware of the cause-effect relationship of each doctrine. That is, on the one hand, if one doctrine is changed, effects will take place in other areas of doctrine. On the other hand, each doctrine has implications for other doctrines. For example, within the doctrine of Christ (i.e., Christology) the belief in Jesus’ resurrection means that we are not left in our sins (cf. 1 Cor 15:17). Jesus has conquered sin, and those who are in Christ also experience this victory (cf. Rom 6). Moreover, Christians have a future hope that they too will be resurrected and experience eternal life. These are just a few of many other examples of how each doctrine is interrelated to one another. In the end, systematic theology should naturally flow into practical theology where the conclusions drawn from Scripture are made applicable to the Church.

Systematic theology also has major implications in the area of interpreting scripture. For example, the doctrine of the Trinity is not gathered from one passage of the Bible. Instead, the Trinity is an authoritative interpretation of what all of scripture says. Although some passages in the New Testament may appear to show a clear distinction between Jesus and God the Father (e.g. John 17), other passages that clearly teach monotheism (e.g. Ex. 20:3; Deut. 6:4) must be taken into account before a final interpretation can be concluded. A correct interpretation of scripture must take into account all relevant passages in the Bible, and this is done through the method of a systematic reading of scripture.

Systematic theology, on the other hand, is laid out, not chronologically, nor with a consideration of the progressive development of doctrines, but topically, taking into account from the outset the complete form which revelation as a whole has finally assumed. Systematic theology attempts to answer the question, “what is the full extent of the truth that we may know about the doctrine of sin, or salvation, or the Holy Spirit, etc.?”. Hence, systematic theologies progress from the doctrine of the Godhead, or theology proper, to christology, pneumatology, angelology, soteriology, and so on, treating each theme exhaustively.

Our opinion of God’s Covenant relationship with man has great influence on how we interpret Scripture.

To learn more about God’s Covenant check out my ebook:      God’s Covenant

Other Theologies:

Biblical Theology

Covenant Theology

Dispensational Theology

Redemptive Theology

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