Each week as I blog, I admit that I struggle to pick a topic that will connect with those who read. Too often, however, I find myself in a rut. I recognize that I have a tendency to focus on certain Biblical truths over others. I want to avoid unbalanced blogging.
Paul, in Acts 20:27, as he is departing from the Church in Ephesus says to the Elders, “for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Emphasis added). I want to be able to say that same thing as Paul. I do not want to blog about the things that are easy, or the things that tickle your ears, or the things that are reactionary to a cultural wind. I want to blog about Biblical truth and equip Christians to have the answer before the questions arise.
To do this I am going to use Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine.” I would suggest every Christian to have a copy of this book on your shelf. It is not the only book on Systematic Theology, but it is very user friendly and anchored in Scripture. In fact, if you plan on reading this blog for the next year, it would be great to have the book to go along with each post.
At the end of each chapter in Grudem’s book is a Scripture passage that is related to each Biblical topic. I intend on using each chapter’s Scripture passage to unpack each topic.
For today, I merely want to introduce you to the discipline of Systematic Theology. Grudem defines it as follows: Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, “What does the whole Bible teach us today?“ about any given topic.
These topics could include the nature of God, Scripture, creation, humanity, sin, angles and demons, miracles, death, heaven, the Church, marriage, the end times, etc. Systematic Theology pulls together the relevant Biblical texts that are found throughout the Bible to get a better understanding of each of those topics.
Some of you may be asking, what value is this?
First, Systematic Theology gives you a framework. So often I am asked questions about God’s will and because people have not spent time in God’s Word they have very little structure in making Godly decisions. Because of this ignorance, they make decisions based on feelings and “open doors” versus Bible.
Second, Systematic Theology helps guard against doctrinal errors. Many times bad theology is due to unbalanced theology. Frequently one verse is taken out of context or extended beyond its original intended purpose. Examining all Scripture on a topic helps in keeping the truth in check. A simple example of this is the Trinity. Deuteronomy 6:4 it says, ““Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” If this was the only verse you used to determine the nature of God you would miss out on the Son and the Spirit. For a more full understanding of God it is important to also read text like John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Third, Systematic Theology will reduce tensions in the Body of Christ. It is amazing how much division exists in the Church due to lack of Biblical knowledge. Some people struggle with certain stances the Church takes on certain topics without realizing that there is strong and clear Biblical reason for their positions. If more people knew what the Bible said about certain topics, there would be less hostility and more unity.
There are more reasons than three, and if you take me up on my encouragement to read Grudem’s book along with me this year, you will discover more. But either way, I hope that you join me in this journey as we attempt to work our way through the whole counsel of God.