According to Chafer, Systematic Theology is the “collecting, scientifically arranging, comparing, exhibiting, and defending all the facts from any and every source concerning God and His works.” Hodge would agree, but would limit these facts to those coming from the Bible alone. Erickson says that a theology must be (1) Biblical, (2) Systematic, (3) Relevant, (4) Contemporary, and (4) Practical.
While Biblical theology starts with the Scriptures and determines what they say about God, Systematic theology stars with a topic and try to figure out what all of Scripture has to say about it. This method helps to arrange all the Scriptural truths in a way that enables us to have a clear understanding of the emphasis of the entire Bible. It also helps us when it comes to defending our beliefs in a logical way. Our understanding of the truths of Scripture reflect our maturity in Christ.
As far as how this will change my life – I’m thinking I might need to be more intentional about the teaching that I give our students in our youth ministry. I need to make sure that there are certain doctrinal ideas that get covered during their time in our group. In reading Hebrews the other day, I noticed certain doctrines which Paul considered foundational.
Check it out: Hebrews 6:1-3
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
I plan on making sure that these concepts are taught to our students.
By the way, I also think that this series of journal entries is helping me to systematize my own theological ideas.
(Info from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Paul Enns, pg