Tara’s Blog

Starting Points and Fundamental Assumptions for Five Types of Theology (and How they Relate to One Another)

I finished my most-recent RTS (Reformed Theological Seminary) course last month and celebrated by re-reading some of my notes from my previous classes.

This summary of What is Theology? from one of my first seminary classes was particularly encouraging for me to re-read and I thought that you might enjoy it, too.

Blessings!
Tara B.

WHAT IS THEOLOGY?

 Definitions of Theology

    1. The study of God
    2. The knowledge of God (Kuyper)
    3. The application by persons to all areas of human life (Frame)

 

  1. Starting Points / General Questions / Fundamental Assumptions for Five Types of Theology
    1. Exegetical Theology: the immediate focus and emphasis of a particular biblical text / What does this teach us about God, the world, ourselves? / The Bible is inspired by God and given by God to teach us.
    2. Biblical Theology: the historical progression of God’s self-revelation and redemptive plan / How did God’s self-revelation and redemptive plan unfold over the course of history? / God has progressively revealed himself and his plans over time.
    3. Systematic Theology: particular subject areas or questions of interest to us / What does the whole Bible teach about this subject? / The Bible is a coherent unity and relevant to all of life.
    4. Historical Theology: the historical development of Christian doctrine / What have Christians believed and taught about this subject? / We can learn from the wisdom and learning of Christians in the past. ** Odd one out because not authoritative per se **
    5. Practical Theology: the needs and activities of church ministry / How should we do church ministry in light of God’s Word? / The Bible is authoritative and sufficient for church ministry.

 

  1. How are the various types of theology related to one another?
    1. Exegetical must ultimately draw from other passages in its exegesis. Thus it will draw on systematic theology.
    2. It must also draw from where it is in God’s overall progressive story which employs biblical theology.
    3. Systematic must employ exegesis of its passages.
    4. Additionally systematic theology will lead into the doctrine of progressive revelation which is the key point in biblical theology.
    5. Biblical theology employs exegesis of texts and questions of a topical nature as in systematic theology. It has implications that draw from other texts too, which utilizes systematic theology.