Mister Richardson’s
Bible Doctrine Class

Chapter 1: Introduction to Systematic Theology

And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
- Matthew 28:18-20.

A. Definition of Systematic Theology
Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, What does the whole Bible teach us about any particular topic?
  1. Relationship to other disciplines
    • Historical theology - study of the development of theology throughout history.
    • Philosophical theology - study of theology using philosophic reasoning and not necessarily the Bible.
    • Apologetics - defending the truth of Christianity to persuade unbelievers.
    • Ethics - concerns questions of how we should live.
    • Old Testament theology - theology limited to the O T.
    • New Testament theology - theology limited to the N T.
    • Biblical theology - concerns the development of theology within the Bible and concentrates on the message to the original hearers.
  2. Application
    • The teaching of doctrine has practical value for us.
  3. Systematic instead of disorganized
    • Systematic means carefully organized; there is order.
    • More detailed.
    • More accurate and precise.
    • Fairly treats all relevant Biblical passages.
  4. What are doctrines?
    • A doctrine is what the whole Bible teaches us about some particular topic.
  5. Major and minor doctrines
    • Major doctrine has significant impact on our thinking about our salvation.
    • Minor doctrine has less impact on our thinking about salvation, but is still important for Christian living.
B. Assumptions
  1. The Bible is completely true.
  2. The Bible is our only and final standard of authority.
  3. The Bible is sufficient for all people in all places at all times.
  4. God exists as He is spoken of in the Bible.
  5. God is our creator.
C. Why Study Theology?
  1. We are commanded by God to teach and to be disciple - Matthew 28:19,20.
  2. The benefits to our lives.
    • Helps us to overcome wrong ideas.
    • Helps us to make better decisions.
    • Helps us to grow and mature as Christians - 1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:10.
D. How should we study theology?
  1. With prayer - Psalm 119:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 1:17-19.
  2. With humility - 1 Peter 5:5; James 1:19-20; 1 Corinthians 8:1.
  3. With reason and logic - Psalm 119:160.
    • Paradoxes are not the same as contradictions.
  4. With help from others - 1 Corinthians 12:28.
  5. By collecting and understanding all relevant passages of Scripture
    • Find all relevant verses - use a good concordance!
    • Read, make notes on, and summarize each verse.
    • Summarize the whole.
  6. With rejoicing and praise.
    • It is the study of the living God and of the wonders of all His works in creation and redemption. - Deuteronomy 6:5; Psalm 19:8; 119:14,103,111,162; 139:17; Romans 11:33-36.

apologetics, biblical theology, Christian ethics, contradiction, doctrine, historical theology, major doctrine, minor doctrine, New Testament theology, Old Testament theology, paradox, philosophical theology, presupposition, systematic theology.

1. How is systematic theology different from other theological disciplines?
2. Give four reasons why Christians should study theology.
3. Name six things that should accompany your study of theology.

What is likely to happen to a church or denomination that gives up learning systematic theology for a generation or more? Has that been true of your church?

Q1: What is the chief end of man?
A1: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

Shouldn’t We Evangelise Instead of Arguing About Theology? - William Harrell
Who Needs Systematic Theology? - Michael Horton

The big difference between Christian faith and any kind of philosophical theology is that Christians claim to know God, the ulitmate reality, personally.
- Gerald Bray, The Doctrine of God

Order is a help to memory. Heads of doctrine are as cells wherein to bestow all the things that are heard from the word. He that is well instructed in the principles of religion, will most easily and firmly remember divine truths.
- Thomas Manton, Sermon on Psalm 119:16

For the conscience to function in a godly way it must be influenced by godly convictions. To gain godly convictions, our consciousness of what is right and what is wrong must be sharpened. This involves the mind. It is a matter of doctrine.
- R C Sproul, Pleasing God

Systematic theology is that methodological study of the Bible that views the Holy Scriptures as a completed revelation, in distinction from the disciplines of Old Testament theology, New Testament theology, and biblical theology, which approach the Scriptures as an unfolding revelation.
- Robert Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith

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