Basis of Systematic Theology
1. What is systematic
b. Division: Systematic
theology is traditional divided into 8 parts:
Systematic theology is the interpretation,
understanding, and unfolding the wealth of the revelation of God. It is
organized into an integrated whole constituted by a system of doctrines.
The authoritative source is the Bible, supplemented in a secondary and
minor role by church tradition, human reasoning, and human experience.
2. Why do we need systematic
to systematic theology:
(1) Anti-intellectualism: general
opposition to anything resembling an academic discipline; that is why some
charismatic theology reduces everything to success, health, wealth
(2) "Doctrine divides; the spirit
unites": assuming that doctrines are not useful except cause divisions
(3) Argument that Israel and early
church existed without theology
b. Necessity of systematic theology:
but there are problems without a good
theological foundation, as can be seen from legalism in Israel and heresies
in the early Church
teaching has always been important
and theology came out of the necessity of teaching accurately and systematically.
(1) Theology is needed in the war
against false doctrines.
c. Objectives of
studying systematic theology:
(2) Theology assists in proper biblical
exegesis (or exposition, meaning release of truth from the Bible).
(3) Theology contains a systemic
teaching of Biblical truth and the Great Commission (Mt 28:19-20) includes
teaching the believers.
(1) Theology is an act of faith.
Christianity is not a blind faith and we need to understand what we believe
in. ("Faith seeks understanding", Anselm, 11th century)
3. Why do we
need the Bible?
(2) to grow up and be mature in
faith so that we will not be influenced by wrong teachings, extreme teachings,
(3) to understand our faith and
live it out in our lives
b. Revelation is God’s self-manifestation
to man. No one can have knowledge of God except through His revelation.
Scripture – sacred writings
Bible – from Gr. biblios meaning
papyrus reed, the materials used for writing in ancient times
Testament – the two main divisions
of the Bible, from Heb. berith meaning covenant
Canon – the approved content of the
Bible, from Gr. kanon meaning measuring rod, a standard
c. General revelation:
d. Special revelation (types):
Definition: God’s communication of
Himself to all persons at all times and in all places
through created order, history, human
moral conscience and religious nature (Ps 19:1; Ro 1:19-20; 2:14-15)
insufficiency: cannot lead to true
knowledge of God because human understanding is blurred by sin
value: man has no excuse on Judgment
Day if he rejects the existence of God
(1) Visible manifestation: angel
of God (Gen 16:7-14; 32:24-30), glory of God (Ex 3:2-4; 24:15-17;
40:34-35), Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1, Jn 1:14; 14:9)
(2) Direct communications: through
a voice (Gen 2:16; 1Sa 3:4), dreams (Daniel, Da 7; Joseph, Gen
37:5-11), visions (Ezekiel, Eze 40-48; Zechariah, Zec 1:7-6:8;
apostle John, Rev 4-22)
only in OT and in the first century
AD (= anno domini, year of the Lord; BC = before Christ; Note: avoid the
atheistic CE for common era or BCE for before common era)
(3) the Bible (Heb 1:1-2)
but their reality and interpretation
are susceptible to human error
e. Objectives of the Bible:
what we must rely on today
(1) for the salvation of man (Jn
(2) to reveal God’s will (Rev 1:11;
f. Authority of the Bible:
4. How do we
know that the Bible is the Word of God?
It is the sole source and final authority
of faith and practice (Mic 6:8).
a. Jesus equates the Scripture
with the Word of God (Mt 19:4-5)
b. Key Bible verses:
(1) 2Ti 3:16 – The whole
Bible is inspired by God, and is useful for faith (what we believe)
and practice (how we act)
(2) 2Pe 1:20-21 – Prophesies,
as recorded in the Bible, are from God and are inspired by the Holy Spirit
[Prophet is a person sent by God, bearing the authority of God, relating
a message from God.]
training in righteousness
(3) Heb 1:1 – God spoke through
the prophets and His words are recorded in the Bible.
c. The above verses refer to the OT.
How do we know the NT is also Scripture?
(1) claim as Word of God:
2Pe 3:15-16 Peter regards Paul’s
epistles as Scripture
1Ti 5:18 quoting Lk 10:7 as
self claim of Paul’s writing as Word
of God (1Th 2:13; 1Co 14:37)
(2) self claim as prophetic writing
(2Pe 1:20-21; Rev 22:18; Eph 3:5); the authenticity of the claim
is assured by the warning in Gal 1:8 and Rev 22:18-19
(3) The early church used NT authoritatively,
and universally accepted it as the Word of God.