Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Systematic Theologies

The Bible contains many different types of writing, including history, poetry, law, proverbs and letters. And these were written by many different sorts of people over a period of perhaps 2000 years or so. It can be difficult to track down what it teaches about a given subject. However, there are quite a few books that aim to present what the Bible teaches in a thematic and ordered way. These are generally called systematic theologies.

Wayne Grudem helpfully defines systematic theology as

... any study that answers the question, "What does the whole Bible teach us today?" about any given topic. This definition indicates that systematic theology involves collecting and understanding all the relevant passages in the Bible on various topics and then summarizing their teachings clearly so that we know what to believe about each topic.

As long as we don't put these books at a higher level than the King of Books they can be extremely useful.

The following are recommended. Thanks again to Luke Jenner for the initial list.

First some general volumes:

Ultimate RealitiesRobert M HornIVP
Summary of Christian DoctrineLouis BerkhoffBanner of Truth
A Faith to Live ByDonald MacLeodMentor
Systematic TheologyWayne GrudemIVP
Bible DoctrineWayne GrudemIVP
Foundations of the Christian FaithJames M BoiceIVP

Other books deal with particular aspects of the Bible's message. The following authors are also recommended. I've mentioned one each of their books, but their other titles are also worth exploring.

J I PackerKnowing GodHodder & Stoughton
John MurrayRedemption Accomplished and AppliedBanner of Truth
John StottThe Cross of ChristIVP
Stuart OlyottThe Three Are One: What the Bible Teaches About the TrinityEvangelical Press
A W PinkThe Sovereignty of God Banner of Truth
J Gresham MachenWhat is Faith?Banner of Truth
A W TozerThe Knowledge of the HolyAuthentic Lifestyle
John PiperThe Pleasures of GodChristian Focus Publications
Edward DonnellyHeaven and HellBanner of Truth

See also: Bible Introduction and Overview, Bible Commentaries, Contemporary Issues, Biography and History, Devotional