Don’t Knock Systematic Theology

Written by Mark Farnham

On January 30, 2019

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Biblical theology is all the rage, especially among young, reformed-ish types. In contrast to the perceived stuffiness of systematic theology (or so they’ve heard), biblical theology provides a storyline that delights with previously unnoticed insights.

This is not to knock biblical theology.  It is an important tool in the theological bucket, and my own understanding of Scripture has been greatly expanded with the help of biblical theology. Some, however, have seemingly abandoned any interest in systematic theology, thinking that it is merely a man-made construct of the modern era that kills the liveliness of Scripture. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Carl Trueman, one of my go-to thinkers, writes this important piece that summarizes the mutual importance of both biblical and systematic theology:

If the danger with Systematic Theology is that it can so emphasize conceptual unities that it misses the particularities of the biblical text, then the danger with Biblical Theology is that it so emphasizes the particularities that it misses those underlying unities. The answer to missing the trees for the wood is not to miss the wood for the trees. 

You will want to read the whole article. It is well worth it for anyone who loves the Scriptures and wants to continue to grow in the thorough knowledge of God’s eternal, redemptive work.

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