Question: Is there Systematic Theology in the Bible? No and Yes.
It is NOT the purpose of the Bible to present a Systematic Theology.
The Bible is not an organized system of dogmatic statements, but the Bible presents a grand meta-narrative detailing God’s glorious plan of establishing a Kingdom on earth through covenantal relationships with humanity, culminating in the person and work of Jesus Christ who saves his people from their sins, and ends with the consummation of the Kingdom of God in the new heavens and earth.
There is Theology in the Bible to be Systematized:
- The Bible contains theological statements concerning God (John 1:1), humanity (Gen 1:26-27), sin (Rom 3:10), Christ (1 Tim 2:5), the church (Eph 2:20-21), etc..
- The authors reflect upon and express their understanding of events in a theological ways (e.g. Josh 24:1-15). The Bible is Theological History.
- Scripture uses literary devices (e.g., narrative, parable, poetry) to display theological truth (Ps 19:1-4).
Question: Is it legitimate to Systematize Theology?
- Christians are called to rightly divide/handle truth (2 Tim 2:15), to put it within its proper order. Our God is a God of order (Gen 1-2, Job 28-39, Is 45:5-7) Truth outside of proper order is spiritually dangerous (Prov 17:15, Is 5:20, Eph 4:12-16, 2 Pet 3:15-17).
- Every person has systems, no one can ever approach any topic without any prior knowledge.
Conclusion: Systematic Theology is a helpful but cannot become an ultimate tool. One must always reform their systems and understanding with Scripture. It is dangerous to believe anything you hear without checking it with Scripture (Acts 17:11).
Questions to consider:
- Do you check to see whether what you believe can be found in the Bible?
- Are you quick to accept the beliefs of others without analyzing them through a Biblical worldview?
- Have you stopped reading Scripture for yourself but rely upon other sources (books, sermons)?
- Do you overly trust what the church says without knowing where it comes from in Scripture?