BUILDING SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
PREPARATION FOR LESSON 1
WHAT IS SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY?
In preparation for this lesson, read over selected portions of the table of contents of Luis Berkhof's Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996, second section, pages 7-16), as found in the list below, and answer the following questions:
a. In general, what kind of topics are covered?
b. How would you describe systematic theology, on the basis of the topics covered in the book?
Part 1, The Doctrine of God
I. The Existence of God
II. The Knowability of God
III. Relation of the Being and Attributes of God
IV. The Names of God
V. The Attributes of God in General
Part 2, The Doctrine of Man in Relation to God
I. The Origin of Man
II. The Constitutional Nature of Man
III. Man as the Image of God
Part 3, The Doctrine of the Person and Work of Christ
I. The Doctrine of Christ in History
II. The Names and Natures of Christ
III. The Unipersonality of Christ
Part 4, The Doctrine of the Application of the Work of Redemption
I. Soteriology in General
II. The Operation of the Holy Spirit in General
III. Common Grace
Part 5, The Doctrine of the Church and of the Means of Grace
Part 6, The Doctrine of the Last Things
This lesson has three main sections:
Values and Dangers
Goals and Objectives of Lesson 1
In this lesson, we would like to accomplish the following:
1. We hope you will accept the legitimacy of systematic theology, when it is done the proper way.
2. We hope you will make use of all the resources and activities of the lesson to understand the nature and purpose of systematic theology.
3. We hope you make some changes in your life as a response to the teachings of this lesson. It should change the way you use systematic theology and the way you analyze theological expressions.
When you have done the following, it will show that the goals are met:
1. Complete all the written assignments of the lesson, expressing your own thoughts and attitudes regarding systematic theology.
2. Obtain a satisfactory grade on the accumulative test, demonstrating that you can identify the following: a) the purpose and characteristics of systematic theology, b) the topics it studies, c) the similarities and differences between New Testament theology and systematic theology, d) the distinctive emphases of theology during the patristic period, the medieval period, and the reformation, and e) the values and dangers of systematic theology.
3. Answer the application questions in the study guide, in which you apply the teachings of the lesson to your own life.
Carefully read these summarized instructions. You may want to print them out so that you can refer to them as you proceed through the assignments.
If this is your first time to study one of our lessons, you should read "General Instructions for Assignments." This document explains how to use the videos, how to arrange your word processor to take notes, how to use the quizzes, and other important suggestions.
Note about Greek and Hebrew
Once in a while, the lectures of this course include words in Greek or Hebrew. Don't worry about this, because a knowledge of these languages is not necessary for the course. Furthermore, when a Greek or Hebrew word is used in a study guide, glossary, or quiz, it will be transliterated (using English letters). However, it may be helpful to at least look at the alphabet of these biblical languages and learn something about the way they are transliterated. If you are interested, you may look at the following resources:
For Greek, see the following PDF document:
For Hebrew, you may look at the following web site called "Judaism 101"
Each lesson has a glossary of terms and names used in the lesson. You can find it in the "Resources" section of the lesson.