"The Bible is the Word of God, the supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice...we need to consider the whole teaching of Scripture."
The old children's song reminds us of the a basic building block of our spiritual disciplines, 'read your bible, pray everyday and you'll grow, grow, grow.' We take time in our devotions to read the Word of God, we go to a Bible study gathering and we hear it taught during worship services. It is vital for our life and our faith.
The Scriptures are important for us to know... and continue knowing. It's a journey of traversing the trials of life and reconciling what we know about who God is, and how He is working in our lives. We continue to make sense of who He is, as we walk through life and also as we discipline ourselves in learning more through the study of His Word. In his book Systematic Theology, Robert Letham writes, "Scripture is the Word of God in servant form, the supreme authority in all matters of faith and life."
Continuing to grow in our faith, means that we keep growing in our knowledge of God, as we study His Word and the doctrines of the Bible. There are different ways that the study of theology is organized; systematic theology is organized by topics. So, when you open this book, you will find it organized by a variety of subjects, from the Trinity, the attributes of God, the incarnation and more.
So, when we are studying the Bible and a topic comes up, this book makes a great reference tool, where you can pause your study of a specific piece of Scripture to look more deeply at the issue and what the whole of the Bible teaches about it. Maybe you are reading through Hebrews 4 and 5, and you're reading 4:15, "for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as you are, yet without sin" (ESV). Perhaps you become curious about what a priest is, and how Jesus fits into that role. You could turn to Chapter 19 in Systematic Theology, which is entitled, 'Christ Our Great High Priest', and it would take you to Aaron and Melchizidek, the Old Testament functions of a priest, and you would gather up some new information and context about the priesthood, which would help you better understand what the Hebrews passage is talking about.
This is one way that I have used systematic theology and have found it helpful in my learning and discerning what the Word of God is teaching me. I am not a theology scholar, just a regular gal wanting to know more about the God who loves me and gave me a life to glorify Him.
So, as you're studying Scripture, don't be afraid of your questions or curiosity. Find ways to answer the questions you are looking for, this Systematic Theology text is one way to do that!
**Thank you to Crossway for the complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to post an honest review.