Have you ever wondered what the whole sum of the Bible’s teaching is on God’s providence, or on the work of the Holy Spirit, or on the application of the atonement in the believer? Sounds like a big job? Well, yes it is!
Thankfully, there are many books, called systematic theologies, that do this work for us. In these, scholars have spent years pulling together all the biblical teaching on almost every important topic imaginable.
Inevitably, some go into more detail than others (one famous one is in 13 volumes with over 6 million words — which is vast compared to the NIV Bible’s 730,000 words!) The problem is, the longer a version is, the less likely most people are going to be able to read the whole thing!
I’ve recently set myself the task of working through one of the most well known evangelical Systematic Theologies of recent times, by Wayne Grudem. It’s quite a weighty work, weighing in at 1290 pages and 57 chapters, but I figure if I give it around half an hour each morning then I’ll get through it before too long.
The reason I’ve decided to do this is to keep stretching myself. To help me to keep thinking through the deep truths of God. That’s something it’s important for each of us to do. We can settle and be happy with the simple basic truths of the gospel, which is great of course, but we can also set ourselves to go deeper and deeper into the good news and all that God has shown about himself. So long as we don’t pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge, it will only do us good to go deeper and deeper in.
If you’ve never read any kind of systematic theology, then I’d really commend it to you. I can’t imagine many people would read it all the way through in one sitting. It might be something you read a little of each day. Or it might be something you have as a reference for whenever you come across something the Bible teaches and want to know everything else that is taught on that subject. Here are some links to a few shorter ones I’d recommend as well as the full length one:
Bible Doctrine, by Wayne Grudem (528 pages; £15.99)
Know the Truth, by Bruce Milne (384 pages; £12.99)
Concise Theology, by J. I. Packer (224 pages; £8.29)
Or if you want the full length one I’m reading: Systematic Theology, by Wayne Grudem (1296 pages, £25.99)