There is a inseparability in the pursuit of truth from the task of theology. If all truth is God’s truth, then all things must be informed by theology in one sense or another. Therefore, building a theological grid that will aid in the interpretation of the wisdom of the world is the task of every Christian. Just as Paul exhorts Timothy to be a steward of sound words and a guardian of doctrinal treasure (2 Timothy 1:13-14), so should we. Thus, our starting point is Biblical material and from here we see the need for organization of these materials, thus the exercise of systematic theology. Millard Erickson provides a helpful organizational chart in moving from Bible exegesis to building a theological system systematically (Pg. 70).
1. Collection of Biblical Materials
2. Unification of Biblical Materials
3. Analysis of the Meaning of Biblical Teachings
4. Examination of Historical Treatments *
5. Consultation of other Cultural Perspectives.
6. Identification of the Essence of the Doctrine.
7. Illumination of Extrabiblical Sources.
8. Contemporary Expression of the Doctrine.
9. Development of a Central Interpretive Motif.
10. Stratification of the Topics.
Moving through this process develops a systematic approach in developing a theology that is accurate to biblical teaching, and develops the theological framework which should inform us in all areas of thought. Theology informs proper practical application. From a proper theology comes a proper philosophy of life, and out of this philosophy comes practical everyday application. Therefore, proper theology forms the grid by which we interpret, and validate all life decisions.
*“The best way to guard a true interpretation of Scripture, the Reformers insisted, was neither to naively embrace the infallibility of tradition, or the infallibility of the individual, but to recognize the communal interpretation of Scripture. The best way to ensure faithfulness to the text is to read it together, not only with the churches of our own time and place, but with the wider ‘communion of saints’ down through the age.” Michael Horton