Scott Swain – 10 Things You Should Know about Systematic Theology

1. Systematic theology exists because the God who knows and loves himself in the bliss of the Trinity is pleased to make himself an object of creaturely knowledge and love through Holy Scripture.

Theology in its essence is “wisdom”—a knowledge that is ordered to love (practical wisdom), and a love that rests in knowledge (contemplative wisdom). More specifically, theology is wisdom about God and all things in relation to God.

This wisdom exists first and foremost in God: God knows and loves himself in the bliss of his triune life as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 11:27; 1 Cor. 2:10–11). This wisdom exists secondarily and derivatively in creatures because God is pleased to make us happy by making us friends in the knowledge and love of himself (John 10:14–15; 15:15; 17:3; 1 Cor. 2:12).

Though not the only source for the knowledge and love of God (see Psalm 19; Rom 1-2), Holy Scripture is the supreme source for the knowledge and love of God in this life (see 2 Peter 1:16–21). Therefore Holy Scripture is the supreme source and norm for the “systematic” study of theology.

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