A few years ago I was made aware of a systematic theology book that was highly recommended. It is called, as many of these are, "Systematic Theology" and was written by Wayne Grudem, now Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary.
His book includes 57 chapters and 6 appendices spanning 1234 pages. It is impressive, yet is accessible, readable for the layman. Some of the concepts are difficult, but Grudem's writing is not a barrier.
This book is being used by our Men's Bible Study at my church and has been well received. And I thought I would like to share definitions of concepts here as we move through the book. Chapter 1 is "Introduction to Systematic Theology", and here is the definition:
"Systematic Theology is any study that answers the question, 'What does the whole Bible teach us today?' about any given topic."
The inclusion of the word 'today' spurred some discussion at our group. Here's what Grudem said about this:
"Defining systematic theology (this way) implies that application to life is a necessary part of the proper pursuit of systematic theology. Thus a doctrine under consideration is seen in terms of its practical value for living the Christian life. Nowhere in Scripture do we find doctrine studied for its own sake or in isolation from life. The biblical writers consistently apply their teaching to life. Therefore, any Christian reading this book should find his or her Christian life enriched and deepened during this study; indeed, if personal spiritual growth does not occur, then the book has not been written properly by the author or the material has not been rightly studied by the reader."