Greek thinkers were the first to refer to themselves as philosophers or “lovers of wisdom” Elwell 2001, 920). What role does philosophy play in theology? According to Erickson, there are three main ways philosophy contributes to theology. It can supply content for theology, defend theology or establish its truth, and scrutinize its concepts and arguments (Erickson 2013, 14). Philosophy brings further study to scripture, a deeper interpretation, as well as the ability to translate century old scripture into a modern and contemporary application. It can challenge or validate systematic theology. Philosophical theology and systematic theology can work together to construct authentic, doctrinal beliefs that will allow believers and followers of Christ to come to a stronger relationship with God.
When someone is saved and commits to Christ that is only the beginning. To truly become a disciple the relationship needs to be developed and nurtured. The various forms of theology can be used by the believer to expound upon the rooted meanings in scripture as they study the Bible.
At this moment, I feel biblical theology is the most beneficial to me. I still consider myself to be in the early stages of my walk and discipleship with Christ. While I am also a small group leader, I am still learning myself. Understanding the basic Biblical principles will be key not only to my own growth, but also to those I am leading. Beginning with the basic biblical theology will provide a firm foundation on which to grow.
Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.
Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.