Systematic Theology I | Free Online Bible Classes

Systematic Theology I

Introduction to theology, and our view of Scripture and God.

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About this Class

What value is there to attempt to know the unknowable or to try to understand someone that, by their own description, is beyond our understanding?

Even though we cannot know everything there is to know about God, there are some things you can know because he has revealed them to you. You can develop a systematic theology as you contemplate what you experience in nature, what you can read in the Bible and what you can know from history. This will give you insights into who God is, how you can have a relationship with him, and how you will live your life differently. Dr. Ware begins by giving you a systematic theology definition and explains systematic theology teachings and concepts that you will find in systematic theology books. He also helps you to learn both the inductive and deductive approaches in assessing various criteria so you can determine for yourself the validity of any theological position.

Some of the first lectures in Dr. Ware’s Systematic Theology I give you the core theological positions of major movements like Calvinism, Arminianism, Covenant, Liberalism and Neo Orthodoxy and help you compare and contrast their different perspectives. Also, since the Bible is the primary source for determining your systematic theology, Dr. Ware defines and explains key terms like inspiration, revelation, inerrancy, illumination and canonicity. God’s existence and attributes make up a major part of this class. The final lectures in Systematic Theology I focus on what the Bible teaches us about humans and sin.

The study of systematic theology is a mixture of science, art and faith. Join Dr. Ware as he leads you in understanding the core teachings of Scripture in a way that help you articulate your systematic theology, deepen your relationship with God and live out your life as a changed person.

This is the first of a two semester class on systematic theology. We recommend the book Systematic Theolgy by Wayne Grudem as a companion book for this class. Dr. Grudem also wrote an abridged version entitled Bible Doctrines that includes discussion questions that are helpful for using in a small group/classroom situation. 

  • Program:
  • Subject:
    Biblical Theology
  • Skill Level:
    Advanced
  • Time Required:
    28 hours
  • Price:
    Free
  • Institution:
    The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Language:
    English

Lectures

1

An introduction to theology, answering the questions of what is EST (Evangelical Systematic Theology), why study EST, and how it relates to other theological disciplines.

2

Introductory issues of how to do EST and the criteria for assessing theological formulations.

3

Issues of cultural Christianity, and the evangelical position of "contextualized normativity."

4

Begins with a discussion of the background to the discussion (Pelagius, Augustine, Council of Carthage, and semi-Pelagianism), and then a discussion of Luther, Calvin, Arminius, the Synod of Dort and the Five Points of Calvinism.

5

Covenant Theology, Dispensationalism, and their views of Israel and the church

6

A discussion of these three positions and the key figures in each (Schleiermacher, Ritschl, von Harnack; Barth, Brunner, Niebuhr; Carnell, Henry, Graham)

7

The beginning discussion of revelation and the specifics of General Revelation

8

A continuation of the discussion of revelation with an emphasis on Special Revelation, moving into the topic of Inspiration (definition and key passages).

9

A survey of the recent debate, defining inerrancy (including the relationship of hermeneutics and inerrancy), and its relationship to authority.

10

The definition of illumination, why it is necessary, and how we come to know truth. The critceria for canonicity is then discussed and why the canon is now closed (i.e., why no more books would be accepted into the Bible).

11

Why there is a need to know God, and "theism" (arguments as to whether there is a God or not).

12

Can God be known? The Doctrine of the Trinity (Scriptural basis; historical background; Monarchian heresies)

13

Continuation of the discussion of the Trinity and the church's rejection of Monarchianism

14

Beginning of the discussion of the attributes of God's character, and how the discussion is organized.

15

The related doctrines of God's self-sufficiency and his love. (The lecture begins in the middle of a sentence but not much content is missing. Point V., subpoints 1 and 2 were covered in lecture 14. See Outline tab.)

16

God's incommunicable attributes are those that he does not share with us: self-existence; self-sufficiency; infinity; omnipresence; eternity

17

Completes the discussion of God's incommunicable attributes by discussing immutability, the doctrine that God does not change.

18

Discussion of those attributes of God's character that he shares (to some degee) with his creation, beginning with his intellectual attributes (omniscience).

19

A continuing discussion of God communicable attributes, both intellectual (Omnisapience; truth) and moral (goodness; love).

20

Continuation of the discussion of God's communicable moral attributes (love, grace, mercy; holiness, righteousness, justice) and the attributes of God's rulership (freedom; omnipotence).

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the programs intended for?

The Foundations program is intended for everyone, regardless of biblical knowledge. The Academy program is intended for those who would like more advanced studies. And the Institute program is intended for those who want to study seminary-level classes.

Do I need to take the classes in a specific order?

In the Foundations and Academy programs, we recommend taking the classes in the order presented, as each subsequent class will build on material from previous classes. In the Institute program, the first 11 classes are foundational. Beginning with Psalms, the classes are on specific books of the Bible or various topics.

Do you offer transfer credit for completing a certificate program?

At this time, we offer certificates only for the classes on the Certificates page. While we do not offer transfer credit for completing a certificate program, you will be better equipped to study the Bible and apply its teachings to your life.