Different Kinds of Theology / Sermons
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
As we study through the book of Hebrews, you will hear a variety of sermons. All of them will be expositional (exposing the message of the text), but of different kinds. Below are the distinctions among the different types of sermons. I hope this helps.
Biblical Theology traces the development of a particular theme through the storyline of the Bible. For example, if we were studying a biblical theology on the Son of God, we would see where the Son of God is in Creation, the Fall, Redemption, and New Creation. Biblical Theology is concerned with showing how the theme is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and how it flows from Christ. Since this theology pertains to the whole story of Scripture, a sermon of its kind will typically flow from the beginning to the end of the Bible.
Historical Theology is concerned with how particular doctrines were understood during different periods of church history and why the beliefs were such. Historical Theology is particularly helpful in identifying heretical teachings; therefore, a sermon of this kind will look at a particular passage or doctrine and what it actually says versus how it has been interpreted and even misapplied. For example, with the doctrine of Jesus, there was a false teaching about Jesus’ Person. This false teaching was called Arianism. Historical Theology will explain what this teaching is, where it is today, and why clarity about this teaching matters.
Applied Theology (Practical)
Practical or Applied Theology is primarily concerned with how a particular doctrine is applied in the life of the hearer. This kind of sermon will expose a particular passage. The primary application for the original hearers of the text will be preached as the primary application for the contemporary hearers. In addition, this sermon will not spend as much time developing details of the text.
What does the entire Bible say about a particular topic? Systematic Theology attempts to systematize and synthesize all of the verses on a given topic. For example, a search may be done for the word atonement. Each of the verses on atonement would be compiled and studied to see a systematic approach to the teaching of the topic. Systematic Theology is distinct from Biblical Theology in that the former is not concerned with how the doctrine correlates to the storyline of the Bible. Systematic Theology will present, explain, and apply the topic from the various corresponding verses. In this kind of sermon, I will attempt to keep in mind the context of each of the cited passages as I refer to them. This should further help you understand the given topic.
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