It’s that time of year, again: the time when I start to plan for what I am going to study next year. Every year I do a 12 month study project. I need continual focused study to help expand my knowledge and application of truth, and a focused study project gives me time to read broadly, process, reflect, write, and apply. I have benefited from these studies since I was in college and will continue to do them as long as they prove fruitful in my own life. So, as usual, I could use your help in thinking about what next year’s topic should be.
I have a rotation of categories that I work through that provides me opportunity to read and study broadly. There are four topic categories that I work through: Bible, Theology, History, Ministry, and Culture. I am bit out of rotation this year with my book project. Last year I studied Leviticus, so, technically, this year should be invested in Systematics, but it’s moved into the realm of ministry for the sake of my Recovery Culture Church book. Next year, however, I intend to get back on track. I have narrowed my selection to two potential ideas within the Systematics category, but I am open to other suggestions as well.
Spiritual Gifts – I have long been open to possibility of the gifts of the Spirit continuing today, but I have never taken the time to clarify my convictions . A year-long study project on the subject would allow me to interact with the diverse areas of this theology (including baptism of the spirit, prophecy, relationship of the Word of God to the gifts, etc.), the abuses of it, the divergent camps along this theological continuum, and the Biblical theology of the Spirit’s power among the people of God. It will also allow me to read afresh the arguments for and against the continuance of the spiritual gifts for today, a refresher I no doubt need. This would, I think, be a profitable study for me and for the church.
Theological Method – A second area of interest to me is theological methodology. Having studied various aspects of systematic theology, I think it behooves me to turn my attention to the process of doctrinal formulations. How do we devise a systematic understanding of Scriptural teaching on a specific issue? I am aware of the basics, but a more detailed look at the methods of and philosophy behind various approaches to systematic theology would be enlightening. This would be, no doubt, a highly philosophical study, exploring issues of epistemology, prolegomena, roles of tradition and culture in theological formulation, the unity and diversity of Scripture, and the “three horizons” of interpretation, among many other things. It would be largely an introduction to a huge field of study, only scratching the surface, but it would surely be a profitable study for myself and for those whom I train and teach.
Other Suggestions – I am, of course, open to other suggestions. Any number of doctrinal or systematic-related issues is a possible subject of study next year. Specific doctrines are open for consideration as well. The two previously mentioned are front-runners for next year’s study, but I am aware there’s much I haven’t considered and would love the chance to explore any number of ideas and subjects. So, share with me your recommendations and why, and join me next year for another year-long study project.
Thanks for always sharing what you learn, good stuff and bad. I’d love a study on spiritual gifts.
The spiritual gifts of “The Spirit” are magnificent and are meant for the glory of God and the growth of His people. I would love to participate in this study. I praise my God for these gifts He has imparted to us, as believers and His children.
In our age of an overflowing information, much contradicting other credible sounding sources, having some clarity on spiritual gifts would be very helpful for me personally; so I would love to read those blog entries.