Home | Examination

Theological Encyclopedia and Terminology

Central Institute of Theological Studies
Course TDS 110

Theological Encyclopedia and Terminology  


Originally developed by Benjamin Warfield at Princeton Theological Seminary in the 19th century.


What the word “THEOLOGY” means…….


The English word “theology” is formed from two Greek words ; “Theos” which means “God” and “logos” which can mean “word” , “study” or “discourse”. Thus when

combined, we can derive that theology is a study about God or a study of God.  


There are six departments of instruction in the discipline of theological studies.



Apologetics establishes the validity of the other departments as it defends the Christian faith from heresy and wrongful attacks. The use and practice of apologetics vindicates the Christian philosophy of life against all other philosophies and lifestyles. The purpose of the use of apologetics is not  to prove other religions or philosophies as incorrect in their own standing, but rather to bring the focus on the completed work of Jesus Christ through the assured reliability of the Holy Bible’s accounting of salvation. There are four basic arenas of apologetics; Classical Apologetics; Reformed Apologetics; Evidential Apologetics; Fideist Apologetics.       



Exegetics consists of six sub-disciplines

1). Canonics deals with what books belong or don’t belong in the Bible.

2). Textual Criticism is divided into two arenas. “Lower Criticism” seeks to examine original texts to determine what was the author is really saying. “Higher Criticism” often undermines the received tradition of the church, and looks at the Bible as a human document.

3). Biblical Languages is the study of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, looking closely at the definitions and grammar used in the original manuscript copies.

4). Biblical History and Archeology examines the historical and cultural development that supports Biblical data and enhances the historical background. 

5). Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation that seeks to determine the exact meaning of the text, thus minimizing personal bias, theological concepts and cultural distance.

6). Exegesis is the actual reading out and the interpretation of the texts, desiring to understand the impact that the text had on its original hearers.


Biblical Theology

Biblical Theology is described as “the history of special revelation”. Biblical Theology organizes the data of scripture in a chronological manner. The biblical theologian is interested in the historical relation of the various truths. Biblical Theology traces the maturing of various doctrines from Old Testament to the New Testament.


Systematic Theology

The English word “systematic” comes from the Greek words “synestemi”, “synistano” which translated means “to put together”, “to organize” or “to comprehend”. “Systematic Theology” is an organized study or discourse about God. Systematic Theology asks the question “What is the truth about God?”. There are two key components in doing Systematic Theology. They are the reliance on Scripture and the consensus of the faithful as recorded in the creeds and confessions throughout church history; It is the study of the nature of God and his relationship with His creation. 


Historical Theology

Historical Theology examines the history and the development of the church’s reflection on revelation. Revelation is how God communicates His truth to humanity. It examines how dogma was and is developed. It also seeks to understand the dialogue between competing doctrinal viewpoints, and how did the church responded to theological and doctrinal challenges down through the centuries.


Practical Theology  

Practical Theology is the study which seeks to apply all of the truths within the context of the church community, such as Pastoral care and counseling, liturgical issues of worship and Christian education.  There is also an emphasis and focus on methodology. Practical Theology is a the generally the congregationally visible and productive aspects of theological studies. 


















Central Institute of Theological Studies
P.O. Box 750491
Dayton, Ohio    45475