Theology is “faith seeking understanding” said Anselm of Canterbury. (Just to see who is on their toes, the picture above is NOT of Anselm of Canterbury but of another churchman. Does anyone know who it is?)

I’ve heard that so-called definition of theology for a long time–I’ve even read a book by that title, although not by Anselm–but I still can’t satisfactorily define what I mean when I use the term, theology.

Theology comes from a compound Greek word (have you ever heard of ANYTHING that does NOT come from a compound Greek word?) It means, “The study of God.” Thanks. That helps. A lot (tongue in cheek at this point).

To make matters worse, there are also numerous sub-groups (branches, sub-disciplines, sub-categories), all of which fall under the main heading of “Theology.”

  • Biblical Theology

  • Constructive Theology

  • Dogmatic Theology

  • Ecumenical Theology

  • Historical Theology

  • Liberation Theology

  • Moral Theology

  • Natural Theology

  • Philosophical Theology

  • Pragmatic or Practical Theology

  • Spiritual Theology

  • Systematic Theology

Great. Now there are even more terms out there that include the word “theology.” How am I supposed to distinguish between these branches when I can’t even define the root? Quit talking in circles. Quit trying to explain to my pea brain what Biblical Theology is by comparing it to and distinguishing it from Systematic Theology.

Answer my first question. What is theology?

I do know that theology gets a bad wrap. I like what Robert G. Ingersoll said about theology: “It is a thousand times better to know how to cook than it is to understand theology!” (Paraphrased with emphasis added).