Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Defining and mapping words

To over-simplify, seminary education is really about two things: defining vocabulary and mapping the connections between the word/concepts. Theology, in the above diagram, for instance, sits "atop" many related areas of inquiry.
How we understand God (theology) affects how we understand human beings and cultures (anthropology). It affects how we understand the church (ecclesiology), christology, eschatology, etc.
"Theology" could also be divided into different sorts/branches/approaches: systematic, contextual, and biblical . . . It is important to understand the distinctions, the similarities, and how they relate to each other.

Every seminary academic discipline is chock-full of words and concepts to be defined and mapped: biblical studies, pastoral care, missiology, church history, christian formation, etc.
Your reading, writing, listening and speaking is constantly helping you to define, create and refine your "maps." The more sophisticated your maps become, the smoother your "navigation." Bon voyage!