1. Exegetes (research) – Level one studies
original research; learning; data; facts
These are the people who are continually doing research. They work primarily with first-hand resources. In biblical studies, they are concerned with original language, backgrounds, historical criticism, and textual issues. They are often (though not always) very timid to take theological stands due to their awareness of the complexities of the issues involved. Because of this, they are sometimes accused of “academic agnosticism.” They are very precise thinkers and normally find it difficult to teach because they are always qualifying everything. More often than not they limit their studies to very particular areas.
They find all the pieces of the puzzle.
Examples in Evangelicalism:
- Dan Wallace
- Tremper Longman
- D.A. Carson
- Thomas Schreiner
- Darrell Bock
- John H. Walton
- Peter T. O’Brien
- I. Howard Marshall
- Gordon Wenham
- Craig L. Blomberg
- Why they might dislike theologians: “They often lack precise information and are sloppy with the facts.”
- Why they need theologians: To process data and come to conclusions from a broader understanding.
- Possible problems with exegetes: Truth often dies the death of a thousand qualifications. They can lack common sense. Their precise studies can blind them to the obvious.
2. Theologian/Philosopher (think) – Level two studies
systematize; reflect; theories
Theologians are the thinkers. They are not so much concerned about researching and discovering original data, but with the bigger pictures of determining what the data means and exploring original ideas. They spend their time reflecting on issues and coming to conclusions about truth. They systematize data so that creeds can be reasoned, established, and defended. They are much broader in their thinking and studies, having to be familiar with many areas of scholarship in order to provide a systematic understanding of the complete truth. They are concerned with biblical studies, history, apologetics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, logic, and the like.
They put the puzzle together.
Examples in Evangelicalism: Continue Reading →