A Practical Primer on Theological Method: Table Manners for Discussing God, His Works and His Ways

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


A Practical Primer on Theological Method: Table Manners for Discussing God, His Works and His Ways


Glenn R. Kreider, Michael J. Svigel



Publication Date:

September 3, 2019




144 pages


What does it mean to study theology? Can only specialists study it or is the topic open for anyone in the church to discuss? Glenn Kreider and Michael Svigel deal with these questions routinely as professors at Dallas Theological Seminary. In this book, they aim to give people a brief but solid foundation in what theology is, arguing that lay people and ministry professionals alike need to study it.

They start by giving a brief explanation of what theological method is and how it differs from associated disciplines like inductive Bible study. Then they explain the role God’s revelation plays in theology and the three key forms of revelation (Scripture, Jesus, Creation). With these points in place, they consider the different ways Christians can study these three forms. They encourage readers to imagine a round-table discussion. Around the table are a variety of people, each representing a role that studies God through a slightly different lens:

  • The Interpreter
  • The Theologian
  • The Virtuous
  • The Philosopher
  • The Scientist
  • The Artist
  • The Minister
  • The Historian

In a chapter devoted to each role, the authors show how the roles interact to give the church vital insights about understanding God better.

Kreider and Svigel do an excellent job of explaining theology in an accessible way, without going too far and giving thin answers. They also emphasize the humility that Christians need to have about theology, noting the active role God’s revelation plays in the process. Overall, they leave readers with a sense that theology is something that takes time and discernment to pursue, but is not so abstract that Christians should avoid studying it. In fact, they make it clear that theology is something every Christian engages with on some level (hence the need to learn how to do it well).

Their metaphor of a round table discussion takes these ideas further, showing readers that nobody learns how to do theology on their own or in just one area. Understanding theology as a multifaceted activity that Christians engage with in many areas makes it clear why Christian community is so important. Without multiple people with different skills engaging in dialogue about theology, it becomes an elitist discussion where a few people’s biases take over. Seeing theology’s many roles is vital to avoiding this tendency.

All told, an excellent book on basic theology and how every Christian can start studying it.



5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians, of any background or theological training, seeking a clear explanation of how different vocations or callings work together within the church to cultivate healthy theology.

Christian Impact

Krieder and Svigel build their thesis on a strong foundation of Scripture and insights from various theologians throughout church history. This background gives their ideas real substance, while at the same time being accessible. They are also quite careful to emphasize traits people may not immediately associate with theology, such as the need for humility and dialogue between different groups within the church. This makes their book an excellent resource on not just doing theology well, but also following Christ well, which should be the end goal of all good theology.

A Practical Primer on Theological Method: Table Manners for Discussing God, His Works, and His Ways

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