How to Read Theology for All Its Worth

How to Read Theology for All Its Worth

A Guide for Students

Karin Spiecker Stetina
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  • 9780310128113
  • Digital Enhanced Edition
  • Desktop, iOS, Android
  • September 15, 2020

  • Theology > Systematic Theology

About the Authors

Karin Spiecker  Stetina

Karin Spiecker Stetina

Ph.D., Marquette University

Karin Spiecker Stetina is associate professor of biblical and theological studies at Biola University. She is the author of Jonathan Edwards’ Early Understanding of Religious Experience and The Fatherhood of God in John Calvin’s Thought.


Too many Christians avoid reading theology for fear they won't understand it or out of a misconception that it's only meant for the academic elite. Similarly, students in introductory theology classes can feel overwhelmed by the concepts and terminology they encounter.

Yet theology can be read with enjoyment and discernment. In How to Read Theology for All Its Worth, professor, author, and devoted reader Karin Stetina introduces students to the basic skills of intelligent reading, applied especially to theological works. Anyone who'd like to read theology well, whether a formal student or interested layperson, will benefit from the simple steps Stetina outlines.

Steps include:

  • Identifying genre
  • Becoming acquainted with the author and the context out of which he or she wrote
  • Determining a thesis and main arguments

How to Read Theology for All Its Worth will equip readers not only to understand theology but also to insightfully engage authors' ideas. With the basic tools in hand, everyone can read with confidence and enjoy "conversations" with theological works.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Becoming a Student of Theology

  • 1. Overview: Getting Acquainted with the Tools of the Discerning Reader

  • 2. Preparing for Reading Theology for All Its Worth: Being Steeped in Prayer and Scripture

  • 3. First Steps: Examining Textual Features and Publication Information

  • 4. Identifying the Context: Getting Better Acquainted with the Theologian

  • 5. Discerning Theological Frameworks: Identifying the Theme of the Work and How It Is Conveyed

  • 6. Discovering the Sources: Identifying the Foundations of a Work

  • 7. Discerning the Theologian’s View: Listening for the Main Contention, Key Points, and Key Terms

  • 8. Assessing: Evaluating and Applying the Theological Work

  • Appendix 1: Equipping Others to Read Theology for All Its Worth

  • Appendix 2: A Selected List of Significant Theologians and Theological Works

  • Appendix 3: How to Dialogue with a Theological Work

  • Appendix 4: A Guide for Participating in a Theological Discussion

  • Appendix 5: How to Lead a Theological Discussion

  • Appendix 6: Theological Discussion Questions on Cyprian’s On the Unity of the Church

  • Glossary

  • General Index


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