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Jan 28 2010

What is Theology?

God's revelation to mankind through His Word

When I first came to faith, theology was a term that was somewhat intimidating to me.  It was something that, in my mind, was limited to pastors, bible colleges and those that wrote Christian commentaries.  Us “lay people” did not have the training.  How silly of me.  Taking that position, I gave up all responsibility for knowing God’s Word except for what someone such as my pastor or bible study leader would reveal.  I don’t really remember when it started, but it was during a bible study that I started questioning what I was being taught.  By now, I had read the bible and had gained some independent knowledge of God’s Word.

Theology is nothing more than the study of God which is something all Christians should be doing.  And that we do through God’s Word.  It requires knowing the Word of God.  The word theology comes from the Greek word “theos” which is the Greek for for God.  “Ology” comes from the Greek word “logos” which means “word.”  There you have it – theology – God’s Word, the study of God’s Word.

There really is no excuse for today’s Christian not to be theologians.  A theologian is someone who studies God’s Word.  We may think of a theologian as someone who has gone to seminary or one who teaches at a seminary or writes books and commentaries.  While they may have more formal training than the rest of us, we are all responsible for knowing God’s Word intimately.  If we simply rely on our pastor to teach us, we do not have independent and intimate knowledge of the Word of God but simply have knowledge of something someone told us. 

We have a relationship with God as Christians.  That entails getting to know God on a one-on-one basis.  We know God through His Word.  Let’s say I read a novel that I wanted to share with someone.  Since I have read the book, I have intimate knowledge about the characters, the interaction between the characters of the novel, even their feelings.  A good author will draw his readers into the book.  I have read books where it was difficult to put down it was so engaging.  I have come to know the characters even though I know they are just characters and not real people.  There is no way I can tell you about the book in such a way that you will get to know the characters, their personalities, their interactions with each other, how each one relates to one another. I  can tell you about it but you won’t have the interaction and the intimate knowledge unless you read the novel yourself.  You won’t experience the novel.

How much more with the living Word of God, the Word made flesh. (John 1:1)  The whole essence and character of God as He revealed it to man is found within the pages of the Bible.  Even on this blog, I can write about God, His character, His attributes but you cannot know Him intimately through anyone’s writings but it is reading what He revealed about Himself to you and me that we get to know Him intimately.

I recently re-read Call of the Wild.  The author was able to draw me into his story and I got to know the dog intimately.  Were I to write a summary of the book, all you will have is an idea what the book is about but you will never know the dog the way that I do unless you have read the book.  Call of the Wild is nothing but a fiction, the imaginations of the author of the book.  The Bible is full of real people, and is about the living God who reveals Himself to man.  I got to know a fictional dog in Call of the Wild but we can know God intimately if we read the Bible.  No one can tell me about Him that would enable me to know Him intimately unless I get to know Him on my own.

Please do not misunderstand me to mean that we should not learn from others such as our pastors.  But an hour a week sermon does not give us the intimate knowledge of God that can only come from our own time spent in His word.  Really want to know God?  Become a theologian.  No school or seminary is necessary.

And that is what theology is all about — getting to know God intimately.

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6 comments

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  1. Liz

    Awesome post!!! and so true. We children of God are theologians. I wish we had nothing else except the bible to destract us from our studying of it. Man and his wisdom is fauible but Gods word is perfect.

    1. Tishrei

      For some reason in our more modern day, Christians are less likely to read their bible than a mere 100 years ago. It’s weird because things are so much easier for us.

      Oh well :(

  2. reverent1

    I agree. It’s not difficult to pick up your bible a notepad and a pen and read 1 or 4 chapters a day. And it’s not difficult to pray and meditate daily either.

    Hopefully others agree and maybe support more posts like this to encourage the lost sheep.

    1. Tishrei

      No it’s not difficult. I guess people have to want to. I guess it shows where people’s priorities are.

  3. Margaret

    Hooray for Tishrei!!!

    You said it just like it is!…. How very well put….. I wish all those who feel intimidated by the Bible would read your post….. It is with this truth that even a small child can be a real theologian….. As they hear Bible stories and apply them to their own lives and growing up, they are studying and believing with their whole being….. That’s what God wants from all of us.

    What is sad is that some of those “theologians” who have actually been to a seminary, don’t really believe God’s word, so all their study isn’t doing them any good — plus the fact that some of them become false teachers….. That is why we need to be very careful about what people say — We need to always go straight to God’s word to find out the truth…..

    God will show us His truths because He loves us and is our heavenly Father….. Thank you for this straightforward post.

    Margaret

    1. Tishrei

      I think it’s taking those first steps and just start reading. I had someone tell me that he can never understand the bible like I do. I agree but I say that with a BIG caveat. I read my bible, he doesn’t. It’s like it’s an excuse not to read the bible.

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