Before seminary, I gave very little thought to theology. After all, I was an everyday, ordinary Christian… not a theologian. While I enjoyed studying and reading the Bible, I never once saw myself as a scholarly theologian. In my mind, that job was reserved for teachers and commentators. But if there is one thing I learned from attending seminary, it’s that theology is important. In fact, it has the power to shape your entire worldview. I also learned that based on our studying and even our personal experiences, our theology has a way of shifting and adapting throughout our lives. Some of the greatest theologians in history changed their points of view throughout their lives and ministries.
Truth be told, we are all theologians… even if we don’t know it yet.
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Dictionary.com defines theology as “the field of study and analysis that treats of God and of God’s attributes and relations to the universe; study of divine things or religious truth; divinity.”
I used to believe that in order to study theology or be a theologian, one had to attend Bible school or seminary. And while it’s true that there is a lot to be learned this way, most people don’t realize that they are studying theology every time they open up their Bibles. In fact, by reading this blog post here on this website, you are studying theology. Because in the end, theology is simply a fancy word describing the study of God and His universe.
This is why theology is important…
- Theology shapes your view of God. How do you see God? What attributes come to mind when you think of Him? Depending on your studies as well as your life experiences, your view of God can easily be skewed. Do you see Him as a loving Father? A righteous judge? Perhaps you see Him as angry or unfair sometimes. Just like a human being, our God is not one dimensional. (We were created in His image after all!) You can’t base your opinion of Him on one single event or circumstance. He is described all throughout Scripture. And I will be honest in saying that the more I learn about Him, the more I realize just how amazing and awesome He is.
- Theology shapes your view of mankind… including yourself. Theologians often ask questions like, “Why did God create mankind?” “What was His plan for us from the beginning?” “Why didn’t He just give up on us when we messed up in the Garden of Eden?” The more we learn about why God created us, the more we learn about who we are as the human race.
- Theology shapes your view of the future. Where are we headed? What is God’s ultimate plan for mankind? What does the world look like in 20 years? How about 40 years? There are MANY theological opinions out there about the “end of the world” and what it looks like. And all throughout history, these theological points of view have morphed and evolved in some pretty interesting ways. Depending on whose point of view you subscribe to, your view of the future will be greatly affected. Is the world doomed to disaster? Will God’s plan ultimately prevail? What does the future hold for my children and grandchildren?
- Theology shapes your purpose in life. Before seminary, I thought I knew who I was as a person. But as I studied God’s Word more in depth, discussed difficult theological issues with other believers, and worked out in my own heart what I personally believed about God and life in general, I ended up learning more about my purpose than anything else. You see, if you know who God is, why He made you, and where we are going as His people, the more you realize your call in life and who you were destined to be.
What I didn’t realize was that my personal theology shaped every aspect of my life. What I believed about God and His Word affected my role as a wife and mother, my everyday conversations, my career… literally everything.
Theology is important in shaping every aspect of your life… your faith in God, how you see yourself, and ultimately how you live your life.
So do you see yourself as a theologian? Because you should. Even if you don’t call it “theology,” your view of God, His Word, and mankind IS your theology. Could you give an answer for why you believe what you believe? If not, I challenge you to study. Don’t just take someone else’s word for it, look at the Bible for yourself. I assure you it will be worth the effort.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.