There is a sort of stigma around theology nowadays. It’s almost a bad word. A lot of Christians don’t want to study it. These are the people who will say, “I don’t need to study theology, just give me Jesus!”
This phrase irks me, and I think it irks me for good reason. People who say this, I’m sure, have good intentions. They say “all we need is Jesus!” Well, yes, that’s true. All we need is Jesus, but we seem to forget that in order for us to have Jesus, we must know Jesus; and in order for us to know Jesus, we must study His character, nature, etc. We do that through theology that is embedded in the pages of Scripture. It is truly a necessity.
To be more straightforward, I also think it’s an excuse. It’s an excuse not to dive deep into your Bible and learn the deep, deep things of God. It also ignores the definition of theology.
Theology, in its simplest definition, means the study of God. That’s it. Pure and simple. Therefore, in order for us to know God (like said above), we must study theology.
But we also need to show people that, although they don’t want theology, they still have a theological opinion. When somebody says ‘no’ to theology and says they’ll just “have Jesus,” you should ask them who Jesus is. As soon as they describe who Jesus is, show them that they are doing theology.
So, in a sense, everybody has a theological framework. We all have theological opinions—whether they are biblical or not—about God.
If God has caused you to be born again (1 Pet. 1:3), then you will desire to know Him. In order for you to know Him, you need to study theology. And, of course, I’m not saying study theology as the end of itself; I’m saying study theology as the means of knowing God more intimately.
And understand something: theology isn’t meant solely for professors, scholars, pastors, etc. If you are a Christian, you are a theologian.
James White, the Director of Alpha & Omega Ministries, had this to say:
“If you are a Christian, you are a theologian. You have no choice. Theology is simply knowing about God. In fact, since Christians are called to grow in their knowledge of God, part of the very goal of the Christian life is theology.”
If we, as Christians, say we don’t need theology, we’re essentially saying (whether we realize it or not) we don’t need to know God. We do need theology; and please understand, we study theology by studying the Bible. That’s how it works. (Of course, we can study theology by reading secondary material outside of Scripture, but you get my point.)
We need to always remind ourselves of this fact: theology matters.
• It matters because knowing God biblically matters.
• It matters because being orthodox matters.
• It matters because being able to articulate our faith matters.
Throw away your misconception of theology. Don’t look at the stigma of studying theology. Understand that, when biblically understood, theology is within the pages of Scripture. When we study Scripture, we study theology, and when we study theology, we begin to know God more. When we know God more intimately, we progress in sanctification.
This is the Christian life, friends. This is our (spiritual) food. Eat up.
Soli Deo Gloria