Why Study Theology?

A question that is frequently asked of me when people find out I went to Trinity is, “Why did you go to seminary?” They are usually expecting a response that I have been called to this or that kind of ministry. And usually I simply say, “Because I wanted to study theology.”

I’m not trying to be coy in that response. That’s about as accurate a statement as I can give. I would not say that I am called to what would be termed “vocational ministry”; but I am called by a deep desire to know the Lord, understand the faith I proclaim, and then share that truth with others.

In reality, all of us on some level study theology. We are all armchair theologians. Everyone has their idea about who God is, what He is like, etc. Even an atheist has a “theology” – they have determined there is no god. That is a theology – it is a conclusion about who God is (or in this case isn’t).

But this is not an apologetics site, so I will not be arguing for the existence of God, or the veracity of the Bible, etc. There are excellent resources available from people much more capable than I that can wrestle with those questions, some of which I have links for on this site. I am a Christian, and therefore I come to my writing with a set of presuppositions that I have already worked out. Some of those presuppositions are that God exists; He has revealed Himself to us in His Word; and that His Word is true.

My desire in writing is to encourage believers to think about what we believe and why…and then to go beyond that to decide how this belief should impact our daily lives. It seems that thinking gets a bad rap these days, and yet our Lord tells us to love the Lord our God with all our soul, heart, mind and strength. In other words, with our entire being, and that includes our minds. We don’t check our minds out at the door of the church. We cannot reduce the Christian life to merely an intellectual pursuit; but if we are going to look at our lives as believers holistically, we also cannot discard the life of the mind. It is a part of our being that is being changed and transformed by the Holy Spirit as we grow in the Lord.

We are called in many places in the New Testament to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10). How are our minds renewed? By the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. This sounds so mystical, but really it is not; supernatural, yes, for it cannot happen apart from the Spirit’s work. It is a reality, a gift we receive as children of God. The Holy Spirit enlightens the mind and the heart to receive the truth revealed in Scripture.

An important factor in any relationship is knowledge – we must know the person with which we are having the relationship. If I know nothing about you, how can I relate to you? This is no less true with the Lord. The study of theology is the pursuit of knowing God. Knowing His character, His ways, His purposes. It is important to note, however, the knowledge is not the end in itself. We should not pursue knowledge so that we can boast in how smart we are, for no matter how much we know about Him, we will never exhaust the depths and riches of who He is. Rather, we should seek to know God more so we can love Him more deeply.

That desire – loving God more deeply – is why I study theology.

I pray you would join me in that pursuit.

Grace and peace…